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General Astronomy >> Outreach

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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
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 10/13/06

Loc: USA
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
member


Reged: 03/06/10

Loc: OK
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
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 07/01/09

Loc: Nanaimo, BC, Canada
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
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 11/14/07

Loc: New Hampshire
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
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 07/01/09

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
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 06/18/06

Loc: Jupiter
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
Ely Kid
*****

Reged: 11/07/08

Loc: South Texas
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
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/09/12

Loc: Albert Lea, MN, USA
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
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/09/12

Loc: Albert Lea, MN, USA
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
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 08/26/11

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
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/09/12

Loc: Albert Lea, MN, USA
Re: What scope do you prefer for outreach? new [Re: killdabuddha]
      #5394266 - 08/30/12 01:34 AM Attachment (78 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
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 08/26/11

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
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 02/25/06

Loc: Mobile, Alabama, USA
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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