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Suggestions for a novice observer?

Started by dhvd79a, 12/22/2003 11:27AM
Posted 12/22/2003 11:27AM Opening Post
Bought my Celestron C8 in may of 2003. My only opportunities to observe are on weekends. So due to my wonderful location, about 30 miles west of Lake Michigan near Kalamazoo MI, I have had few viewing sessions. Last night under not ideal viewing conditions, winds gusting to around 20MPH and scattered high altitudes clouds i decided I would give it an attempt.

My polar alignment seemed to be good. During a 20 minute break the drives on the CG5 held a star very near the center of view.

I aimed the scope at Mars(I must have had jupiter on the brain when I first wrote this). The view was very sharp and bright but with no detail. I used 32mm, 15mm and 9mm plossls.

I did the same with Saturn. Again a very bright, sharp image but no details. The rings looked like a solid ribbon of light.

I realize that I did not have ideal conditions but does anyone have any suggestions to bring out a little detail.

Collimation looks good to my untrained eye at 9mm. It was off but I spent some time a couple weeks ago adjusting it and now it looks good to me.

Thanks for any suggestions.



Posted 12/22/2003 11:38AM #1
You were probably a victim of bad seeing not a bad scope. You want a night without so much wind. Upper level winds destroy all detail and can make mush out of images.
Floyd

[SIZE="Large"][/SIZE][COLOR="Blue"][/COLOR] Floyd Blue grin
Amateur Imager
Posted 12/22/2003 03:59PM #2
I realize that I did not have ideal conditions but does >anyone have any suggestions to bring out a little detail.

Collimation looks good to my untrained eye at 9mm. It was off but I spent some time a couple weeks ago adjusting it and now it looks good to me.

Thanks for any suggestions.
----

As others have stated, the seeing sounds pretty poor although the other issue with any scope, especially a Schmitt-Cassegrain, is that it needs to be cooled off so that the optics are thermally equilibrated. Even under the best conditions on a balmy sunny day, getting your scope cooled off will take an hour or more so it is really quite likely that in that short period your scope was an optical mess from thermal distortion.

I think the best solution for situations like this is to choose those targets which are least hindered by poor seeing condition and still cooling optics - namely deep sky objects, galaxies, nebulas and clusters. Save the planets for those still calm nights when the moon is hindering DSOs.

jon isaacs