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Beginners first few experiences with 127 MAK

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My telescope arrived well packaged but didn’t stay boxed up for long!:) My but it is beautiful. I love the blue colour and the sleek design. Love at first sight!

Setting up:

It was fairly easy to set up apart from one issue. The instructions must have been from an older style assembly or even a different telescope, for they described a bracket that completely encircled the telescope and was tightened with a screw on top. At first I thought the large circular bracket was missing completely and I thought ‘OH NO’ :) but then I realised the instructions and diagrams were wrong and there is not a bracket that encircles the telescope.

Once I realised that, I completed the setup fairly quickly. I then had a go at lining up the Finderscope. Now there is a tricky job. I fiddled with the two screws and the silver spring bit but simply could not line it up at all with the diagonal cross-hairs.;) So I decided to wait until hubby came in.

It was dark by the time hubby came in, so we used a handy street-light to help align the scope (the only time I will be glad of street-lights near me!!:p). Even with two people it was a fiddly and at times seemingly unachievable task. Finally with some wiggling and jiggling, we managed to line it up.

First attempt at viewing:

The next big problem was the weather. It was raining hard on and off with a few breaks now and again. Then suddenly there was a break in the clouds and there was the moon. Now I had a dilemma. I know it takes about an hour for the telescope to reach ambient temperature so do I put the telescope outside and risk either it getting rained on and possibly missing my only chance to see anything through a lucky break in the clouds? So, I did a big observing no-no, and pointed the telescope through the window of my lounge!:D The first thing I realised was I needed my moon filter. So I quickly fitted that and wow! Breathtaking views. :DI tried out lots of different EPs and was amazed at the detail I could see. I think I’ll be spending a long time wandering around the moon in the coming months!

Then unexpectedly, the clouds parted a bit more and there was Jupiter. Only it wasn’t there. I mean I could see it clearly with the naked eye, but finding it with the telescope was difficult. I would find it in the Finderscope but somehow the Finderscope must have got knocked or maybe I hadn’t aligned it properly but I couldn’t find it through the telescope. How infuriating!!! And it was breaking my back swapping from looking through the Finderscope to the EP all the time. And then suddenly, mainly by luck I think, my daughter stumbled across it and yippee, there it was. At 32mm it was amazing but we were greedy and wanted to see more. So we quickly swapped out the 32mm EP and tried a 9mm. Hmm not such a great idea as then we couldn’t find Jupiter again. So put back 32mm, found it and tried 15mm. And there it was: Jupiter. :hello2:Even through my (not so clean) living room windows I could clearly see an orange band across the planet and the moons were spectacular. I couldn’t believe I could see that from my living room. We tried the 9mm again and this time did find Jupiter but couldn’t really focus it very well, but not surprising given I am inside the house!

We then spent the next 45mins swapping lenses in and out and trying the Barlow and filters. It was great fun but not terribly productive.

I was tempted pop the telescope outside now and trying an hour later but the weather was looking dodgy again so I decided to leave it for the night and try the next night.

All in all given the circumstances, I was amazed to see some banding on Jupiter and really pleased with my first night of viewing. The forecast looks like there may be some breaks in the cloud tonight so I’m going to pop the scope out early evening and give it a proper try tonight (I just pray for clear skies!)

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Brilliant choice of scope! I'm surprised you've had trouble with the finderscope, mine has never been any trouble. Just a question of technique :)

I suspect that may be the problem: my technique is rubbish!! True green noob! Still I'm sure I'll improve as time goes on (maybe!).

Thanks darkly. I am hoping to get some good viewing tonight, weather permitting. So far I am very pleased!

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Sounds like an amusing and thrilling time you three had - fun reading your account. You do realise (dont you) that you are now hooked lo.l Just wait till you get outside with it you're in for a real treat.

Glad you're enjoying it and looking forward to more of your reports - best of luck Merlin :)

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Hi Merlin, and congrats on the scope!! There will probably have a few more hurdles to cross before you get it right (previous experience with my scopes) but will be great.

I have also just bought this scope, though mine is the bful black diamond finish, which is the same as my 10" Dob.

Alas, between working and the weather, I havent used it properly.

Have never had a goto before, so having problems there. Lined up Vega, then set the scope to slew to Arcturus, but it went in the wrong direction!!! Had scope pointing north, when maybe if had facing south it would have worked??

Otherwise a very cute and light scope, my little Mak. :)

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Guess that the problem of locating Jupiter in the 9mm is slight mis-alignment of the finder and the main scope. The Mak has a small field of view so good alignment is necessary.

Next the scope says Autotrack, standing it at a window and pointing probably meant that the scope wasn't set up with the earths axis so it will have been rotating about a different axis to the earth. In effect Jupiter will have wandered out of view pretty fast with a 9mm.

If you get the chance pick up a 15mm and 20mm eyepiece if you get the chance. Then start with the 32 to locate and decrease the size after centering. Actually wonder if you have some as a 32mm isn't normal as one supplied with a scope.

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Hi, nice to see you got your telescope, I got mine two days ago and initially had a problem finding stuff as well with the finderscope. Mine is nicely aligned now, but even then I think using the finderscope is difficult, so I plan to buy a telrad in the future!

What asseccories did you buy with it? I only have the telescope and the two eps with it, and I had a variable filter from a while back. I need to think about what to buy now :s

Edited by coffee_prince
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Hi glad you got your scope and that your happy with it. I know what you mean about the instruction manual - its pretty dire. It took me a wee while to get used to aligning the finderscope too, just persevere and you'll get it in the end.

Was looking at jupiter and the moon through the MAK the other day, just fantastic. If your going to be spending some time on the moon I can thoroughly recommend Antonin Rukl's Atlas of the Moon. Just got it a few weeks ago and it is already making the moon much more interesting for me.

How did you find the brightness for your eyes with the filters in?, i remember you were asking about this on another post.

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In regard to your finderscope, you can always stiffen it up a bit by packing it out with a bit of masking tape (just wrap it round the scope then put it back in the holder). It works a treat on the standard finders you get with skywatcher scopes.

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brantuk: yes I'd say I'm officially hooked! And what's more I'm dragging the rest of my family with me!:icon_salut:

Qldliz: Yes I think it'll be a while before I cross all the hurdles. I don't have GOTO, just automatic tracking.

Capricorn: Yes, I bought the Revelation EP set. A great buy. I've found the 15 and 20mm great.

Steve: I found the filters great on the moon. It is still a little bit bright so I am careful to take breaks. I am half wondering if I can double up the filters for the Moon to lessen its glare: I have a Baader Light Pollution filter and a moon filter that came with the Revelation set.

Uranium: Thanks, that masking tape idea sounds very useful. I'll try that next time I have to align it.

Thanks everyone.

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A quick update on the past couple of nights.

Friday night

During the day I spent a long time aligning the Finderscope on some far away chimneys. I think I may be mastering it a bit better now but I do still find it fairly fiddly. There were pretty minimal instructions on lining up the Finderscope but I did find a good website which explained you should tighten the two screws until the scope is held but not too tightly. Then you adjust by loosening one screw while tightening the other. It took me at least 20 minutes to move it to the correct position and it seemed again mostly luck. Any advice on how to do this better would be gratefully received (I'll try that masking tape idea Uranium). However, I finally managed to line it up pretty well. The forecast was fairly good so we put the telescope outside at dusk to make sure it cooled down enough. Every twenty minutes or so we would go outside to check, but sadly it remained cloudy all night so we never saw anything. Feeling rather disappointed we brought everything back inside.:(

Saturday night:

A mixture of cloudy and clear skies so we popped the telescope out in hope. We carefully aligned the Auto tracking and waited inside, enjoying a glass of wine as we waited.:icon_salut: We went out an hour later and were happy to see Jupiter shining clearly in the sky. We found Jupiter through the Finderscope and then checked through the 32mm EP. Wow! It was an amazing view. We could see Jupiter clearly and four moons. :hello2:We started the Automatic tracking and called out our two daughters. They were very excited to see Jupiter and the moons so clearly. Using our home-made red torch we located our 12 mm EP and were rewarded with excellent views. We tried the views with the Baader Light Pollution filter in and without it but we weren’t sure there was really much difference.

We found the Automatic tracking very good. Every so often (about five minutes or so) we would have to tweak it slightly as Jupiter started to drift a little, but it was a breeze swapping from person to person and so the family all had great views:hello2:

We then switched to the 9mm. It was a bit more fiddly getting the right eye position to see Jupiter and more fiddly to focus but again the detail we saw was impressive.

