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Is my telescope not setup properly or am I expecting too much?

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#51 kellyvictoria

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Posted 20 August 2019 - 01:01 PM

Jupiter should show at least that much detail even at fairly low power in an 8", even in poor seeing.  It doesn't sound like you are looking at a planet.  And the strongest indication of that is in the initial post where you said that "Mars is located quickly, but is just a tiny white spec in the middle of the eyepiece surrounded by a bunch of other stars."  Mars is too close to the Sun at this time for you to be seeing it this way. 

 

Do you have a red dot finder or something like that to show you where the scope is pointed?  Because it doesn't sound like the optical tube is pointed where you think it is.  Sight in the RDF during the day on some distant target (not the Sun.)  You adjust the RDF so that the object the dot falls on matches the center of the eyepiece view.  At night you should then find that if you point the RDF at Saturn or Jupiter, you will see them in the eyepiece.   

Follow the second paragraph instructions above exactly:

and make sure your Red Dot Finder or Telrad is aligned with what you see in the center of your scope. Preferably with a low power eyepiece, an example would be your new 32mm eyepiece to give you a wider field of view. At this point it will help you find your way around... later on for alignment you'll use higher power to align, but not right now. Keep in mind while you have the object in your 32mm that the earth will be moving counter-clock-wise so you want to keep the object in your Field Of View. 

 

At first roughly align on a distant object so that they both match... then once you get there …. keep your scope centered on the distant object and physically slightly move your RDF or Telrad to perfect it exactly to match the center of the object in the eyepiece. At this point you are aligning the RDF or Telrad to the scope. Not the other way around...

 

Once you match these two up your correct pointing and alignment will make it easier to follow the directions with the GoTo part of it. ...

But in the mean time you can use your Hand Control to point yourself correctly without the Go-To. Direct yourself looking thru the RDF and take a look at the moon and then find your way to Jupiter and Saturn using your Hand Control.  

 

exactly as in the 2nd paragraph above...


Edited by kellyvictoria, 20 August 2019 - 01:28 PM.

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#52 Ski-Patroller

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Posted 20 August 2019 - 03:37 PM

I don't have Star Sense, but I did consider buying it and  I have read through the manual.  My impression is that the initial set up to get it properly aligned is considerably more difficult than doing a 2 or 3 star alignment with the Hand Control.   As others have said I don't think your scope is looking at what you think it is.  

 

I would take the Star Sense unit of, and concentrate on doing a 3 star auto align using the Hand controller.   1st make sure the red dot finder is aligned with the telescope.  You can do this in the day time by looking at a tree branch, radio tower or similar stationary object that is 1/8 of a mile or more away.  Further is better.  If you can't get a reasonably sharp detailed image of a tree or tower, there may be an issue with your telescope.  Once the red dot finder is properly aligned, set up the scope at night, with it reasonably level, and enter the Time and Location.   Time needs to be within about a minute and the location within about 50 miles.  Then do the 3 star auto align selecting 3 bright stars that are fairly far apart. Start using the 32 mm eyepiece, and be sure the object is well centered when you select the "ALIGN" key.   If you have Sky Safari on your phone, you can confirm the identity of the stars.  If you have the date and location in properly the Alignment should be pretty simple.  The Scope should slew to known objects that you can identify without much adjustment. With the 25mm eyepiece,  Jupiter and Saturn should be obvious. You won't see a huge amount of detail, but you should see lines on Jupiter and some of its moons.  The rings will be obvious on Saturn. 

 

If you can't make this work, either you are doing something incorrectly or there is a problem with your mount.   Finding someone else with a Celestron Nexstar would be a big help.  Once you get the 3 star Auto Align and/or 2 Star manual to work, then consider putting the StarSense unit back on, and going through the setup and alignment process.  Remember if the camera gets bumped it will need to be re-aligned. 

 

Not to bash Celestron, but the shorter eyepieces in the kit are very hard to use, because of the small aperture and short eye relief.  6 or 8 mm are pretty much useless with a 2000mm Focal length 8SE.

 

Finally buy a copy of Michael Swansons NextStar book, 2nd edition and visit the NextStar website. 


Edited by Ski-Patroller, 20 August 2019 - 03:39 PM.

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#53 Don W

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Posted 21 August 2019 - 07:28 PM

One thing that others seem to have missed is that a star is a pinpoint of light at all magnifications. You can't magnify that image. Some stars are brighter than others and seem to be bigger but they aren't. Jupiter and Saturn are both well placed for observing this summer. At a dark site last weekend, I faintly saw the bands of jupiter with one of my Celestron 5 OTAs. Saw Saturn's rings but they didn't really jump out at me.


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#54 roelb

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Posted 21 August 2019 - 07:33 PM

Even with a good calibrated StarSense the planet goto's can be way off.

Can be improved by some (additional) alignment points in the neighborhood of the planet to be observed.

So, using a RDF is the way to check if you are aligned to the right spot (planet).


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#55 MJB87

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Posted 24 August 2019 - 08:22 AM

With respect to StarSense, I suggest you do your initial alignment, then slew to the topic of interest, then add an Alignment Ref at that point.  In effect you are platesolving in the area of your intended viewing. Then slew again to your chosen object and you should be spot on.

 

MB


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#56 Samantha66

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Posted 09 September 2019 - 12:02 PM

After many, many hours (and packs of batteries) of trying to get the alignment to work - and NOT succeeding, I decided to try just pointing and locating a planet and seeing if I could manually see it. 

On Saturday, 9/7/19, it worked.  OMG, it worked!  I saw Saturn and it's rings.  and what I think were 3 of its moons!!!!  I cried ! 

After years and years, I finally got to see what I had been trying to see!  I took all of the advice on lenses and things to check from everyone in this forum. I can't thank you all enough!  At least now I know my telescope is awesome and sadly this has all been 'operator' error all of these years.  smile.gif

 

Last night, the moon was clear and I decided to look at it.  Started with my 25mm lens, then the 17mm lens.  I had also bought this contraption to mount my cellphone on it to take photos.  So here are my first AWESOME moon pictures from my telescope using my iphone. I.AM.BEYOND.THRILLED!!!!!

 

I also took a little picture of Saturn, but it is not very clear on the iphone (it's super clear on the scope lens though!!).

 

thank you, thank you, thank you to all who took the time and effort to give me tips and tricks to try.

 

I will keep working on the auto-alignment.  and I'm going to invest in a power source too.

 

smile.gif

 

MOON1_08SEP2019.jpg

MOON2_08SEP2019.jpg MOON3_08SEP2019.jpg MOON4_08SEP2019.jpg MOON5_08SEP2019.jpg SATURN1_08SEP2019.jpg

 


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#57 Kyphoron

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Posted 09 September 2019 - 12:08 PM

Congratulations Samantha. I am happy your scope is functioning properly and you are able to actually observe objects. The universe is now open to you. You moon pictures are great and your Saturn is not bad either. :)


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#58 starbuckin

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Posted 09 September 2019 - 01:01 PM

Congrats! When you didn't update I was worried that you gave up.

 

Re: power   If you stargaze near your house, try   https://www.amazon.c...0?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

Fortunately I read before my scope arrived that it didn't come with a power cord (lame), so I bought one before it arrived.

 

Re: alignment.   

Make sure you are level. Zero the scope dials and point at the North Star. Use the knobs on the mount head to adjust the scope, not the hand controller.

I think you said that you have Starsense. Always calibrate Starsense before alignment. All it does is ask you to pick a star, it slews to it, and you center it in the telescope.

If you do that, after Starsense is done with the full alignment the target you select should always at least be in your finderscope.


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#59 Samantha66

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Posted 09 September 2019 - 02:15 PM

Congrats! When you didn't update I was worried that you gave up.

 

Re: power   If you stargaze near your house, try   https://www.amazon.c...0?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

Fortunately I read before my scope arrived that it didn't come with a power cord (lame), so I bought one before it arrived.

 

Re: alignment.   

Make sure you are level. Zero the scope dials and point at the North Star. Use the knobs on the mount head to adjust the scope, not the hand controller.

I think you said that you have Starsense. Always calibrate Starsense before alignment. All it does is ask you to pick a star, it slews to it, and you center it in the telescope.

If you do that, after Starsense is done with the full alignment the target you select should always at least be in your finderscope.

Thanks so much for the link to the power supply.  Yes, I stargaze in the backyard and have a great, long extension cord that will reach the scope area.

 

We had 2 weeks of crappy weather. Then when it was nice, I would spend 3-4 hours each night trying to get the auto-align to work and just never could.  it was very discouraging.  I moved to another location and tried the 'manual point and focus' move this past Saturday.  Before joining this forum and getting all of this fantastic advice, I am not sure I'd ever have made that work.  But once it did, then about a dozen of the things people suggested made sense.

 

The 'level' part I have down pat.  I have a bubble level ON the base of the scope and I take  a hand held level with me each time I set it up - you know, just to be sure! :)

When I turn on the Starsense, it never asked to calibrate (like the instructions say to do).  I finally found the menu item to do it last night.  So, hopefully tonight I can do that.  I did find (after one person suggested) that it was set to California location by default.  I got that fixed.  Then silly me forgot to use military time and the auto-align kept pointing at the ground.  So, got that fixed too.

I need to put the finderscope back on (after many recommendations).  

The Starsense says to point at the horizon.  Well the horizon for me is a line of trees.  can I bypass that and go straight to the north star for alignment?  or can I pick another star?



#60 starbuckin

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Posted 09 September 2019 - 02:42 PM

I don't know why it says 'point to the horizon'. Usually it says to just point north.  I'm also surrounded by tall trees.

 

I always polar align (I use SharpCap, but you can get to that later, depending on where you want to go from here).

 

If you can see Polaris, center Polaris and the alignment should be good enough for visual. (But yes, add a finderscope. It will save LOTS of frustration).


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#61 GoFish

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Posted 09 September 2019 - 03:17 PM

Congrats! When you didn't update I was worried that you gave up.

 

Re: power   If you stargaze near your house, try   https://www.amazon.c...0?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

Fortunately I read before my scope arrived that it didn't come with a power cord (lame), so I bought one before it arrived.

 

Re: alignment.   

Make sure you are level. Zero the scope dials and point at the North Star. Use the knobs on the mount head to adjust the scope, not the hand controller.

I think you said that you have Starsense. Always calibrate Starsense before alignment. All it does is ask you to pick a star, it slews to it, and you center it in the telescope.

If you do that, after Starsense is done with the full alignment the target you select should always at least be in your finderscope.

 

I don't know why it says 'point to the horizon'. Usually it says to just point north.  I'm also surrounded by tall trees.

 

I always polar align (I use SharpCap, but you can get to that later, depending on where you want to go from here).

 

If you can see Polaris, center Polaris and the alignment should be good enough for visual. (But yes, add a finderscope. It will save LOTS of frustration).

Please note that Samantha has an SE mount, which is alt-az. The advice regarding polar alignment is not applicable. 

 

Also, with StarSense there is no mechanism I am aware of for centering Polaris and using that for GoTo alignment. Better off using SSA in its intended manner and allowing it to plate solve at multiple locations for GoTo alignment. 

 

Finally, SSA instructions say to do calibration after performing an alignment. A second alignment is then needed after calibration. Perhaps it’s possible to calibrate without first aligning, but that’s contrary to my understanding. 

 

Inputting the correct time, date, and location is important, as is carefully performing the calibration step using a high magnification (short focal length) eyepiece. For the accuracy needed for visual, the calibration should hold just fine between setups. Should be a do-it-once kind of thing. 


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#62 dhferguson

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Posted 09 September 2019 - 03:38 PM

Congratulations Samantha!

 

A world of really interesting stargazing awaits you!  I suggest you decouple your efforts of (1) learning the sky and (2) learning how to get the best pointing from your mount. Nice pics, too!

 

(1) Purchase a beginning guide, such as "Turn Left at Orion," and use it to orient yourself in the sky. Your telescope came with a small telescope, "the finder," to aid in pointing. Center the Moon or a bright star with your small piggyback telescope, then adjust the screws on the finder bracket so that the star or the moon appears in the big telescope when it is centered on the finder crosshairs. This will enable you to point using the finder, which is much, much easier than trying to point using just the big telescope. Now using the book you purchased, use your telescope to look around at interesting objects!

 

(2) Meanwhile, you will wish to learn to set up your mount/software and then to use it to point toward the objects you want. Such instructions are very mount-specific, and my advice to you is to proceed carefully, one step at a time. As others have suggested, your learning curve will be much quicker if you received help from someone knowledgeable, perhaps at an astronomy club.

 

Do not expect full-color Hubble Space Telescope-like views of any of the fainter objects. What you will see are star clusters composed of myriad pinpricks of light superimposed on a black velvet backgrounds; faint and wispy nebulae; beautifully-situated close double stars that sometimes have differing colors, and the satisfaction of detecting (and not much more) faint, ethereal patches of light that are other galaxies from way, way beyond our own Milky Way galaxy.

 

Happy observing always,

 

Don


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#63 GoFish

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Posted 09 September 2019 - 03:51 PM

Thanks so much for the link to the power supply.  Yes, I stargaze in the backyard and have a great, long extension cord that will reach the scope area.

 

We had 2 weeks of crappy weather. Then when it was nice, I would spend 3-4 hours each night trying to get the auto-align to work and just never could.  it was very discouraging.  I moved to another location and tried the 'manual point and focus' move this past Saturday.  Before joining this forum and getting all of this fantastic advice, I am not sure I'd ever have made that work.  But once it did, then about a dozen of the things people suggested made sense.

 

The 'level' part I have down pat.  I have a bubble level ON the base of the scope and I take  a hand held level with me each time I set it up - you know, just to be sure! smile.gif

When I turn on the Starsense, it never asked to calibrate (like the instructions say to do).  I finally found the menu item to do it last night.  So, hopefully tonight I can do that.  I did find (after one person suggested) that it was set to California location by default.  I got that fixed.  Then silly me forgot to use military time and the auto-align kept pointing at the ground.  So, got that fixed too.

I need to put the finderscope back on (after many recommendations).  

The Starsense says to point at the horizon.  Well the horizon for me is a line of trees.  can I bypass that and go straight to the north star for alignment?  or can I pick another star?

I believe the correct scope configuration when starting a StarSense auto alignment with the SE mount is “north and level.”  Don’t worry that your north horizon is obstructed. SSA is usually pretty good at recognizing obstructions and adjusting accordingly. It will point itself well above the horizon before taking its first picture anyway. It really is a smart little rascal. 

 

The north star has no special relevance for alt az mounts. Also, if you use your SSA as intended you will only manually center a star in the eyepiece view when performing the calibration step. 

 

It sounds like you are past the initial hurdles everyone experiences with a new scope. The SSA process is actually pretty simple. Just make sure time, date, location are correct, and be careful doing the calibration. 


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#64 starbuckin

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Posted 09 September 2019 - 09:21 PM

Hi Samantha,
I’m sorry! That power supply is for Celestron’s GEM mounts!
Hopefully you didn’t order it.

I believe this one is correct for the SE mounts.
Celestron 18778 AC Adapter (Black) https://www.amazon.c...i_7FWDDbD897GJ9
((Please check against the mount list)
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#65 starbuckin

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Posted 09 September 2019 - 09:24 PM

Polar alignment is only necessary for a GEM mount. Sorry I just assumed you had a GEM (not sure why)
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#66 SkipW

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Posted 09 September 2019 - 11:15 PM

Hi Samantha,
I’m sorry! That power supply is for Celestron’s GEM mounts!
Hopefully you didn’t order it.

I believe this one is correct for the SE mounts.
Celestron 18778 AC Adapter (Black) https://www.amazon.c...i_7FWDDbD897GJ9
((Please check against the mount list)

Either of those power supplies should work with the 8SE. The smaller 18778 is significantly cheaper, though.


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#67 Samantha66

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Posted 10 September 2019 - 12:00 PM

It's ok!  I looked at the one you sent and didn't see my model listed, so actually ended up ordering the 18778 one!  Thank you!!!

Either of those power supplies should work with the 8SE. The smaller 18778 is significantly cheaper, though.


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#68 B l a k S t a r

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Posted 10 September 2019 - 02:22 PM

I had huge problems when I got my first scope 12 years ago. A go to that I could never really get aligned. Turns out a one star and sometimes a 2 star alignment did generally work. Never a 3 star though. The problem was mine, I did not know any star names but Sirius and when it slewed to the 'Beehive' cluster I just saw a bunch of stars and did not recognize the special aspect of it at all. Plus, why is the universe in b&w for petes sake?!  Last I looked i could see colour, just wasn't seeing miniaturized Hubble views. Couple that with -20°c January temperatures in the snow and after a couple of years I gave it up. 

 

Several years after that I sold the rig for a manual refractor and more binos. Now I'm reintroducing go to with a Nexstar unit on order so I can see deeper. After going manual I found CloudyNights and it's been the best go to resource and friendly place imaginable. 

 

Glad to to see you've had your first real steps of success. It just gets better moving forward - enjoy it and share it.


Edited by B l a k S t a r, 10 September 2019 - 02:23 PM.

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#69 Jay6821

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Posted 10 September 2019 - 08:43 PM

I just found this thread tonight and have been reading it. I'm so glad you finally got your scope to work.

 

I am also a newbie, and struggled for several weeks when I got my scope in June. I had an opportunity to observe in August with a very experienced (about 40 years) astronomer. He helped me by doing a few adjustments with my hand controller (I was having some GPS issues) and boom, there was Jupiter in my eyepiece. And then I hit the GOTO button for Saturn and boom, there was Saturn in my eyepiece.  I was thrilled, and also relieved to find that my scope actually works well.  My difficulties were mainly due to operator error. 

 

By the way, your picture of Saturn with taken with your iPhone is very good. I haven't been able to get a picture that good, possibly because I'm in the suburbs of a city. I'm going have to experiment more with the iPhone holder thing I have.


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#70 chicagorandy

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Posted 12 September 2019 - 10:39 AM

Hi Samantha - glad you discovered the sheer wonder of Saturn. Your pics are GREAT by the way.

 

I too had 'personal issues' with my Nexstar scope - lol - AKA pure operator error in entering the correct longitude/long (West vs East) - once I properly told it the scope was in Illinois and NOT in the middle of N/E China? The basic GOTO worked like a charm and continues to very happily go to whatever I select on the hand controller.

 

It only gets better. Have fun.


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#71 mrsjeff

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Posted 20 September 2019 - 07:03 AM

If you're still looking for eyepiece recommendations, I would suggest checking out Astronomics' Paradigm Dual ED series, which are well-regarded, especially for their price ($60 ea). I have a few of them and they are very nice, comfortable eyepieces. 



#72 Michael Harris

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Posted 22 September 2019 - 05:27 PM

Samantha, I am glad that you are getting acquainted with your NexStar scope. I have the Evolution 8 and StarSense, and a few key bits of information might help.

 

1. The correct starting orientation for the scope is level to the ground (I carry a bubble level with the scope and level the tube) and pointing approximately south (compass or phone app compass).

2. With the Starsense, you may want to use Manual Starsense align if you have any trees or obstructions (like I do). All you have to do is point the scope at three consecutive clear spots in your sky, and the StarSense solves them and calculates your sky model.

3. Time, date, and location entry are easy once you figure them out and extremely critical. Still probably the most common mistake I make.

4. Do the Calibration routine every so often. If you mount the Starsense the same way every time it should not have to be done very often.

5. The StarSense is only valuable at the beginning of your observing evening, it does not act as a finder scope and does not make any changes throughout the evening unless you restart your telescope. But if it works then you can take off the red dot finder. I replaced my red dot with a Telrad because I prefer the view.

6. The main issue I have with StarSense is that I am impatient and have to wait for it to get dark enough before the plate solving routines work. I take the C8 to public outreach events and people want to see stuff like Jupiter as soon as it pops out of the twilight! So instead of the Starsense at these events I use the Telrad and a quick Solar System Alignment to get going quicker. Sometimes I re-level and re-start during a pause in the action to get better accuracy for fainter objects.

 

Keep us posted on how its going for you!



#73 MarcObarlow

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Posted 25 September 2019 - 01:52 PM

Samantha, congratulations on your first images and use of your telescope. I am a relative newbie but have had good success for quick evening sessions with my 6 SE by using the Solar System Alignment mentioned above. FWIW, some of my early mistakes were not accounting for daylight savings time, bad date, wrong star and a few others. Daytime alignment of the finder is also key (not familiar with StarSense, so may not apply). Solar Alignment is easy-peasy and tracks well enough to keep an object (not just a solar system object) centered for up to 1/2 hour. With more time and patience I can lock on to a target for up to an hour.

Good images, by the way. I predict you will soon be searching the classifieds for DSLR adapters, focus flatteners, feather touch focusers, Barlows and other expensive goodies in small boxes.

While the summer sky is always interesting with the planets and celestial plane clearly visible, Orion, the Pleiades and some of my favorite DSO targets are now visible in the early morning. Your world is about to be rocked as the skies clear in autumn and some of the best targets become prominent in the evening. I have seen more than one person cry at the first sight of Jupiter and its dancing moons or Saturn and its amazing rings. I think you will like this short YouTube video titled Have You Ever Really Seen the Moon: https://youtu.be/ZV89qH9IGrA 

Wonder is everywhere if we can just look to the heavens & unplug from the TV and internet. I save those things for (wait for it)...cloudy nights.




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