New at this and need help!
Posted 09 July 2020 - 11:09 PM
Posted 09 July 2020 - 11:35 PM
Stars look like donuts when they're out of focus. Stars look like dots when they're in focus (unless you see a faint diffraction ring surrounding the dot, which takes really good optics and good, steady seeing conditions.) A star never looks like anything but a point. Unless you find a double star, in which case you'll see two points.
The magnifiction isn't changing while you're focusing. You're seeing exactly what you should expect and you're not doing anything wrong. Don't panic! Try the Moon, and then see if you can find Jupiter or Saturn.
Edited by JamesMStephens, 09 July 2020 - 11:44 PM.
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Posted 10 July 2020 - 12:06 AM
+1 for what Jim said - also meet some helpful friends at your local astronomy club! That's the best way to get started in our hobby.
Tell us what kind of telescope, mount, eyepieces, software and apps, etc you have, and we may be able to offer better suggestions.
It gets way easier and will soon be a lot more fun, just be patient. There is a learning curve.
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Posted 10 July 2020 - 12:42 AM
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Posted 10 July 2020 - 02:00 AM
I’ve aligned my starfinder and scope well but all the images I see look like donuts! If I bring it down to the finest magnification I see a white dot. I’ve managed to see said white dot (Altair) with 2x Barlow and 16 power but it was still a white dot without much detail. What am I doing wrong? Why do my stars look like donuts at lower focus? I’d appreciate some help and direction. Thank you.
As Jim said your focus is out, even way out .
Would be useful to know the scope. Reason is that some come with extension tubes. The idea being that for imaging the camera needs to be closer inward. So they make the scope in effect to accept a camera, then to enable an eyepiece to work they put in the accessories an extender or two.
Means that when you get the scope there are no extenders in the light path so the eyepiece is positioned too much forward and you can never get it to focus.
My Bresser 102/600 came like that. Which I suppose is nice but no-one really images with a shortish achro. Also meant I had to work out if I needed 1 or 2 extension tubes.
So if you are sat there thinking "They know nothing, I have wound the focuser from end to end and still doughnuts!" That could be why.
Stars will always be dots, hopefully just points not doughnuts. To see "size" you need to change targets. To what is termed "extended objects". The easy ones are The Messier Objects. Easy because he got there first and so listed all the basic larger brighter ones.
Best for now is simply wrok out which stars are which, that then tells you the main constellation they are part of. Then you find out what objects are in which constellation.
Reason is that we will say "Try the double cluster in Perseus", or, "M36, 37, 38 in Auriga". So you have to know how to identify/find Perseus and Auriga at least.
So scope please and always useful a location.
Posted 10 July 2020 - 02:33 AM
Beginner would likely think a star would have size with magnification, but not the case at all.
Stars are many light years distant way out of range for amateur telescopes for any size and detail.
You want the smallest point of light when in proper focus. Infact the tighter the focus the better for stars.
Will see this advantage quickly when discovering separating famed double stars, some have amazing contrast color combinations.
Planets will show size with magnification, late evening Jupiter is showing can't miss it as so bright. Start here to check magnification. It's main moons are an easy fun target.
Enjoy an amazing Hobby!
Edited by phillip, 10 July 2020 - 02:35 AM.
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Posted 10 July 2020 - 07:05 AM
The best astro accessory I ever bought was the book Turn Left At Orion. It walks you through how to see hundreds of interesting objects that are visible even with a small, inexpensive telescope (I've seen most of them with a 60mm Tasco scope) and gives realistic illustrations of what the objects should look like in your eyepiece so you know what to expect and so you can tell for sure when you've found the target.
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Posted 10 July 2020 - 12:02 PM
Posted 10 July 2020 - 12:52 PM
I understand that if I further focus my donut it becomes a point Of light. Just wish I could see more detail.
As pointed out in post #6... other than our sun, every star in the sky is far too distant to ever be anything in any optical telescope, but a point if light.
Along with joining a local astronomy club, it might prove immensely helpful if you were to take a basic astronomy course at a nearby city college.
Posted 10 July 2020 - 01:10 PM
Thank you all, that was very helpful. I have the Celestron Nexstar 5 SE with a wedge for an equality mount but I’m using horizontal right now. I bough all the accessories, eyepieces, heat/water restaurant cover(I live in Texas). I even got the starsense align which I’m returning because it isn’t working but the three point align on the regular scope also doesn’t work all that well. I signed up with my local astronomy Group. I’m really excited about making this my hobby. I understand that if I further focus my donut it becomes a point Of light. Just wish I could see more detail. I’ll follow the moon/Jupiter suggestions. Any suggestions on what to use for computer software? I’ve been using starsense so far and can’t complain too much yet...
Use the 2 star alignment. And pick alignment stars that are at least 90 degrees apart. 3 star alignment is prone to issues
Posted 10 July 2020 - 01:10 PM
Try getting up early and aim at Venus, which is currently extremely bright in the pre-dawn sky. You should see a crescent in brilliant white. It may flimmer if the seeing is poor, but it should be crisp at low power.
Posted 11 July 2020 - 08:49 AM
Any suggestions on what to use for computer software? I’ve been using starsense so far and can’t complain too much yet...
Get the SkySafari https://apps.apple.c...ri/id1257281849 app for your mobile phone. It's $3. It's one of the best investments you can make. I love it.