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I was trying to see Orion Nebula for few days now and I simply can't spot it. I'm using Celestron PowerSeeker 127EQ ( 5" , Newtonian , 1000m ). I'm pretty sure I have the right spot as I saw many videos of where it is. I used 4mm and 20mm eyepieces + 3x Barlow Lens. What Do I do wrong? I live in Dublin, Ireland.

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3 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Since the Orion Nebula can even be spotted with the naked eye on a clear night even with some light pollution, I can think of two reasons you can't spot it.

  • The light pollution in Dublin overpowers the nebula.

  • You are actually looking at the wrong spot. Do you see the Trapezium?

Also, maybe your expectations are high? What do you expect to see? Even in a telescope you're unlikely to see the colours and vibrancy shown in spectacular long exposure photographs of the nebula. The nebula is simply too dim for your eyes to register colour. It will appear greyish — in a larger telescope you might be able to distinguish traces of green and/or red.

enter image description here

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The Orion Nebula is one of the brightest nebulae in our sky, but often baffles beginners who are not used to observing faint objects with a telescope.

My favourite story about Orion was about someone showing the nebula to a beginner. He looked and looked and just couldn't see it. Finally he said, "Maybe I could see it if that little cloud would get out of the way." That "little cloud" was the Nebula!

So, there are a number of hurdles:

  1. Light pollution in Dublin.

  2. Light pollution from a very bright Moon the last few nights.

  3. Too much magnification. Throw away that Barlow and the 4mm eyepiece: both are terrible quality and will give you more magnification than your scope can handle. Stick to the 20mm for everything at this point.

  4. Be sure your finder is correctly aligned to the main telescope.

  5. Get a proper star atlas, such as the Sky & Telescope Pocket Sky Atlas. You can't find things in the sky using videos! Look for the three stars which form Orion's Belt, then the three stars of his Sword that hang down from the Belt. The Nebula surrounds the middle star of the Sword.

  6. Adjust your expectations: All nebulae are faint. They are all like puffs of faint grey smoke, no colour at all, nothing like any photograph you've ever seen.

  7. Keep trying. It often takes beginners many nights to even begin to see even the brightest deep sky objects. Be patient.

Good luck!

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Orion is not visible the year round in the northern hemisphere. Just like the sun moving across the sky, constellations also rise and fall.

I've just downloaded and made a star wheel from : http://www.skyandtelescope.com/letsgo/familyfun/Make_a_Star_Wheel.html

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