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bodhi

Advice for my first outing and using goto mount

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Good evening guys.

I've checked out the weather forecast and fingers crossed, Sunday night looks good. I've found a spot out of the light pollution, with reasonable elevation and have enlisted an interested friend to come with me.

Sooooo, a few very much novice questions before I venture out. I should add that this is also my first telescope, so these really are probably quite basic questions.

I have been playing with my new scope (skywatcher skymax 127 Goto) in the back garden initially. Whilst attempting to set it up using brightest star option, I have come across a couple of issues. I'm using Stellarium to help me as my knowledge of the sky is dire. But, does anyone know if there are slightly different spellings of some stars between the stellarium software and the lists within the synscan controller?

How accurate do your current location co-ords need to be?

Is it setup up to autotrack the selected objects by default?

With regards the capabilities of the optics themselves, I'd love to start by having a look at Jupiter. Its a 127mm aperture which I believe should be good enough for reasonable clarity. With a focal length of 1500mm, my 10mm eyepiece should allow 150x magnification. Is this good enough for viewing jupiter and actually seeing some detail on the planet or will I still be looking at an orangey dot? Or should I in fact be using the 25mm eyepiece?

With the scope, I got a barlow 2x adaptor for the eyepiece, which presumably would increase the magnification to 300x (on the 10mm eyepiece). Is this stretching the capabilities of my scope too far expecting this kind of magnification?

Finally, I am slightly short sighted and have glasses for driving. I also have contact lenses which I use sometimes. Will contacts improve the viewing or are they unnecessary with using the focus adjustment on the scope?

Apologies if there are some really dumb questions there and many thanks in advance for any help and advice.

Thanks

Chris

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the more accurate your setup time location etc, the better

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A lot of questions! I'll try to answer them.

I have a goto scope and I've found that it's easiest to align it with the moon or a planet, since Jupiter is twice as bright as any other star (venus is 4x as bright!). However, if it's easy for you to locate stars, then go with that.

I never needed coordinates - my telescope has cities built in with the coordinates. However, I would think that they need be as accurate as possible, as neither the tracking nor the locating will work without them.

With a 32mm eyepiece (smallest magnification I have), you can see Jupiter a bright disc with a red stripe across it. Zoomed in (lets say, 10mm), you will clearly see the red stripe and the 4 Galilean moons. Also, you may observe shaded polar regions. Of course, if you were to take a picture of this, you could edit the image and see many more details.

The barlow lens will work with most eyepieces, but will appear to get blurry at around 6mm (with your size telescope). 4mm just doesn't work for me at all, with or without the barlow. The best way to find out is to experiment, though.

I use contacts/wear glasses as well, and although they help clarify the stars/planets in the sky, I see no difference while looking in the eyepiece. They are unnecessary, but they can't hurt.

It's good that you're beginning astronomy! Some easy targets for your scope would be Venus, Jupiter, Saturn (approaching opposition in early April), M31 (andromeda galaxy), and M42 (orion nebula). Have fun, and good luck!

Edited by ethannik

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I have no experience with goto, yet, but I just want to wish you good luck with your planned excursion. Don't lose heart if the weather turns foul, nor with your suppiled eyepieces or indeed if you end up struggling with locating via the controller. You could at very least, slip the clutches and get some 'push-to' observations. The 127 has a HUGE reputation for planets and is on my 'hit list'.

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Hi Chris

I have the exact goto system you have.

First get the finderscope aligned with the main scope. This really does help with your location of objects and alignment.

For alignment use the 25mm eyepiece or you will struggle to centre the alignment stars.

the lat/long coordinates only go down to degrees and minutes so long as you get your location within a couple of minutes each way it will be fine for visual observation.

Focus your main scope on any bright star or planet first as this will make alignment a whole lot easier.

when slewing to your first star the controller will default to the fastest rate. If it doesn't you will have to select the speed manually by pressing the number 2 button. It will then ask you to enter the speed. You should select the fastest (9) to get the star into the finderscope then select say 5 to centre it before moving to the main scope once the star is in the field of view use something slow like rate 3 to centre it.

Once accepted the scope will ask you for the second starand once chosen it will move automatically to it. The more accurate the lat/long and time you have entered the closer it will get to the centre of view. You then need to slow rate to get the star centred. They say it is easy but first few times will be frustrating until you get your eye in with the process.

Once you have sucessfully performed alignment press the setup button and select autotracking. This ensures the scope tracks at the correct rate for the object chosen.

Objects like jupiter will show a fair amount of detail at 10mm and even though the stock barlow supplied is not brilliant it still gives reasonable viewing with either eyepiece on objects like jupiter.

Because of the narrow field of view of you type of scope you will find that you will use the 25mm most of the time for DSO's.

Your main weapon with this scope will be perseverence as it is not as simple as the blurb implies. Eventually you will perfect you own method of operating the beasty.

Cheers

Dave...

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Good evening guys.

I have been playing with my new scope (skywatcher skymax 127 Goto) in the back garden initially. Thanks

Chris

Hi Chris!

As you have seen already there is no shortage of help here and everyone is willing to help newcomers along.

I too am a newbie to this scope and got exactly the same model for Christmas. I know we will be able to get lots of advice here, and indeed have done already but maybe we could also share trails and tribulations between us too.

I have taught myself quite a bit about the basic night sky using a planisphere and my 8x42 binoculars but am now ready to look further. After reading reviews and weighing things up I decided the 127 was a good starter scope.

Have yet to go out myself properly but have managed to align the finderscope in daylight. I had a rushed and failed attempt Christmas night but it's been cloudy since as for most of the UK I think.

Still got to learn the art of alignment with a GOTO as well!

Best of luck, Happy New (Cloudless) Year and keep us updated with progress.

Jimmy.

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A power pack may be a good idea if you don't already have one as sometimes the go to function can be a bit cranky on batteries

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A power pack may be a good idea if you don't already have one as sometimes the go to function can be a bit cranky on batteries

Excellent point!

I used 3 sets of batteries just practising alignment..

I now use a power tank which also powers the camera and other bits. The retail for about £50.

Dave...

Edited by Dave S

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Thank you so much everyone for all the help.

Thanks to Dave for the detailed explanation of the alignment, it's very much appreciated.

Ethannic, excellent info there, thank you! All being well this evening, I will try to view m42 as you suggested.

Jimmy Stix, I will certainly let you know how my evening goes and my experience of setting it up (this time in a place with much less light pollution!)

The power pack sounds like an excellent option, I will definitely be looking into one of those! When it says "tip positive" does that mean the outer metal sheath on the connector? Making the centre core terminal inside the negative contact.

Thanks again to all, I will hopefully report back from this evening with some good results :eek:

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The power pack sounds like an excellent option, I will definitely be looking into one of those! When it says "tip positive" does that mean the outer metal sheath on the connector? Making the centre core terminal inside the negative contact.

Thanks again to all, I will hopefully report back from this evening with some good results :eek:

NO! its the other way round - the outer sheath is negative - inner hole = positive

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Mine took a few times to get used to but i read manuals!!!! The GOTOs arn`t perfect but they get me near enough....

T x

Edited by tiwar

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