Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 30 of 35

Thread: Problems using my Celestron Firstscope

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    3

    Problems using my Celestron Firstscope

    Hi everyone, I'm really new to this, so I suspect this is just something I'm doing wrong. I just got my Celestron Firstscope, and I've used it several times to look at the moon. But two nights ago, i used it to try to view Jupiter, since it was so close to the moon. According to the description of the scope, I should be able to view Jupiter, and see Saturn's rings. But even with the strongest lens in the box, Jupiter still appeared to be just a shiny dot. The picture on the back of the box, near the description, has a fairly large image of Jupiter. So am I doing something wrong? Or is the Celestron Firstscope not as good as it claims to be. I would appreciate any help.

    Thanks!
    Æ

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    1,349
    You will have a hard time seeing the rings of saturn right now. They are pretty close to edge on as seen from earth. I don't know alot about your scope, but I know with mine, on a good night, I can make out the larger cloud bands on jupiter. Is there a possiblity that you are not looking at jupiter?

    Try checking out www.heavens-above.com if you haven't yet.

  3. 2009-Sep-04, 06:39 PM

  4. 2009-Sep-04, 06:43 PM

  5. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    848
    Saturn is hidden in the Sun's glare so observation isn't possible. Not to mention its rings are edge on.

    The Firstscope should be able to see the cloud bands on Jupiter, however the included accessories may not be sufficient. The eyepieces are very low quality Huygens design and should be replaced with Plossls or Kellners. The high power eyepiece is a 4mm Huygens which I imagine would be painful to observe through. Eye relief decreases with focal length in most eyepiece designs and I'd recommend using barlows to increase magnification instead of shorter focal length eyepieces. There are some extremely affordable eyepieces and barlows at OWL Astronomy, a site I recently discovered. http://www.owlastronomy.com/superplossl.htm

    Remember that the photos on the box are almost never taken with the same telescope. I hope Celestron has been honest with the packaging and not put Hubble photos, but I don't know.

    The Firstscope is primarily for wide field, low power observing and won't be the best planetary scope.

  6. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    3
    Just so everyone knows, I'm not currently trying to view Saturn. It was just part of the telescopes description. But thanks for the feedback so far!

  7. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    1,349
    You might not have been able to see the moons of jupiter because of this as well:


    http://www.space.com/spacewatch/0908...ter-moons.html

  8. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    3,237
    Quote Originally Posted by Aenarion View Post
    But even with the strongest lens in the box, Jupiter still appeared to be just a shiny dot.
    If what you saw was a point, then it was a star. Jupiter would appear small, but it would definitely be a disk -- not a point of light.

    So, how big was the "dot"?

  9. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    3
    ok..
    1: I wasn't trying to view Saturn.
    2: I wasn't looking for Jupiters Moons.
    3: I was just trying to view Jupiter through my Telescope, but wasn't able to do it.

    It was Jupiter that I was looking at. This is exactly what I saw that night.
    http://www.universetoday.com/2009/09...on-last-night/
    Last edited by PetersCreek; 2009-Sep-10 at 03:45 PM. Reason: Fixed link

  10. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    3,237
    Can you describe the dot that you saw? We need a little more info to help you get a better view, or to know whether your expectations were too high due to the picture on the box.

    For example:

    Was it in focus? Was the disk sharp? Could you see at least two cloud belts? How long did you look at it? What was the seeing like that night (were the stars twinkling a lot?)

  11. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    3
    Hi,
    I'm also completely new to astronomy and recently bought the Celestron firstscope.
    The picture of jupiter on the box is definetily not something you can see with the firstscope !!!!! It looks like a hubble picture Same is true of the representations shown in a promotional movie for the firstscope.
    I also had a look at Jupiter and saw a bright disk with four of it's moons in a straight line (two on each side). I was told that with the moon filter which you can buy as accessory you might just be able to see a darker band of clouds on Jupiter.
    Sorry if you expected a bit too much hubble like abilities.
    I'm very excited with the (very cheap) scope when I was able to see moons of jupiter. It's well worth the money for an exciting introduction to telescopes. Can't wait to get a view of Saturn, andromeda and the pleiades !

    Enjoy the Scope, it's probably not malfunctioning.

    Jeffrey

  12. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    3,032
    The review I saw of it recently in one of the astronomy magazines said it uses a spherical mirror so high powers are not possible. A 3" spherical mirror is fine at f/8 but at f/4 it just can't support more than medium power at best. Not enough to see detail on Jupiter. Reviewer (experienced) said he could see two cloud bands. I doubt beginners will however as it takes time to train the eye and brain to see such low contrast detail.

