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Disappointed with Bushnell Ares 5" Dob

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Disappointed with Bushnell Ares 5" Dob

Postby AZ-Stargazer1 on Sat Feb 11, 2012 12:05 am

I recently bought this and was so excited. I was led to believe that with this scope I could see bands of Jupiter, nebula, galaxies etc. I can't. I even spent another $150 for eyepieces, 2X barlow and filters thinking the two eyepieces it came with were not strong enough. The best eyepiece I can use is 17 with the barlow. Anything lower makes it impossible to focus sharp enough. With this I see Jupiter as a white large dot. I do see the four moons but no color banding at all. Just a bit bigger than through my 15X70 binos. The Orion Nebula looks about the same as it does through my binos. I can't see any Messier objects at all. Of course I wish I could afford a bigger/better scope but the reviews and description led me to believe this scope would do much more than it actually does. Am I doing something wrong or is it not really powerful enough to see more than a white ball with Jupiter unlike what I was led to believe?
AZ-Stargazer1
 

Re: Disappointed with Bushnell Ares 5" Dob

Postby AZ-Stargazer1 on Sat Feb 11, 2012 10:47 am

Another question on this scope is I do like the equitorial base and it is smooth but since there is no adjustment to the height of the scope I end up in weird angles trying to look at different parts of the sky and my back will hurt for days. I have to move the scope from a table to ground etc in order to look through the eyepiece. How do others handle this? Can it go on a tripod and if so what kind? At least that way it could adjust up and down for a small bit of comfort. Thanks for any help anyone can give me. I am almost ready to put on Craigs List and try and recoup some of my money. Sad since the scope is only a month old.
AZ-Stargazer1
 

Re: Disappointed with Bushnell Ares 5" Dob

Postby Jne_K on Sun Feb 12, 2012 4:42 pm

Hi

Sorry for the problems. I'll do my best to help.

First, don't be in too big a rush to blame the scope. The performance you get out of a scope includes a lot more than just the scope. Sometimes you gotta give it a little help.

On a new reflector, you should always check collimation as standard operating procedure. In fact. you should always check collimation anytime you suspect the scope is not living up to expectations. Don't assume the scope is collimated correctly right out of the box and, make no mistake, it must be properly collimated to live up to its optical potential. It's an easy thing to check. Here's a good article in Sky & Telescope

Next, there is a matter of picking your targets when they are at their best. Jupiter is not at it's best for viewing, right now, because it is rather low to the horizon in the western sky. Objects low to the horizon never show their best because you are looking through much more atmosphere than when they are directly overhead. Try to get out as early as you can to see Jupiter before it gets too low in the sky. scope, Same for the Orion nebula. Try to catch it when Orion is as high in the sky as it gets for your location.

Expectations are also important. The bands of Jupiter are subtle things. Only on a good night will they be obvious. Try different magnifications till you find one that works best for a given night. On a good night, I can see them in as small a scope as 3", but on some nights its a struggle to see them cleanly with a much bigger scope. Stay flexible in your expectations.

Seeing conditions are the biggie. I don't know your location, but if you are in an urban or suburban area with any degree of light pollution, you will never fully realize what your scope can do. Your scope, in terms of performance, needs a dark, dark sky with low humidity to really show its best. Night to night variations in the seeing are sometimes enormous; it can change even by the hour. In other words, you need to do a lot more than a couple of nights out with your telescope to really judge its performance.

Lastly, there is a matter of your skill as an observer. Again, you don't mention this, but if you are new to telescopes, I can tell you that what an experienced observer can see in the telescope eyepiece and what a beginner sees is the difference between night and day. I know, because I've been teaching beginners to use telescopes for many, many years.

For a small Dob like that, I would just mount it on a small table or stool as needed, but just make it a sturdy one. if you're handy, you could probably build a mount to put it on a tripod, but I know of no ready to bolt on fix.

