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First Light...First Fail...and Second...and Third...

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#1 WalterYensid

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 09:58 PM

Well, my First Light did not go exceedingly well, but my expectations were pretty low knowing I am a complete newbie and did not know what to expect. Again, thank you to all of you on here who got me to the point of getting the equipment I needed and made me feel a little more educated out there. But, definitely did not impress my wife or kids tonight once I started. haha.

 

I will definitely research each of these items tomorrow before I give it another shot, but thought I would include the list to see if anyone can commiserate, explain what went awry, what I did wrong, or if some of this is normal. Again, I will search the forums, but thought I would share (honestly, maybe this is to make me feel better after the big fail(s). haha). One note...some of the below might be actual things that 'just are' and I don't know, so be kind with the newbie. haha. I do understand I am not going to see Hubble images or anything, but boy, the below cannot be normal state or scopes would be flying around yards. 

 

  • For background, I am using a new Evolution 8. Main eyepieces I used tonight were the 40mm that came with it, the Baader 8-24mm Zoom, the 32mm, and even threw on the Barlow 2x once.
  • Did all my terrestrial alignments before going out there and then did the 3 star alignment. That was not perfectly smooth as I struggled with the scope controls on the app, but did get it aligned and was feeling confident.
  • No moon tonight, so went after Jupiter as it was the brightest star to start the night.
  • First fail...did the GoTo and it scanned over to Jupiter, but it was off. Maybe this is normal, but I found that the GoTo was 'off to the left' on anything I went to making me manually have to fix it, which I worried would then exacerbate the problem as I did GoTo again.
  • Second fail...was able to get Jupiter in view with 40mm then switched to Zoom EP. It was shaky as hell. Mount was stable, but Jupiter was jumpy and was a fuzz ball no matter what EP. I honestly did not know what I should turn or anything to smooth it out. It was definitely a sphere and it was Jupiter, but tough to get much more out of it. If it was not so jumpy, I could definitely see some of the color variation, even if very fuzzy. One note...I did have some movement within the Star Diagonal that I fixed later, so not sure if that was it.
  • Third fail...the pin hole. I saw comments on this before, but could not find thread. But, on Jupiter, there was a black/blue pin hole dead center in the planet no matter the mm EP or where it moved in the FOV.
  • Fourth fail...good news is I was able to image Venus...bad news is that the dreaded pin hole was back again, but this time much bigger...probably 1/10 the size of the planet in view. Also, Venus was bouncing as well.
  • Fifth fail...I gave up on the planets and tried Arcturus (not ideal one, but thought a star made sense to just check out). 'Zoomed' in. And I saw 10 concentric circles stacked on top of each other like a target. Went to the manual and it seems I am not collimated, at least that is what it appears as my dark circle is skewed to the left (in the EP). Manual is not the greatest explaining this, but clearly I had issue. So, I tried to follow instructions to de-colliminate which was scary...newbie with a Phillips screwdriver over the lens of this scope in darkness??? Is this what these stars are supposed to look like even if collimated? Why did the manual say you want to see the circles but all aligned? That is good?
  • Sixth fail, but maybe Fate...clouds rolled in BIG time and took all views away. Decided to pack up with my tail between my legs and learn what happened, how do I fix things, etc. But probably Fate before I messed up anything with the screwdriver.

Sorry for the long post, but thought the detail would be helpful. Any opinions, insights, jokes, etc are appreciated. Not trying to be too hard on myself, but boy, I wish I had it on video. It would be a hit on YouTube to watch the rookie out there looking like a lost child. haha.

 

Onward to a better second light.


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#2 mitchellcloud

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 11:28 PM

I could be wrong, but it kind of sounds like your scope just wasn't in focus. I have a newtonian scope and when I defocus the image substantially a large dark circle appears in the middle of the star/planet that I'm observing. There is a focus knob on your scope that you might want to play with. Move it back or forward until the star light move down into points. You may have to turn it many times until you can get the light into focus. 

Not sure how much collimation/decollimation you did, but it may be best to leave your collimation alone for right now. Usually scopes come pretty well collimated from the factory. Even if the collimation isn't spot on I believe that you should still see stars and planets pretty clearly.


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#3 clearwaterdave

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 11:33 PM

Hello.,what surface were you set up on.,This could explain the shakes.,or your mount /tripod is not up to the task of supporting this scope.,Try shutting off the tracking and see if the image stabilizes.,

  can't help with the go-to stuff.,

 You didn't hit a homerun your first time at bat right.,Try playing with the scope during the day to see how things move and work.,experience will prevail.,you just need a little.,be patient.,have fun.,The shakes is not good but can probably be easily fixed.,


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#4 kfiscus

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 11:47 PM

We've got your back.  We'll have you star-struck in no time.


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#5 Don H

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 12:16 AM

When a star is out of focus, you see concentric rings, If you turn the focuser knob and they get larger, turn it the other way until the star is a nice point, or until it begins to get larger again, inside and/or outside focus. Then go back the other way to get as sharp an image as possible.  You also need to get your scope and mirror to the outside ambient temp.

 

As for shakes, yes, set up on solid ground, no decks for now. And shorten your tripod legs as much as possible while making sure all hardware screws and knobs are tight.

 

Look at the planets when they are as close to due south as possible, well above any horizon. You can tweak your go-to by centering an object after going to it, and re-calibrate on that. (I will default to better advice from an SCT user).

 

These few things may be enough for a better outing next time...

 

Good luck,

Don


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#6 dhawn

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 12:40 AM

You said your scope was an Evolution 8, so collimation is probably NOT your problem. If you tinkered with a screwdriver, I could be wrong, but that would not be my first solution to your problems. You will not have to collimate your scope like it is a reflector. Possible, but not probable.

 

Also - Congratulations you were apparently able to align your scope and get SOMETHING in the eyepiece your first time out. You've done better than others!

 

I would be willing to bet that with some patience and additional attempts you'll be able to look back on this first night and understand what your problems were very soon. Keep at it!



#7 Sky Muse

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 02:37 AM

The owner's manual will be the least help in this instance.

 

Have a look at this video, and see if you're having this problem, and per your statement, "Went to the manual and it seems I am not collimated, at least that is what it appears as my dark circle is skewed to the left (in the EP)"...

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=hqRVIDj4aZA

 

Now, the guy in the video is using a screwdriver.  Keep the metal tools away from the telescope, including the screwdriver, lest you scratch the clear corrector-plate.  The thing that a lot of users do is that they replace those three shallow screws with thumbscrews, and where you use your soft fingers instead of metal tools to make adjustments...

 

https://cdn.shopify....pg?v=1530059878

 

You can get the Bob's Knobs variety, a set of three... https://www.firstlig...s_bk_c5_std.jpg

 

https://agenaastro.c...0IaAsr2EALw_wcB

 

Once they arrive, you replace one screw at a time.  Do not take all three screws out at once, or the secondary mirror may fall off inside the tube.  You remove one then screw in the replacement, then the next, and then the third and last one; again, one at a time.  If the Bob's Knobs seem too pricey and glamorous, you can remove just one screw and take it your local hardware, not Home Depot or Lowe's if you can avoid it.  Have the screw sized(metric #4?), and get three stainless-steel screws similar to these oiled ones on the hub of my Newtonian(the Schmidt's ancestor)...

 

secondary fix.jpg  

 

They may not be as pretty, but they will work, and for a lot less money.  It's much easier to collimate with thumbscrews, and you will need to do it on occasion, but not as frequently as a Newtonian or "Dobsonian" requires.  Collimating a Schmidt is actually the easiest to do out of all the mirrored designs of telescopes.  Research the process throughout the internet before attempting.

 



#8 sg6

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 03:24 AM

For background, I am using a new Evolution 8. Main eyepieces I used tonight were the 40mm that came with it, the Baader 8-24mm Zoom, the 32mm, and even threw on the Barlow 2x once.
Did all my terrestrial alignments before going out there and then did the 3 star alignment. That was not perfectly smooth as I struggled with the scope controls on the app, but did get it aligned and was feeling confident.
No moon tonight, so went after Jupiter as it was the brightest star to start the night.

 

First fail...did the GoTo and it scanned over to Jupiter, but it was off. Maybe this is normal, but I found that the GoTo was 'off to the left' on anything I went to making me manually have to fix it, which I worried would then exacerbate the problem as I did GoTo again.

 

Second fail...was able to get Jupiter in view with 40mm then switched to Zoom EP. It was shaky as hell. Mount was stable, but Jupiter was jumpy and was a fuzz ball no matter what EP. I honestly did not know what I should turn or anything to smooth it out. It was definitely a sphere and it was Jupiter, but tough to get much more out of it. If it was not so jumpy, I could definitely see some of the color variation, even if very fuzzy. One note...I did have some movement within the Star Diagonal that I fixed later, so not sure if that was it.

 

Third fail...the pin hole. I saw comments on this before, but could not find thread. But, on Jupiter, there was a black/blue pin hole dead center in the planet no matter the mm EP or where it moved in the FOV.

 

Fourth fail...good news is I was able to image Venus...bad news is that the dreaded pin hole was back again, but this time much bigger...probably 1/10 the size of the planet in view. Also, Venus was bouncing as well.

 

Fifth fail...I gave up on the planets and tried Arcturus (not ideal one, but thought a star made sense to just check out). 'Zoomed' in. And I saw 10 concentric circles stacked on top of each other like a target. Went to the manual and it seems I am not collimated, at least that is what it appears as my dark circle is skewed to the left (in the EP). Manual is not the greatest explaining this, but clearly I had issue. So, I tried to follow instructions to de-colliminate which was scary...newbie with a Phillips screwdriver over the lens of this scope in darkness??? Is this what these stars are supposed to look like even if collimated? Why did the manual say you want to see the circles but all aligned? That is good?

Sixth fail, but maybe Fate...clouds rolled in BIG time and took all views away. Decided to pack up with my tail between my legs and learn what happened, how do I fix things, etc. But probably Fate before I messed up anything with the screwdriver. 

 

First: Alignment is not as simple as the manufactures would like to make out. A "goto" is NOT automatic, reality is that it is very manual. The computer in them is questionable in a way - small processor, likely 8 bit, very little memory. A Raspberry Pi is likely 100x more power then the one in a goto.

 

Second: Jupiter is a planet and planets are independant of the "sky" = They move. So the scope has to calculate the position. Planet comes from either Greek or Latin for "Wanderer". And sometimes they "wander" backwards. Never been sure how well a goto accounts for this motion. Half suspect it doesn't. So in a way expect Jupiter and others to not quite be where expected and a bit off.

Jumpy means too much magnification and/or unstable base or mount.

 

Third: Pin hole is usually out of focus. The question since you could "see" Jupiter is by how much, sounds like very slight, however even slight usually results in a blob that was Jupiter. SCT's tend to have a lot of focus movement. Half a turn on the adjuster does almost nothing, 5 turns could make a diffeence.

 

Fourth: If you viewed then replaced with a camera then the focus has to alter. The object plane of the eyepiece and the sensor position of the camera are different.

 

Firth: Focus again. My advice on collimation is forget it. It is not something to have a go at. The scope should not need it and unless you have an optical bench or know exactly which bit does what and the optics involved then almost random adjustments will make it worse. People talk too much of "It's possibly collimation so adjust it." Sounds good but usually bad. Don't adjust. Just leave it alone . Also you heavily imply that you didn't understand the instructions so how do you expect to do it all successfully.

 

Sixth: Normal.

 

Would like to know location and data you entered. Also there is the option of selection and synchronizing on additional stars to improve the accuracy.

 

Also what were the actions that you did initially:

Did all my terrestrial alignments before going out there and then did the 3 star alignment. That was not perfectly smooth as I struggled with the scope controls on the app, but did get it aligned and was feeling confident.
Did you use a compass for "North" ? Likely no reason to set to North but people do. Is the finder accurately aligned ?

 

Also the problems are kind of usual, first time with a goto there are troubles, some bad, some not so bad, some an utter disaster.

 

For eyepieces stick to the 32mm if it is a Plossl, get another at about 20mm.



#9 astronz59

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 03:26 AM

With GOTO mounts, Polar alignment is all about tracking rather than initial pointing. What you need to do is development a simple, reproducible mount leveling and zero position. All pointing is related to the initial zero position of the mount. Subsequent polar alignment will correct any discrepancies in leveling and zero point, but your first GOTO will be accurate if you focus on the zero point first. Unless you are doing astro-photography, I wouldn't bother with anything other than a rough alignment (the leveling and zero point will ensure this). Just do a multi-star or solar system align if you're visual only. 


Edited by astronz59, 13 July 2018 - 04:22 AM.


#10 stoest

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 06:06 AM

I had similar issues the first time I used my Evo.  You say you struggled with the scope controls on the app.  My advice is to use the Hand Controller for slewing and the app for picking alignment stars and doing the alignment procedure, I never use the slew buttons on the app, they're just too unresponsive.  The Evo scopes aren't really that picky about being level but it doesn't hurt.   I usually unlock the clutches and manually point it near my first target, lock the clutches and start the alignment procedure.  You didn't mention which app your using but I use SkySafari and it defaults to a 3 star alignment and I just use that because it's always worked.  I'm pretty lax about my alignment procedure and it will always put objects in the filed of view of the 32mm and usually higher power eyepieces than that.  Some people say that you're better off not using planets for alignment but the last time I was out I used Venus, Jupiter and Saturn and alignment and tracking were fine.

 

When you describe the pinhole it sure sounds like it's not focused, I had to find a porch light as far away from me as possible to get close to the focus point and then switch to a bright star or planet to get focus working my first time.  If it's out of focus you'll see the secondary as a black spot in or near the enter of a white circle.  I've never had to collimate my Evo in 2 and a half years.  I'd make sure everything else is eliminated before attempting to collimate it.

 

I'm not sure what you're seeing on the concentric circles, make sure you're focused and on target and see what you see from there.  

 

Good luck.



#11 Jim4321

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 06:13 AM

Most of us on the NexStar forum* here who have Evo's and use the Sky Portal / Safari app agree that the 'real' buttons on the hand control are _much_ better for small or critical slews than the on-screen buttons on the app. 

 

Jim H.

 

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#12 Mike W.

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 07:14 AM

Morning Walter,,,, the shake's, if you were set up on a deck or porch that's attached to the house your scope was picking up all the vibrations of the occupants including pets foot falls.

Set up on solid ground.

 

The pin hole, yes you were a bit out of focus, that's the knob on the back of the scope.

 

Get your alignment star as centered as you can before touching the enter button.

Might get yourself a redicle eyepiece to help with this.

 

https://agenaastro.c...e-eyepiece.html

 

The off center ring when looking at the star, if the star wasn't centered that would do that, don't mess with any screws on your scope for now, it should have come from the factory collimed.

 

By all means go to the Nexstar forum, that way people who own dob's won't be telling an SCT owner what's wrong with their scope, kinda like a CPA telling a mechanic how to fix a car.

Doesn't matter how many cars a guy owns, doesn't mean he knows how to drive.

 

As far as how many times it takes to get the alignment down, make sure the star you're aligning on is the star the scope is asking to center.

Took me three separate nights to get success.


Edited by Mike W., 13 July 2018 - 07:26 AM.


#13 WalterYensid

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 08:00 AM

As always, thanks to all of you for the thoughtful comments and the quick replies.

 

Okay...so, because we are like family already, I might as well admit something very embarrassing. Please be gentle in your comments. haha. I did not even touch the focus knob. I think in the midst of the excitement and darkness, I did not even remember it was there. I ended up so darn focused on the EP and alignment, I forgot it. Interestingly, the manual does not even mention its use. So today, I am going to find some YouTube videos on how to use it effectively and also focus it during the day. I will probably win the CloudyNights Award for Most Embarrassing moment, but I am just happy this could be most of my problem.

 

On Collimation, I did not end up touching it, which I am happy I didn't according to the above. I decided to wait until I heard from all of you. I did still have some of the issues shown in the manual, but clearly it could be a focus issue. Happy to hear most people have not touched this, so hoping it is other issues.

 

On my mount, it is the one that came with the Evo 8, which is said to be extremely stable. I was not a deck, but on cement, so do not think the jumpiness was from the location. However, one thing I am wondering is that with the GoTo feature, I find that the motor is still running, which makes sense as it continues to track the planet, star, etc, but I wonder how much vibration that is kicking off. I mean, it cannot be completely or they would not even have that feature, but I am going to check the leveling of my legs today, go to a different location tonight, etc.

 

I will definitely use the hand control for movement of the scope as I did find the app touchy and will re-post some of this in the NexStar forum based on some of the comments here.

 

Thanks everyone. Even though it is embarrassing, I am happy to know last night is not indicative of what I should expect. The focus issue should now resolve...still need to figure out shaking.


Edited by WalterYensid, 13 July 2018 - 08:02 AM.


#14 spacemunkee

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 08:08 AM

Sorry to hear things were a bust for you. Always frustrating when things don't go as you hoped.

Some say leveling doesn't matter much, but with my 9.25 evo I still always nail it down using a quality small bar level set on the azimuth clutch knob and rotate it to line up on the three legs until all three are as level as possible.

Then I usually always just use the auto 2 star alignment on two stars in as far apart sides of the sky as possible. Always ends up tracking well. Use the sky portal phone app in compass mode to find my stars and hand control to do everything. Make sure your phone is calibrated by doing the figure 8 motion(Google it). Take your time to make sure your on the right star. Have had the wrong one in view a couple times here.

Hit enter the one time when in view, then use that zoom to get you to a comfortable amount of zoom for you to look around the feild of view with it at very slow slew speed until it's as dead center as you think you can get it. Then enter and on to the second star.

And I use an atomic time app to enter my local time down to the second. And I also enter my longitude/latitude vs. Using the city database. But sure it doesn't really matter on that.

 

And as previously stated it can take a lot of turns on focus.  When switching from visual to a camera seems like I could drink a cup of coffee in the amount of turns it takes to get it on focus. smile.gif

 

Oh and forgot, always try and make your final adjustments in the up and right directions which is always suggested. 


Edited by spacemunkee, 13 July 2018 - 08:30 AM.


#15 Mike W.

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 08:41 AM

Walter, the drive motors won't cause a vibration, or Celestron would have some issues to deal with, every time you touch the scope it's going to vibrate and that is magnified a lot when viewing.

So wait for each set of vibrations to slow down, in other words, focus then wait, if the vibration continues then are you near a very busy street?

Celestron and others have pads that can be put under the tripods feet to reduce this a lot.

 

On cement is the best, on awards, we all have them, it's part of learning.

 

Youtube video's  https://www.youtube....h?v=2oG73hVHzf0



#16 Penarin

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 09:51 AM

You'll get it.  :)

 

Keep in mind, you usually have to re-focus whenever you change eyepieces.  I think you also have to re-focus when you adjust the power on the zoom as well.

 

Toss in your 32mm eyepiece and practice focusing on a distant object during the day.

 

At night, find a star of medium brightness and focus until you get the star to be a tiny little pinpoint of light.  When the moon comes out, that's a really nice target for focus practice.

 

As for Jupiter being a fuzz ball, could be bad seeing (turbulence in the atmosphere), or the scope hadn't quite reached ambient temperature yet.  SCTs need time to warm up / cool down when going from inside temps to the outside air.



#17 Don H

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 09:56 AM

As always, thanks to all of you for the thoughtful comments and the quick replies.

 

Okay...so, because we are like family already, I might as well admit something very embarrassing. Please be gentle in your comments. haha. I did not even touch the focus knob. I think in the midst of the excitement and darkness, I did not even remember it was there. I ended up so darn focused on the EP and alignment, I forgot it. Interestingly, the manual does not even mention its use. So today, I am going to find some YouTube videos on how to use it effectively and also focus it during the day. I will probably win the CloudyNights Award for Most Embarrassing moment, but I am just happy this could be most of my problem.

 

On Collimation, I did not end up touching it, which I am happy I didn't according to the above. I decided to wait until I heard from all of you. I did still have some of the issues shown in the manual, but clearly it could be a focus issue. Happy to hear most people have not touched this, so hoping it is other issues.

 

On my mount, it is the one that came with the Evo 8, which is said to be extremely stable. I was not a deck, but on cement, so do not think the jumpiness was from the location. However, one thing I am wondering is that with the GoTo feature, I find that the motor is still running, which makes sense as it continues to track the planet, star, etc, but I wonder how much vibration that is kicking off. I mean, it cannot be completely or they would not even have that feature, but I am going to check the leveling of my legs today, go to a different location tonight, etc.

 

I will definitely use the hand control for movement of the scope as I did find the app touchy and will re-post some of this in the NexStar forum based on some of the comments here.

 

Thanks everyone. Even though it is embarrassing, I am happy to know last night is not indicative of what I should expect. The focus issue should now resolve...still need to figure out shaking.

Your shake factor is directly proportional to your magnification and that is determined by the eyepiece you choose. Your telescope focal length is about 2000mm, so magnification is 2000 divided by the eyepiece FL. If you center an object in your 40mm, it will be 50x mag. That would be your current lowest power. You can then add the Barlow lense for 100x, but you will likely need to refocus, which is ok. Once you have seen some stars and planets at these lower powers, you can try your zoom to see more detail.

 

Regards,

Don



#18 John Tucker

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 10:30 AM

wondering how much magnification you were at when Jupiter was "jumping around".  If Jupiter was anything like 5% of the field of view or more then it may have been the atmosphere and not an equipment issue.  At a couple hundred fold magnification you need really good atmospheric conditions to get a sharp image.  Usually it will dance around, go in and out of focus, and pretty much look like what you described. 

 

This is what Saturn looks like on a typical night in Northern CA.  I've resigned myself I'm going to have to go out to the desert to do much better.   

 

https://www.facebook...50958205012930/


Edited by John Tucker, 13 July 2018 - 10:34 AM.


#19 WalterYensid

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 03:31 PM

wondering how much magnification you were at when Jupiter was "jumping around".  If Jupiter was anything like 5% of the field of view or more then it may have been the atmosphere and not an equipment issue.  At a couple hundred fold magnification you need really good atmospheric conditions to get a sharp image.  Usually it will dance around, go in and out of focus, and pretty much look like what you described. 

 

This is what Saturn looks like on a typical night in Northern CA.  I've resigned myself I'm going to have to go out to the desert to do much better.   

 

https://www.facebook...50958205012930/

Thanks John. This image was really helpful. It was probably around 5% of the FOV. Your image does have a little less fuzz than mine and it was jumping a bit more, but again, I did not use the focus knob, so assume I will do a little better and get closer to this. I am in NC, so probably a little less light pollution, but probably generally close to the same. I am definitely going to head to the mountains one weekend once I get to know how to use the scope better.

 

Trying again tonight, so we will see. Thanks for all the help.


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#20 TX4812

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 04:12 PM

If you want to check the collimation, just de-focus a bright star and look at the concentric rings.  But most importantly, the star must be centered in the field of view!

Once that is done if the rings look concentric, leave it alone, it is OK.  At low power where you see the big donut hole when defocused, again the donut hole should look centered (but make sure the star is in the center of the field first).

 

Some time when you get a night of perfect seeing and can crank the power up where you see the 'airy disc' and diffraction ring (when the star is perfectly focused and centered), you can check the fine collimation.  The diffraction ring should be centered about the airy disc.

