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Hi - this might sound very silly but I have some questions regarding the¬†SKY-WATCHER EXPLORER 130PS AZ5 - I was gifted it and I have no idea how this works. Main¬†question: how do I see the stars?...ūü§™

I have two lenses ‚ÄúSuper 10 long eye relief‚ÄĚ and ‚Äúsuper 25 window angle long eye relief‚ÄĚ and we have set it up (think this has been done correctly). It was a clear sky today and dark (and stars visible on the sky) and adjusted the scope according to the red dot finder. Still we could not seee anything at all...?! Feel like we might be doing something very wrong?¬†
 

does anyone have any recommendations please? 
 

thank you very much in advance from a Norway!!

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Hi,

Did you spend some time lining the red dot finder up so it matches the view through the telescope ? It is best to do this in daylight , choosing a distinctive target a few km away, something like a tower which will be easily recognizable ...  remember the view through an astronomical telescope will usually be be upside down . If you try to do this at night, it is hard to be sure the star you see in the telescope eyepiece  is the same star the red dot is on .

You were pointing the open end of the telescope at the sky , weren't you ?!

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Hi - thanks so much for the reply. This seems very complicated¬†ūüėÜ
We did not do this in daylight no - so maybe we can try that. The red dot was aligned straight on the star but it was nothing to see...and we did point the open end of the telescope at the Sky...(eventually at least..lol!!) I was thinking I put the lens in incorrectly or maybe the lens wasn’t good enough ?! Also the protective thing that goes in front (pic attached) had one hole in it so was even debating whether I should leave this on or not.... 

 

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OK,

First an easy one : the protective cover should be taken off , the smaller hole in it has uses , but for the moment , leave the small cap on . The cover is to keep dust from falling into the tube and onto the mirror when the telescope is being stored.

The red dot finder (RDF) needs to be adjusted to line up accurately with the telescope tube. Remember you are magnifying your view a lot by using the telescope, so you only see a tiny part of the sky . The RDF needs to be accurately lined up to that tiny part of the sky. To do this there will be some small dials on the side of the RDF. I posted a long explanation of how to do this some months ago, I'll find it and give you a link .

Heather

 

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Here's my 'how to' guide , edited for clarity:

 In daylight line your telescope up with a distant , non moving object (TV aerial , top of street lamp, church tower, etc)  the further away the better.

Using the 25mm eyepiece (or the highest numbered one you have) and without any Barlow , centre the chosen object in your view. Don't be surpruised if it appears upside down, this is normal for astronomical telescopes !

Then without moving the telescope tube,  swap to the 10mm eyepiece (or whatever lower numbered eyepiece you may have) This increases the magnification and decreases the field of view.

Again, look through the eyepiece , and move the telescope carefully until the object you chose is right in the centre of view .

Now tighten the knob(s) on the mount to lock the tube in that position . Look through the eyepiece again to ensure you didn't accidentally shift the tube while tightening . If you did, loosen the controls and repeat the first steps.

Then, being very careful not to knock the tube, turn on the red dot finder (RDF) , it will probably click on,  then the button will continue to tun, turn it all the way until it turns no more. This is because many RDFs have adjustable brightness, and you want it as bright as possible to see the dot in the daylight.

Move behind and in line with the RDF to sight through it and spot the red dot. Now fiddle with the two adjusting buttons or dials until the red dot appears to lie on the distant object you selected. Go back to the 10mm eyepiece, ensure the scope is still pointing accurately at the distant object, double check the RDF.

Keep adjusting until the red dot is on your target, which is exactly in the middle of the view of your lowest numbered eyepiece.

Once you've finished, don't forget to turn the RDF off (although the cell lasts for ages )

It sounds like a long process, and the first time it can be, but once it's done I've found mine stays accurately aligned unless it gets knocked. It's much easier to do the process in the daylight, and means you won't waste time when you could be seeing stars .

Hope that helps

Heather

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Hi, nice gift

The 10mm is you highest power and 25 your lowest powered magnification. Take the focal length of your telescope and divide that by the focal length of the eyepiece.

