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Any telescope aficionados/users?

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Any telescope aficionados/users?
Tue Apr 07, 2020 9:12 am
  • Got a new telescope for a budding space enthusiast kiddo, who is obsessed with planets. We went out last night and I can't find Venus. My phone app says I'm looking right at it, and I don't see anything there. Does anyone have advice for how to track it down, particularly anyone living in the Seattle area? Thanks!
    Tical21
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Re: Any telescope aficionados/users?
Tue Apr 07, 2020 9:54 am
  • Venus has phases, like the moon. Maybe it was just not what you were expecting? Also, light pollution is a thing - go somewhere that has less ambient light and you can see so much more.

    You should plan a trip for yourself and the young astronomer to Crater Lake. Choose a weekend when the moon won't interfere, in July or August. There is a spot just off the crater rim road to park (at about the highest elevation), climb a small knoll, and see more stars than you thought possible. The only light pollution is from Klamath Falls and that's way far away on the horizon. If you can find a night when Jupiter and/or Saturn is also up then you should be able to see details with your telescope.

    There are apps and websites that can show you where the moon will be at any time for any location and also what the state of light pollution is for different locations, I've found them when researching how to photograph the Milky Way.
    GeekHawk
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Re: Any telescope aficionados/users?
Tue Apr 07, 2020 10:28 am
  • Thanks! Will definitely go check out that spot. Also have a few other spots picked out.

    We're supposed to be able to see Venus quite clearly right now. But I use a star gazing app to find out where it's supposed to be, and I don't see anything. It's supposedly quite bright. I'm wondering if it is maybe below my tree line. I dunno.
    Tical21
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Re: Any telescope aficionados/users?
Tue Apr 07, 2020 11:28 am
  • Tical21 wrote:Thanks! Will definitely go check out that spot. Also have a few other spots picked out.

    We're supposed to be able to see Venus quite clearly right now. But I use a star gazing app to find out where it's supposed to be, and I don't see anything. It's supposedly quite bright. I'm wondering if it is maybe below my tree line. I dunno.

    That could be. Venus never gets really high in the sky, and is only visible for a few hours in the early evening or late morning. Thus the moniker "Evening" or "Morning Star." If you have high trees on the horizon it could be a problem. Like was said above, maybe need a higher place to view.
    sutz
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Re: Any telescope aficionados/users?
Tue Apr 07, 2020 3:59 pm
  • sutz wrote:
    Tical21 wrote:Thanks! Will definitely go check out that spot. Also have a few other spots picked out.

    We're supposed to be able to see Venus quite clearly right now. But I use a star gazing app to find out where it's supposed to be, and I don't see anything. It's supposedly quite bright. I'm wondering if it is maybe below my tree line. I dunno.

    That could be. Venus never gets really high in the sky, and is only visible for a few hours in the early evening or late morning. Thus the moniker "Evening" or "Morning Star." If you have high trees on the horizon it could be a problem. Like was said above, maybe need a higher place to view.

    Cool, thanks, will try to get away from the trees tonight.
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Re: Any telescope aficionados/users?
Tue Apr 07, 2020 6:44 pm
  • Something I have wanted to get into for years. Perfect time to start. Probably lots of entry level scopes on the market. Any that anyone can recommend?
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Re: Any telescope aficionados/users?
Wed Apr 08, 2020 6:26 am
  • Tical21 wrote:Got a new telescope for a budding space enthusiast kiddo, who is obsessed with planets. We went out last night and I can't find Venus. My phone app says I'm looking right at it, and I don't see anything there.


    I'm very sure you guys will love the telescope.

    As Sutz said above, Venus never strays too far from the sun, visually. Apart from the moon, Venus is easily the next-brightest object in the night sky (as much as approx Magnitude -4.4).

    Make sure you try Jupiter, and even pick out the four major Jovian moons (needs good conditions).

