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Classic Astronomers

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#1 youngamateur42

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 02:28 AM

Simple astronomy is quickly fading away, without the steady flow of young people like myself. Astrophotography is a large part of amateur astronomy now, but I thought one day that some people "rent" a telescope hundreds of miles away for a few hours waiting for some image to pop up on their computer screen. Maybe this is an enjoyable activity, but it's nothing like being out in the fresh air on a clear night, enjoying the night sky, the simplicity is what draws me to sketching, taking notes, and making it a time to relax from a busy day. Anybody else still enjoy astronomy the way I do?

#2 FJA

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 03:01 AM

I do, very much and I think a lot of others do too, quite probably the 'silent majority'. I've been doing astronomy for 21 years now, mostly deep sky observing, and just the simple way, scope, notebook and pens. :)
It's good to see young guys like yourself into astronomy. Have any of your friends shown an interest in it?

#3 FoggyEyes

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 06:39 AM

I enjoy being out at night, on one of the few nights when the sky is clear. I bring my radio out to listen to a baseball game and time flies. Very pleasant. But, different people are wired differently, so other things will appeal to them. What the heck, there is room for everybody.

#4 Illinois

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 07:39 AM

I like simple and enjoy astronomy! Look at stars for a few hours, look at Moon and planets!

#5 Kraus

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 07:51 AM


Another joy of observing in the night air is the sweltering heat. Last night by ten o'clock, everything was wet.

I'm glad you realize there are other things out there. Many young folks would rather stare at those hand-held devices. Over time, the eye muscles regrow until the individual becomes cross-eyed.

#6 csa/montana

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 09:00 AM

but it's nothing like being out in the fresh air on a clear night, enjoying the night sky, the simplicity is what draws me to sketching, taking notes, and making it a time to relax from a busy day. Anybody else still enjoy astronomy the way I do?



Count me in! I absolutely love "simple" observing, just you & the awesome night sky. Serenaded by the night sounds, it's as close to perfect, as I can imagine!

#7 FirstSight

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 09:20 AM

In the predawn couple of hours in fall/spring when temps are crisp but not really cold, I'll sometimes go out observing in my driveway dressed in pajama bottoms and a sweatshirt. That last hour or two before dawn on cloudless nights are typically when suburban light pollution (both far and nearby) is at a minimum, and transparency and seeing are at their best.

If it's been awhile since I was out that early, sometimes when I first look up the stars and constellations visible seem disconcertingly unfamiliar, because at e.g. 4am I'm in effect jumping ahead a whole season or more from where the sky is around 10pm, and because constricting treelines limit my field of view, almost no stars visible at 10pm are still visible at 4am etc. But those first five to ten minutes of struggling to get my bearings are part of the fun. The second thing that's a bit disconcerting is how suddenly the first hints of dawn begin appearing - often, I'll be seated in my observing chair, look down into the eyepiece to study some object still surrounded by 100% dead-of-night dark skies (such as they are in suburbia), study it for 3-4 minutes, and when I look up, notice that the sky is unmistakably beginning to brighten along the eastern horizon. At that point, I know I only have another 5 minutes or so left of useful observing time at higher altitudes away from the eastern horizon, although I can stretch that out a bit if there's a bright planet out at that hour.

The only person(s) who ever see me out at that hour are the newspaper deliveryman (who whizzes past very quickly) and occasionally, there's one or two early-risers who briskly walk past my driveway. However, I doubt anyone but perhaps the news delivery guy even notices I'm there (and he only because his lights very briefly reflect off me in passing), because I'm mostly secluded from view by shrubbery except when they're passing directly past the end of my driveway 50+ feet from where I'm sitting. And in the limited light, they can't see that my pants are pajamas unless I stay out too long into the dawn.

#8 Seldom

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 09:21 AM

just you & the awesome night sky. Serenaded by the night sounds, it's as close to perfect, as I can imagine!


True about the night sky for those of us who've got it, but maybe remote rental observing's as good for those who live in white or red.

Regarding night sounds, I was aligning my scope last week when I heard the sound of hooves and a lot of heavy breathing. It was too dark to see what they were (I assume a few mule deer), but they were mighty close, loud, and I'm glad they didn't decide to cross my scope pad.

#9 David Pavlich

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 12:30 PM

I enjoy visual and imaging, however, if the WX doesn't improve soon, I may take up another hobby. :mad: Not really, but it does get frustrating.

David

#10 Michael Rapp

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 01:17 PM

While not exactly related to your original post, one thing I've found myself getting into is trying to repeat observations from the "classic astronomers" of the 17th through early 20th century.

It is fun to look at the Moon or Mars and imagine yourself in earlier times without all of the astronomical knowledge that we have now. What do you see? How do you interpret what you see?

For example, I am working on looking at a particular lunar crater where an observer of the 19th century was sure beyond any measure of doubt that he was witnessing the construction of a lunar city. I am trying to view this crater myself (albeit with better equipment, of course) at the same lighting angle to see if I would interpret it in a similar way.

#11 GeneT

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 03:34 PM

some people "rent" a telescope hundreds of miles away for a few hours waiting for some image to pop up on their computer screen. Maybe this is an enjoyable activity, but it's nothing like being out in the fresh air on a clear night, enjoying the night sky, the simplicity is what draws me to sketching, taking notes, and making it a time to relax from a busy day. Anybody else still enjoy astronomy the way I do?


I sure do! :woohoo:

#12 Chuck Hards

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 04:11 PM

I've always been a visual observer, going on 45 years now. I started at age 10. And although I used to do emulsion astro-photography and have recently started getting into digital imaging, I've never enjoyed it as much as visual observing.

#13 CelestronDaddy

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 05:03 PM

Justin - Thanks for posting this! I have always been a visual observer by nature I guess. I started my astronomy adventure when I was a youngster in elementary school. My parents bought me an inexpensive reflector and that got me going. I moved on to better scopes in High School. I find much pleasure in planning, finding, and observing various astronomic targets like planets, DSO's, and double stars (stars in general). It is a joy to visually observe these treasures and try and discern as much detail as possible. It never fails to humble me when I consider the great distance and immenseness of the universe and my tiny part of it :grin:

#14 AstroTatDad

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 05:23 PM

I am a "VTO" Visual Treasure Observer. :) that's what I call it, love visual observing, searching and looking at the treasures I find. When I first started observing I was in to mostly planets and lunar. These days I'm very heavy in to DSO's, I find myself doing that the most. I have seen so much and it's still mind blowing looking at the same objects that I seen 20+ years ago. :)

I almost jumped the gun and invested in a good AP rig, I stepped back from that thought. Maybe later down the road, we will see. But right not visual is were my heart is for sure, with some sketching at the EP.

#15 bumm

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 05:48 PM

I'm a strictly visual observer... Once, after posting something in the old sci.astro.amateur group, a fellow told me I do astronomy like right out of an old Sam Brown book. He meant it as a compliment, and I proudly took it that way. :)
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#16 bumm

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 05:55 PM

While not exactly related to your original post, one thing I've found myself getting into is trying to repeat observations from the "classic astronomers" of the 17th through early 20th century.

It is fun to look at the Moon or Mars and imagine yourself in earlier times without all of the astronomical knowledge that we have now. What do you see? How do you interpret what you see?

For example, I am working on looking at a particular lunar crater where an observer of the 19th century was sure beyond any measure of doubt that he was witnessing the construction of a lunar city. I am trying to view this crater myself (albeit with better equipment, of course) at the same lighting angle to see if I would interpret it in a similar way.


Sort of related... There are several threads in this group where I've rattled on about my efforts using antique opera glasses and field glasses to duplicate the views discussed by Garrett Serviss in his delightful 1888 book, "Astronomy With An Opera-Glass." It's not an effort to "discover things," or "explore the sky," but an attempt to see things as his readers did back then. I'm enjoying the dickens out of it. :)
Marty

#17 Tony Flanders

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 05:04 AM

Simple astronomy is quickly fading away, without the steady flow of young people like myself.


Backyard astronomy is certainly in a period of decreasing popularity right now, at least in the industrialized world. That's happened before. Time will tell if it's a long-term trend or if there will be another resurgence.

Astrophotography is a large part of amateur astronomy now, but I thought one day that some people "rent" a telescope hundreds of miles away for a few hours waiting for some image to pop up on their computer screen.


The fraction of people who do remote observing is negligible compared to the total number of stargazers.

If you think that true remote astrophotography is a matter of waiting for an image to pop up on your screen, you have a lot to learn!

Astrophotography is certainly becoming more popular, because the barrier to entry is much lower than it was in the days of film. But this is certainly not happening at the expense of visual observing. If anything, the fact that astrophotography is so easy (relatively!) today makes the entire hobby more attractive, boosting the total number of visual observers.

The biggest enemy of old-fashioned visual observing is light pollution.

#18 Brett Carlson

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 07:28 AM

I got back into this hobby just a few years ago. I had a cheap refractor telescope as a kid and was fascinated by what I could see!

Visual observing is one of the most calming, rewarding experiences I do. Either alone or in a group....doesn't matter to me. I have fun either way. If I'm alone I tend to tweak things a bit more and try something different. Since I'm new I'm experimenting using different filters and the views through different eyepieces. Lots to learn!

My favorite thing it the reaction of people as they look through the eyepiece for the first time!

I'm interested in Astrophotography but do not have the equipment yet to really jump into that quite yet. Maybe down the road a bit.

#19 droid

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 07:30 AM

I am working on looking at a particular lunar crater where an observer of the 19th century was sure beyond any measure of doubt that he was witnessing the construction of a lunar city. I am trying to view this crater myself (albeit with better equipment, of course) at the same lighting angle to see if I would interpret it in a similar way.


I actually did a afocal image of the moon once and would have sworn there were barracks there, lol.
Im also visual, accept for afocal lunar images, and use the time to distress from every day worries.

#20 Kraus

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 08:41 AM

I enjoy visual and imaging, however, if the WX doesn't improve soon, I may take up another hobby. :mad: Not really, but it does get frustrating.

David


Hang in there Dave. Tuesday, I finally got a clear night after four weeks and few days of clouds, clouds and clouds. Come fall time, the skies will open up for us all.

#21 csa/montana

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 08:52 AM

My opposite frustration! Night skies have been absolutely beautiful, night after night, and I cannot get out with my scope due to severe back pain. :( Very depressing to let these skies go to waste. :crazy:

#22 GreenGal

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 09:13 AM

[quote name="Tony Flanders"]Simple astronomy is quickly fading away, without the steady flow of young people like myself.[/quote]

Backyard astronomy is certainly in a period of decreasing popularity right now, at least in the industrialized world. That's happened before. Time will tell if it's a long-term trend or if there will be another resurgence.
[/quote]

I think the resurgence is underway in England. Check out this article. The programs are available on YouTube, and they're lots of fun to watch.

#23 Chuck Hards

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 09:44 AM

[quote name="GreenGal"][quote]Simple astronomy is quickly fading away, without the steady flow of young people like myself.[/quote]

Backyard astronomy is certainly in a period of decreasing popularity right now, at least in the industrialized world. That's happened before. Time will tell if it's a long-term trend or if there will be another resurgence.
[/quote]

I think the resurgence is underway in England. Check out this article. The programs are available on YouTube, and they're lots of fun to watch. [/quote]

My dark-site days were in my youth and up to about age 33 (that was 21 years ago). Career and family life put a crimp in getting out of town, so since then the backyard has been my observing site 98% of the time. I actually enjoy it, despite the compromised suburban skies. Discounting galaxies, most DS objects are still visible with proper filtration (albeit not as nice as at a dark site), as are solar system objects, double stars, clusters, etc.
My current work schedule precludes staying up until dark- I'm in bed by 8 PM most nights. Winter is better, then I've got at least a couple of hours before bedtime.

When I retire, hopefully I'll get out of town more often, but for the next few years, I'm enjoying the backyard experience. It's like reliving those first few years with a telescope, in my parent's backyard when I was a kid. Only now I have better telescopes and eyepieces, and know where everything is. :)

#24 Usquebae

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 10:54 AM

I liken stargazing to fishing. My scope gets me out under the stars, like my pole gets me out exploring the wilderness. I like working the scope and finding new (to me) objects, just as I enjoy practicing my cast and hooking a fish. But it's mainly about getting out there, being there, communing with cosmos or nature, connecting with something beyond the constructs of human society and the constraints of the human condition.

At night I spend long spells away from the eyepiece; by day, I can leave a fly on the water for hours without a strike and care not one bit, though I know many people who judge their outings by the quantity and size of the catch. Maybe APers are like sportfisherman, needing a goal, a conquest, something to achieve and evidence of success.

+1 million for visual. But I should note that I'm in a deep green zone. If I still lived in Baltimore, I doubt I would bother. I don't know how you cityfolk do it.

#25 csrlice12

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 11:19 AM

+1 for visual here, but I'm not "classic", I'm just "old"....

And, we should not forget, that for every one of us on this forum, there are many others who don't even know of this forum's existence......






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