Total beginner here. For background, I bought a department store grade telescope at a garage sale about a month or two ago and have been pointing it at the moon and planets. Decided a couple weeks ago it was interesting enough to upgrade and just got a Celestron Omni 102 XLT with CG-4 mount on sale this past week along with an 18mm and 9mm EP.
Tonight I decided to try and find something a bit more challenging than I had been, so I went for M31. I should mention I own "Turn Left at Orion" and am using the free version of SkySafari. With those two resources I was able to locate it after about 40 minutes of searching (well gotta start somewhere...).
So, couple of things about this...
It was really faint! According to the "Clear Outside" app I'm in Bortle Class 6 skies / darksitefinder.com "Red" zone. I see Turn Left at Orion marks it as "Dark sky". I get that light pollution is a big factor, however would it be higher contrast or not as faint if I was using a telescope with a larger aperture which pulls in more light or would it still be faint because of the ambient light? Should I bother picking up a filter to help with this?
It was really hard to focus on. I was surprised about this the most, I couldn't really tell if I was in focus or not. I just started using the nearby stars to set focus, but due to the faintness it just seemed fuzzy and it was hard to tell really if I was seeing anything clearly. Is that a function of the state of the atmosphere as well? The Celestron doesn't have a fine focus so I also was wondering if I was just being a bit too heavy handed on the focus wheel or not...
What does "Low power" mean in the Turn Left at Orion book? I was able to actually see M31 in the stock 6x30 finder (surprised at that!). I had the 18mm on the scope to start with (55x) and swapped it out for the 9mm (111x) once I got it centered. Is that a good power to be viewing at? I'm not sure what range "low power" in the book is trying to convey.
Edited by andstuff, 22 October 2019 - 11:11 PM.