I have always been interested in astronomy and only decided to buy a telescope about a month ago and I soon realized how little I know about telescopes. The Celestron 70AZ fit well in my budget and the overall reviews seem to indicate it is a good beginner's telescope. I have heard that the 2 eyepieces and the barlow lens that come with it is not that good, but the telescope itself is.
What lens or lens kit would you recommend that is preferably less than the telescope. Also, can any branded lens fit any telescope?
NOTE: My wife, daughter and I live in the suburbs, so we have a lot of light pollution. I tried looking at the moon a few nights ago, but I couldn't make out any detail. We will be going up to the Drakensberg (South Africa) later the year and there are some excellent viewing sites.
Thank you in advance.
I went on honeymoon in South Africa and left a good piece of my heart there. We've been around a lot, from Cape Town and surroundings (ah, the Winelands) up the Garden Route, and then all the way up to the Kruger. Some of the best memories of my life. We could only glimpse the Drakensberg from afar but I bet it will be wonderful! And the Southern skies! How jealous I am!
To your questions…
From what I read, "detail" and high magnification is not the forte of a small refractor. Plus we don't know what eyepieces were provided with yours… I'll bet a 25mm and something shorter for higher magnification? Be that as it may: a great deal of lunar detail should be visible from anywhere – including Times Square – through a scope like yours.
Unless there's something wrong with your scope, I'd chalk it up to:
- Bad seeing conditions when you were looking. Turbulence can limit the amount of detail visible on any object. This includes also cases where you were looking over hot rooftops, or perhaps from within your apartment. Go to a meteo service like MeteoBlue, and they'll also give you "seeing conditions". If you don't know the difference between "seeing" and "transparency", go to the thread on the Beginner's best of How-tos.
- Operator error. After a couple months in the hobby I realized that you just have to spend time at the eyepiece to acquire the skills needed to operate the scope, point it, and observe.
- Not knowing exactly where to look or what to look for. The Moon is so full of features that you can just get lost and overlook the interesting bits. A good rule is to look along the "terminator" for the more dramatic features. But my key suggestion would be: get a good book to get you started (especially if you don't know what the terminator is). Not Kindle, not PDFs… a physical book you can take in the field. I have "Turn Left at Orion" and I love it. Its lunar chapter is as wonderful as the rest of the book. Let the authors introduce you to the Apennines, Mount Pico, Sinus Iridium, crater Longrenus, Tycho, the Straight Wall & Co!
As you're buying the book, and you're about to go to dark places (jealous, again) buy a red flashlight. When you're looking at the moon, getting dark adapted is not so crucial. It is, however, when you're going for fainter objects like clusters, nebulae and galaxies… which you WILL want to do. The last thing you want to do is to stare at a computer screen to look up a chart!
PS: there were two more questions that I did not address.
-- Brands are not important when it comes to fitting eyepieces to telescopes: it's a matter of format. Eyepieces have to fit into the focuser or star diagonal, and come in basically two formats: 1.25 inches and 2 inches. Check on the manual of your scope what format you have – I presume 1.25 – and shop accordingly. BUT
-- Before buying eyepieces, I'd use what you have for a few months. I assume that they are adequate eyepieces. I'd rather focus on skills and knowledge. Other accessories might also come in handy: a moon filter (or sunglasses), an observation chair…
In any case, it's likely that, if you post pics of the eyepieces and Barlow, the good folks on the forum will be able to tell you exactly what you have and how good they are.
Edited by radiofm74, 02 March 2021 - 11:50 AM.