Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Stargazing Why does Saturn move so much in my telescope?

  1. Mar 19, 2009 #1
    I have a Bushnell 100mm Mak Cassegrain telescope. When viewing Saturn with my 32mm eyepiece I can see it but I can't differentiate between the rings. When I use a 4, 6, or 9mm eyepiece, the image jumps so much I give up. Why is that and what can I do? Thank you so much.

  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 19, 2009 #2


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    The more magnification you have the more pronounced any vibrations will be. Make sure all nuts and bolts are tight and that everything is in balance and it is level. When you are looking through it don’t bump or touch it. Wind can also be a problem.
  4. Mar 21, 2009 #3
    Also, the rings of Saturn are not ideally positioned for observing at this point in time.
    They are open by only about 2°. They will increase to 4° by May the close again.
    By September 4 of this year they will not be observable.

    Although, this is really not that bad. It decreases the 'brightness' of the planet and makes for better observing of Saturn's moons and shadows.

    As sas3 pointed out, as magnification goes up so does the problem with 'steady' viewing, almost exponentially.

    At high powers it almost requires a motor drive to keep an object in the eyepiece for tracking any length of time.

    A solid mount and tripod help.
  5. Mar 21, 2009 #4


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I have both and another thing requried is that you not touch the telescope while observing. Any touch, no matter how light, makes the telescope shake.

    If the telescope is on an alt-az mount, this is very difficult. You have to move it a little, take your hands off and observe while it stabilizes and moves out of your field of view, move it back, repeat, etc.
  6. Mar 21, 2009 #5


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Use the minimum mag to need to see the rings, not the max.
    Set your tripod as low to the ground as practical, so you're using its strongest struts.

    How solid is the ground it's on?
    How protected is your viewing spot from wind?

    I tried hanging heavy weight from my tripod to see if that would stabilize it. No results to report.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook