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Thread: Bought a telescope and stuff is just a blur

  1. #31
    Thanks for all the links, I will check them out.

    Just to clarify something. I only moved up to my 4mm when I already had the object centered and focused. I wasn't very impressed with the 20mm and 10mm magnifications since it just made the object look like a bright star instead of a dim one. If using the 4 mm and/or barlow lens is so hard, how do you overcome this? How do you guys get good views of planets? Or does everyone just have a much better telescope than me and I basically wasted my money? :-?

    And when I said the manual says I should be able to see the Moon (obviously), Jupiter, Saturn, Venus, Mars, ect. I assumed they meant in at least a lil' bit of detail. This is kind of misleading to the novice astronomer..

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by milli360
    Quote Originally Posted by AGN Fuel
    Ummm - use a 4mm eyepiece with a Barlow and you are really asking for a tough time. Until you are sorted out, I would suggest using a much lower magnification (do you have a 17, 26 or even a 32mm eyepiece?). When you are just starting out, high magnification is not your friend!
    His OP says he'd used a 20mm.

    Definitely stay away from the 4mm and barlow until you get this sorted out.
    You may never be able to use a 4mm eyepiece with a 2.5x Barlow in this telescope. You have a 60mm objective. The rule-of-thumb for maximum magnification under perfect seeing conditions is "60x per inch of aperture": about 140x for 60mm. I don't know what your scope's focal length is, but I'm guessing from the picture that it's about 450mm. (You should be able to find the correct value in the manual). Magnification is (scope fl)/(eyepiece FL). 4/2.5=1.6mm for the 4mm with Barlow, and 450/1.6=281. Under most circumstances, 4mm unbarlowed is the best you'll manage with this scope.

    Having said all that, it's not an issue for most things you'll be looking at. The problem with most things in the sky isn't that they're small, it's that they're faint. Except for planets (which will sometimes take higher magnifications), you'll get a better view at lower powers. I've had my scope for about three months, and I find I do most of my observing at between 37x and 78x.

  3. #33
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    here is the mapping program I use. Its free and it simply rocks

    Cartes Du Ciel

    I am currently using 7x30 binoc's without a tripod. I managed to see the rings of saturn, so you should be able to see them better. In fact, when I saw the rings I thought there was a collimnation problem with the prism but after looking at Jupiter, Mars, Betelgeuse and Rigel which weren't blurry, I realized the oblong blurryness HAD to be the rings. I was so excited I literally ran around in circles trying to round up the wife, kids dog or anyone else within shouting range to come look.

    Don't let the "Bushell are notorious for not being high quality" get to you. Any scope is better then no scope. Remember for everyone that has a super expensive, high quality scope, someone has one better.

    I'd have to agree, hit the astronomy club on one of their viewing nights. I have found that Amature astronomers love to tweak out equipment for optimal performance and love to share their knowledge and help out other amatures. Amature astronomers spend a lot of money on gear because of their love for the science. People naturally like to share things they are passionate about. In fact, trying to shut one up is often tougher than getting one to help.

  4. #34
    The focal length is pretty good: 910mm.

    Thanx for all the kind words guys. I will probably go out again tonight with the help of all those links you have given me.

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by skrap1r0n
    Don't let the "Bushell are notorious for not being high quality" get to you. Any scope is better then no scope. Remember for everyone that has a super expensive, high quality scope, someone has one better.
    This is such an important point that I'll quote it again:

    Quote Originally Posted by skrap1r0n
    Any scope is better then no scope.

  6. #36
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    You may never be able to use a 4mm eyepiece with a 2.5x Barlow in this telescope. You have a 60mm objective. The rule-of-thumb for maximum magnification under perfect seeing conditions is "60x per inch of aperture": about 140x for 60mm. I don't know what your scope's focal length is, but I'm guessing from the picture that it's about 450mm. (You should be able to find the correct value in the manual). Magnification is (scope fl)/(eyepiece FL). 4/2.5=1.6mm for the 4mm with Barlow, and 450/1.6=281. Under most circumstances, 4mm unbarlowed is the best you'll manage with this scope.
    Amazingly, Bushnell's own website gives the telescope's focal length as 910mm! I fail to see how that is possible unless they've used mirrors somewhere in the optical tube to extend the effective focal length, ala a poor man's Mak-Cass.

    60x per inch of aperture is an optimistic estimate, in my opinion 40x or 50x is probably better, which means the highest theoretical magnification is closer to 96x/120x

    JohnW is right about the barlow, and I'll go further than say the 4mm is probably useless, too. Just too much magnification for such a little scope.

    Just to clarify something. I only moved up to my 4mm when I already had the object centered and focused. I wasn't very impressed with the 20mm and 10mm magnifications since it just made the object look like a bright star instead of a dim one. If using the 4 mm and/or barlow lens is so hard, how do you overcome this? How do you guys get good views of planets? Or does everyone just have a much better telescope than me and I basically wasted my money?
    If the scope really is 910mm, you're getting about 45x for the 20mm and 91x for the 10mm-- planets will still look small at 45x, but should be recognizable as planets. A 4mm and barlow is overkill in most any scope: my 8" reflector would have 600x, which is well beyond what it's capable of doing. My favorite views of the planets come at about 175x/200x.

    Any telescope is better than no telescope. Having said that, I don't think too highly of Bushnell telescopes. I had a Bushnell 4.25" reflector before I bought my Orion 90mm Starmax, and the difference is night and day. I still have the 90mm, even though I also bought an 8" reflector.

  7. #37
    Very true. Unfortunately, I guess my expectations were a lil' too high. But I'll continue trying to look at different objects in the sky and hopefully get a good look at something one day.

  8. #38
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    Definately don't give up. What you found the other day was most likely Not Saturn or Jupiter, but a star. A star will never look like anything other than a star no matter how good your telescope is. If you get someone to help you find a few night sky objects, you will be amazed by what you CAN see. Saturn, the Moon, Jupiter, as well many star clusters and nebula are within your scopes abilities. Are there better scopes on the market? Sure. But what you can get now as an inexpensive starter scope is so far ahead of what was possible just a few years ago. So, keep looking up.

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Majestic_Eagle
    Very true. Unfortunately, I guess my expectations were a lil' too high. But I'll continue trying to look at different objects in the sky and hopefully get a good look at something one day.
    I wish I had your scope, instead of a set of binocs that are older than I am that I have borrowed from my father. From what I understand, you can actually see some of the Messier Objects with decent binocs. My problem is the ones I am using do not have a tripod mount on them. I am currently looking at getting some Bushnell 16x50's for under $60.00 that should allow me to score some of the Messier Objects. I could probably do it now if I had a tripod mount.

    The point being, that you should be able to get your scope tuned and have a blast with it. Don't get discouraged, keep trying to tune it, get help and try different combo's of eyepieces and such until you get what you are happy with. Thats why it will be important for you to attend some local astronomy club star parties. They will help you out with your gear, allow you to peek through theirs and just generally socialize with a bunch of great people. Getting discouraged is probably the biggest barrier preventing folks new to the hobby from persuing it further.

    I am going to have to save forever to get the scope I want, So I'll have to make do with what I have until then. But all is not lost. Use the time to learn your way around the sky, familierize yourself with the constellations and the stars that make them up. Learn how to star hop. You can do a lot of this with no optics at all, although they do help.

    I was told once that learning the sky is like moving into a new neighborhood. At first you know nothing about the neighborhood, then you learn where the corner store is, then the video rental place, etc. after a while you start learning backroads to avoid traffic etc. Learning the sky is very similar. Locate one constellation you can recognize. For me it was Orion. Learn the stars that make up Orion. Once you learn all you can about that constellation, Then learn how to use those stars to hop to a nearby constellation and then learn about it.

    We all wish we had better gear, make due with what you have and you will be rewarded. Anything worth doing is worth noodling out, perservering, and succeeding until you reach that goal. The trick is, make realistic, obtainable goals.

  10. #40
    Thanks for the encouragement. I will probably check out one of the local astronomy clubs.

    Quote Originally Posted by ChesleyFan
    If the scope really is 910mm, you're getting about 45x for the 20mm and 91x for the 10mm-- planets will still look small at 45x, but should be recognizable as planets.
    Would I actually be able to see in some detail Jupiter and Saturn and other planets? Would I be able to say right after focusing in on the object "ah, that's Jupiter. Awesome!".

  11. #41
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    skrap1r0n,

    Many of the Messier objects are visible to the unaided eye. M45, 42, 46, 41, 35, 8, 31, 13 just to name a few off the top of my head. Many more are visible with the binoculars you have. You can (and many do) spend a lifetime exploring what is visible with what you've got

  12. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Majestic_Eagle
    Would I actually be able to see in some detail Jupiter and Saturn and other planets? Would I be able to say right after focusing in on the object "ah, that's Jupiter. Awesome!".
    You should be able to see the Galilean satellites of Jupiter, some of the cloud bands, Saturn's rings, and Titan. I can't predict what you're going to say, but I'm guessing you'll be too busy jumping up and down to speak.

  13. #43
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    One of the possibilities for your focusing problem, which I didn't see mentioned, is collomation. The Focus of your objective may not be alined with your eye piece. Your instruction manual may have a discussion about how to collomate the objective. If not, go to the Sky & Telescope web site and look for their article on telescopes and how to buy them. Try here:

    http://skyandtelescope.com/howto/scopes/default.asp

    I thought they had an article on collomating refractors but all I could find was one about Newtonians.

    The other possibility, which I didn't see mentioned is spheracal aberation or astygmatism. It could be that your objective is not ground properly. That situation would require you sending it back to the manufacturer for correction.

    Good luck and good seeing.

  14. #44
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    I suggest trying to focus on Sirius, It is pretty bright and up loner than Venus. A good skymap to try is www.skymaps.com. it is free and has some good tips for newbies.

  15. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Russ

    The other possibility, which I didn't see mentioned is spheracal aberation or astygmatism. It could be that your objective is not ground properly. That situation would require you sending it back to the manufacturer for correction.
    hmmm i thought spherical abberations were from schmidt cassegrains that have a spherical mirror <not parabolic>, so the focus isnt a point, therefore a secondary correcting lens is put into place.. I dont think this guy has this type of telescope. I may be wrong thou.

  16. #46
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    The initial post shows that he has a 60mm refractor. Also since daytime observing has shown clear images this should not be a collimation problem or optical defect. This scope likely does not have first class optics, but should be sufficient to see the main targets of the sky.

    As far as what to look at, I'm not sure I would recommend an individual star, especially an extremely bright star like Sirius. This will still look star like no matter how nice your scope is. Double stars are a different story, some of those can be quite striking. I recommend trying to find Saturn and Jupiter to start. Once your confidence increases and you become more familiar with the sky other objects will follow. Also over the next several days the new cresent moon will start to be low in the sky and that is something that can not be confused with anything else.
    One other thing you can try with a scope like this is putting on the lowest power eyepiece and getting great sweeping views of the sky. This will be especially nice this summer when the milky way is overhead at night. You can see a lot more stars through a scope, even a modest aperature like a 60mm (2.4inches). It can be a humbing experience to recognise our small place in this vast universe.

  17. #47
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    I'd like to comment on the 4mm eyepiece and the barlow. At our local club, we get questions about that combination frequently.

    Basically, the reason they are included in the package (with the 60mm refractors I mean) is that the package can then claim some impossibly high magnication amount (the box might proudly proclaim 750X! in big letters). Of course, the fact that you will never actually be able to see anything through the 4mm stacked with the barlow is not allowed to get in the way of marketing hype...

    The person then looks through other telescopes, and asks about the magnification, and is stunned to learn that we do most of our observing at 50x to 120x or so.

    The eyepieces that come with the department store scopes are usually .965 inch in diameter (the most common size is 1.5 inch in diameter for amateur telescopes) and the glass on the 4mm (usually a Huygens, which is an old and inferior design of eyepiece) is so tiny that it is hard to imagine actually looking through it, even if the earth would stand still and the mount would not vibrate in the wind and the object in view was bright enough to actually see.

    I usually tell them to throw the 4mm eyepiece away.

  18. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by orangeSCT
    As far as what to look at, I'm not sure I would recommend an individual star, especially an extremely bright star like Sirius. This will still look star like no matter how nice your scope is. Double stars are a different story, some of those can be quite striking.
    I think Sirius was being recommended just for testing the focus of the telescope, not for its beauty or stunningness. Just point at Sirius, make sure it looks like a point rather than a blur, and you know you're well focused then.

