Hello Solar Sailor and welcome to the forum.
What eyepieces does your scope have? If they are the ones I see bundled (20mm, 4mm and 3x barlow) Then none of these eyepieces are really very useful. But your main telescope is very good.
I have the orion version.
I think the 20mm is a correct image eyepiece, which is fine for low power, but can introduce abberations at high power. 4mm is just too powerful for this scope, and the 3x barlow is not high quality.
I think your telescope is f/8. (114mm diameter, 910mm focal length).
Usually for planets I find an eyepiece that gives about a 1mm exit pupil is the
proper balance between magnification and brightness. Sometimes .8 is about right.
The exit pupil is the size of the cone of light that enters your eye from the eyepiece.
You can calculate it by this formula (eye piece focal length) / ( f ratio of the telescope).
For your scope, that means somewhere between a 8mm eyepiece ( 8mm / f8 = 1mm) or
a 6mm eyepiece ( 6mm / f8 = .75mm).
Peoples eyes are all different in regards for liking larger vs. small images or brighter vs. dimmer images,
which is what we are playing around with by changing the maginfication.
This 9mm eyepiece would work well in your scope.
There is also a 6mm in the same line that would work. It might be a little too powerful for most nights.
and I know you are on a tight budget.
I do not suggest an aperture mask for the Jupiter/Saturn/Mars, we want all the detail we can get
which means large aperture for resolution and light gathering. It might work if you want to view
Venus, because there is not much detail to be seen, and it is very bright.
The only filter I have that made a difference on the planets is an 82A light blue filter. This
help bring out the polar ice caps on Mars. Most other colored planetary filters are too dark. They really change the color profile, and block a lot of light.
You need to test the collimation (optical adjustment) of your scope. This is very critical when viewing planets at high power. I'm sure celestron aligns the scope in the factory, but you never know what shipping does.
To check alignment, find a bright star (polaris or the north star works best), but any star will do. Use your 4mm eyepiece and slightly defocus the image while keeping it in the center. If it looks like a nice round bull's eye everything is fine. If thinks are askew with the bullseye something needs to be done.
Heat from the ground can distort an image too. If you can look over a grassy field rather than roads or your neighbors roof. A baseball or soccer field works well.
Another thing I just remembered. Of course having a steady mount is important too.
If you find you have problems focusing, or with wind. make sure the mount bolts are
snug but not too tight. If you are observing from a hard surface, either move to grass,
or you can cut some carpet squares to put under your tripod legs. Sometimes
adding a small box of rocks, or a small dumbell plate to the accessory tray steadies the mount a bit.
Hope some of this is useful!
Edited by vtornado, 11 July 2018 - 01:08 PM.