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Upgrade or start agian?


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Hi All,

I Currently own a Bushnell 565 that’s about 8 years old, and have only just worked out I’ve been doing in all wrong … Now I know how to use the equatorial mount thing seem to much more logical and much more fun!!

I know my scope is about as basic as it gets, and don’t really know what it’s capable of, but I know I have a decision to make.

My current goals are to be able to see Saturn’s rings, the patterns on Jupiter’s surface, the Andromeda Galaxy and a nebula or two with enough detail to see the colours, but I’m having real problems focusing using the 8mm eyepiece or the barrow lens with the 12.5mm …. Could this be due to the quality of the lenses?.. If so, Is it worth upgrading to 1.25 and getting 3-4 “cheapish” eyepieces? - Total cost ~£60 and will this allow me to see my goals?

Or am I trying to achieve the impossible with such a basic scope? REALLY can’t afford any outlay at the moment, so advice would be very welcome !!

Clear skies!!

James

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You should be able to see most of what you list with your scope (60mm refractor I think) but you won't see colours in nebulae - that's for the imagers or huge scopes only !.

Eyepiece quality and mount stability is usually the main issue with budget scopes so upgrades to those might help a bit, within the confines of what 60mm of aperture will show.

I have an old Tasco 60 mm refractor that will show Saturns rings (but not details on them or the planet) and Jupiters main equatorial belts (but no red spot). Galaxies appear as faint smudges as do the brighter nebulae - except for the Orion nebula which I could see the basic shape of at low power with averted vision.

You might get away with a 1.25"-.96" hybrid diagonal plus 2 eyepieces plus a better barlow lens but I think you would be pushing your £60 budget even with low cost 1.25" accessories.

Alternatively £50 will buy you some nice binoculars to learn the skies with while you save for a larger scope.

Edited by John
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Blind leading the blind here, I only have experience of my own 4" reflector. All I have looked at so far are the Pliades, Jupiter and the Orion Nebula.

I would have thought you could see Jupiter's banding, you will certainly see it as a disk and be able to make out the 4 Gallilean moons. You should be able to see nebula but you won't get any colour. I get no colour with mine and I think you have to take a long-exposure photo to get colour out of any nebulae with most telescopes.

Hope that helps.

--- Alistair.

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Hi John,

Thanks for the rapid response J

I’ve found this…

http://www.scopesnskies.com/prod/hybrid%20star%20diagonal/24.5mm.html

And these…

http://www.scopesnskies.com/prod/bresser/eyepiece/starter-scope/upgrade.html

And think this might be the way forward?

I do have some binoculars but have never really used them for sky watching except in deepest Africa where there were so many stars I couldn’t tell what was what at all!! – even looking at the plough the main stars seemed hidden in the mass … not a clear bit of sky to be seen!

So…. Anyway – end result is that the eyepieces are worth upgrading?

James

Thanks also Alistair – I def plan on doing some photography too .. have a nice DSLR, a tripod and a 700 lens that needs to be put to use!!

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I Currently own a Bushnell 565 ...

My current goals are to be able to see Saturn’s rings, the patterns on Jupiter’s surface, the Andromeda Galaxy and a nebula or two with enough detail to see the colours, but I’m having real problems focusing using the 8mm eyepiece or the barrow lens with the 12.5mm

Some notes. First of all, Saturn is coming out of being "sideways on" to Earth so far as the rings go. That means that they appear rather narrow and with not so much detail. They'll be better in a few more years!

Second, Jupiter is a realistic target - you should be able to see detail in its clouds and its 4 brightest moons will appear as points, but not large enough to show detail.

So far as nebulas go, they'll all appear as fuzzy, indistinct blobs. That's not due to any shortcomings in your telescope, they appear like that in all telescopes that cost less than a house. You won't see any colours, just grey. The best nebula to aim for at present is the Orion Nebula (in Orion :)) To see Andromeda, you'll need to follow the guide stars to it. If you live in a city, they can be hard/impossible as they're not very bright. However once you do get to the galaxy, you should see a small fuzzy patch of not-so-dark grey. I can see it through my 10x50 binoculars from a semi-rural local, so you stand a chance.

So far as focussing problems go - the best way to approach them is to try it out during the day. Pick a target about a mile/km away and try that with various powers of eyepiece. Strt with the lowest power (the widest view) and then swap in your other eyepiece. See how much you need to change focus and maybe mark the two focus-wheel positions for easy reference later. Do the same with your Barlow. If you like, you can adjust the depth that the eyepieces slide into the eyepiece holder, by putting some tape or an elastic band around them. That way you can tweak their final positions so that they'll all be in focus and you won't have to adjust the focus knob - it's called parfocalising.

Edited by pete_l
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Hi Pete,

Very interesting …. thanks J

Well it looks like my goals have changed to something a bit more realistic…. And a trip into the country might be an idea too.

So to clarify, does this mean that the difference between focus point of a tree 1 mile away seen at 30x and 65x is equal to the difference between focus point of a star seen at 30x and 65x?

In which case I may not need any eyepieces, or is this still a good idea no matter what? – A Scope is only as good as it’s worst part!!

James

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I think Pete was just suggesting a distant tree as a way to get used to how the scope and eyepiece combinations work. Stars / planets are at infinity (effectively) and the focusser will need to be in a different position to get them in focus (a little further inwards than a distant tree). The process that Pete was describing was also to find out where the different eyepieces are "in focus" compared to each other. If they are of the same basic design that won't be too far different.

Personally I think the eyepieces will be a weak link but even so should show the basic details that Pete describes - with some practice.

To get back to your original question, I think you will very quickly want performance greater than your scope can give, even if you do buy new eyepieces, so you might want to start researching what alternatives are available for when you can put together some funding. £130 buys you an excellent scope that will far outperform your current one.

Edited by John
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Hi John,

Yeah, figured it was the difference between magnification levels and their respective focal lengths rather that transferring the tree line focus up to the heavens ;0)

So… what scope are you suggesting for £130? I’m really interested !!

…. I’m sure my original was £180.. maybe over time scopes have increased in quality vs production cost?

James

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If you want to know the difference its in the p which stands for parabolic. this will make planets a little sharper those nebula that you can see will have a teensy bit more resolution. Its said that in a small scope (under 6" is considered small) that a parabolic mirror and a good spherical mirror will not show much difference. But where the p scores is that it will show off better eyepieces to better effect.

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sorry but that isn't the one with the parabolic mirror, its still a very much better scope though as you can see from the reviews this is the one with the parabolic mirror i'm afraid it costs a little more but if i had the money I would pay it Reflectors - Skywatcher Explorer 130P

Good spot there rowan46 - that's the one I meant to post though it is £40 more - worth it for the parabolic mirror.

The scopes do look very similar don't they ?

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James, of course when you're membership record reaches 50 posts and you have been active for 1 month, you will have access to the For Sale Section (part of the equipment section) which might yield you even more aperture for your budget than the recommendations so far.

Having said that, I don't want to be held responsible for assisting your possible contamination with that well known astronomical condition 'aperture fever' - we're all sufferers! :icon_eek::D

Clear skies

James

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Cheers James and Watcher.

An interesting looking scope alright!! .. must admit though the alt-azimuth mount put's me off somewhat - but that could be just 'cos i'm so new at all this!!

Have built an eBay search now .. lets see what happens!!

Still quite tempted with the new eyepieces mind ... figured I can always use them with my new scope, so they wouldn't be wasted.... now if only this sodding South Downs fog would clear.... looking forward to trying some piggyback widefield imaging... don't need any new bits for that!

James

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