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Can't actually see anything through the eye piece

  1. May 26, 2014 #1
    Heya peoples,
    Our son Josh has just turned 9 years old and he asked if he could have a telescope for his birthday!! So we have bought him an Astronomical Telescope OECSYAZ2D114/F900, Dad sat down and set it up with him and all looks great...........but we cant actually see anything through the eye piece, we set the viewfinder on some stars and look through the eye piece and all is black. I've tried looking through some sites to see how to fix this but to be honest I have no idea where to start. Is any one able to walk me through this, Josh is eager to start looking and his two brothers are showing an interest also, I don't want this interest to fade.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 26, 2014 #2

    Bandersnatch

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    Hey, Tanya.

    First of all, make sure you've got all the obvious bits out of the way - i.e., the main aperture is not covered with a safety cap, there is an eyepiece installed(you probably have at least two of those).

    There can be a few reasons for not seeing anything.

    First of all, the scope might be just faulty. Shine a torch into the tube, to see if any light gets to the eyepiece at all. Look into the tube, perhaps one of the secondary mirrors have detached or went off centre during transport.
    Try using it like binoculars - that is, pont it at something faraway during the day, and see if you can see anything at all.


    If you can see stuff, and everything looks fine inside(as far as you can tell), then it could be simply due to the finder scope not being properly aligned with the rest of the telescope(often can be fixed by adjusting the screws on the finder). As a result, you're pointing the scope a bit off the target, and end up looking at a region with nothing interesting/bright.
    Also, remember that the telescope's field of view is much smaller than that of the finder, so you'll be only seeing a much smaller area than the one you can see through the finder, which makes it easy to miss stuff.
    Both issues can be addressed by moving the main tube around a bit, so as to catch the target in its field of view.
    It's best to start by looking at the Moon, as it's a large target, so it's easy to find. It's also a spectacular sight(unlike most stars, I'm afraid - those will always be just more or less bright points).
    Alternativelly, try looking at something faraway during the day - can you see

    The one other thing I can think of, is that the scope is out of focus, so the object you're looking at ends up looking like a very blurry patch of dim light. Try bringing it into focus by adjusting the knobs by the eyepiece(that's all they're there for; some people may erroneously think they're for magnification). Again, best is to do it by looking at the Moon, which is so large and bright that it can't be missed.



    Other things to keep in mind are: the magnification of the telescope is determined by the eyepiece focal length(should be written on each one, probably in milimetres). The shorter it is, the higher magnification, but also narrower field of view, and less bright are the objects. For that reason, it's best to start with the lowest magnification eyepiece.
    Each time you change the eyepiece, you'll have to adjust focus(using the aforementioned knobs).

    The sky is constantly in motion, so whenever you find an object, you'll have to use the knobs by the mount to track it, else it escapes the field of view.
     
  4. May 26, 2014 #3

    Drakkith

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    A few suggestions:

    1. Take the scope outside during the day and find a distant object through the eyepiece. This will ensure that the scope is working properly and lead into step 2. (Note that the image will most likely be upside down and/or mirrored, which is quite normal) If the telescope came with multiple eyepieces, use the eyepiece with the larger number on it first. For example, if the telescope came with a 9mm and a 24mm eyepiece, use the 24 mm eyepiece to first find an object and then switch it out for the 9 mm. The larger the number, the less magnification it has and the easier it is to find an object.

    2. If the scope has a smaller scope attached to it (a finderscope) then center this smaller scope on the same object that you see in the main telescope so that both are aligned with each other.

    3. Take it back out during a clear night and find a distant light source on the ground if possible. Find this light source first in the smaller finderscope. Now look through the main telescope and check to see if both scopes are still aligned with each other. If not, just realign like in step 2.

    4. Find a bright, obvious target in the sky. The Moon, a bright star, or any of the visible planets would work fine. Find it first in the finderscope, then look through the main telescope using the largest number eyepiece. You should be able to see the object. It will probably be out of focus, so adjust the focus until the object is as clear as it can be made.

    A few things to note:

    Visual observing in today's age of digital imaging is lackluster for most people. You will NOT see bright, colorful nebulas and galaxies. At BEST you will see what is called "faint fuzzies" when you look at any nebulas or galaxies. They will simply look like dimly fuzzy clouds of light than you may have to avert your visions slightly to see.

    Star clusters, the planets, and the Moon are generally good targets that you can see from any location. I suggest downloading the Google Sky app (or other similar program) on a smartphone if you have one. It will show you the location of the planets and other major targets in the sky.

    The amount of light pollution near your location can drastically affect the visibility of dim objects. Bright stars and the visible planets won't be affected, but if you live near or in a major city you can say goodbye to seeing any deep sky objects like nebulas and galaxies.

    Also, if you happen to be in the Tucson Arizona area I'd be happy to stop by and show you.

    Edit: Also, check out the site www.cloudynights.com for a good community of amateur astronomers. The forums there are very active and there should be a great many very knowledgeable members that can help you with practically anything you can ever think of when it comes to astronomy.
     
  5. May 26, 2014 #4

    AlephZero

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    Sorting this out in the daytime, when you can see what you are doing easily, is very good advice. If you can get the finder aimed correctly at something a mile away, and the image in focus, you will be pretty close to the right settings. You might not be able to focus properly on something only a few yards away, because that's not what an astronomical scope is designed for.

    To add to the "dumb suggestions," if this is a brand new scope check there isn't some temporary protective wrapping covering the optics! Most people have made that sort of mistake once in their life - some things you only learn by experience. :redface:
     
  6. May 26, 2014 #5

    davenn

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    Hi Tanya

    Nice looking starters scope :smile:

    attachment.php?attachmentid=70066&stc=1&d=1401140337.jpg

    You can see 2 caps on the scope as suggested in earlier posts
    one over the top end of the main tube and one in the eyepiece holder

    What eyepieces did you get with it ? .... they will have that written on them

    eg. 8mm and say 20mm something similar to that

    pick the higher value one the one up around 20 mm as this will give the lowest magnification
    and slide it into the eyepiece holder ... there is likely to be a small thumb screw to GENTLY tighten up to hold the eyepiece in place
    The do as suggested in earlier posts and take the scope outside in the daytime and aim it at some trees/ buildings etc

    See on the eyepiece holder there are a pair of knobs, they are the focuser knobs ( connected together by a shaft) Gently turn the focuser ( one direction or the other) till the trees/buildings come into focus.

    Now its quite probable that the finder scope needs aligned to the scope, so they are both point to the same object. To do this, once you have the imaging and focusing sorted out and can see things .... aim the scope to a small object .... say an insulator on a power pole etc
    centre it in the eyepiece view. Then slightly loosen the screws of the finder scope and gently adjusting them to bring the same small object into the centre of view in the finder scope.
    whilst doing this, look through the main eyepiece often to make sure you haven't bumped the scope and lost the object in the main view.

    Once the finder scope is aligned, THEN you can use it at nite time and start finding objects in the sky :smile:

    Finally .... if all this fails ( its not too difficult) get in touch with a local astronomy club, take the scope to a meeting and have some one there set it up for you :)


    hope that helps
    Dave
     

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    Last edited: May 26, 2014
  7. May 27, 2014 #6
    Good evening peoples,
    Firstly a huge thank-you to Bandersnatch, Drakkith, AlephZero, and Davenn for taking time out to help me with this, really is heart warming!!
    Righto, shined the torch and we have light, checked all areas for film or covers, ( LOL- that would so have been a me moment!!) found an object during the day and focused on it, put the 20mm eye piece on; Davenn we recieved a H12.5mm and a SR4mm eye piece, and a Barlow Lens 3x. We also attempted to align the finder scope!! Now because everyone and all that I have read is telling me the moon is the best first object to explore I've convinced the boys to wait until Thursday when we have a full moon!! As we are in Australia, (unfortunately nowhere near Tuscon Arizona) only 2 nights away...So I'm thinking I'll have a go while the kids are in bed and make sure it's in great working order :)
    Thank you once again, I'll update with the boys thoughts after Thursday night, hoping this will bring a smile to those who helped make my boys smile.

    Tanya
     
  8. May 27, 2014 #7

    adjacent

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    Full moons are not very spectacular to see(You won't see the craters clearly). It's best to see in the half-moon.
     
  9. May 27, 2014 #8

    davenn

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    agreed

    A full moon is just too bright and overpowering first/last quarter and around that time is much better for seeing detail


    Tanya ... Australia huh :smile:
    If you are in/near to Sydney, I would be happy to give your family some hands on practical help
    with the scope and also in finding your way around the sky

    Do you have a laptop ?
    Download Stellarium. its a great way to learn your way around the night sky and best of all ITS FREE !! :smile:
    That prog on a laptop and taken outside at nite is a great combination

    cheers
    Dave
     
  10. May 27, 2014 #9

    davenn

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    Tanya ....

    Ohhh and just noticed .... its New Moon on the 29 May, not Full Moon as you stated in your last post :wink:

    the Moon wont be visible at all as its pretty much directly between us and the Sun
    ( just a little off the direct line, else there would be an eclipse of the Sun )

    Full Moon was back on the 15th May

    Dave
     
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