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General Astronomy >> Outreach

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GilATM
super member


Reged: 08/04/07

What scope do you prefer for outreach?
      #5105060 - 03/04/12 04:21 PM

For what kind of sky?
For what kind of group?

(I like the little 4.5" f10 dob I built with my daughter several years back - most people think it is big! Down side: it is a hassle to keep adjusting it between viewers. I have only done city sky programs)

Gil
Ventura


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michael hester
professor emeritus


Reged: 11/28/08

Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: GilATM]
      #5105092 - 03/04/12 04:36 PM

I prefer Goto SCTs for outreach as they automatically track and have the best viewing location for most public users. Depending on the location and the time involved it would be a C11 on a CGEM or a C6 on a Nexstar mount. Its just easy to funnel a group of kids past your scope when you don't have to adjust it every 20 seconds due to tracking.

Of course I also live stream objects through my photography setup sometimes.


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edwincjones
Close Enough
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Reged: 04/10/04

Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: michael hester]
      #5105359 - 03/04/12 07:16 PM

binoculars for Wide FOV
-22x60s for kids and wilder groups
-100mms for more sedate groups

edj


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Pharquart
sage
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Reged: 11/11/09

Loc: Southwest Minneapolis Metro
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: edwincjones]
      #5105469 - 03/04/12 08:11 PM

For most of my outreach, I use my 10" F/4.5 Dob. It looks huge and attracts attention. It's rock stable on its mount so it doesn't vibrate if someone bumps it moving to the eyepiece. I use a nice low power, wide angle eyepiece (the moon is my most common target with this scope) so I don't have to move it as often. I have a right angle finder on the scope, so I can peek into the finder to keep the scope adjusted without moving someone from the eyepiece.

For planetary outreach, I use a C8 with an RA drive so I don't have to keep adjusting that one. I will often set up the C8 looking at Jupiter and then spend most of my time next to the Dob.

Brian


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magic612
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Reged: 09/30/08

Loc: S. of Chicago's light dome
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: Pharquart]
      #5105621 - 03/04/12 09:45 PM

I prefer to use my 5" f/9 refractor on the pier I built for it. Puts the eyepiece at a comfortable height for most people, looks more impressive than it is, and it is motor driven so I don't have to worry about "bump and nudge" to keep things centered. Plus it has enough light grasp to show outreach objects rather nicely, especially since it provides pretty wide field views for it's f-ratio, or can crank up magnification if needed without wheezing for photons.

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Skylook123
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Reged: 04/30/05

Loc: Tucson, AZ
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: Pharquart]
      #5105631 - 03/04/12 09:48 PM

My choices go with the crowd. Virtually all of my half-dozen events during the month are with a 10" SCT on an Atlas EQ-G. I can set the height of the tripod based on whether the crowd will be elementary school or older, and whether the interesting objects lean toward zenith or lower in the sky. I use the hand method on the tripod legs; two hands for mostly pre-teens, three hands for mostly adults like at the Grand Canyon Star Party. Then I can swing the diagonal around quite a bit to get "down" to the less altitudinally gifted. I use a small single step collapsable step up, and the combo works with those down to preschool if needed. I also use a walker as a corral and hand hold at the eyepiece. It helps the normal sized folks bend over if need be. The key part of the setup is a GOOD compass align and elevation set for the latitude, to keep the tracking steady on.

HOWEVER, if the crowd is mostly adults, I will sometimes break out the 18" truss dob. I use it for "all comers" public events on the Univ. of Arizona Mall, for periodic class support events we hold for UofA astronomy students, for the local parks periodic nights under the stars, and also for the Grand Canyon Star Party. For this one, I pick the 19mm, 120X Panoptic eyepiece to stretch the time between repointings (can go about five people before recentering), and I also pick items each night whose elevation allow me to stand flat-footed at the eyepiece. I can go three hours at the Grand Canyon Star Party showing The Ring, then The Dumbbell, and only 10 percent of the crowd needs even the first step on the ladder. Same for The Sombrero on the western horizon, and, depending on the dates of GCSP, the Sagittarius eye candy can all be made a flat footed sight for a majority of the audience.

I really don't mind repositioning when needed, and some special nights I'll jump up to a 9mm Nagler on The Ring, Dumbbell, and Sombrero. Since I choose each night based on the flat-footed philosophy, I will allow the occasional user to reposition since the Teeter is so smooth operating it reads your mind. This also works on Markarian's Chain when I only have a few customers late. Start on M84 and let them drop down a half field and pick up the Eyes, then they slowly lift the secondary cage upward for five or six medium power fields and the river of galaxies flow through. Depends on the audience. For schools, definitely the SCT on a GEM to avoid odd angles and keeping the target centered.


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desertstars

*****

Reged: 11/05/03

Loc: Tucson, AZ
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: Skylook123]
      #5105860 - 03/05/12 01:17 AM

I almost always use the 8" Newtonian that serves as my primary telescope for observing purposes. However, last Halloween I used a 4" refractor to show kids the Moon. Listening to parents talking as the kids took in the view, I got the impression the smaller telescope made the idea of owning one seem more accessible. That's something I'll keep in mind when planning future events of that sort.

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James Ling
sage
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Reged: 09/18/10

Loc: Singapore
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: desertstars]
      #5105972 - 03/05/12 06:18 AM

I like to bring along bigger size scope, such as my C14 and the 8" big achro, simply it can really attach crowds....
And I know there is plenty of preparation to be made for each outreach, that I only limit to weekend and holiday .

The crowds always want to know how much can they see with such a scope size , and they usually will ask when will we be here again..., simply we can only show them one or two objects in the sky , at each outreach event.....

REgards

James Ling


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MikeBOKC
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Reged: 05/10/10

Loc: Oklahoma City, OK
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: James Ling]
      #5106062 - 03/05/12 08:21 AM

I piggyback my AT72 on my CPC1100 to give two distinct views, as well as to illustrate the differences in the types of scopes (there is almost always a larger Dob set up clsoe by to complete that lesson.)

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BSJ
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 12/22/08

Loc: Grand Isle, VT
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: MikeBOKC]
      #5106093 - 03/05/12 08:52 AM

6 or 8" SCT on a GOTO mount.

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Jay_Bird
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 01/04/06

Loc: USA
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: BSJ]
      #5106321 - 03/05/12 11:15 AM

Not specific scopes, more thoughts on approaches"

Clock driven scope (for me, old C-8)
Lets the outreach focus on what's in view vs. tracking - either higher power DSO or planets, fine lunar detail. Discussion is what's seen, not how to point; although lots of folks like a quick look through red dot finder to see exactly where the DSO is located. Clock drive allows for some conversation at eyepiece and let's people coax out more detail.

Alt-Az scope - 80mm short tube on Porta for me.
Keep to lower power, max is 80 for entire moon in one FOV. Usually more like 20x to 40x for showpiece DSO. Show people the slow-motion cables and let them try tracking (same approach works great with Dobs).

Binoculars on parallogram mount.
For bigger groups 7m exit pupil makes IPD less picky. Kids can point 7x50s themselves or easily view thru 11x80. For smaller groups explain more careful IPD with 16x70.


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ChipAtNight
super member


Reged: 01/09/08

Loc: N.C. (Love the Blue Ridge)
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: Jay_Bird]
      #5106405 - 03/05/12 11:55 AM

I like my 14" and the wife likes her 10" - easy to move from object to object quickly.

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tedbnh
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 11/14/07

Loc: New Hampshire
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: ChipAtNight]
      #5106455 - 03/05/12 12:19 PM

I try to bring along an Orion 6" XT dob on all of our city skywatches. The views of the planets and Moon are fantastic and people are amazed they can own one for less than $300.

That way when they ask what some guy's 18" Obsession costs, you have something concrete on hand to prove that they can enjoy this hobby for a lot less than he paid, and their own eyes are the proof.

But to maximize efficiency, I like the iOptron MiniTower alt-az mount with tracking and go-to. No need to polar align, tracks all night on 8 AA batteries or a week on a 7AH external battery, carries up to a C8 or ES127 easily, in fact you can put two scopes on it, one on either side of the main shaft. My favorite outreach mount by far.


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GilATM
super member


Reged: 08/04/07

Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: tedbnh]
      #5107558 - 03/05/12 11:36 PM Attachment (92 downloads)

Quote:

I try to bring along an Orion 6" XT dob on all of our city skywatches. The views of the planets and Moon are fantastic and people are amazed they can own one for less than $300.





I have some of the same experiences. With our little dob people don't feel intimidated - and they are overly impressed that we made it (and they don't care if you made the mirror or not). They are also happy to hear that it cost well under $100. Here is a pic from several years ago.

A few times, back when I had an lx200 schmidt cass, people would ask me "is it real?", turns out with all the electronics, they thought it was a projection! That never happens with the little plywood and cardboard dob.

Gil
Ventura




Edited by GilATM (03/06/12 12:17 AM)


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Jason B
Proud father of 5!!
*****

Reged: 06/21/04

Loc: Mid-Michigan
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: GilATM]
      #5107837 - 03/06/12 06:51 AM

Our 16" LX200 is a big hit at the Fox Park Observatory. We usually have few scope running but the big 16 usually gets the most attention.

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StarStuff1
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Reged: 04/01/07

Loc: South of the Mason-Dixon Line
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: Jason B]
      #5108904 - 03/06/12 05:17 PM

At my one club's home location there is a 12-in S/C computerized GoTo scope. At my other club's location we sometimes have public observing and I often use my 5.1-in Celestron GoTo on the Moon or other objects for outreach. For both situations I usually use my Samsung SDC 435 camera to display celestial sights. People/families love to see the images on the monitor as a group.

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cheapersleeper
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 01/22/10

Loc: Sachse TX
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: StarStuff1]
      #5109197 - 03/06/12 08:30 PM

Public interest is high when I drag out my ATM 12" f5. I built it big on purpose and since it is tubed it looks BIG. I also bring a tall stool for the kid crowd.

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David PavlichAdministrator
Transmographied
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Reged: 05/18/05

Loc: Mandeville, LA USA
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: cheapersleeper]
      #5110927 - 03/08/12 12:30 AM

My current outreach scope is a C6R on a CG5-GT. It's not so much the scope, although the C6R is pretty impressive looking, the important part is the goto and tracking. It makes it quick and easy to change objects then keep them in the eyepiece for the viewers.

David


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skyward_eyes
Vendor - Sky-Watcher USA
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Reged: 12/12/06

Loc: California
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: David Pavlich]
      #5111259 - 03/08/12 08:57 AM

Depends on the weather and whats going on in my day. Usually I prefer larger scopes like my 16" dob. It's usually out 99% of the time.

But, if the weather looks windy or really iffy I bring the 6" Mak or 127ED.


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Joe Bergeron
Vendor - Space Art


Reged: 11/10/03

Loc: Upstate NY
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: GilATM]
      #5112780 - 03/09/12 02:49 AM

I prefer my 6" driven equatorial refractor. Few star parties offer better planetary or widefield telescopes. I sit near the eyepiece so I can observe people as they approach it, light it when necessary for them to find it, and make sure they're looking through the main scope instead of the finder (surprisingly common).

My short 92mm refractor is a reasonable substitute. It's much more wind resistant, and people are often surprised at what such a small telescope can do.


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RTLR 12
Post Laureate
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Reged: 12/04/08

Loc: The Great Pacific NorthWest
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: Joe Bergeron]
      #5112998 - 03/09/12 08:36 AM

I only do 1 or 2 nights a month, but I set up 5 scopes. It gives folks a good variety of views and equipment involved in astronomy. A C8 on a CGEM for deep space, an Sv115T20 on a C-5 for planetary, an Onyx 80 on a CG-5 for wide field, An Sv 70 on an SE mount for general observing, and a hit with the small kids is a Sf 130 vixen refractor on a Porta II. Tripod set low and the kids can point it what they want to. It's a great 'Hands On' set up for the kids. I prefer what the people like...and the people like them all.

Stan


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Jason B
Proud father of 5!!
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Reged: 06/21/04

Loc: Mid-Michigan
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: RTLR 12]
      #5113080 - 03/09/12 09:27 AM

At Fox, we have an XT4.5 that is a big hit with the kids to just push around and find thing themselves. It's funny when they find something new, even as simple as the moon or planets. They get very excited to find it themselves!

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ColoHank
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 06/07/07

Loc: western Colorado
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: Joe Bergeron]
      #5113137 - 03/09/12 10:08 AM

I use my Questar for outreach, but sometimes I set up the replica Galileo scope I made in 2009 so folks can better appreciate the remarkable discoveries he made in spite of some pretty serious optical limitations.

Other club members have bigger guns, so attendees always enjoy a variety of views and experiences.


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Astrosetz
professor emeritus


Reged: 10/05/03

Loc: Wisconsin
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: ColoHank]
      #5115806 - 03/10/12 08:34 PM

I really like my Celestron Classic 8 for general public outreach. It tracks, so I can use medium-heigh power on the planets and not be constantly attending to the scope. It's also manual so I can point it to any outreach-suitable object in seconds, even in broad daylight.

For more intimate sessions with a small group, or when I'm teaching a class, I prefer my stock 8" Hardin Dobsonian. Newbies can push it around and point it to the Moon or a bright planet after a few minutes of demonstration.

Both scopes cost around $400, which I also like for public events.


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Jon Isaacs
Postmaster
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Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: Astrosetz]
      #5115941 - 03/10/12 10:16 PM Attachment (60 downloads)

The most important thing is using a scope I enjoy myself. Thursday night I set up my 12.5 inch F/4.06 Discovery/JStar truss Dob and my NP-101. I used my good eyepieces... 50-60 people, 2 telescopes, me and my buddy...

Dinner at the Hyatt Hotel, a talk by astronaut Scott Altman and then we were the show.

We all do these things our own way... I like manual tracking scopes because people quickly recognize the rotation of the earth. If there is time, I can teach them how to find their way around sky and I let them operate the scope, I want them to believe that this is something they can do, something easy... With a complicated scope, it can seem like it takes a wizard to conjure miracles from the magic box.

Jon Isaacs

Edited by Jon Isaacs (03/10/12 10:18 PM)


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grom
member


Reged: 02/23/09

Loc: Spain
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5119966 - 03/13/12 11:03 AM

ETX 90.

I mostly do sessions with school kids. I would find it reaaaally dificult without tracking.
Sessions are focused on moon, planets and sometimes a double star or bright DSO, so the limited aperture of the ETX is not an issue and I can set it up in a couple minutes.

Kids are impatient. 8)


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Astrosetz
professor emeritus


Reged: 10/05/03

Loc: Wisconsin
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: grom]
      #5120455 - 03/13/12 03:37 PM

I have an ETX90 RA that I call my "instant outreach" scope. The whole thing lives in a backpack and can be deployed at a moment's notice.

