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Some things I wish I had known years ago....

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#1 Michael Rapp

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Posted 21 April 2014 - 10:22 AM

Here are a few things I wish I had realized years ago....

-- There is more to astronomy than always going for the faintest of the faint.

-- Getting a bigger telescope does not make one a better observer.

-- Stars can be interesting beyond being signposts for faint stuff.

-- Getting a bigger telescope than the bigger telescope still does not make one a better observer.

Feel free to add your own.... :)

#2 Seanem44

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Posted 21 April 2014 - 11:03 AM

-- Imaging and photography are two very distinct and separate things.

-- Buy nice things for your wife (or husband) every now and then. It will come in handy when she finally notices that (insert random piece of equipment) after several months and asks how much it was.

#3 MikeBOKC

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Posted 21 April 2014 - 11:10 AM

Sharing a first view of the moon or Saturn with people at outreach events can be just as rewarding as finding that elusive faint fuzzy by yourself.

#4 JMW

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Posted 21 April 2014 - 11:13 AM

The scope you use is better than the one you don't bother to setup.

#5 Doc Willie

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Posted 21 April 2014 - 12:07 PM

-- Mechanics are as important as optics.

#6 Michael Rapp

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Posted 21 April 2014 - 01:11 PM

-- That yard canon with the smooth motions and exquisite optics is the best scope you've ever had, until you realize you can't lift it or get it out the front door.

#7 nicknacknock

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Posted 21 April 2014 - 01:37 PM

-- Think first, buy later.

Saves on changing gear all the time...

#8 TCW

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Posted 21 April 2014 - 02:05 PM

That the mount is at least as important as the telescope.

#9 Ed Holland

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Posted 21 April 2014 - 02:36 PM


You really only need 3 eyepieces.

#10 kfiscus

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Posted 21 April 2014 - 05:07 PM

+1. Sometimes it's the best. I've had little kids bring tears to my eyes with their first reactions of pure joy.

#11 WesC

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 01:23 AM

Trying to save money rather than getting what you know you want is ultimately unsatisfying and wasteful.

#12 Philler

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 03:08 AM

If you decide to get a larger scope, if you had to, could you fairly easily set it up and take it down in the dark with just red light without looking like you are doing some mechanical work on your car?

#13 penguinx64

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 03:39 AM

The scope you use is better than the one you don't bother to setup.


William Hershel used his 20ft telescope most of the time, because his 40ft telescope was too difficult to use.

http://amazing-space...sson/scopes/...

#14 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 04:41 AM

Some things I have learned over the years:

- There are no rules.

- Ergonomics are more important than optics.

- The right telescopes are the ones I like, the ones that work for me.

- Think AND experiment...

- 3 eyepieces are not enough if you like fast scopes, richest field views and splitting Dawes limit doubles...

- A good chair is more important than a fancy eyepiece.

Jon

#15 penguinx64

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 05:35 AM

You really only need 3 eyepieces.


Yeah, but does anybody ever say:
"I" really only need 3 eyepieces?

In reality, most scopes come with 2 inexpensive eyepieces. Upgrade those to better Plossls, now there are 4 eyepieces. Then add a high power eyepiece. Wait, that wasn't high enough, so get another one! Up to 6 now. How about a wide angle eyepiece? Up to 7 now. Low power eyepiece not low enough? Get another one of those too, for a total of 8. Lots of talk about Orthos and Tele Vue Plossls. Gotta try those too. Up to 10 now. Maybe an ES 82 degree eyepiece would be better? Up to 11. How about a Planetary eyepiece? Ok, 12 eyepieces now. But wait... How about... Or maybe?? Just got a new scope? Now the old eyepieces won't work! Gotta buy more, more, more! Nope, 3 eyepieces ain't enough.
:roflmao: :roflmao: :roflmao:

#16 jgraham

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 06:26 AM

The Universe is a Big Place.

The sky is not static. It is very dynamic and constantly changing, you just need to look closely to see it.

Amateur astronomy is rich in its depth and oppourtunities to experience new and different things. Take your time. Stay curious. Enjoy the ride.

When you get the chance, share the joy.

#17 Cotts

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 06:34 AM

You really only need 3 eyepieces.


No, you only need 3 eyepieces. I need more. Give me your extras...

Dave

#18 wargrafix

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 07:20 AM

lol. I have 3 eyepieces,can't get more because literally nowhere sells them retail here in Trinidad. And thats no exaggeration.

#19 Michael Rapp

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 07:59 AM

- Ergonomics are more important than optics.


THIS. Oh a thousand times this! It's amazing how quickly astronomy can go from a joyous hobby to a chore if your back starts hurting.