 

You will find these nights are relatively rare.  Most nights if you can see a diffraction ring, it will be dancing around or slowly wavering.  On a bad night of seeing you won't be able to see the diffraction ring at all.  The star will be a big fuzzball, even at best focus.


Edited by TX4812, 13 July 2018 - 04:13 PM.


#21 Lemonhawk

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 04:32 PM

I had the fuzzy Jupiter last time out.  I was really disappointed, since the previous outing the Jupiter view was spectacular in the 12mm T4.  Then I removed the EP cover...   We all make mistakes.  I think i'll paint that cover with an opaque paint, save some  time trying to focus on Jupiter!  


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#22 Eddgie

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 09:32 PM

wondering how much magnification you were at when Jupiter was "jumping around".  If Jupiter was anything like 5% of the field of view or more then it may have been the atmosphere and not an equipment issue.  At a couple hundred fold magnification you need really good atmospheric conditions to get a sharp image.  Usually it will dance around, go in and out of focus, and pretty much look like what you described. 

 

This is what Saturn looks like on a typical night in Northern CA.  I've resigned myself I'm going to have to go out to the desert to do much better.   

 

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Yes. Great answer.



#23 WalterYensid

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 10:04 PM

Well, I wanted to let everyone know that I had my 'Second Light' after my disastrous First Light. I took all of the advice in, prepared for the evening, and spent some time during the day learning the trusty focus knob (that was quite dramatic during the day to see the difference). I also used the hand held telescope adjuster for the small adjustments...so much easier than doing it on the app. Thanks for that advice.

 

Then night came...Of course, clouds were all over the place, but I took a chance to get aligned in hopes I could at least image Jupiter or something to see the difference after all of this advice and using the focus knob. So, after alignment, I went after Jupiter with the 40mm and then switched to my ES 68 24mm and then finally the Zoom. First, I saw the doughnut and it was a perfect doughnut, so thank god I did not touch the collimation. But this time, I knew about the focus knob and I turned it. Jaw hit floor, almost emotional experience as all of you can relate. In this still early evening and not fully dark, not knowing much yet about EPs and scopes, and having a moderately polluted sky, I was able to see Jupiter, its bands, and what looked to be 4 of its moon. The definition especially on the ES 68 24mm was amazing. I did not cry, but let's just say I was close to shedding one. The coolest part is that my wife and kids got home and were able to look...they were amazed. So rewarding.

 

If the night ended then, I would have been happy that it seems I solved the major issue. Fuzziness mostly gone (it was not that great of a night to image), focus worked as great as it could, no crazy concentric circles, and no pinholes.

 

But, the Astronomy Gods were looking out for me and the clouds all moved away...and good old Saturn decided to pop in. As all of you can relate, that was the money shot. Wow. Could not believe it to see that from a personal scope. I think I saw a moon, but you would know better than me if that was a moon or another star. But wow.

 

I even took a shot at Venus. Definitely could image it, but it was darkened on one piece of it and it was definitely blurry, almost looked on fire (had a lot of what looked like wispy sun colored flames coming off it). But with it so low to the horizon, not surprised as many of you said it is a tough one.

 

I did try a few clusters and the Lagoon Nebula. Could image the clusters great, but no smudges I could see. My Nebula filter has not arrived yet, so hoping that may help. Not sure what the best EP is on these to see the 'smudges', but will do more research. I did try my OIII filter just for the heck of it, but nothing. 

 

Anyway, I wanted to send this long update to let you all know the second light was a success and a personal thank you to all of you for your help. MUCH to learn, but felt so much more confident out there.

 

Thank you again.


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#24 Sky Muse

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 11:25 PM

That was Saturn's largest moon, Titan, that you probably saw, or Rhea, the second-largest.  Saturn has other moons, too, 62 of them that are known, and after observing over time you may be able to spot some more of the larger ones as well.

 

Thank goodness you don't have to touch the collimation.



#25 Mike W.

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Posted 14 July 2018 - 07:08 AM

Morning Walter, glad to hear things are starting to work out for you, did you figure out what the shaking was?




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