Overall I probably enjoyed the 12mm the most as it was pretty easy to see and the views were amazing. There were clear bands and the moons were very distinct.

We then switched to the moon. Using our 32mm EP and moon filter we saw great detail on the craters.

I have to say it was a fantastic evening. My husband, my daughters and I all enjoyed the experience immensely. We are really pleased with the telescope. It is light weight and easy to move around the garden (to avoid trees). It is also very easy to set up and the automatic tracking is excellent. We were all staggered at the views we managed to get even from our Light Polluted back garden. We were reluctant to call it a night but the clouds came in again and anyway, our eyes were getting a bit tired so probably best to stop. Can’t wait for the next clear night and I am sure that soon we will start investigating other parts of the sky. All in all, an excellent start!

Edited by Merlin999
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Always fun to read someone first experience with a new telescope :icon_salut:

As for the finder scope aligning I just takes a bit getting used to, you will get it eventually.

Just one suggestion, when writing stuff on the forum, you should not use a font with serif (the little feet on the bottom of the letters), while serifs are excellent for reading things on paper, they makes it harder to read things on computer screens. you should use Arial or Vernada as they have no sherifs.

Arial (sans serif)

Veranda(sans serif)

Times New Roman (serif)

See the difference :(

Edited by MrJulius
Made the letters larger to easily show the difference
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Good idea Mr Julius. It wasn't so much that I was choosing to use a different font, it was just that I wrote my experiences up in a Word document and then cut and pasted it which is why it came out in a different font (if I am writing a long post, I have to do that as the kids constantly interrupt me)! I'll make sure I sawp to a different font after I do that next time! In fact I'll pop back and edit it now!:icon_salut:

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Excellent ;) You can also just select all the text after you have pasted it into the reply on the forum. Just right click on the text and select, select all, then navigate to the little Fonts drop down menu.

I did not see your last reply as I was writing. Here comes my comments to that reply.

Your light pollution filter is not much good on bright objects like planets and the moon. Jupiter shines so bright that light pollution fortunately have little or no effect on it :icon_salut:

If you are going to try to view fainter objects like globular clusters, galaxies and nebulae, the light pollution filter will be very handy.

It is great that you got your whole family interested :(

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Thanks MrJulius.

Brantuk, that sounds a good idea for the moon but I've had a look and I can't see a small offset cap on the cover, am I looking in the wrong place.

I've noticed moon filters are available in different grades. I wonder if it would be worthwhile investing in a stronger one?

In the paperwork that came with my Baader Neodymium Light Pollution filter it says it is both a Light Pollution and a moon filter. I might compare using that to the one that came with my Revelation EP set. I want to enjoy my hobby, but I really don't want to damage what's left of my eyesight to do it;)

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Congrats on your scope and the first light report!

Can I suggest that once you have Jupiter in the centre of the field on your scope, immediately check your finderscope.

If Jupiter is not centre on the finder, twist the two adjustment screws until it is.

Then take another look through your eyepiece and centre Jupiter again (it may have moved since you last looked). Check the finder.

Hopefully now if you get lost looking through the eyepiece you'll be able to use the finderscope.

As for finding objects - if you know where they are (eg moon, Jupiter), position your head behind your scope looking along it as if aiming a gun. Then slew in looking through the finderscope. Then use your highest mag eyepiece (that 32mm is perfect) until you've got the object in view.

Defocussing also helps as you can turn a small planet or star into a huge smooth doughnut - much easier to find and centre on!

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Glad you're enjoying your new scope. I had the same scope as my first and remember going through many of the same issues you are having. But you figure it all out in the end!

One thing I noted from your original post is you said that it takes about an hour for the scope to reach ambient temperature. That is true, but it doesn't mean you can't use it during that hour. I tend to just take my scope outside as is, setup, and start using it immediately. I don't notice any problem with the views.

Having said that, I do live in a warmer climate in Greece, but I wouldn't expect the temperature to affect your views that badly to make it worth not using the scope for an hour after you put it outside.


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Hmmm..... it is a small aperture - maybe they dont have a smaller cap on the lid. If so then a filter is the way to go - although even they suffer on a full moon. Best to look at the moon when it's partial anyway - the terminator can be very interesting :icon_salut:

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