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General Astronomy >> Beginners Forum

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lamplight
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 09/18/12

Loc: western MA, U.S.
Re: Beginner scope stories new [Re: newtoskies]
      #5601980 - 01/02/13 09:17 PM

Zero farenheit. Can't do it.. Sky doesn't look bad either, which is creating all these conflicting emotions...

What you stay Steve is again on the mark, and definitely part of it for me..the contemplation of the nature of, distances and sizes of the fuzzies (or what they are currently thought to be) is part of the wonder. Mind expanding as I think read someone here say. Sadly I've seen already how for most people (family members, wife..) they don't get past the smudge . I don't understand it but I feel lucky to get the sense of wonder, and yet there's knowing that I'm not even able to comprehend the fullness of it , which adds to the wonder... Yada yada . So ill spend some money foolishly on that and be cold for a while. for sure... you know I actually wrote a song yesterday that talks a lot about this stuff. HOPELESS.


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markgf
super member


Reged: 10/31/12

Loc: Gold Coast, Qld, Australia
Re: Beginner scope stories new [Re: lamplight]
      #5602038 - 01/02/13 10:03 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Is it really all that much fun to be tired and cold to the bone, the wind blowing in your face, your hands and feet stiff and your ears burning just on the hope you might see an elusive faint glow in the eyepiece?




Sold!




I'm reminded of the similar way a mountaineer friend of mine once described her calling: 'Views with pain.' But what views. Those who have seen clear dark skies above 5,000m (~16,000 ft) may recall looking up, open mouthed. But astronomy can get you closer, I think.


Edited by markgf (01/04/13 12:06 AM)


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CJK
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/05/12

Loc: Northeast TN
Re: Beginner scope stories new [Re: markgf]
      #5602047 - 01/02/13 10:12 PM

Quote:

my telescope finally arrived yesterday. Hooray! An unusual southern astronomical phenomenon then occurred. The skies were clear on the day I took delivery!! Unfortunately, they delivered the wrong telescope! I left it in the box.






-- Chris


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Meadeball
sage


Reged: 10/22/12

Loc: Midlothian, Virginia
Re: Beginner scope stories new [Re: CJK]
      #5602134 - 01/02/13 11:15 PM

There's a line I read somewhere in a hiking guide that was talking about the view from atop Sharp Top mountain (near Roanoke on the Blue Ridge Parkway), a view that requires a two-hour hike to see (and another two hours to get back to your car), and therefore, relatively few of your "average" BRP motorists take the time to stop and do the hike. It goes something like: "You stand here alone with a grandstand, 360-degree view of the world below, on a rocky peak uncluttered by tourists, appreciating the view all the more because you had to give something of yourself to get here."

I think that's true in astronomy as well. The "giving of oneself" is not just in purchasing equipment; it's also the hours spent in the cold, the waiting for just that right moment of seeing, the knowledge of what you're looking at that makes you appreciate it all the more. That, along with a healthy respect for just how small we are in the universe, goes a long way in the humility department ...

Taking that "giving of oneself" to a more humorous extreme, when I arrive at the Pearly Gates and have my chance to speak with the Creator, I do plan to ask, "BTW God, why did you place some of the most glorious gems in the heavens during the most butt-freakin'-cold months of the year?!" There are times as I tremble at the eyepiece, fingers barely movable and no feeling left in my feet, when I wipe enough tears away to get a momentary, perfect view of M42, that I find myself saying through my chattering teeth, "The Heavens May Indeed Declare the Glory of God ... but I Declare, it's COLD AS A @%$&^%$!! OUT HERE!!!!"

Edited by Meadeball (01/02/13 11:29 PM)


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Jeff2011
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 01/01/13

Loc: Sugar Land, TX
Re: Beginner scope stories new [Re: CJK]
      #5602139 - 01/02/13 11:17 PM

I want to thank everyone for the nice comments. I think they ought to put a warning label on these telescopes that they are extremely addictive. When not observing, I have spent many a sleepless night researching and planning my next purchase to improve my observing experience. Here is a little more of my story from a personal perspective.

I can attribute the drought of 2011 for the purchase of my scope. As I was outside almost every night moving the sprinklers, I would look up at the night sky. I did not appreciate then that almost every night was cloudless and clear. I downloaded Distant Suns on my Iphone and started trying to identify the constellations and planets. Then I started viewing through my binoculars and finally my cheap tasco spotting scope that had horrible chromatic aberration. Remarkably chromatic aberration was one of the few things I remember from my college physics class.

It was then that I wanted to buy a quality telescope. I have to admit that I was biased towards a reflector. Partly because of the poor view through my spotting scope, but mainly because I thought they were cool and I always wanted one. I did take Astronomy 101 in college as an elective, but I regret that I did not take the lab since I commuted and did not want to drive home too late. That class gave me a basic knowledge of telescopes.

So I did a some research on the internet and decided I wanted a 6 inch dob. Then one day I drove to the local telescope store (Land Sea and Sky Houston also known as Takahashi America) and luckily the guy there talked me into buying the 8 inch. I am sure though that he would have rather have sold me one of those Takahashis.

My first trip to a dark site was almost fatal. Around labor day my girl friend and I reserved a cabin near Bastrop TX. I was used to observing in a very light polluted area on the border of a red/white zone, The sky looked foreign to me because I was not used to seeing so many stars. From a viewing stand point, I did not pick a good spot since there were a lot of trees. I was able to find a small clearing and had one good night of observing. The next day we drove in to Austin and spent the day there. The wind was howling and it was very dry. On the way back we saw a dark sky that looked like a big thunder storm. When we got closer we realized it was not a storm but an inferno (the drought strikes back). The police had the hwy blocked off and we could not get back to the cabin. We had to return to Houston and leave all of our belongings including my telescope. A day later the owners of the cabins somehow retrieved my scope. They knew the back roads to get around the road blocks. The day after that the cabins burned. The base of the scope was a bit beat up, but they took good care of the tube. Good thing I had traveled with the original box that came with the scope. Somehow they figured out how to take the scope apart after finding my box.

It was not until the end of 2012 before I returned to a dark site, a ranch near Industry Texas. Contrary to the name, there is not much industry in Industry. It was the week before Christmas and we were the only ones there except for the ranch hand that occasionally showed up to feed the cattle. We had planned to stay four nights. I had two nights of great observing. Then a front moved through with no rain. The wind began to howl and the conditions were dry. We left early.

Edited by Jeff2011 (01/02/13 11:23 PM)


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killdabuddha
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 08/26/11

Re: Beginner scope stories new [Re: markgf]
      #5602179 - 01/02/13 11:43 PM

I guess it's true that there aren't really many of us, and I sure never thought we'd have a scope. Talk about alien. I just happened upon CN while researchin which binocular to buy for my gold prospecting trip to AZ. Figured it wouldn't hurt to have some glasses, but then I learned that they were useful for astronomy, which surprised me. After all, what good would 12x be for that? Two months later I got the 20x. But it isn't just me--most people to whom I've shown anything have been just as surprised at what a modest binoc shows. But unlike myself, they'd never spent time here. I'd also already been studyin all things astronomical even before the binocs. But I can honestly say that we would never have a scope were it not for CN, and that even then, when readin the binoc section, we never once thought of a scope. They're so foreign to most of us, and intimidating by what I assumed were the hidden complexities, expensive engineering, and general difficulty. What's more, I assumed that if we were gonna have a real scope, wouldn't it be a refractor? Wasn't the reflector the poor man's scope? Wasn't the emphasis upon (lite) BUCKET? Yes, but it was Dobson who'd said that it was ok, and not anything in the performance of a reflector that made it cheap...

And THAT'S what we get for bein innocent CN readers who just wanted the most for their binocular $$. That, and binocs just happen to be one of those gateway drugs. That's rite. Take away the scope and we're all otherwise exactly the same as any crack addict or vampire. And do you believe in vampires?


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Meadeball
sage


Reged: 10/22/12

Loc: Midlothian, Virginia
Re: Beginner scope stories new [Re: killdabuddha]
      #5602405 - 01/03/13 06:15 AM

Quote:

And do you believe in vampires?




Only the kind that attach themselves to my legs when I'm observing in a summer field, requiring a bit of tweezer surgery when I get back home ...


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csrlice12
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 05/22/12

Loc: Denver, CO
Re: Beginner scope stories new [Re: newtoskies]
      #5602578 - 01/03/13 09:17 AM

It was 9* last night (and partly cloudy), so I looked at my telescope instead of through it. Which reminds me, I need to go to the scope store and pick up a couple bolt cases.
Romantics? Hey, we're star geeks, we need all the help we can get......


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BarabinoSr
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 11/17/05

Loc: Slidell La
Re: Beginner scope stories new [Re: csrlice12]
      #5606805 - 01/05/13 03:12 PM

I always have had an interest in the Night Sky. I began with a small 1.5" alt-azimuth refractor during the summer of 1965 . I thoroughly enjoyed using the little scope and from there I met my life long friend and brother Mel Dawson who now lives in Riverview Fl later in 1970. We founded the Vega Observatory on Aug. 16,1970 and back then sported a couple of small telescopes- a 60mm f/8 variable power( 15x,30x,45x and 60x) refractor converted to an astronomical scope. We also used a 4"(100m) diameter f/8 Selsi "Star-Gazer) Newtonian on a flimsy alt-azimuth mount. The mount was so bad that we called it a 'Blancmange", but the optics were simple but decent. Today the old Vega Observatory has evolved into the Vega Sky Center( 1975), www.vega-sky-center.com. The website is maintained by webmaster Mel Dawson. (dawsonian2000@yahoo.com)

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wdretired
member


Reged: 11/20/12

Loc: Iowa, USA
Re: Beginner scope stories [Re: BarabinoSr]
      #5607403 - 01/05/13 10:21 PM

My story began when I found this old wooden crate under a table at a local Tag Sale. . . When I opened it I wasn't impressed because it contained some old metal telescope wrapped in rags. It was marked $100 but someone had crossed it out and wrote $50. . I wasn't going to pay that for it and I wasn't sure I really wanted it at all. . finally I figured I would offer them $25 and hope I wasn't getting took. They accepted it and I put the big heavy wooden crate in the car (barely fit). No manual so I didn't have any idea what kind of scope it was . . so I got online and tried to find a manual. I ended up on Cloudy Nights where some great guys helped me figure out I had an old late 1950's Tasco 10TE. Whoopee Do!, I had no idea what that was . . after learning as much as I could, I finally got it out under the stars and one of the first things I saw was Jupiter and three moons. . . Wow! that did it . . I was hooked. I would have called the men in the white coats a couple of weeks earlier if I had seen someone sitting in their driveway (lights off) playing with a telescope with temps about 18 degrees. After some weeks of learning and viewing, I had a chance to trade a camera for a 127 NextStar telescope. After researching and finding out how good it was, I was really impressed with it and couldn't wait to make the trade, but the trade fell through and I was really disappointed. My wife tried to make me feel better but the disappointment was obvious. I had been saving for a new camera so my wife went to see how much I had saved and told me that if I wanted to make myself a small loan, I could go and order a new one. This type thing happens when you live on a tight budget. This story has a happy ending because in about 4 more days, this newbie will have two telescopes. A reflector and a refractor. Why several weeks ago I couldn't even tell you what a reflector or refractor was. Probably a lot of you will think this man has lost his mind but I'm actually thinking about joining an astronomy club. No telling what I'll do when I see Saturn. I've gone from scratching my head (looking at a telescope) to doing a Polar Alignment. (Grin)

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