Example 650/10 = x65 magnification

To focus point the telescope/RDF at the target start with lowest powered eyepiece (not the sun) and slowly wind the focuser in and then out until you find the focus point, this may not be the same hen swapping eyepieces over.

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Meant to add the end cap with two smaller covers is for when looking at a full Moon, which can be very bright, place the cover back on telescope and remove the smaller cover.

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12 minutes ago, happy-kat said:

Meant to add the end cap with two smaller covers is for when looking at a full Moon, which can be very bright, place the cover back on telescope and remove the smaller cover.

Ahhh.....good to know, I was so confused about that, thought maybe they made the hole by mistake¬†ūüėĻ amazing - thanks very much.¬†

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Once you have your finder aligned correctly, it's just a case of aiming the dot at a star you want to see, then adjust the focus knob(s) until the star appears as a small, bright dot - as small as you can get it is the correct point. As a rough starting point, if you look at the second picture you posted, you can see a silver tube poking into the main tube as you look into the end. It's called a drawtube and most of it will probably have disappeared into the focuser when you've focused correctly. Remember stars are so far away that they are always a point, you cannot magnify to give any detail on a single star. If you cannot focus to a tiny dot you have found a planet or made a mistake. Usually best to start with the 25mm and move to the 10mm if/when you need to. Enjoy!

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16 hours ago, TonjeF said:

Hi - this might sound very silly but I have some questions regarding the SKY-WATCHER EXPLORER 130PS AZ5

Hi TonjeF,

Welcome .. Please remember , NO question is silly . For every question asked there are many other people that will also benefit from the answers given . And , as you have found , the SGL community will ALWAYS help where they can .

I hope you have lovely clear skies . :) 

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Thanks so much for The replies. The issue was that the RDF wasn’t aligned with the telescope as suggested - so we did manage to see some stars in the end. 
 

Does anyone have suggestions of which other lenses to buy to see wider/‚Äėmore pandoramic?

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On 15/01/2021 at 13:35, TonjeF said:

Does anyone have suggestions of which other lenses to buy to see wider/‚Äėmore pandoramic?

If you give us a budget I'm sure we'll be able to help.

Also are you in a city or in the country?

Do you wear glasses to correct astigmatism?

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On 19/01/2021 at 21:09, Second Time Around said:

If you give us a budget I'm sure we'll be able to help.

Also are you in a city or in the country?

Do you wear glasses to correct astigmatism?

Thanks for the reply! I am not really sure but maybe £100-300!? 
 

in the country, and no glasses no. 

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A 24mm explore scientific 68¬į eyepiece will give you the widest field of view possible with your telescope and be well corrected at f5. However, this would replace the 25mm supplied with your telescope so you may wish to spend your money elsewhere first. At shorter focal lengths the 5, 8 and 12mm Starguiders would work well, or you could look at eyepieces from the ES82¬į or Nirvana lines if you want a wider apparent field of view. Vixen SLVs are optically¬†excellent, but have the same apparent field of view as the eyepieces that came with your scope.¬†

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Strangely enough, I bought a 130mm f/5 reflector for a friend's daughter for Xmas, and so these suggestions are based on that experience.  The costs are mostly via First Light Optics (FLO) who offer a first rate service and sponsor this forum.

The eyepieces that come with these scopes are very basic starter ones, and can be improved at low cost.

The maximum field of view (FOV) of your scope is just over 2.5 degrees - it's determined by the 1.25 inch diameter of your focuser and the 650mm focal length.  This will be more than enough to show even all of the Pleiades cluster (M45) and leave space around to frame it nicely.   

There are various spec eyepieces that will get this maximum FOV.  If you were in a city I'd go along with Richochet's suggestion, but in the country you'll be able to benefit from a lower power eyepiece that'll be useful if you later buy nebula filters.  So I'd suggest a 32mm Plossl eyepiece that'll give the same field of view.  Cost £29.

I'd very much recommend a zoom eyepiece as your workhorse.  One zoom eyepiece will cover multiple focal lengths and so are excellent value for money.