So, first thing is to check that collimation, then go back out and give the scope another try or two. Let us know how it goes, too.
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Re: Disappointed with Bushnell Ares 5" Dob

Postby Az-Stargazer1 on Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:55 pm

I understand you are trying to help and I do appreciate it. I spent even more money and bought a tool to collimate the scope as you suggested. Let me first say that this is my first scope but I have been looking through scopes for years, just not one of my own. Collimation is so not as easy as the articles and videos make it out to be. Yes it was out a bit but it didn't help much. I live in Arizona and not close to city lights. When the night is clear, as it is most of the time, it is more that just clear but crystal clear. There is some light but not enough to make this scope so worthless. I also wait until what I am looking at is high in the sky as I know closer to the horizon it is harder to see. The focus sucks. I guess because there isn't enough room on the threads to really do any focusing. Jupiter is high in the sky at about 8:30 here and I can see the moons but the planet is just a white ball of light. No detail at all. For all the reviews I read that you can see the bands is simply hogwash. I was so excited to see Mars last night and it was an orange speck of light, again no detail. Orion Nebula is fuzzy and no detail and I have yet to see anything that is much better than through my 15X70 binos. It is just bigger not more detail. So no, I am still very disappointed. I spent enough money on this and the eyepieces that I could have bought a decent scope. I waited to do my review of the purchase till I gave it what I think is enough time to review it honestly. I wish the reviewers who say they can see the bands on Jupiter would tell me their secret. I was so excited to get this and so wish I would have spent my money on something else. But I do appreciate you trying to help me. This purchase was not at all what I expected it to be.
Az-Stargazer1
 

Re: Disappointed with Bushnell Ares 5" Dob

Postby Jne_K on Sun Mar 04, 2012 12:17 pm

I am so sorry to hear the telescope has not lived up to your expectations. You may want to discuss this with OP customer service about a possible replacement. If the ARES simply will not focus, eve on something like the moon, then there is a good chance it is defective. Defective or not, I would rather see you get a telescope that makes your observing a pleasant experience.

I can honestly tell you, though, that I have also had lousy views of both Jupiter and Mars these last few weeks, too. Mars is in opposition this week, but it is not a particularly favorable opposition compared to what we had in 2003 and what we will have in 2018. I've not been able to use much more than 100x on Mars because it is still fairly low to the horizon and at that magnification, Mars is a tiny red ball, as you have described. And all this in my excellent 4" Televue refractor which ordinarily gives me great images of Jupiter. Been a tough couple of weeks for observing for me, too.

What I would suggest is for you to visit a local astronomy club outing in your area and see what everyone else is using and how they're doing, then go ahead and make your decision as to what to buy in a telescope. I think this will give you a much better idea of what to expect in various telescopes than online reviews.

Best of luck and, again, sorry the ARES has not worked for you.
Thanks for posting with us
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Re: Disappointed with Bushnell Ares 5" Dob

Postby Az-Stargazer1 on Sun Mar 04, 2012 10:06 pm

Thank you. I do appreciate your help and advice.
Az-Stargazer1
 

Re: Disappointed with Bushnell Ares 5" Dob

Postby Jne_K on Mon Mar 05, 2012 8:49 am

You're welcome. Best of luck to you in your astronomy.
Thanks for posting with us
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5" dob

Postby Bill on Sat Mar 10, 2012 1:26 am

[quote="AZ-Stargazer1"]I recently bought this and was so excited. I was led to believe that with this scope I could see bands of Jupiter, nebula, galaxies etc. I can't. I even spent another $150 for eyepieces, 2X barlow and filters thinking the two eyepieces it came with were not strong enough. The best eyepiece I can use is 17 with the barlow. Anything lower makes it impossible to focus sharp enough. With this I see Jupiter as a white large dot. I do see the four moons but no color banding at all. Just a bit bigger than through my 15X70 binos. The Orion Nebula looks about the same as it does through my binos. I can't see any Messier objects at all. Of course I wish I could afford a bigger/better scope but the reviews and description led me to believe this scope would do much more than it actually does. Am I doing something wrong or is it not really powerful enough to see more than a white ball with Jupiter unlike what I was led to believe?[/quote]

Perhaps im doing something wrong, though ive looked everywhere and I cannot find the answer to my problem - the 25mm eyepiece that came with this scope works great, I see amazing detail on the moon... the 10mm, however, I see a nice white glob in the sky, is there something else Im missing?

again, the 25mm is flawless, amazing detail, shadows in creators are vibrant, but once I put the 10mm eyepiece in, I see a white blob.
Bill
 

Re: Disappointed with Bushnell Ares 5" Dob

Postby Jne_K on Sat Mar 10, 2012 8:30 am

Hi Bill

Let's try this, first. Helical focusers require very minute adjustment, especially at the higher magnifications. It is very easy to fly past the point of focus and the higher the magnification, the easier it is to happen. Try focusing on the moon, again, with the 10mm but be ever so careful to twist in very tiny increments. Let me know if this works.
Thanks for posting with us
Joanie K - Your personal optics expert

