What scope do you prefer for outreach?
Posted 04 March 2012 - 04:21 PM
For what kind of group?
(I like the little 4.5" f10 dob I built with my daughter several years back - most people think it is big! Down side: it is a hassle to keep adjusting it between viewers. I have only done city sky programs)
Posted 04 March 2012 - 04:36 PM
Of course I also live stream objects through my photography setup sometimes.
Posted 04 March 2012 - 07:16 PM
-22x60s for kids and wilder groups
-100mms for more sedate groups
Posted 04 March 2012 - 08:11 PM
For planetary outreach, I use a C8 with an RA drive so I don't have to keep adjusting that one. I will often set up the C8 looking at Jupiter and then spend most of my time next to the Dob.
Posted 04 March 2012 - 09:45 PM
Posted 04 March 2012 - 09:48 PM
HOWEVER, if the crowd is mostly adults, I will sometimes break out the 18" truss dob. I use it for "all comers" public events on the Univ. of Arizona Mall, for periodic class support events we hold for UofA astronomy students, for the local parks periodic nights under the stars, and also for the Grand Canyon Star Party. For this one, I pick the 19mm, 120X Panoptic eyepiece to stretch the time between repointings (can go about five people before recentering), and I also pick items each night whose elevation allow me to stand flat-footed at the eyepiece. I can go three hours at the Grand Canyon Star Party showing The Ring, then The Dumbbell, and only 10 percent of the crowd needs even the first step on the ladder. Same for The Sombrero on the western horizon, and, depending on the dates of GCSP, the Sagittarius eye candy can all be made a flat footed sight for a majority of the audience.
I really don't mind repositioning when needed, and some special nights I'll jump up to a 9mm Nagler on The Ring, Dumbbell, and Sombrero. Since I choose each night based on the flat-footed philosophy, I will allow the occasional user to reposition since the Teeter is so smooth operating it reads your mind. This also works on Markarian's Chain when I only have a few customers late. Start on M84 and let them drop down a half field and pick up the Eyes, then they slowly lift the secondary cage upward for five or six medium power fields and the river of galaxies flow through. Depends on the audience. For schools, definitely the SCT on a GEM to avoid odd angles and keeping the target centered.
Posted 05 March 2012 - 01:17 AM
Posted 05 March 2012 - 06:18 AM
And I know there is plenty of preparation to be made for each outreach, that I only limit to weekend and holiday .
The crowds always want to know how much can they see with such a scope size , and they usually will ask when will we be here again..., simply we can only show them one or two objects in the sky , at each outreach event.....
Posted 05 March 2012 - 08:21 AM
Posted 05 March 2012 - 11:15 AM
Clock driven scope (for me, old C-8)
Lets the outreach focus on what's in view vs. tracking - either higher power DSO or planets, fine lunar detail. Discussion is what's seen, not how to point; although lots of folks like a quick look through red dot finder to see exactly where the DSO is located. Clock drive allows for some conversation at eyepiece and let's people coax out more detail.
Alt-Az scope - 80mm short tube on Porta for me.
Keep to lower power, max is 80 for entire moon in one FOV. Usually more like 20x to 40x for showpiece DSO. Show people the slow-motion cables and let them try tracking (same approach works great with Dobs).
Binoculars on parallogram mount.
For bigger groups 7m exit pupil makes IPD less picky. Kids can point 7x50s themselves or easily view thru 11x80. For smaller groups explain more careful IPD with 16x70.
Posted 05 March 2012 - 11:55 AM
Posted 05 March 2012 - 12:19 PM
That way when they ask what some guy's 18" Obsession costs, you have something concrete on hand to prove that they can enjoy this hobby for a lot less than he paid, and their own eyes are the proof.
But to maximize efficiency, I like the iOptron MiniTower alt-az mount with tracking and go-to. No need to polar align, tracks all night on 8 AA batteries or a week on a 7AH external battery, carries up to a C8 or ES127 easily, in fact you can put two scopes on it, one on either side of the main shaft. My favorite outreach mount by far.
Posted 05 March 2012 - 11:36 PM
I try to bring along an Orion 6" XT dob on all of our city skywatches. The views of the planets and Moon are fantastic and people are amazed they can own one for less than $300.
I have some of the same experiences. With our little dob people don't feel intimidated - and they are overly impressed that we made it (and they don't care if you made the mirror or not). They are also happy to hear that it cost well under $100. Here is a pic from several years ago.
A few times, back when I had an lx200 schmidt cass, people would ask me "is it real?", turns out with all the electronics, they thought it was a projection! That never happens with the little plywood and cardboard dob.
Posted 06 March 2012 - 06:51 AM
Posted 06 March 2012 - 05:17 PM
Posted 06 March 2012 - 08:30 PM
Posted 08 March 2012 - 12:30 AM
Posted 08 March 2012 - 08:57 AM
But, if the weather looks windy or really iffy I bring the 6" Mak or 127ED.
Posted 09 March 2012 - 02:49 AM
My short 92mm refractor is a reasonable substitute. It's much more wind resistant, and people are often surprised at what such a small telescope can do.
Posted 09 March 2012 - 08:36 AM
Posted 09 March 2012 - 09:27 AM
Posted 09 March 2012 - 10:08 AM
Other club members have bigger guns, so attendees always enjoy a variety of views and experiences.
Posted 10 March 2012 - 08:34 PM
For more intimate sessions with a small group, or when I'm teaching a class, I prefer my stock 8" Hardin Dobsonian. Newbies can push it around and point it to the Moon or a bright planet after a few minutes of demonstration.
Both scopes cost around $400, which I also like for public events.
Posted 10 March 2012 - 10:16 PM
Dinner at the Hyatt Hotel, a talk by astronaut Scott Altman and then we were the show.
We all do these things our own way... I like manual tracking scopes because people quickly recognize the rotation of the earth. If there is time, I can teach them how to find their way around sky and I let them operate the scope, I want them to believe that this is something they can do, something easy... With a complicated scope, it can seem like it takes a wizard to conjure miracles from the magic box.