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What you can expect from Saturn


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This is a 1 shot picture taken afocally through my 2x Barlow & 10mm EP with a run of the mill digital camera, in terms of size and colour this is roughly what you will see visually.

I though I would post this for people with similar scopes or fellow newbies who are wondering what they will be able to see.

With half decent seeing I get a couple of the moons in view and can see a much sharper image than this one captured.

Hopefully this won't dissapoint as it is the best feeling when it first comes into your FOV and you realise you have got it!

post-24725-133877550466_thumb.jpg

Edited by Scotty27
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Hi Scotty and thanks for the useful picture.

As a decent scope owning newbie (I literally took collection of an Nexstar 8SE yesterday), I am very interested to see what can be achieved for Saturn. I had a bit of a play for an hour last night, but time was limited and TBH, the conditions were not great - intermittent cloud. Anyway, I was concentrating on learning the scope movement and alignment process, which went well so my actual viewing of Saturn was no more than 15 minutes and actual viewing last night was of secondary importance.

The EP was the standard Celestron 25mm Plossl and the view appeared as a bright disc (a little larger than one might see of a star), but no discernable features that I could make out and so I wondered if, given less than brilliant conditions and the constraints of this EP, this is what one would expect? Conditions permitting, would a 2x Barlow and perhaps a better EP show at least the presence of the rings that you can see in your image?

I'm finding my way around the set up at the moment, but EP's and perhaps a Barlow might find their way onto my next shopping list, but it would be very useful to match expectations to reality.

Many thanks for any advice.

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You should be able to see the rings quite well defined with that eyepiece Tony. I spent some time last night on Saturn in very hazy conditions, my 8-24mm zoom was able to resolve the rings at all stops and was actually better at the 24mm end because of the conditions.

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Great post Scotty. :D Thats a very similar image to what I see with my 130EQ. I did some observing of Saturn last night as the sky was super clear. The use of higher power eyepieces certainly do help 'to get closer' it seems. I don't know if the eyepieces that come with the Nexstar are the same as the Astromasters, I got the Celeston eyepiece kit and they are so much clearer and sharper.

I havent been able to resolve the Cassini Division yet, Im still hoping I'll see it but I managed to see 2 moons last night. I think they were Dione and Thethys using Sky at Nights moon orientation guide for last night. :p

Porl''

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The 25mm eyepiece that comes with your NexStar is just about the lowest magnification you can get. If you get a 13mm eyepiece, the magnification will be twice that. A 2x barlow will give the same magnification but with a lesser quality. It is always better, where finances allow, to get separate eyepieces rather than to use a barlow. The better the quality of the eyepice, the more satifying the results - but like everything, it suffers from the 'law of diminishing returns' - you have to spend a LOT more to get a LITTLE better. But, look at it this way, you may change your scope from time to time, your (good) eyepieces are for a lifetime. I makes sense to buy good eyepieces at the outset.

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Interesting to hear the views and can't help feel a little bemused as to why my view was with little to no detail :D The scope came with a 10mm EP as well, which I inserted more to ensure everything was functioning as it should, but the view was hardly any different. I know that EP is a cheap & cheerful add-in, but wondering if there anything obvious I might have overlooked to explain this.

I suffer from astigmatism and have to wear glasses to see in clear focus and wonder if this could impact on the end result. I was weraing glasses and the eye relief on the 25mm EP is pretty good so don't think it would be this.

I did notice that the focusing knob came out of the OTA at an angle that was ever so slightly off from straight & true - though this could be just the rubber cover on the focuser. I'd assumed the collimation would be good straight out of the box, but perhaps this is something I'll have to check. What do fellow SCT owners use to check - a specific star?

I won't get too concerned and hopefully I'll get some improvement over the next few days once I familiarise myself with everything, but any suggestions in the meantime would be really appreciated.

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Thanks for this, I am still waiting for a clear night to get out and look for saturn and was wondering what exactly my view would be like.

I'm hoping to start off with my 25mm EP and move up to my 6mm to get some more detail.

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Hi Tony

Your 25mm ep gives you approx. 80x mag which should be plenty for seeing the rings of Saturn.

It does seem like something isn't quite right. Have you tried focussing during the day to see if you can achieve a clear focus on a faraway object?

Rob

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Thanks for the pointers guys.

I only took delivery yesterday morning so last night was the first chance I had to play with my new toy.

I'll try the daytime focusing at the weekend to ensure this works. I also need to use daytime to sort out the RDF - I found that quite a struggle to hit things in the centre.

Hope to come back soon with good news.

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There is not too much detail to see on Saturn's disk with a small scope to be honest. With my 6" mak-newtonian I can see a clear equatorial belt and, at times, I've seen hints (slightly paler patches) of the storm system that's raging on the planet and darkening around the poles. You can see the shadow of the rings on the planet and that's about it - much more subtle than Jupiter.