  19. #49
    yes, silly me, I bought into the somewhat logical but misleading hype that the more powerful the magnification the stronger and better the telescope. I should have done more research before hand. I always have a tendancy to buy something and then do research on the product afterwards.

    I don't think focus is my problem. Since I managed to focus on that distant object in the sky last night and now I know that the 4mm eyepiece and barlow are just for show and not actually useful for focusing.

    Quote Originally Posted by kelly
    hmmm i thought spherical abberations were from schmidt cassegrains that have a spherical mirror <not parabolic>, so the focus isnt a point, therefore a secondary correcting lens is put into place.. I dont think this guy has this type of telescope. I may be wrong thou.
    You lost me after "hmmm". I don't know if I have this type of telescope cause I really have no clue what you're talking about lol

    Btw, thanx for the links. I found these two quite useful:
    http://www.skyviewcafe.com/skyview.php
    http://www.stargazing.net/astropc/download.html (downloaded the program)

    Hopefully the skies will be clear tonight as forecasted.. but then again, those meteorologists are usually wrong.. two nights ago they said it would be overcast overnight and into late morning, and instead it was fairly clear from 1 am onwards.

    EDIT:
    Um.. never mind the last link there.. I just tried using the complete package and the basic package and both of them crashed and a million error message boxes pop up.

  20. #50
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    Ya funny how weather is. Here in Victoria BC, its quite overcast most of the time. Ironically, we had the biggest telescope in the world in the early 1900's as it was noted that Victoria BC had the best weather. Ya right, i think they were studying "less snow" not the most nights with clear skies. A few years after building they realized they should of looked further into it.
    Anyways , the things that make you go "hmmmmmmmm?" (I was writing about "spherical abberations"). As I remember, it is a term used to describe how a certain type of telescopes <Schmidt Cassegrains> have a fuzzy focus <the point where all the light converges to>. This is because these telescopes have a spherical mirror, not a parabolic one.. I think you said you have a refractor <lens> anyways, so this doesnt apply to you. To correct the Schmidt Cass mirror, a corrector is put into the telescope to basically reflect the light again so it will focus.. I hope this helps explain a few things.

  21. #51
    This is also a really good site, the sky map I downloaded looks very promising. I can't wait to try it out in a few hours
    http://www.skymaps.com/downloads.html


    Quote Originally Posted by kelly
    Ya funny how weather is. Here in Victoria BC, its quite overcast most of the time. Ironically, we had the biggest telescope in the world in the early 1900's as it was noted that Victoria BC had the best weather. Ya right, i think they were studying "less snow" not the most nights with clear skies. A few years after building they realized they should of looked further into it.
    That is the stupidest/funniest thing. the west coast has horrible weather.. always raining :P They should have built it here in Winnipeg. I believe next to Regina, we have the most sunniest days in a year which would of course translate into the most clearest nights in a year. And why would they want to build a telescope in Regina.. c'mon, it's Regina.. but Winnipeg isn'T all that great either..

    Btw, I completely understand your other post now. Thanks for the clarifications. I had absolutely no clue what you were talking about in that other post that it had me laughing cause I felt so dumb. But now I feel smart :P

  22. #52
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    My first scope, (the one I have now), I have had for at least three years. I just now decided to start going outside and look at stuff. The first time I looked at Saturn, I about died... The first time I saw Jupiter I thought that I had seen like 4 tightly grouped stars around it, now I know that they're some it its moons! And for Venus, well, the phases are just dang cool!

  23. #53
    Cool. Well I have a good feeling about tonight. I have a sky map now and great advice, information and encouragement from the Bad Astronomy Community

  24. #54
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    Ya, no reason to feel stupid. We all remember asking these questions or learning about it at one point or another. Glad to see enthusiastic people learning about astronomy. I remember my first telescope was a P.O.S. <piece of %$#>. It was from (1988) Sears Dept Store, and it never worked right. It was finally layed to rest when my teacher in grade 5 accidently knocked the lame tripod over and it rolled down the hill. I laughed, but my brother cried as it was actually his. LOL. 8-[ But we all start somewhere, and now I get to work on fun telescopes here at the university.

