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Today I try to watch Venus through a mirror telescope. I am no professional. No matter what lens I take, I see this image:strange What am I doing wrong?

Edit: What happens when I refocus:focus 1focus 2focus 3Sorry for the bad quality, I didn't manage to make better images. :-(

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    $\begingroup$ That looks like the shadow of the spider for the 2° mirror on an illuminated primary. Your focus would have to be way off to see that. $\endgroup$ – Wayfaring Stranger Jan 20 '17 at 18:13
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    $\begingroup$ I second that, this looks like your lens is out of focus. Try to play around with the screws you have on the scope. $\endgroup$ – AtmosphericPrisonEscape Jan 20 '17 at 18:30
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    $\begingroup$ Looks like you're on the right track towards you last image. Can you continue focusing past that point? It might also help to identify what telescope/hardware you're using. $\endgroup$ – zephyr Jan 20 '17 at 19:23
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    $\begingroup$ See the second image in the manual. Both C and D in this image are focusing tools. Unfortunately the manual is not very verbose about what these are and how to use them and I'm not sure anyone here could give more specific information without seeing your telescope in person or being intimately familiar with it. You might get better help by calling the company's help line if you can (or emailing them). $\endgroup$ – zephyr Jan 20 '17 at 19:49
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    $\begingroup$ Try focusing on something on the ground, preferably far away (if you have a view of the horizon that would be ideal). Venus is a point of light to the naked eye, and it can be difficult to tell when you've focused on it properly. If you're aiming at, say, a distant tree, mountain, or building, it's going to be easier to see a blurry but recognizable image of the target when it's out of focus, and to adjust the focusing knob until it's clear. That will give you at least a rough idea of where you need to be to focus on infinity. Then point your telescope at the sky. $\endgroup$ – Keith Thompson Jan 24 '17 at 16:29
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I think you just need to keep winding the focusser knob, you are way past focus in the first picture but you can see the image get smaller as you approach focus. The last image looks like you may be there or thereabouts, I think the colored diffraction patterns are caused by the camera optics.

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  • $\begingroup$ I see the colored diffraction patterns with my eye as well. $\endgroup$ – palsch Jan 22 '17 at 11:47
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The images in the question show a progression from severely out of focus (large disc with shadow of secondary mirror) to nearly in focus (six-way diffraction pattern). There are a few things you can try:

  • In daylight, make sure that the the secondary mirror support vanes are parallel to the optical tube axis. This may reduce the diffraction artifacts.
  • The light from a very bright source will show weaknesses in all but the finest optical systems. Use a neutral-density "moon" filter to reduce the overall brightness.
  • Point sources make it easier to find the point of best focus. Focus on a nearby star faintly visible to the naked eye, then aim the telescope at the planet and wait for steady air.
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  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, I will try that as soon as I will be able to. Currently there are too many clouds in the sky. :-( $\endgroup$ – palsch Jan 22 '17 at 19:25
  • $\begingroup$ This does not address the obvious massive focus error in the images posted. $\endgroup$ – Carl Witthoft Jan 23 '17 at 13:35
  • $\begingroup$ @CarlWitthoft Updated. $\endgroup$ – Mike G Jan 23 '17 at 17:05

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