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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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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 :

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If its a clear night try to find an area away from light polution, wooded area, flat wasteland and then depending on the time of year,but in he winter months its south you will have to look.Look for the 3 stars in a row pretty close to each other, horizontally, it will easier to see in the later hours 11-12 o'clock best so the 3 stars are Orion's Belt.

From there, if clear enough, stars are brighter in the winter months, look straight up a little to the next brightest star you can see and also straight down from the belt you will see 'the sword' the hilt and it hangs down. The top one is his head area,if you look close your eyes faintly the image of a man with two legs one going out at an angle to the right and the left leg with a knee joint, the left has two bright stars marking a knee joint and a bottom of the leg is usually visible.

If you look almost in a straight line from the head/neck star you will see another bright star, this is his hand holding the bow he hunts with! On a really clear night in a vast countryside you can almost see the small stars where his bow would curve! Now the best bit, just above the left leg knee star is 'The Great Red Orion Nebula! Depending on where you are and it your away from light pollution you will see these.

I just recently found out about the nebula through a great program called 'STELLARIUM' (free download), just set it to where you are or try using the network to find you. its is a great program with so much to see and learn about the stars. I recommend zooming in on certain objects. If you have a powerful telescope in a vast dense area you might just see the red in the nebula.

Happy hunting I hope I have helped you

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protected by Qmechanic Jan 29 '15 at 1:25

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