    Above all, welcome to astronomy... still there for everyone in these New days! :)
    Last edited by Aussie Seahawk on Wed Apr 08, 2020 7:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Any telescope aficionados/users?
Wed Apr 08, 2020 7:08 am
  • Domehawk, I've only used a Newtonian reflector; my own home-made 6" and a friend's professionally made 12". I've forgotten a lot of telescope stuff I once knew, sorry, but possibly a refractor is better value for a small scope, maybe 5" or so(?)

    Vital to have a stable mount/tripod, regardless of type or elegance. Preferably equatorial (vs. altazimuth) and worm-wheel knobs/drives are wonderful, but I've never had the luxury of them on my primitive, but perfectly stable, equatorial mount.

    Sincerely, even a pair of binoculars can be wonderful, especially if you have dark conditions (which is such a luxury these days).
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Re: Any telescope aficionados/users?
Wed Apr 08, 2020 7:22 am
  • Tical21 wrote:Cool, thanks, will try to get away from the trees tonight.


    I thought we did that a couple of million years ago? Aced the oceans way before that, too! :)
    (sorry, couldn't resist)
    Aussie Seahawk
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Re: Any telescope aficionados/users?
Wed Apr 08, 2020 11:50 am
  • DomeHawk wrote:Something I have wanted to get into for years. Perfect time to start. Probably lots of entry level scopes on the market. Any that anyone can recommend?

    From the research I've done, we've decided on the Zhumell Z100, which is a reflector, which means it will work only on space, not on land items. Seems to be the highest rated of the cheap models. Got it for about $100 and there are some bells and whistles I wish we had, but the moon looks awesome with it.
    Tical21
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Re: Any telescope aficionados/users?
Wed Apr 08, 2020 11:55 am
  • Aussie Seahawk wrote:
    Tical21 wrote:Got a new telescope for a budding space enthusiast kiddo, who is obsessed with planets. We went out last night and I can't find Venus. My phone app says I'm looking right at it, and I don't see anything there.


    I'm very sure you guys will love the telescope.

    As Sutz said above, Venus never strays too far from the sun, visually. Apart from the moon, Venus is easily the next-brightest object in the night sky (as much as approx Magnitude -4.4).

    Make sure you try Jupiter, and even pick out the four major Jovian moons (needs good conditions).

    Above all, welcome to astronomy... still there for everyone in these New days! :)

    Thanks, we'll get to Jupiter, but this is supposedly prime Venus viewing season. I dunno, I now have like 4 apps and a compass telling me I'm looking right at Venus, but there isn't anything there. There is some kind of space station or something with a triangle shape, extremely bright in the sky, and even there while it's still light out, but no Venus to be found.
    Tical21
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Re: Any telescope aficionados/users?
Thu Apr 09, 2020 6:21 am
  • Tical21 wrote:From the research I've done, we've decided on the Zhumell Z100, which is a reflector, which means it will work only on space, not on land items. Seems to be the highest rated of the cheap models. Got it for about $100 and there are some bells and whistles I wish we had, but the moon looks awesome with it.


    Well, that looks amazing, and shows how far I am out of the timeline of modern telescopes. My home-made is very "traditional"... well, you could say rustic. :)

    $100 - wow, I feel so ignorant of the current market. Like RC model planes, so much more affordable these days.

    Now, all reflecting telescopes (and I am pretty sure refracting, too) project an upside-down image to you. "Working" on space and land is the same, really. It is only on land that you care what is up or down. You can get accessory lenses to righten the image (Barlow lenses, I don't remember!), but every extra lens loses light a tiny bit, and astronomy depends on light!
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Re: Any telescope aficionados/users?
Thu Apr 09, 2020 11:01 am
  • I’m not doing something right. Every object I look at looks like a donut with a light ring going around a dark circle. Sounds like the stars aren’t in focus, but no idea how to fix it. I only know of the one knob.
    Tical21
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Re: Any telescope aficionados/users?
Thu Apr 09, 2020 11:26 am
  • Tical21 wrote:I’m not doing something right. Every object I look at looks like a donut with a light ring going around a dark circle. Sounds like the stars aren’t in focus, but no idea how to fix it. I only know of the one knob.