Fixed focal length eyepieces may be slightly better corrected when compared with a zoom at the same magnification.   But that's not always a fair comparison as that magnification may not be the optimum for a given object.  This is because one of the many advantages of a zoom is to be able to dial in precisely the best focal length.  For instance, this may be 13mm or even 13.1mm, which may actually show more detail than shorter or longer fixed focal length eyepieces.  

I particularly like the ability to increase the magnification to make use of brief moments of good seeing (a steady atmosphere).  It takes more time to swap out an eyepiece, and the opportunity may then be missed.  You can't see anything if you haven't got an eyepiece in the focusser!

Zooms also enable the field of view to be varied to frame an object to get the prettiest view.  For this reason I particularly like them for clusters.

Many of those who post here and advocate fixed focal lengths are experienced observers.  It's so easy to forget what it was like as a beginner!  A zoom eyepiece enables beginners to easily learn what difference a change of magnification makes on all the various classes of object.  It also shows them what focal lengths would be most useful to their eyes, their telescope, and their observing conditions.  They then have the option of buying/not buying the most appropriate fixed focal length eyepieces for them.  For these reasons I'd always recommend that beginners buy a zoom as their first eyepiece.

My friend was on a tighter budget than you and I bought the Svbony 7-21mm for her.  Cost about £45 on eBay.  However, I'd recommend the Baader 8-24mm zoom that is sharper, more contrasty and has a wider field of view.  Cost £185.

For higher magnification I'd suggest a Barlow lens that will increase the magnification of all your eyepieces.  This'll be especially useful for the moon and planets.  I'd recommend a dual 1.5x/2x model as this gives much more flexibility.  Not all 2x Barlows allow this, but the ones that do so don't cost any more.  These ones allow the black lens cell to be unscrewed from the body of the Barlow and then screwed into the filter thread at the bottom of an eyepiece.  Very often this won't be in the blurb, but FLO do one in their Astro Essentials range that even has a standard T thread at the top for attaching a camera.  Cost £25.

I'd use the 2x option on your scope on nights when the atmosphere is steady.  You'll rarely be able to use higher magnification than this here in the UK as we're frequently under the jetstream, which means that the atmosphere is then more turbulent.  In fact, most of the time the 1.5x option would be a better choice. 

Just about everyone, including me, will recommend a book called "Turn Left at Orion".  Cost £23.  This has a lot of information about telescopes and observing, plus descriptions and how to find some of the best objects in the sky, including what they look like in different scopes and in a finder.  The latter is a small scope with a wide field of view to make it easier to find objects.  You will probably want one before long, but living in the country you can get by without for the time being.  Most people prefer a RACI (right angle correct image) finder as this will save you a crick in the neck.  A 6x30 RACI finder costs £34. 

I'd also suggest a dimmable red torch or headtorch.  I prefer a headtorch as I can just as easily hold it in my hands or around my neck, so it's dual purpose!  This is important when with others as used as a headtorch you'll shine it into their eyes.  They can also be laid flat on a table or even tilted.  Red light doesn't interfere with night vision like white does.  However, most lights are way too bright, so a dimmable one is very much to be preferred. 

Many of the headtorches on the market start on either bright or white light.  It's also easy to push the wrong button.  I'd therefore recommend one of the inexpensive Black Diamond range.  These can be set to always come on with the dimmest red light whatever button you push - so no accidents!  You do need to avoid the higher priced ones that have a battery check on starting up though.  This is because it lights up an intense blue that'll ruin your dark adaption.  Additionally, those with the Powertap feature can be knocked on accidentally.

For astronomy just look for models without  a battery check and without Powertap technology.  There are 2 suitable models - the Spotlite 160 and the Cosmo 250. You may also find the newly discontinued Cosmo 225.  BTW, the so-called Astro models aren't suitable for astronomy as they don't have a red light!  Wiggle have a special offer on the Cosmo 250 at the moment for only £15.  Go to https://www.wiggle.co.uk/black-diamond-cosmo-250-headlamp?lang=en&curr=GBP&dest=1&sku=102436075&kpid=102436075&utm_source=google&utm_term=&utm_campaign=Shopping+-+All+Products&utm_medium=base&utm_content=mckv|sRffJGoLJ_dc|mcrid|490894957190|mkw||mmt||mrd|102436075uk|mslid||&mkwid=sRffJGoLJ_dc&pcrid=490894957190&prd=102436075uk&pgrid=64996676331&ptaid=pla-865083163391&gclid=Cj0KCQiAmL-ABhDFARIsAKywVacRWZonz-rHk8mlVz_pfxV_X-DFH7Z4pAOzH6rebkbTBnJZOVOaBmQaAj6TEALw_wcB

Finally, one item that has made a huge difference to me is an adjustable height observing chair.  Being comfortable means that I can actually see more, especially difficult objects.  The one I have is the Skywatcher that costs about £100, but there are many others.

P.S. I nearly forgot.  You may already know this but don't look at the sun through your telescope.  Even looking through a finderscope can mean instant blindness!

Good luck, and do tell us how you get on.

Edited by Second Time Around
Price correction. English
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48 minutes ago, Second Time Around said:

Strangely enough, I bought a 130mm f/5 reflector for a friend's daughter for Xmas, and so these suggestions are based on that experience ......

Wow, that's an essay and a half !

As a fairly recent beginner myself I'd say that is all good advice. for anyone .

Personally I was not confident that I would see much improvement from more expensive eyepieces, so bought a few skywatcher super plossls , first the 17mm, which I chose as it was between the 10mmm and 25mm provided ones, so would not duplicate either of them. It convinced me it was worth £20 for the step up in clarity and sharpness . Then I bought a 32mm skywatcher super plossl ( costs about £30) . I still use both, despite having added some of the highly recommended BST skyguiders for the high magnification range (8mm, 12mm ) . Plossls are harder to use at these high magnifications.

I dislike camera zoom lenses , prefer primes ( when I can afford them !) , which prejudiced me against zoom eyepieces, but I can see that they can be very useful , all in one packages.  If you decide to go down that path, I'd say invest in a more expensive one , a very cheap one which may end up being disappointing in the long term.

You asked about 'panoramic' views though

On 15/01/2021 at 13:35, TonjeF said:

Thanks so much for The replies. The issue was that the RDF wasn’t aligned with the telescope as suggested - so we did manage to see some stars in the end. 
 

Does anyone have suggestions of which other lenses to buy to see wider/‚Äėmore pandoramic?

really good single eyepieces which give wide views are very expensive (well over £100 each, I know as I've been looking at a few  possibilities myself !) and zoom eyepieces are perhaps not going to give you what you want, as they concentrate on the middle of the magnification range.  Have a look at the specifications of any zoom eyepiece you consider buying, and check the FOV ( field of view) at the lowest magnification. If it is less than 50 degrees at 25mm , you could get a wider view with a simple , relatively cheap 32mm plossl

Wait and see if the stock RDF finder starts to annoy you before buying an upgrade,¬† the way it inconveniences you in use will help¬† you decide what upgrade you need ... or maybe you won't need an upgrade at all . ūüôā

I own a few head torches which I use when camping or night walking (one lives in the top pocket of each rucsac  with a whistle, a first aid kit and a space blanket ) , but I don't like them for use at the telescope, prefer my home adapted lights, a very old aaa maglite with a circle of red acetate stuck on the lens with PVA glue, and a very cheap LED headtorch (it cost £1 !) again with red acetate over the lens, also the strap taken off and velcro glued to the flat back . It sticks to the velcro panel on the padded waist bag I use for holding my eyepieces and keeping them safe and warm between uses, so is always where it should be and easily used where it is hands free,  or taken off to hold i a hand to check something close - up.

Turn Left at Orion is a really good, practical guide book ,there are also many online and app sky maps, I like the downloadable desktop 'Stellarium' which is free, open source and not difficult to use.

Heather

 

 

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