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Beginner Celestron Observing Planet
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#1 Realfan

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 12:03 PM

Hi Everyone - as a middle aged man who now has more time on his hands after both my adult kids are moving out of the house, I thought I'd return to a childhood passion of mine and try and look at the sky with a nice telescope.  After reading these forums and other websites with a lot of interesting information, I decided to purchase the Celestron Nexstar 8SE along with the 1.25" eyepiece and filter accessory kit (and an AC adaptor).  

 

Last night, in my suburban (25 miles away from CBD) home, I sat out on my deck and went through all the steps which worked very well.  The telescope calibrated according to the steps and I was ready to take my tour.  I set my sights (literally and figuratively) on Jupiter and Saturn but they were low on the horizon all night (for me) and whenever I was able to see them, all I saw was bright points of light rather than any magnified detail.  I also used SkySafari on my Android phone to double confirm that I was seeing what I was supposed to see.  I only used the original equipment (25mm eyepiece) and did not substitute any other eyepieces.  So it was a rather underwhelming experience but after doing more reading this morning, I think I've come to a few conclusions:

 

1) These planets were too low on the horizon for me to see well and I should have waited until they were higher in the night sky.

2)  I may want to move to a smaller eyepiece to get better magnification.

3)  I may just live too close to a big city where the light pollution is difficult to overcome.

 

That said, I was able to see Saturn and its rings 20 years ago from the same back deck with a $100 telescope when my now adult son was very little.  If I'm missing anything basic, I'd love to hear from any of you with any advice and I hope to learn, grow and become a long-term participating member here for years to come. Thanks in advance!


Edited by Realfan, 02 August 2021 - 02:39 PM.

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#2 bobzeq25

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 12:13 PM

I can help you set reasonable expectations.

 

Assuming you wait until they're somewhat close to South.

 

You should be able to see Saturn's rings easily.   And the main division between them, the Cassini.  If you couldn't see the rings at all, I'm wondering if you were pointed at Saturn.  Even if it was low on the horizon, even with a 25mm eyepiece.

 

You should be able to see the principle moons of Jupiter, and some number of cloud belts.

 

25 miles away from the CBD should be fine, unless we're talking Manhattan or Tokyo.  <smile>  Some nights are just bad, though.


Edited by bobzeq25, 02 August 2021 - 12:15 PM.


#3 wrvond

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 12:50 PM

My advice is: change the locks on all the doors. Once they're out, keeping them out is a full time job.

 

Oh wait, you were talking about the telescope...

 

You got it covered pretty well. As bobzeq25 says, there is a good chance you weren't actually looking at the planets. Sky Safari is a handy tool, but it is possible to have a "misalignment" between what you see on the phone and what you see in the sky. 

In your case, waiting until the targets are higher in the sky is a great first step.

Something else is to install Stellarium on your computer. It's free and you can set the time ahead or speed it up to see what is available, when it'll be at it's highest, and where it is in relation to your location. It's a great planning tool.

 

Good luck!


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#4 sevenofnine

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 01:37 PM

Welcome to C/N! flowerred.gif It seems that you have things pretty well sorted for your first try!... Most celestial objects are at their best when they are closer to Zenith. I don't bother with anything below 30 degrees. A good astronomy guide book will show you object locations and what you can expect to see. Guy Consulmagno's "Turn Left at Orion" is excellent. His drawings are more like what you will see than photographs. Also download the free Stellarium app. It's very helpful for planning your evening under the stars.

 

There are a lot of nice to have's in this hobby but I recommend working with what you have for awhile. The one thing that should be at the top of your list is an observing chair. Starbound and Vestil are the most recommended because of their adjustability. Tele Vue makes a drummer's style stool with a swiveling pneumatic seat and legs that fold up for portability. Very nice and should work with your scope. Best of luck to you! waytogo.gif



#5 BJ4232

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 01:42 PM

Welcome back to the night skies!

 

I'm thinking along the lines of the other posters- You may be on the wrong object. 

Saturn rises about 8:00PM Central time; Jupiter is an hour behind- about 9:00PM. By 10:00PM you should be able to get god views, at least to start off.

Both are somewhat low in the SE sky for most of the night (depending on your location). Jupiter is very bright at -2mag, while Saturn is a bit dimmer. 

 

The 8SE is lots of telescope to view rings. Once you have Saturn, you absolutely will know it, unless you are not in proper focus. 

Proper alignment is essential. With a new GoTo, you really need to confirm what you are looking at without trusting the computer yet. 

If you don't see rings, move to other, brighter  objects. They are there and well worth it. it's a great starting point for you. 

 

Good luck.  

 

 

Bill J. 


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#6 wrvond

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 01:48 PM

<snip> Once you have Saturn, you absolutely will know it, unless you are not in proper focus. 

<snip>

 

Bill J. 

A great point- with the C8, if it isn't in focus you simply aren't going to see stuff. For example - there is a water tower a few miles away that I use to align my finder with the scope. With the C8 out of focus I can't see the tower. As I focus it will suddenly appear in the eyepiece. So if you aren't truly focused, I imagine it would be possible to see an illuminated spot without seeing the rings. That focuser knob takes a lot of turns to get it in focus.


Edited by wrvond, 02 August 2021 - 01:49 PM.


#7 Realfan

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 02:38 PM

Thanks all for the replies.  It appears to me that I was over trusting of the Sky Safari app to help confirm what I thought I was looking at.  Clearly I was not looking at what I thought were Saturn and Jupiter.  I will try again tonight although the skies are cloudy as I speak :)  

I will report back here if I succeed.  Thanks again for the good suggestions and feedback.  Much appreciated.


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#8 wrvond

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 02:46 PM

http://www.cleardarksky.com/csk/



#9 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 02:55 PM

A 25mm eyepiece produces ~81x in a Celestron Nexstar 8SE, which is certainly enough magnification to show Jupiter and Saturn as more than points of light.  

Light pollution does not effect observing the bright planets adversely.  However, poor seeing certainly will.


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#10 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 03:04 PM

By the way, Saturn reaches opposition on August 2nd UT and Jupiter on August 20 UT.  Observing the two gas giants when they transit the meridian, i.e., reach their highest altitude, is ideal.

 

https://astronomy.co...-30-to-august-6

 

https://earthsky.org...brightest-best/

 

https://earthsky.org...brightest-best/



#11 Realfan

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 03:06 PM

I will admit that I am more than embarrassed that I was looking at the wrong star/planet when I was convinced I was pointed at the right object.  I did use the red dot to line up the scope and then I did spend multiple minutes focusing slowly to try and find these two planets.  When the focus of the sky finally came through and I could see numerous stars (faint and bright) I did maneuver up and down, left and right to try and make sure I wasn't a little off but I am certain that all of you are correct in that I wasn't really close and need to do better (although you all said it much more nicely than that)!



#12 wrvond

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 03:08 PM

I will admit that I am more than embarrassed that I was looking at the wrong star/planet when I was convinced I was pointed at the right object.  I did use the red dot to line up the scope and then I did spend multiple minutes focusing slowly to try and find these two planets.  When the focus of the sky finally came through and I could see numerous stars (faint and bright) I did maneuver up and down, left and right to try and make sure I wasn't a little off but I am certain that all of you are correct in that I wasn't really close and need to do better (although you all said it much more nicely than that)!

Fuggedaboudit!

 

I couldn't find the full moon my first night out!  lol.gif


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#13 GGK

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 03:17 PM

I will admit that I am more than embarrassed that I was looking at the wrong star/planet when I was convinced I was pointed at the right object.  I did use the red dot to line up the scope and then I did spend multiple minutes focusing slowly to try and find these two planets.  When the focus of the sky finally came through and I could see numerous stars (faint and bright) I did maneuver up and down, left and right to try and make sure I wasn't a little off but I am certain that all of you are correct in that I wasn't really close and need to do better (although you all said it much more nicely than that)!

Ha!  We all get messed up with out pointing accuracy occasionally.  The stock 25mm eyepiece will have no problem showing Saturn and Jupiter, and even low on the horizon you will recognize Saturn if in focus without problems. 

If you're using GoTo, recheck your time and coordinates input at set-up.  It's easy to be 15 degrees away because your time is off by an hour. 

 

Also, when slewing around searching, remember that your true field of view is about 0.65 degrees with that eyepiece.  If you take big steps when moving up/down/left/right, it's easy to miss large areas of sky in your grid.

 

Good luck.  The C8 is plenty of scope to get a great view of these planets. 


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#14 rhetfield

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 03:51 PM

Ha!  We all get messed up with out pointing accuracy occasionally.  The stock 25mm eyepiece will have no problem showing Saturn and Jupiter, and even low on the horizon you will recognize Saturn if in focus without problems. 

If you're using GoTo, recheck your time and coordinates input at set-up.  It's easy to be 15 degrees away because your time is off by an hour. 

 

Also, when slewing around searching, remember that your true field of view is about 0.65 degrees with that eyepiece.  If you take big steps when moving up/down/left/right, it's easy to miss large areas of sky in your grid.

 

Good luck.  The C8 is plenty of scope to get a great view of these planets. 

At 0.65 degrees, a finder really does need to be close to perfectly aligned to get it in the eyepiece.  After midnight, Jupiter will be the brightest thing in the southern sky.


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#15 Realfan

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Posted 03 August 2021 - 09:32 AM

UPDATE:  I had the same issue last night.  I can clearly see both planets with my naked eye.  The telescope lined them up yet they appear only as bright dots in my scope.  I know I’m looking at the right two objects as I double confirmed using two apps as recommended in this thread.  I’ve done it before (albeit 20 years ago) so now I am beginning to get frustrated and being unable to view these two planets.  

 

I will try again tonight weather permitting and may use a different eyepiece as something appears amiss to me. Thanks again to all for yesterday’s feedback.  I will continue my journey this evening.


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#16 wrvond

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Posted 03 August 2021 - 09:45 AM

UPDATE:  I had the same issue last night.  I can clearly see both planets with my naked eye.  The telescope lined them up yet they appear only as bright dots in my scope.  I know I’m looking at the right two objects as I double confirmed using two apps as recommended in this thread.  I’ve done it before (albeit 20 years ago) so now I am beginning to get frustrated and being unable to view these two planets.  

 

I will try again tonight weather permitting and may use a different eyepiece as something appears amiss to me. Thanks again to all for yesterday’s feedback.  I will continue my journey this evening.

The importance of focusing cannot be overstated. When you have your scope lined up, go ahead and turn the focus knob all the way clockwise or anti-clockwise (doesn't matter which), but don't hit the stops hard. Then start turning it back the other direction while looking through the eyepiece. Keep going until you achieve focus, then tweak for final focus.

 

BTW, nothing wrong with trying other eyepieces as well.


Edited by wrvond, 03 August 2021 - 09:46 AM.


#17 paul hart

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Posted 03 August 2021 - 09:48 AM

Your 25mm plossl should give 80x enough to see Saturn-it will be small but easily visible. I have to ask this but is your red dot finder aligned correctly? Have you checked it during the day on a distant object? I had no problems seeing Saturn and Jupiter through an 80mm refractor. I have no idea where CBD is. I'm located around 40 degrees North and both planets were about 30 degrees above the horizon. You will get the hang of it, believe me we all messed up (and sometimes still do).


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#18 bobzeq25

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Posted 03 August 2021 - 10:01 AM

UPDATE:  I had the same issue last night.  I can clearly see both planets with my naked eye.  The telescope lined them up yet they appear only as bright dots in my scope.  I know I’m looking at the right two objects as I double confirmed using two apps as recommended in this thread.  I’ve done it before (albeit 20 years ago) so now I am beginning to get frustrated and being unable to view these two planets.  

 

I will try again tonight weather permitting and may use a different eyepiece as something appears amiss to me. Thanks again to all for yesterday’s feedback.  I will continue my journey this evening.

If Saturn looks like a bright round dot _something_ is amiss.  If Jupiter doesn't show at least one bright moon, ditto.  It's rare that they're all behind the planet, and they're _bright_.  You can easily see them in binoculars.


Edited by bobzeq25, 03 August 2021 - 10:03 AM.


