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C9.25HD - Galaxy/Messier Object viewing help


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I've gotten really good at viewing and focusing in on Jupiter, Saturn and the moon, that's all extremely easy for me now.  But I have this strange hesitation with trying to slew to and observe anything else, I quite literally don't know how - I tried for the first time yesterday and it was a total bomb.  All the checking in the world on Astronomy Tools didn't make a lick of difference for me - I tried M31, M13, M27.  I slewed to it last night and didn't see a thing, and hell I wasn't even sure at that point that my GoTo was working right because there was nothing there.  I used all the right EP's, I even tried using my 224MC and nothing.  Is it a focus problem?  aka, if I am perfectly focused for the stars, can I slew to one of these objects and be able to see it right away without touching the focuser?  And what on earth will I be seeing?  Is it the colorful blasts I'm used to seeing in photos or am I looking for something different entirely?  I read the "What will I see?" thread stickied here and I still can't grasp it.

I think tonight I'm going to try a different method...last night I was playing around and trying to learn all sorts of new stuff - ASPA, CPWI etc. - things I had never done or used before so maybe I was just overloaded and could not think straight.  By the way, using CPWI isn't the easiest thing in the world as it disables my hand controller and I actually like the hand controller.  I think maybe later on I'm going to stick to my HC and StarSense only and see if that works for me.

Boy do I sound lost huh?🙂

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Seeing the fuzzy DSOs will require fairly dark skies (away from city lights). The moon is quite bright at the moment so many of them will be hard to see. Do not expect to see colour in most of the DSOs; some planetary may have some colour; most will look greyish in the EP. You will also need to have dark adaption for at least 30-40min to see them. I usually start at ~50x magnification and play around with other EPs to increase mag. 

I have an 8" Dob and the drawings in this website is pretty much what I see at the EP:

http://www.deepskywatch.com/messier-dso-sketches.html

 

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This may be a problem of expectations. Fuzzy DSO's will be unimpressive with a 9.25" SCT even from a site with dark skies.  Typically all you will see is a faint fuzzy nucleus. M27 will fill around half the FOV at low magnification and will be dim.

Getting them on screen via a ASI224MC camera may be more difficult than you realise. The point of focus will be quite a distance from eyepiece focus (not parfocal, in other words) and the field of view will be very small, about the the same as a 5mm FL eyepiece. Without using a 'flip mirror diagonal' it will be very difficult to secure any sort of image. And the FOV will be too small for anything other than planetary nebulae and small distant galaxies. (The size of M31 is around 3 degrees in a photo, about six times the FOV of your scope)

It is always wise to check that the GoTo is aligned, by slewing to some unmistakeable object preferably not too far from the object you are trying to see. And stick to usung the Starsense handset for now. That's what I do. 🙂

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First question is always what are your skies like, as that will set the expectation of what you will see. That said I could see M57 easily with a 60mm scope from Bortle 7 skies so I expect the problem is more about targeting than anything else.

You could try aligning on Vega, then slewing to M57 which is nearby. It is small at low power so may be possible to miss, but get it centred and up the power and there is no mistaking it. You could try the same with Albireo and M27 which is larger and harder to miss.

I don’t agree these are unimpressive, with a decent sky and dark adapted eyes they are pretty amazing to see.

Keep trying, you will get there.

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2 hours ago, Kon said:

Seeing the fuzzy DSOs will require fairly dark skies (away from city lights). The moon is quite bright at the moment so many of them will be hard to see. Do not expect to see colour in most of the DSOs; some planetary may have some colour; most will look greyish in the EP. You will also need to have dark adaption for at least 30-40min to see them. I usually start at ~50x magnification and play around with other EPs to increase mag. 

I have an 8" Dob and the drawings in this website is pretty much what I see at the EP:

http://www.deepskywatch.com/messier-dso-sketches.html

 

Ohhhhhhhhhh so you're saying that basically any consumer style scope will show you these objects in grey and then only when imaging -> processing is color essentially added, yes?  Finding these things your first time is confusing as hell when you don't know what to look for, even if you know exactly what they look like...what a strange phenomenon.

Much appreciated!

