What can I see?

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mo24

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I bought a Celestron Firstscope 60 model #21066 (refracting) telescope a while back, and have just lately gotten around to setting it up. I know almost nothing about telescopes or astronomy in general.<br /><br />It has a 900mm focal length, 60mm aperture, and focal ratio of f/15. Comes with a 6x24 finderscope. It has three eyepieces: 36x, 72x, and 225x. And it comes with two lenses: a 1.5x and 3x Barlow lens. The max power is 675x.<br /><br />What would I be able to see in the sky in a rural area with this telescope?<br /><br />I've been able to get a very clear shot of the moon's surface which I was pleased with. But beyond that, I don't know what is possible or even how to find it. I picked up a few stars at random in the telescope with various lenses, but none were any more clear than just looking into the sky at them with the naked eye.<br /><br />What sort of things can I expect to see in a fair amount of detail? And if you can offer any advice on how I can find them i'd appreciate it. I downloaded the august star map in the Northern Hemisphere from http://skymaps.com/downloads.html, but I don't reallly understand how to interpret it. If i'm in North America, would it mean that the Cassiopeia constellation would be over head at the given time (is that eastern time)? Or would the exact center of the map be what is seen overhead.<br /><br />I'd really like to be able to see the closest planets (Mars particularly).. but have no idea where I should be looking or even if it's possible to see it on this telescope.<br /><br />Thanks.
 
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nevers

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Hi Mo,<br /><br />Welcome to SDC! 60mm is a pretty small scope. The Moon will look nice as you've already found out. From a rural area, you should be able to see some of the larger Open Clusters - especially in the Scorpius and Sagittarius area'S during this time of year. I'm attaching a map from Starry Night (which you should be able to find a free version somewhere online). Look to the South and you'll see the Milky Way "rising" up from horizon. I'd suggest just scanning the area and you should be able to find some of the larger open clusters in your 'scope. Use low power (the eyepiece that gives you 36x) and then after you've found what will appear to be a denser area of stars then bump up the power to 72x and see if the image looks better. I doubt you'll really need the Barlow's. That would be a good place to start. Scanning any area of the Milky Way will certainly be visually beautiful and you're bound to run into something!<br /><br />Cassiopeia is not quite overhead - it's a little north of overhead and somewhat east when it gets dark. It has a very distictive "W" shape to it and if you search the areas between the "lines" you'll also see some nice things. Below the "W" there is a large double cluster called the Perseus Cluster - a little time and effort spent finding it is well worth your time. If your skies are dark enough, you can even see it naked eye as a faint fuzzy spot below Cassiopiea. I'd also suggest the Andromeda Galaxy. It too is visible naked eye in dark skies and your 'scope should be able to pick it out.<br /><br />Early in the morning during this time of year Pleiades and Hyades in Taurus will look nice as well as M36 - 38 (Open Clusters) in Auriga.<br /><br />As far as Planets go, I think only Jupiter will be of any interest. Not so much the Planet itself but watching the Moons change in relation to the Planet each night. You may be able to resolve Mars as a disc but that's about it. Saturn is beyond reach for right now - maybe later. Venus can be n
 
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mo24

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Thanks for the help guys.<br /><br />I had a feeling it wasn't too great because of the price I paid for it, but it should be a good starting point.<br /><br />I'm having some trouble setting the polar alignment on the telescope properly. Before, I was pretty much just pointing it wildly at anything I could find. But if I can get it aligned, it sounds like it will be much easier to find different things when I have the coordinates.<br /><br />I found the article below and tried to follow it, but i'm not sure if i'm doing it correctly. My scope looks a lot like the one in the pictures. http://www.astronomy.net/articles/4/polaralign.html<br /><br />After doing it, I -thought- I had polaris in the scope and had done it correctly. It was just above the tree line, so it was hard to tell. But then I referenced it on the Starry Night program, and it said the coordinates for polaris at my location and time were declination: 89 degrees, R/A: 2hr 30mins. The declination was right on, but the R/A dial on the telescope was showing roughly 8hrs. I then tried another coordinate, for Andromeda galaxy according to Starry Night, and ended up with the telescope pointing at the ground.<br /><br />I'm pretty much stumped on how to align it. Here are the steps that I did:<br />-Adjusted the latitude dial to my own latitude (39N), locked it in place<br />-Adjusted declination dial to read 90 degrees<br />-Pointed the polar axis as close as possible to north, until the star (which I believe was Polaris) was centered in the scope, and locked it in place<br />-Adjusted R/A knob until the optical tube was above and parallel to the polar axis, with counterweight pointing down<br /><br />I'm a little confused about the dials. I believe I understand the R/A dial, which has two rings of numbers, with outer numbers being for Northern hemisphere I guess, going by hours 1-24. The declination dial though has 4 sets of 0-90's, which I as
 
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