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Patrick
Postmaster
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Reged: 05/16/03

Loc: Franklin, Ohio
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: Astrosetz]
      #5120914 - 03/13/12 08:45 PM

I love my CPC1100 for outreach. It's the perfect outreach scope for me. It's the largest size I'm willing to carry, it's easy to setup and easy to use, and it gives great views! If someone bumps the scope, or grabs the eyepiece, it doesn't budge.

I can be setup and aligned before dark on any planet, bright star or the moon. That's especially helpful right now with Venus so high and pretty in the west. Then I can goto anywhere I want without bending over the scope while someone is talking to me. I hate turning my back on inquisitive minds. The scope does the work and gets out of the way of the human interaction.

Patrick


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RoadsterGirlie
Nothing lasts forever


Reged: 07/16/10

Loc: Orange County, CA
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: Patrick]
      #5121262 - 03/14/12 12:56 AM

I love my CPC0800 as well. Same thing Patrick said - nothing is going to move it - not even a little kid yanking on the eyepiece. It tracks very accurately so I don't have to continually keep checking to make sure the object is centered.

I tried outreach before with a 5" reflector on a manual alt/az tripod, and it was kind of a trainwreck.

I prefer full go-to for these types of events.


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Jon Isaacs
Postmaster
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Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: RoadsterGirlie]
      #5121334 - 03/14/12 05:34 AM

Quote:

I love my CPC0800 as well. Same thing Patrick said - nothing is going to move it - not even a little kid yanking on the eyepiece. It tracks very accurately so I don't have to continually keep checking to make sure the object is centered.

I tried outreach before with a 5" reflector on a manual alt/az tripod, and it was kind of a trainwreck.

I prefer full go-to for these types of events.




As I said, I think it mostly depends on what scopes you are most enjoy as well as what aspects of the hobby you are hoping to share. With a simple alt-az mount, there is the possibility of teaching someone how to use it. It takes a little time, it's not always possible but it's a big thrill for someone when they find their first object and they walk way knowing they too can do it. That is empowerment.

We all do it differently.

Jon


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Patrick
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Reged: 05/16/03

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Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5123002 - 03/15/12 12:28 AM

Quote:

As I said, I think it mostly depends on what scopes you are most enjoy as well as what aspects of the hobby you are hoping to share. With a simple alt-az mount, there is the possibility of teaching someone how to use it. It takes a little time, it's not always possible but it's a big thrill for someone when they find their first object and they walk way knowing they too can do it. That is empowerment.

We all do it differently.




Even though I personally prefer using a goto setup for outreach, I'm always glad to see one of our crew with a basic Dob so folks can see how easy and affordable a telescope can be.

Patrick


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CollinofAlabama
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 11/24/03

Loc: Lubbock, Texas, USA
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5123038 - 03/15/12 12:53 AM

Wow, Jon, I like your position on this, but I guess I feel more like Tina and Patrick, kind of. What I want the public to see is the astronomical beauty in all its glory, with the person unencumbered by the basic physical reality of a rotating earth (magnified 50+/- times) and then having to make the person further aware of tracking via a mirror reversed or completely inverted point of view. These are not insurmountable things, something I managed on my own in the mid-seventies in 4th grade, so hardly rocket science, but ....

Given my recent experiences, especially, I love the idea of a 10" dob. Still, I'm thinking I might sell my beloved AT80ED to buy a Celestron NexStar 4se, not because it's better, cause it's not, but just for the tracking. Since I have a 102mm ED, I should be good, but it'd be nice to have a tracking, easy to configure setup. I have an EQ-3 with clock, but at many outreach locations, Polaris is not visible. StarAlign's 3 star business and alt-az tracking sure would be welcome. The 10" dob would be for more 'familiar' crowds, but a 4se may be just the ticket for the unwashed masses.

It's nice to teach people about the rotating earth, its axis, and the fact that the ENTIRE sky, sun included, is rotating around the Norh Star. Still, the non-binocular tracking takes some getting used to. Especially without knobs, which is mostly what I have now (6" dob or 102ED on AZ-4).


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mwedel
Works with Sauropods
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Reged: 12/16/07

Loc: Claremont, CA
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: GilATM]
      #5123094 - 03/15/12 02:14 AM

For sidewalk astronomy, I pretty much always take a 90mm Mak on a light alt-az mount. That's mostly for convenience, because I walk to my sidewalk astro venues (a few blocks away from my house), but people who ask are always glad to hear that a decent scope need not break the bank.

For club outreach events where I'm driving anyway, usually something bigger, but still on an alt-az mount. People who sit long enough to need to track get the hang of it pretty quickly, and I think they get a feeling of accomplishment from it. The scope is often my 80mm f/11 refractor. It's easy to haul around, does well on bright targets, looks like a layman's stereotypical idea of a telescope, and--again--is something most folks can afford.

None of this should be taken as criticism of people who prefer to use larger or more expensive scopes, btw. My feeling is, as long as you're doing outreach, period, you're doing great, and may a thousand gardens grow.


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Jon Isaacs
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Reged: 06/16/04

Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: CollinofAlabama]
      #5126593 - 03/17/12 06:50 AM

Quote:

Wow, Jon, I like your position on this, but I guess I feel more like Tina and Patrick, kind of. What I want the public to see is the astronomical beauty in all its glory, with the person unencumbered by the basic physical reality of a rotating earth (magnified 50+/- times) and then having to make the person further aware of tracking via a mirror reversed or completely inverted point of view. These are not insurmountable things, something I managed on my own in the mid-seventies in 4th grade, so hardly rocket science, but ....

Given my recent experiences, especially, I love the idea of a 10" dob. Still, I'm thinking I might sell my beloved AT80ED to buy a Celestron NexStar 4se, not because it's better, cause it's not, but just for the tracking. Since I have a 102mm ED, I should be good, but it'd be nice to have a tracking, easy to configure setup. I have an EQ-3 with clock, but at many outreach locations, Polaris is not visible. StarAlign's 3 star business and alt-az tracking sure would be welcome. The 10" dob would be for more 'familiar' crowds, but a 4se may be just the ticket for the unwashed masses.

It's nice to teach people about the rotating earth, its axis, and the fact that the ENTIRE sky, sun included, is rotating around the Norh Star. Still, the non-binocular tracking takes some getting used to. Especially without knobs, which is mostly what I have now (6" dob or 102ED on AZ-4).




My thinking:

I do want people to see astronomical glory in all it's beauty, I believe that it is far more glorious in a 12.5 inch Dobsonian fitted with a Paracorr and some Nagler eyepieces than a 4 inch Mak that tracks. Honestly, I cannot think of a object that would look better in the Mak, the Dobsonian is capable of a wider field of view... To someone who has never looked through a telescope, the bright image is important. Jupiter at 125x in that scope is bright, the banding obvious, even to an untrained eye, the color is evident. If there is a shadow transit, it is black, black, high contrast and cannot be missed. A shadow is small enough that the contrast is significantly affected by aperture.

This is how it works for me:

If there is a line of people waiting to look, the time it takes to drift across the field is a natural timer so everyone gets a chance to look but no one hogs the eyepiece. Between observers, I reposition the target and refocus.

If there is time for someone to really look, a bit of instruction and generally tracking is not a problem. With a Dob, they can look around the sky and even find some simple objects themselves. If the skies are dark and the crowd is small, people enjoy cruising the night sky with a 1.6 degree TFoV and a 6.6 mm exit pupil at 48x is pretty awesome and one can find a lot of stuff. As I said, I want someone walking away thinking, "Hey, I can do this" rather than, "Wow I don't know how he did it but that was pretty neat."

As I said, we all do it differently, we have our own concepts we want to convey. When I observe, I enjoy the thrill of discovery, not finding something from a list but discovering something I did not know was there. I want to help others experience that thrill... If there is time, my hope is that I am not there just showing them a few showcase objects but rather, I am also helping them get a bigger sense of what looking through a telescope is about and they leave having learned something about using the equipment... If there is time....

Jon


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cheapersleeper
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 01/22/10

Loc: Sachse TX
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: Jon Isaacs]
      #5127548 - 03/17/12 07:24 PM

At a very sparsely attended public event a young couple had struck up a nice conversation with me and had hung around while we observed a number of targets. We had discussed my ATM Dob and eyepiece and the Telrad along the way. They were so nice and so engaged and polite and bright that fairly soon I handed them a higher power eyepiece and let them go back to Jupiter and the moon by themselves. The ease of using an equatorially mounted scope for public events is not lost on me, but being able to turn someone loose for their own observing after just a cursory explanation is worth the lack of tracking.

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mwedel
Works with Sauropods
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Reged: 12/16/07

Loc: Claremont, CA
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: cheapersleeper]
      #5128823 - 03/18/12 03:41 PM

Quote:

I don't use 100* eyepieces, I look through my plossl...twice.




Sorry, I know it's off topic and I don't want to derail the thread, but this made me laugh very hard. Well done, sir!


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Skylook123
Postmaster
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Reged: 04/30/05

Loc: Tucson, AZ
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: mwedel]
      #5128844 - 03/18/12 03:59 PM

If the occasion arises and I'm using the 18" f/5 Teeter for outreach, AND the target allows most folks to stand flat footed and not on the ladder, I'll tell the visitor to "lift the nose gently" on eastern, rising, objects, "lower the nose gently" on western, setting objects. With a 120X eyepiece, walking through from The Eyes and lifting up through Markarian's chain and revealing 30 or more galaxies in a couple of eyepiece fields causes really stunned reactions.

If the ladder is involved, there is a bit too much to expect someone new to the adventure to keep in order. I limit myself to a 120X Panoptic or 250X Nagler for the field of view to allow more than one visitor, or more time for one visitor. If it is a small group and we hop around a bit, or if it is a huge crowd streaming through, works either way.

Generally, though, the SCT on the Atlas is the way to go.


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desertstars

*****

Reged: 11/05/03

Loc: Tucson, AZ
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: Skylook123]
      #5129241 - 03/18/12 08:00 PM

I was about to point out that I get good mileage from a step ladder, and then I remember how tall your ladder likely would be.

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David Knisely
Postmaster
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Reged: 04/19/04

Loc: southeastern Nebraska
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: grom]
      #5129782 - 03/19/12 02:56 AM Attachment (48 downloads)

I generally like my 9.25 inch SCT running in the altazimuth configuration with full Go-to. The eyepiece is always at a convenient height for children and the scope is tough enough to survive when a kid errantly goes and grabs onto the star diagonal. It works well on a variety of targets and the tracking really helps when showing groups smaller targets like globular clusters or the planets. However, I usually do outreach with a friend of mine (Lamb0) who has "the Mortar"; a home-brew 8 inch f/5 Dobsonian that is low enough to the ground and well enough built that kids can grab it and move it to wherever they want without hurting it. The parents kind of look horrified when John has a kid step up to the scope and start working with it, but John just smiles and knows that the scope won't suffer. Its wide field and ease of use makes it a favorite for outreach events. Below is a picture of John with his proud "Mortar". Clear skies to you.

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J. Barnes
super member


Reged: 04/11/09

Loc: Kalispell, Montana
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: David Knisely]
      #5133482 - 03/21/12 11:27 AM

I like to set up my C8 with a SDC-435/9" LCD and aim it at a bright star forming nebula. Then have my C11 aimed at something like Ring nebula. I form a line from one to the next, and due a birth and death of a star contrast. People seem to like being able to see colors in both examples. They are especially amazed at the images a $100 security camera produces. I have to bump the scope to show them it's real. While folks are waiting, I have Bins on a table so they can scan the sky.

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Mr Onions
Two Time International Photographical Competition Winner
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Reged: 04/14/07

Loc: Newcastle upon Tyne.
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: J. Barnes]
      #5133690 - 03/21/12 01:39 PM

I take an 80mm f/6 refractor and explain it's only small and don't expect too much but they always enjoy looking through it.

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andromeda59
sage


Reged: 04/06/10

Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: Mr Onions]
      #5134632 - 03/21/12 10:46 PM

I take my 100ed. Easy enough to transport, powerful enough to impress just about everyone.

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woodworkt
sage
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Reged: 06/07/06

Loc: Northern Virginia
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: andromeda59]
      #5152508 - 04/01/12 11:16 PM

I agree with the sentiment of using whatever you like to use best for outreach. I figure it's the best way to ensure your enthusiasm for observing carries over to the public. If you enjoy what you're doing, they'll notice. I also figure everyone has their own favorites, and that it's a good way to ensure variety at a big event, so people can try lots of different gear, from basic smaller dobs, to large APOs and SCTs, to huge dobs.

Of course, even with that philosophy, my wife's and my strategy for outreach events tends to be "load as much gear as we can cram in the car and take it," so that we each have something to share views through. For our club's big Astronomy day event (which can draw 200 people even in the rain, and four times that in clear weather), we'll be bringing both our bigger 6" refractor and our grab and go 92mm. If we can get proficient enough before then, we'll also drag along a small solar scope for the solar observing session (which can swap out with the grab and go, so overall we just need two mounts).

Here's hoping for clear skies...
--Ken T.


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James Ling
sage
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Reged: 09/18/10

Loc: Singapore
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: woodworkt]
      #5155733 - 04/04/12 07:16 AM Attachment (73 downloads)

After participating in numerous side walk and star gazing events, I still prefer to bring my favorite 8" ISTAR achro, as it really show the public that there are really things they can see up there in the sky.......
And those planets and moon are up there, all the while except no one has ever shown to them......
And once they have seen through the scope, they started to ask questions......and even wanted to know when we will be here again......

Following photo shows the 8" ISTAR I used for last weekend side walk event at our local public library open area...

REgards

James Ling


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George N
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 05/19/06

Loc: Binghamton & Indian Lake NY
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: James Ling]
      #5157537 - 04/05/12 12:12 PM

I mostly do “you come to us” outreach at a public observatory. However, I have done a number of “field” events, with mixed results from various scopes. I think conditions at different types of outreach venues may favor one scope design over another. I think one would find different scopes best for “urban sidewalk” vs “rural public star party”.

On several occasions I’ve set up for a “star viewing night” for the campers at a New York State park (reasonably dark skies). I brought my ES 127ED on a Celestron CG-5 mount, and three other fellows had basic 6-inch and 10-inch Dobs. The public seemed more drawn to the larger Dobs, but there was also a lot of interest in the GoTo capabilities of my mount (mostly by kids who were playing with their smart phones – I assume that their parents had dragged them to the event). At the end of the night the other guys dumped their scopes in their vehicles in a few minutes leaving me behind in the dark playing with wires, batteries, cases, counter-weights, folding tripod, etc. From this experience I have concluded that a decent 10-inch Dob with PushTo digital readouts would be best for this sort of thing.

I’ve used my 20-inch Dob (no drive; but with digital readouts) for outreach with mixed results. At one event featuring large crowds of “general public” people seemed to love the big scope but after going up and down that ladder about 100 times that night to re-aim the scope I felt like I had run a marathon. At several public events held at Cherry Springs State Park in PA, I’ve had much better results thanks to only having to deal with small groups of 3 to 6 people for most of the night. I then had time to instruct them on how to track with the Dob.

Interestingly, at large star parties attended heavily by “knowledgeable amateurs” (and some “newbies”), I find that most people line up to look thru the 20-inch Dob and the little 5-inch APO sits unattended. Occasionally a “refractor nut” shows up and wants to look thru the APO. I have to almost drag people over to look thru the refractor.


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ion
professor emeritus


Reged: 04/26/08

Loc: Bortle Scale 2
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: George N]
      #5159120 - 04/06/12 12:25 PM

Quote:

I have to almost drag people over to look thru the refractor.




The attraction to size could be leveraged by constructing props that make the scope look bigger like a dew shield that doubles the length or a cone that appears to triple the aperture! People also like things that glow such as tape, paint and LEDs. Less deceptive means might involve a planetary or deepsky camera and laptop attached to the mount, netbook velcroed to the scope, or a projector for large scale images.



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James Sims
newbie


Reged: 04/26/11

Loc: OK
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: ion]
      #5167393 - 04/11/12 06:41 PM

Really enjoyed this thread. Great ideas for outreach scopes and the reasons for using them. I would like to take this a little further and ask if anyone has any pics, links or plans for some fun and maybe a bit outrageous outreach scopes. ie: frankendobs, cannons, steam punk, crazy paint jobs, etc...

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Joe Cepleur
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 03/18/10

Loc: Dark North Woods
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: James Sims]
      #5215289 - 05/10/12 11:26 AM

Among the members of my club, we have everything from an Astro-Physics refractor, classic Newts with finely figured mirrors, and a 12" LX200, to modest little classics and Chinese Dobs. People know intuitively that some of these are expensive, or at least require time and expertise, such as when they hear a member has restored an antique. I like having some inexpensive scopes at every star party, so newcomers can see what they could easily afford as a ready-to-use starter scope.

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killdabuddha
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 08/26/11

Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: Jay_Bird]
      #5241037 - 05/26/12 05:35 PM

Quote:

Not specific scopes, more thoughts on "approaches"






We only have 1 real scope (12.5" bino) but we did build it with outreach in mind. We just picked up a little Bushnell Jason for $8 at a swap meet too. And we have our 12x50 and 20x60 binos. Had our first outreach last week when seein was gonna be excellent, which it was. We set up the Jason for folks to play/explore a little with and just let the 2 pair of binoculars circulate. When someone found a target they wanted to see better, they grabbed a partner. I aimed the bino-scope with the laser and WFEPs, got the target, and the partners then looked together, simultaneously, at their target thru the bino-scope, then took turns enjoyin the same target in bino-vision. This seemed to motivate the others to look more enthusiastically for a target for the big bino. We only had about 20 people but it was a great 1st outreach for us.


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DaemonGPF
Redonkulous
*****

Reged: 03/22/08

Loc: Aurora Colorado
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: killdabuddha]
      #5241935 - 05/27/12 10:29 AM

Honestly my perspective on what I think is the ideal scope for outreach has changed in the last couple of years. I used to take various OTAs on my motorized, go-to GEMs. This has always been fine for older crowds. However, the last few major outreach events I've attended with large groups of younger children - I seem to always get one kid who doesn't listen to the rules, sneeks right around and grabs the mount/optics and tries to realign them similar to someone grabbing a bull by the horns and trying to torque it to the ground. When you have dozens of kids and people standing around, it's quite a pain to sit there and redo your polar alignment, and then your go-to alignment, wasting 5-10 minutes. Hard to focus when you're trying to talk to people as well.

So now unless I take a super heavy rig that I can elevate out of reach of most kids, rope off, and hook up my cameras where I can show them a "live digital view" through a laptop tactically placed several feet away, then I don't do it anymore. I bring a manual Dob. Why? Even though I have to give it a nudge from time to time between kids, I can counteract the actions of "that one kid who didn't listen" in a matter of seconds and be right back on target.

Again it's really about the circumstances of the event and the target audience for me which dictates the gear I use.


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cheapersleeper
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 01/22/10

Loc: Sachse TX
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: DaemonGPF]
      #5242696 - 05/27/12 07:00 PM

I was at a public event last night and as I have been doing of late, I took my 12" homebuilt Dob. It is half tube/half birch mirror box and I built it heavy and large on purpose. As has been the case each time I take it out in public, people start asking about it before I can even get the tube section mated to the mirror box and then EVERYONE wants to look through it. I am overshadowed in the wow factor by the club owned 6" refractor that one of the other members has been bringing to the events, but other than that, I am usually the biggest scope on the field.

The response from the public toward my modest scope is very gratifying.

Edited by cheapersleeper (05/27/12 07:02 PM)


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bassplayer142
professor emeritus


Reged: 10/03/11

Loc: Michigan
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: cheapersleeper]
      #5247215 - 05/30/12 12:22 PM

It is kind of sad that people don't understand the refractors as well as seeing a huge dob. But thats just human nature. I have not had a chance to bring my 16" out yet unfortunately, but I did bring my 8" out and people enjoyed it.

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Fraxture
super member


Reged: 07/09/09

Loc: Central Ohio
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: Joe Bergeron]
      #5250239 - 06/01/12 10:37 AM

I use my 6" goto Mak.
And I mount my 30x100 Go Binos on a tripod.


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DaemonGPF
Redonkulous
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Reged: 03/22/08

Loc: Aurora Colorado
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: Fraxture]
      #5250334 - 06/01/12 11:51 AM

During the Eclipse at Chaco Canyon, my daughter brought out her 6", 1200mm Dob and solar filter. I only had my DSLR and laptop. She by far had the biggest scope out at our group location and had an insane line of people wanting to view through it. Everyone else had 40mm-80mm scopes/cameras at best. The 8 yr old stole the show with her inexpensive and basic dob.

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RobbW
sage


Reged: 02/09/10

Loc: Elgin, IL
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: DaemonGPF]
      #5250846 - 06/01/12 05:41 PM

The only one I have: a Celestron C8 SCT. I also usually mount my 10x50 binos on a tripod for folks to look through.

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FordGalaxy
member


Reged: 07/06/11

Loc: Virginia, USA
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: RobbW]
      #5251268 - 06/01/12 11:05 PM

The local astronomy club brought a variety of 6-8" dobsonians to a recent outreach that I attended with my 4 year old son. Use of RDFs,laser pointers and LER low magnification eyepieces made for any enjoyable experience for my son and me. For kids, fast acquisition, bright views and long eye relief seem to be essential.

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gcs111
member
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Reged: 05/01/07

Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: FordGalaxy]
      #5251290 - 06/01/12 11:27 PM

I use an older blue tube 10" Coulter. At f-4.5 it's great for the local elementary school kids...they can just walk up to it to view, unlike my 12" f-5 dob which needs a ladder. The mirror is a very good performer and when seeing is good I can use higher pwr eyepieces, last night at a outreach event I had a 4mm Radian in it giving crisp views of Saturn. Also if a student moves it and the object gets lost, as another guy said, it's easy to bring it back into view.

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buddyjesus
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 07/07/10

Loc: Davison, Michigan
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: gcs111]
      #5253023 - 06/03/12 08:49 AM

I use a 4" refractor, but I don't think it matters. I think I get more "saucer eyes" with my mouth when I give them a perspective of size in the universe.

Such as telling them the Sun is a ball of gas that contains 98% of the matter in our solar system, that there is a continuous nuclear reaction in the sun producing all the light they see during the day and that the pinpoint stars in the night sky are suns that are very far away.

The great thing about teaching people science is the amazing feeling of expanding their world paradigm. There is much more to be done as I recently read an article that 1/5th of the adult population believes the Sun goes around the Earth. See, I just blew your paradigm about the state of science literacy in this country. haha


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tezster
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 07/14/09

Loc: Missisauga, Canada
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: buddyjesus]
      #5254456 - 06/04/12 10:03 AM

Any scope will do for outreach - an inexpensive dob, small refractor, or even a pair of tripod-mounted binoculars, offer good examples to attendees that you don't need to spend a lot of money to get a good scope. Bigger and/or more unique scopes will draw more interest and can generate further discussion about various equipment used in the hobby and other astronomy-related topics.

I brought my 10" strut-dob to an outreach event for the first time last week, and it easily got the most attention of all the scopes there. One thing I found is because it's a open tube design, it made for a great teaching tool in terms of illustrating the basic principles of how a newtonian scope works.

Most importantly, one's enthusiasm, knowledge, and willingness to share their love of the hobby with the public trumps all other factors in terms of holding a successful outreach event.


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bassplayer142
professor emeritus


Reged: 10/03/11

Loc: Michigan
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: tezster]
      #5254470 - 06/04/12 10:16 AM

It seems that with a variety of Scopes, the viewed objects should be split up. The refractors can handle wide views of cluster and a few galaxy/nebula. While large reflectors can give great views or globulars and other dim objects.

This way every scope is impressive in its own right. And the concept of a large dob being the best is forgotten.


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killdabuddha
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 08/26/11

Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: James Sims]
      #5254495 - 06/04/12 10:31 AM Attachment (167 downloads)

Quote:

Really enjoyed this thread. Great ideas for outreach scopes and the reasons for using them. I would like to take this a little further and ask if anyone has any pics, links or plans for some fun and maybe a bit outrageous outreach scopes. ie: frankendobs, cannons, steam punk, crazy paint jobs, etc...




Oops...didn't see this when I posted. Yeah, we're kinda steampunk--purely accidental though. We wanted everyone to know that anyone can make a scope if they wanted. (What's a FrankenDob? We're probably more like that. Everythin but the aluminum for the UTA came outa the garage. The rocker box/mirror deck is a 55-gallon drum sectioned to be a linear bearing. Base a door with an interior 6-inch PVC turret and drum ring azimuth bearing. Rotating focusers/aperture rings are simply stacked lazy susan swivel bearings whose interior rings are joined by the focuser mounts and arched vane mounting struts. Ugly, smooth, strong, functional. Have since flocked it. People seem to get a kick out of it.)


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astrobeast1
super member


Reged: 09/28/10

Loc: leicester england
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: killdabuddha]
      #5277586 - 06/18/12 07:06 PM

Hey killda, now you got the hang of pic portrayal, it would be really really nice of you to post some close up shots.
By the way you didn,t need to discredit yourself by calling the scope a frankenstein , I think it,s brilliantly unique . have been waiting a good while now to see the build , and boy it was worth the wait.Am not a great lover of truss tube scopes myself but they are so versatile and compact,
one day hope to build an unusual open tube design .dan


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OriNebula
journeyman


Reged: 01/04/07

Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: bassplayer142]
      #5277801 - 06/18/12 09:22 PM

I personally think the scope you love the most is the best for outreach. Your own enjoyment comes through when you are using your favorite telescope. I have a 92mm TMB and that's my favorite to use for outreach, my favorite all around scope. I find that when I'm talking about astronomy and using a scope that I LOVE, I am more engaging than I would be with a different / larger scope. I also find that the discussion is at least as important as the equipment. I find that people like to hear some of the numbers and facts about the objects such as numbers of stars in a cluster, distances etc.

You do have to pick the objects that work best in your scope though - I tend to stick to the brighter objects (M13, M81/82 etc) and let the bigger scopes show the dimmer globs etc. I love M57 in my scope, but I know the general public will just see a faint fuzzy star for the most part. I'll start with the planets early one before dark, but really the larger scopes will show Mars better than my small scope. That said, last Saturday at an outreach I got some great reactions to Saturn in my little scope!

So it's really about using the equipment that you love and talking about a subject you love

OriNebula


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k5apl
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 05/19/06

Loc: Arkansas
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: GilATM]
      #5282266 - 06/21/12 01:19 PM

most of our outreach in this area is to kids and adults who
are not real astronomy-savvy. Judging by their remarks and
'excitement' through the years, my outreach-scope has evolved into this package:
100mm f9 refractor- light, inexpensive, economical, good light capture. Saturn gets as many 'wow's' with it as with
my 160mm refractor previously.
Ioptron Mini-tower GoTo mount- can set it at whatever the
best height for the size of the crowd. Will do Go To which
impresses most, and let's me show objects rather than try to
find objects (usually in a well-lit area vis security lights). And, its relatively economical too. Quick and easy
to set up and tear down.
Inexpensive but good eyepieces- I prefer Sterlings because
they are good and have a wider field than other Plossls.
And, almost most importantly, a green laser to show what
and where we are looking (if the sky isn't too bright).

All this changes when I am out with an astronomy knowledgeable group at a Star Party that might have Public
Outreach for a short period.

But, it doesn't matter what we have, as long as we are doing
outreach.. Its always fun for me.

Wes


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PhilCo126
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/14/05

Loc: coastline of Belgium
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: k5apl]
      #5282284 - 06/21/12 01:36 PM

Answer: a Dobson !
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Dobson_%28amateur_astronomer%29


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Lightbucket12
super member


Reged: 10/01/10

Loc: Bullhead City, AZ
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: GilATM]
      #5296951 - 06/30/12 08:58 PM

Our outreach programs come in three flavors: Club star parties at the park under partial moon conditions with some ambient city light. Private outreach for my wife's social club held in the front courtyard of our home 2 to 3 times a year under new moon and minimal ambient light. Regional star parties like the Grand Canyon Star Party and last year's ALCON at Bryce Canyon - both events had dark sky's and excellent viewing conditions.

For the local public and private outreach our 6" Mak/Newt is the favored instrument with the mount set low. It works well with children, senior's and adults with no issues that can easily bend down to the eye piece. We also use a two step utility ladder with a handle. We ask the star gazer to place their hands on the handle. This provides them with stability and allows them to lower their eye to the eye piece as opposed to grabbing the eye piece and pulling the eyepiece to their eye. The Mak/Newt is a richest field view scope so it takes in a large swath of sky at a time. It's ideal for views of the moon, planets need high power, open and globular star clusters look fantastic in a flat dark field.

They say in racing you can't beat horsepower, in astronomy you can't beat aperture. In dark sky conditions a 12" mirror is better then a 6". 20 inches beats a 12" every time. There's two problems with a 20", we don't own one and it's a big tall scope requiring longer setup and take down and you need a large step ladder. The 12" works for us as it's a collapsible Skywatcher easy to setup and the eyepiece is readily accessible on the first step of our ladder even for a 5 year old. It has enough horsepower to reach out and touch some of the fainter fuzzies but is not intimidating. The moon, planets and other targets look great but not exceptional.

Bert


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SmoothJazz
journeyman


Reged: 07/05/12

Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: Joe Bergeron]
      #5305270 - 07/06/12 11:55 AM

I use my 10 inch dob. It is large enough to provide stunning deep sky views, and is large enough to attract attention.

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Rat
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Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: SmoothJazz]
      #5307634 - 07/08/12 01:16 AM

I prefer the fork mounted goto cat. Good eyepiece height for most plus the ability to find objects fast.

