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Complete beginner expectation advice!


Guest Michelle
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Guest Michelle

Hi all

I recently acquired a second hand 76mm inphase reflector telescope that, despite not having any instructions, I have finally managed to get set up and working! It gives lovely clear images of the moon but is this all I can reasonably expect to see with it? I was having a look at Jupiter last night but could only make it out as a small bright disc. Also stars all seem to appear the same, as small pulsating pins of multicoloured light.

I hadn't really planned to buy a telescope but I've always been interested and am now really keen to see some things - am I going to need a better telescope?!

Thanks

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Hi Michelle and welcome to the forum.. Stars are always going to just be point's of light, even in a big telescope! They are just like our Sun but millions of miles away, its they're different layouts that are of interest. The Moon is always a good subject as it's views  change daily. Planets are not so easy (even when you can see them!) it all depends on your scope and which eyepieces you are using? But it's a start, I should see if you can get to one of the many 'Stargazing Live' events on this week and look at and through other peoples scopes to give you a better idea of what you can expect to see!


 


Cheers


Ron 


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Hi Michelle and a warm welcome to EMS :)


 


Stars should appear as small point sources of white light. If you're seeing multi colours that would suggest some kind of chromatic aberration - probably in the eyepieces - I'll bet they're plastic. Pulsating stars indicates poor seeing conditions from atmospheric disturbance - a bit like when you look at the stars naked eye and they sometimes twinkle. It's just a question of waiting for clear undisturbed seeing conditions.


 


If you get good clear well focused views of the moon then you've obviously set it up mostly correctly - but it probably needs a little tweak from someone with more experience to get it "on song" for you with other objects. Planets should be visible but such a small aperture reflector is going to struggle with detail and the deeper sky.


 


You'd be very welcome to bring it along to a meeting and someone will help get the best out of it for you. You'll also see lots of other scopes that you can compare with - talk to the folks - and decide if another "better" scope is the way forward for you.


 


Enjoy the forum :)


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Hi and welcome to the forum.

EMS has 3 dark sites, Belper (Derbyshire), Wymeswold (Leicestershire) and then the ELAC bunch have a dark site over at badger farm which I believe is near Skegness.

I'm not sure of any clubs that are near the areas you wanted but somebody may know of one and shout up soon.

Hope you enjoy the forum.

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Badger Farm is at Louth - nearly two hours away from Empingham. I think Wywmeswold is your nearest one Michelle - it's about 20-25mins to Melton if I recall correctly , and then a 15 mins hop to our darksite. I don't know if Oakham/Stamford have astro clubs - but that doesn't mean they don't. :)

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Hi, Interesting info here for me as it explains why My enthusiasm did not last some years ago when I bought a cheepish 60mm refractor telescope. Stars were points (almost) of multi colours. The moon was good on lowish mag but rubbish on max and the planets were unclear disks. I could just about make out the rings of Saturn.

My expectations were much higher having seen glossy photos in books etc. I guess this must happen so many times with beginners.

Now I've found I'm getting a lot better results with my Bresser spotting scope with same same objective size, and I've also learned that "Stargazing" is similar to fishing or learing a musical instrument. Patience, education, effort and the correct hardware are all rewarded.

Finding the forum so usefull......

Thanks all,

Adrian

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"My expectations were much higher having seen glossy photos in books etc. I guess this must happen so many times with beginners.

Now I've found I'm getting a lot better results with my Bresser spotting scope with same same objective size, and I've also learned that "Stargazing" is similar to fishing or learing a musical instrument. Patience, education, effort and the correct hardware are all rewarded"

 

Never a truer word spoken - it still happens all the time Adrian - glossy mags and TV presentations make newcomers believe that's what will be seen in a scope - so it's usually a big surprise when they discover the contrary. The cheaper e-bay type scopes don't help either - they can put some folks off for life without ever knowing what a decent scope can deliver on a good night.

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I'm investigating a new and better scope, and have looked on the usual popular websites to see what is being offered, but I've now suspended the purchase until I have more experience and a chance to meet up with members. Still trying to make the 18th, family gathering permitting :-)

Noticed there is a LAS meet at Evington Park in Leicester in Feb. right near where I live...

By the way the first scope was a Tasco 60mm refractor scope from a chain store with lots of hype on the box - no more needs saying other than after being disillusioned some 30 years ago I'm now back and plan to move forward with the help of you guys and modern IT :-)

Cheers

adrian

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Hi Michelle welcome to EMS.


 


You have a beginner scope that does have it's drawbacks, but if you know where to point it, you can still see some interesting objects such as the Andromeda Galaxy or the Great cluster in Hercules, it's all about learning the sky and aligning your finder to match the view through your eyepiece.


 


My advice is to download the free planetarium software called Stellarium and find your way around, then visit one of our meetings and see what scopes are available then if you are still interested invest in a better scope.


 


Have fun.

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Hi Michelle, a warm welcome to EMS.


 


I have been having a look at your scope, and there is an interesting write up on it. What gets my interest is that they supply you with cheap plastic eyepieces of  0.965" diameter, but the focuser accepts a 1.25" one. 


 


http://www.sglhost.com/budgetastronomy/welcome-to-budget-astronomy/telescope-reviews/reflector-telescopes/inphase-76mm-reflector/


 


I suspect that with a better quality 1.25" eyepiece in, it would get the best out of this scope for you. These can be picked up for a reasonable price, and will outperform the one's that came with it. The difference a decent eyepiece makes is amazing, and will get the scope to work at it's best.


If you consider upgrading your scope at some point, please feel free to ask the advice of the members, as we have made the mistakes and don't want others to do the same!


