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netsurfer

Help! First light with an Orion 10"

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At last a clear night! Have had the Orion 250mm f/6.3 for almost 3 weeks now (It's a relatively old scope, manufactured around 1996) I've been like a kid at Christmas waiting for a clear night.

I'm actually a little disappointed, was maybe expecting more than I should. With a Vixen 10mm LV eyepiece Jupiter was quite blurred, but the 4 moons were quite clear. The OTA was a little shaky, causing the image to wobble.

A couple of questions,

M45 was quite clear as were Jupiter's moons, but Jupiter wasn't - does this indicate anything?

Wobble on the gp-dx mount, could this be something to do with the alignment? (I didn't polar align it, yes.. I was in a hurry and wanted to see stuff!)

Any suggestions what to look at?

My main ambition is astrophotography with my Canon 350D but I want to be able to see things clearly before trying to complicate things by adding a camera.

I'm a total newbie here, so go easy!

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Jupiter is low now. I get the same some nights, depends whether the seeing conditions (affected by the atmosphere) are good near the horizon. Try it right after it gets dark.

M13 in hercules right after it gets dark, before it get's too low

M31 is quite high.

M57 Ring Nebula (search for a fuzy gray small thing in between the too back stars of Lyra with the lowest mag ep you have. then center it and up the mag. should look like a grey smoke ring)

M52 nice and dense Open Cluster

Double cluster in perseus (ngc 886/887 i think)

Closer to midnight the Orion Nebula (M42 & M43)

For a bit of a challenge NGC 7789 (White Rose), should look great on a 10"

You can use this maps for the Messier objects. Install Stellarium it helps a lot too.

Oh! And congratz on the scope!

Clear skies,

Paulo

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As Paulo says, don't judge the scope by the views of Jupiter at the moment - it's so low in the sky that almost any scope is going to find it challenging - it's almost certainly our atmosphere causing the lack of detail rather than the scope.

While the Vixen GP-DX mount is pretty good a 10" F6.3 is a large and long scope so you will get some vibrations / wobbles transmitted to the view. Try and touch the scope as little as possible when viewing. Many folks use an electronic focusser to avoid having to touch the focussing wheels. If the mount is electronically driven (as opposed to manual) that will help keep the view steady as well.

Don't rush into astro-photography. It it a whole new world of equipment, understanding and investment. Give youself some real time (several months I'd suggest) to get fully used to using your scope / mount for visual observing and to learn the night sky.

Cheers !,

John

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I feel a real imposter even replying to your post because I am very new to all this myself. However, being fairly ignorant may have some advantages in so much as I can only offer advice on the basic and obvious.

You say you were in a hurry, did you allow time for the scope to cool? I ask because if not the image can be wobbly. Polar aligning will not affect the physical stability of the mount however, if you are not at least roughly polar aligned, using a 10mm EP you will have to work your controls excessively in both axis to keep Jupiter in your FOV. Each time you move your controls to keep the object in your FOV you unavoidably wobble the OTA. Obviously if you are constantly having to twiddle to keep the object in your FOV then you are going to have an almost constant wobble. By polar aligning your mount you will greatly reduce the amount of fine tuning needed to keep an object in your FOV.

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Hi there,

I have some info that may be helpful - is your old Orion scope US Orion or UK Orion? They are two different company's, and whether I can help or not depends on which one you have... :rolleyes:

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... it's almost certainly our atmosphere causing the lack of detail rather than the scope.

While the Vixen GP-DX mount is pretty good a 10" F6.3 is a large and long scope so you will get some vibrations / wobbles transmitted to the view. Try and touch the scope as little as possible when viewing. Many folks use an electronic focusser to avoid having to touch the focussing wheels. If the mount is electronically driven (as opposed to manual) that will help keep the view steady as well.

Don't rush into astro-photography. It it a whole new world of equipment, understanding and investment. Give yourself some real time (several months I'd suggest) to get fully used to using your scope / mount for visual observing and to learn the night sky.

There is a lot of wisdom in that post.

Also, if you are taking the scope from a warm house out into the cold night you will need to allow at least an hour for the mirror to cool down to ambient temperature (best to store the telescope in a garage or shed). And try to setup in a location that is sheltered from the wind as a telescope as large as yours can be affected by even a slight breeze. All of the above applies to all Newtonians, whatever the brand.

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Hi, I've had my 10" telescope for nearly a year now, Like you I wanted to get into imaging. All I have to show for my efforts are a few images of blurry planets and fuzzy stars. The learning curve to get those images you see on this forum that make you go "wow" is huge. As I look back through the images I can see small improvements, I'm getting there. My excitement is building, I'm currently imaging M42 with a webcam and starting to learn the processing side of things.

My motto is, Take your time. If you rush you'll miss something important but it's well worth the time spent.

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My main ambition is astrophotography with my Canon 350D ....

Netsurfer, Imaging with a 10" Newtonian can be quite a challange. Do you have a short-tube refracter? It would be an easier introduction to imaging.

HTH

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I keep the telescope in a conservatory, it was only a couple of degrees different from outside temperature, however

when I saw how poor the view was, I went inside for an hour to let it cool. It made little difference.

The GP-DX mount is driven by a dual axis controller.. so that helps with the wobble. Focussing is manual, so that

could be a problem.. will have to look into an electronic focusser, any recommendations?

The scope is a British Orion, GP250 or something like that, can't remember the model number right now, and i'm not

at home so can't check the paperwork.

I'm aware a f6.3 scope isn't ideal for deep space, however - for now, I will be happy to deal with the moon and

planets such as Jupiter, Saturn and Mars.

As the telescope was inherited, there wasn't any choice in specs.

Thanks everyone for the hints & tips, keep them coming!

/ns

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I'm a total newbie here...

Have you collimated the telescope's optics?

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Hi,

The GPDX is a cracker of a mount and easily accommodates the 10inch. You might want to check though that you have got it well balanced. If the scope has been lying dormant for a while or bumped about it is probably out of collimation. Also check that the mirrors have not got really grubby.

Cheers

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As a visual deep sky scope the 10" is going to be great. I have owned the 8" for 12 years. Focusing was an issue with the 8" in that the image did wobble a little. Fitting an Orion USA electric focuser from SCS Astro made a huge difference, stars snapped into focus easily.

You will see lots of posts with people worrying or disappointed by the view of Jupiter. I was out with the local club being filmed by the BBC in advance of the Dark Sky Park announcement Monday. The view of Jupiter through the 8" SCT we were using was horrible and imaging it was even worse. Nothing wrong with the scope, all down to the sky. In comparison the view of deep sky stuff was great.

Mike

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Ah - UK Orion, you say? And a 10" Newtonian from about 10 years ago?

Maybe you have the same problems we had. Bought a 10" from them for a good price around 10 years ago, but could never get a truly sharp image. Tried collimating, waiting for mirror to cool, different eyepieces - the lot.

Eventually, and in some desperation, the Missus and I made a pilgrimage to an expert up in the fens, who checked the optics out very carefully. The mirrors themselves were OK - figured to within tolerances - but the setup was wrong. I believe there was nothing that could be done to fix the problem - would have had to completely remount the secondary and probably drill a new eyepiece tube.

Finally sold it for a song and moved on to other things...

Hope this isn't your problem!

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