The rings make up for the lack of disk details of course with the Cassini Division the main ring feature. I find seeing that depends a lot on the conditions but it was showing well in the 6" last night as Saturn rose higher in the sky.

Moon counting is another fun thing to do at Saturn - I can see 4 with my 4", 5 with my 6" scopes (provided I can track down Iapetus) and my 10" can pick out Enceladus as well, on a good night.

Last night I found 180x the most useful magnification with the 6" scope. I tried 220x for a while but the details were clearer at the lower magnification - I'd always rather have a smaller but crisper and contrastier view.

It's well worth spending some time on the planets - as your eye adjusts you will pick out more details but sometimes this takes an hour or so. It's almost as if the eye needs to train itself to the task in hand. At first glance you can often think there is not much showing but "the more you look, the more you see" as they say :D

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There is not too much detail to see on Saturn's disk with a small scope to be honest.

I'd hope my 8" SCT would show up some detail, though if it turns out I was looking at something else cos of a GoTo misallignment, that might explain it!:D

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I'd hope my 8" SCT would show up some detail, though if it turns out I was looking at something else cos of a GoTo misallignment, that might explain it!:D

Hi Tony, glad you got some helpful responses, I actually had arcturus in my sights the first time I looked for Saturn! - you will know when you get it though, even with the 25mm EP! :p

I have been advised that the later you leave it and the higher up it gets, the clearer the image will become as the line of vision is above the atmosphere.

Good luck, hope you get some clear nights and great viewing.

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I'd hope my 8" SCT would show up some detail, though if it turns out I was looking at something else cos of a GoTo misallignment, that might explain it!:p

I'm going to have a look at Saturn with my 10" newtonian tonight (cloud allowing :D) but from previous experience I'm not expecting to see much more disk detail than my 6" scopes show. It may make the large storm systems a little easier to see though.

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I have been advised that the later you leave it and the higher up it gets, the clearer the image will become as the line of vision is above the atmosphere.

That's what I'm thinking as well, was looking straight over the roof tops last night.

Hopefully get a late night session on Friday ?

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That's what I'm thinking as well, was looking straight over the roof tops last night.

Hopefully get a late night session on Friday ?

That is my plan too,

Fingers crossed for a clear one on Friday!! :D

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Found it! Last night was quite cloudy when I first looked out, but just before I was due to head up for bed, I saw it had cleared a lot so rushed out to see if i could put my mind to rest, find Saturn and conclude that there was nothing wrong with my scope or my astro abilities.

I skipped through all of the auto set-up, deciding to use the manual L/R/U/D buttons to focus on the object that I thought was the planet. I used the RDF to centre it and had that sinking feeling when nothing other than star-like points appeared in the EP. Decided to ditch the RDF and use good old-fashioned line of sight and after a few seconds of small adjustments with the handset - Bang! OMG! No mistaking the object in the EP. I know you seasoned observers will now be nodding in agreement thinking back to your first proper sighting of the beauty, but to say I was overwhelmed does not come close to describing the elation that I felt. My neighbours probably think they are living next door to a turrets sufferer as several expletives passed my lips with a decibel level to drown out the noise of the motor on the GoTo mount.

I am so relieved to have found it and also very happy that it was the bright object I had always been trying to focus on. The problem? Slight impatience on my part in trying to view straight out of the box on Tuesday night, but basically the RDF was so out of alignment as to be a hinderance rather than a help. I'd have been better off using a rolled up newspaper. I know it can be rectified with some careful daytime adjustments, but live & learn.......I think a Telrad will be on the wish list.

So thanks to all of you with your useful advice and to all those that have yet to witness this glorious sight, persevere; it's worth every minute.

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Great news Tony,

I think everyone reading this thread knew you would not be dissapointed once you actually had Saturn in your sights!!

I must admit to a clenched fist and a few 'air pumps' when I first got it in my EP :D, definitley a memory that will stay with you.

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I had a great night too i saw saturn and all it's glorious rings and a few satellites, whilst sitting snug and warm in my observetory with my computer tracking system, looking throught my 24" dob with a collection of televue ethos eye pieces, whilst smoking a havanna cigar and drinking fine cognac, then my wife called me as it was time to get up, but what a dream.

I have not seen saturn or anything else properly as i am still waiting for my scope to arrive, but have been out with my binos when conditions are good, just got to try and steady my view a bit better as it looks like i am tripping on acid with the views i'm getting.

Nice one on your saturn viewing.

Edited by GazofCorra
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Just had the perfect night, dinner and the cinema with my hubby, sis-in-law and her hubby and got home to a perfectly clear sky...

Got the scope out and 20mins later there was Saturn in all its glory! Blew us all away

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