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A warm welcome Michelle.


 


Your scope should give you some pretty good views. As Martyn says, eyepieces will make a big difference so well worth having a look into. As for what to see, there is plenty to be seen with that scope :) It's an ideal time of year for it too, there are a lot of suitable targets for you to look for.


 


Starting of course with Jupiter and the Moon as you have already mentioned. Look out for the 4 major moons of Jupiter, you should be able to see them with relative ease with your scope. They move about quite a bit so download Stellarium for your computer, it will give you real time information on what is where in the night sky.


 


The moon provides interest on every night it is up there to be seen. It is more impressive when away from full as the shadows along the terminator offer some real interest. The terminator if you don't know is the edge where the moon goes into shadow from the Sun. My favorite is Rupes Recta "the straight wall" which is an amazing optical artifact of the shadow cast as the Sun catches the edge of a huge cliff. This is best viewed one day after either the first or last quarter.


 


Another great target for your scope is the Star forming region of Orion known as M42 "The Great Orion Nebula". A massive cloud of dust and gas which is actively forming new stars as it collapses down. Go to the constellation of Orion and locate the three bright stars across his waist "Orion's Belt", now look immediately below this and find three stars hanging down, this is Orion's Sword. Focus your attention on what looks like the middle of these three stars. You should see the cloud surrounding what is actually 4 (well 6 actually) stars that form the Trapezium, these are newly formed stars which are lighting up the gas and dust around them.


 


That should keep you going for a bit :)


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Hi Michelle,


 


Your little scope should excel at larger clusters and asterisms. It has a large enough field of view to nicely frame things like the Hyades and Pleiades.


 


Have a look at Marks photos here...


http://www.eastmidlandsstargazers.org.uk/topic/6799-tonights-skyscape/#entry78058


 


Point it at some of these conglomerations of stars and you will see many more bright and faint ones creating pleasing patterns, and maybe some smaller fainter fuzzy patches which are also star clusters.


 


This rich area of sky is nicely visible south east to south in the evenings at the moment and I'm sure you will enjoy looking more closely at this area with your scope :) .


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Guest peepshow

It looks as though, in spite of your small starter telescope, you have something there, which many with big 'scopes, would envy.


Namely, living in a low light pollution part of the country.


Enjoy your travels around the sky. :)



 

Edited by peepshow
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Guest Michelle

Hi all and thanks for the welcome : )


 


Doc – thanks I have downloaded Stellarium.  I have more or less aligned the finder scope with the eyepiece but the fittings and mount are rubbish so it’s hard to get it exact.  Using my 20mm eyepiece I was able to find Jupiter but it disappeared with the 12.5mm.  Interestingly, when the image of Jupiter was out of focus I seemed to be seeing the inside of the tube – a circle with three lines coming out from it – in the middle of the image.  Not sure if there is something wrong ( I haven’t seen this while looking at anything else).  However, when I focussed in on jupiter the image was so small there’s no chance I would be able to see the four moons (it looked more or less like a star). 


 


Baz - I did read about being able to use 1.25 eyepieces but had no idea where to start when I looked at some online! Any advice welcomed!


 


Perkil8tr – I did look for the orion nebula in the location you describe but I couldn’t see anything at all. Is my 20mm eyepiece not powerful enough?  I’m having trouble finding much other than the moon with the 12.5 or 4mm.


 


Peepshow – yes, the sky is lovely and dark here and there are no buildings obstructing my view to the south from my garden : )

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Hi, looking back at your first post you say you have a reflector telescope, the circle you were seeing with lines coming out of it is the spider veins that hold the secondary mirror in place, it sits in the view of the primary mirror and if you defocus enough you can see the spider veins, perfectly normal in a Newtonion telescope.

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Andromeda will be better viewed with the 20mm eyepiece - it's a big object that won't fit in the fov of a higher power eyepiece. In fact a lower power is probably more appropriate - but the 20mm will do for now.


 


Daz is correct a defocused newtonian will show the spider veins.


 


To get Jupiter in the field of view you'd need to align the finder during the day time using the 12.5mm eyepiece. The 20mm will then automatically be accurate. You could align it using the 4mm - the maths suggest you'll get a good view with it at 175x - so it's worth trying so long as you don't expect too much. I say that simply cos you mention the finder fittings aren't accurate. :)


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Guest peepshow

If you have an old pair of binoculars  they will  have a wider FOV (field of view) than your 'scope and would be useful in getting to know where objects such as Andromeda are.  (look for a small fuzzy egg   :) ) 


  Enter M31  into Stellarium search to see whereabouts it will be in the sky.


 


Many astronomers, even with very large 'scopes, use bins (binoculars) .


 


I do envy you your low, light polluted area.    That is worth far more than many an  expensive telescope and is your sound  foundation for many hours of wonderful star gazing and maybe, one day, photography.  :)


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Hi Michelle and welcome to the EMS


 


You asked if a 20mm eyepiece was too much for M42 in your scope, nope that should be just fine. M42 The Orion Nebula is visible to the naked eye as a fuzzy patch in the sword of Orion, the three stars (ish) that drop down from the centre star of the 3 stars in Orions Belt. Point your scope at the fuzzy bit with the 20mm eyepiece and you should get it nicely.


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I have a 76mm Tasco, which doesn't get much use these days, as I have bought better telescopes since. It wasn't a waste of money, though, It fits nicely in hand luggage and I remember splitting Alpha Centauri on the roof of a hotel in Argentina, with some of the hotel staff. Small instruments certainly have their limitations but they can often do things that larger ones cannot, especially with the brighter star clusters and nebulae.


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