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#6356976 The Vintage Better Paradigm

Posted by terraclarke on 21 December 2014 - 10:11 PM

Robert (actionhac) said it all in my book when he mentioned the "warm and fuzzy" feeling. How do you put a price on the intangible quality of nostalga? It's so personal. The old scopes are embued with an essense that can't be manufactured into something modern. They have acquired it through time and use. All telescopes look back in time when you look through them and take in the expanse of space, but old telescopes from the 1950s and 60s let me look back into my own past as well. They are a talisman. Beyond my own past an even older telescope can take me back to an earlier gemeration.


A while back, I wrote this post about appreciaing older telescopes in another thread:


"There is a certain genteel beauty in the wear and use patterns that comes with age. I can only think of it as an aspect of what the Japanese call 'shibui', a certain, subtle aesthetic seasoning that grows with time. It's is almost as if the inanimate, through interaction with the animate acquires something of a soul."


Chuck mentioned the love for old telescopes even being "esoteric". I could take that to mean then, that in a way, they put us in touch with ghosts. I love that!

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#6481717 My thanks to everyone here

Posted by DocFinance on 06 March 2015 - 12:40 PM

I started to just send a few notes of thanks, but the list got to be too long.  So I hope the mods will indulge me.  (Please)


I wanted to thank everyone who participates in the Classics forum.  I surf a couple every week, but this one seems like home to me.


For various reasons I can't always get outside when the stars are there, but you folks help me stay connected to a hobby that I really love.  It's been so many years since I've been able to enjoy this hobby like I once did, and this forum has brought so much back to me that I thought was gone.  Plus, it's helped me share my passion for the sky with my daughter.


Amateur astronomy has helped me find wellness, peace and perspective over many years, and Cloudy Nights and the folks on Classics have helped and  encouraged me, to reconnect with the sky.  Thank you, all of you, for your comments and questions and discussion that keeps this place going.  Your passion and love of this lifestyle come through the Internet, and I thank you for all of the smiles you've given me over the past year or so.

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#6160156 Show me a Selfie with your gear

Posted by jrbarnett on 12 August 2014 - 09:46 PM


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#6456699 Saturn with ASI174MM...

Posted by Kokatha man on 19 February 2015 - 08:03 PM

Hi all - spent a couple of nights down in the Mallee trying to find a bit of clear air.....the forecasts looked good but being brutally honest the seeing was nowhere near as good as BoM or SkippySky suggested - not that we place terribly much credence in any forecasts anytime tbh..! :(

And just to be clear about things like "great air" etc that might get bandied around here ;) let me be frank herein - naturally all these appraisals are "relative" to each & every one of us...but there was no way whatsoever that the last 2 mornings qualified for anything more than "barely passable" seeing - I think we've been around long enough to know our own situations to a reasonable degree! ;)

Ok - with that "off my chest" :lol: we were pleasantly surprised with the outcome on Saturn: Jove is a bit of a dog down here at only 38-39° & requires quite extra-ordinary seeing to deliver decent outcomes - love to shoot up North for a week or 2 but we're broke & I can't keep on using Pat's lappy constantly so pennies are sort here..!

So to get a decent Saturn with plenty of surface detail in very pedestrian seeing is quite an accomplishment & suggests this camera is a "go-er"...we've managed said with the 120MM-S but without nearly as much histogram control that the software gain gives us with the 174MM. :)

I have a lot more experimenting/investigation & queries re this camera, plus the new FireCapture beta program used, but I think the preceding paragraph is a good valid observation for starters...

Of note is the fact that Pat's Dell is only a standard duo-core (with hyper-threading, thus acts like a 4-core to a certain degree) with a standard HD - we switched off the Wi-Fi & disabled Norton AV, cleared all surplus data of the drive & had no trouble keeping up the FPS...even at 200fps using 512X440 ROI on Ol' Jove.

