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Posted by Bob Sal on February 27, 2002 15:14:14 UTC

I suggest you get a starter Astronomy book. That will help with many of you questions. There are many at your local large bookstore. Skywatching by David Levy is real good. Here's some basics. The eyepiece is a 22MM (millimeter). If you divid the focal length of the eyepiece (22) by the focal length of the telescope you get the magnification. I don't know your telescopes focal length. Most 114MM reflectors are around f/8 (focal ratio) that would make it 910MM focal length. 910/22=41, so you get 41x magnification with the 22MM eyepiece. A bigger eyepiece would get less magnification a smaller one more. Higher power gives a larger image but also dims and dulls the image. The planets and moon stand up well under high power but for deep sky objects usually a smaller sharper image is better.
Do yourself a favor, don't get bogged down with setting circles and polar aligning and stuff like that. Just set the scope up and manually point it anywhere you want. You'll have a much better time. Go to your charts in your new beginner astronomy book. Start mapping out the sky using a planetsphere (star wheel) or the maps in the book. Find the stars close to the object you want to see and "Star Hop" to it with the scope. This is the way most people do it. Stick to the Messier Objects at first. Those are the ones that start with an "M". They are the brightest and easiest to find. Like M42 the Orion Nebula, M31 the Andromeda Galaxy, M45 the Pleaides. Those are 3 easy ones to try for now. Of course you can see Saturn and Jupiter real well in that scope right now. Get a copy of Sky and Telescope or Astronopmy magazine. They have a fold out center map that shows you where the planet and brightest items are every month. The biggest problem with beginners in this hobby is over-anticipation. Nothing will look like the pictures you see. Your not gonna see any color, except in some double stars and maybe Jupiter but it's very subtle. No big red and blue nebulas, no big spiral arms in galaxies. Nebulas will look like clouds and galaxies little fuzzy spots. Open clusters will look great will lots stars all together in one spot. Have fun. Keep us posted.
That's it;
BOB SAL

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