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What was it like observing in the 60’s?

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#201 John Rogers

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Posted 23 November 2018 - 05:54 PM

1967_Sunspot_Observing.jpg

Observing sunspots in 1967.  Many of you may recognize the telescope, the venerable Edmund Space Conqueror.

 

I remember having to improvise.  My budget was blown on the brand-new eyepiece you can see in the picture.  With the addition of a reengineered wire clothes hanger and my Mother's missing notebook, I was able to construct a solar projection system.

 

John Rogers

 

 


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#202 Bomber Bob

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Posted 24 November 2018 - 09:45 AM

I remember having to improvise.

 

Same here, which may sound pitiful to the current generation, and maybe it was.  But we were forced to be creative, and I think that was a good thing in the long run.

 

Would I attempt making an 8" mirror now?  Nope.  Not when there are cheap & decent imports available with a mouse click.


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#203 Michael Covington

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Posted 24 November 2018 - 10:43 AM

attachicon.gif 1967_Sunspot_Observing.jpg

Observing sunspots in 1967.  Many of you may recognize the telescope, the venerable Edmund Space Conqueror.

 

I remember having to improvise.  My budget was blown on the brand-new eyepiece you can see in the picture.  With the addition of a reengineered wire clothes hanger and my Mother's missing notebook, I was able to construct a solar projection system.

 

John Rogers

Where were you located?  Must have been in the tropics, with the sun that high in the sky.


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#204 John Rogers

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Posted 24 November 2018 - 10:50 AM

Where were you located?  Must have been in the tropics, with the sun that high in the sky.

Southern California, about 60 miles north of LA.

 

John Rogers



#205 clamchip

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Posted 24 November 2018 - 11:04 AM

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

Something else I just realized I remembered is I don't remember ever being cold while observing

just kids I guess.

These days I get driven indoors by Mr. Cold sometimes. Not all the time though, the winter skies are

beautiful here. My brother lives in our childhood golf course neighborhood a block away from our

old house, and it's pretty much the same as it was there, trees are taller. The houses were built '66.

 

Robert

 

Robert


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#206 Michael Covington

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Posted 24 November 2018 - 11:20 PM

Southern California, about 60 miles north of LA.

 

John Rogers

That picture must have been taken very close to solar noon, on or close to the date of summer solstice.

The sun gets to within, I think, 12 degrees of the zenith under those conditions.


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#207 Mirzam

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Posted 25 November 2018 - 05:01 AM

Los Angeles latitude is ~34 degrees N.  So the Celestial Equator is ~56 degrees above the southern horizon.  Add 23 degrees (max) for seasonal tilt, so 11-12 degrees from local zenith is about right.

 

JimC


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#208 Michael Covington

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Posted 25 November 2018 - 09:38 AM

Los Angeles latitude is ~34 degrees N.  So the Celestial Equator is ~56 degrees above the southern horizon.  Add 23 degrees (max) for seasonal tilt, so 11-12 degrees from local zenith is about right.

 

JimC

My latitude too.  When I got out of graduate school, I joked to my fiancée that because of my custom-made tripod, I could only consider jobs near latitude 34 north (my home town of Athens, Georgia, for which it was built).  We went to Los Angeles and I was almost recruited to Waco, Texas, but in fact was then recruited back to Athens, Georgia.  All at the same latitude.


Edited by Michael Covington, 25 November 2018 - 09:44 AM.

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#209 stringscope

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Posted 26 November 2018 - 03:11 AM

I was introduced to the night sky at an early age by my father.  Would have been around 1964 and I was 8.  Instruments were naked eye and a pair of Ross 7X35 wide field binoculars. Norton's Star Atlas was the reference book. We lived under dark skies in rural Victoria (Australia).  In fact we lived quite close to the retirement home of Prof Ernst Hartung http://adb.anu.edu.a...johannes-10449 

 

Prof Hartung in his retirement authored the book; Astronomical Objects for Southern Telescopes . . . a handbook for amateur observers.  As Prof Hartung was my Father's chemistry professor during the war years, I was luck enough to accompany Dad to visit Prof Hartung at his property, Lavender Farm.  Unfortunately we were not invited to visit his observatory.

 

At about age 10, I was given a 4.5 in Tasco Newt and with Norton's and a cardboard planisphere, pretty much left to my own devices.  For years I would regularly set up the scope in a paddock near the house and spend a fair chunk of the night finding my way around the sky with the occasional farm cat visit to keep me company - they would give me a real fright if they came up silently from behind then rubbed up against my leg.  Unfortunately Norton's was pretty light on for DSO detail and I didn't have access to any others who were interested in astronomy so with hindsight I probably missed out on quite a bit in those early years.  I did however teach myself the constellations, star hopping, polar alignment and how to use GEM setting circles - all by trial and error.

 

The use of paper star atlases, star hopping an general traditional visual observing has stayed with me to this day 50+ years later as a way to escape day to day stress and to assist putting things into proper perspective.  When I am out observing today (still with paper charts and not a DSC in evidence) I regularly think back to the farm, observing with the Ross binoculars and the Tasco - and the farm cats visiting to say hello.


Edited by stringscope, 26 November 2018 - 03:20 AM.

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#210 Mirzam

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Posted 26 November 2018 - 07:35 AM

My first telescope was actually a toy pirates spyglass that I picked up around the age of 9 as a souvenir on a family vacation.  After a week or two it occurred to me to point the thing at the Moon, whereupon The Great Dawning occurred, “Oh. I need a real telescope!”  Fast forward a few years, I was embedded in the Gilbert and small Tasco equipment stages, trying to find Messier objects. Our local astronomy club would give you a Messier observing certificate, if you found all of them. Despite living only about 10 miles from the nation’s Capital the skies were fairly dark, certainly good enough to find many of the brighter DSOs.  However, several times a year I was fortunate to go camping with my Grandfather to an even darker observing site in the Virginia mountains.  Sometimes several of my young Astro friends accompanied us and we relished the experience of viewing under very dark skies. We nailed the Messiers.

 

I was browsing in a drug store one afternoon and came upon a paperback book entitled “How to make a telescope” by Jean Texereau.  Can you imagine finding such a book in a drug store today!  This was a reflection of the times when public interest in space was at a high level.  Despite never really having made anything before, I was motivated to try my hand. I remember when RFK was shot, I was in the basement with the AM radio turned on, working on a 6-inch mirror.  That mirror project eventually stalled when I had trouble making a pitch lap.  And no one to ask for advice.

 

In my mid teens, and capable of earning some money, I placed an order for an RV-6. It took over six months to arrive, and I remember my Dad and I had to drive to pick it up in Baltimore.  No UPS back then!  When the scope was finally mine what an intoxicating time!  The optics were actually good, it had enough aperture to resolve some globular clusters, it tracked!  This euphoria lasted for about two years until I went to college and almost forgot about astronomy, focusing instead on schoolwork and (mainly) girls.  The RV-6 was still my primary instrument for the East Coast total solar eclipse in Spring 1970.  I even took a few photos with it.  The notion of making an even larger scope would take root a few years later, but that is a story for another time.

 

And so ended the ‘60s.

 

JimC


Edited by Mirzam, 26 November 2018 - 07:52 AM.

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#211 CCD-Freak

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Posted 04 December 2018 - 11:11 PM

As I remember it seems like Walter got his RV6 from the factory. He got it around 1968 and it had a white tube but I don't know if it came with the Dec slow motion.  I will look to see if I have any other pictures with his RV6.  Interesting.

 

 

John Love

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I found more pictures of Walter's RV6 showing the Dec slow motion from 1970.  It looks factory.  Does anyone know about DEC slow motion controls for the RV6?

 

Walter RV6-sm.jpg

 

John Love

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#212 CCD-Freak

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Posted 04 December 2018 - 11:15 PM

Either that RV-6 was originally mine or I was not the only owner who modified their scope by adding a slo-motion control on the DEC axis.

Here is another shot from 1970.  Walter is attaching the flex knob to the DEC in this picture.

 

Walter RV6-2.jpg

 

I am having lots of fun scanning these old photos.

 

John Love

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#213 Geo31

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Posted 05 December 2018 - 06:48 AM

Looks like the dec slo-mo from a Deluxe Dynascope.  They probably offered that option before they created the more common RV-6/RV-8 dec slo-mo.


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#214 GlendaleGuy

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 03:40 PM

I still do it the same way today as I did in 1968, just with bigger and better telescopes.   I still use a paper atlas.  

 

So, not many changes for me. 

   Same here Chuck. Paper charts and a red flashlight. Though I do have a laptop for running my DSLR when I want to do photos. Since my scope is a 1970s Celestron I also use the setting circles.


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#215 Chuck Hards

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 06:33 PM

   Same here Chuck. Paper charts and a red flashlight. Though I do have a laptop for running my DSLR when I want to do photos. Since my scope is a 1970s Celestron I also use the setting circles.

 

One thing that's different is I have to wear readers when looking at the charts now, then take them off to look through the eyepiece.  My astigmatism isn't bad so I just focus the scopes for my eyes sans glasses.  But I do need the reading glasses for anything up close.  So the readers are an extra chore in the dark, and one more thing to hang around my neck.  More floaters in my eyes but those are only really noticeable on a half dozen bright objects.

 

Maybe my eyes would be better today had I not sat right up close to that wood-cabinet Radiation King tv in the 60's.  :lol:


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#216 Chuck Hards

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 06:36 PM

Looks like the dec slo-mo from a Deluxe Dynascope.  They probably offered that option before they created the more common RV-6/RV-8 dec slo-mo.