As said the Jupiter caps weren't worthwhile but the fps with Pat's lappy showed that this machine could take it...I want a super-fast replacement to my old dead lappy but this works in the meantime! :)

If we opened WinJupos etc during captures the FPS saved did lag behind the capture rate but caught up again pretty quickly before the avi finished its' set time-span.....so it looks like you don't necessarily need the fastest machines out there. ;)

We had only a couple of spots on the camera window which were most likely the result of me having the covers off for a lot of time trying to get an optimum imaging train set-up at short notice: seems like ZWO have done some work there over time :waytogo: ...I certainly don't think the (almost) 10 metres f/l was ideal in the conditions but that must count as another plus for the specific image...

I'm making up a new imaging train & still want variability in the arrangement but think I might have an answer...

Anyway, here's a Saturn with promise, plenty of bright spots visible on the disk & whilst I'd "love" some Jovian opportunities further North atm that's not going to happen...and in many ways surface detail on Saturn is much more demanding than great Jovian resolution so we're pretty satisfied with our first efforts - but a whole lot more trialling & also investigations/queries to be done! :)

A big "thank you" to Sam at ZWO - without his generosity this would not be possible..! :waytogo:

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#6459385 Jupiter Feb.20th from Bangkok

Posted by Tizianobkk on 21 February 2015 - 10:28 AM


attached on of my best image of Jupiter, last night seeing was excellent in spite of fast moving low clouds and moderate wind. I was impressed by the level of details visible through the green and blue filters.

I hope you like it



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#6424787 Refractors that Make You Smile...

Posted by Astrojensen on 31 January 2015 - 05:10 PM

Oh, I have several, but one in particular stands out, not only because it makes me smile, but also because it sometimes makes me cry a little (such as right now).





It's my 85/1600mm Zeiss A apochromat from 1903. It was given to me in 1995 by the best amateur astronomer friend I've ever had. He passed away in 2007, the day after his 89th year birthday. I can't ever use this scope without remembering him and recall the lazy, wonderful hours spend in his tiny living room, surrounded by telescopes, eyepieces and books in every corner, eating sandwiches and sipping tea, while reading old Zeiss catalogues and hearing my friend recall his younger days, observing with his homemade scopes during the war, and visiting famous astronomers. In my mind, I can still, in every detail, recall his home, its smells and sounds, the magazines on the table, the books on the many shelfs. I can still recall the places of many of them. Sometimes, when I'm alone, I close my eyes and walk around his house again. 


Sadly, it's just a memory now, but those memories are precious to me like nothing else. He's the only living person I've ever met in real life, who truly understood my passion for the art of observing, optics, telescopes and their shared history. 


I've got other telescopes, also some that are pretty special to me, such as my Zeiss Telemator, but they're replaceable. I can get another, if I want to. I can't get another refractor from my best friend.


I hope you understand why it also makes me cry a little now and then. 



Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


PS: I only have the OTA, the mount in the picture is a common EQ-6

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#6411387 Triple Shadow Transit!

Posted by AstroEthan on 24 January 2015 - 10:48 AM

I was very fortunate to have clear skies within hours of the event starting. I thought I would post a single image out of all 238 images before I go to PAX South. It is one of the better ones that did not have dew on the front of the scope.


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#6510033 John A Brashear Time Capsule found & Opened!

Posted by Al Paslow on 24 March 2015 - 10:53 PM

Hi all,


As you may well know the John A. Brashear Factory located in Pittsburgh, PA was razed recently when a wall collapsed apparently rendering the building structurally unsound.


I have been visiting in an attempt to document the site for historical reasons.


Upon my visit again today Tuesday March 24, 2015;  I was approached by one of the members of the demolition crew who claimed to have found a corner stone with a time capsule.


After we pondered for a while it was decided to open this piece of history to determine what mysteries lie within. So a group consisting of only three crew members and myself saw what no living person has previously witnessed.


When the capsule was opened we were greeted by a letter from John followed by newspaper articles from 1891 and most recently as August 9, 1894. Pictures in the capsule of Brashear's mother and father and family members were examined and perhaps prominent people of the time including those of the Cities of Pittsburgh and Allegheny.


Some of the most interesting finds were a piece of glass with the inscription "One of the first pieces of optical Glass made in America; and a lock of his wife Phobe's hair within a small envelope and labeled a such.