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Blog: http://blog.opticsplanet.com/
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Re: Disappointed with Bushnell Ares 5" Dob

Postby Bill on Sun Mar 11, 2012 9:48 pm

[quote="Jne_K"]Hi Bill

Let's try this, first. Helical focusers require very minute adjustment, especially at the higher magnifications. It is very easy to fly past the point of focus and the higher the magnification, the easier it is to happen. Try focusing on the moon, again, with the 10mm but be ever so careful to twist in very tiny increments. Let me know if this works.[/quote]


Yes, it was a focusing issue. Thank you for the prompt reply.

I appears that I am getting plenty lots of light and very bright objects in the 10mm, easily being able to identify 4 of jupiter's moons, however, is there a higher magnification best option for this telescope?
Bill
 

Re: Disappointed with Bushnell Ares 5" Dob

Postby Jne_K on Mon Mar 12, 2012 6:45 am

Hi Bill

Never is a best higher magnification for any given telescope. Depends on the size of the telescope and seeing conditions and those can vary from night to night. Dobs, though, are not at their best for really high magnifications. A Dob mount really excels at low and mid range magnifications, but you are pushing things much over 150x, especially on a compact Dob like the Ares. 125x-150x, though, is enough for decent image size on planets and plenty for seeing detail on the moon. You can get in that magnification neighborhood on your Ares with a 4mm or 5mm eyepiece or by adding a 2x barlow to the 10mm eyepiece.
Thanks for posting with us
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Re: Disappointed with Bushnell Ares 5" Dob

Postby AZ Stargazer1 on Sun Apr 22, 2012 1:17 pm

I am back. Still trying to like this Ares 5 inch Dob scope. Looked at Saturn last night and saw a white blob that was a bit wider in the middle. No discernable rings. Used 10X eyepiece and 13 with a 2X barlow. I think the issue is focus. I can't seem to focus precisely. I have tried wearing glasses or no glasses but the point of best focus is so hard to find. I don't know if I am seeing any M objects since I don't know if it is just not focused good or is a fuzzy galaxy. I really am wanting to like this scope. I don't want to go with a bigger dob as it is so big and bulky I know I won't go outside much with it. Is there something that I can do to focus better with smaller eyepieces? The 32 and 25 work really well on focusing but I can't see the detail I am looking for. But anything smaller is too hard to focus sharply. Can you advise on something I can get to help this issue? Would an extender give me more focus assistance with the smaller eyepieces? I still haven't written my review on this purchase as I really want to give it a good chance to be the scope I thought I was buying. Also would it help to to cover the scope as it seems the truss design does tend to hate any light and I do have some city lights. I do appreciate any help anyone can give me with my focus issues.
AZ Stargazer1
 

Re: Disappointed with Bushnell Ares 5" Dob

Postby Jne_K on Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:51 am

Hi

Again, sorry you are having so much trouble.

Helical focusers are tough to focus and it gets worse the higher the magnification goes. The good news is that once you reach infinity focus with a given eyepiece, you should not have to refocus. I would try to focus on an easy object like the moon or, better yet, a moderately bright star, say 3rd magnitude. The scope will be in focus when the star as as much a pinpoint of light as you can get it. Once focused on a star, then turn to Saturn.

You can easily make a light shield to wrap around the truss of the ARES with an old piece of tarp or nylon. Doesn't have to be fancy, just enough to act as a light baffle.

Best of luck and let us know your progress.
Thanks for posting with us
Joanie K - Your personal optics expert

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Re: Disappointed with Bushnell Ares 5" Dob

Postby AZ Stargazer1 on Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:54 pm

The problem is getting the higher mag eyepieces in focus. I never can get it to a pinpoint of light. It always is somewhat fuzzy. I was hoping there was something I could add to give me more focus ability. It just doesn't seem like there is enough room to focus on the threads. I was hoping there was an extender I could use that would give more room to focus more sharply or even be able to swap out the focus that came with the scope for a better one. I can't get a sharp image with anything less than 17mm and if I put the barlow on I can't focus the 17 either. I read that you need to get 100X to see the rings on Saturn but I can't get to that mag and focus sharply. It also gets out of focus with every little bump or turn even with the larger eyepieces and yes I have the screws in tightly. I will definately use a tarp around the truss though as I think that will help with the light issues. So if there is no extender or another focus mechanism I can swap it out with I think I made a bad choice in scopes as I was looking for something a bit better than my binos but if all I can use is 20mm and 32 mm eyepieces then it is about the same views. Thanks again for your help and expertise. I do appreciate it.
AZ Stargazer1
 

