Brand new and frustrated

Don't be shy! If you're just starting out, here's the place to ask that first question

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Brand new and frustrated

Post by Miranda »

I have recently gotten a telescope and read all I can on stargazing. I was hooked when I spotted Saturn, even though it was tiny could see it and amazed. When I look at anything else, other than the moon, I see only a tiny spec of light. I can not find any other interesting objects. I have a cheaper Celestron 60 with a 20 and 4 mm lenses. Please someone give me some helpful tip and advice.
David Frydman
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Re: Brand new and frustrated

Post by David Frydman »

. Hi Miranda,
. Welcome to the forum.

I presume that your telescope is a 60 mm refractor, with a focal length of about 700 mm.
Does it say anything about the focal length or focal ratio on the telescope or instructions or on the box?

Forget the 4 mm eyepiece, as the magnification will be about 175 times.
The 20 mm eyepiece will magnify about 35 times and give a field of view of something over 1°.
It is a pity that they didn't supply a 10 mm eyepiece rather than 4 mm. You may have a Barlow lens which doubles the magnification, but you might lose sight of say Saturn when you try to change the magnification.

In the summer with the light skies there's not much to see in the sky.
If you have a good north-west horizon and look before it gets dark you might see Venus and Jupiter still.

Stars, unfortunately always look like stars, as they don't get bigger through a telescope, only brighter.

Do you have dark skies or do you observe from town? This makes a big difference.

There's plenty to see on the moon, especially when it is half illuminated rather than full.

Regards, David
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Re: Brand new and frustrated

Post by Brian »

Hello Miranda, and Welcome :)

David gives good advice. As he says, midsummer isn't the best time of year to get started with a small telescope because the skies never really get dark and fainter objects are more difficult to locate. Once we get to the back end of August we will again be getting dark skies for a couple of hours before and after midnight, which is a big help to observing.

Here are a few tips in no particular order. If you have questions please get right back to us and we'll be pleased to answer them:

If you can borrow a pair of binoculars they make a great instrument for sweeping across the sky and catching all sorts of fuzzy patches, star patterns, wide-spaced double stars. You can then home in on these with your telescope.

Get "Turn Left at Orion", a beginners guide to the sky that comes highly recommended by many users. It can be found in many bookshops, or purchased online from Amazon: ... b_image_bk

There are monthly sky-guides available online for free. The SPA one is here: ... /index.php
and David Mitsky posts a monthly summary of upcoming sights on this forum. Here's July 2015:

If you have a computer, download a copy of one of the free planetarium programs available. "Stellarium" and "Cartes du Ciel" are widely used and show the night sky as it is minute by minute from anywhere on Earth. Google them to read more.

Hope this gives you a start. Ask away!
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Re: Brand new and frustrated

Post by speedy21 »

Hi don't give up there are cheap eyepiece on eBay that will help you get a more mid range of magnification it dose take a bit of time to get to grips finding things but it dose start to get easier as I've found over the last 7 months there is always someone here to help you on this fourom
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Re: Brand new and frustrated

Post by M54 »

Which of the constellations do you know?
To find anything you have to know a few of the basic ones.

The Plough (asterism not constellation in reality) is likely the first to work out.
This then can be used to point at ot at least towards others.

Then work out where Cassiopeia is (sort of big W thingy <- that is the technical term)

If you are looking at stars then they all remain points, just too far away.

You have picked a sort of bad time.
The planets have gone into hiding, the evenings remain light, and most including myself never learn much of what is in the summer sky because the evenings remain light.

Few thoughts:
Find The Plough, the middle star of the "handle" is a double. Aim scope at that and you will see 2 stars. You have technically just split Mizer and Alcor.
Agian with The Plough the handle is an arc in shape, carry on following the arc around and you come to a red star Arcturus. It is just another star but take a look anyway.

The "obvious" one to suggest is M13, Great Cluster in Hercules. slight problem is Hercules is not overly obvious.

High up usually South is the Summer triangle - made up of 3 bright stars, Deneb, Vega and Altair. See if you can pick out the constellation of Cygnus (Deneb) and Lyra (Vega). Altair is in Aquila but other then Altair the other stars are a bit faint.

First is however some idea of the constellations, saying look at the double cluster between Cssiopeia and Perseus sounds great but only if you know where to start out.
mike a feist
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Re: Brand new and frustrated

Post by mike a feist »

Hello Miranda. re your "I cannot find any other interesting objects."
Starting out, one should of course have a look at all the various types of astronomical objects and learn the background constellations but hopefully you will find something that particularly interests you. Much depends on where you live and the state of your local sky etc. This will limit what you can see and what instruments are most suitable for you. Unfortunately most modern illustrations in general "skygazing" books and especially on the boxes in which telescopes are supplied, show impossibly colourful and overlarge large pictures of planets etc. Even some TV programmes whip up enthusiasm by showing artists impressions and computer simulations. Reality is much subtler than that and much more rewarding once mastered. There is an old saying "Easy come,easy go" and once the initial excitement wears off, I am sure many telescopes and binoculars end up in the cupboard or loft. Do not be over-sold on high magnification - those 4mm-eyepieces supplied with small telescopes do , in my opinion, more damage to enthusiasm than any number of cloudy nights! Still best of least you have an appropriate name, for it is one of the moons of of one of the planets! regards maf
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