Other noteworthy items; a letter from Warner and Swasey congratulating Brashear on his new factory signed by W.A. Warner and Ambrose Swasey and a book labeled "In Memorandum of William Thaw" complete with photographs in wonderful condition. A typed and signed letter from Langley with a Smithsonian letterhead was another treasure.


So here is the story in pictures at my website. Understand the images you are about to see are my exclusive property. Share  as you wish but please cite proper credit to me.


More will be uploaded with the next 24 hours or so but here's the story as it happened today.




Hope you enjoy this one!


Al Paslow


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#6340548 Cloudynights spirit is alive and well !

Posted by midnitexplorer on 10 December 2014 - 06:27 PM

So heres a little story about two strangers.  Way back in August ( techno time that is ) I saw an ad on Kijiji for a Tasco 7TE-5.  I emailed the seller in Toronto wanting to know whether she would be willing to ship.  Now its ALWAYS a bonus when a local ad ships, especially from thousands of miles away, especially when the seller is really hoping to sell locally.  The seller politely answered the email - No.  Ok I thought, move on.  Besides, judging by the ad pictures, she was a real beauty.  Those shiny tripod legs reflecting the light, that thousand millimetre unscathed tube, and the pristine interior of the case told me this one wasn't going to be around long, but, the no shipping clause really eliminated a few prospective purchasers, me included.  Collecting only domestically, I know over the last 3 years or so how many TE5's have come up for sale across Canada.  I got one in Vancouver, lets see, that leaves about 4 !  Maybe I missed a few, but I mentally keep track of the frequency I see model numbers listed here, which is probably 1 - 100 compared to the U.S. , so I knew this one was pretty rare  ( for here ) .  ...oh well, ...


Three weeks ago, guess what, the same 7TE-5 appeared again for sale .  Alright I thought ,  she'll ship now !   NOT !   


I couldn't turn away, I'd been watching a Carton 76mm x 1400 for sale in Kelowna.  The 10 hour return drive I could handle but not the $200 return ferry fare !  I looked to connect with someone, I actually placed a help wanted ad here and at work.  And I did get a few gracious offers, but the logistics where too complicated and I still had to deal with the ferry.  Good bye Carton !  Besides, that Royal Astro 7TE-5 was such a beaut and I couldn't take my mind off it.


TORONTO !  Does nobody in a city of 4 million want that Tasco ?  Maybe I could hook up with somebody there ?  I know nobody there !  But I did !  I just didn't know it !


I decided to search Cloudynights with Toronto.  I found a few posts with reference to Toronto but only one indicated they lived there.  Shot in the dark.  Literallly, I shot off a quick pm to the lucky CN recipient, explaining my quest.  Had no clue who I was contacting, and while waiting for a reply ( I wasn't to excited because I hadnt seen any of his posts since past june ) I decided to research who I was contacting.  Found a little here and there, hmm, seems like an ok guy.  Hey ... he's only a few miles away in downtown, how good is that.  What did I have to loose ?  


FIFTEEN minutes later, I received a CN PM email !!!   Hi Greg,  Sure, I can have a  look at it this weekend and it looks as good as the images I can get it for you.  Jim


I thought this was just amazing !   Really, such little effort.  On the weekend, Jim went and looked at the Tasco, bought it, then went home and emailed me his report ... "It's as good as the images in Kijiji imply. I didn't dicker with her price because she warned me that $200 was more or less firm and I would say you still got a deal.  The scope has been properly stored in a dry attic and there is zero corrosion anywhere, looks very sparingly used since no marks anywhere to be found. "


Jim packed the telescope, took it to the Post Office, mailed, THEN emailed me to say, ok, how do you want to pay me ?  I online Interac-ed the payment and a few minutes later we where done.


So, I have many success stories about obtaining telescopes for my collection, but none exemplify the true spirit of our hobby as much as this one.  Considering I cant drive the 15 miles to work each day without being bullied by someones horn, or high beams in my rear view mirror or cut off, this is the type of thing that gets me home and on with life.


