Just beginning

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  • Member since
    February, 2014
Just beginning
Posted by Architeuthis on Saturday, February 15, 2014 4:42 AM

Hello, 

I have thought about buying a telescope for a few years now and finally got one last month: skywatcher 127 on motorized go-to alt/az mount. It's not quite the planetary monster the man at the telescope shop said it was but it will do for now--while I'm learning the night sky. 

I have had some good views so far of Jupiter and the moon but after viewing Saturn with a 6mm ultrawide eyepiece which I bought separately the other day for £30, I realize that accessories are going to be more important than the scope. I actually got more detail through the 6mm at 250x magnification than the 10mm which came supplied with the scope at 150x. Should I just chuck away the supplied 25mm, 10 and x2 barlow? 

Also, I think when I upgrade in future I will be buying in the range of £700/800 pounds. Can anybody recommend an ideal scope in that range, considering I am only interested in viewing (not imaging) mainly the moon and planets, but one that can do deep sky objects too would be great.

 

Any advice would be appreciated, thanks

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  • Member since
    July, 2001
  • From: PA, USA, Earth Moderator
Posted by DaveMitsky on Monday, February 17, 2014 11:18 AM

Welcome to the Astronomy.com forums!

Planetary observing can be a tricky business.  Usable magnification varies somewhat with the target and greatly with aperture and the "seeing" conditions.

http://www.skyandtelescope.com/equipment/basics/3303926.html?page=2

http://www.cloudynights.com/item.php?item_id=555

http://www.damianpeach.com/pickering.htm

As a general rule, atmospheric seeing limits magnification to about 2x per millimeter of aperture and often maxs out at around 300x.  Jupiter is a bit less of a high contrast target than Saturn and usually doesn't "take" as much magnification.

It never hurts to have too many eyepieces Wink so I wouldn't get rid of the ones that you mentioned.  In fact, I recommend getting a 32mm Plössl to maximize the true field of view of your high focal ratio (f/11.8) telescope.

You may find some of the information on astronomy and amateur astronomy presented in my post entitled Advice for Beginning Amateur Astronomers under General Stargazing useful.

http://cs.astronomy.com/asy/observing/f/1/t/49111.aspx (previous posts will no longer hot-link here since the last forum upgrade)

Dave Mitsky

Sic itur ad astra!

Chance favors the prepared mind.

A man is a small thing, and the night is very large and full of wonders.

  • Member since
    February, 2014
Posted by Architeuthis on Monday, February 17, 2014 12:31 PM

Thank you, I will look at your article. Incidentally, when I last went into the store I asked--looking through the eye-piece-- what kind of scope could make Jupiter look the size of a 2p coin (which is about an inch in diameter if you're not familiar) held about 4 inches from my eye and still retaining it's detail, and the guy serving me wittily remarked 'hubble'. Is that reasonable? I knew it would take an expensive set up but I have a hard time believing scopes aren't commercially available with that kind of power. Any thoughts.

 

Thanks again. P Heath

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  • Member since
    July, 2001
  • From: PA, USA, Earth Moderator
Posted by DaveMitsky on Monday, February 17, 2014 1:09 PM

Telescopes can magnify to incredible powers but diffraction due to the wave nature of light and the quality of the seeing put a limit on usable magnification.    

http://starizona.com/acb/basics/observing_theory.aspx

To achieve the kind of image scale that you seem to be talking about really requires imaging, which is best done by "stacking" video frames. 

http://jupiter.cstoneind.com/

http://www.damianpeach.com/saturn.htm

I've seen Jupiter and Saturn through apertures as large as 25 inches under good seeing and the images weren't really all that big.  The realities of telescopic observing often do not meet the expectations of novices.

Dave Mitsky

Sic itur ad astra!

Chance favors the prepared mind.

A man is a small thing, and the night is very large and full of wonders.

  • Member since
    February, 2014
Posted by anndromeda on Sunday, March 09, 2014 11:37 AM

Well Architeuthis, I wish you many clear nights of observing, Infact heads up! Sence you're in to planatery observing Mars will reach its peak opposition in April and will reach a  magnitude of  - 1.5 and spans 15" across. This has been the best time to view the planet since 2007.

                         

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