Disappointed with Bushnell Ares 5" Dob
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
- AZ Stargazer1
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.
- AZ Stargazer1
- AZ Stargazer1
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.
- AZ Stargazer1
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.