#19 Realfan

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Posted 03 August 2021 - 10:10 AM

The importance of focusing cannot be overstated. When you have your scope lined up, go ahead and turn the focus knob all the way clockwise or anti-clockwise (doesn't matter which), but don't hit the stops hard. Then start turning it back the other direction while looking through the eyepiece. Keep going until you achieve focus, then tweak for final focus.

 

BTW, nothing wrong with trying other eyepieces as well.

I did try this (focus knob turned all the way in one direction and then the painful slow turns the other way) and then I would see simply at one point a small circle which as I continued to focus would then turn into a bright star/dot in my scope.  If I continued to turn the knob in the same direction, that small bright spot would then begin to slightly enlarge into a small circle and then fade away.  I am going to do it again tonight and try a different eyepiece but thanks for the guidance.  


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#20 Realfan

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Posted 03 August 2021 - 10:11 AM

Your 25mm plossl should give 80x enough to see Saturn-it will be small but easily visible. I have to ask this but is your red dot finder aligned correctly? Have you checked it during the day on a distant object? I had no problems seeing Saturn and Jupiter through an 80mm refractor. I have no idea where CBD is. I'm located around 40 degrees North and both planets were about 30 degrees above the horizon. You will get the hang of it, believe me we all messed up (and sometimes still do).

I thought I did this correctly but I think I will take your advice and recheck today when I get home.  I will realign during the day so that I am all set during the night.  I did think I had it right but clearly something is wrong and this could be one of the issues.   CBD - central business district.  Thanks for your support!



#21 Realfan

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Posted 03 August 2021 - 10:13 AM

If Saturn looks like a bright round dot _something_ is amiss.  If Jupiter doesn't show at least one bright moon, ditto.  It's rare that they're all behind the planet, and they're _bright_.  You can easily see them in binoculars.

There’s definitely something wrong and I know my equipment is functioning as when I did my red dot alignment on a house over a quarter mile away, I could see and align everything through my scope.  Clearly this is human error but I will keep at it tonight.  Thanks.


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#22 Echolight

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Posted 03 August 2021 - 03:51 PM

Saturn looks like a brightly polished sparkling golden football (American) in my 8x binoculars.

6A8E89A1-58B2-4281-A2F6-8FB41180053C.jpeg

 

Jupiters four Galilean moons are also visible in the binoculars. They’ll be in a straight line on either or both sides of Jupiter.

 

 

They will be coming over the horizon east by southeast. Saturn just around dark thirty, with a golden color. And Jupiter an hour or two behind. Naked eye, Jupiter will be the brightest “star” in the sky.


Edited by Echolight, 03 August 2021 - 04:08 PM.

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#23 Sky Muse

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Posted 03 August 2021 - 05:14 PM

Jupiter is always a bit bright, and Saturn is at its brightest and largest at present(opposition).  The resolution afforded by a larger aperture is always welcome, however the light-gathering ability of same can be a bit too much...

 

https://agenaastro.c...1-25-94107.html



#24 ShaulaB

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Posted 03 August 2021 - 05:55 PM

To see Saturn well, here are two options. Look at it after midnight now. Or wait a few months for it to be higher in the sky during evening hours. Long story short--learn how the sky moves. Celestial motion is useful to know.

The magnification using the 25 mm eyepiece is a little under 80x. Divide the 8SE focal length by the eyepiece focal length to get magnification. 80x is plenty to see Saturn's rings. I can see them in a smaller scope at 50x. As a previous poster said, maybe the alignment went wrong and you ended up at a star instead of Saturn.

Get to know deep sky objects of Summer. There are lots of M (for Messier) objects to delight you. If you get an app like Sky Safari or software like Stellarium (free) you can see where they are. The GoTo mount will turn the optical tube towards them.

A nice, free paper map can be gotten at SkyMaps dot com. On one side isamapand a monthly calendar if things to see. On the second side, lists of objects for good observing are shown.

#25 BJ4232

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Posted 04 August 2021 - 11:09 AM

A nice, free paper map can be gotten at SkyMaps dot com. On one side isamapand a monthly calendar if things to see. On the second side, lists of objects for good observing are shown.

took me a while but I finally got this. 

 

isamapand = is a map and

 

I won't tell you how long, but i now know how important spaces are.. lol.gif




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