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1 hour ago, Cosmic Geoff said:

This may be a problem of expectations. Fuzzy DSO's will be unimpressive with a 9.25" SCT even from a site with dark skies.  Typically all you will see is a faint fuzzy nucleus. M27 will fill around half the FOV at low magnification and will be dim.

Getting them on screen via a ASI224MC camera may be more difficult than you realise. The point of focus will be quite a distance from eyepiece focus (not parfocal, in other words) and the field of view will be very small, about the the same as a 5mm FL eyepiece. Without using a 'flip mirror diagonal' it will be very difficult to secure any sort of image. And the FOV will be too small for anything other than planetary nebulae and small distant galaxies. (The size of M31 is around 3 degrees in a photo, about six times the FOV of your scope)

It is always wise to check that the GoTo is aligned, by slewing to some unmistakeable object preferably not too far from the object you are trying to see. And stick to usung the Starsense handset for now. That's what I do. 🙂

It was just a fool's hope to get something on screen with my 224, I knew it wasn't gonna work but took a leap of faith.  I must have played around and worked on my GoTo alignment 6 times last night and I feel like it was still acting up.  Even Jupiter and Saturn which normally stay centered were drifting off.  So yes, sticking to the HC for now until I'm proficient enough to move on.

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7 minutes ago, Stu said:

First question is always what are your skies like, as that will set the expectation of what you will see. That said I could see M57 easily with a 60mm scope from Bortle 7 skies so I expect the problem is more about targeting than anything else.

You could try aligning on Vega, then slewing to M57 which is nearby. It is small at low power so may be possible to miss, but get it centred and up the power and there is no mistaking it. You could try the same with Albireo and M27 which is larger and harder to miss.

I don’t agree these are unimpressive, with a decent sky and dark adapted eyes they are pretty amazing to see.

Keep trying, you will get there.

Skies were great last night so it's more than likely user error lol.  In essence what I do is face the thing north, do a Starsense autoalign (I recalibrated last night because I screwed it up the day prior) and then autoalign again.  I don't really polar align yet because I'm not planning on imaging for a while - gotta find it before you can capture it haha.  Ok great, so I'm going to try that tonight. M57 and M27.

Like most things, I think I have to slow it all down, stop trying to do too much and just take it one object at a time.  Too many EP's, too many devices, too many softwares etc. - it makes it all overwhelming and honestly not that enjoyable.  Sometimes less is more and I have to remember that.

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3 hours ago, Maideneer said:

Skies were great last night so it's more than likely user error lol.  In essence what I do is face the thing north, do a Starsense autoalign (I recalibrated last night because I screwed it up the day prior) and then autoalign again.  I don't really polar align yet because I'm not planning on imaging for a while - gotta find it before you can capture it haha.  Ok great, so I'm going to try that tonight. M57 and M27.

Like most things, I think I have to slow it all down, stop trying to do too much and just take it one object at a time.  Too many EP's, too many devices, too many softwares etc. - it makes it all overwhelming and honestly not that enjoyable.  Sometimes less is more and I have to remember that.

Absolutely, keep it simple! Which mount are you using? If an EQ then a basic polar alignment will help with the star alignment. 

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5 minutes ago, Stu said:

Absolutely, keep it simple! Which mount are you using? If an EQ then a basic polar alignment will help with the star alignment. 

CGEM II mount - trying again tonight, fingers crossed! But those Azimuth adjustment knobs are so tight! They’re very hard to move, almost like they need oil or something. It’s laborious work and I feel like it shouldn’t be.

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6 hours ago, Maideneer said:

CGEM II mount - trying again tonight, fingers crossed! But those Azimuth adjustment knobs are so tight! They’re very hard to move, almost like they need oil or something. It’s laborious work and I feel like it shouldn’t be.

Did you slacken off the tripod bolt before trying to turn the azimuth adjusters? Just needs to be backed off a tad before adjusting then nipped up gently once happy. 

Also remember that when you tighten one Az adjuster you need to slacken the other

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59 minutes ago, CraigT82 said:

Did you slacken off the tripod bolt before trying to turn the azimuth adjusters? Just needs to be backed off a tad before adjusting then nipped up gently once happy. 

Also remember that when you tighten one Az adjuster you need to slacken the other

I did and it made a *slight* difference but not much.  Everything just feels like it needs oil or something but who knows...I just have to keep playing with it.  Not sure why this aspect has to be so tricky.

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I've come to the same issue from the other side. Your setup sounds wonderfully advanced whereas mine was previously too basic.

What I found worked really well is (prepare for the inevitable) using a copy of Turn Left at Orion which gives really clear instructions on how to find things and sketches of what you'll likely see from suburban skies. In addition get a proper finder scope (e.g. a 6x30 right angle one, about £45 from FLO), a red dot sight won't cut it, at least not in my experience.

I was able to find and view M13 last night from my edge-of-large-town location in a 60 mm guide scope fitted with a star diagonal and a nearly full moon so you should be fine after some practice.

Stick with it, I promise it gets easier!

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13 hours ago, Maideneer said:

Skies were great last night so it's more than likely user error lol.  In essence what I do is face the thing north, do a Starsense autoalign (I recalibrated last night because I screwed it up the day prior) and then autoalign again.  I don't really polar align yet because I'm not planning on imaging for a while - gotta find it before you can capture it haha.  Ok great, so I'm going to try that tonight. M57 and M27.

Like most things, I think I have to slow it all down, stop trying to do too much and just take it one object at a time.  Too many EP's, too many devices, too many softwares etc. - it makes it all overwhelming and honestly not that enjoyable.  Sometimes less is more and I have to remember that.

it's a real pity no one has built out a plate solver for mobile - it would be so useful for exactly this sort of thing.

1. a mobile camera with some longer exposures (no need for live stacking, but hey - could be an extra) can easily show most nebulas

2. mobiles have crap loads of cpu power now - they'd locally plate solve quicker than most laptops. and lots of space so, could have locally - but hell, first version could just use https://nova.astrometry.net/upload online

3. a basic cheap mobile mount fitted to the eyepiece of your choice is easy for any telescope.

Even without feedback to your mount from the mobile, this would tell you where you were, and could show what direction to move in, AND when you got there, you'd have a semi-live view of the DSO.

If I had more time, I'd write one (wouldn't be my first app).

In other words it seems to me that nearly all of us have a great EEVA in our pocket, which with the right software WITH plate solving, would open up the world of astronomy to a lot more folk ?

This is the sort of thing a single exposure can get on a mobile:

Untitled.thumb.jpg.7546d91b93e095e0341ad73a662d3cd2.jpg

Which I think most beginners would think was awesome - I know i did when I took it back in january as my first every image after looking through my first ever telescope.

Frankly, why sky safari doesn't add this is a mystery to me.

In the meantime, you could still do this manually - but it would frankly not be fun imho.

e.g. mount mobile. take photo, upload to plate solve, get coordinates, enter coordinates in sky safari - so where you are vs, where you want to be, move mount, repeat.

However, saying that, YOUR main issue I think is with a 224 on a 9" SCT - I have the same issue with my 224 on my C8 - even plate solving fails here, as it's such a tiny tiny bit of the sky (well, fails on my asiair pro anyway) - there, for planets, I rely on a well aligned finder to put it in the cross hairs first.

 

Edited by powerlord
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Use something around a 25 - 30mm EP in your scope, which will give you a much wider field of view to see with, so if your goto is not spot on it may at least show in the outer edges of the EP. M13 should easily seeable once found, along with M31. M27 should be too, but smaller in your EP, you should make it out still. I use a 30mm EP in my C8 SCT and can see all these quite easily, as long as the seeing permits. I live in bortle 7 area in a city and can see these objects relatively Ok. Much better in a dark sky site if your lucky enough though.

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@powerlord

Yes, I think that's awesome.

 

@Maideneer 

I'm a beginner (sort of)  and I've set myself the task of looking for the messier objects.  A lot of the time this comes down to the following..

  1.  find the right bit of sky
  2.  compare to Stellarium in ocular view.  Go back to step 1.   Repeat.
  3.  so, if those are that pair of stars, then those might be that little triangle, so that means Mx should be twice that distance from that star just there
  4. ah yes! there it is, that slight haze, right on the very edge of visual recognition.  If I bump the scope, it moves so it's not an artefact or my imagination.

If I see a clear image it's a rarity, and looking for the same object on another night might not be possible at all as the conditions have changed. (and vice versa). 

Stick with it.

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6 hours ago, etsatlo said:

I've come to the same issue from the other side. Your setup sounds wonderfully advanced whereas mine was previously too basic.

What I found worked really well is (prepare for the inevitable) using a copy of Turn Left at Orion which gives really clear instructions on how to find things and sketches of what you'll likely see from suburban skies. In addition get a proper finder scope (e.g. a 6x30 right angle one, about £45 from FLO), a red dot sight won't cut it, at least not in my experience.

I was able to find and view M13 last night from my edge-of-large-town location in a 60 mm guide scope fitted with a star diagonal and a nearly full moon so you should be fine after some practice.

Stick with it, I promise it gets easier!

It's so funny, I have that book but have been too busy to get through it. I guess this is one situation where I'd love cloudy skies for a couple weeks so I can read it lol.  I have the 9x50 finder that came with the set and that's served me well so far I have to say.  I did find M13 last night (sort of), for some reason it was totally clear out for hours but all the star clusters and nebula I tried viewing were either faint beyond belief or just not visible.  M13 was probably my best seeing but it still wasn't that great, it was very difficult to make it out.

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5 hours ago, Knighty2112 said:

Use something around a 25 - 30mm EP in your scope, which will give you a much wider field of view to see with, so if your goto is not spot on it may at least show in the outer edges of the EP. M13 should easily seeable once found, along with M31. M27 should be too, but smaller in your EP, you should make it out still. I use a 30mm EP in my C8 SCT and can see all these quite easily, as long as the seeing permits. I live in bortle 7 area in a city and can see these objects relatively Ok. Much better in a dark sky site if your lucky enough though.

I have my 32mm EP, an 8-24 zoom (my favorite one) and a 23mm Luminos.  M13 last night was visible yes but was extremely difficult to view as were most things.  Did I finally see something? YES! But my eyes were straining more than I thought was normal.  M31 looked like a faint, small grey fuzz and I was presuming it would at least look like a faint, large grey fuzz lol...not sure why that is...even at 8mm. I'm in Bortle 6 so about the same as you.

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2 hours ago, Capt Slog said:

@powerlord

Yes, I think that's awesome.

 

@Maideneer 

I'm a beginner (sort of)  and I've set myself the task of looking for the messier objects.  A lot of the time this comes down to the following..

  1.  find the right bit of sky
  2.  compare to Stellarium in ocular view.  Go back to step 1.   Repeat.
  3.  so, if those are that pair of stars, then those might be that little triangle, so that means Mx should be twice that distance from that star just there
  4. ah yes! there it is, that slight haze, right on the very edge of visual recognition.  If I bump the scope, it moves so it's not an artefact or my imagination.

If I see a clear image it's a rarity, and looking for the same object on another night might not be possible at all as the conditions have changed. (and vice versa). 

Stick with it.

I do kind of the same thing as you lol.  My biggest issue is the arcade style controls because the diagonal reverses everything so I always go the wrong way and then have to correct, it's so disorienting :)

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20 hours ago, Maideneer said:

t was just a fool's hope to get something on screen with my 224,

Have you tried the Live Stacking option available in the ASI tool. Some of the brighter objects will begin to show colour after a while. Orion nebula is one such object.

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53 minutes ago, Maideneer said:

I have my 32mm EP, an 8-24 zoom (my favorite one) and a 23mm Luminos.  M13 last night was visible yes but was extremely difficult to view as were most things.  Did I finally see something? YES! But my eyes were straining more than I thought was normal.  M31 looked like a faint, small grey fuzz and I was presuming it would at least look like a faint, large grey fuzz lol...not sure why that is...even at 8mm. I'm in Bortle 6 so about the same as you.

Seeing was most likely poor then. Sometimes a slight haze in the sky can ruin a good nights viewing just as bad as clouds can obviously do. As a general rule if I cant make out the constellations because of any haze well I ditch trying to look for faint stuff, and either do doubles, lunar or planetary work.

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