    The scope is fine as a low power wide field scope (with a plossl eyepiece) but isn't suited for planetary work. When I see misleading images on the box, I avoid those scopes even if they are a good buy for their designed purpose. Too bad they apparently couldn't be honest with their customers.

    I don't see how a moon filter (usually just a neutral density filter) will help with the bands, but a light blue filter would enhance the contrast as would a light green one, blue is better in my opinion.

    Rick
    Last edited by RickJ; 2009-Sep-10 at 07:41 PM.

  13. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    3
    Hello again.
    Sorry. I wrote bright disk, but what I see of Jupiter is more accurately described as a bright dot. Still, the moons are easily visible, which for me was fantastic already. But I've never had a look through a "real" telescope and as I live in a very brightly lit Dutch city, and peered just past a street lantern three meters away from my window I had expected not much.
    The filter I have is described as "moon filter" but it looks greenish.........?
    A new hobby just might have begun for me.........

  14. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    3,237
    If Jupiter was a dot, then you were most likely looking at a star and not at Jupiter. Jupiter will show a disk even at low powers. Stars will always be points of light, when the telescope is focused.

  15. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    3
    Well, it's not a point but a rather big dot. And I do see the moons the way I'm supposed to see them at the particular time and date. Maybe I make wrong usage of the word "dot".

    Tried to find Andromeda yesterday using Cassiopeia as aguide, but couldn't find it or did not recognize it.... Will try another night.....

  16. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    3,237
    Quote Originally Posted by Ringrocket View Post
    Well, it's not a point but a rather big dot. And I do see the moons the way I'm supposed to see them at the particular time and date. Maybe I make wrong usage of the word "dot".

    Tried to find Andromeda yesterday using Cassiopeia as aguide, but couldn't find it or did not recognize it.... Will try another night.....
    The first time I found the Andromeda Galaxy, I was able to use binoculars first to see exactly where it was, then I was able to find it rather quickly with the telescope.

  17. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    8,731
    Is this what y'all are talking about?
    http://www.universetoday.com/2009/04...-of-astronomy/ ?

    I came across this, earlier this afternoon and thought to get it for my baby!
    Is it a wise choice / move?

  18. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    8,731
    Oh I just read your comments MrJ / Siguy ...I see what you mean.

    But from the dealer's notes here...it says...
    ...The telescope comes equipped, as standard, with a 5x magnification Finderscope, for the easy location of night sky objects. Also the two supplied eyepieces have been specially upgraded to higher quality Super Modified Achromats to increase your viewing pleasure. The telescope accepts standard 1.25" accessories so the magnification range can easily be extended additional 1.25" eyepieces and/or Barlow lens...
    ...my bold...

    Are the modified eye-pieces different from what you point out, Siguy?

  19. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    848
    In my experience (which I'll admit was limited) MAs are decent eyepieces, but they're only sharp at the center of the field. At the edge of the field stars are out of focus compared to the center. They're definitely better than the other Huygens eyepieces I was talking about.

    I'm assuming you were looking at the Skywatcher version (Skywatcher "Heritage" 76), since you live in the UK?

  20. #18
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    8,731
    Yes Sir, I am.

    I see Nancy, mentions about the finderscope etc., being in a separate kit piece. But this one includes it all. And shipping too, in the price.
    A very reasonable £50.

    I would reckon, as a first astronomical 'scope, for a child/budding astronomer...it would be a pretty exciting tool to use.

  21. #19
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    848
    I'm sure it's a great value for a child's first scope. Just curious, what color/pattern are you getting?

  22. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    8,731
    The telescope looks so beautiful.

    I partly quote the blurb, on site...
    ...The beautiful, luxurious tube graphics depict a richly historical theme celebrating the history of the telescope. The images have been specially designed to symbolise Galileo and his conflict with the Catholic church. Galileo Galilei's public championing of Copernicus' theory of heliocentrism, which was contrary to the geocentric beliefs at the time, eventually led to him being denounced to the Roman Inquisition. He was subsequently tried, suspected of heresy, forced to recant, and spent the rest of his life under house arrest. Of course Galileo, "The father of modern science" and "The father of modern observational astronomy" was proved right in the end.

    The telescope tube is also adorned with the words "Galileo 400" and "International Year of Astronomy" as well as key dates in the lifetime of Galileo...


    I think I can attach a picture...
    and it only weighs about 1.75 kgs. Manageable weight, for a child of his age. Flynn could share with his friends too, as one does.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  23. #21
    I can remember getting a little reflector like that when I was a child. I knew NOTHING about collimation, etc. but went out and actually saw the RINGS around Saturn! I was THRILLED !

