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General Astronomy >> General Observing and Astronomy

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sg6
professor emeritus


Reged: 02/14/10

Loc: Norfolk, UK.
Re: What has been your astronomy evolution? new [Re: buddyjesus]
      #5696638 - 02/23/13 01:45 PM

Scopes:
ETX 70 back around 2000 then nothing for a few years,
WO Megrez 90,
ETX 105,
HEQ5, EQ5 (the HEQ5 is a bit too big for ease of use),
WO GT-81.

Eyepieces: TV plossls, WO SWANS, UK equivalent of A-T Paradigms, few Antares W70's and a general assortment of other plossl's.

Future: Not sure, wouldn't mind a big reflector just to try but no great urge to have one.


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Chucky
sage
*****

Reged: 04/16/10

Loc: Dublin, Ohio
Re: What has been your astronomy evolution? new [Re: sg6]
      #5700029 - 02/25/13 03:15 PM Attachment (18 downloads)

For me, it started this way. Thanks Dad and Mom. Best birthday gift I've ever had! Circa 1966. I must have been well ahead of my time......as the picture shows I was starting my Tasco 50 on an artificial star setup in our front yard.

Still have this scope. Box and all accessories.


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csrlice12
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: What has been your astronomy evolution? new [Re: Chucky]
      #5700187 - 02/25/13 04:27 PM

OMG, I'd recognize that Orion "earthquate" alt/az mount/tripod anywheres!!!! My first tasco had that mount...maybe even that same model scope (think mine was a 60mm though).

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Matt Wallin
member
*****

Reged: 01/29/12

Loc: Portland, OR
Re: What has been your astronomy evolution? new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5700896 - 02/26/13 01:35 AM

I was a fascinated by astronomy and spaceflight as a kid and was a voracious reader of everything Astro. I had an inexpensive 60mm refractor as a kid (in retrospect kind of a POS), I remember sticking mostly to Luna, Jupiter and Saturn, my attempts to see the spectacular M13 and other deep sky objects just never quite looked like I thought it should (of course now I know why!). I learned a fair number of constellations and I am amazed to think back to how good the sky was in my suburban backyard (Milky Way was visible!) but without a mentor, and the arrival of adolescence (girls, girls, girls!) with the exception of some light reading, I mostly put astronomy aside. A couple years ago, two things coincided, my wife was pregnant with my son, and an unusual stretch of clear weather had me looking up in amazement night after night. Something sparked in me and I remembered my childhood awe and passion, it was something that I wanted to reacquaint myself with and hoped to share it with my son. I soon had a real obsession on my hands! Considering the $$$ you can spend on this pastime, I decided to take the often expressed advise to learn the sky for a whole year, with just my 8x40mm binoculars, it was good advise! I quickly filled in most of the gaps in my constellations and I knew the location of (and had tantalizing views of) dozens of Messier objects before I got my scope. My wife saw me looking at a website, contemplating joining the local club, the Rose City Astronomers, and unbeknownst to me signed me up for the club and one of their dark sky weekends for a gift, I'm a lucky guy! After a year of pining, I had saved up for a scope. I knew I was even more obsessed a year later, so I wasn't too concerned about making a big purchase and then losing interest. The star parties I went to with the club convinced me for my interest, deep sky, bigger was the way to go. A 10" Dob seemed like the sweet spot, considering my $$$ and car size, and I still think it was a great place to start for deep sky. Of course I'm already thinking of my next step up, but I know that I have a LOT of exploring and observing to do with this 10". Before I bought a scope, I went to several star parties with my club, I knew that the widefield eyepieces were definitely my thing, I loved the immersive views. I wanted to get eyepieces that would satisfy me for a good while, so I thought I'd start with Explore Scientific 82* eyepieces. I was pretty happy with those, especially when I compared the views I was getting to some of my observing companions' scopes with Plossls and the like. I ended up with the 8.8mm and 14mm 1.25" eyepieces, as well as the TermiNagler wannabe, the 30mm, my first BIG piece of glass, I think it's pretty fantastic! After a lot of internal debate, I decided to fill the gap around 20mm with the ES 100* 20mm, reasoning that it would weight about the same as my 30mm and thus balance nicely. Well...that thing blew me away, the contrast was astonishing! It set off a burning desire, one I hadn't planned on, to get the set. I sold the 8.8mm and 14mm 82*, and now have the ES 100* 14mm, and soon the 9mm (and the 5.5mm whenever it is released). I know some folks can't take in the full 100* or just don't like that wide of field, but it is an incredibly intoxicating vista for me, and I am definitly hooked. I'm hoping that this series of eyepieces will hold me for a very good while. so that I can concentrate my fairly limited astro funds on some other projects, like building an eq platform, getting a nice pair of BA-8 15x70mm binoculars, and eventually building a ~16" Dob.

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Stargaz18
sage
*****

Reged: 01/04/11

Loc: Wichita Falls, TX
Re: What has been your astronomy evolution? new [Re: Matt Wallin]
      #5701980 - 02/26/13 04:16 PM

For many many yrs it was "I'd love to get..." Then finally one Saturday my wife calls and says this guy is selling this
big scope in his garage sale. So over I go and what do I find? Celestron C6 with CG-5 mount, GPS included and a JMI case for the OT for $400!!! I knew it was a good deal but at the time didn't know how good of a deal it was. Well from there I sold the scope and mount and bought my present C9.25 and mount. Have invested in a grab n go too, ES ED80.
Am now in the process of completing the ES82 EP series. The future as we all know....skys the limit!!


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OneGear
member


Reged: 12/30/11

Re: What has been your astronomy evolution? new [Re: Stargaz18]
      #5702856 - 02/27/13 02:57 AM

Naked eye observer for decades. I thought an actual telescope an unreasonable extravagance because everyone I asked gave me the impression I needed to spend thousands to see anything worth looking at. Then discovered what binoculars on a tripod could show me.

Finally bought a discount scope against all advice and saw the moons of Jupiter and knew all the so-called "expert advice" I had gathered over the years was a damn lie.

Beware the advice offered. Quite often it costs you far more than anything's worth.

Edited by OneGear (02/27/13 07:55 AM)


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Starman1
Vendor (EyepiecesEtc.com)
*****

Reged: 06/24/03

Loc: Los Angeles
Re: What has been your astronomy evolution? new [Re: OneGear]
      #5703283 - 02/27/13 11:07 AM

Quote:

Naked eye observer for decades. I thought an actual telescope an unreasonable extravagance because everyone I asked gave me the impression I needed to spend thousands to see anything worth looking at. Then discovered what binoculars on a tripod could show me.

Finally bought a discount scope against all advice and saw the moons of Jupiter and knew all the so-called "expert advice" I had gathered over the years was a damn lie.

Beware the advice offered. Quite often it costs you far more than anything's worth.



Seeing the moons of Jupiter is possible in binoculars.

As for discount store telescopes, there are some decent ones and some that are complete garbage. You're lucky if the type you got was OK, because most are not.

I don't know why people think you have to pay thousands to get a decent scope. That just may be an impression made by the fact that non-astronomers tend to run into the more active members of our hobby, and those people may have expensive equipment.

Though they're not ideal in any sense of the word, I've always extolled the virtues of the humble 4.5" reflector as a first scope (started out with a 4.25" back in 1963), available for $149-$279. A beginner's scope should at least be able to see all the Messier objects.


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Matt Wallin
member
*****

Reged: 01/29/12

Loc: Portland, OR
Re: What has been your astronomy evolution? new [Re: OneGear]
      #5703360 - 02/27/13 11:53 AM

The year that I spend learning the sky with my birding binoculars before buying my scope was very, very rewarding. I think that it really fixed the location of many Messier and Caldwell objects for me in a very concrete way. I can point a Telrad right at quite a few of them, and I attribute that to the binocular viewing that I have done. People are blown away when I show them galaxies, nebula, star clusters with their birding binoculars when we are out camping with family and friends. Advice from the experienced should be considered, but it's not the gosphel, people parrot unvarified things with surprisingly great vehemence on a regular basis. Naked eye astronomy is great, but it's a bummer that you missed out on so much more believing that sky-worthy optics were out of your reach.

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csrlice12
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: What has been your astronomy evolution? new [Re: Matt Wallin]
      #5703435 - 02/27/13 12:34 PM

The worst scope today, is better then the best scope available to Galileo or Copernicus or any of the early astronomers. Imagine how they would have felt with a 76mm Funscope, which would outperform anything they had....Then imagine what they'd think of a 30" dob....

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Escher
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 08/30/07

Loc: Fenton, MI
Re: What has been your astronomy evolution? new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5707384 - 03/01/13 03:36 PM

I'm a big believer in trying things out and reselling - so this is as close as I can remember..

ETX90 around 1998 or 1999 which I later sold and got out of astronomy all together for a few years.

Gave it another try around 2005 or 2006 with a Meade 10"Dob. Sold that too.. But I was hooked... Now is where it took off.

2006 - Meade 2080 (original, not LX3)- Sold
2007 - Orion 10" Dob (2nd try at the DOB - didnt take) - Sold
2007 - Meade LX90 (I think it was 2008) - kept that one for a few months - then got out of astronomy again.

2008 or 2009, not sure - another Meade 2080, also original. See a pattern here?

2010 - sold the 2080 - 1 year break.
2011 - Celestron 127mm Mak, Nexstar I believe - Sold in a week, Meade ETX125 on DIY Mount - Sold in 2 months - Celestron C11 Ultima - ohh that did it... that finally hooked me for good.

2012 - Wait for it... heres the big list:
Sold C11 - Bought Meade 7" Lx200
Bought ES AR127
Bought Lunt LS60
Sold AR127
Sold Meade 7"
Sold LUNT to fund POD
Bought POD XL3
Bought Celestron 8" EdgeHD
Bought Celestron CG5 Manual Mount
Bought Celestron CG5-ASGT Goto
Bought Meade 10" LX200 OTA
Sold 8" Edge to fund Meade 7" Mak OTA
and then...... drumroll..

Sold ALL except the POD for:
CPC1100.

Ahhhhh I have arrived... No plans to sell unless I run across an 11" Edge OTA or a C14 for a song...

There are a couple more in there somewhere, but I did a LOT of experimenting in 2012.. I finally know what I want and what works for me.

Edited by Escher (03/01/13 03:37 PM)


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microstar
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 01/05/08

Loc: Canada
Re: What has been your astronomy evolution? new [Re: Escher]
      #5709676 - 03/02/13 10:31 PM

Was always interested in science. At age 15 or so the planetarium in my city advertised a telescope-making course. Sounded fun, so every week I took the bus downtown and over 8 weeks ground my own 6" mirror. They sent them away for coating and provided tubes, and a list of places where you could get a focuser, eyepieces, etc. The mirror cell was made of wood and they provided the plans for an equatorial mount, again made out of wood and pipe. My Dad's a carpenter, so he helped me to make all of the wooden parts. I can still remember my first view of Saturn through my ATM scope. Priceless.

Fast forward 30 years... I'd sold the home-built scope long before after storing it in my parents basement then hauling I around for several moves after that. Knowing my interest in astronomy, my wife bought me an ETX90 for Christmas (still have it) - that was 15 years ago now. I went from visual observing with that to an 8" rob, then to an LXD75 / SN8 with a DSI III OSC CCD to try imaging. That stimulated my interest in imaging. In 2008 I built my backyard ROR observatory and several equipment upgrades later I am where I am now. Great hobby and it continues to be a fun ride.
...Keith


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Astrodj
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 08/24/11

Loc: Missouri
Re: What has been your astronomy evolution? new [Re: microstar]
      #5711761 - 03/03/13 11:49 PM

I started out in 1969 from what would now be termed a "green zone" location with a 3" f/10 Edmund reflector and no clue where or what anything was. I spent 5 years learning what I could see and how to find it. I suppose I spent most of the time at the eyepiece on OC's, doubles, Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, the moon, M31, and solar projection.

When I turned 16 in 1975 I made the decision to order my 10" f/7 Cave, instead of buying a car since I could not afford both. My friends thought I was nuts. I spent the remainder of my high school years expanding my target list to include globulars, planetaries, and many more galaxies, along with my old favorites. Those years were spent in a yellow zone.

I joined the Army out of high school and bought a cheap pair of Tasco 10x50's to look at the sky with during my travels in the military life. No scope unless I visited home. At home on leave my 10" was located in a grey zone with awesome skies, but I didn't get there very often.

After the military time and college my career took me to progressively more light polluted skies but I gradually acquired more and more equipment as time passed.

I now live in a red/white zone and I am quite happy with both my equipment and occasional forays into darker skies.

I have learned over the years to be a careful, patient observer and to just do what I feel like doing at the time, and have found that to be the key for me to get the most enjoyment from astronomy.

I have two interested boys that observe with me a lot. It's a great activity, hobby, pastime, passion, etc.

I love it as much now as I did when I was a kid.

I salute all of you for sharing your evolution/story, Thanks!


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jerwin
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 05/17/12

Loc: Romeoville IL
Re: What has been your astronomy evolution? new [Re: OneGear]
      #5723118 - 03/09/13 10:49 PM

Quote:

Naked eye observer for decades. I thought an actual telescope an unreasonable extravagance because everyone I asked gave me the impression I needed to spend thousands to see anything worth looking at. Then discovered what binoculars on a tripod could show me.

Finally bought a discount scope against all advice and saw the moons of Jupiter and knew all the so-called "expert advice" I had gathered over the years was a damn lie.

Beware the advice offered. Quite often it costs you far more than anything's worth.




I appreciate all the advice that cloudynights and my local astronomy club has given me.

The advice itself is free, what I do with the advice is my own decision for better or worse. I understand that and would never blame anyone but myself for spending money.

I like to take responsibility for my actions, kind of a old school way of thinking I know.

Jim


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