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General Astronomy >> Beginners Forum

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AstroBaby
member


Reged: 02/11/13

Loc: Fairhope, Al
Re: Greetings from an extreme beginner new [Re: Achernar]
      #5682591 - 02/15/13 11:30 PM

Can you tell me who the local clubs are? I haven't found any online closer than the other side of Pensacola.

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WaterMasterAdministrator
Moat Keeper
*****

Reged: 02/17/10

Loc: Southeast Idaho, USA
Re: Greetings from an extreme beginner new [Re: AstroBaby]
      #5682598 - 02/15/13 11:34 PM

Here are a couple of links that might be helpful:

go-astronomy florida clubs

Florida Astronomy Club Connection


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AstroBaby
member


Reged: 02/11/13

Loc: Fairhope, Al
Re: Greetings from an extreme beginner new [Re: Achernar]
      #5682599 - 02/15/13 11:34 PM

And where are the dark places!! Would you mind us getting together somewhere for a viewing? I don't want to be pushy, I'm just excited that someone knows this area!!

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WaterMasterAdministrator
Moat Keeper
*****

Reged: 02/17/10

Loc: Southeast Idaho, USA
Re: Greetings from an extreme beginner new [Re: AstroBaby]
      #5682600 - 02/15/13 11:36 PM

Oops, I saw Pensacola and thought you were in Florida, I see you're in Alabama:

go-astronomy Alabama clubs


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WaterMasterAdministrator
Moat Keeper
*****

Reged: 02/17/10

Loc: Southeast Idaho, USA
Re: Greetings from an extreme beginner new [Re: WaterMaster]
      #5682606 - 02/15/13 11:41 PM

If you're looking for dark sites, and if you have Google Earth, download this layer for Google Earth.

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AstroBaby
member


Reged: 02/11/13

Loc: Fairhope, Al
Re: Greetings from an extreme beginner new [Re: WaterMaster]
      #5682633 - 02/16/13 12:07 AM

Awesome and thanks so much!! We are close enough to Pensacola and I didn't know about those clubs so thanks again!

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AstroBaby
member


Reged: 02/11/13

Loc: Fairhope, Al
Re: Greetings from an extreme beginner new [Re: WaterMaster]
      #5682653 - 02/16/13 12:25 AM

well I'm gona have to study the google earth thing although it does look promising.

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TexasRed
scholastic sledgehammer


Reged: 05/17/11

Loc: East Texas
Re: Greetings from an extreme beginner new [Re: AstroBaby]
      #5682664 - 02/16/13 12:31 AM

These should help you find some relatively dark sites: http://www.jshine.net/astronomy/dark_sky/ or https://sites.google.com/site/3davel/home/light-pollution/lp2001/gmap

If you're new to learning your way around the sky, and especially if you don't already have a good star atlas, consider the books "Turn Left at Orion" by Consolmagno and Davis, "Night Watch" by Terence Dickenson or "Star Watch" by Philip S. Harrington. They all contain great lists of targets and directions for finding them.


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Achernar
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 02/25/06

Loc: Mobile, Alabama, USA
Re: Greetings from an extreme beginner new [Re: AstroBaby]
      #5682973 - 02/16/13 08:43 AM

The Mobile Astronomical Society has a page on Facebook, or you can find it through the link below. The Pensacola club meets at Pensacola Jr. College, the Mobile Astronomical Society meets at the Environmental Studies Center. The Pensacola club is much larger in terms of membership than the Mobile Astronomical Society. The MAS meets the first Thursday of every month at 7 p.m., the Escambia Amatuer Astronomers Association meets on the Friday closest to full moon every month.

http://skywatch.brainiac.com/astroland/
http://www.eaaa.net/index.html

Taras


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Achernar
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 02/25/06

Loc: Mobile, Alabama, USA
Re: Greetings from an extreme beginner new [Re: AstroBaby]
      #5683019 - 02/16/13 09:19 AM

The links below will show you where the darker areas are. Two places in particular I have been to are very dark, and in one case so remote you would be well advised not to go there alone, and not to go there in anything other than a 4X4 or pick up truck. Also, the Conecuh National Forest is out of cell phone range. The skies at Conecuh National Forest and around the Port St. Joe area of Florida are so dark What I normally see from home with a 15-inch I can see with my 6-inch. But two hour or longer drives means you will only want to go out there when the weather and the phase of the moon makes it worthwhile. Most of the time, the phase of the moon or the weather here makes a long drive like that not worth the gas. From Fairhope you'll get some surprisingly good views if you can avoid glare from nearby lights. Most of my observing I do right from the driveway. If you'd like to meet up sometime, you could come to the March meeting of the Mobile Astronomical Society on the 7th, or you can e-mail me. I'll send a PM your way.


http://www.cleardarksky.com/c/MobileALkey.html?1
http://www.cleardarksky.com/c/IndnPssFLkey.html?1
http://www.cleardarksky.com/c/CnchNFALkey.html?1

Taras


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BigC
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 09/29/10

Loc: SE Indiana
Re: Greetings from an extreme beginner new [Re: WaterMaster]
      #5683226 - 02/16/13 11:00 AM

Quote:

+1 on an observing chair. Even if you can use a scope comfortably while standing, a chair allows you to view for a much longer period of time in comfort. That extended viewing is really necessary for seeing details in DSO's and planets. In fact, for planetary viewing I would go so far as to say a chair is an absolute necessity as often seeing allows a few moments of clarity interspersed with long periods of lack of detail.




My experience with my Dob is Jupiter has two or three ,sometimes even five bands can be seen but I have to wait for the "wow" when for a second it looks just like the textbook photo.


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AstroBaby
member


Reged: 02/11/13

Loc: Fairhope, Al
Re: Greetings from an extreme beginner new [Re: Achernar]
      #5683811 - 02/16/13 04:13 PM

Thanks so much!

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GeneT
Ely Kid
*****

Reged: 11/07/08

Loc: South Texas
Re: Greetings from an extreme beginner new [Re: AstroBaby]
      #5684183 - 02/16/13 08:25 PM

Was the problem too little 'in' or too little 'out' focus? There are remedies for both. If the 1 1/4 inch eyepieces focused properly, then there is not a problem in your primary and secondary mirror train. Did you collimate before viewing? Your telescope should have come with collimation instructions.

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GeneT
Ely Kid
*****

Reged: 11/07/08

Loc: South Texas
Re: Greetings from an extreme beginner new [Re: AstroBaby]
      #5684188 - 02/16/13 08:30 PM

Donna,
You are also a 'keeper.' Many of us men who are active in this hobby are astronomy widows.


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hm insulators
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/22/07

Re: Greetings from an extreme beginner [Re: GeneT]
      #5690666 - 02/20/13 11:25 AM

Donna, I love your town's slogan! And welcome to cloudynights.com!

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StarZombie
newbie


Reged: 03/18/13

Loc: Gulf Coast of Alabamy
Re: Greetings from an extreme beginner new [Re: hm insulators]
      #5751365 - 03/23/13 08:55 AM

I have to add my greetings here as well. My name is Jerry and I am Donna's husband. Her astro hobby has now grabbed hold of me as well. It only seems logical since I grew up near the Marshal Space Flight Center and have had jobs in my life from forensics to aviation as well as an interest in physics, astronomy, and geology as well as chemistry. I started off with getting her a pair of Meade 20x80 bino's and a steel tripod to see how far she would go with the interest. Next came the 8" collapsible Dob, Her interest still continued to grow. Next came the 12" Lightbridge. I started off (for her) a nice package with upgrades all at once. Since then the upgrades have continued to come a little at a time. Next my focus came to the 8" just sitting in the back room being neglected. I figured I would give it a shot. I enjoyed it but my 6'2" frame kneeled down to observe was not all that fun. Thought about building a table...too lazy on my days off...lol. I sold it to a fellow who was wanting to introduce his 9 yo daughter to astronomy...that made me feel good. So now my curiosity was still going. I ordered an AR102 and a CG4 mount with polar finder and motor drive. Now I am enjoying this little guy. The first light (after 3 days to release the new scope curse) was a good one. I actually found M41 in just a few minutes. Ha I thought to myself not bad. It does have the CA common with Achro's but I will get some filters for that. Next I will be getting Donna a 14mm 100* EP, Then it will be my turn for a few 82* EP's (6.7,14mm), and a 24mm 68*. The it will be her turn again as budget allows.. So I am now funding two astro hobbies as well as my sea kayaking and surf fishing hobbies. Well back to work I have more toys to buy!

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lamplight
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 09/18/12

Loc: western MA, U.S.
Re: Greetings from an extreme beginner new [Re: StarZombie]
      #5751477 - 03/23/13 10:10 AM

Jerry.. You better get back to work!! Lol

Welcome!


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WaterMasterAdministrator
Moat Keeper
*****

Reged: 02/17/10

Loc: Southeast Idaho, USA
Re: Greetings from an extreme beginner new [Re: lamplight]
      #5751667 - 03/23/13 11:41 AM

Hi Jerry, welcome to Cloudy Nights!

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StarZombie
newbie


Reged: 03/18/13

Loc: Gulf Coast of Alabamy
Re: Greetings from an extreme beginner new [Re: WaterMaster]
      #5752106 - 03/23/13 03:17 PM

Thanx for the welcome guys. I have been studying the various (and whew!) techniques of polar alignment and setting circle use all morning. I believe I have it down. I am interested to check three different methods of polar alignment against one another. Just curious how acurate I can get my setting circles. I have read that less than 8" in diameter is not really going to work out due to the graduations that are printed on mass produced scales. Still I am determined to see. I want to check the stock instructions with my polar finder to the method of using the date ring to Kocheb alignment. Looking at the reticule I believe I can do it, just have to improvise where polaris will be lined up...small circle or line. Oh well its a rainy day off so I have to be gaining in something if nothing more than learning new things.

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Achernar
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 02/25/06

Loc: Mobile, Alabama, USA
Re: Greetings from an extreme beginner new [Re: StarZombie]
      #5776634 - 04/03/13 10:18 PM

Greetings Astrozombie. You just found out why many of us have been astronomers for years, even decades like me. I have been looking up at the stars for almost 40 years. It gets into your blood. Welcome aboard!

Taras


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