And much consideration to Astronomics for providing this accessible online community for all us to hang out in.  It REALLY makes for a small universe !


Somewhere, between Toronto and Ladysmith ... there is a truck ... a truck with a telescope ... a telescope that has a story.  ( this line should be read in the voice of Rod Stirling !! )



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#6147222 Yeah, it's slow. Yeah, we're missing stuff... Please read...

Posted by Tom T on 04 August 2014 - 05:25 PM

Just an FYI - yup, you may have noticed (by the fact that you are reading this post), that we've reopened the forums.
Well, we have. 
We aren't done with the conversion yet.  Until we do finish, please expect very slow performance, missing and/or broken links, and missing content on all portions of the site.  Please rest assured that our faithful programmer is hard at work trying to get all this fixed.  Be patient with him (and us) and this place will (hopefully) be humming right along in a few days.
Thank you!
Tom T

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#6498312 My name is Clint Whitman Am I am a Clasaholic

Posted by terraclarke on 17 March 2015 - 10:42 AM

My name is Terra Clarke and I am a Classiholic. I am also a Unitronaholic.

I have enjoyed this thread so much. Clint, I thank you for starting it, and I thank you for resurrecting it. It was written before my time here on CN. I retired in the summer of 2012 and joining CN and becoming part of this forum was my first real act as a retired person. At the same time, I got my first "new classic" in a very long time, and restored it- a 60mm Monolux #4380 equatorial refractor made by RAO in 1962. It has become one of my most used scopes! I have to tell you all that CN in general and this forum in particular- namely many of you who I have gotten to know as real friends, have truly enriched my life.

An erstwhile artist-scientist-writer-social critic and vagabond, I started collecting rocks and maps in second grade, and became an amateur astronomer a few years later. Those interests shaped my life; I loved science from this early age and was something of a nerd throughout school. I also have always loved art. Oddly, though I majored in the natural sciences in college, I minored in art. Like many of you, I am a baby boomer, a child of the 'atomic age', and a product of both the cold war and e space race. All of those things had a major influence in my life and I consider our parent's generation, truly the greatest generation. Through their struggles, sacrifices, and perseverance growing up in the depression, and winning World War II, we owe them so much. I love old things. The first house i ever owned was built in 1904. My current home was built in 1927, the same year Lindburgh flew the Atlantic. I still right in longhand (my kids call it 'cursive'), read books printed on paper, take notes, believe in manners, love old furniture, old sewing machines, old cameras, old scientific instruments, and especially old telescopes. I feel in many ways, as though I belong to a prior generation.

I'm of Irish ancestry with Southern roots; born and raised in California, I've lived most of my adult life in the South and feel most at home here. I love to see the world and have enjoyed work that has allowed me to travel extensively. I'm a broad-minded, free-thinking, minimalist; an existentialist, and a Bohemian or hippie at heart. My Myers-Briggs Personality Type is ENFP. I have been married once and divorced once. I always say, I will try anything once. I have raised two daughters who I view as my greatest accomplishments in my life, and am blessed with a wonderful little grandson who was named after my favorite constellation- Orion. Through the miracle of their birth (I was also present when my grandson came into the world), the wonder of nature, and the boundless beauty of the sky, I am constantly reminded of the magic that surrounds us and flows through us all.

I am a nearly lifelong amateur astronomer. I can't remember a time when I wasn't looking up. Astronomy has sustained me throughout most of my life. Though, my daughters aren't amateur astronomers by any means, they were brought up to appreciate the night sky and much to that credit, I am proud to say that both of them still do to this day. I see that in them in various ways. My oldest goes out to the desert in California to enjoy the night sky, knows the constellations, and enjoys watching meteor showers I just gave her a Russian Mak for her birthday last month, (her first since she was a child.) And I have already given Orion a 60mm refractor of his own. That my younger girl named her son Orion and has a tattoo of that constellation on her shoulder also speaks volumes.

Like many of you, I still read S&T and have since 1964. I still have my first telescope, a 60x700mm refractor and also my third telescope, a 6" Newtonian RFT that I build in high-school. I ground the mirror on that one, Cave figured the parabola and aluminized and coated it. My second telescope was a 3" F6 Edmund Newtonian kit scope. I wish I still had that one, but sadly, I don't. I am primarily a visual observer, mostly from my garden observing pad and deck; I love using vintage equipment, especially classic long-focus refractors of which I have fourteen. (Five are Unitrons- they are my passion!) I also have half a dozen modern scopes. Solar observing has become my main focus over the years as I don't stay up as late as I used too, nor am I accepting of cold weather as I was when I was young.

I am a retired Earth Scientist with over 35 years in the field. I have worked in engineering geology, groundwater, well-logging, lab testing, applied/prospecting geophysics, cartography, remote sensing (photo and image interpretation), and archaeological geology. As far as cartography, like many of you I started with India ink, vellum, mylar, leroy lettering guides, and zip-a-tone. I since migrated to AutoCadd and ArcInfo. I've done fieldwork on four continents and worked for industry, government, higher education, and consulting. I am also a former flight attendant (Northwest Airlines). I enjoy travel, writing, drawing, photography, and reading and watching classic science fiction along with astronomy. My favorite author is Jules Verne and I have read over 30 of his books. My favorite movies are 1950s Sci Fi like The Thing, The Day The Earth Stood Still, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Invaders From Mars, The Blob, War of the Worlds, When Worlds Collide, etc.

Kermit the Frog once said: "As you start traveling down that road of life, remember this: There are never enough comfort stops. The places you're going are never on the map. And once you get that map out, you won't be able to refold it no matter how smart you are." So to this I add- forget the map and enjoy the trip! And it's been one heck of a Duisie so far! My only regret is that I have not lived to see a manned mission to Mars, but thanks to Tim's robots, I have been able to see the next best thing.


The road of life takes many detours. They are often the best part of the trip. "Watch the skies!"

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#6498263 Jupiter and Io moon - March 16th 2015

Posted by Tizianobkk on 17 March 2015 - 10:08 AM

Hi to all,

attached an mage from yesterday night showing some details on the moon Io.

The image was taken as usual with my DK 16 inches from my observatory in Bangkok.

Best Regards


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#6412815 Triple Shadow Transit! (Again, But as an Animation)

Posted by AstroEthan on 25 January 2015 - 01:06 AM

Just finished processing all of my images from last night. Just about every seeing condition imaginable is in there at least once. All 216 frames are stacked from 90 second AVIs that take up about 62 GB of storage.

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#6354402 What started it all

Posted by Carol L on 20 December 2014 - 04:34 AM

The night sky has been a source of wonderment since I was a small child - my Dad introduced me to it on our yearly vacations to my Great-Uncle's farm, located about an hour east of where I now live. I was born and raised in Chicago and never saw the Milky Way until Dad began our 'starwalks' on the gravel road in front of the rural Wisconsin farm. His feet echoed a slow 'crunch-crunch' as we walked - slowly enough for my childlegs to keep up. His huge, warm hand enclosed mine as he answered his little tomboy's never-ending questions.


The sky was absolutely stunning. My tiny eyes saw bright and dark islands in a Milky river flowing over our heads. Some of the stars looked orange, and others were a brilliant blue-white. I'd never seen anything so lovely - it was as though someone had strewn the contents of a jewelbox across a piece of black velvet.


During one of our starwalks, the crunching sound under Dad's feet suddenly stopped, and he reached down to pick me up. The droning of the crickets was making me sleepy, so I laid my head on his shoulder - happy to sleep the rest of the way back to the farmhouse. But Dad didn't walk - he just stood there, holding me in the silence and said "Shhhh.. the starlight's falling on us... can you hear it?" I listened and listened, but couldn't hear anything except the sleepy crickets. 


We stood in the middle of the silent gravel road for what seemed like hours. I lifted my head from his shoulder and turned my face towards his to ask yet another question - but stopped when I saw tears streaming down his weathered cheeks. My tiny hands instinctively reached out to brush them away, and the spell was broken. He looked at me in the tender way only a Father can, and smiled. He carried me back to the farmhouse in a companiable silence as a mild Aurora began to send up delicate green needles from the northern horizon.


