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Issues with 9.25 evo

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#1 Sterling1703

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Posted 20 August 2019 - 09:47 AM

Hey everyone! I’m new to the telescope world and I’m having some issues (I hope I’m in the right forum). I’ve read thread after thread and I’m having trouble correcting anything. I’m looking at planets and I’m not seeing what I think I’m supposed to be seeing and it’s rather defeating. Jupiter and Saturn are just fuzzy bright objects with no definition or color differences. I can see the the ring around Saturn but there is no split between the 2, no matter what EP set up I use. Here is my process: I set up my telescope (Celestron 9.25 evolution) and level the tripod about 1-1.5 hours before use. I leave the covers on the front and the back. I remove the front cover and attach my dew shield (I’m currently buying the module for the heater).  I check collimation every time I start (usually on the first star I do my alignment on) and it has been spot on every time. I started using the plossl set from High Point but I recently upgraded to a Celestron X-Cel 25mm and X-Cel 2x Barlow. (I wanted to see if a better EP helped , but it didn’t). I’ve tried with and without the provided Celestron prism diagonal and my views are all the same. If I go with a higher magnification EP (let’s say a 13.5mm) it’s still bad, maybe even worse. During my breakdown I’ve never noticed any moisture either. 
I took a trip to the local observatory and got to view Saturn through a slightly larger cassegrain and there was a highly noticeable difference in what I saw.  The light pollution where I live was about the same as the observatory since it’s about 15 minutes from my house and about the same distance from Nashville. This makes me believe that it probably isn’t light pollution or atmospheric conditions.
I’m guessing it’s an issue of user error but I’m out of ideas. Thank you in advance for your time and help.



#2 WarmWeatherGuy

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Posted 20 August 2019 - 10:42 AM

Reasons for a not so great image include bad seeing, bad collimation, OTA not thermally equalized, dirt/grease on the eyepiece, dew, dirty diagonal, cataracts, and the target is too low to the horizon. You ruled out many so far. Try viewing without the diagonal to rule out a dirty diagonal. My guess is that it is bad seeing and possibly the planet is too low to the horizon. Bad seeing changes daily so keep trying.



#3 gfstallin

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Posted 20 August 2019 - 11:02 AM

Hmm. 

 

As WarmWeatherGuy noted above, besides collimation, seeing is the #1 culprit of fuzzy views of the planets. Jupiter in particular is already past its highest point in the sky by the time it is dark. 

 

I do have a few questions (with like 5 parts each lol.gif ). My apologies for answering a question with...more questions. 

 

-Are the stars pinpoints when you focus? By "pinpoints," I mean they must be tight dots on a dark background. Alternatively, do stars look like they have tiny little tails, like mini comets? 

 

-What time are you observing Jupiter and Saturn? 9 PM/21:00 local? 11 PM/23:00 local? Speaking of local, where in the world are you located? You don't have to be exact, but general vicinity ("upstate NY," "south Florida," "near Shanghai") is close enough. 

 

-When you look at Jupiter, can you see any of its moons? If so, what do they look like? Assuming you are in the northern hemisphere, have you looked at the north star/Polaris? If so, were you able to see its companion? 

 

George



#4 Richard Whalen

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Posted 20 August 2019 - 11:04 AM

What are you settng it up on? Are you observing over hot roofs or a hot asphalt road? 


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#5 astro42

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Posted 20 August 2019 - 11:42 AM

Are the expectation too high possibly?

I observe under city lights Saturn and Jupiter with a 3" and a 4" refractor plus a 8"SCT.

The lower magnification eyepieces always give the clear sharper views but are also farther way.

Also there is never a lot of defined color.

I also had a 9.25 SCT years ago and the difference is very subtle.

A person really needs good seeing and a keen eye/experience to make out the detail.

 

Maybe a 20" scope at a dark site would make a big difference I don't know.



#6 sg6

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Posted 20 August 2019 - 11:45 AM

Add Nashville to your peofile, please. Already have at least 2 asking where you are.

 

Could be atmosphere, I guess you are fairly humid there.

Where is the Jetstream, half assume North but check to make sure.

 

925 is 2350mm, any chance is borrowing a good 10 and 15mm plossl, thinking TV here. That would give 235x and 157x. If you know anyone with say a 12mm Delite/Delos then plead for 5 minutes use. Thinking here of removing a poor eyepiece from the equation.

 

Not going to like this but what you see is maybe as good as it gets. I have had better views of planets through a 70mm achro then an 8" and 14" SCT. And in a few weeks when we drag equipment out I may get the chance of a 11" SCT also. Stll have the idea my 4" refractor will stuff them all.

 

Could you revisit the observatory with your scope? They may well have a better idea.

Before you turn up, contact them and ask if they would be willing to help you out for half an hour.

 

If you were in the UK I would say phone and visit Steve at SCT, he checks and sets up SCT's. His initials are "S" and "C" and the "T" is Telescopes (convenient I suppose).

 

The X-Cel and the barlow is likely too much. And too much glass that has to work together.

 

The cassini division is not easy, it tends to be a test of good optics and seeing.



#7 gfstallin

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Posted 20 August 2019 - 02:31 PM

If you are in Nashville (per sg6's comment): 

Check out the Barnard-Seyfert Astronomical Society

https://bsasnashville.com/

 

Members should be able to steer you in the right direction if there is something grossly wrong with your optics or if collimation is further off than it appears at first glance. 

 

As a point of reference, there are times when humidity feels as if you could cut it with a knife and transparency is so low that Saturn is barely visible through the muggy haze and severe light pollution of Washington D.C. (I live about 6 miles from the National Mall in Washington D.C.). I've done some planetary imaging/observing during these times, and I've also done it when fronts have moved there. There is never a time when Saturn looks like a fuzzy ball in my C9.25. Yes, I have to ease up on the magnification because it can certainly become a fuzzy ball at 500x and more, but I'm typically fine through 200x. Cassini division has always been visible in the C9.25, at least through the parts of the session when Saturn is highest in the sky. Now, something to consider is that Saturn and Jupiter are both mushballs when they are low in the sky. Right now, when Saturn is highest in the sky at my location, Jupiter is basically unobservable. No telescope will do it justice. Maybe this has something to do with it.   

 

Others might chime in here with other ideas, but altitude can be the real culprit here. 

 

George


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#8 stoest

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Posted 20 August 2019 - 04:12 PM

I've gotten what I consider some really nice views of Jupiter and Saturn with my 9.25 Evo.  I can see several bands on Jupiter and the GRS is quite clear when it's out.  The Cassini division is easily seen and the bands are seen on Saturn. I agree with checking your scope on stars and making sure you're getting a good clear view on those first.  Swing over to M11 (Wild Duck Cluster) and see how that looks.

 

You didn't say how many times you've tried but it seems like several and my initial thought is that maybe you've just caught some really bad seeing on those nights.  If you can, try setting your scope up where you're not looking over a house or a bunch of concrete when you're on Jupiter.  Both of those can send up some serious atmospheric distortion.

 

Other than that just keep plugging at it.  Let us know how it goes.



#9 Sterling1703

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Posted 20 August 2019 - 10:28 PM

Hmm.

As WarmWeatherGuy noted above, besides collimation, seeing is the #1 culprit of fuzzy views of the planets. Jupiter in particular is already past its highest point in the sky by the time it is dark.

I do have a few questions (with like 5 parts each lol.gif ). My apologies for answering a question with...more questions.

-Are the stars pinpoints when you focus? By "pinpoints," I mean they must be tight dots on a dark background. Alternatively, do stars look like they have tiny little tails, like mini comets?

-What time are you observing Jupiter and Saturn? 9 PM/21:00 local? 11 PM/23:00 local? Speaking of local, where in the world are you located? You don't have to be exact, but general vicinity ("upstate NY," "south Florida," "near Shanghai") is close enough.

-When you look at Jupiter, can you see any of its moons? If so, what do they look like? Assuming you are in the northern hemisphere, have you looked at the north star/Polaris? If so, were you able to see its companion?

George



#10 Sterling1703

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Posted 20 August 2019 - 10:36 PM

George,
As for location, I’m in middle Tennessee and most of my observing happens between 7-12CMT. The stars can be pinpoint when I get focused but I have noticed the comet issue. I have not looked at Polaris yet but I will try my next clear night. As for Jupiter’s moons they tend to be fuzzy.

#11 Sterling1703

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Posted 20 August 2019 - 10:45 PM

What are you settng it up on? Are you observing over hot roofs or a hot asphalt road?



Richard
Most of the time I set up in my driveway and I’m viewing over houses. I never took the heat coming off the street and roofs in to consideration. I did try it once in the country but there was a full moon adding a ton of light pollution.

Thank you
David

#12 Sterling1703

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Posted 20 August 2019 - 11:08 PM

Are the expectation too high possibly?
I observe under city lights Saturn and Jupiter with a 3" and a 4" refractor plus a 8"SCT.
The lower magnification eyepieces always give the clear sharper views but are also farther way.
Also there is never a lot of defined color.
I also had a 9.25 SCT years ago and the difference is very subtle.
A person really needs good seeing and a keen eye/experience to make out the detail.
Maybe a 20" scope at a dark site would make a big difference I don't know.


Astro42
Expectations high? 😬😁 Maybe a little due to the reviews I read on the 9.25 before I purchased chased it. That being said, I am by no means expecting to see something out of a text book when I look through my eyepiece. I’m still trying to locate a dark site around me that is public.


Thank you
David

#13 Sterling1703

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Posted 21 August 2019 - 07:55 AM

Add Nashville to your peofile, please. Already have at least 2 asking where you are.

Could be atmosphere, I guess you are fairly humid there.
Where is the Jetstream, half assume North but check to make sure.

925 is 2350mm, any chance is borrowing a good 10 and 15mm plossl, thinking TV here. That would give 235x and 157x. If you know anyone with say a 12mm Delite/Delos then plead for 5 minutes use. Thinking here of removing a poor eyepiece from the equation.

Not going to like this but what you see is maybe as good as it gets. I have had better views of planets through a 70mm achro then an 8" and 14" SCT. And in a few weeks when we drag equipment out I may get the chance of a 11" SCT also. Stll have the idea my 4" refractor will stuff them all.

Could you revisit the observatory with your scope? They may well have a better idea.
Before you turn up, contact them and ask if they would be willing to help you out for half an hour.

If you were in the UK I would say phone and visit Steve at SCT, he checks and sets up SCT's. His initials are "S" and "C" and the "T" is Telescopes (convenient I suppose).

The X-Cel and the barlow is likely too much. And too much glass that has to work together.

The cassini division is not easy, it tends to be a test of good optics and seeing.


SG6
Thank you! I will give the observatory a call. I’m also going to take gfstallin’s advice and meet up with my local astronomical society. I know they do monthly star gazing and meetings. I’m hoping it’s a combination of all the advice I’ve received so far and it’s just going to take a little time and patience.

#14 Sterling1703

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Posted 21 August 2019 - 08:54 AM

I've gotten what I consider some really nice views of Jupiter and Saturn with my 9.25 Evo. I can see several bands on Jupiter and the GRS is quite clear when it's out. The Cassini division is easily seen and the bands are seen on Saturn. I agree with checking your scope on stars and making sure you're getting a good clear view on those first. Swing over to M11 (Wild Duck Cluster) and see how that looks.

You didn't say how many times you've tried but it seems like several and my initial thought is that maybe you've just caught some really bad seeing on those nights. If you can, try setting your scope up where you're not looking over a house or a bunch of concrete when you're on Jupiter. Both of those can send up some serious atmospheric distortion.

Other than that just keep plugging at it. Let us know how it goes.


Thank you, stoest!

#15 Sterling1703

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Posted 21 August 2019 - 08:58 AM

If you are in Nashville (per sg6's comment):
Check out the Barnard-Seyfert Astronomical Society
https://bsasnashville.com/

Members should be able to steer you in the right direction if there is something grossly wrong with your optics or if collimation is further off than it appears at first glance.

As a point of reference, there are times when humidity feels as if you could cut it with a knife and transparency is so low that Saturn is barely visible through the muggy haze and severe light pollution of Washington D.C. (I live about 6 miles from the National Mall in Washington D.C.). I've done some planetary imaging/observing during these times, and I've also done it when fronts have moved there. There is never a time when Saturn looks like a fuzzy ball in my C9.25. Yes, I have to ease up on the magnification because it can certainly become a fuzzy ball at 500x and more, but I'm typically fine through 200x. Cassini division has always been visible in the C9.25, at least through the parts of the session when Saturn is highest in the sky. Now, something to consider is that Saturn and Jupiter are both mushballs when they are low in the sky. Right now, when Saturn is highest in the sky at my location, Jupiter is basically unobservable. No telescope will do it justice. Maybe this has something to do with it.

Others might chime in here with other ideas, but altitude can be the real culprit here.

George


George
Thank you for the advice. I have been trying to link up with BSAS at an observation gathering but weather has been an issue.

Thanks again
David
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#16 gfstallin

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Posted 22 August 2019 - 10:44 AM

David, 

 

Linking up with BSAS is a great step. My suspicion is that collimation is likely an issue, but it is tough to know without looking through the scope. Jupiter's moons should not be fuzzy at best focus, not even with relatively poor seeing. And don't be discouraged. The C9.25 is a great scope that I'd recommend to anyone who is serious about amateur astronomy. It has provided views of the moon, Saturn and Jupiter that have been quite memorable, and elicited ooohs and aaahs among the various people who have looked through it. 

 

George


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#17 Spacefreak1974

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Posted 22 August 2019 - 10:49 AM

In my experience one has to have good or above average seeing to see the Cassini division of Saturn and that would be at 220X or lower...Jumping up in magnification for anything but high desert skies you will see diminishing returns. Jupiter as well...You will probably see good banding with average seeing, but in order to get decent coloring and the GRS you need above average seeing

 

Just my experience

 

Jon



#18 Auburn80

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Posted 22 August 2019 - 12:37 PM

In my experience one has to have good or above average seeing to see the Cassini division of Saturn and that would be at 220X or lower...Jumping up in magnification for anything but high desert skies you will see diminishing returns. Jupiter as well...You will probably see good banding with average seeing, but in order to get decent coloring and the GRS you need above average seeing

Just my experience

Jon


I dunno Jon. Those features are pretty easy in instruments less capable than a C9.25 and in average (for here) seeing. Even here in the deep south far from the mountains.

#19 Spacefreak1974

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Posted 22 August 2019 - 12:42 PM

I dunno Jon. Those features are pretty easy in instruments less capable than a C9.25 and in average (for here) seeing. Even here in the deep south far from the mountains.

Could be my eyes as well, but thats been my experience



#20 Auburn80

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Posted 22 August 2019 - 01:23 PM

Could be my eyes as well, but thats been my experience


Could be regional environment too. I've read many complaints about seeing in areas frequently impacted by the jet stream.

#21 Spacefreak1974

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Posted 22 August 2019 - 02:04 PM

Could be regional environment too. I've read many complaints about seeing in areas frequently impacted by the jet stream.

Good point. We would certainly be in that group. Best seeing i've seen was a couple months ago and could see a nice rich red color GRS on Jupiter and everyone was saying it was the best they've seen me included


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#22 carolinaskies

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Posted 22 August 2019 - 06:18 PM

As you're new to the scope and observing with an SCT here's a basic checklist of 'what' can be causing issues in general. 

#1 - Radiant HEAT.  I live in SC and you're just a few hours west.  Summers for all of us are nightmares for observing before 11PM.  Heat radiated off of every surface makes observing targets less than 50 degrees from the horizon very difficult.  The planets, especially this year are low and reside in this radiating area.   The best suggestion is to haul the scope to someplace nearby that has a very clear and non-paved/non-neighborhood roof environment to the South.  This will cut down on some of the radiant heat issues you are undoubtably facing. 

#2 - Internal thermal OTA HEAT.   SCTs and Mak scopes are sealed OTAs with glass inside and on the end surrounded by cast metal and metal tubes.  The thin metal OTA gives up heat quick leaving all the other heat INSIDE trying to figure out where to go.  If you have a fan to circulate it out this helps, but if you can put reflectix thermal barrier around the OTA it won't cool off faster and create so much internal heat waves.  

#3 - Collimation.  If you have addressed 1 & 2 THEN and ONLY then consider (not worry but consider) checking colimation.  This is something that doesn't often change unless something happens to the OTA like being thrown around or banged down hard.  SCTs keep collimation... KEEP IT.... when reasonably treated.  Checking it is easiest with an assistant or having a camera attached to the back of the scope.  Checking it with a star at night is best... a single star.. not a double BTW!  I won't go into the process as it's easy to find good directions to check it.  

#4 - Catastrophic optics issue.  This is the 1 in 10,000 incident on a new scope.  Something got by quality control... it's not likely plain and simple... but if you've run through all other options thoroughly it is something to consider as a last ditch possibility after spending dilligent time checking everything.  


#5 -  Dew... DEW... DEW!!!   This is after you've successfully been observing for hours and suddenly everythings gone to crap through the eyepiece.  If you haven't invested in some form of dewshield and/or dew heater they are mandatory for us in the Southeast US.  The dewpoint drops enough when the sun goes down that dew naturally forms on all but the most dry of nights.  A dew shield can be bought or made, and if you use reflectix for your OTA you can extend it about 8-10" past the front of the scope to act like a dew shield.  Dew controllers and heaters are just facts of life for us... so be prepared.  

#6 - Power loss   GOTO telescopes run on power... DC provided by an AC adapter if near an outlet, or DC batteries of some type.  Be aware a GOTO scope can draw as much as 2amps of power during slewing periods and drop to under 1am when tracking an object.  When voltage drops below 12V going to the mount it can start doing weird things... from complete dying, to suddenly slewing wildly... so become familiar with your power consumption and address it accordingly.  FWIW a wise practice is to run the mount on one power source and all others (Dew, cameras, accessories, computers) off another.  This will go better for you in the long run. 


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#23 palaback

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Posted 22 August 2019 - 08:10 PM

I am also using a 9.25" evo. I sometimes have problems seeing detail in Jupiter and Saturn, but this mostly has to do with seeing conditions. When seeing is good I see colors and detail much better. Even though you are close to the observatory its still possible atmospheric conditions are different, it has to do with not only general weather conditions but also atmospheric stability which can be better on a mountain top than the slope below for example. It might be a better test to look at some deep sky objects like m13 or Andromeda, to have a better comparison that is not so complicated by possible variation in seeing conditions. My observatory is in the western mountains so atmospheric instability, winds, etc. is often a problem, but it seems to have much less effect on DSO's. I find that I get really nice planetary views at lower magnifications, generally with a 22-28mm eyepiece; but sometimes I can use a 11 or 14. When I use my mount in a flat area, relatively close to our public observatory it compares fairly well to the huge scopes there, in terms of basic detail, again suggesting seeing limitations in both places, but in this case in a very consistent manner.


Edited by palaback, 22 August 2019 - 08:14 PM.


#24 Astrojedi

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Posted 24 August 2019 - 10:49 AM

Since you cannot see Cassini’s division which should be very easy with the 9.25 even with below average optics and average seeing I am suspecting the usual suspects are to blame. You don’t need a 20” or dark skies or a premium refractor (although that would be easier to use) or need to live in the SW US to meet your expectations. In good seeing I have had stunning views of Jupiter and Saturn in C9.25.

 

1. Collimation

2. OTA thermal equilibrium

3. Seeing (local)

4. Seeing (non-local)

 

1, 2 & 3 are in your control but 4 is not. Also you have not confirmed that you have ruled out 1 & 2. You must rule these out first. Some questions:

 

1. When a star is out of focus are you seeing “waves” or “shimmering” of the image?

2. Are the planets close to rooftops? - rooftops radiate thermals late into the evening

3. Are you setup on concrete?

4. Are you using a dew shield? If not it is a must. Put it on the OTA and let it cool down.



#25 Sterling1703

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Posted 26 August 2019 - 01:38 PM

Since you cannot see Cassini’s division which should be very easy with the 9.25 even with below average optics and average seeing I am suspecting the usual suspects are to blame. You don’t need a 20” or dark skies or a premium refractor (although that would be easier to use) or need to live in the SW US to meet your expectations. In good seeing I have had stunning views of Jupiter and Saturn in C9.25.

1. Collimation
2. OTA thermal equilibrium
3. Seeing (local)
4. Seeing (non-local)

1, 2 & 3 are in your control but 4 is not. Also you have not confirmed that you have ruled out 1 & 2. You must rule these out first. Some questions:

1. When a star is out of focus are you seeing “waves” or “shimmering” of the image?
2. Are the planets close to rooftops? - rooftops radiate thermals late into the evening
3. Are you setup on concrete?
4. Are you using a dew shield? If not it is a must. Put it on the OTA and let it cool down.


Astrojedi
I do collimation every night I’m out. Usually on the first star that I start my alignment on. I do use a dew shield but don’t have heater hooked up yet (next purchase is heater control). I set the OTA out an hour or more before I start but I haven’t been removing the covers. Im hearing that is probably an issue. I am also setting up in my driveway which until now I didn’t even think about the heat radiating off the streets and roofs. I recently took it on a trip in to the country where I wasn’t set up looking over a house, but there was a full moon which obviously added a lot of light pollution. I really just need to find a public dark spot near me and get out and set it up. I feel like most of my issues are due to #4 (non local seeing).

Thank you
David


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