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Hi

I am brand new to stargazing although have been very interested in it for years. My wife bought me my first telescope for Christmas and have been able to observe the moon but struggling with much else. I could do with some sort of discussion forum where I could discuss what (if anything) I am doing wrong please. Many thanks. Steve:o

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Hi welcome

I also had a scope for xmas, there are alot of good people on here willing to give you good info like i had :)

I also could only see the moon untill i started exploring thanks to a program that was recomended to me called Stallarium.

Download it and put your location in to see what is in the sky above you in real time, it will be a good guide :)

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Thanks for that Irvine. I really took the plunge last night dues to all the snow etc but really struggled both focusing and pinpointing anything and I thought I would start with something easy in looking at Mars. I can find it easy enough using the 20mm eyepiece, but lose a lot of clarity if I use the 3x barlow and the 4mm is very fuzzy. If i try and zoom, or get the focus wrong, the image gets split into 3 as the light coming into the scope hits the bracket that I think holds the secondary mirror. (can be seen if I look into the front of the telescope) (Newtonian reflector style) I take it that this is a bracket to hold the secondary mirror and must not be removed as it would have said so in the instructions. Forgive the real naivity....suppose I've an awful lot to learn!

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Hi Wulfrunian

Thanks for the welcome. It is a celestron Powerseeker 76AZ....I real basic starter scope!

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:) Hi from me too

The max magnification with that scope would be around x150 but scopes seldom are able to go to their theoritical maximum. With a 4mm in you scope will be running at x175 magnifictaion so above what the scopes optics can cope with. Thats probably why things are going fuzzy.

With a 20mm and the 3x Barlow in the scope would yield x105 which might be possible depending on the quality of the Barlow. I have two Barlows which are tolerable so long as I dont push the magnification too high.

And yes you cant remove the bracket - its whats holding the secondary in place. It may be as well that the scope is out of collimation - basically the optical alignment is a bit out of whack - thats correctable and often a refelector does need a certain amount of tuning.

Hope thats of some small help.

Feel free to jump in and ask questions - we all have to start somewhere :)

Edited by Astro_Baby

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Thanks for that Irvine. I really took the plunge last night dues to all the snow etc but really struggled both focusing and pinpointing anything and I thought I would start with something easy in looking at Mars. I can find it easy enough using the 20mm eyepiece, but lose a lot of clarity if I use the 3x barlow and the 4mm is very fuzzy. If i try and zoom, or get the focus wrong, the image gets split into 3 as the light coming into the scope hits the bracket that I think holds the secondary mirror. (can be seen if I look into the front of the telescope) (Newtonian reflector style) I take it that this is a bracket to hold the secondary mirror and must not be removed as it would have said so in the instructions. Forgive the real naivity....suppose I've an awful lot to learn!

Mars isn't very big, and may not stand that much magnification, due to the size of your mirror, how high it was in the sky (depends what time you were out) and the seeing, i.e. how steady the atmosphere was - last night it wasn't very here, the stars were twinkling violently. My brother's grandson's got a 3" reflector, and to be honest with the 4mm eyepiece, it was hard to get a steady view of even the Moon.

That's not to say you can't get great views with your scope :) magnification isn't everything. You'll get good views of the Moon, Jupiter and Saturn, if you don't push the power to high, and there are countless double stars, star clusters and some nebulae within its grasp. The free downloadable program Stellarium is often recommended on here, and it's very useful in showing you what's up there, and another recommendation I can endorse is the book "Turn Left at Orion", which gives you directions to objects viewable with a 2 to 3 inch scope.

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By the way....its -9 where I am at the moment. Are there any rules about taking the telescope outside and bringing it back in to stop condensation on the mirrors?

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Thanks for that Irvine. I really took the plunge last night dues to all the snow etc but really struggled both focusing and pinpointing anything and I thought I would start with something easy in looking at Mars. I can find it easy enough using the 20mm eyepiece, but lose a lot of clarity if I use the 3x barlow and the 4mm is very fuzzy. If i try and zoom, or get the focus wrong, the image gets split into 3 as the light coming into the scope hits the bracket that I think holds the secondary mirror. (can be seen if I look into the front of the telescope) (Newtonian reflector style) I take it that this is a bracket to hold the secondary mirror and must not be removed as it would have said so in the instructions. Forgive the real naivity....suppose I've an awful lot to learn!

Well i really dont no alot about scopes yet but if you have a "cheaper" one like me dont expect to see things like some of the pictures on here, that was the best advise i got.

I like to use the 20mm also with out the barlow it just magnifies things too much unless you are looking at the moon. Stay outside for a while with no light and let your eyes adjust and have a pan around the sky you will see some nice stars, I saw Orions Nebula last night looks great and bright!

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By the way....its -9 where I am at the moment. Are there any rules about taking the telescope outside and bringing it back in to stop condensation on the mirrors?

You will get condensation bu don't worry, it's quite normal. Just let it dissapear on it's own (could take a couple of hours). Don't get tempted to wipe the optics, there's no need.

As the others have said, stick to 100x - 120x or so as a maximum magnification otherwise the views will only get fuzzier and fuzzier.

Edited by John

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Thanks everyone for all their help. Im going to try and brave outside. This new hobby is brilliant...I can see me getting really hooked! I will try and find one of the nebulae. Any suggestions of the best area to look at before I leave?

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Thanks everyone for all their help. Im going to try and brave outside. This new hobby is brilliant...I can see me getting really hooked! I will try and find one of the nebulae. Any suggestions of the best area to look at before I leave?

Orions "sword", below the 3 stars of his belt. In the middle of the sword is the famous Orion nebula.

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Hi Steve welcome, hope you are having a bit more success. Just a couple of things, if you were observing between Christmas and about 5th Jan then moonlight would have washed a lot of stuff out of the sky.

Also you need to let your scope adapt to outside temp. and your eyes to the dark, about 30mins for your eyes possibly longer for the scope.

Were your lenses misted up whilst you were out observing? Various threads on here offer advice on dew protection (please dont wipe the lenses!!!) Keep at it, actually FINDING stuff up there is more than half the fun.!!

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Steve,

It is great fun to look at the planets in a small scope, but realize that planets amplify all the flaws in your scope (all scopes have flaws). Your scope is super wide field so go for the bigger targets like Orion's nebula, the double cluster, and the andromeda galaxy. The andromeda galaxy is just a dim smudge, but the knowledge that you are viewing an object 2.5 million light years away, billions of stars is what makes it interesting.

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