  25. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnOwens
    Quote Originally Posted by orangeSCT
    As far as what to look at, I'm not sure I would recommend an individual star, especially an extremely bright star like Sirius. This will still look star like no matter how nice your scope is. Double stars are a different story, some of those can be quite striking.
    I think Sirius was being recommended just for testing the focus of the telescope, not for its beauty or stunningness. Just point at Sirius, make sure it looks like a point rather than a blur, and you know you're well focused then.
    Actually, on second thought... is Sirius even visible from Winnipeg? If so, it'll be rather low. Perhaps you might try Arcturus or Spica instead. I hadn't considered your location when I wrote the above.

  26. #56
    lmao that has to be the funniest story I've heard this week (but it IS only tuesday :wink: )

    I remember wanting a telescope every single Christmas and birthday since I was like.. heck, I can't remember not wanting a telescope. I always wanted one of those Tasco telescopes from Sears lol. Of course I never did. ALthough, one year I found a Tasco telescope pen (it like had a magnification of 0.1x lol) in my stocking at Christmas. I was happy even though it was junk. In fact, I still have it. I think it was some sort of cruel joke by my parents so everytime I'd ask them for a telescope they could just be like "but son, you already have one". Anywho, I finally started looking at those expensive but good telescopes, but they were all too expensive. I turned 18 last july, ordered a credit card, signed onto ebay. And just a few of weeks ago I finally decided to see what E-bay has to offer in telescopes. And to prevent this story from dragging on any longer, I'll just state the obvious ending to the story: I found a telescope on E-bay and bought it.

    Now I have finally fulfilled my childhood dream of owning a telescope.. now it's just a matter of actually FINDING A PLANET WITH IT!

  27. #57
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    Just be patient, although I understand how frustrating it can get. The University of Victoria just ordered 10 Celestron GPS 8" telescopes. I got to set them all up. They are very good amature telescopes and the GPS pretty much just lets you plug and chug, although calibrating it can be tricky.. The other problem with this, is that the finderscopes were all WAY off, most likey from the design. So my best advice for fixing your finderscope is using an object in the distance like a light pole, which was already mentioned. He said he never tried it, but I have and I think its the best method for fixing that. good luck!

  28. #58
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    Majestic_Eagle, please keep us updated about your progress, I am curious as to how well you do on your first few times out.

  29. #59
    Quote Originally Posted by skrap1r0n
    ...I am currently looking at getting some Bushnell 16x50's for under $60.00 that should allow me to score some of the Messier Objects. I could probably do it now if I had a tripod mount...
    Hey skrap, check this out -- scroll down to 'Bino Mount'. Someone here on the board turned me on to this (Wolverine?), and I'm seriously thinking of picking one up to go with a new set of 12x60's with built in nebula filters from Apogee...

  30. #60
    I dunno what happened with my last post, but some parts of it barely make sense.. then again, it is 4/20 :wink: so that's my excuse. Here's the one "big" mistake I made:
    Of course I never did.
    There should be a "...get one" at the end of this sentence.

    Kelly, those telescopes must of been pretty expensive. The University of Manitoba doesn't have much of an astronomy & astrophysics department. The only thing the U of M has worth bragging about besides the extraordinarily high number of hot gurls is the Asper School of Business. But I have never even taken an astronomy or astrophysics course and don't really plan on doing so. I will be content with just keeping my "telescoping" as a hobby. Plus, I'm no genius in physics. And yes, I believe I stated already that I use a light post to align my finderscope. Actually I usually use a firehydrant located at the end of my street and align my telescope with the center of a thin yellow strip that runs along the top of the hydrant. Sometimes just when I'm setting up my telescope I'll make some fine adjustments to the finderscope using a light pole that is on the adjacent street. My finderscope was very well aligned last night, so I doubt it will be a problem anymore.

    Skrap1r0n, I will be glad to post updates on my progress.

    I did not get a chance to go out tonight. Right now it is 12:30 am and cloudy. The wonderful meteorologists said it would mainly clear this evening and overnight. Then they said it would be partly cloudy with a 30% chance of showers this evening but mainly clear overnight. bah! We had thundershowers and light rain since 5:30 pm and it just stopped raining about 30 minutes ago. I need my sleep since I have been staying up way too late these past couple of weeks (usually till 4am) and I have an exam later today.
    The night of the 21st looks promising though, they say it will be clear with 0% chance of precipitation. Although I might be out tomorrow night so who knows. I might be way too tired by the time I get home. Or I might not go out at all if I am still very tired. We'll see.

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