Yep, I was hooked. :)


Fast forward many decades....
A grown woman receives a beneficiary check from her Dad's estate. A telescope is purchased, and a new adventure is embarked upon - he would have liked that. The telescope enabled me to get a close-up view of the bright and dark islands Dad and I used to love - the orange and blue stars, too. There were galaxies, too - and star clusters. And nebulosities so stunning that they literally make me weep.


Sometimes a feeling of unimaginable peace flows through me while observing, and I hear Dad say "Shhhh ... can you hear it?" So I step aside and let him see the beautiful things we used to marvel at. As he looks, my eyes are drawn upwards - filled with the starlight I struggled to hear so many years ago. :flowerred:

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#6506308 Jupiter and Io March 21, Finland

Posted by Arctic eye on 22 March 2015 - 02:41 PM

Finally some decent seeing for testing the ASI174MM. 5x Televue was acting as 7x and gave 12800mm focal length for my 16" Flextube dob. Jupiter was at 46 deg altitude and with an ADC corrector I decided to try L-channel with ir/uv block filter. The result was surprisingly good.


L-image, 25% of 8000 frames stacked




And then L-RGB


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#6478947 Are you obsessed with your refractor?

Posted by mgwhittle on 04 March 2015 - 07:32 PM

Astro Physics has a cure for those of you suffering from Takatis.  Unfortunately it has it's own side effects.


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#6462497 FS-128 has Arrived

Posted by Campbellag on 22 February 2015 - 11:08 PM

The FS-128 has arrived.  The packaging was fantastic, triple boxed with a great amount of padding.  I'll skip the unpacking photos and cut to the chase.  Here I am holding my new cannon.  Of course it is raining this evening and I have to go out of town this week on business, and more rain is predicted next weekend.  I'm personally trying to solve the drought in Southern California.   :lol:  





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#6437874 Jupiter - 08Feb2015 - C14HD - Arizona

Posted by djhanson on 08 February 2015 - 04:46 PM

Jupiter 08.02.2015 06:53UT



TV 2x Barlow/ZWO RGB/ZWO ASI120MM/Moonlite

4 RGB sets (AS!2/WinJUPOS/Reg6/CS6)

5 hr cool down, TEMPest fans.  Imaging temp of 55F (13C) and only minor dew at 1AM.  Decent seeing with a 10 min stretch of very good seeing (best Blue channel I've seen so far).


cheers, dj



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#6432410 I bought a little telescope...

Posted by exmedia on 05 February 2015 - 01:23 AM

I bought a little telescope.  It was terrific.  I could see lots of little stars and sometimes some little planets.  It had little knobs I could turn so I could look at everything longer.  I loved my little telescope!   I showed my little telescope to my friend.  When he saw it he said, "That's a really little telescope," I said, I know, right?"  I was very proud of my little telescope!  When he saw the little stars he said, "What's that one's name?  What's that one called?  Why are they moving?  How come they're so small?"  He had lots of questions.  I didn't have any answers, but that's OK because I knew where to look. 


I went online to find the answers and wow! there were a lot of answers.  There were answers to questions I hadn't even heard of yet.  There were questions about stars, planets, asteroids, meteors, constellations, asterisms, nebulae, galaxies, clusters, deep space, photons, protons, neutrons, electrons, atoms, red stars, yellow stars, blue stars, dead stars, insanely spinning stars, white dwarf stars, pulsars, quasars, gamma rays, cosmic rays, coherent beams, exoplanets, scary aliens, space travel, orbits, gravitation, equatorial bulge, and brainiacs like Copernecus, Newton, Cassegrain, Maksutov and Einstein.  Whew!  I learned so much.  I learned the names of some of my little stars, and of course the little planets.   But the most important thing I learned was that my telescope was too little!  What a dumbbell!  How I could have thought my little telescope was even close to big enough?  Way too little!