    I also saw the disk of Jupiter, and the four moons as little dots on each side of the planet. I am sure I did not notice any cloud bands, and it wasn't til probably many years later that I had a scope powerful enough to show any definition such as that.

    It is a shame that so many telescopes are sold with pictures of HUGE planets, FULL of detail on the box! It really makes you believe that you are going to see something like that through your new possession !

    I heartily agree about Plossl eyepieces. Don't get anything too powerful, because you will only see a bigger, fuzzier circle, instead of a fairly viewable large dot. A proper eyepiece will probably show you a circle about an eighth of an inch in apparent diameter, and the full circle of the Moon should just about fit in the apparent field of view !

    Clear skies to you ! Jim

  24. #22
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    848
    I would say that a lot of beginners' scopes have the resolution to see cloud bands on Jupiter. The Firstscope/Heritage is a very fast small reflector that isn't intended for any kind of high magnification observing. But I'd think most Synta 70mm f10 refractors could reasonably do 50x/inch observing, and will show respectable planetary detail.

  25. #23
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Posts
    7,817
    One thing many(most) beginners do not realise is that you have to learn to see. An experienced observer can see much more detail than somebody who is just starting out.

  26. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Siguy View Post
    I would say that a lot of beginners' scopes have the resolution to see cloud bands on Jupiter. The Firstscope/Heritage is a very fast small reflector that isn't intended for any kind of high magnification observing. But I'd think most Synta 70mm f10 refractors could reasonably do 50x/inch observing, and will show respectable planetary detail.
    I am not familiar with that particular 70mm f10 refractor, but it has been a policy of our club to try to discourage anybody from buying a 70mm f10 refractor as a first scope. The best of them are usually only a fair scope, and the worst of them are out and out distortions of the truth. They may have a 70 mm objective, but often there is a field stop right behind it, and the effective size of the lens ( often plastic, and only a single element ) is only half of that stated diameter !

    Of course, most of these telescopes also come with very poor eyepieces, and often claim horribly exaggerated claims of "300 power" or more !

    They may actually be 300X magnification, but the images are so dim, shaky, and fuzzy, as to be worthless! Oh, yes, the tripod is usually very flimsy and shaky, as well!

    Our club has highly recommended that one new to the hobby invest his/her money in a good set of 7X50 binoculars and a good star chart book ( Tirion's for example ) so the novice can find his way around the sky, before getting so discouraged with the "dime store telescope" as to never wish to look at the sky again!

    JMHO along with the local club ! Jim

  27. #25
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    348
    Quote Originally Posted by jim_ag3y View Post
    I am not familiar with that particular 70mm f10 refractor, but it has been a policy of our club to try to discourage anybody from buying a 70mm f10 refractor as a first scope. The best of them are usually only a fair scope, and the worst of them are out and out distortions of the truth. They may have a 70 mm objective, but often there is a field stop right behind it, and the effective size of the lens ( often plastic, and only a single element ) is only half of that stated diameter !


    JMHO along with the local club ! Jim
    Orion makes a 70mm f/11 refractor that is pretty good for what it is. It has crisp views of the planets but is not so good for any deep sky beyond the brightest messier objects.

    Quote Originally Posted by Siguy
    The eyepieces are very low quality Huygens design and should be replaced with Plossls or Kellners
    This is a very good point. The eyepieces are usually the weakest part of any low end telescope. It is quite drastic the difference that a good Plossl can make over a Huygens eyepiece.

  28. #26
    Kyle, I wouldn't expect any more than that from any 70mm telescope! Even a 4-5 inch reflector is pretty dim for visual astronomy on deep sky objects, unless it is a pretty "fast" scope, like a "short-tube 80".

    At least, this reviewer seemed to be rather impressed with one:

    http://www.cloudynights.com/item.php?item_id=491

    Remember, that is 80mm and F5. Quite a difference from 70mm ( maybe ? ) F11 !

    Clear skies. Jim

  29. #27
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    848
    Quote Originally Posted by jim_ag3y View Post
    I am not familiar with that particular 70mm f10 refractor, but it has been a policy of our club to try to discourage anybody from buying a 70mm f10 refractor as a first scope. The best of them are usually only a fair scope, and the worst of them are out and out distortions of the truth. They may have a 70 mm objective, but often there is a field stop right behind it, and the effective size of the lens ( often plastic, and only a single element ) is only half of that stated diameter !