    Have you tried looking up the manual on line?
    sutz
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Re: Any telescope aficionados/users?
Thu Apr 09, 2020 2:38 pm
  • sutz wrote:
    Tical21 wrote:I’m not doing something right. Every object I look at looks like a donut with a light ring going around a dark circle. Sounds like the stars aren’t in focus, but no idea how to fix it. I only know of the one knob.

    Have you tried looking up the manual on line?

    Yeah, manual is poo. It has four steps for focusing. They are essentially take the cap off, point the laser thing, turn the dial and look.
    Tical21
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Re: Any telescope aficionados/users?
Thu Apr 09, 2020 5:01 pm
  • Tical21 wrote:I’m not doing something right. Every object I look at looks like a donut with a light ring going around a dark circle. Sounds like the stars aren’t in focus, but no idea how to fix it. I only know of the one knob.


    https://www.celestron.com/blogs/knowled ... -or-planet

    Sounds like focus, alrighty! You have the focusing knob, but ( and it's been a few years since I last played with my buddy's reflector scope) I recall there are some eyepieces that work better than others. Maybe you can't focus it because of your old eyeballs? :mrgreen:
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Re: Any telescope aficionados/users?
Fri Apr 10, 2020 2:41 am
  • I've downloaded and read the manual for the Zhumell Z100 scope. Have you checked, in daylight, that the red dot finder is correctly aligned, so it truly points to exactly where the telescope tube is pointing? I've never even seen such a finder (sounds excellent!); mine is the old tiny-telescope type. Point it at a prominent object which is reasonably distant (I suppose 50 yards or so, at least, so it focuses easily), and make sure you see the same view through the smallest magnification eyepiece you have (the 17mm one).

    Now, a stupid question - I assume you can see Venus with your naked eye, but just NOT in the telescope? You say the moon looks awesome, so I assume your secondary diagonal mirror is properly collimated/aligned(?) I note in the manual that the secondary mirror is adjustable for collimation, but the primary isn't. Did you use the finder to get the moon into your telescope's field of view, or just point it manually? If the finder is correctly aligned, and does the job properly looking at the moon (or a distant object such as a pole, or sign, etc), it should work for Venus! You won't have any luck looking for something barely visible to the naked eye if it doesn't work for Venus.

    Let us know how you go! This must be very frustrating for you.
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Re: Any telescope aficionados/users?
Fri Apr 10, 2020 9:14 pm
  • Thanks for checking in. I’m yet to find Venus. Its just not where my phone says it should be. But I’m having a bigger problem, or am simply disappointed. So, if I zoom all the way out (I know it’s not actual zoom), the image isn’t blurry. But the star is roughly the same size in the telescope that it is to the naked eye. Like a far, far, far distant little white dot. I thought I’d be getting a little better view than that. The second I try to make it a little bigger, I lose focus. I’ll probably have to spend money on a much more powerful lens to get any kind of view of a star.

    I have a theory on where Venus might be, but it’s cloudy tonight. Maybe over the weekend.
    Tical21
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Re: Any telescope aficionados/users?
Sat Apr 11, 2020 6:42 am
  • Tical21 wrote:Thanks for checking in. I’m yet to find Venus. Its just not where my phone says it should be. But I’m having a bigger problem, or am simply disappointed. So, if I zoom all the way out (I know it’s not actual zoom), the image isn’t blurry. But the star is roughly the same size in the telescope that it is to the naked eye. Like a far, far, far distant little white dot. I thought I’d be getting a little better view than that. The second I try to make it a little bigger, I lose focus. I’ll probably have to spend money on a much more powerful lens to get any kind of view of a star.

    I have a theory on where Venus might be, but it’s cloudy tonight. Maybe over the weekend.

    Stars won't change in size in a telescope much. They might get a little clearer, but they are so far a way magnifying won't change their apparent size. Planets, OTOH will change in apparent size quite dramatically.

    But it does sound like there might be something mechanically off with your instrument. Not sure where to go with that, especially with the shutdown. Normally, I would suggest you take it to a shop, possibly a camera shop that deals with lenses and optics? Good luck.
    sutz
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Re: Any telescope aficionados/users?
Sun Apr 12, 2020 12:39 am
  • This sounds really strange - I wish I was closer (and with the damned virus ended), to have a look!
    Aussie Seahawk
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Re: Any telescope aficionados/users?
Thu Apr 16, 2020 2:55 am
  • Tical21 - any Venus luck yet? Please let us know!

    Have you tried simply pointing the telescope manually at Venus, without using the red dot finder, and noting what you see?
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Re: Any telescope aficionados/users?
Thu Apr 16, 2020 4:54 pm
  • As you have seen some things and feel that your planet is just a dot, I would say that maybe you are looking at a star? I dunno. One thing I have done with my RADAR, is that they have something called Collimation and Orientation. What we did for that is picked a target about 10 miles out and used it with a rifle scope to make sure what we were aiming at was the same thing. What I would consider is if you aimed at the first star you see at twilight and make sure both lenses are mated to the same direction. At that range you are looking at, the Moon is a HUGE object. I hope you use a smaller target for the collimation. BTW, I have a pair of baby telescopes and one has a camera attachment that I have never used...heck I never used the telescope. I will this year if I get up to the mountains in the next month...which looks possible now. I also have a spotting scope for hunting....and used it once.

    http://radar.tpub.com/TM-11-5840-208-30 ... -10024.htm

    Not sure what else to say. Hope you have great luck.
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Re: Any telescope aficionados/users?
Fri Apr 24, 2020 11:15 pm
  • I would think even with the light pollution of Seattle you should have no trouble finding Venus. It’s very bright depending on phase, and as with other planets, it won’t twinkle like a star. This time of year you’ll probably have better luck with Saturn or Jupiter.

    Might sound really simple, but your lens wasn’t fogged up was it? If you’re taking it out of a warm dry house in to a cold moist evening that can happen. Happens on my scope and my camera lenses. I let them acclimate for a bit.
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Re: Any telescope aficionados/users?
Sun Apr 26, 2020 5:49 pm
  • TriCHawk wrote:I would think even with the light pollution of Seattle you should have no trouble finding Venus. It’s very bright depending on phase, and as with other planets, it won’t twinkle like a star. This time of year you’ll probably have better luck with Saturn or Jupiter.

    Might sound really simple, but your lens wasn’t fogged up was it? If you’re taking it out of a warm dry house in to a cold moist evening that can happen. Happens on my scope and my camera lenses. I let them acclimate for a bit.

    No. It just wasn't where it was supposed to be. I don't know. I spent probably a good ten hours using different apps that show me where it is supposed to be, and I searched every inch of space in that area and never found it. Supposedly the brightest thing in the sky. And I saw some pretty bright stars, but nothing bright where Venus was supposed to be.
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Re: Any telescope aficionados/users?
Sun Apr 26, 2020 10:14 pm
  • KitsapGuy
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Re: Any telescope aficionados/users?
Wed Apr 29, 2020 5:45 pm
  • Nice find Bruce! That's too cool!

    I used to have a 15" reflector and an 8" Schmidt-Cassegrain refractor/reflector tracking scope. I definitely recommend the latter for planet hunting, but they can be expensive. High quality eye pieces make a huge difference as well. If you can find a lunar filter, the moon is actually very interesting too!

    Jupiter and Saturn were among my favorites to check out though. Especially the rings of Saturn and the Great Red Spot of Jupiter. Very cool stuff to see how they change over time. As someone else said, I have forgotten a ton about the subject, but still find it fascinating!

    Check out some of the other galaxies too if you get a chance. Like the Andromeda or Whirlpool galaxies. Depending on your scope, and light pollution, these can actually resolve pretty well.

    Good luck and happy hunting!
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