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Astronomy Bloopers

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#1 daveyfitz

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 10:01 PM

Well, as embarrassing as this is, I just had to share it:

I have been away from astronomy since I gave my old 6" Newt to my son.
I'm still a novice, but I want to get back into it, so I bought a shiny new Orion XT12g (dam that thing is big and heavy....).

It came with just a 28mm EP, so I also ordered one of the cheap 8-24mm zooms, thinking that will give me all the viewing I'll need for awhile.

So, I put 'er together, use the included peep hole to do a quick collimation, and head out into the yard for some viewing.

I was having a fine time, checking out some clusters and nebulae, and enjoyed Jupiter.

I went back inside to warm up and wait for the appearance of an old favorite, Saturn.

3 AM rolls around and I'm out to try a couple more globulars, then Saturn.
She looks great in the 28mm, so I put in the 8-24, and YIKES, I can hardly see anything. The image is dark, fuzzy, even at 24mm it looks like mud. I can barely see well enough to get focus.

Totally disheartened that the zoom EP turned out to be such a PIECE OF *BLEEP*, I tear down, go in the house and immediately get online to order the Baader 8-24 zoom.

Next morning, as I'm tinkering around with my scope stuff, I find my 1.25" adapter, and notice that I had stuck the collimation peep hole into the BACK of it. I remembered I had not wanted to lose it, so I just stuck it there while I was moving my scope.

I had been using my 8-24mm zoom with the peephole restricting the aperture to about 1/8".
I'm amazed I could see ANYTHING.....

Well, at least now I can do a comparison of the Celestron vs the Baader zoom.

Anybody else wanna share a bonehead move?

#2 GeneT

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 10:43 PM

I've made too many to count. The one that still sticks in my craw is one night I loaded all my gear, then headed about 50 miles to our dark sky site to view. I went to assemble my truss tub telescope--only to discover that I had left the trusses at home. Due to stress at work, I really needed that night of viewing. I now keep my trusses in the garage near the car door that I load everything up. Forgetting my truss poles only happened once.

#3 buddyjesus

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 10:44 PM

that is a good one. my worst was leaving my scope out overnight in the country and woke to the sound of rain on my tent.

#4 kfiscus

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 11:22 PM

Agreed to set up my 10" dob for entertainment at my local state park when they had a candlelight skiing party. Agreement said that I needn't bother if it was cloudy...
It was cloudy the whole day and evening until 30 minutes before I was to be there. I hurriedly packed everything into my truck and rushed off, arriving just in time. I was stunned that my three EPs and barlow were nowhere to be found. I'd left them on top of my tool box in the back of the pickup and they'd blown off on the interstate. I found a few items, all damaged. I learned my several lessons that night. Don't rush, watch the weather more closely, don't rush, don't rush, etc. :(

#5 Ed Wiley

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 11:52 PM

Mounted my Moonlite focuser on my Schmidt-Newt upside down--couldn't figure out why I was only seeing 1/2 of the FOV until the next day.

Ed

#6 Astrodj

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 12:30 AM

HaHa, that stuff is funny ONLY when looking back on it, right?

My most recent blunder/s was traveling over an hour to my dark site and after taking great care to make a thorough list of essentials, I left my observing chair at home...twice in a row! I felt like a nitwit the first time. The second time, well, I could not believe I could be that stupid. I had to sit on a Rubbermaid tub that was too short and kept caving in under me. What a pain.

NEVER underestimate your capacity for being a complete Homer. :bangbangbang:

#7 Tony Flanders

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 05:29 AM

Probably all of us have at one point or another started observing galaxies without removing the filter for the previous object. Faint galaxies are faint indeed through an H-Beta filter or a deep red filter for observing Mars!

I have twice driven significant distances with my telescope and forgotten to bring any eyepieces. Fortunately, I had binoculars with me in both cases.

A surprising number of people, including me, have tried to split Castor before they realized they were looking at Pollux.

#8 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 06:20 AM

A surprising number of people, including me, have tried to split Castor before they realized they were looking at Pollux.



:waytogo:

One night I was having a heck of a time finding Castor, I must have spent at least 15 minutes, I could see it but I couldn't find it with the telescope. Finally I figured out I was looking at Gomeisa and Procyon in Canis Minor, Castor and Pollux were behind a tree. :(

Other small bloopers... Leaving the cover on the secondary mirror and wondering why the view was so poor. Leaving the Blug in the focuser after collimation.

Larger Bloopers:

One cold, windy night, I put the cover on my 16 inch Dob and when inside the motor home to sleep. When I woke up, the scope had blown over and was laying on it's side. Lesson: When it's windy, leave the scope either horizontal or at least in oriented so the wind with just realign the tube into a horizontal position and not blow it over.

Back in the day before webcams, one of the mags had an article on using a video camera to image the eyepiece, two tripods was the scheme. I had an 8mm camera, a C-8. I just finished aligning the scope with Jupiter and then backed into the tripod with the 8mm camera, it went over, the camera was a goner.

Biggest Blooper: Observing barefoot in the backyard, went inside to get an eyepiece. The sliding glass door was open, the screen door was not. I tried to walk through the screen door, my right foot first. To screen stopped it, foot was deflected, slid down and hit the concrete sill, badly lacerating my big toe right where it attaches.

Gushing blood, a rush to the emergency room, a dirty wound, stitches, antibiotics, three weeks in bed, infections... physical therapy...

Jon

#9 Qwickdraw

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 06:53 AM

Sounds like the lesson to be learned is a check off list.

#10 mich_al

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 08:34 AM

Does the evidence in this thread nullify the implication in the other thread (eye glaze over) on how smart we all are ?

#11 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 11:10 AM

Does the evidence in this thread nullify the implication in the other thread (eye glaze over) on how smart we all are ?


:rofl5:

They seem to pay attention when I tell them about backing into the video camera or lacerating my big toe and spending three weeks in bed...

Not so much when I describe the pleasure of seeing M76 in a 60mm refractor from my light polluted backyard.

Jon

#12 csrlice12

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 11:36 AM

My Postman also delivers pizza.......so I've never brought up the subject of astronomy......

#13 StarStuff1

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 11:59 AM

As someone else said, too many bloopers to count when you do astronomy for several decades. From a long time ago: I bought a Celestron Comet Catcher. A few of our club went to a dark sky site. Initially the views through my new scope were very pleasing. Then, slowly but surely, the stars began dissapearing. When everything got blank I looked and the corrector plate was completely fogged over. My first experience with any scope with a corrector plate.

More recently another club I belong to had a "Saturn Watch". I took my C102f, eyepieces, SP mount and everything I needed...except for the counterweight!!Fortunately another member lived very close by and traveled back home to bring me a cw for the evening.

#14 NeilMac

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 01:01 PM

LOL ROFL

#15 SteveNH

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 01:51 PM

Most memorable (among many) is when I spent quite a bit of time with my 8" f/8.5 Newt in my back yard, sighting, nudging, aligning it as slowly and carefully as I could, in the excitement of finally having located Uranus. I Stepped away from the finder to get an eyepeice and promptly bonked my head hard against the front end of the tube with a recoil. At least I was able to find it again, and observed it in awe with a minor bruise on my forehead.

#16 rdandrea

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 02:14 PM

My most recent blooper is a recurring one. I often forget to take the lens cap off of my Lunt 35 and spend considerable time trying to figure out why I'm misaimed even though the little TeleVue finder tells me I'm dead on. Because Ha scopes are so dark when you're NOT aimed at the Sun, you can't tell you left the lens cap on unless you look. And because I have a foam-core board as a light shield, I have to get up off my butt to look.

Seems like the kind of thing you only do once, but it doesn't seem to work that way for me.

#17 droid

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 02:21 PM

Oh heck no, we all all do similiar, the second time I took the 16 inch out, I wrapped its shround on, popped on the finders, stuck in an ep, started observing ,nothing darkness, even then I thought , it must be so far out of focus the stars are just to dim, only after I got frustrated did I look under the shroud to find the cover still on the mirror box. I just chalked it up to a senior moment, lol.

#18 drbyyz

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 03:28 PM

All too often I forget to take the lunar filter out of an eyepiece when I pack up for the night. Makes finding those faint fuzzies really tricky a few nights later.

#19 Jerry-rigged

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 03:45 PM

a few months into Telrad ownership, I had a night when I just could not get the thing to work right. The red light came on, but nothing I could do would make the bull's eye show up in the glass... Frustrating evening, ended up trying to sight down the tube instead, didn't work real well. Finally, as I was starting to pack up, I was standing at the end of the scope, looking at my mirror, and noticed the bulls eye looking at me in the telrad. I had mounted it backwards... :foreheadslap:

#20 csrlice12

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 04:23 PM

it was in perfect pizza scope alignment!

#21 uniondrone

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 04:41 PM


A surprising number of people, including me, have tried to split Castor before they realized they were looking at Pollux.



:waytogo:

One night I was having a heck of a time finding Castor, I must have spent at least 15 minutes, I could see it but I couldn't find it with the telescope. Finally I figured out I was looking at Gomeisa and Procyon in Canis Minor, Castor and Pollux were behind a tree. :(


The Castor blooper is a close cousin to choosing the wrong horn of Taurus when looking for the Crab Nebula. :grin:

#22 Madratter

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 04:42 PM

One day I was walking out to my telescope shed in broad daylight and walked right into the lintel of the door (which is not at full height). Man that hurt. A few minutes later I walked into the supports for my roll off roof. That nearly gave me a concussion. I hadn't walked into either one before. I haven't walked into either one since. Maybe I did have a concussion from the first one!

#23 csrlice12

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 04:50 PM

It's how we learn..... :lol:

#24 Tom and Beth

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 04:53 PM

OK...
Set up a few hours before the start of the Eclipse, on top of a mountain miles from nowhere. I had just used the scope a day before in another site, so what could go wrong?

Plugged the drive corrector in, plugged the cable into the back of the scope, got everything in order...and the scope isn't tracking. nothing.

The loose nut behind the EP forgot to plug the power cord from the back of the scope into the drive corrector.

#25 magic612

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 04:53 PM

I bought a Tasco 11-TR telescope a few months back, one of the red, 4.5" reflectors made in Japan that has decent optics. The scope was in nice shape, the owner had treated it pretty well. When I got it home, it was still light out, and I wanted to align the finderscope / test the optics/eyepieces during the day.

So I popped in the H20 eyepiece that was included with it, aimed it at a distant light pole, and focused. I kept thinking... "Hmmm... dimmer than it should be for during the day, and what's that greenish cast to the view?" It was only when I took the eyepiece back out that I realized that the screw-on "Sun filter" (YIKES!) was screwed on to the eyepiece barrel!

No wonder it looked so dim - the view got MUCH brighter after that....






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