    Of course, most of these telescopes also come with very poor eyepieces, and often claim horribly exaggerated claims of "300 power" or more !

    They may actually be 300X magnification, but the images are so dim, shaky, and fuzzy, as to be worthless! Oh, yes, the tripod is usually very flimsy and shaky, as well!

    Our club has highly recommended that one new to the hobby invest his/her money in a good set of 7X50 binoculars and a good star chart book ( Tirion's for example ) so the novice can find his way around the sky, before getting so discouraged with the "dime store telescope" as to never wish to look at the sky again!

    JMHO along with the local club ! Jim
    I think you may be a little out of touch with today's offerings. I've never seen a telescope larger than 50mm with a plastic objective. Yes, junk scopes still exist. My local target has a 40mm (!) Meade model I wouldn't trust for an instant. They also sell an optically decent but 99% plastic construction 70mm Meade. The latter isn't a good scope, but is a step in the right direction. (no "675X POWER!!!" anywhere on the box.)

    The Synta I was referring to was just any 70mm made by Synta Optical Ltd of Suzhou, the manufacturer that owns Celestron and Skywatcher and produces telescopes for various other companies, including Orion. Models include the Orion Observer 70, Skywatcher Greatstart 70EQ/AZ, and Celestron Astromaster 70EQ/AZ. They all seem well equipped enough; the Skywatcher, for example, comes with two actual Super Plossl eyepieces, something I have yet to see in a scope that cheap. The mounts are stable enough as well, if you tweak them a bit.

    In my experience Synta products seem to be reasonably well built and optically good. According to some, they've improved since they acquired Celestron.

    Of course, a 70mm isn't really much telescope at all, and I was really just comparing these with a 76mm f4 reflector for planetary observing. Still, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend one to someone on a very tight budget.

    Unfortunately, they don't seem regularly available in dime stores.

  30. #28
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    348
    Quote Originally Posted by jim_ag3y View Post
    Kyle, I wouldn't expect any more than that from any 70mm telescope! Even a 4-5 inch reflector is pretty dim for visual astronomy on deep sky objects, unless it is a pretty "fast" scope, like a "short-tube 80".
    I agree. The Orion/Celestron short tube 80 (also made by Synta I believe) is great for wide field deep sky observing. I have even seen them used as finderscopes for much larger telescopes.

  31. #29
    Our club puts on regular "Telescope Workshops" at our local hands-on interactive science museum, "Discovery Station". Unfortunately, a good amount of the telescopes that come through the door are of the 70mm F10 variety. Plastic objectives or not, they are almost to the unit, miserable scopes. I must confess that even the "Discovery Station" was selling a cheap piece of junk before we showed them all that was wrong with the poor thing!

    I stand by my position that unless a person is very careful in what they purchase, they are apt to get a rather poor scope for their initial investment, and really should put the money into a fair pair of binoculars before getting a better quality scope.

    I will admit that I am not familiar with the Synta line, or with their purchase of Celestron. I do own an older Celestron scope myself, and am constantly told at star parties that it is one of the best 8 inch scopes that others have ever seen! I hope that Synta doesn't compromise the Celestron line just to be able to turn a better profit!

  32. #30
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    2
    I think I understand what some of the newbie posters are saying in regards to the focusing. I also have a celestron firstscope that I bought to use with my son. I have (somewhere) a (i think) better scope, but always had the same issue there, and I think I'm understanding now that I need to learn how to use it better.

    What I see is that if the focus is all the way to either extreme, there is a large circle and if its right near the middle, it gets smaller into a point of light. Specifically this was the other night while looking at Mars.

    So, when you talk about a disc, does that mean one of the 2 "circle" extremes or the "point"? or something else? I've also read on another website about focusing planets to a disc, but focusing stars to a point. Is that what its talking about?

    Any info is appreciated. Thanks.

Similar Threads

  1. Celestron NexStar GPS problems
    By apolla in forum Astronomical Observing, Equipment and Accessories
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 2011-Jan-12, 05:35 PM
  2. Problems with CG-3 equatorial mount holding Celestron Astromaster 130EQ MD
    By stonerolling in forum Astronomical Observing, Equipment and Accessories
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 2009-May-21, 02:44 PM
  3. Replies: 0
    Last Post: 2009-Apr-28, 01:20 AM
  4. Have Celestron C8
    By ASH2162 in forum Astronomical Observing, Equipment and Accessories
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 2005-Apr-25, 03:52 AM
  5. Celestron C20
    By Kaptain K in forum Astronomy
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 2004-May-31, 12:49 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
here
The forum is sponsored in-part by: