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Good afternoon from a newbie. I have always wanted to see Saturn and Jupiter " in the flesh " as it were. I was advised to purchase the 5se, which I did. So far I have been unable to see a thing, just dark skies. I have read several books to no avail so I need some experienced advice as to where I am going wrong. Is my telescope even capable of seeing these planets? I have 8, 12, and 25mm eyepieces and  a GPS unit. Very little light pollution where I am. Any advice greatly appreciated. 

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I think the c5 is pretty good capable to do the job.  Did you follow all the instructions to align the mount?   
 

 

When finished with the alignment you should be able to select a planet and slew to it.  When nothing is visible in your eyepiece you might have to start with your 25 mm to check how far off the planet is from the center or your eyepiece, correct the mount until its centered in the 25 mm and swap that 25 for the 12 mm and check again if the planet is centered.  The shorter the focallength of the eyepiece, the smaller the area you see through that eyepiece.  The 8 mm will probably give the best view on planets but when the telescope is not perfectly aligned, your telescope is aiming on an “empty” part of the sky.  Try to align the best you can at the start and adjust as much as you can to center the objects in the eyepiece.  
Oh and dont forget to remove that big black cap on the front😉

Edited by Robindonne
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The 5SE is definitely capable, I've a 4SE and whilst it's not exactly hubble when it's on target you can see Saturn's rings etc.

First question really is what time are you trying to observe? Jupiter and Saturn are not visible till the early hours currently, will be better in a month or two.

There some excellent info here on setup etc. for nexstar scopes - https://nexstarsite.com/

Setup should be something like this (also helpful to have a mobile app like Stellarium, Skeye, SkyMap etc. as you can check what's visible)

Assemble equipment and insert 25mm eyepiece (wider field of view, easier for setup (make sure front lenscap is off scope, happens to us all at least once ;) ))

Run through alignment procedure (focus on first alignment start should be a point of light), 2 star alignment is generally pretty accurate - see above link for instructions

Goto object you want to observe, still with 25mm eyepiece

Center scope on object using direction arrows

If more magnification needed, switch to mid power 12mm eyepiece, refocus and recenter - enjoy the views

If even more magnification needed, switch to 8mm eyepiece, refocus and recenter, however bear in mind that the quality of view is hugely affected by the "seeing" conditions - clarity of the sky, high clouds, winds, altitude of the object can all be factors. The more magnification you use, the more issues are magnified, so the seeing gets worse, any wobble in the scope and mount are magnified also etc.

Another point that is often missed is to set you expectations of what you might see, astro photos whilst lovely are not what's generally going to be seen through the eyepiece - http://astronomy.tools/calculators/field_of_view/ will give you a good idea of how and object will look, but bear in mind the quality is a little optimistic ;) 

 

Hopefully at least one of the points above helps - read as much as you can of the instructions, forums and online information (we get plenty of cloudy nights), the more prepared you are in advance of how to setup and use your equipment, the more enjoyable your session will be :) 

 

 

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One of the few scopes I actually have a bit of experience with.  My Dad bought a Celestron 5SE as his first scope just after he retired.  He still has it and I use it when I go to visit him (he tends to do more photography than observing now with his refractor).

It's a decently capable scope and there's no reason technically that you won't be able to see the rings of Saturn and good views of Jupiter.  In fact, it was the first thing we ever saw through the scope when we were aligning it for the first time (just by chance).

The alignment doesn't always 'stick' but it does help if you get the bright stars as close to the centre as possible of the eyepiece (obviously).  Don't bother with too much magnification to start with, stick to the 25mm eyepiece and don't be afraid to really adjust the focus as it has a big range of adjustment.  Find a few star clusters in it (Pleiades, M13, etc.) and go from there.  They're quite big objects that will help you learn the focus and the GoTo accuracy.

Make sure your finder scope is well adjusted too.  If I remember, these usually come with an inexpensive red-dot.  It's fine - but do the alignment of that during the day on a distant chimney pot or tree, etc.  The better your alignment with your finder, the easier it will be to align the scope itself.

They're nice scopes.  Would quite happily use one for general-purpose observing and photography if I had more regular access to it (and the budget to buy one myself).  I used my Dad's 5SE to do a Messier Marathon about 5 years ago and we managed well over 90 objects and at no point was the scope the limiting factor.

Edited by GrumpiusMaximus
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Some hints: Jupiter and Saturn are visible in the SSE sky, fairlly low down, before dawn.  Jupiter is too bright to miss, and Saturn is about 1st magnitude and a little eastward of Jupiter. Venus is visible to the naked eye in the north-west at dusk, very low down.

If you can identify these planets, the easiest way of observing them is to select the Solar System mode during setup and (assuming you have entered the latitude, longitude, date and time (or let the GPS unit do its thing), just align on the planet you want to observe and it will track it.  I am assuming that you have read the instruction manual for the Nexstar system and also aligned the finder.

If you can use the Two Star Auto Align, that should be able to find any of the planets for you.  Unlike some other GoTo systems, if correctly set, the Nexstar will not let you select planets that are below the horizon.

If you are having trouble focusing, aim the telescope at the brightest object (star or planet) that you can find, and  turn the focus till the donut shrinks to a point or bright planetary disk.

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