Re: Disappointed with Bushnell Ares 5" Dob

Postby Jne_K on Tue Apr 24, 2012 8:03 am

I don't know of another focuser, offhand, but I will start looking and get back to you.
Thanks for posting with us
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Re: Disappointed with Bushnell Ares 5" Dob

Postby Jne_K on Tue Apr 24, 2012 10:38 am

Here's a focuser by Orion - the Orion Basic - that should work and the price is reasonable. It may or may not be the cure for your problem, but it will sure be an improvement over your helical focuser and a good place to start..
Thanks for posting with us
Joanie K - Your personal optics expert

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Re: Disappointed with Bushnell Ares 5" Dob

Postby AZ Stargazer1 on Tue Apr 24, 2012 7:25 pm

That looks like maybe what I need to focus better. I am not real mechanically inclined and hard to tell in the picture but does it just screw in the same place as the current focuser? I suppose it would need to be re-collimated but it will be the right height for the mirrors?
AZ Stargazer1
 

Re: Disappointed with Bushnell Ares 5" Dob

Postby Jne_K on Wed Apr 25, 2012 6:10 am

Hi

Shouldn't be too hard, though, yes, you may have to drill new holes. If you have an astronomy club in the area, I'd highly recommend that you contact someone in the club, to only to help you with the focuser, but also to help you diagnose the problems you are having in a hands on way. I could do that myself if I had the scope to check, but I'm a long way from Arizona. :) Joining a club is probably the best thing you can do to learn the basics, anyway.

You should also do a quick check on collimation using stars. Here's an article on collimation.

Let us know how it goes.
Thanks for posting with us
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Re: Disappointed with Bushnell Ares 5" Dob

Postby AZ Stargazer1 on Thu May 03, 2012 11:20 pm

I took your advice and went to a club viewing in my area last week. I didn't have someone look at my scope but asked questions and I think the problem with my focus may not be the scope as much as it is the crappy eyepieces I bought for it. I bought that set listed with my scope with a barlow for about 135 and what a waste of money that was. The case is nice but the EP are junk and the barlow is worthless too. It was suggested to buy one eyepiece 5 or 6mm with an afw above 60 and high eye relief. My question now is these eyepieces seem to weigh alot and was wondering if they would be too heavy for my little scope. I think they weigh like 22 oz. I was looking at orion stratus or celestron ultima lx. The people in the club all have larger scopes than I do so I want to be sure it won't be too heavy before I chunk out another 100 bucks. What are your thoughts on a good low power EP with a wide field and high relief for my little dob?
AZ Stargazer1
 

Re: Disappointed with Bushnell Ares 5" Dob

Postby Jne_K on Fri May 04, 2012 8:08 am

HI

I would recommend going back for a visit with your scope before taking the plunge on a new eyepiece and, make no mistake, an eyepiece with those specs will be expensive. Just hate to see you spend big bucks on an eyepiece if that is not the problem. On the other hand, you will have an eyepiece that can be used on a different scope if you decide to upgrade scopes.

5mm or 6mm will actually be high power eye pieces (the shorter the focal length, the higher the magnification), but that is what you want for planetary work. The problem with most short focal length eyepieces is that they are also short on eye relief and going to something with a wider AFOV than 60 degrees will be expensive to downright very expensive. Not sure if you want to spend as much money on a single eyepiece as your scope, but it is easily done.

That weight is doable, BUT you'll likely have to counterbalance the scope at the bottom by adding some weight, even if it is nothing more than taping a water bottle filled with enough water to keep the scope from moving when you let go of the eyepiece - pain in the butt, but doable if you're willing to fabricate a counterbalance.

The Ultima LXs and Stratus are good choices, but a lot of that weight comes from the dual eyepiece size barrel and the body size needed to accommodate those wide fields of view. You might want to scale back on the AFOV and go with an eyepiece that is 1 1/4" barrel, only to get an eyepiece that won't cause balance problems on your scope.
Thanks for posting with us
Joanie K - Your personal optics expert

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