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Devon
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Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: Jay_Bird]
      #5318137 - 07/14/12 10:07 PM

I mainly use an old C8 Deluxe also... easy to haul and set up, gives great views with a few old eyepieces. Once in a while, I'll drag out a AR152 refractor on a ASGT mount. Often I'll set up with a video cam to let the people see something different.
Devon


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ebusinesstutor
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Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: Devon]
      #5318770 - 07/15/12 12:08 PM

Our club does a lot of outreach. The ones that use telescopes fall in these types:
1. Moon/Planet viewing in a busy downtown park
2. Constellation/DSO viewing at a nearby park at a lake
3. Solar viewing at the same busy downtown park

Here are a few of the pluses of the scopes used.

1. My Orion XT8i Dob
Fast setup (I don't do the Intellescope 2 star alignment at the beginning). I am usually the first one able to show things while the GoTo people are still doing alignments. I sometimes align later after the rest of the scopes are up and running if we are at a darker site looking at fainter objects.

Great views on moon and planets and very good views on DSO's. With a properly aligned finder scope, I can nudge it back on the moon by looking through the finder scope so I don't have to interrupt the lineup to get it back on the object.

2. My 15x70 binoculars on tripod
Popular to look at the moon, but needs a step stool to accommodate kids. I stopped bringing them though as I couldn't manage lineups at both the telescope and then binoculars at once.

3. William Optics 5.5" refractor on CG6 mount
Gorgeous views of moon and planets. Great tracking so you don't have to keep realigning the scope. Less detail on DSO's. Sometimes needs step stool

4. 4.5" Celestron GoTo refractor
Good performer on the moon and planets, but some coma. Tracks nicely.

5. 12.5" Skywatcher GoTo Dob
Excellent views on everything and tracking makes it easy for outreach.

So almost any good telescope works well for outreach, but there are tradeoffs.

I have found that a couple of step stools get a lot of use when you have kids out.

We also take a signup list out for people to give us their name and email address if they want notices of our future events. We have nearly 750 on that list now.


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tedbnh
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Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: ebusinesstutor]
      #5320582 - 07/16/12 03:17 PM

Garland, can I ask what software or service you use to manage the mailing list with 750 names, and what sort of communications you send them / how frequently?

Thanks!


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ebusinesstutor
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Loc: Nanaimo, BC, Canada
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: tedbnh]
      #5334101 - 07/25/12 01:25 AM

Quote:

Garland, can I ask what software or service you use to manage the mailing list with 750 names, and what sort of communications you send them / how frequently?

Thanks!




Hi Ted,

A good list management program for non-profits is Mail Chimp. It is free up to 2,000 subscribers but gets pricey after that.

Here is what I send them:

1. Notice of our monthly meetings/speakers. We have 10 monthly meetings with speakers (break for summer) and we email our list when these are happening.

2. Public observing sessions. We do public observing of the moon and planets at night and solar viewing in the day at a busy downtown park and a constellation walk/dso viewing at a local park with a lake. We try to do 1-2 of these a month.

3. Newsletter - monthly newsletter with articles, news and pictures from our social network web site at http://nanaimoastronomy.com

Overall, I think the general list gets 2-3 emails a month. We also have sublists for groups within the club like the astro photo group that gets together on its own.

This listbuilding has really revitalized our club. Hope this helps.


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elwaine
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Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: RoadsterGirlie]
      #5339819 - 07/28/12 10:56 AM

Quote:

... I used a 4" refractor to show kids the Moon. Listening to parents talking as the kids took in the view, I got the impression the smaller telescope made the idea of owning one seem more accessible.




I use a 5" refractor for similar reasons... but also because 1) I found that to many uninitiated folks (parents and kids alike) a refractor simply looks more like a "real telescope" to them, and so it draws a crowd; and 2) due to light pollution in my area, I am pretty much limited to the bright objects that can "wow" a crowd.


Quote:

I tried outreach before with a 5" reflector on a manual alt/az tripod, and it was kind of a trainwreck.





That would be true with most, but not all, Alt-Az mounts. I use a T-REX for outreach with zero problems. I use it with an Argo Navis and a motorized focuser. Once I site in the object, it is a piece of cake to keep it in the center of the FOV, even while other folks look through the eyepiece, simply by keeping the coordinates on the Argo Navis zero'd out. The slow motion controls on the T-REX make that last step very easy to do. And the clutches hold the position securely, so that eager hands of children do not move the scope off target. Besides, having a motorized focuser means that the public rarely touches the telescope.

However, IMHO, nothing beats a motorized goto mount for outreach. I just do not have one at the moment.


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GeneT
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Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: GilATM]
      #5368592 - 08/14/12 03:43 PM

I bring the telescope I use for my private viewing--a 12.5 inch Portaball. I bring a step stool for the kids. In my club, members just bring the same telescopes that they use for personal viewing.

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kfiscus
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Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: Joe Bergeron]
      #5390283 - 08/27/12 07:17 PM

XT10 on EQ platform. The public sees it as huge, I see it as my smaller, back-up scope. Sometimes I just use it with a cheap ($35) Meade electronic EP and portable TV for the moon, Saturn, or Jupiter. This lets everyone see without waiting in a line and without the bumping off target we're all used to.

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kfiscus
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Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: kfiscus]
      #5390288 - 08/27/12 07:21 PM

The XT10 I mentioned above has a new observing buddy. I just added an Orion XT4.5 piggyback. It's pictured in the Reflectors forum (Messing Around...) and in my equipment photos in the galleries at the bottom of the forums page. I will be able to put the digital EP in one focuser and let the humans look in the other one at the same time.

Edited by kfiscus (08/27/12 07:53 PM)


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killdabuddha
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Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: kfiscus]
      #5390661 - 08/27/12 11:40 PM

Quote:

The XT10 I mentioned above has a new observing buddy. I just added an Orion XT4.5 piggyback. It's pictured in the Reflectors forum (Messing Around...) and in my equipment photos in the galleries at the bottom of the forums page. I will be able to put the digital EP in one focuser and let the humans look in the other one at the same time.




Ahh,

So THAT'S how yer gonna use it?

http://www.cloudynights.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php/Cat/0/Number/5385654/page/0/view/collapsed/sb/5/o/all/fpart/1

Brilliant. Whatever the case, it's sure to attract a lotta attention. I'd certainly cross the street for that.


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kfiscus
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Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: killdabuddha]
      #5394266 - 08/30/12 01:34 AM Attachment (77 downloads)

Would you cross the street for this one? Same base, different scope. It's a glass-filtered C5. Whole rig was on an EQ table for the May 20 partial eclipse. About 200 people crossed the street, so to speak.
Also pictured: mylar-filtered camcorder, PST with Meade electronic EP running a TC/VCR for crowd viewing and recording.

Edited by kfiscus (08/30/12 01:37 AM)


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killdabuddha
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Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: kfiscus]
      #5395550 - 08/30/12 08:12 PM


Brilliant. And yes. Think we're gonna start providing donuts as I am electronically challenged. Very nice.


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Achernar
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Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: GilATM]
      #5454248 - 10/03/12 09:49 PM

I use my 10-inch F/4.5 Dob for outreach, it allows children to look into the eyepiece with at most a step stool, adults can look into the eyepiece while seated. It's powerful enough to show some DSO's from a light polluted area, and the digital setting circles make locating objects for folks a lot easier too. The best point of my 10-inch is the very sharp optics, I wow people with views of Saturn and the moon at 300X. It's size and construction also serves as an example to the public that anyone with some effort can build a telescope just as good as mine.

Taras


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killdabuddha
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Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: Achernar]
      #5457728 - 10/06/12 10:37 AM

Quote:

It's size and construction also serves as an example to the public that anyone with some effort can build a telescope just as good as mine.

Taras




Pic please?

(Went to yer blog...Yer 6" Cherry Dob is SO beautiful, but yeah, I see what you mean about yer 10." Simple and elegant, and so compact! I would definitely be inspired to believe that even I could have a telescope. Congrats on yer blog, BTW. I've bookmarked it. Thanks.)

So much great stuff in this thread...

Edited by killdabuddha (10/06/12 10:49 AM)


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Achernar
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Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: killdabuddha]
      #5459181 - 10/07/12 11:53 AM Attachment (120 downloads)

Thanks for the thumbs up, I was using it last night to look at Jupiter before going to bed. Here is a picture of my 10-inch after I modified the base to accept the same handles I use to roll my 15-inch into and out of the house. My 15-inch truss tube Dob is next to it.

Taras


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omahaastro
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Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: Achernar]
      #5460484 - 10/08/12 11:57 AM



I usually take my 18", just because, it's generally the largest scope present (and quite frankly, the easiest scope for me to transport/setup), and gives folks the best chance to see some faint fuzzies in a little more detail. It's
a little more 'hands on', since I have to track manually, but the responses I get are worth the extra effort.

Now, if the Moon is well past first quarter, perhaps not the greatest viewing site... I'll take my SCT and focus on lunar/planetary targets. When on the Moon, I offer up my hand controller, let kids 'pan' across the surface. They get a real kick out of that.

NOW... if I'm running late, I'll sometimes grab my 8" Cave OTA and attach it to a Dob base I retrofitted it to.

By the way, I'm not one of these people who pulls out the cheap eyepieces for the public star party. The general public appreciates the views through the expensive glass, just as much as I do. Eye lash/finger smudges are easy enough to clean off.


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tezster
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Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: omahaastro]
      #5463414 - 10/10/12 08:37 AM

Oooo... I'd love to see an 18" at our outreach events!

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Skylook123
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Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: tezster]
      #5464556 - 10/10/12 10:39 PM Attachment (110 downloads)

Quote:

Oooo... I'd love to see an 18" at our outreach events!




Here's my granddaughter Karina using my 18" at the Grand Canyon Star Party, where it is often the smallest among the dozen or so at that end of the lot. Luckily, Paul Lorenz set up his 16" behind mine so mine wouldn't feel so tiny among the eight or ten 22-24"


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GeneT
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Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: GilATM]
      #5485561 - 10/23/12 04:09 PM

I use the same telescope for outreach as I do for my primary viewing--a 12.5 inch Portaball.

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TONGKW
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Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: GeneT]
      #5501770 - 11/02/12 11:12 PM Attachment (83 downloads)

Many telescopes appeared in a local stargazing camp last week. I had my little 4” Mak on a special platform for viewing by those riding on a wheel chair. They were thrilled in looking at the Sun during daytime and the Moon and Jupiter at night.

K W TONG
C8+CG5 GT, TSA102+HEQ5 PRO, MK67+Voyager, NexStar 6SE, C5+Mizar K, WO ZS80FD+Kenko NES, Megrez 72FD+Kenko KDS, Mini Borg 50, PST

Edited by TONGKW (11/02/12 11:13 PM)


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tedbnh
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Reged: 11/14/07

Loc: New Hampshire
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: TONGKW]
      #5502145 - 11/03/12 10:10 AM

Can you please provide some close-up views of your adapted mount? Thanks!

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TONGKW
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Reged: 01/16/07

Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: tedbnh]
      #5503120 - 11/03/12 10:33 PM Attachment (84 downloads)

Herewith is a close-up view of this platform, which has been deployed on many occasions for use at star parties for the handicapped.
The platform is made up from a few pieces of wood that I have lying around. In fact it can be just a single piece of wood of about 5 feet long of cross section of about 3” x 4” which should be strong enough to support the weight of the eq. mount, ota, and counterweight at one end and the balance weight at the other end without undue vibration when in use.
The tripod is from a Celestron CG5-GT eq. mount with 2” stainless steel legs.
The wood beam is bolted onto the top plate of the tripod.
The eq. mount is fixed at one end of the beam through a hole with a long M10 bolt (10 mm metric size). In my case, 2 pc. 11 lb weight is placed at the other for balance. The eq. mount is to be placed adjacent to two legs and the balance weight is "on top" of the single leg at the other end. With this orientation the wheelchair is able to go under the wood beam without colliding with the two tripod legs when viewing the sky object.
At night time, I place small LED light at the lower part of each of the two tripod legs so that the person in wheelchair can avoid colliding with the two tripod legs.
Some of those on wheel chair have very restricted body movements and for which, besides rotating the diagonal, I use long extension tubes in front of the eyepiece to bring the eyepiece closer to their eye. For ota, I use SCT or MAK with 4” or 5” aperture.


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TONGKW
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Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: TONGKW]
      #5503128 - 11/03/12 10:35 PM Attachment (77 downloads)

The platform is folded up for transportation and next to it is the carrying bag.

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prestonrich
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Reged: 12/01/07

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Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: TONGKW]
      #5521533 - 11/15/12 04:32 PM

When I go on summer vacations w/the grandkids, often to dark sky locations, I will bring my BIPH w/a simple 135mm f/2 camera lens and a green laser pointer. I start w/astronomy teaching sessions inside to build wonder then take them out for the viewing session. SagA is always a treat. Then we'll do solar during the day w/beforehand briefings. Those kids are now all either science majors or science scholars. The love of science is infectious.

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Doug Reilly
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Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: prestonrich]
      #5596857 - 12/30/12 08:02 PM

I use whatever I'm most confortable with...as long as you're fluid with it, it will do just fine. And as long as you can get people to the eyepiece. I was doing outreach with an UTI-8 this fall, and ran into a new situation, a portly retiree whose belly kept pushing the scope out of the way before he could look through the eyepiece.

I made a dobstaff 10" f4.5 so I didn't have to have kids on the trapeze, but found it killed the knees on some elderly observers. Went to a 10" f7, great views, needed a stepladder but has worked well for all but the littlest.

I've used 6" newts and 4" refractors on a half-hitch mount. And now a 4" Vixen fluorite on a Giro III. I'm in the process of building an 8" f6 Strock-style folding dob for my bicycle astronomy project. That, I hope, is a good happy medium.

Tracking or no tracking, I don't mind, though I do appreciate DSCs. Sometimes M81 and M82 decide to be difficult, but only when I have people standing waiting! The DSCs also allow me to effortlessly find planets like Uranus and Neptune, which people get a kick out of seeing. I do too.

For me the biggest issue isn't aperture or optical quality or tracking or not, but ergonomics. What can people most comfortably look through. There is no one size fits all unfortunately.

A two-step folding ladder and a Starmaster observing chair, which is more like a portable railinged platform, are good to have around.


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orion61

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Reged: 10/20/07

Loc: Birthplace James T Kirk
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: BSJ]
      #5597014 - 12/30/12 10:10 PM

+1
My Celestron NexStar 6se is a real croud pleaser.
The Go-To works well and the optics are very good, actually AMAZINGLY good when you think of the cost of the scope.
I usually bring 2-3 scopes with a friend or 2
Bringing my old Celestron C8 and showing what can be bought on the used market for $395.00.- $500.00 is a great way to
get people started
So is the old RV6 which can be found for as little as $200.00!


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