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M13 for the first time

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Hey guys managed my third clear night from the day i get my new scope and set out with my aim to see M13 (only seen the moon and saturn so far).

i managed to figure out Hercules and then found M13 very quickly looked wicked and i nearly started happy shouting in the garden :).

just a little advice though im finding it really hard to focus and my contrast is pretty poor (not just M13 saturn too). i know ive not got the greatest scope (celestron 130 EQ F5) im using a celestron omni 20mm and a celestron ultima barlow (my other EP arent worth using).

could this be to poor colamination or is it to much light pollution or am i just expecting to much from my scope?

thanks for the advice and sorry for the wall of text :icon_scratch:


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At this time of year the problem will be lack of proper dark sky coupled with any local light pollution you may suffer from. Things will begin to improve after the solstice and by august we should be getting better skies, clouds permitting of course.

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Saturn should still be pretty sharp at say 8mm... Last night i tried 6mm and is was just a little too much as Saturn is now pretty low when viewing permits (Late like 11pm) its well on its way down unfortunately. But even so bright and perfectly shaped. M13 on the other hand for me was no more than a faint smudge... VERY disapointing im putting this down to the moon being up, the sun still lighting the sky ever so slightly but enough and the damn light pollution round here :-(

BTW im using a 127mm Mak, so similar app but longer focal... DSO's for me here (Chatham) are not easy even in the dark months i have to go trekking to see anymore than smudges.

If your concerned about colmination try a star test its quick and simple :-) i here colmination will vastly improve your views. As for focus its a fine art... Get it near as poss then place a peg or a foam disc or something to make the focussing knob larger and fine tune the focus (make sure tube is cooled to ambient temp 1st) i personally got fed up with the wobble when focussing so improvised and cobbled a mount together and use a skywatcher electronic focusser. Makes foccusing a synch because the scope doesnt wobble at all when focussing. Worth the effort in my opinion.

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I think it is often quite difficult to be convinced you have the focus correctly set on extended objects such as DSOs (M13 etc.) or the planets. I tend to find a nearby medium bright star or planetary satellite, and trust the focus, when the latter is as near to a point (w/diffraction rings etc.) as possible. :)

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Roll on August, and dark skies, this is a bad time of the year for me too (so hard to get a good focus) , not just the fact it doesn't go dark for about a month either side of the summer solstice , but adding to that the light pollution :), i live in North East Manchester so my Southern skies are full of it, and with the city centre only 5 miles or so away, a light pollution filter is a must. On top of that, I was sat in my garden earlier this week just after sunset and it was so clear, but the con trials from planes over flying were hanging around for ages only adding to the problem, just sit it out, it will get better. :icon_scratch:


Edited by Si W
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