So I bought a bigger telescope, and it was cool!  I knew it was big enough this time because it was way heavier and harder to use.  I had to know a lot more to use it, too.  Instead of little knobs to turn so I could watch the little stars there were motors that moved the telescope that they called tracking.  Only now I had to line it up with one special star or it wouldn't track right.  But that's OK because it came with another little telescope (two telescopes, cool!) built right in to point to that star.  That star's name is Polaris, but you don't actually point right at it because, well, I'm not quite sure.  But I know where to look to find out!


I went online to find answers and there were even more answers to even more questions!  Questions about equatorial, alt-azimuth, precession, galactic equator, vernal equinox, summer solstice, prime meridian, UHT, counterweights, balancing, latitude, longitude, declination, right ascension, finder scope, unity finder, laser finder, mirror diagonal, prism diagonal, right-angle diagonal(?), aperture, focal length, focal ratio, eyepiece, entry pupil, exit pupil, Newtonian, Dobsonian, achromatic, apochromatic, doublet, triplet, Schmidt-Cass, Mak-Cass, Schmidt-Newt, corrector plate, magnification, chromatic aberration, spherical aberration, primary, secondary, focal plane, eye relief, TFOV, AFOV and peanuts.  Just kidding, there wasn't anything about peanuts.  But whew!  My brain was exploding from all the new stuff I'd learned!  I hadn't learned anything new about my little planets and stars, but I was sure I would soon.  The most important thing I learned was that my telescope was still too little!  It was obvious!  What a dumb-head I'd been.  How could I have possibly thought my telescope was big enough?  Way too little!


So, I bought a bigger telescope, and it was so much cooler than the last one it was stupid!  This one was definitely big enough.  I knew it was because now it was so heavy I had to take it all apart and move the pieces then put it all back together again to use it.  Very serious stuff!  I showed my new telescope to my friend and he said, "Wow, that's a big telescope!"  I said, "You better believe it!"  He looked at the little stars again and said, "Wow! There are lots more stars!  How come they still look so little?  Wow! The planets are lots bigger!  You know what you should do?  You should take pictures of them to show everybody!"  Wow!  What a great idea!  I didn't know how to take pictures through my big telescope, but that's OK because I knew where to look to find out!  I didn't have much money left after buying three telescopes but I wasn't worried, after all...





...how much could a little camera cost? :foreheadslap:


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#6423406 I wasn't prepared

Posted by GiantsNerd on 30 January 2015 - 08:52 PM

This may get a bit sappy :bawling:


When I first got my scope in October 2014, and started looking for targets, globular clusters sounded enticing to me. Unfortunately, the big bright ones were too the West, and too low after sunset for good observations. Fast forward to January 2015, and Stellarium is telling me M13 will be about 45 degrees altitude at 5 AM. So I set my alarm for 5 AM. Scope is inside but in a "sun room" where we keep our cats (not catadioptrics, the four legged kind), so cool down would be quicker. My clear sky chart for this morning was 5/4/5, near perfect conditions, and very low humidity for a Sacramento winter.


I took the scope outside and did a very rough polar alignment. Found the keystone shape in Hercules and started my hunt for M13. Took me a while, but I found it. I was able to resolve some stars and was pleased with the overall view. It was certainly better than my attempts in October and early November evenings. After about 10 minutes of observing M13, I looked South and saw Scorpius, and Saturn was there near Acrab. I knew Saturn was going to be visible in the mornings in Scorpius, but didn't really think about it while I was planning for observing M13.


I swung the scope around to Saturn. My finder is not well-aligned right now (long story), so it took some effort to get it in view.


I was not prepared for what I saw, or the raw emotional response elicited when Saturn came into view. I had never observed Saturn in a telescope before. I did not expect it to be so good. Even at 70x, the rings were clearly visible. Going up to 216x, it was amazing. Variations in Saturn's surface and the Cassini division were there. It was simply amazing, and I didn't know that I could get such a sense of wonder out of viewing it.


I'm likely to wake up my whole family on Sunday at 6 AM to share the view with them. They might not like that at first, but I'm sure they will change their minds after that experience.

  • Special Ed, Illinois, Meep_Esq and 11 others like this

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