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Trying to spread the wealth, Need some viewing help!!!

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#1 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 30 January 2004 - 12:51 AM

A little background: I have a Nexstar 8i, with the Celestron accessory kit, 4, 6, 9, 15, 25, 32 POSSIL, and filters to go with it.
Now my question, I have been asked by a very good friend of mine if I could help him out. His church youth group is planning a camping trip to a remote area on Feb 6th. (I live is SC). He has asked me if I would be willing to bring my scope to this location and "set it up" so they can get exposure to our hobby.... Of course I agreed.. this is what I have done to prepare: (yep I am a newbee, so I need some advise).. I bought the Kendrik (sp) dew remover, controller and 8inch heater. I also ordered other parts but they are on back order. So all I have at this point is the controller and 8inch heater strip.. Reading on this site, I purchased a 18amphr jumpstart battery so remote power is not a problem.. This has become an expensive favor, but hey, it's for the kids.. Wear out the visa...:-)
Ok.. looked at Starry Nights Pro 4.05.. Looks like I have a full moon that evening.. so some lunar viewing is in the plans.. I would also like to view some planets.. Saturn might be ok.. but the big guy. Jup.. is really close to the full moon.. Any suggestions on how to work around that problem..I am afraid the moon will wash out any good views.
ALSO.. what else should I try to look at.. Our time frame is Sundown to about 10:00pm eastern.. Remember this is a Church group, we can not stay up all night :-). thanks for any suggestions.. A newbee, trying to spread the fever!!!! :p God Bless, and I appreciate and welcome ANY suggestions..

#2 jrcrilly


    Refractor wienie no more

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Posted 30 January 2004 - 07:33 AM

Many of us feel that this sort of outreach is very worthwhile and enjoyable. It CAN be enjoyable but I do have some suggestions.

Make sure all the tourists (I don't know what else to call 'em) listen to a brief lecture on protocol before they approach the gear. If not warned in a way they can understand, they will want to touch any exposed glass. They will also want to grab the eyepiece and move it to a more convenient position (thus moving the telescope). Many kids these days aren't trained to keep their hands off of things they don't own. Tell them what they will see. Some guys like to let the tourists focus the telescope for their eyes; in my experience this is best avoided. Newbies tend to crank the knob for the largest (and thus most unfocused) image. Adults can learn focusing quickly; kids these days don't seem to be able to learn anything quickly.

If you can come up with a light and inexpensive dew shield in time it would be helpful in several ways. It will help keep off-axis Lunar light out of the system. It will protect the corrector from childish curiosity. It will permit less heat and thus reduce power consumption.

Use moderate magnification. The lower the magnification the longer the critical focus range, and thus the better-focussed the image will be without individual adjustment. The image will also be sharper and more pleasing to the inexperienced eye. I always use lower mags than my neighbors at public viewings and frequently overhear comments about how much sharper the image is in my scope. It's not better gear (usually), just better strategy.

Choose easy objects (as you have already done - planets, Luna). Other folks don't understand our fascination with faint fuzzies. I haven't been outside at all due to weather but I'd guess Orion is still pretty good - give 'em M42. Tell 'em about the stars being born there. Look up distances ahead of time - folks always ask how far away objects are and enjoy hearing the answers. Don't let the moon discourage you from giving them Jupiter - the Gallilean moons are real crowd-pleasers and the moon won't keep you from seeing them.

Set up with the tripod low - keeps the legs narrower for less tripping and kicking. The adults can bend down to look but the kids can't bend up and you don't want to fool around with stepstools in the dark.

Have fun! I try to get to a public site about once a week in season and I enjoy it.

#3 EdZ


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Posted 30 January 2004 - 12:03 PM

Most double stars, all except those with a very faint secondary, do not suffer at all from full moon viewing.

Pointing the scope away from the moon to view open clusters should provide fine views, at least until the moon is high in the sky.

M38, M36, M37 in Auriga and M35 in Gemini
don't forget to take a pair of binoculars, you can see several of these clusters at once in binocs.

The quadruple star in the trapezium M42
Sigma Ori, just below the belt, you can see it as a triple.
Castor a Gem a 4" double
the Christmas tree cluster NGC 2264 in Mon


towards the northwest
all the clusters in Cassiopeia and Perseus
especially, NGC457, the Owl cluster
and 884/869 the Double Cluster

Polaris, an 18" double with a difficult secondary
good contrat to Castor.

#4 Dennis



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Posted 30 January 2004 - 12:21 PM

You're a good man John :applause: You'll help etch some lifelong memories that night. Did you check to see if there are any restrictions to viewing - Hillside, trees, etc. May affect targets.

John has great suggestions. Mabey "crime scene" tape around the tripod legs, etc will help avoid an accident.

You've got a great program with Saturn, Jupiter, M42, and the moon. I can only suggest to throw in a cluster. Either Pleaides (since they can see it unaided) or perhaps M36, M37. At dusk mabey show Venus & Mars before dark sets in. Depends on how large the group is.

You could have an assistant with Binos to teach them to find M42, Pleaides, and perhaps M31 so you've got a parallel activity.

Do post a report on this great event!

opps, edz post wasn't up when I wrote this.

#5 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 30 January 2004 - 06:01 PM

Great work John. The only thing I may suggest if you can come up with one is a neutral density filter for the moon. It works wonders with a full moon. I hope everything goes well. God bless.

#6 Tom L

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Posted 30 January 2004 - 10:14 PM

Show the kids the big objects, things they can identify with. Bring 'em back! Go over the scope and what to touch and not touch.

Remember, they are having fun and they should walk away wanting more!

Good man! The visa will reward you with the appropriate equipement! ;)

#7 jmoore


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Posted 31 January 2004 - 07:47 PM

I agree with John...your typical "layperson" doesn't get very excited about double-stars, nebula, or even open clusters (except maybe some of the really bright pretty ones).

If you do throw a crowd-pleasing open cluster in there, my suggestions are Pleides, M35, M37, or Beehive.

And yes, people do get excited about knowing distances to things...I've had personal experience with this. M31 (Andromeda galaxy) is bright enough to be a crowd-pleaser, and people get really impressed when you say it's 2 million light-yrs away.

John, you said "kids these days don't seem to be able to learn anything quickly". If you include college undergrads in that statement, I agree with you completely!!!

#8 kentak



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Posted 01 February 2004 - 12:02 PM

Introducing kids to the sky...Priceless!
Be sure to align ahead of time, take advantage of the goto to reduce waiting time, and don't forget the "Info" key has good background info.

Good Luck,

#9 StormKat


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Posted 04 February 2004 - 01:46 PM

I've done several Boy Scout trips. Our group was about 15 people or so.

I like to give the others waiting to look through the scope something to do. Maybe a sheet of paper with a crude skymap and a checklist at the bottom.
Spread a blanket on the ground or a full length lawnchair and let people use binoculars to scan around the sky.

Show them Mizar and Alcor.
"How many stars do you see looking at the bend in the Big Dipper?"
Some will say 1, others 2. Point the scope and show them 3!

#10 Guest_**DONOTDELETE**_*

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Posted 09 February 2004 - 11:54 PM

zzzzzzzz...And ..bumbed.......well we had really bad weather (all weekend).
rain and clould all week.. so we have rescheduled to a "later date TBD". I do appreciate the suggestions.. when the group reschedules.. I will post our new date.. again suggestions are welcome.. btw JRCILLY your article on Jump Start batteries has been very helpfull.....thanks All for the testing and advise.....
We are gonna do this.. I just dont know when at this time.....

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