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Maintaining motivation of observing friends who own smaller dobs

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#1 big_scot_nanny

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 06:59 AM

Hi all,

 

Interested in your thoughts on this conundrum: How do you keep relative novices motivated and engaged in using their new-to-them extremely nice 10” ES compact dob, when you are observing beside them with a BFT (Big xxxx Telescope - 20” F4 dob)?

 

One consistently attending observing friend in particular comes over to verify that he is looking at the correct object that we are both pointed at, and first of all exclaims “whoah!” when looking through the BFT and a 100degree EP, then kind of gets dispirited when going back to his ‘little’ scope. This of course happens with just about everything - Mars, M56/71 (which were particularly glorious the other night, high in the sky with lots of Milky Way stars providing a foreground/backdrop), M31, M13 and attendant little galaxy (NGC6207?) etc etc..

 

Now, I must admit to also being consistently blown away by the views through my own scope (only had it for a year so far), but really don’t want my friend to feel bad.

 

I am an experienced observer (20+years), a great love of DSOs (globs, galaxies and gassess smile.gif ), know my way around the sky and now only really look for stuff that I never really enjoyed in my 12”. 

 

Your opinions and guidance greatly appreciated.


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#2 Neptune

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 07:33 AM

I see 2 options.

 

1) sell your 20 and go back to a smaller more comparable size scope.

 

2) Have your friend sell his 12" and help him pony up some cash for a bigger scope.

 

David


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#3 ayryq

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 08:02 AM

Don't look at the same objects. "You find the Orion Nebula while I get the Witch Head Nebula"


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#4 TOMDEY

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 08:03 AM

Not to worry... next time he will probably show up with something like THIS!  >>>

PS: Your BFT is extremely nice!  36/20 > 20/12 Hmmm...  Tom

Attached Thumbnails

  • 10 Toms new scope.jpg

Edited by TOMDEY, 14 September 2018 - 08:07 AM.

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#5 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 08:03 AM

My friends are very happy to observe with their 10 inchers alongside a larger scope . They have their own observing agenda's.  When i have something interesting in eyepiece I'll invite them over for a look and vice-versa. 

 

One thing that might help in your situation,  rather than them looking in your scope to verify an object,  you look in their scope and verify the view . And take some time to enjoy the view.  A 10 inch is a powerful scope. 

 

Large scopes have their advantages but mostly for seeing stuff beyond the reach of a 10 inch . 

 

Jon


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#6 Bob S.

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 08:04 AM

Have your friends with 12" scopes pick up a couple of 50# sacks of concrete or a bundle of shingles and let them know that every time you have to move that BFT that you are simulating the other activities I suggestedbawling.gif


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#7 starcanoe

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 08:08 AM

Not breaking out into the classic song would probably help.

 

Anything you can see I can better..


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#8 Bob S.

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 08:11 AM

Tomdey, It appears that you have put that BFT on a dual-axis tracking platform? Did you do that to eliminate field rotation so that you could do astrophotography with the scope? How high is the eyepiece height at zenith on that beauty? Bob


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#9 rogeriomagellan

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 08:41 AM

Not to worry... next time he will probably show up with something like THIS!  >>>

PS: Your BFT is extremely nice!  36/20 > 20/12 Hmmm...  Tom

bigshock.gif ohmy.png jawdrop.gif



#10 rogeriomagellan

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 08:51 AM

Hi all,

 

Interested in your thoughts on this conundrum: How do you keep relative novices motivated and engaged in using their new-to-them extremely nice 10” ES compact dob, when you are observing beside them with a BFT (Big xxxx Telescope - 20” F4 dob)?

 

One consistently attending observing friend in particular comes over to verify that he is looking at the correct object that we are both pointed at, and first of all exclaims “whoah!” when looking through the BFT and a 100degree EP, then kind of gets dispirited when going back to his ‘little’ scope. This of course happens with just about everything - Mars, M56/71 (which were particularly glorious the other night, high in the sky with lots of Milky Way stars providing a foreground/backdrop), M31, M13 and attendant little galaxy (NGC6207?) etc etc..

 

Now, I must admit to also being consistently blown away by the views through my own scope (only had it for a year so far), but really don’t want my friend to feel bad.

 

I am an experienced observer (20+years), a great love of DSOs (globs, galaxies and gassess smile.gif ), know my way around the sky and now only really look for stuff that I never really enjoyed in my 12”. 

 

Your opinions and guidance greatly appreciated.

Hi.

 

I really don't know if I can be of some help here but I was wondering that if your friend upgraded his eyepieces it would possibly lift his spirits before he got thinking of getting a larger aperture Dob. 


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#11 TOMDEY

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 09:00 AM

Tomdey, It appears that you have put that BFT on a dual-axis tracking platform? Did you do that to eliminate field rotation so that you could do astrophotography with the scope? How high is the eyepiece height at zenith on that beauty? Bob

Hi, Bob! Yeah, I know it looks like that... but it's actually an elevator, so I can access objects lower to the horizon thru the observatory slot. Elevator down for most observing; up for low stuff... VERY ergonomic! The scope has Argo Navis and ServoCAT for GoTo and tracking. I intend to do mostly visual and Night Vision. Might try a bit of imagery later. TDI (Time-Delayed Integration) could be interesting later... that's where the scope needs not move AT ALL because the photo-electrons are accumulated/slithered laterally thru the sensor photosites at Exactly the rate that the image is drifting across the huge chip. I successfully simulated that in the lab across 4096 pixels with no smear in either direction! Far as I know, only the FLI cameras support that capability. It's really VERY easy to pull off!

 

Your point regarding hauling a BIG scope around... Yes, indeed... at some point it becomes pretty ridiculous. And, AT That point... a permanent installation makes compelling sense!

 

Anyway, here is a picture of the lift in the UP position! >>>  Tom

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  • SCOPE 02.0 85.jpg

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#12 25585

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 09:29 AM

As similar to your friend with "only" 10 and 12 Dobs, my resolve is because they are easy to transport. Solid tubes all, so no assembly beyond OTA on top of rocker box,  no GOTO. Strictly low tech and simple. While big scopes are still being rigged up, aligned etc, I am well on my sky tour.

 

So yes, bigger scopes will give fantastic detail and show fainter objects, but I can get my scopes out for a gander at the galaxy with less stress in little time.   


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#13 25585

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 09:37 AM

Not breaking out into the classic song would probably help.

 

Anything you can see I can better..

Sixteen inches and what do you get?

A few more galaxies and less time when it's wet! banjodance.gif  


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#14 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 10:14 AM

If your friend with the 10" scope gets a NV eyepiece that would give him the big scope views.

 

Of course then you will always be coming to his scope to confirm what you found, and risk becoming dispirited.


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#15 ShaulaB

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 10:46 AM

People with 10" Dobs can easily acquire more than half of the Astronomical League observing awards. I really improved my skills pursuing AL programs. Once a scope slewer earns a certain number of AL awards in proscribed categories, the person gets the title Master Observer. The Master Observers I know locally are deferred to and treated as astronomical royalty. None of these guys has a scope with more aperture than 12 inches.

 

A 10" Dob with dark enough skies can get its owner the Herschel 400 award. https://www.astrolea...rvingClubs.html

 

To put it in perspective, there will always be somebody with better skills or gear than you. There are millions of golfers in the US, but few of them could beat Tiger Woods. There are millions of tennis players, but few could beat John McEnroe, even now that he is an old geezer. There are individuals who will spend big $$$ on a scope, and only have the skills to view the Moon. End of rant.


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#16 starcanoe

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 10:54 AM

I was really into fishing once....got really good at putting bait on a hook...I avoided the awards program...



#17 MitchAlsup

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 11:18 AM

How do you keep relative novices motivated and engaged in using their new-to-them extremely nice 10” ES compact dob, 

A) I am not sure this is your job, but  to the extent it is

 

B) Have them find the big and bright stuff in the sky

while

C) you find the dim and tiny stuff.


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#18 lakland5

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 12:22 PM

Interesting topic and from experience I can appreciate it.  My answer is kind of an variation of MitchAlsup's, above.

 

When I really started observing with others my scope was an XT6, which got the expected range of responses from those with larger rigs (mostly dobs and SCTs).  I personally was not bothered;  I've always really liked that scope--a relatively easy to transport 6" f8 shows you a lot, and the brighter DSOs are, to me, an endless source of delight.   Given my age, I doubt that I will lose that feeling over the rest of my lifetime.

 

I now mostly use an XT10 with pretty good eyepieces (see sig below) and it is, frankly, as much scope as I want.   I am around a variety of scopes, including bigger ones on a pretty regular basis and know what I'm willing to deal with, and this is my sweet spot, athough I will take a turn at a larger scope for a view I can't get on mine--no aperture fever or hardware lust ensues, which keeps peace on the homefront smile.gif

 

However, for some folks I observe with, my 10" is a step UP.  So, when someone has a smaller scope, what I do is help them know what kinds of things they can find and enjoy, often working on objects in tandem with them.  I stay away from the fainter fuzzies, and usually they are thrilled to find out that, even though my scope may show brighter images due to its larger aperture, they can find and enjoy the same things in their personal scopes.  I encourage everyone to spend a lot of time at their own scope instead of constantly going to bigger ones, since part of the satisfaction of the hobby to me is the ability to navigate the sky myself, which has come through experience running my own rig.   It's a satisfaction to me to see someone's skill and confidence grow that way over time.

 

Just my experience, worth 2cents as the saying goes.

 

RicA


Edited by lakland5, 14 September 2018 - 12:24 PM.

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#19 Adun

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 01:01 PM

Get a night vision device, for them to use with their small 10" dob.

#20 Starman1

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 01:13 PM

Hi all,

 

Interested in your thoughts on this conundrum: How do you keep relative novices motivated and engaged in using their new-to-them extremely nice 10” ES compact dob, when you are observing beside them with a BFT (Big xxxx Telescope - 20” F4 dob)?

 

One consistently attending observing friend in particular comes over to verify that he is looking at the correct object that we are both pointed at, and first of all exclaims “whoah!” when looking through the BFT and a 100degree EP, then kind of gets dispirited when going back to his ‘little’ scope. This of course happens with just about everything - Mars, M56/71 (which were particularly glorious the other night, high in the sky with lots of Milky Way stars providing a foreground/backdrop), M31, M13 and attendant little galaxy (NGC6207?) etc etc..

 

Now, I must admit to also being consistently blown away by the views through my own scope (only had it for a year so far), but really don’t want my friend to feel bad.

 

I am an experienced observer (20+years), a great love of DSOs (globs, galaxies and gassess smile.gif ), know my way around the sky and now only really look for stuff that I never really enjoyed in my 12”. 

 

Your opinions and guidance greatly appreciated.

I own a 12.5" and friends show up at my site all the time with 20" and larger scopes.  I do find the 20" scope goes a bit deeper (actually, a magnitude), but the difference is not that mind blowing.

Unless the target is really at the limit for the 12.5", the difference is usually just the brightness of the DSO.

I see very little difference in star clusters, but the differences in faint galaxies and small planetaries reveal the extra reach of the 20".

I won't live long enough to exhaust the limits of a 12.5", so the 20" doesn't really tempt me due to size, weight, and cost.

 

The question is how to keep novices motivated.  Give them an observing log page like the one I attach here.  If they answer all the questions and make an evaluation of the target using their own scopes,

they will quickly become much better observers which, as you know, makes a world of difference in your ability to see details in DSOs.

I have had extreme novices sit down at my scope and look while I ask the questions.  By the time all are answered, I get some fairly complete observations, indicating that they are capable of seeing a lot, but just don't because

they haven't been trained to look.

I often say it's like playing a piano--you don't play Chopin the first time you sit at a piano, but with enough practice, you can.

It's the same with observing--practice, practice, practice.  Keep pushing the limits.

I've had relative newbies tell me that in their first views of Messier objects their impressions were that they were quite dim.

Then, after spending a couple years on dim NGC objects or pursuing the objects in the Herschel 400, they went back to look at the Messier objects and were amazed at how bright and detailed they were.

 

So, how to maintain motivation?  Give them a list of 500 bright ones, and then when they've successfully seen all of them, give them a lit of 500 more, but a little more difficult.

A couple years will pass, and pretty soon they'll be hunting down really faint targets for their apertures and probably spending less time looking through yours.

And when they do, they'll want to see something faint, so be prepared.lol.gif

Attached Files


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#21 Starman1

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 01:16 PM

Sixteen inches and what do you get?

A few more galaxies and less time when it's wet! banjodance.gif  

Saint Peter don'tcha call me cuz I caint go,

I owe my soul to the telescope store.


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#22 TOMDEY

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 01:17 PM

... There are individuals who will spend big $$$ on a scope, and only have the skills to view the Moon. End of rant.

Hi, ShaulaB! Good point... that sounds like ME! My observing sessions at the 36 go something like this:

 

Me, "Jeeves, tonight more of the Herschels; continue where we left off last time."

Jeeves, "Yes sir, HI-197 and 198 set to your liking and tracking. 197 is the smaller one."

I put down the cocoa and ascend the warehouse ladder, "Yeah, whatever, two blobs, large and small. Log It."

Jeeves, "Yes sir, HI-178 barred spiral."

Me, "Yep... nother fuzzy blob. Log it; Next!"

 

This goes on for over six months. I sign the logs; Jeeves witnesses it; I hang my award on the wall, between the Mensa and Intertel certificates.

 

Into the drawing room for tea and crumpets. As usual, Jeeves will spend the night comet-hunting again. One of these nights, ONE of these nights, he will call me out there to discover my next one... or else! Tom Beresford Tipton



#23 Don H

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 01:26 PM

I would not let this circumstance be too troublesome. The reverse effect can happen, too. One year at AstroFest I had a new 14.3 inch, f/4.7 Dob set up next to a 25 inch Obsession. A few nearby observers were going from the 25 back and forth to my 14. They told me what object they were looking at in the 25, and asked if they could see it in the 14. Each time they were amazed how much the 14 was able to reveal and wondered if it was really worth all the hassle owning a bigger scope. We were looking at mostly brighter M and NGC objects, and no small, dim galaxies. But those guys were calling the 14 some kind of a magic scope. It did have brand new coatings, but I would not go as far as to say it was actually as good or better on any object, just a lot easier to set up, store, transport and view without a ladder... Of course, if I had the resources to own a 24 inch f/3.3, I would be all over it...


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#24 25585

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 05:17 PM

Get a night vision device, for them to use with their small 10" dob.

Electronics is a great leveller. graduate.sml.gif  



#25 aeajr

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 05:26 PM

Hi all,

 

Interested in your thoughts on this conundrum: How do you keep relative novices motivated and engaged in using their new-to-them extremely nice 10” ES compact dob, when you are observing beside them with a BFT (Big xxxx Telescope - 20” F4 dob)?

 

One consistently attending observing friend in particular comes over to verify that he is looking at the correct object that we are both pointed at, and first of all exclaims “whoah!” when looking through the BFT and a 100degree EP, then kind of gets dispirited when going back to his ‘little’ scope. This of course happens with just about everything - Mars, M56/71 (which were particularly glorious the other night, high in the sky with lots of Milky Way stars providing a foreground/backdrop), M31, M13 and attendant little galaxy (NGC6207?) etc etc..

 

Now, I must admit to also being consistently blown away by the views through my own scope (only had it for a year so far), but really don’t want my friend to feel bad.

 

I am an experienced observer (20+years), a great love of DSOs (globs, galaxies and gassess smile.gif ), know my way around the sky and now only really look for stuff that I never really enjoyed in my 12”. 

 

Your opinions and guidance greatly appreciated.

1) Spend time with him using his scope rather than yours.  Help him become proficient finding things with his scope.   Look through his scope when observing for the evening.

 

2) If you have a smaller scope, use that when working with him.   Set them up side by side and work the same targets.

 

If you goal is to motivate him then focus your attention on him, not yourself.  Make sure he is successful and feels good about the experience.   Save the BFT for when he is not around. 


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