#20 Feidb

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 09:06 AM

Actually, almost nothing because I would've missed the joy of discovery.

On the other hand, I could've saved a bunch of money on eyepieces I didn't end up needing.

I completely disagree on the ergonomics issue. I learned long ago aperture rules. I made it work. My entirely home-made (including the mirror) 16-inch f/6.4 is over 9 feet long. It weighs in at over 250 lbs. I have wheels for the mount, wheelbarrow handles that detach and ramps to get it in my truck plus a 9 foot ladder. It was worth every bit of effort. However, my wife was concerned about my back, and justly so since it is getting bad. So, she let me get a commercial 16-inch f/4.5 truss scope which breaks down into much more manageable pieces. Five minute setup.

Aperture still rules. I have a bad back and still have no issues with either transport in my truck or setting up.

The view is worth it.

I learned that a long time ago and it still applies today.

#21 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 09:41 AM

I completely disagree on the ergonomics issue. I learned long ago aperture rules. I made it work. My entirely home-made (including the mirror) 16-inch f/6.4 is over 9 feet long. It weighs in at over 250 lbs. I have wheels for the mount, wheelbarrow handles that detach and ramps to get it in my truck plus a 9 foot ladder. It was worth every bit of effort. However, my wife was concerned about my back, and justly so since it is getting bad. So, she let me get a commercial 16-inch f/4.5 truss scope which breaks down into much more manageable pieces. Five minute setup.



I think you have provided solid support that ergonomics is more important than optics. As you testified, the important differences between your 16 inch F/4.5 and your 16 inch F/6.4 are indeed ergonomic and not optical. The choice was made on the basis of ergonomics.

But in general, I was thinking more about the different types of telescopes, the reasons people prefer one scope type over another are primarily ergonomic and not optical. For example, the differences between a 14 inch SCT and 14 inch Dobsonian, for most objects the views will be very similar but the experience of observing will be quite different because your relationship with the telescope is quite different. The reason I like Dobsonians is primarily ergonomic..

Here's another "rule" or two to consider:

Two telescopes are better than one. Properly chosen, they compliment each other, a 4 inch F/6 refractor and a 14 inch SCT or Dob make great companions.. 30 minutes in the backyard or enjoying the large scale features of the Milky Way, the refractor is the winner.. Looking at faint galaxies, globular clusters, the planets when there is time for the scope to cool.. the big scope is the one.

Myself, I am not an Aperture Rules kind of guy.. Telescopes are tools and it's question of the right tool for the situation, for the job. I have a lot of fun with my 25 inch F/5 Dob (now that I have the ergonomics straightened out) but I have a lot of fun with all my scopes, be it 12.5 inches or 80mm.. the magic is there.

- If it's clear and night has come, there is something to look at..

Jon

#22 Tom Polakis

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 09:46 AM

I completely disagree on the ergonomics issue. I learned long ago aperture rules. I made it work. My entirely home-made (including the mirror) 16-inch f/6.4 is over 9 feet long. It weighs in at over 250 lbs. I have wheels for the mount, wheelbarrow handles that detach and ramps to get it in my truck plus a 9 foot ladder. It was worth every bit of effort. However, my wife was concerned about my back, and justly so since it is getting bad. So, she let me get a commercial 16-inch f/4.5 truss scope which breaks down into much more manageable pieces. Five minute setup.

Aperture still rules. I have a bad back and still have no issues with either transport in my truck or setting up.



You wisely made the change from a telescope with 102 inches to 72 inches of focal length, the latter being more manageable. It sounds like ergonomics is important to you as well.

Edit: Jon beat me to the punch.

Tom

#23 Feidb

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 02:29 PM

Okay, maybe I said it wrong. You're right in that English Rose (it used to be the Barney Scope but that's a long story) is a beast to move around versus my commercial Dob, but to many people, even my commercial Dob would be an unwieldy beast. Way too big.

I understand the multiple scope outlook also but I just use an aperture mask to get refractor-like images. As for those huge wide-angle views of a smaller scope, I'm not really into that, so I'm personally not missing anything there.

Yeah, I DID change the ergonomics though without sacrificing aperture. Shorter ladder, also! English Rose sits in my shed out back, ready to go if need be.

#24 Philler

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 02:54 PM

For a DSS, make a list of items to bring including bottled water, thermos of coffee or hot beverage, snacks, toilet paper, and a cell phone just in case.
Along with charts, make a list of more than you will observe, list info on each type object, RA and Dec, size, mag, and rehearse a system of locating them.

#25 csrlice12

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 03:19 PM

Man is just a food source to mosquitos and other creatures.....






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