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What was it like observing in the 60’s?

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#26 Steve Allison

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Posted 19 October 2018 - 06:32 PM

Back then it was observe with what you have, while looking at the ads in Sky&Telescope and dreaming for something better. For me, something better was the 2.4 Unitron alt-az on the back page. Or a big reflector.

 

I remember sending away for the Cave and Starliner brochures while in the 5th or 6th grade, and being in awe of the huge tubes and speckled mountings pictured therein. The Edmund Scientific catalog also made for many dreams and yearnings.

 

Maybe that is why I like classic telescopes without all the electronics. They take me back to a simpler, less stressful time.

 

Nostalgic Steve


Edited by Steve Allison, 19 October 2018 - 06:33 PM.

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#27 CHASLX200

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Posted 19 October 2018 - 06:37 PM

That was before i was looking.



#28 Ken Sturrock

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Posted 19 October 2018 - 07:38 PM

You’re wrong again, Ken started it without my consent.lol.gif Chuck always the smart ***

 

This is true.



#29 bbqediguana

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Posted 19 October 2018 - 07:46 PM

I was born in the 60's, but didn't get into astronomy until the 70's. I started with a 40mm reflector from Sears on a spindly mount. But it was enough to ignite the flame as I toured the Moon, Jupiter and Saturn. Over the years I got better scopes, and then I found the Internet upon which I found all the reasons to be insecure about my equipment. Lucky for me I don't buy into that much. ;)

 

I think observing for me was very similar in the 70's and 80's as it was for the others in the 60's. It was about dark skies, community, enjoying the equipment you had, using paper charts, going to the library to get books, reading S&T for both the articles and the ads (just like Playboy!), getting scope catalogs from the various manufacturers and retailers (I always loved getting my copy of Eftson Science's catalog!). 

 

I "got modern" in the 2000's with laptops and GOTO, but I missed the old ways. Part of the reason astronomy is my hobby is that it connects me at a very personal level with the universe. For me, the old ways bring me back to my roots and a place of peace. No wonder I love astronomy so much! :)


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#30 clamchip

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Posted 19 October 2018 - 08:22 PM

I remember observing in the late 60's like it was yesterday.

I was 9 in 1966 so I wasn't no astrophysicist but the world was really in tune with the whole

space and astronomy thing, and so was I and my friends, that's all we talked about, and dreamed.

Robert Hall was grinding a 6 inch mirror and I remember his Foucault tester.

I was ordering chipped lenses from Edmund.

We had astronomy class at school, and model rocketry!

I lived on a golf course in the suburbs of Seattle and it was dark, it still is, it hasn't changed a bit.

 

Robert


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#31 Asbytec

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Posted 19 October 2018 - 09:03 PM

Oh, the giant orange tube C14 on the back cover of S&T was a dream. (Or was that the 70's?) Wish I had picked up a Cave back then and still had it. I remember the adds, a few hundred bucks for a 6"? A lot more more money than I had any any one time back then. The Criterion Dynascope was also tempting. As was the Dynamax 8. Lot of drooling back then. Started young and got better at it as I aged. :)


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#32 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 19 October 2018 - 09:03 PM

These are all amazing stories guys. So enlightening and refreshing. Even in the 90's I remember observers coming into ScopeCity and sharing their observational stories or updates on upcoming ATM projects. They talked more about eyepieces, astronomy and telescope mechanics. Today it's just a total get it quick, rat race and such a huge disconnect. Talking about something related to the sky is like talking to a wall. I was born in the wrong era. 


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#33 Asbytec

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Posted 19 October 2018 - 09:07 PM

I was born in the 60's, but didn't get into astronomy until the 70's. I started with a 40mm reflector from Sears on a spindly mount. But it was enough to ignite the flame as I toured the Moon, Jupiter and Saturn. Over the years I got better scopes, and then I found the Internet upon which I found all the reasons to be insecure about my equipment. Lucky for me I don't buy into that much. wink.gif

 

I think observing for me was very similar in the 70's and 80's as it was for the others in the 60's. It was about dark skies, community, enjoying the equipment you had, using paper charts, going to the library to get books, reading S&T for both the articles and the ads (just like Playboy!), getting scope catalogs from the various manufacturers and retailers (I always loved getting my copy of Eftson Science's catalog!). 

 

I "got modern" in the 2000's with laptops and GOTO, but I missed the old ways. Part of the reason astronomy is my hobby is that it connects me at a very personal level with the universe. For me, the old ways bring me back to my roots and a place of peace. No wonder I love astronomy so much! smile.gif

Well said. I have come full circle. Humble beginnings, a trek through technology, then back to my "roots" with a humble, no frills 6" aperture (same as my first home built Newt, great scope). After all that time, I realized it's about the observing and not the technology. Nothing has made me happier than to be happy with the scope I have and learning to use it. It's something technology (aperture aside) could not do, it's only something we can learn to do. Came full circle and finally matured into this hobby...in the 2000's. LOL Love it.


Edited by Asbytec, 19 October 2018 - 09:10 PM.

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#34 bbqediguana

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Posted 19 October 2018 - 09:17 PM

Well said. I have come full circle. Humble beginnings, a trek through technology, then back to my "roots" with a humble, no frills 6" aperture (same as my first home built Newt, great scope). After all that time, I realized it's about the observing and not the technology. Nothing has made me happier than to be happy with the scope I have and learning to use it. It's something technology (aperture aside) could not do, it's only something we can learn to do. Came full circle and finally matured into this hobby...in the 2000's. LOL Love it.

Thank you! I totally agree. I'm really enjoying reading this thread (thank you Daniel for starting it!) and I love reading how 6" to 8" scopes were "big" back in the day.


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#35 Mike W

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Posted 19 October 2018 - 09:39 PM

In the sixties I was in the astronomy club in JR. high and also the Mohawk Astronomers which is now the Albany Area Amateur Astronomers (AAAA). They had a roll off roof observatory (Johnson Observatory) with a Tinsley Cass. They would also set up Eq. mounted Newtonians on wed. nights for obs. Can't remember much else (50 years ago).


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#36 Asbytec

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Posted 19 October 2018 - 09:42 PM

Thank you! I totally agree. I'm really enjoying reading this thread (thank you Daniel for starting it!) and I love reading how 6" to 8" scopes were "big" back in the day.

Absolutely. You described my journey beginning in the 60's to a T. Amazing, really, that we never met but have such similar experiences and feelings about them and arrived at the same place. You said what had to be said. :)


Edited by Asbytec, 19 October 2018 - 09:43 PM.

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#37 rolo

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Posted 19 October 2018 - 09:56 PM

Back in 1971 when we came from Cuba I didn't even know what Coke or Pepsi was much less a telescope. I remember a visiting a friend of ours and he had a small 50mm Tasco, I was 7 or 8 at the most. My brother who's 4 years older than me set it up for peek at the moon. I'm sure it was the 30 or 20mm Kellner in the tiny diagonal. the moon was about a 1/4 phase and I was blown away at how many craters I could see! Instantly hooked, I had to have a telescope!

Every Christmas after that I always asked for a telescope. It took a few before my parents could afford to buy me one. A 60mm alt-az Jason was $75 and that was quite a bit of $$ for a father with two jobs (washing dishes and pumping gas) my mother as waitress and neither could speak a word of english. Eventually my dad got a good job and they climbed out the hole. That following Christmas I got my 60mm x 700mm Jason!

 

Late Dec 24th after christams eve dinner I took out the Jason and looked at the brightes object in the sky. It was bright and just rising in the east. OMG It was Jupiter, a little round ball with four stars around it! I had to show everyone! A bit later that night another bright object in the same area. OMG x2! It was Saturn and I just couldnt beleive it!

 

As time passed I got more into the hobby. I saved tons of money-back bottles and bought a used lawn mower at the thrift store(Red, White & Blue) for $5.95. After some TLC and my dad's help we got it running. I wore that worn out mower cutting neighbor's yards and edging with a machete that my dad sharpened to perfection. With the money i saved and with my dad's help i got real scope! It was Meade 628C 6" f/8, It was 1977 and I was big time now!

 

Compared to the 60mm Jason it was the 200" Hale! I could see the Cassini's division, the GRS and jupiter's moons were tiny orbs! A good friend of mine got an RV 6 around the same time and we observe every chance we got. Every morning we would get to school early and read every book on astronomy in the library, what great times those were, great until my parents got divoreced. Astronomy was great therapy for me back then and has been throughout my life including now that I've been on dialysis for 5.5 years.

 

Towards the end of the 70's decade my dad took me to Miami Planetarium to look through the C14 in their roll off roof observatory. I almost fainted! there was Saturn in the eyepiece looking like I could reach out and touch it! I knew somehow, someday I would one. Actually I've had seven nowlol.gif.

 

The 70's had plenty of hardships but this great hobby made all the difference for me. It helped disconnect and gave me lots to look forward to. It was my motivator and in eigth grade at the end of the seventies I got my first published image. A picture of the moon on the last page of Miami Springs Junior High School's yearbook! Then came the 80's, cars, motorcycles, girls it was all over, at least for a whilelol.gif


Edited by rolo, 19 October 2018 - 09:59 PM.

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#38 oldtimer

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Posted 19 October 2018 - 10:02 PM

In 1962 I was a junior in high school. My friend and I pooled our paper route money to buy a 4" criterion reflector. On clear Saturday nights we would take the scope and a couple of busses to the Adlar Planetarium (Chicago) and join with others and the public observing from the roof top, On many  occasions we would miss the last bus and have to carry the scope a couple of miles to catch the Lake Street 'L' train.


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#39 Geo31

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Posted 19 October 2018 - 10:18 PM

Nope. Ken did and was kind enough to delete it. I'm capable of starting my own topics and certainly don't any help from moderators.waytogo.gif

All evidence to the contrary.  ;)

 

Seriously Rolando, I'm just tweaking you like I would a friend sharing a beer (or whatever  your favorite adult beverage).  Next time I'm in GA, the first round is on me.


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#40 Geo31

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Posted 19 October 2018 - 10:27 PM

Rolo, what a great story, and one I can identify with (other than coming from another country).  When you get your kidney, and can travel, come to Texas and you'll be my guest and we'll go to McDonald Observatory for a Special Viewing Night, and it will totally renew your fascination with the night sky.

 

I'm serious.


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#41 rolo

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Posted 19 October 2018 - 11:05 PM

All evidence to the contrary.  wink.gif

 

Seriously Rolando, I'm just tweaking you like I would a friend sharing a beer (or whatever  your favorite adult beverage).  Next time I'm in GA, the first round is on me.

I don’t know about tweaking and a beer but watching some twerking and a beer? Absolutely

 

https://m.youtube.co...h?v=NK_e5_fKtIo


Edited by rolo, 19 October 2018 - 11:08 PM.

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#42 Joe1950

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Posted 19 October 2018 - 11:18 PM

The sky, even in suburbia, was dark enough to see the Milky Way on good nights.

 

In the 60s there were mostly Newts in this area. 4.25”, 6” (probably the most common), 8” (a huge and heavy scope), some 10” and the big guns had 12.5” Newts usually in some kind of observatory. 

 

Not many serious refractors. Some Edmund 3” and 4” and a few “rich kids” had Unitrons. Otherwise some sort of department store scope.

 

The rule was refractors went on tall wooden tripods, reflectors always were on pedestals. No exceptions. There were mostly German equatorial mounts. Alt-Az mounts were not on serious scopes (funny how I prefer Alt-Az today).

 

Around here in South NJ, Edmund’s back yard, the advanced group looked down their nose at Edmund scopes. They were ok for beginners, but the ultimate scopes were Cave Newts. And if you got a Cave scope, the first thing you did was take the clock drive off and replace it with a Byers 7” or more.

 

The C-8s came out late in the 60s and early 70s. Lots of people dove right in, but again the advanced people looked down on them. They were called “suitcase telescopes.” I did get one around 1972 and enjoyed it.

 

To do AP, you had to have a good scope with a well mounted guide scope (so there wasn’t any flexure and elongated stars) A Byers drive on a heavy GEM. Mostly all B&W with film that had low reciprocity failure, such as Kodak 103aF. Some good photos were taken with home built cameras using surplus military lenses such as the Aero-Ektar. 

 

No Dobs around then.

 

Generally eyepieces were basic. Kellners were common, and Orthos considered the best. ERs were used for wide field but were really poor at the edge. No TeleVue until near 1980.

 

Not many people were concerned with optical excellence except the Cave men, who knew they had the best mirrors. Everyone else was happy with 1/4 wave. No one heard of Strehl ratios or interferometers. All testing if needed, was the Foucault, Ronchi and star test. But few knew much about star testing.

 

It was good and it was fun. We never would have imagined what was to come.


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#43 Chuck Hards

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Posted 19 October 2018 - 11:29 PM

I have to say that my own interest was fueled initially by watching Gemini launches on TV, then Apollo.  My dad was also interested in science and was very excited when our city planetarium was built in the late 60's.  Dad had a terrific reference library and Santa had already brought me some Japanese refractors & reflectors.  Star Trek hit the air in 1966 and that got me completely space-happy.  A friend's family gave me their Edmund 4.25" Palomar Jr., when they were transfered to Texas.  I upgraded it over the years, buying a BN mount on a pedestal directly from Edmund, and retiring the original mount on wooden tripod.  I sold that scope to a friend in high school in the 70s but got it back from him a few years ago, in a trade.  It's beat-up but on the restoration pile.  And I did manage to meet both Captain Kirk and Carl Sagan.  Not at the same time.  ;)


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#44 dhferguson

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Posted 20 October 2018 - 12:34 AM

Cheers,

 

I'm not sure it's possible to disentangle the effects of being young back then in the late 1960s-early 1970s and the tenor of the times itself but I'll try.

 

The "Space Race" to the Moon was in full sway in the mid-1960s, and the omnipresent cultural emphasis on everything space back then cannot be exaggerated. Of course, we didn't realize the whole show was really propaganda to get us involved in Cold War technology but it was. By the late 1960s, the excitement of the Apollo was already subsiding, to be rekindled only momentarily by the Apollo 11 landing in 1969. That was the backdrop.

 

About age nine, I received a dime store telescope with nested tubes like a spyglass that wouldn't even show craters on the Moon. The mount was a short, unbalanced, wobbly hunk of pot metal that I set upon the car roof to observe with, and there was no star diagonal. How could I explain to my parents it was junk--after all, it is best to be gracious when receiving a gift--so I kept my mouth shut. The problem? It was a monochromat stopped way, way down to minimize lateral color, as I learned by removing the stops. My experience was not at all atypical, and I think, unfortunately, that this sort of  junk still exists in too much abundance today. Anyway, I put it away and began observing when I could with others' scopes. 

 

A few of us kids were involved with astronomy. Skies were a little darker for me then, maybe Bortle 5 instead of my current Bortle 6. That means we could easily see the summer Milky Way after midnight while today, for me, it is barely there. Somehow I'd glommed onto a planisphere and used it to learn the constellations.

 

One lucky kid had a Tasco 4.25" reflector on a GEM. We thought it was fabulous. We all read voraciously every book in the public library, which in retrospect was well-stocked. Typically, today they are not well stocked, the Space Race having long faded, and in fact the physical science sections of most public libraries (they seem nationwide to contract ordering books from the same few ordering services) are terribly deficient. Our high school library subscribed to S&T and, best of all, they had lots of back issues to review. There was even a copy of Wilkins' book "How to Make a Telescope." He made it seem oh, so simple (laugh). Meanwhile, some of us got ourselves invited to use the UC Davis observatory 12.5" Cave a couple of times, and that was fun!

 

About then, perhaps through S&T, we discovered Edmund's, Jaeger's, Cave, and all the rest. My friends drifted off to girls and another interests, and so did I, but I'd periodically return to astronomy. About that time a friend introduced me to the local John Dobson telescope making class (perhaps I'll start a thread on this subject someday). He tried to convince everyone to make a 12" mirror but--having read the warnings in telescope making books by Wilkins, Howard, and Texereau, I ordered a smaller 10" Pyrex blank from Edmund's. What I didn't know was that Pyrex is twice as hard as the plate glass tool I was using, and it took me several years to grind the f/6.6 curve I desired (just short enough for me to stand and reach the eyepiece). Working way too many chores and odd jobs, I also slowly accumulated enough money to buy a Cave GEM with 1.5" axes, which I still own and use today. Anyway, by the time I was a senior in high school I'd completed a 10" Newtonian with a cardboard tube, Cave secondary and spider, a homemade mirror cell, and a wooden tube cradle that allowed tube rotation. It actually worked quite well and gave very good images.

 

About then, say around 1971 or so, the first C-8 orange tube SCTs appeared. They cost, I believe, around $800, which was the equivalent of $5700 today: way, way out of my price range. I think Coulter Optical began selling large Dobs about the same time. I checked out of amateur astronomy upon graduating from high school in 1973.

 

Much happened in the interim. I returned to amateur astronomy--as in "the beauty of nature"--again in 1989. By then I had a doctorate in Astronomy, a consulting business advising on spacecraft optical systems, and a young family. Astronomy Magazine had become a viable competitor to S&T. I redid my telescope tube with better components and began using it again. My, the changes! Few were involved in telescope making anymore, although I did find a local class where my son and I made a 5.5" f/7 reflector sized for him, including a good quality homemade mirror. Instead, everyone seemed to be buying either SCTs or big Dobs. Back then, Obsession was the Dob-of-Choice and they still are fine instruments. Film remained in vogue, and astrophotography was catching on in a big way.  I really wasn't that interested in AP, though. Also, the plethora of adapters, software, mounts, etc. just seemed to multiply every year, as it has done to the present. I particularly appreciated the Televue ep revolution. I bought three (Nagler Type 1 13mm, Nagler Type 2 20mm, and Nagler Type 1 7mm), and I continue use them as my primary eyepieces today! No, the "kidney beaning" of the 13mm eyepiece doesn't bother me. Also, finally a decent focuser, a JMI NGF-1, which I also continue to use to the present day.

 

I also taught astronomy and physics courses at the college and university level for fun. The students were quite enthusiastic. In many cases, I was able to borrow a "transportable" Coulter 13.1" scope (I owned a minivan back then) and schedule a star party for the class at a Bortle 4 site not far away. It was fun to watch their expressions upon seeing Saturn for the first time ("... it looks fake!") or their excitement upon seeing the spiral structure of M101, among other DSO showpieces.

 

I think the hobby continues to evolve. The information sources from the web, such as this forum, are way, way more comprehensive (and mostly honest, after screening out the equipment partisans) than what was available back when. Pushed by the undesirability of ladders, Dobs seem to be evolving to ever-shorter f/ratio primaries. Collimation tools, first in the form of the Cheshire and then laser collimators have evolved to keep pace. 'Same too with coma correctors. And wow, the mounts available today are amazing, the serious coin required to purchase one notwithstanding. For lower budgets, the SCTs are in fact bargains for the money. Their mounts are better than in the days of yore, too. Also, given the now-pervasive light pollution and concomitant gray nighttime skies, I "get" the desire for a goto scope as opposed to star hopping with now-washed out stars. Also, as we get older, our exit pupils shrink quite dramatically and we are no longer able to see as faintly. I don't really "get" the APO craze, though, except for AP uses. Yes, they are fine telescopes but their small apertures are a huge negative when viewing DSOs: ease-of-use, portability, way too much free cash? Not everyone owns a house with a yard, I know.

 

For me, though, some things haven't changed much. I still have my 10" f/6.6 with Cave GEM mount, although all the components have been upgraded to high quality. And I still wheel it onto the back patio to happily go observing several times each month. It is one way I relax.

 

Happy observing always,

 

Don


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#45 AllanDystrup

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Posted 20 October 2018 - 05:51 AM

What were the conversations about regarding telescopes and observing and what were they like? Were you reading books and looking at star charts? What problems did you mostly discuss and what encounters did you have? Today all I listen to is computer technology and software and seeing the billionth cell phone image of M31 someone took. fingertap.gif

 

I remember the days at scope city in the 90s  and all people talked about was Astronomy and what they saw. How about you guys?

 

     I was a teenager back then in the 60'ies. Amateur astronomy was not common as an interest or a hobby, and it was not easy to find information on the subject here in Denmark. I was basically on my own. At the age of 12 I got hold of a book by Patrick Moore: "Naked Eye Astronomy" plus William Peck: "The Constellations & how to find them", and used that for a couple of years to learn the constellations and how to navigate the night sky.

 

     After a year I bought a Japanese 7x50 binocular, and many a dark night I spent on the flat roof of my parents' house with the neighbor's cat in my lap, following the rise and set of the constellations through the seasons, while learning about the stars (Martha Evans Martin: "The friendly Stars"), the Arab root of their names and the Greek lore surrounding them.

 

     I worked in my summer vacations to save up for a proper telescope. I basically had the choice of a 2" Telementor or a 3" Unitron, and at the age of 15 I decided to buy the Unitron. This opened up a new world, and with the help of Patrick Moore: "Guide to the Stars", Donald Menzel: "Stars & Planets" plus Norton's Star Atlas, I was now able to really for the first time study Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, Venus and the many Messier objects, close up. What a treat it was, the universe cracked open for in depth observations! This is my basic setup, for back then:

 

Ast-01.jpg

    

 

     Then came high school, girls, education, the navy, teaching, studying, languages, university, biology, computer science, more girls, marriage, work, children, more children (not more girls really…). Astronomy took the back seat in all those years.

 

     Suddenly I was 62, and decided to retire. Had some plans for "on the side" projects in computers, but also rebooted my old astronomy hobby, -- and found the world had changed. The LP in my suburban area N of Copenhagen is now at a Bortle Red/Orange level ~NELM 4.5-5.5 (whereas it back then in suburban S Copenhagen was a rural Blue ~NELM 6.5). What a change! Also the telescopes had evolved. The ubiquitous Fraunhofer achromats from the 60'ies were now largely superseded by faster and more easily handled APO, and a large portion of these were now primarily optimized for astrophotography.

 

     I ended up selling my large 3"  f/16 142C Unitron and instead buying some classic f/8 Vixen Fluorite APO refractors on vintage Zeiss manual (but motorized) mounts. These satisfy my preference for star hopping and visual observation while still offering the advantage of a more modern and high performing lens design, in a portable grab-go package. So here's my current setup (still evolving, and I also have a couple of Zeiss refractors, which is not shown here):

 

Ast 02.jpg

 

     My sources for information have changed drastically too of course. Astronomy science and space exploration have moved on since the 60'ies of course, so my astronomy library is now considerably larger, and is now supplemented by pc software and a lot of internet sources like scientific articles, pictures and videos. The astronomy fora (in Denmark at least) are now primarily driven by astrophotography, but as this is not my interest, I seldom post on these fora.

 

     There are challenges in having astronomy as a hobby when you live in a NELM 5 suburban environment, and these challenges are getting still more widespread with the increasing urbanization of our societies. I met these challenges when i rebooted my hobby 5 years ago, but I've also found solutions, that allows me to explore the universe with the same curiosity and enthusiasm as I had when I started out 50 years ago. My answer has been to keep the backyard grab-go setup for visual observation, but now supplemented by live video (EAA) and lately also live night vision (NVD).

 

     I try to share my astronomy observations in threads here on CN where I've found a few with the same interests, but like you write Daniel: much of what's written on CN is about telescopes (restoring, collecting, comparing, testing), optics (glass, polish, DPAC & all that jazz) and visual acuity ("I detected that tiny hazy spot with this small telescope and my eagle eyes") -- not so much about astronomy. Ahh well, as the Zen saying goes: "A thinking person makes use of the pointing finger to see the moon. A person who only looks at the finger and mistakes it for the moon will never see the real moon…".

 

   -- Allan


Edited by AllanDystrup, 20 October 2018 - 08:28 AM.

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#46 BarabinoSr

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Posted 20 October 2018 - 06:02 AM

Hello Friends!  Started in 1964 as I was always fascinated with the night sky . I loved reading my brother Raymond's junior high school science book at  11 years old, and  I remember the small section with the seasonal star charts. The next year 1965 was special. I lived in New orleans about a mile east of Audubon Park, and I remember the dark skies even though we lived about five miles from downtown, as the glow from there was not too bad. Later that summer,July my parents took us to Colfax  in central Louisiana to visit our grandparents. Amazing skies and my first time seeing the Milky Way!!

  Anywho, I did manage to build a small refractor with a 1.5 inch lens in '69 and bought a 60mm Selsi variable power in February 1970 but I got no true astronomical scope until late 1971 a 50mm Tasco tabletop 6TE-5 . Mel Dawson and I founded the  Vega Observatory in August '70 (now the Vega Sky Center today) . Nice thread !   Gary


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#47 roscoe

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Posted 20 October 2018 - 07:50 AM

short and simple...... in the 60's, way darker skies, but for working-class folks, mostly terrible 60mm scopes. I knew the major constellations, and kept track of the planets, but it wasn't till I was in my 40's that I got my first real scope.


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#48 Bob S

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Posted 20 October 2018 - 08:07 AM

In the early '60's I had enough money from my paper route to buy a 60mm Monolux Equatorial from the EJ Korvette store. It was a little over a hundred dollars at the time. It was also a little cheaper because was their last one and had been a demo model. It came with everything in the box except the instructions. Trying to figure out how the mount worked was a source of frustration, but eventually it worked. I remember seeing Saturn and then Mars for the first time, and have never quite gotten over the experience. Finding objects with the use of setting circles and a flashlight (not a red one) was slow and tedious, but once the goal was found (which didn't always happen) it was a lot more satisfying than a go to mount is, even though you can see more things quicker with it.

The book I used, and that I still have and use, is Olcott's Field Guide to the Skies. I also eventually picked up a Norton. A friend and I would take the CTA to the Adler Planetarium once a month for the sky show and to pick up the latest S & T, mainly to drool over the ads, particularly Unitron and Jaegers. Skies were darker then, even on the far northwest side of Chicago, which still had a semi-rural feel to it, unpaved streets, corn fields and riding stables not too far away and low power street lights. I still live in the area, but the skies are washed out in a sea of light. I still drool (maybe because of age?) over the ads in S & T and Astronomy, but you can't have everything. If  I could I'd be back in the '50s or early '60s.


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#49 Daniel Mounsey

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Posted 20 October 2018 - 08:37 AM

Back in 1971 when we came from Cuba I didn't even know what Coke or Pepsi was much less a telescope. I remember a visiting a friend of ours and he had a small 50mm Tasco, I was 7 or 8 at the most. My brother who's 4 years older than me set it up for peek at the moon. I'm sure it was the 30 or 20mm Kellner in the tiny diagonal. the moon was about a 1/4 phase and I was blown away at how many craters I could see! Instantly hooked, I had to have a telescope!

Every Christmas after that I always asked for a telescope. It took a few before my parents could afford to buy me one. A 60mm alt-az Jason was $75 and that was quite a bit of $$ for a father with two jobs (washing dishes and pumping gas) my mother as waitress and neither could speak a word of english. Eventually my dad got a good job and they climbed out the hole. That following Christmas I got my 60mm x 700mm Jason!

 

Late Dec 24th after christams eve dinner I took out the Jason and looked at the brightes object in the sky. It was bright and just rising in the east. OMG It was Jupiter, a little round ball with four stars around it! I had to show everyone! A bit later that night another bright object in the same area. OMG x2! It was Saturn and I just couldnt beleive it!

 

As time passed I got more into the hobby. I saved tons of money-back bottles and bought a used lawn mower at the thrift store(Red, White & Blue) for $5.95. After some TLC and my dad's help we got it running. I wore that worn out mower cutting neighbor's yards and edging with a machete that my dad sharpened to perfection. With the money i saved and with my dad's help i got real scope! It was Meade 628C 6" f/8, It was 1977 and I was big time now!

 

Compared to the 60mm Jason it was the 200" Hale! I could see the Cassini's division, the GRS and jupiter's moons were tiny orbs! A good friend of mine got an RV 6 around the same time and we observe every chance we got. Every morning we would get to school early and read every book on astronomy in the library, what great times those were, great until my parents got divoreced. Astronomy was great therapy for me back then and has been throughout my life including now that I've been on dialysis for 5.5 years.

 

Towards the end of the 70's decade my dad took me to Miami Planetarium to look through the C14 in their roll off roof observatory. I almost fainted! there was Saturn in the eyepiece looking like I could reach out and touch it! I knew somehow, someday I would one. Actually I've had seven nowlol.gif.

 

The 70's had plenty of hardships but this great hobby made all the difference for me. It helped disconnect and gave me lots to look forward to. It was my motivator and in eigth grade at the end of the seventies I got my first published image. A picture of the moon on the last page of Miami Springs Junior High School's yearbook! Then came the 80's, cars, motorcycles, girls it was all over, at least for a whilelol.gif

 

 

rolo, this is a wonderful post. Made me feel very emotional because it reminded me so much of my own adventures and the excitement of the journey and ironically with more than I know what to do with, none of it compares to this exciting journey and story you just shared. Your story is so spot on with mine. It’s really the excitement of the journey that provides the magic. Also, your comments on the Jason refractor hit home with me very hard. Vernon, my closest observing buddy committed suicide 2 years ago. It was a huge blow for me. Sometime in the late 90’s another close observing buddy brought his sons Jason 60mm refractor to Charlton Flats. When we all looked through it we were stunned at how clean and crisp Jupiter and its moons were through it. It was such a great time. I’ll never forget Vernon telling me, what a great little scope that Jason was. Such a humbling story you shared, I can’t imagine the excitement you must have had.  


Edited by Daniel Mounsey, 20 October 2018 - 08:38 AM.

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#50 CHASLX200

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Posted 20 October 2018 - 08:41 AM

Oh, the giant orange tube C14 on the back cover of S&T was a dream. (Or was that the 70's?) Wish I had picked up a Cave back then and still had it. I remember the adds, a few hundred bucks for a 6"? A lot more more money than I had any any one time back then. The Criterion Dynascope was also tempting. As was the Dynamax 8. Lot of drooling back then. Started young and got better at it as I aged. smile.gif

The C14 was my dream scope also in 1977 when i first viewed thru one at M13.  Turned out to be my nitemare when i got a old one in 1997 with bad optics.




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