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a little more help please

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ok so am back seeking advise again firstly i have a skywathcer 150 with a 10 a 25 and a 2x barlow a 3x barlow and a celestron 8 mm . during the super moon week i really enjoyed the images i could achive but i have to admit other than that i am a little disapointed . having put stelrium on my i phone i can locate stuff but as an amateure i have just tried to just work with the simple stuff so m42 and saturn have been my goals i have found m42 on various occasions but perhaps i am expecting to much but it aint anything like the pics i see on hear .this may be for many reasons so perhaps you people can help i am yet to see saturn although pointing exactly where stelrium says again help needed and finaly when and where is sgl6 many thanks again :D

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if you have an iphone try the app called "planets"

that gives a real time display depending on where you point your phone

(you'll need IOS 4.2 on wards for real time, or the older IOS for static display)

I'm new and had a bit of trouble with Saturn to start with but stick with it....its well worth it

best of luck


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a) things never look like they do on pictures, because you eye isn't sensitive enough.

:D For them to look good (but different), dark adaptation, averted vision, experience and first and foremost a dark moonless sky (with little light pollution) are very important.

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Don't worry about the objects in the sky not looking like their photos. Eyes and film (or CCD's) work differently - the eye processes moment, while the film collects light over time. Subtle details that the eye reveals are washed out by collecting too much light - and by the same token, really faint stuff that is revealed by collecting lots of light over time are things your eye will never see unless you get a really monster scope (24" dob, anyone! :D )

The 150 is a gem. I use them all the time to teach astronomy - you can really see so many things! Thousands of targets are within your grasp!

Remember that a scope is a little like a violin - you really do get a lot better at it as you practice - and not just at operating the scope, but at actually seeing small and faint details!

Good luck, and don't give up!


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If you are looking in the right area of the sky, to the naked eye, Saturn will look like a bright star. If the bright stars in the sky are twinkling, Saturn will be the one not twinkling. You will know when you have found it in your scope!

We were slightly disappointed when we first started out as all we could see were small faint grey smudges. And even the brighter stuff was still grey and small. Yes you will not see the detail or colour you see in the long exposure pictures, but it is still amazing when you can manage to see something you haven't been able to see before. And the craters on the moon always amaze me, as do views of Jupiter and Saturn.

Sometimes the seeing conditions are not great, so visibility can vary greatly between nights which may make the difference between being able to see some detail or not. I also think I made the mistake initially of having a quick glance through the eyepiece and then moving on to the next object. You need to look at an object for quite a while to see a little bit more detail. Again looking at the object at different times in the evening/night can make a difference on what you can see. Averted vision can also help, but I am not sure I have mastered that!

Apart from the grey smudges, I love looking at clusters, particularly globular clusters. And also it is nice just trying to see if you can split some of the double stars and also trying to see any colour in some of the brighter stars/doubles.

The only time I have seen colour on a nebula was through a massive dob (20" I think) at a star party. Amazing!

SGL6 is at: Lucksall Caravan Park , info can be found here: http://stargazerslounge.com/sgl-announcements-events/129144-sgl6-star-party-booking-now-open.html , but the booking is now closed.

Edited by Sarah
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Hi Nick,

A couple of things I would reffer to you to aid in your hobby;

A good finder scope - I like to use a Telrad finder, which used in conjunction with either a plantary App for the phone (i use starmap pro which has a telrad function) or a PC programe such as Cartes du Ciel or Stellarium both free and have the Telrad facility.

Also a good book is 'Turn left at Orion' This has great methods to star hopping to get you to targets and also has great drawings of what to expect in the EP.

Lastly I would recomend you have a good browse around both the 'observing reports' & Sketch's sections on the forum, as these will give you a good idea what to expect too, and an insight on what other observers get up too :D

Hope that helps,

Keep at it and once you catch Saturn you will be amazed!


Edited by msinclairinork
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look due east at 10-11 at night, you can see saturn with the naked eye, it doesn't twinkle. If you have got bino's they will help also, i used 10x50's last night and could just make out the rings.

good luck


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I saw Saturn for the first time a few nights ago, at first I had a few problems but eventually found it. At approx 1am look due South and then a fist width east, approx just short of 1/3 up from the horizon, it will be the brightest star and NOT twinkling, you won't believe you ever missed it when you find it and its an awesome sight. If you're lookin earlier in the night just look further East and at 2am it will be due South.

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