Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

Northeastern US (Maine) Discussion & Introductions

  • Please log in to reply
3979 replies to this topic

#51 clearwaterdave

clearwaterdave

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5,215
  • Joined: 27 May 2014
  • Loc: Western Maine

Posted 17 January 2017 - 05:48 PM

I made them with a $00.99 plastic protractor and a sharpie.,the material is a fiberglass stuff for greenhouses.,they work very well.,"cheatingly well".,I leveled the scope before sticking the ALT gauge on,(2 sided tape),I made the same set-up for my Z8.,and similar ones for the refractors.,

Attached Thumbnails

  • 20150621_191211.jpg

  • vtornado likes this

#52 Philler

Philler

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,558
  • Joined: 15 Jul 2013
  • Loc: Olathe, Ks. USA

Posted 17 January 2017 - 06:42 PM

Hello all,
 
 I am new to this sight and astronomy (the actual act that is, have been interested in the  heavens for 30+ years and know a fair amount the subject) and as my screen name says, I live in Maine. Yup. Freezing my a@& off at the moment but after many years of fighting the risk of addiction, I've purchased my first scope just before xmas... and then a week later a second...now looking at ordering another one.... oh and one more. Just one more! Promise! This is going to be an issue.
 Anyway, I am trying to learn the sky and the locations of obejects that I can see with a 4.5" Newtonian as well as a 90mm mak. Been attacking the moon now that it's back (wolf moon last night) and the planets and learning some of the stars as I go but no DSO stuff. Mainly because I'm battling setting circles and are getting ready to abandon the little buggers for now and trying to learn star hopping. A lot of the things that I see listed on line and in my star apps are things that I find out AFTER searching for them that I need bigger aperture to see. Does anyone have any ideas per chance? I am ordering a 10" Skywatcher dob and either a 150mm mak or 180mm. Not sure yet. Fighting the urge not to wimp out here and use a goto mount to find things. Seriously, goto isn't wimping out... I'm just trying to learn old school first before going that route as I don't want to give up just yet on the manual part. The exploring is half the fun. 
 Thanks to any who may respond!


Hi Maine and welcome,

It's nice to hear someone here on the beginners forum who is candid about their knowledge and where they are in this great hobby. All too often, someone will post something like, "Help, I'm truly brand new to astronomy and know next to nothing about it!" And then they will proceed to state all kinds of stats and technical data on scopes and equipment they want...Makes you wonder if they really are newbies?

First off, it's ok if you get a GoTo for your scope, but don't neglect learning to find objects by star hopping alone. There is nothing like getting to the point that you can read the night sky with your charts like a road map. Plus, think how you can use this knowledge to help others new to this like in outreach.

There is nothing wrong with getting 10" Sky Watcher. I would get like a Telrad pointing devise, and as I remember it comes with a finder scope. I have used a 10" Dob since the early 1990's and have never run out of deep sky objects to observe. Under some of the darkest skies in the US, I have even observed a couple of galaxies listed at almost 13.5 visual magnitude using it. I know that northern Maine has some dark skies if you are willing to travel, and the 10" Sky Watcher is build to travel to dark skies. Also, If you don't already own a pair, I would suggest a pair of 7x50 or 10x50 binoculars which will help you to become better at star hopping and learning the sky.

Edited by Philler, 18 January 2017 - 12:26 AM.


#53 treadmarks

treadmarks

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1,150
  • Joined: 27 Jan 2016
  • Loc: Boston MA

Posted 17 January 2017 - 06:52 PM

Treadmarks,

 

Constellations yes! I've been working on them and turning to learn them as I go but what they were drinking (fermented cactus juice or something?) when they created them I'll never know since even though I was pretty good as a child with connect the dots these things have me befuddled at times. But they do indeed give you a jumping off point. That's how I found everything so far other than the moon and the planets, those even I couldn't miss. Well... let's just say I didn't miss, not that I couldn't. A yellow zone? Makes me think I am gong to be towed. Sorry, I thought that was funny. Another member on here led me to a site that showed sky conditions as far as weather etc but I lost the link I think. Might have been due to all of the rummaging ion the iPad going from site to site looking at eyepieces and refractors. Can you tell me how you got the yellow zone and what that means? Thanks! And thank you for reaching out. 

 

VTornado, I am looking at that link right now... 

There are various sky surveys that rate light pollution levels around the world. Personally, I live in a white zone, the white zone is for loading and unloading only (of telescopes, so you can go to someplace that isn't a white zone). This might sound a little obvious but... If you can see the Milky Way, you're in a good spot for stargazing. If not, you should think about going someplace where you can. For you, that wouldn't be far (lucky you). But if you only want to look at planets, light pollution doesn't matter.

 

And yeah, what constellations resemble seems to be HIGHLY subjective. Personally, I've long since stopped worrying about what some bronze age shepherd hopped up on cactus juice thought he saw in the sky one night.  Instead I've noticed there are some more objective shapes to be found in the constellation. For example I mentioned the square of Pegasus. Another example would be Hercules - his "torso" is really just a trapezoid. Of course, there are some constellations like Cassiopeia (zigzag pattern) or Orion (hard to miss), where I can kinda see what they were thinking.



#54 Philler

Philler

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,558
  • Joined: 15 Jul 2013
  • Loc: Olathe, Ks. USA

Posted 17 January 2017 - 07:04 PM

Also Maine, I am sure you are familiar with winter observing living that far north in New England. It's really a matter of what you are willing to tolerate. To me, it's more a matter of wearing enough insulated clothes. The biggest make or break thing is WIND CHILL. And even breeze chill can be a significant factor in winter. I can handle temps in the teens and even single digits as long as there is little or no breeze. Of course, getting to my dark sky sites where there is significant snow or ice is another determining factor.

Edited by Philler, 17 January 2017 - 07:08 PM.

  • hawk82 likes this

#55 vtornado

vtornado

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,974
  • Joined: 22 Jan 2016
  • Loc: Northern Illinois

Posted 17 January 2017 - 07:19 PM

The magnetic meter will stick right to your dob tube. I stick mine by the focuser  and grt it parallel to that.  That way I know it is

pointing straight down the axis of the tube.

 

Now to the azimuth, There a setting circles that you can print out or take to printer and attach to the azimuth board of your scope.

http://www.cloudynig...etting-circles/

However, it is tricky to print them at home. (you need a big printer or span multiple sheets of paper).  And the commercial printer in my town wanted big bucks to print

them.  The attached picture  is my simple cheap way to get the azimuth.     Just go a store and get a tape measure with big centimeters printed on it.

 

My azimuth board is 177 cm in diameter, and I already have a calculator with me because I have sky-safari running on a tablet.

So if sky safari says point to 195 degrees, I multiply 195 * 177 / 360 = 96 which is shown on the picture.

The reason my soda straw pointer is taped on is because you need to calibrate the azimuth every time you move the scope.

 

So set the base up so that when the pointer reads 0  the scope is pointed north as close as you can get it.

Next find a bright star, get its coordinates from sky-safari, point the scope to those settings.  You may have to fiddle to get the star in view of the scope.

Once you do, you move the soda straw so the reading matches sky-safari, and you are all set.

 

Eventually I will replace the soda straw and tape with a strip of steel and a magnetic pointer.

Attached Thumbnails

  • IMG_3405.JPG


#56 Mainemaksutov

Mainemaksutov

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 623
  • Joined: 12 Jan 2017
  • Loc: Maine

Posted 17 January 2017 - 08:27 PM

Philler,

 

My long johns are are wearing long johns! Thank you for the welcome by the way. I'm pretty candid about what I do and don't know about this hobby. At least I did enough research not to buy a department store scope and I didn't look in the wrong end of it when it got here! I actually do know about optics to a degree regarding rifle scopes but not telescopes and they are indeed different. As far as the cold and the snow I can tell you that about as far as I'm going is snowblowing the back yard at this point! We do have some dark skies here and not too far from me and come better weather I will be exploring them. We had wind chills at minus 30 a couple of weeks ago. But I know what you mean as far as the guy that says he's new but rattles off all  kinds of stats and raw data. It does make you wonder. 

 

Ive been star hopping and battling the constellations and an iPhone/iPad app that's trying to drive me insane by repositioning things as I'm searching. So... I gave up. I actually have taken to (I know I could do this by buying something but I'm learning more this way) looking up the constellations on line and then sketching a copy into a note book and essentially creating a star chart of my own and then going out and using it and I mark where the object should be in the night sky based on what I saw. So far, I've been right on to the point that m36,37,38 landed really close to where I was aiming. 37 was a dead bullseye and no I couldn't do that again I sure as it was beginners luck. But that's my approach anyway. And, you are not the first person on here to suggest the binoculars... uncle! I give! I'll buy some. I agree, they would be pretty handy. Also, I would help with outreach when I get to the point where I don't look like a one legged cat trying to bury a **** on a frozen pond. Good to meet you sir!



#57 Mainemaksutov

Mainemaksutov

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 623
  • Joined: 12 Jan 2017
  • Loc: Maine

Posted 17 January 2017 - 08:47 PM

Treadmark,

 

Not the white zone it's the red zone that's for loading and unloading. Wait... I'm thinking you were making a reference to the movie airplane there... so was I. ? Ok, onward.

 

bronze aged Sheppard made me laugh out loud. Seriously. That was pretty funny and so is rereading my messages on here because auto correct is making me look like I have the IQ of a potatoe. I get the Pegasus square and the trapezoid in Hercules. It's much easier to interpret that way actually. I think they were really bored. I honestly think that light pollution is "bleaching" the sky. Heck, other pollution too for that matter. I don't have far to go to get to dark skies and if I go up north this summer to Moosehead Lake, there isn't a thing up there. Nothing. Just quiet. It's serene. Oh well that thought just ruined my night as it's started to snow here. You have a good evening sir and please send any thoughts you may have but no cactus juice. 



#58 Mainemaksutov

Mainemaksutov

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 623
  • Joined: 12 Jan 2017
  • Loc: Maine

Posted 17 January 2017 - 08:56 PM

Vtornado,

 

i get how that works... pretty clever indeed. I'm headed to Home Depot in the morning to get that nifty little device you sent a link to. Your idea has me wondering... seriously, couldn't I take a liquid filled compass and use Velcro and attach it to the side of the mounts flat deck area (and of there isn't one, make a flat tab jutting out) and place a compass on that and have it centered north and inline with the exact center of the mirror? Then, I'd think that you could just spin the scope to whatever degree you needed based on the charts since north is north and all the azimuth is taken from north or +1 degree east of north, I think. The compass would be far enough away from any metal as to not be interfered with. You would set the base according to north when you set up. Yes I'm a newbie and this might not work but....? It seems "all too easy." If not, I'm going to buy a number tape. But darn it, my thought seems so logical. 



#59 Mainemaksutov

Mainemaksutov

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 623
  • Joined: 12 Jan 2017
  • Loc: Maine

Posted 17 January 2017 - 08:59 PM

Aren't all the stars coordinates taken from 0? Now I'm getting nervous... somebody say something. 



#60 Greyhaven

Greyhaven

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5,091
  • Joined: 11 May 2004

Posted 17 January 2017 - 09:21 PM

The compass will work but don't forget the celestial co ordinates are based on true north magnetic north from Maine is 15.3 degrees west of true north so you have to allow for the magnetic declination when setting up the scope.  and setting circles. This site will give you your exact adjustment. Just enter your zip code.

Grey



#61 Mainemaksutov

Mainemaksutov

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 623
  • Joined: 12 Jan 2017
  • Loc: Maine

Posted 17 January 2017 - 09:31 PM

That's brilliant greyhaven! I neglected to think about that and I use a compass in the woods all the time and I didn't think about that. At all. 



#62 Mainemaksutov

Mainemaksutov

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 623
  • Joined: 12 Jan 2017
  • Loc: Maine

Posted 17 January 2017 - 09:45 PM

Grey-

 

So then all I do have to do is deduct the -15.30 from any coordinates for a known celestial object. At least for that exact location. But should I move say east, it will of course change and an update of current location would be needed?



#63 Greyhaven

Greyhaven

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5,091
  • Joined: 11 May 2004

Posted 17 January 2017 - 10:27 PM

The amount of adjustment is dependent upon your location and changes slowly over time. Set the declination adjustment on the movable  bezel of the compass then the compass needle needs only to be aligned with the arrow symbol on the bezel base to have the direction of travel arrow indicator on the base  read true north . Easier to do than trying to read those little markings on the side.

Grey



#64 Philler

Philler

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,558
  • Joined: 15 Jul 2013
  • Loc: Olathe, Ks. USA

Posted 18 January 2017 - 01:24 AM

Philler,
 
My long johns are are wearing long johns! Thank you for the welcome by the way. I'm pretty candid about what I do and don't know about this hobby. At least I did enough research not to buy a department store scope and I didn't look in the wrong end of it when it got here! I actually do know about optics to a degree regarding rifle scopes but not telescopes and they are indeed different. As far as the cold and the snow I can tell you that about as far as I'm going is snowblowing the back yard at this point! We do have some dark skies here and not too far from me and come better weather I will be exploring them. We had wind chills at minus 30 a couple of weeks ago. But I know what you mean as far as the guy that says he's new but rattles off all  kinds of stats and raw data. It does make you wonder. 
 
Ive been star hopping and battling the constellations and an iPhone/iPad app that's trying to drive me insane by repositioning things as I'm searching. So... I gave up. I actually have taken to (I know I could do this by buying something but I'm learning more this way) looking up the constellations on line and then sketching a copy into a note book and essentially creating a star chart of my own and then going out and using it and I mark where the object should be in the night sky based on what I saw. So far, I've been right on to the point that m36,37,38 landed really close to where I was aiming. 37 was a dead bullseye and no I couldn't do that again I sure as it was beginners luck. But that's my approach anyway. And, you are not the first person on here to suggest the binoculars... uncle! I give! I'll buy some. I agree, they would be pretty handy. Also, I would help with outreach when I get to the point where I don't look like a one legged cat trying to bury a **** on a frozen pond. Good to meet you sir!



I have heard or read somewhere that some amateurs have actually used rifle scopes as finder scopes mounted on like on a Dob. Being a former hunter I know the quality and features of light gathering and long eye relief large game hunters demand, although I think we are better off with cross hair finder scopes designed to use on our main scopes like an 8x50 finderscope.
Might I suggest you simplify things and maybe get away somewhat from the software, iphones/Ipads, etc., and invest in a set of physical charts like Cambridge Star Atlas or even Sky Atlas 2000. Cambridge helps because it shows you monthly where to look for the constellations. Both atlases will show you what the constellation will look like under a dark sky. particularly SA 2000. Both plot a pretty good number of deep sky objects for someone starting out. Later, you may want to get the Pocket Star Atlas or go to one of the more advanced star atlas like Uranometria or Interstellarum. I think for now it would help you to grasp the configurations of brighter constellations and where to look for them in the sky in relation to one another. You can then fill in the not as easy constellations in relation to them. I think it's helpful and important for you learn to see the shapes and configurations of the constellations the way YOU see them and not necessarily the way others do. This is where dark skies will help in your learning to recognize most all the constellations. With some of the really faint, obscure ones like for example Camelopardalis and Vulpecula you can "borrow" stars from nearby brighter constellations to get to your object of interest. You will be surprised over time how well you have learned to navigate the night sky.
I don't know if you have a dark sky spot to use. But you might want to spend some time driving to scout out some potential dark sky areas for when its not so bitter cold. If you have not done so already, you might look into an astronomy club in your area. Many have their own dark sky area or have access to one.
So, as I say you may want to back off from some of the technology and simplify things, then later add the software in as you feel you need to. My advise: just keep it simple.

Edited by Philler, 18 January 2017 - 02:02 AM.


#65 clearwaterdave

clearwaterdave

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5,215
  • Joined: 27 May 2014
  • Loc: Western Maine

Posted 18 January 2017 - 07:13 AM

I got my Dob circles printed at a survey company.,They make big maps.,have big paper and printers.,also you can check with your local college/university they will also have printers and perhaps lamination equipment and not charge an arm and a leg.,The compass idea "sounds good" but it will be difficult for use at night.,numbers are too small to see.,and accuracy will be spotty at best.,IMHO you'd be just as well off to get a digital level and use it for ALT,and just guess and sweep for AZ.,Just go slow and enjoy the views along the way.,I've gone from using circles and finding things easy peasy.,to learning to star hop.,(still learning)and am enjoying the much more involvement on "my" part of finding things.,and seeing all the cool stuff along the way..,

#66 vtornado

vtornado

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,974
  • Joined: 22 Jan 2016
  • Loc: Northern Illinois

Posted 18 January 2017 - 08:20 AM

"seriously, couldn't I take a liquid filled compass and use Velcro and attach it to the side of the mounts flat deck area"  -- Mainemaksutov

 

As Clearwater Dave says, it might work.  You do have a big steel tube near the compass, and the numbers are small.  You are going to want

to read them to +- 1 degree.   I tried to use a digital compass but it did not work.  I purchased a high end model claiming 1 degree accuracy, even isolated from metal, it seemed to be closer to a 16 point compass.  If someone has found one that works let me know.  

 

It is true what Greyhaven has said.  Magnetic compasses point to magnetic north, not true north.

Here is a web site to calculate offset (called magnetic declination) 

 

https://www.ngdc.noa...eb/#declination



#67 Mainemaksutov

Mainemaksutov

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 623
  • Joined: 12 Jan 2017
  • Loc: Maine

Posted 18 January 2017 - 07:07 PM

Thanks guys for all of the useful information. Clearwaterdave- I think we all will always be learning about the sky and star hopping. Personally, I suck at it but I'm working on it. I think I'll be working on it still when I'm 90 but I hear what you're saying. It's too bad that a compass won't work well. Seems counter intuitive to me. I mean, I'm dumb enough to try it anyway so...

 

After much deliberation and researching and hemhawing around I finally ordered my dobsonian tonight. A Skywatcher 10" solid tube (read:cheaper) and I'll have it Friday. I am really really stoked to see the ups guy... unless it's dented or something then I'm gonna dent his noggin for his efforts. I'm kidding just in case there are any ups employees on here... totally joking, totally. But yeah, kinda like a kid at Xmas right now. Now to order a compass thingy and see what I can come up with. I will experiment and see what I can do. 



#68 hawk82

hawk82

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 58
  • Joined: 27 Jul 2014
  • Loc: Central Maine, USA

Posted 18 January 2017 - 09:12 PM

I've done a side by side comparison of an 8" dob and a 10" dob and the results with the same eyepieces were very noticeable. Helix Nebula for instance really popped on my 10" dob, whereas the 8" dob you had to use some averted vision. I think you'll be happy with the 10" dob. I know I enjoy mine very much.


  • aeajr likes this

#69 Mainemaksutov

Mainemaksutov

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 623
  • Joined: 12 Jan 2017
  • Loc: Maine

Posted 19 January 2017 - 09:24 AM

Hawk82-

 

I'm sure I will love it! I scope reviewed myself into a corner of inaction. That's a bad place to be so I snapped myself it of it and placed the order. I'm relieved, even that sounds rediculous, but I am. Should be decent viewing where I am tomorrow night and I can assemble it AND USE IT SAME DAY! I've read about the dreaded new scope and bad weather for a solid week issue. I'm researching compasses right now. And if I get one and it actually works then I'll post all the details. 



#70 clearwaterdave

clearwaterdave

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5,215
  • Joined: 27 May 2014
  • Loc: Western Maine

Posted 21 January 2017 - 06:56 AM

Hello.,I'm seeing a week of clouds here in the forecast.,you know anything about that???.,You will have plenty of time to practice collimating.,

#71 Mainemaksutov

Mainemaksutov

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 623
  • Joined: 12 Jan 2017
  • Loc: Maine

Posted 21 January 2017 - 08:26 AM

You know Dave, I was beginning to think you were a great guy until now! Lol. Yeah, it's all clouds and It's all my fault. I took delivery of the 10" dob and put it all together yesterday and while all the weather apps I had showed sun and clouds, it was dreary. I didn't know that was even possible. So yeah, I've collimated it, gonna do a star test later today with a man made star.
  • clearwaterdave likes this

#72 vtornado

vtornado

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,974
  • Joined: 22 Jan 2016
  • Loc: Northern Illinois

Posted 21 January 2017 - 09:15 AM

"So yeah, I've collimated it, gonna do a star test later today with a man made star." -- mainmaksutov.

 

Let me know how that goes for you.  I am tired of start testing and collimating in the night during my precious observing time.

I would like to do this while it is light, or cloudy.


  • Jason Y. likes this

#73 vtornado

vtornado

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,974
  • Joined: 22 Jan 2016
  • Loc: Northern Illinois

Posted 21 January 2017 - 09:36 AM

"I made them with a $00.99 plastic protractor and a sharpie.,the material is a fiberglass stuff for greenhouses.,they work very well.,"cheatingly well" -- Clearwaterdave.

 

I love that mount.  I have seen other crutch mounts, but your's has the legs fastened to the hub in a different fashion, which

I like.  Can you take a pic of the bottom of your hub so I see how they attach.  Crutches are really cheap at goodwill.

 

Thanks



#74 clearwaterdave

clearwaterdave

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5,215
  • Joined: 27 May 2014
  • Loc: Western Maine

Posted 21 January 2017 - 10:17 AM

They screw onto the blocks.,the blocks are 1.5"x1.25"x how ever wide the space between the crutch tops is.,Screwed and glued to the plywood circle. I used 2" wood screws through the crutch into the blocks.,It has worked well supporting over 30#s of scope and counter weights.,

Attached Thumbnails

  • IM000025.JPG

  • vtornado likes this

#75 Greyhaven

Greyhaven

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 5,091
  • Joined: 11 May 2004

Posted 21 January 2017 - 10:18 AM

Mainemakutov,  Do you mind if I call you Me.? Perhaps that might lead to even more confusion on my part. I think I’ll give it a go anyway.
Going back to the compass for a moment, I wanted to be clear that the compass would only be used to align the dob base (azimuth ) to the North Celestial pole to zero in your setting circles. Move the ground board and the azimuth will have to be re-zeroed. I can tell you, Me. this is a fun hobby no end to tinkering.
Grey




CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics