Re: ETX 125 EP suggestions
#2308716 - 04/06/08 11:19 AM
One thing i cant stress enough - and frankly, there ought to be atleast a single room devoted to it on CN - DAYTIME SPOTTING. The subtitle would read :"Its aint science - just fun to do!"
Done with a planetary reflector - or any reflector - and its merely glare washed upside down or sideways images that really dont engage. Well they do if its your first time but suffice it to say the reflector isnt enough close to being well baffled enough for daytime use - and again, the sideways images lol - but it rocks in the heavens...
The Ranger that i had for 7 years or so was a total charm. All small maks and cats are made for this too. astronomy will always be close to my heart, but daytime spotting opened up in spades the day I took my Ranger down to the shore one afternoon. I want to give you a list of some of my exploits. The magic here is that observing over water yields incredible seeing conditions over great distances. It doesnt radiate heat like land does. Infact your best land views are a mere fraction of good water views. Heres my short list of fun things spotted from a beach observing deck overlooking 20 miles of open water at the end of long island sound...
1. A para[hang glider]sailor 12 miles out about 1000' up. It looked for all the world like he was hanging by thumbs. 2. Watching a ferry dock 16miles out with all deck structures clearly defined. 3. the flash of a light house a measured 30 miles out. 4. Another one at 20 miles [measured] displayed the smallest observing window along its side for people using the spiral staircase to ascend it. This isnt science - its just a blast when the seeing settles and this kind of detail pops out from something so far away. 5.How about this kind of birdwatching - By the same lighthouse a grey smokey like cloud rises off the ground and starts moving west. Closer attention reveals a glittering effect within the "smoke". As it turns out its a flock of seagulls [20miles out] glimmering in and out of resolution as their wings opened and closed. It was unreal. It satisfy s linear contrast resolution for that size scope at that distance so it was a bonafide sight. That was a phenomenon that was right on the edge - birds blipping in and out of "existence" traveling in this great grey cloud. 6.I love aviation so picking out jet contrails and following them till i catch up with the jet is terrific. Total detail here - even the seperate panels underneath the belly of it. At night doing the same thing I can see this dim yellow line across the side of the fuselage - the cabin windows glowing. This at a good 25-35000 feet. Its wild.
Again, no science here - strictly fun.
7.Then I'd head out to the local bird sanctuary on the sound and pick out these birds within the tall marsh grass that literaly bristled with detail. Feathers so cut and defined the birds looked 3D. You simply cant get this kind of intimate nature view out of ANY binocular regardless of size. The discovery channel and HDTV havent got a chance. Its just wild - even picking out hermit crabs 150' out in barely enough water to cover there shells. 8. Cormorants sunning themselves on rookeries 7miles out. 9.Distant jet contrails low on the horizon invisible to the human eye - clearly well well over 100 miles out. This is a winter observation when the air is CLEAR and the sun has just set and its an orange sky. These little tiny micro trails light up white and at times you see the jets. Again, no science - all just resolution phenomenons. 10.The birds on a birdfeeder 20' away at 65X. Micro details within the feathers themselves, the way they seperate and join to form down. Then the reflection of the backyard in the birds eye - THATS wild.
Its almost like a secret netherworld of micro or macrocosms that ordinarily go completely unnoticed. In nature observing you can be so far away and see so much you are witnessing wildlife as they behave in their own element - as opposed to say, a group of bino birdwatchers trampling there local tree or marsh. Cormorants clearly cut and defined at 200 yards at 65x - you cant get it any other way and still have them behave naturally and un-paranoid.
The upshot here - get the scope out in daylight!! If you can get to the shore or a large lake - all the better. That said, even open water has its soft seeing too - but when it settles its wild. Your son will be astounded - guaranteed.