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Help with Saturn

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I am about as new as you get. I looked at Saturn last night but could not get it to look bigger in my ep. It was a tiny very bright dot even with a 2x barlow and my sm127 and 20mm and 10mm eps.

Roger took this last night:


Why can't I see what he did please?

Also Jupiter is not very big either (but at least I saw the moons).

There is probably something I need to do but I am currently unaware of it.

I am on a steep learning curve but loving it!!


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The planets always look smaller in the eyepiece than you would expect, it's a surprise that we have all come across at first. Using a webcam is similar to using a high power eyepiece but the main difference is the way the image is displayed. Think of your very small webcam chip as a very small TV screen, the larger the laptop or monitor you then display the image on the larger it will appear. Look in a TV shop window and compare the image sizes, they all come from the same source. I'm not an imager but I learnt this on SGL!. :).

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Some tips with the Skymax 127 ....

1. Put it outside and let it cool for an hour.

2. Check and correct collimation if required.

3. Wait until 2:15am when Saturn is at it's highest.

4. Use a 10mm eyepiece (or 20mm plus x2 Barlow) to give x150 - this will give a small but sharp image which usually shows the best detail.

5. A 12mm eyepiece plus x2 Barlow yields x250 in a Skymax 127 which is too much.


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I fear that many beginners ask the same question and many more want to know why there isn't a lot of colour. Saturn is 1,216 Billion Kilometers from earth so the fact that you get to see it the size you do is a feat in itself. What you also have to remember is that you are looking at the reflection of the suns rays of this planet which are also restricted by their own phenomenons as they travel back towards earth. These rays of light are subject to space dusts, solar winds, our atmosphere, pollution, turbulence, light pollution etc, etc the list goes on! I never had any misconceptions to what I would see the first time at the EP but I put it down to not having seen glossy astronomy magazine pictures before hand. Web cam images can be manipulated and resized to make the perfect image but unfortunately the human eye has many restrictions to the amount of light and detail it can get from the image.


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My 6mm TS Planetary gives a view of Saturn very similar to the photo in the link in your first post above, but only when the seeing is good. (A slightly fuzzy medium sized pea at arms length)

If I want a sharper image then I use an 8mm or longer focal length eyepieces. (Of course the image will be smaller)

Edited by BazMark
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I used my goto for the first time last night and it didn't go to the dot that I thought was Saturn!!

I have been loooking at the wrong Saturn and that was why I couldn't see it in any detail!!

I now have seen it properly and took a pic.

Oh the joys of being a newbie!!

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