George, didn't the economy RV-8 use the same mount and dec slo-mo as the RV-6?  I thought there was only the one size.  



#217 clamchip

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 09:14 PM

Here's my RV8.

The Dec housing is longer and the late RV6's used this longer housing too.

The Dec shaft is longer and RV8 only.

The Dec slo-mo in this photo is standard equipment on the RV8.

Robert

 

post-50896-0-06839800-1538438513.jpg


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#218 AstroKerr

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 10:06 PM

Winter of '63 - I'd just turned three and after watching the ATM down the block for a few weeks I carved a telescope tube from a poplar log, well, branch, really. After fashioning the branch into a 3" cylinder, I painstakingly split it length-wise - using screwdrivers and a discarded carrot slicer blade from the local Jolly Green Giant processing plant. After that, I chiseled out the core with that same carrot slicer blade and pieces of broken scotch bottle (Glenfiddich) - took me two days to scrape the halves of the tube, and many nicks from the 'tools'!

 

That neighbourly ATM was so impressed by my efforts that he loaned me a Japanese 60mm f/15 objective and a 20mm EP- the focuser( a slider) was made of pipe parts and copper tube. He helped me secure the two halves of the tube, wrapping it with soft copper wire from a burnt-out house and setting the objective and focuser in place as we did. He died of pnuemonia that week-end, but had me on track for sucess. The day after his funeral (I was too small to help carry the casket, so I walked beneath, solemnly) I managed some decent views of the moon, jupiter... one of the nicks gained whilst scrapping the tube out became infected and I lost my right little finger - but I was hooked on Astronomy and, when summer came, pool-gazing the local lovelies. Never looked back...

 

Yeah, the 60s were the schizzz...


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#219 CCD-Freak

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 10:56 PM

Here's my RV8.

The Dec housing is longer and the late RV6's used this longer housing too.

The Dec shaft is longer and RV8 only.

The Dec slo-mo in this photo is standard equipment on the RV8.

Robert

 

attachicon.gif post-50896-0-06839800-1538438513.jpg

Walter's mount looks to have the short DEC housing and the slow motion looks like it was a worm drive.

 

RV6-mount.jpg

 

Walter passed away many years ago and I don't know what became of his RV6.

 

 

John Love

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#220 Chuck Hards

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 11:08 PM

The early, short dec housings were cast iron.  The later, longer ones were cast aluminium.  I have one of each but parts of the iron one are headed Dreamweaver's way for his restoration.


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#221 Geo31

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 07:23 AM

George, didn't the economy RV-8 use the same mount and dec slo-mo as the RV-6?  I thought there was only the one size.  

Well, it looks sort of like the Deluxe Dynascope slo-mo, but it's not.  The Deluxe had the control come out of the top of the box.  Apparently the very very early RV-6 had a different slo-mo as shown in this photo from Company 7:

 

http://www.company7...._head700607.jpg

 

Here's another view of it.  Interestingly, notice the rotating rings:

 

https://astromart.co...465/8833-14.jpg

 

Perhaps this IS a 6" Deluxe?

 

[edit]  Isn't this your image Chuck?

 

http://i260.photobuc...zpsxjxkrrwt.jpg

 

Looks like it is a Deluxe Dynascope slo-mo.  The 6" and 4" just had a smaller mount.


Edited by Geo31, 07 December 2018 - 07:29 AM.

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#222 Chuck Hards

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 08:54 AM

 

Perhaps this IS a 6" Deluxe?

 

[edit]  Isn't this your image Chuck?

 

http://i260.photobuc...zpsxjxkrrwt.jpg

 

Looks like it is a Deluxe Dynascope slo-mo.  The 6" and 4" just had a smaller mount.

 

That is my 4" Deluxe Dynascope.  I knew the slow-motions were different on the deluxe models, I thought we were just talking about the RV (Real Value) 6 & 8.  



#223 DreamWeaver

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 09:23 AM

The early, short dec housings were cast iron.  The later, longer ones were cast aluminium.  I have one of each but parts of the iron one are headed Dreamweaver's way for his restoration.

There really IS a Santa Claus!  lol.gif


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#224 Chuck Hards

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 09:50 AM

There really IS a Santa Claus!  lol.gif

 

 

Yes, and it's Tim Parker!  :lol:

 

 

I'm just an elf.   


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#225 Geo31

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 10:49 AM

That is my 4" Deluxe Dynascope.  I knew the slow-motions were different on the deluxe models, I thought we were just talking about the RV (Real Value) 6 & 8.  

We are.  But my original postulation was the slo-mo on RV-6 in the photo was from a Deluxe.  The photo confirms my suspicion.  

 

[edit]  The scope in discussion is very clearly an RV-6, but also it very clearly has a Deluxe slo-mo.


Edited by Geo31, 07 December 2018 - 11:04 AM.

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