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Help with finding objects please.


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Can anyone help me? I am very new to all this, after my very successful first light last week I was spurred on to find more objects. Armed with my Turn left at Orion book I thought nothing could go wrong.

Being the bloke I am I decided not to start from page one! I wanted to find some Galaxies no matter how faint. So seeing as last night was so clear, even in the highly light polluted area that I live in I set up while the skies where still blue! The moon was already out and was great to look at it in daylight with the birds all tweeting in the backround.

The evenings objective was going to be the Whirlpool Galaxy and M81- M82. I had read my book to learn the location and looked at Stellarium.

I spent 3/4 of an hour looking for the whirlpool scanning the sky left of Alkaid. I found nothing :-( Not so much as a smudge. Went back indoors looked at Stellarium again. back outside and still no luck. So turned my attention to M81/82 again another half hour or more searching and I could not find a bean.

What am I doing wrong? how do all you guys and gals find your objects?

I am using my 25mm eyepiece.

Is my 130P up to even finding these objects?

I am not liking my red dot finder either. I like the idea but my binos 30x10 can find stars that I can't see to guide me to objects, whereas the red dot is VERY hit and miss. I am thinking of scrapping it and getting a finderscope instead.

Can anyone give me a few tips on how to point me in the right direction to finding things I want to see.

Thanks in advance.

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Hi, firstly your scope is more than capable of viewing the objects that you have mentioned. The problem is that M51 is quite faint and with a moonlit sky and light pollution you are fighting an uphill battle as these will lighten the sky and make it far more difficult to find faint targets.

Don`t be too down on yourself as some of these targets elude most of us, and i am talking from experience. I have only recently found M51 myself.

Best thing to do if you want to find faint targets is to observe on a night with no moon and at a location that is as dark as possible.

I hope this is of some help.

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M81 and M82 are hard to find first time out because they are not near any bright stars. i found a correct image right-angled finder really helped me as did scanning the area with bins first. Also, even though they are "bright" they are pretty faint so if you're moving around too quick you can miss them easily. M51 is tough if you have much light pollution.

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M81 and M82 are hard to find first time out because they are not near any bright stars. i found a correct image right-angled finder really helped me as did scanning the area with bins first. Also, even though they are "bright" they are pretty faint so if you're moving around too quick you can miss them easily. M51 is tough if you have much light pollution.

Thanks, Tell me though what is a correct image right angled finder? is this just a normal finderscope or something else?

I guess one thing that was good about last night and that was I got to see a satellite. Second one in the last two viewing nights. Purely by chance. Last night I was looking at Orion Nebula when something shot across the viewfinder on my 25mm lens. Looked away and I could not see it. Good old Stellarium told me what it was. Great program seeing as you can rewind the time!

Thanks everyone for your help. Hopefully if viewing allows I will be out again looking for galaxies. Whether I will find them remains to be seen.

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Hi, firstly your eyes will need about 20 minutes of darkness to allow you to see dso s.You can use a red torch ( I use a bike one) to see, as red doesn't affect your eyes so much.

Next get a Telrad finder. I couldn't find anything with optical finders at all. Next look on the web, there are lots of Telrad maps that you can download (print out) for Messier and ngc objects.These give you the Telrad rings which you can place in reference to stars.

Don't give up, it's a great sense of acheivement to find things using your own skill.

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Thanks, Tell me though what is a correct image right angled finder? is this just a normal finderscope or something else?

A normal optical finder shows images upside down. A correct-image finder shows them the right way up. The right-angle allows a comfortable viewing position and, unlike a star diagonal on a refractor, it uses a prism so the image isn't back to front.

In short, the image throughout the finder actually matches the star map. I find mine invaluable, but they're relatively expensive.

Most galaxies are simply invisible in light-polution. I saw M51 for the first time without the aid of a CCD last week through binoculars, but that was well away from major cities. Unlike M51, M81 and M82 are also quite tricky to find until you start recognising the patterns of nearby stars.

Tim

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A Telrad is great in dark skies...love it!

But in normal town skies I think a good finder is better. You can make up an overlay in your planetarium program to help with the star hopping ( I use Carte du Ciel)

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Yeah the Telrad looks good. Thats typical that it would not work well in City skies :-(

This means that I buy one or the other or both.....

Completely different question here, For me to see Saturn a little bigger in my viewfinder, what should I go for a x3 Barlow or a smaller eyepiece and use with my x2 barlow.

I only have the standard eyepieces that came with my scope a 25mm 10mm and x2 barlow.

I am already thinking I need a 32mm to help find some objects.

Thanks again guys for your help. One thing is for certain the red dot finder has to go!

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A 32mm is a good choice for a low power "seek and destroy" for fuzzies.

A better quality eyepiece would be better for Saturn, maybe an 8mm Plossl. You don't want to pump the magnification up beyond x180 or x200 absolute max in my experience.

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the main problem matey is light pollution i took my scope to my girlfriends this weekend (lincs) and things like andromeda and m81 wasnt to hard to find, and on my way home last night i found myself looking upwards more than the road!

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Last night - M81 and M82 were very very faint in a 12" dob. The moon was simply washing everything out. On a moonless night in a dark location, they are very distinct smudges. I couldn't find the Whirlpool either last night - and that's with better quality ep's than those supplied with your scope. I only just managed to find M31 too. :o

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My main goal last night was to find M81 and M82 too although exactly how much finding i was going to do with a 4" scope would be interesting. With my turn left at orion too i followed the directions and used the 3 'triangle' finder stars to get myself there...now although there was no real detail (just a very faint smudge) i'm certain i was looking at what i was looking for...well at least one of them anyway!! :)

Don't be down beat about it though....i'm sometimes in awe of some of the sights and knowledge that some of the members on here have seen and know but i also believe they nearly all started knowing next to nothing about the skies(no offence to anyone in anyway whatsoever:)) so in time you will pick up and learn so much yourself :(

I'm already finding myself telling my lad and my fiance things about the skies i've only learnt since christmas from when i had my first scope and this forum is just a wealth of knowledge,help and experience.

Get out with any clear skies you can :o

Gaz

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