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What's your most memorable "First Light"?

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#1 rolo

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 10:33 AM

I've had a few, my 60mm Jason as a child, my first view througha C14 at age 12 or so but the most memorable was probably the 12.5' f/6 Cave. Purchased it 1999 my first light was Saturn. Never before had I seen the Encke's division, so many bands, so many ring divisions, and so many of its moons! The 10" Meade LX50 that I had and thought was awesome couldn't even begin to show me what the Cave showed.


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#2 TOMDEY

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 10:39 AM

As a kid, that was Jupiter thru my entirely home-made 6-inch f/12.5, at 152x, using an Edmunds 12.5mm Orthoscopic eyepiece. The planetary views thru that system were spectacular!  Tom


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#3 Mike W

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 10:42 AM

In 1995 I built a 12.5" truss tube dob and took it to Stellafane. It was cloudy the two weeks before Stellafane so first light was on breezy hill with Sue French and we looked at M13! Wow what a sight I'll never forget. BTW I went on to receive a third place in craftsmanship so all in all a very memorable Stellafane!

Mike

 

 

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#4 Mike W

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 10:45 AM

In 1995 I built a 12.5" truss tube dob and took it to Stellafane. It was cloudy the two weeks before Stellafane so first light was on breezy hill with Sue French and we looked at M13! Wow what a sight I'll never forget. BTW I went on to receive a third place in craftsmanship so all in all a very memorable Stellafane!

Mike

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#5 jeffreym

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 11:14 AM

I had been away from astronomy for 30 years.  A friend heard this and gave me his old Astronscan.  It must have been May.  A couple nights later it was clear out so me and the Astroscan went out on the deck.  It was odd to sit there and figure out how to aim the thing.  I looked to see what was available in the sky at that time, M13.  I did my best to point it in the right direction and took a look.  Nothing.  Nudged it a little and there it was.  The little blob of sparkling light drawing me into the firmament.  Clearly I had been away too long.  Small in the eyepiece but big in my memory.


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#6 Garyth64

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 11:20 AM

I receive a 3" tasco reflector for Christmas in 1964.  About a week later I set it up in the back yard in the snow.  There was this "bright" star almost overhead, so I took a look at it.

 

It was Jupiter!  And it had 4 moons showing.  I was awesome, I'll never forget that moment.


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#7 Augustus

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 11:34 AM

With a classic? Meade 10" LX6. Some of the best optics in an SCT or any scope I've ever seen, period. Did 600x on the Moon with no problems, M42 was the best I've ever seen. Unfortunately it had to go back to the club for AAVSO observations.

 

With any scope? My homemade 6" Dob. Seeing band structure on Saturn for the first time proper, M31's dust lanes, Triton, etc. was amazing. Hard to believe it was only a year ago yesterday.


Edited by Augustus, 21 October 2018 - 07:44 PM.

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#8 terraclarke

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 11:47 AM

Easy for me! October, 1965! Saturn through my brand new Mayflower model 814 60mm refractor and the 20mm Ramsden eyepiece (35X)! “I see the rings!!!” Telescope.gif jump.gif


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#9 PETER DREW

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 12:06 PM

Many memorable views but one stood out. My first view of the Sun in a Coronado Helios1 hydrogen alpha telescope showing prominences. Been a keen solar observer ever since.
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#10 clamchip

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 01:01 PM

Just after I found the correct lens spacing for my R.E. Brandt 6 inch I keep increasing

magnification on a poor unsuspecting transformer ID tag 2 miles from my house and at

about 1000X I think I said something like:

.005"! good guess Robert! Wow!

 

post-50896-14073036899559_thumb.jpg

 


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#11 clamchip

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 01:22 PM

Robert, oh Robert, aren't you forgetting something? like where's the clamchip on that fabulous lens?

Sorry, I almost forgot, here it is at 11 O' clock:

 

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#12 Esso2112

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 02:47 PM

First time I saw the ring nebula with my new to me 1986 Celestron C8 on a Super Polaris Mount.  Found it using the old star hop method. Perfect little ring of smoke.  It was also about -10 degrees out. Love those crisp Upper Pennisula of Michigan winter nights.  


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#13 Steve Allison

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 04:51 PM

In high school, I purchased that little 3 inch reflector from Edmund Scientific that was always in their ads. At around 8:00 on a very cold evening, there were a couple inches of snow on the ground, I aimed the reflector at Saturn. It was my first telescopic look at this incredible object and like for most first time viewers, it is a sight I will never forget.

 

Another memorable view was about 20 years later when I turned my just acquired Celestron (Vixen) 4 inch, F13 refractor on Saturn. I could not believe how sharp the image was compared to the smaller telescopes I owned, or how much detail a refractor of this size could reveal. I have been a refractor enthusiast ever since...

 

I have to confess, though, that perhaps my best view of Jupiter ever was through an Edmund 6 inch Newtonian reflector that I briefly owned before trading it for a Unitron 3 inch equatorial refractor. I was told that the mirror had been re-figured by an optics professor at one of our Universities.

 

I have never seen the detail on Jupiter look so distinct or display such contrast. I know, I know, the central obstruction and all that, but I know what I saw. The optical tube was mildewed and the entire telescope had seen better days, so I traded it for the Unitron. The Unitron threw up beautiful star disks, but it could not touch the view of Jupiter the ratty, rancid reflector provided!

 

To this day, I secretly long for a Newtonian with an optically perfect mirror, maybe a Zambuto, to recreate what I saw so many years ago. But with my bum back, I can barely handle my much lighter and easier to manages refractors. Oh, well...


Edited by Steve Allison, 21 October 2018 - 04:54 PM.

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#14 CHASLX200

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 04:58 PM

My first wake up call was seeing some kind of fireball or space junk burning up back around 1975.  I think that is what got me started to get me looking up. It seemed so bright with sparks flying off so it was a thrill for me.


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#15 DAVIDG

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 06:00 PM

 It was with my homemade 4.5" Schupmann refractor about week before Stellafane. A number of  us a had made them and we were going to have the "Great Schupmann Gathering"  I focused  on Vega and the image was awful, just a blurry mess !  I was in  a panic, since I only had a week to go and I had a piece of junk !  I couldn't show this scope at Stellafane, I'd  get tossed off the Hill. What could have gone wrong !  I hit the radius and thickness dead on, at least I thought and each of the three elements tested well but this was the first time they were all together. 

    I pulled the scope down so I could see the objective. I looked  in,  then I saw the problem !  The back surface of the lens has a flat selection about 1/2" long along the rim were I stoned out a small clip along the edge. The flat area was in the front, the objective was in backwards. I unscrewed the cell and ran into  the house, pulled the cell a part and flipped the lens. Ran back out to front yard and reattached the cell. Took  a deep breath and looked into the eyepiece. A perfect Airy Disk !  You haven't seen the planets until you have seen them in a unobstructed and perfectly color corrected scope that you can easily tune of atmospheric dispersion to a show the true color of them. That is what a Schupmann gives you.

 

              -Dave 

 

groski schupie.JPG


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#16 rolo

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 07:34 PM

Many memorable views but one stood out. My first view of the Sun in a Coronado Helios1 hydrogen alpha telescope showing prominences. Been a keen solar observer ever since.

My first view of the sun in HA was at NEAF in 2004, I believe. My late friend Barlow Bob had his TV 101 with a 90mm HA set up and pair of Naglers in the binoviewers. Unforgettable for sure 

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#17 GoFish

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 07:46 PM

I built my first scope, 6” f/7 Dob, from scratch using Berry’s book and Texereau. The tube was done and the cell, diagonal and focuser installed while I was still fine tuning the figure on the mirror. 

 

Before mailing the mirror off to be aluminized, I put the finished, glass-only mirror in its cell and propped the tube up on the rail of our deck (the Dob base wasn’t done yet). After a bit of work, I had Jupiter in the eyepiece.

 

So first light for my first scope, even before the mirror was properly aluminzed, was Jupiter. Great view, bands and all. Never forgot it. 


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#18 oldscope

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Posted 21 October 2018 - 10:13 PM

It wasn't first light for the telescope, but it was first light for me, using it.

 

I had an 8 inch Henry Giles "Harry" Fitz f/16 refractor on a Saegmuller EQ mount. I convinced my local club, along with the local school district and vo-tech school, to build an observatory for it. Never having looked through the telescope.

 

It was early summer of 1997 and we had installed the pier and mount and old weight driven clock drive a few days before. This was the time that Comet Hale-Bopp was making its spectacular Spring appearance. Friends and I gathered to wait for dusk, so we could finally look through the telescope and see if it was any good after a hundred years. We rolled back the roof to let the observatory cool down, and I climbed the ladder up high, swinging the long tube down low above the West wall, where the sun had gone down not long before. With a low power eyepiece, I began to sweep in the vicinity of the comet, and almost instantly it was in the eyepiece. I was already close to focus and after a small tweak, I was greeted with an astounding sight. Not only could I easily see the region of the nucleus, but I could see several 'hoods' of gas and debris ... as distinct bands swirling off of it. Loudly, the words "Holy S**t!! popped from my mouth and everyone came inside to see what the matter was. Well, we all had a great view of the comet that night and I was very relieved that we hadn't built the observatory for a telescope with a bad lens. Quite the opposite. That telescope has an excellent lens and we used if for many years until I finally sold it.

 

Bart


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#19 Paul Sweeney

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Posted 22 October 2018 - 05:48 AM

For Christmas 1966 I got a 60mm telescope, make unknown. It was one of those where you can pull out the eyepiece for 15-30-45-60x. Soon after, my friend and I took it out into a cold, clear night. A bright star was just coming over the trees, so we started there. It was Saturn, and we could see the rings! That was like 50 years ago, but it could have been yesterday.


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#20 oldscope

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Posted 22 October 2018 - 10:48 PM

For Christmas 1966 I got a 60mm telescope, make unknown. It was one of those where you can pull out the eyepiece for 15-30-45-60x. Soon after, my friend and I took it out into a cold, clear night. A bright star was just coming over the trees, so we started there. It was Saturn, and we could see the rings! That was like 50 years ago, but it could have been yesterday.

That's a great post, Paul.

 

My first view through a telescope was also Saturn and it, too, was unforgettable 45 years later. It was through a 24 inch dia. refractor (Sproul Observatory), so it might have been just a bit brighter and sharper than your view but not one bit more memorable. NO one ever forgets seeing Saturn. I've worked a hundred or more star parties over the decades, and I don't know which I enjoy more. Showing Saturn to kids ... or the elderly who have never looked through a telescope.

 

Bart


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#21 roscoe

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Posted 23 October 2018 - 06:59 AM

My most memorable 'first light' is easy to remember.....  Since I was a kid, I'd always had some sort of cheap 60mm around, that now and then I'd look at the Moon or Saturn or whatever, and even once found Andromeda, but never enough to awake any passion for the hobby.

 

So...when my stepdaughter was in High School 20 years ago, her science teacher arranged a class trip to a local astronomer, who had a semi-dome-shaped observatory in his yard.  He asked for a couple of parent chaperones, and I volunteered.  I brought along my 60, and set it up on the Moon, and a couple of kids came and looked, but everybody was in line to look through the real scope, which was either a 6" Jaegers or a D&G.  I waited till the end, and the gent, knowing I had brought a scope, showed me the moon and jupiter, awesome, of course, then asked if I had ever really seen a globular cluster.  I had, but....little indistinct blobs, nothing exciting.....

Well, I don't remember which one it was, but....hundreds of tiny pinpoints in white and blue and orange, I was mesmerized!!

My daughter said, OK, hang out for a while, and went to snooze in the truck, and I stayed for at least an hour, and left with an Orion catalog, from which I bought a 90mm scope soon after.

 

Another fine first light was bringing my newly (almost) completed 10" ATM dob to Stellafane 2 years ago, and actual first light was Friday night, and entered the contest Sat AM, proud to say, it brought home 2 ribbons!


Edited by roscoe, 23 October 2018 - 07:02 AM.

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#22 PeriodicTrends

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Posted 23 October 2018 - 09:43 AM

I’m a bit late to the game, but a couple years ago I brought home a NIB 10” Coulter dob. I realized I had just gone through too much life without seeing a nebula and decided this needed fixing. Goofed around in the driveway that night and aimed at Orion, when I hit the nebula I was so excited! Trapezium was there too! Ran in to wake everyone up to come see.

I also remember camping a few decades ago in graduate school, high in the Uintah mountains near Vernal. That night we were finishing our hike to the campsite pretty late and the stars came out. I just remember my jaw dropped open with my neck craned back so far that this really weird sound of amazement came out of my throat. I could barely swallow or breathe. Layed awake with the tent ceiling netting open that night just awestruck.
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#23 mfalls

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Posted 25 October 2018 - 12:21 PM

In 1983 aged 29 yrs. bought the least expensive, wobbliest tripod mounted table top straight through fixed focus refractor available. Kmart? 50 mm objective?  I was not in the hobby but knew where Saturn was.  Slid the scope around the top of a curved car top until I saw the rings......wow.  First view of Saturn, surprisingly sharp and very tiny but the rings were unmistakable. 


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#24 DMala

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Posted 25 October 2018 - 02:40 PM

I got into astronomy only a few years ago (4-5?) since I was not sure if I would have liked it and I could not justify the expense to buy a telescope just to try.

 

Until I walked into a charity pawn shop near my house in South NJ and saw an apparently complete Tasco Galaxsee newtonian (4.5"?)  on a EQ1 for $15, which I tought could represent the opportunity to try astronomy, as the manual was included. After cleaning the mirror and eyeballing collimation, I used it for the first time on Jupiter. I remember I saw some bright speckles that at first I took as due to mirror defects, and then I realized they were Jupiter's moons.

 

I was amazed. I remember thinking: "Holy cow, if this piece of garbage can show me Jupiter's moons, I must be able to see a lot of cool things with a better telescope!" And that was the start.


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#25 AstroKerr

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Posted 28 October 2018 - 02:20 AM

Last year, Sybil and I viewed Jupiter and Saturn for the first time in decades thru her 8" birthday Newt. Very engaging, very humbling for both of us. Funny, but I never get that feeling from Mars. 


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