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What has been your astronomy evolution?

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#1 jerwin

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 09:50 PM

What has been your astronomy evolution. I feel like for me I started out small and cheap (because I didn’t know any better, and didn’t realized how much I’d enjoy it) Then I moved up in aperture and filled in some gaps in the 1.25 eyepiece collection.

Then I took a big jump in aperture, going from a 5 to 11. I later moved from (cheap) 1.25 to (cheap) 2” eyepieces. Finally decided quality eyepieces with a larger FOV were better than cheap eyepieces. I got a solar scope for daytime viewing (though work interferes with that more than I’d like). I then started traveling to darker skies whenever I have the chance (though work often interferes with this more than I’d like too :p ). Traveling “forced” me to buy some nicer cases for transportation. I picked up some canon IS binoculars to keep in my truck for those nights I’m away from my equipment but the sky cries out to be explored. Now I decided to pick up a 6” refractor for contrast. Though I haven’t got it yet.

I feel like my bank account is begging for a break so I’m hoping to grant it its wish for a while, but it’s still got me wondering what’s next. If binoviewers are the next natural progression or if premium mirrors, and/or 16-18” dobs are next. If I’m going to progress from 82 degree to 100 degree or 120 degree. Maybe the doublet refractor will make me want a triplet? My Lunt LS60 already has me wanting a LS80. Maybe a dome in the back yard on this list, or packing up and moving to darker skies.

Just wondering what others progressions have been. I can’t be alone here, right?

#2 herrointment

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 10:50 PM

In three years I've progressed from no eyepieces to I can barely lift the case, and from no scopes to 2 cats two refractors and two newts.

I'm thinking about storage solutions presently.

#3 jerwin

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Posted 16 February 2013 - 11:09 PM

This is the only hobby that has me hanging onto every box, I about need a shed just fo those. :)

Jim

#4 Tony Flanders

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 08:28 AM

I haven't spent much money on equipment in the last 5 years. My only big purchase was a parallelogram mount for binoculars.

With my 12.5-inch Dob, I have maxed out in terms of the aperture that's practical for my current lifestyle. That might change some day. But meanwhile I have lots more to do with that 12.5-incher.

Ultrawidefield eyepieces and binoviewers leave me cold. I look through the ones that other people own, appreciate the views, say "Oh yes, that's nice," and then go back quite happily to the eyepieces that I already own.

There is only one serious hole in my eyepiece collection: a wide-field that maximizes the FOV for my 1.25-inch scopes. I'll probably buy one of those sometime in the next decade ...

I also really need a 1.25-inch O III filter to replace the one I lost. Meanwhile, I make do with my 1.25-inch UHC and my 2-inch O III. Again, I suspect I'll plug that gap within the next decade.

I would love to own the Canon IS 15x50 binocular, but the current price is almost exactly twice what I'm willing to pay. And I would love to own a high-quality big binocular (70 or 80 mm). But all the available units either have inadequate eye relief or their minimum interocular distance is too wide for me, or both.

I would also love to get into serious astrophotography. But I simply don't have the time given my current lifestyle.

Time, not equipment, is the factor that limits me.

#5 star drop

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 08:42 AM

I started with 10x50 binoculars and then moved to reflectors of 3", 4.24", 13.1", and 25". Now I am busy watching clouds, and shoveling their droppings, for months on end. Four to six eyepieces has been my spread for over thirty five years.

#6 MikeBOKC

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 10:03 AM

Well my astronomy evolution has often followed the technological advances in the hobby. From star hopping to go to, from plossls to Ethos, from mono to bino. I believe in taking advatange of advances in every aspect of life, as long as it is useful. Probably the biggest advance was the availability of reasonably priced instruments for solar viewing which was pretty much restricted to the academic professionals 30 years ago. That said, I am not hasty in being a first adopter. I read reviews and comments on CN before I invest in new gizmos, and I make sure they are compatible with my needs. I am grateful for all the advances in this hobby that have vastly expanded possibilities for astonomers.

#7 leviathan

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 12:20 PM

I started with 50mm monocular when I was a kid. During university years I moved to another city and was too busy with education and work. About 4 years ago I bought myself first telescope - 114mm newtonian. After 2 years I sold it and bought used 8" SCT and new GEM for it. Then after I got more and more experienced I bought few nice EPs, UHC filter and other accessories. Now I'm thinking of keeping current setup for quick and mobile observations and possibly for astrophoto, and getting another 14-16" Dob for dark skies outside of city.

#8 csa/montana

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 12:39 PM

My astronomy evolution has been very slight. I started with an 8" dob, and now have my 16" dob; housed in a beautiful ROR dobservatory. I was gifted by a fellow CN'r, a Vixen 80mm refractor for my grab n go. I have this scope setup for solar viewing also.

I've slowly gotten my eyepiece lineup to where I'm very happy with them, only looking at perhaps replacing one in the future.

I couldn't be more content with my current setup, and really don't drool over anything bigger/better! :)

#9 Feidb

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 12:42 PM

I started with a 60mm refractor but realized I couldn't see much of anything, and wanted more. Couldn't afford a larger scope so instead I built one, an 8-inch which I ground and polished.

I used to obsess over equatorial mounts and clock drives so I could observe at high power and maybe take photos until #1: I realized I had no interest at all in taking photos, #2: I rarely used high power anyway and then wide field eyepieces came along.

I discovered the Dobsonian mount and realized I could make almost the entire telescope (literally) out of junk, and actually DID.

I wanted to see deeper into the heavens but once again, couldn't afford a larger scope so I stumbled onto a large 16-inch blank for free and voila, ground and polished a brand spankin' new 16-inch f/6.4 Dobsonian reflector, made entirely out of JUNK, with a manual clock drive (my hand) along with a wide angle low power eyepiece.

I found that all along my true calling was deep sky observing and had been growing into finding and logging as many deep sky objects as my larger aperture could find. Straining the optics for the faintest fuzzies I could and enjoying the magnificent splendor of the brighter ones that gave up from subtle to spectacular details.

I learned a lot about eyepieces and what they can and can't do and what is necessary and what isn't, and what is worth the money and what isn't. I also learned what NOT to talk about in public concerning eyepieces and learned some bitter lessons about certain brands which I don't like that I need to keep my opinions to myself. This has garnered me everything from hate mail to actual physical assault.

I've now settled with a newer 16-inch f/4.5 which is a more compact version of my home-built scope (which is sitting in my shed out back). I have all the eyepieces I'll ever need, I have the only electronics I'll ever need, a green laser pointer, and am working on several different catalogs of deep sky objects which will take me a long time to complete, if ever.

I write occasional articles for various astronomical publications as well as my own web site and am currently secretary of my local club.

I also do the occasional presentation on subjects ranging from observing galaxies to eyepieces.

That's how I've evolved.

My love for the hobby, whether solo or with others has never waned and I've never been bored with it, not for a split second in 47 years. I'm happy.

#10 drbyyz

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 01:30 PM

Like many I started with a cheap 60mm refractor as a kid and was able to see just enough to get me hooked. After reading tons of books and magazines and saving every penny I could find, I bought a nice like 6" Dob from Orion. Had that for many years until I managed to convince my uncle to help me finance my current scope, the 8" SCT. That was back in 2001. Since then that scope has been in and out of storage as I've moved around the country for work. Currently it's out of storage since I live in an area with decent skies and a quick drive to great skies. Starting to upgrade the eyepieces for the first time ever. I've had the Series 4000 plossls since I bought the 8" and while they were great EPs, I'm definitely enjoying the process of upgrading them.

As far as future evolution. I'm going to continue upgrading the eps and accessories. Looking at the Stellarvue F50 RACI finderscope as my next purchase. The next scope is a long time off though I think, and I'm thinking big. If I settle down under dark skies somewhere, then possibly a 16" SCT. If I'm still going to be transporting my scope, then probably a 16"+ Dob. Or both.

#11 bumm

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 01:46 PM

I'm kinda odd... I've always loved the night sky, but as a kid, I didn't have a "mentor," and was never confident learning the constellations. In high school, I started taking late night walks, and eventually began recognizing my own patterns. I realized then that I could learn the "real" constellations. I pulled out my old planisphere I got when I was seven in 1957, bought Menzel's Field Guide, and had a ball! All I wanted to do was know the sky like the ancient navigators. However, I like most, I got interested in seeing DSO's... Progressed from my dad's 7X35's and an antique spyglass of an inch and quarter aperture up though a 20X50 monocular, a 60mm refractor, 11X80 binoculars, and finally, in 1977, my C8, which is perfect and I still love.
However, while I'll never get rid of my C8, I find myself going back more and more to naked eye stuff... constellations, "standard" and archaic, obscure asterisms, and naked eye views of anything I can coax out of the night sky. I just love the night, and the night sky...
Marty

#12 David Castillo

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 02:16 PM

I have evolved away from the chase for more aperture and have stopped with a 16" Dob, I am satisfied the with my Hyperion set and TMB's eps enough to halt the flow of cash from my wallet. I have also evolved into a sky snob- I don't haul out all my equipment unless the seeing and transparency are good.
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#13 Madratter

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 07:00 PM

I was going to write quite an epistle, but it boils down to this. I ended up with a big telescope (20" f/5) which I still have and love now that I got the mirror recoated. But I have rediscovered the joys of smaller apertures. And I have actually been using my 4" and 6" achromats more often than the big scope. And I really think you could spend a lifetime and not exhaust what a good 6" telescope can show you.

That doesn't mean I'm giving the big dob away.

#14 jerwin

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 08:00 PM

My heart goes out to all of you finally decided to "settle" on your 16 and 20 inch dobs. :p

Actually it's good to know that there is a point where you think you went big enough. I'm still not there at 11 inches, but anything larger will take a good inve$tment, so I'll have to think about that one a little more.

Jim

#15 GeneT

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 08:55 PM

In three years I've progressed from no eyepieces to I can barely lift the case, and from no scopes to 2 cats two refractors and two newts. I'm thinking about storage solutions presently.


Thanks for helping the economy. :grin:

#16 Loren Toole

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 09:00 PM

Astronomy suddenly caught my attention during the Apollo moon landings, I had always been interested but not motivated to really take it seriously before that time. I did have a 3 inch reflector in the mid 60s that my aunt gave me, but only used it to occasionally view the moon, mainly around full moon, for some reason. I went to college in 1969, and began to investigate the idea of building a serious scope. During the summer of 1970, I finally built a 8 inch f7 reflector from commercial (Coulter) optics. The mount was constructed from 2 inch steel pipe and fittings, making it heavy and awkward to move around. While the views were astounding to me, I had to downsize within a few years or my interest would have waned.

By 1972 I purchased a 3 inch f16 Unitron refractor on a transportable altazimuth mount. This served as my main scope for at least the next 15 years. I used Norton's and Webb's object lists during that time, learned the sky, saw a lot. By the early 90's, I had exhausted the Unitron, and moved up to a 4 inch f5 Televue Genesis. I still have that scope, use it mainly for video imaging but I'm working on a 12.5 inch f6 reflector now, hoping to have that project together by retirement. I didn't mention a sudden jog about 7 years ago to binoculars, up to 20x80s. I tend to alternate viewing now between the TV, a C8 and binos.

Addendum: no mention of eyepieces, that would take another couple of long paragraphs. Televues and off brands, they've evolved with my taste for better wide field images.

#17 GeneT

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 09:01 PM

Four inch, F10 Dynascope reflector, to an 8 inch Discoverer, to an 8 inch Dynamax, to a 13.1 inch Coulter Dob, to a C8, to a 20 inch Obsession, to a 12.5 inch Portaball, to/and an 18 inch Obsession Ultra Compact. They are all sold except my keeper--the 12.5 inch Portaball. I bought a Tom O Platform for the telescope.

When I started out in this hobby, all I could afford were the eyepieces that came with the telescope. I bought a few extra Celestrons eyepieces for the C8. I thought the eyepieces performed fairly well even though they were the inexpensive ones. I then moved up to some TeleVue Panoptics and Plossls. I now view with Naglers and the new Delos eyepieces. My pride and joy is a 5mm Pentax XO.

#18 Dennis_S253

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 09:49 PM

Well I had my 4" B&L SCT for 20+ years I guess. I never viewed much though. Sure I'd check out Jupiter and Saturn when they was around. Maybe check out the moon from time to time. My Dad had a 8" Meade reflector when I was growing up, but I was always to busy with a band or girls to go out and view with him much. I wish now I would have. Anyway, a few years ago I started viewing a little more. I realized my 4" had some serious limitations. Not so much the size, but quality. Also, because it was terrible trying to look north. I quess if you wanted to stand on your head you could do it. I bought a complete set of Meade 4000 Plossls. I got a Meade 114mm on a goto ds2000 mount that I found out later one on the motors had a broken piece so it don't work right. Then I picked up a C150-HD and have been happy so far with it. I think that 6" will keep me happy for quite some time. Of course, if I hit the lotto that would change quik I believe.

#19 galaxyman

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 01:16 AM

From a 60mm f/15 (though good) refractor to a 8” f/9 refractor, and a 6” f/8 Edmunds newt to a 22” f/4.5 dob.

I will say had fun with all of them, and can still remember as a kid waking up just before dawn to catch Venus or Mercury in the 60mm refractor. Also at 13 years of age and my first view of the Ring Nebula with the 6” newt, that put me on this long path as an avid DSO observer.

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#20 galaxyman

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 01:22 AM

I haven't spent much money on equipment in the last 5 years. My only big purchase was a parallelogram mount for binoculars.

With my 12.5-inch Dob, I have maxed out in terms of the aperture that's practical for my current lifestyle. That might change some day. But meanwhile I have lots more to do with that 12.5-incher.

Tony a 12.5” dob is a great size scope, that I just posted about mine briefly on my new Galaxy Log blog.

As I mention a lifetime of great views in that size scope.

Karl
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Chesmont Astronomical Society - www.chesmontastro.org
Galaxy Log - http://www.youtube.c...65?feature=mhee
Galaxy Log Blog - http://galaxylog.blogspot.com
HASB - http://www.haveastellarbirthday.com
Telekit (Swayze optics) 22" F/4.5 Dob
Homemade (Parks Optics) 12.5" F/4.8 Dob
TMB/APM 8" f/9 Refractor”The Beast”. One great DEEP SKY achro
ES 6" f/6.5 achro. Good one
Celestron Omni XLT 102 refractor.

#21 kansas skies

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 11:58 AM

I've owned quite a few telescopes, but nothing bigger than 8". I think my most profound evolution in this hobby would lean more toward the learning of patience and advancing my skills in the art of observation. I realize now that I can see a whole lot more with a whole lot less than I could when I started.

Bill

#22 Mike E.

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 02:11 PM

To make a long story short.......

1.) My Dads binoculars when I was a kid in 1965.
2.) A small fixer-upper refractor.
3.) A 4.5" reflector.
4.) Sears 3" refractor (my dream scope as a kid).

Fast forward 3 decades

5.) Intes-Micro 5" Maksutov
6.) 60mm Carton refractor
7.) Questar 7 LWT (dream scope for 26 years)
8.) Zeiss 63mm refractor

Still have most of them, more than I need. I Would like to down size to three; keeping the Questar & Zeiss, and adding a Mag 1 Portaball in the future.

#23 Curt James

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 07:01 PM

I got a Celestron 127EQ for my bithday last year. Along with a set of cheap EP's and a cool book to read. I was instantly hooked, as I have been fascinated with the skies all my life.

Next, I bought a pair of 10X50 binoculars to replace a pair of 7X50's lost in a series of moves.

Next I was at a telescope store and saw this real cute little tabletop Dob.

I had to have one. I have had a blast with all of these and have got several other people slightly interested also.

Last night I ordered an Orion SkyQuest 10" Dob. I absolutely cannot wait to get it.

It is now time to stop spending and spend time enjoying. I've always been a fan of winter. I love this time of year. But I have found that there's not nearly as much to see up there this time of year. Anxiously awaiting the arrival of spring to start going up to the mountains and not freezing overnight.

#24 jerwin

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 09:47 PM

Curt, welcome to cloudynights. I have a 10 dob, very nice scope.

Clear skies
Jim

#25 edwincjones

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 07:31 AM

start small,
went big,
now returning to small

edj






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