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S&T Hobby Killers identified!

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#26 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 04:21 AM

Very sad. frown.gif

 

- When Tony Flanders was with Sky and Telescope, he did reviews of entry level telescopes and one of the ones he recommended was the 70 mm Orion Observer. The article says anything less that 3 inches is only useful for a few bright objects. Tony with his TeleVue Ranger probably disagrees..

 

My first telescope was an old long focal 60 mm refractor with no finder and one eyepiece. I paid $5 For it at a garage sale. The mount was missing major pieces so I ended up lashing it to $5 at a garage sale department store photo tripod. It was a pretty sorry rig but raising three boys on a limited budget and just beginning a new career, that's all I could afford.

 

In the equipment section of Peterson's Guide to the Stars and Planets, there was a single line that said that a 60 mm refractor was a worthwhile instrument for observing the night sky.

 

That gave me confidence that I had something useful. I just wanted to go out and look around and see what I could see. Early one morning out on the Arizona desert I stumbled upon a faint bit of nebulosity and journey had begun.. that was the spark the lit the fire that turned into a passion.

 

I often wonder what would have happened if the Peterson Guide had said that a 60 mm refractor was not a worthwhile instrument.

 

-  I think Jerry's intentions are good and he does offer some sound advice for someone with a sufficient budget.  And too, the inexpensive 60mm and 70mm refractors one buys today and not the Japanese built 60mm's 50 years ago like my Asahi-Pentax's and the scopes that the rest of you have posted.  Some beautiful photos.  

 

Even so, I have purchased some modern entry level refractors just to see what today's scopes offer. In 2005, I purchased a TeleStar by Meade 60mm AZ.  It was a 60mm F/11.7 on the typical flimsy alt-az mount, it did have 1.25 inch eyepieces.  I paid $50 for it and wrote a review for Rod Mollise's Skywatch E-magazine called "Fifty Dollars at Walmart" that was later published in Amateur Astronomy.  

 

https://skywatch.bra.../swspring05.pdf

 

I think it's worth a read and shows what can be done with a $50 scope.  

 

Some years later Walmart had a black Friday special on the Celestron Powerseeker 70 AZ for $40. I bought one and put it through it's paces.  I later added some wooden legs made from 2x2s and some hardware, about $6 total.  This scope was more capable than the Meade, still suffered the same issues, flaky tripod being the major issue.  

 

4956262-Celestron Powerseeker 70 with the $6 tripod.jpg
 
- I really dislike suggesting that a telescope can be a "Hobby Killer" and that there are telescopes that are worse than no telescope.  I'd have to agree that the $20 scopes I have purchased at Big Lots with a plastic singlet lens qualifies but otherwise, too many of us started with these very basic telescopes.  
 
I figured out a long time ago that what makes or breaks this hobby is not the telescope but the observer.  It takes someone very special, someone with persistence, curiosity, someone willing to put up with numerous hardships, (cold, wind, long sleepless nights, mosquitoes, long drives to cloudy skies) all for a glimpse of some faint object or detail that is better seen on a computer screen in a warm room... 
 
If that first view of M42 in my worn out 60mm refractor had not thrilled me, had not touched me to my very core, I would not be out there 30 years later searching out tiny faint objects that make that first glimpse look like a street light.  
 
Telescopes do not kill the hobby.  It's something of a cliche but Galileo would have been thrilled to have a look through either of these entry level scopes.  There are people out there enjoying scopes like these.. making meaningful observations, learning.. sharing.. 
 
That's my two cents.. 
 
Jon

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#27 CHASLX200

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 07:14 AM

My second scope was a blue tube Sears 60mm in 1976. But my first start party in 1977 looking thru a C5 and 14 changed me for good about 60mm scopes.


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#28 Wylekiote

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 07:29 AM

https://www.skyandte...EMagYo.facebook

Again, we see the much maligned 60mm refractor and 0.965” eyepieces. All I can say is mine didn’t kill the hobby for me. I still have it (and use it!) 54 years later.

Rabbit included?grin.gif


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#29 Bomber Bob

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 09:05 AM

I lucked out early in our hobby:  First, I got to see Mars through an uncle's 3" Unitron; second, a Sears mess-up at Christmas got me a nice 60mm EQ early on.  I got hooked on the views, and on refractors -- 50 years ago.

 

Wish I'd kept at least one of the 3:  Focal 40mm click-zoom, Sears 60x700 alt/az, or Sears 60x910 EQ.  (My younger brother wishes he'd kept all his GI Joe stuff, too!)


Edited by Bomber Bob, 30 November 2019 - 10:18 AM.

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#30 Rich (RLTYS)

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 10:00 AM

Here's my first "Hobby Killer" my 50mm f12 Tasco 6TE-5. I got this scope for Christmas back in 1967 and I still have it! waytogo.gif

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#31 Terra Nova

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 10:30 AM

I first looked through a telescope in the summer of 1964 at a backyard bbq with family friends. It was a little 3” F10 Newtonian. That Fall my parents got me a pair of 8x40 Herter’s binoculars and I started learning the skies. My first telescope came on my next birthday in 1965, just in time for Comet Ikeya-Seki. At 54 years old and going still strong my 60mm F11.7 Mayflower by APL still gets used and provides great views. It’s a wonderful little grab and go with perfect optics. The original alt-azimuth mount wore out a few years ago and so it got a pair of custom Crawmach rings and a Vixen rail and it now rides on either my Vixen Porta II (post above) or a UA Unistar Dwarf on a Paragon XHD tripod. The tiny finder got replaced a few years before the mount, and it also has a 1.25” Vixen visual back when I want to use larger accessories than the native 0.965” ones. It’s shown comets, transits, eclipses, occultations, planets, double stars, brighter DSOs, and the S-L 9 impact scars on Jupiter to four generations in my family including my parents, brother and sister, my daughters, and grandson. Here’s my youngest daughter looking thru it at the Great American Solar Eclipse in 2017. Planet Killer? Bah!

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#32 rolo

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 11:04 AM

All childhood memories aside, if all I had was my childhood 60mm Jason, I would find another hobby. I soon exhausted its capabilities from my moderately light polluted skies but I was hungry for more. More aperture more detail mo-betta please! Enter the  6" f/8 Newtonian! If not for my Meade 628C, I would have quit the hobby for sure. It saved the hobby and reintroduced me to the hobby in 1994 Jupiter's comet impact! Only 60mm that I would own today is Terra's 60mm f/8 Tak and of course my toy size FC50lol.gif

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#33 DAVIDG

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 11:23 AM

 I'm  reading the replies and couple thinks stand out to me. The majority of replies are about scope we had in our youth. Many of those 60mm refractors were of much better quality then what is being offered today. Also the replies are from  those that are experienced in the hobby so they know how a telescope works and can overcome the shortcomings of these small scope and get them to perform.  The replies are about the scopes they are using now. Hand Eric Clapton a cheap guitar and he can make it  talk, same with those that know telescopes. 

   So while some may take issue with the Sky and Tel article  it does have some valid points. Remember back in the 60's 70's when many of use were starting out in the hobby a 60mm refractor was what was what was affordable for our parent. I spent a year cutting grass, and working on a farm to save enough money for 80mm Selsi refractor which cost around $200 back in the early 70's. Today you can get a nice 4" dob and for a little more a 6" dob and both of those scope I will argue are easier  to use and will show you more objects. So why a cheap 60mm refractor might not  be a Hobby Killer, the article is trying to steer the  reader to a better choices for similar money.

 

                 - Dave 


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#34 grif 678

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 11:28 AM

Even if someone really enjoys using a 60mm scope, what others have to say about it ( if negative ) will make the owner start thinking about getting something that may be better, then they spend money to find out that what they had was all they needed.


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#35 Terra Nova

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 12:12 PM

All childhood memories aside, if all I had was my childhood 60mm Jason, I would find another hobby. I soon exhausted its capabilities from my moderately light polluted skies but I was hungry for more. More aperture more detail mo-betta please! Enter the  6" f/8 Newtonian! If not for my Meade 628C, I would have quit the hobby for sure. It saved the hobby and reintroduced me to the hobby in 1994 Jupiter's comet impact! Only 60mm that I would own today is Terra's 60mm f/8 Tak and of course my toy size FC50lol.gif

This one? wink.gif

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Edited by Terra Nova, 30 November 2019 - 12:13 PM.

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#36 Kim K

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 01:36 PM

Back in the 50's my folks were not sufficiently affluent to afford a "store bought" telescope of any aperture or quality.  So I learned to cobble my own together starting with singlets of highly questionable lineage along with whatever cardboard tube came my way.  When I was 12 or 13 I bought a Jaegers 2-1/8" achromatic objective of 23" or so focal length.  Wow, I really had it made.

 

I really learned a lot of how to create a telescope from unlikely materials back then.  For example you can craft a lens cell from cardboard tablet backs.  Fitted liners of the same cardboard can make a suitable reducer to fit a focus tube.

 

I still have that lens and mounted it in a PVC tube a couple of years ago so I guess I loosely qualify to join this club...and thanks for stirring up some memories!

 

Kim


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#37 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 02:44 PM

 I'm  reading the replies and couple thinks stand out to me. The majority of replies are about scope we had in our youth. Many of those 60mm refractors were of much better quality then what is being offered today. Also the replies are from  those that are experienced in the hobby so they know how a telescope works and can overcome the shortcomings of these small scope and get them to perform.  The replies are about the scopes they are using now. Hand Eric Clapton a cheap guitar and he can make it  talk, same with those that know telescopes. 

   So while some may take issue with the Sky and Tel article  it does have some valid points. Remember back in the 60's 70's when many of use were starting out in the hobby a 60mm refractor was what was what was affordable for our parent. I spent a year cutting grass, and working on a farm to save enough money for 80mm Selsi refractor which cost around $200 back in the early 70's. Today you can get a nice 4" dob and for a little more a 6" dob and both of those scope I will argue are easier  to use and will show you more objects. So why a cheap 60mm refractor might not  be a Hobby Killer, the article is trying to steer the  reader to a better choices for similar money.

 

                 - Dave 

Dave:

 

The difficulty I have with the article is something I figured out quite a number of years ago: Telescopes are not "Hobby Killers."  Negative articles about entry level scopes, these can be "Hobby Killers."  My story is not a child's story, I was about 40 at the time. Whether or not one makes it in this hobby is not about the telescope, it's about the person looking through the eyepiece. 

 

In my post, I pointed to two scopes I purchased that would be classified by the article as Hobby Killers.  Yes, I am a skilled observer but I have seen enthusiastic beginners with similar scopes making some amazing sketches. 

 

In giving writing an article like that, one must walk a very fine line.  Such an article is really about how to spend ones money in the most effective manner and yet it is important to keep in mind that there are people with these scopes who are enjoying them and using them quite effectively. Calling them "Hobby Killers" is not only incorrect but it can be discouraging to the very people who need encouragement the most.  

 

You mention Eric Clapton... Clapton has called Buddy Guy "the greatest living guitarist."  As a very young boy, Buddy Guy built himself a two string "guitar."

 

Jon


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#38 jgraham

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 03:32 PM

When I was a wee lad I dearly loved these wibbly wobbly scopes because I could afford them, at least the cheaper ones, and they served me well until I started building my own scopes. Now as a senior citizen I dearly love them to see what I can see with eyes that have seen a lot and still have a lot to see and hands that aren't shaking so bad that I can't have a light touch. About the only different between the original classics is that the modern versions tend to use 1.25" eyepieces instead of 0.965" (thank goodness!), tripods are aluminum instead of wood (which tended to split and lose screws), colors that aren't white, and plastic where there used to be metal (which isn't necessarily a bad thing). So, all things considered, the modern version of the classics are in some ways a tad better, and in others maybe not so good, as the ones that I used as a child. Optics-wise they seem very comparable while the quality of the fit and finish of the originals is definitely better.

 

Just my impressions.


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#39 sg6

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 03:51 PM

Nothing wrong with a 60mm scope, bought one not long back by WO grin.gif grin.gif .

We are at times an odd lot -

1) A 60mm scope is of little real use.

2) How many have bought a 60mm WO ZS, AT60ED, TS 60mm, Sharpstar 60, Altair 60 etc, etc.

 

The one aspect that is likely "poor" is the 0.965 eyepieces, just seems they have been left behind by 1.25" and so obtaining a reasonable selection begins to prove difficult. But things evolve and the "standard" has become 1.25".

 

I would say no problem with a 60mm scope but a focuser capable of 1.25" is required.

 

Nice start, inexpensive, no great concerns about breakage, usable, easy, fun.

 

Biggest hobby killer is some kid comes along with such a scope and gets told they are wasting their time and need a proper scope. They go, they don't come back.

 

How about reversing that: The hobby killer is the person who has a big/expensive scopes and whats to make others feel "inferior" to them.


Edited by sg6, 30 November 2019 - 03:58 PM.

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#40 MGAR

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 03:55 PM

I'm right with you John, I think most of our generation was in the same boat and I too could only use what was given or could cobble together. I'm still that way today.

 

I picked up a 60mm f/11 couple of years back as a guide scope for my Lx5. Things did not pan out so it ended up in the closet until I found a yoke wood tripod at the thrift for a couple dollars. Then picked up a plastic right angle finder from telescope warehouse. A "hobby builder" not a killer by any means!

 

Makes for some fine viewing especially on those 20 degree nights when the 10" Schmidt isn't worth setting up in the cold.

 

  Meade_60mm.jpg

 

Gary


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#41 Garyth64

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 04:27 PM

Here's a thought, for the audience that S & T article may have been directed at, I don't think they even buy the magazine.


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#42 Sketcher

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 04:33 PM

Apparently, if one is to believe all that we hear about "hobby killers":

 

Gone are the days when a determined youngster is capable of squeezing the sweetest celestial nectar out of a less-than-3-inch refractor on a wobbly mount and tripod.

 

Gone are the days when a .965-inch eyepiece (or a Ramsden, or a Kellner, etc.) can show anything of value.

 

Gone are the days when observing the moon, all by itself, is sufficient to hook one on a lifetime hobby.

 

So where are we today?

 

Today a beginner has to have aperture.  Today he/she has to be able to observe deep-sky objects, in detail (whatever that means to the beginner), with inexperienced eyes, under city lights.  Today the bright (and easy to see) objects are nuisances, not worthy of telescopic study.  Today one must have better optics.  Today one must have sturdier tripods and/or mounts.  Today a beginner cannot be expected to know anything about astronomy, observing, telescope optics, mounts, etc.  If it doesn't work perfectly, without any tweaking, right out of the box, then it's nothing more than a worthless piece of junk.

 

Some of us started out with a telescope that was far worse than any of those "hobby killers"  I'll not repeat here what my first telescope was like, but trust me, it was inferior to those in the "hobby killer" article.  Telescopes are not "hobby killers".

 

If a beginning astronomer hasn't read (extensively) about how telescopes work, how to use a telescope, what the views through any given telescope can be expected to be like, etc.  Then I would have to wonder if they really have enough interest to be deserving of that first telescope -- regardless of how good or bad that telescope might be.  It's the individuals who lack interest that kill the hobby for themselves -- individuals who were never really into the hobby to begin with.

 

The determined, interested individual will not be defeated by a mere telescope -- no matter how poorly made that telescope might be.

 

It's the kid who lacks interest, lacks motivation, lacks basic hobby-related knowledge and curiosity who will most likely be turned off by their first telescope; and it wouldn't matter if that first telescope were a Takahashi on an Astro-Physics mount or a 50mm department-store achromat on a wobbly tripod.

 

Some people have the aptitude and interest.  But most don't.

 

Dark skies are not necessary -- unless one harbors unrealistic expectations concerning DSOs; but even with dark skies, some will be disappointed in their views.  The potential beginner who's done their "homework" (which won't really be "work" for the interested and motivated individual) will have a reasonable idea of what their telescopic views might be like.  They will likely not be disappointed -- regardless of the telescope.


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#43 Bonco2

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 05:16 PM

My "Hobby Killer", sometime in the late 50's was a 60 mm with a sliding tube eyepiece allowing 15,30,45,60X It was the BEST Christmas present I ever had. It showed me crater details on a very blue moon, a foggy disk of Jupiter with 4 moons, Saturn's rings which knocked my socks off and a very blue view of the stunning Pleiades which was one of my favorite targets. All of this in heart of Dallas, Texas. Didn't kill the hobby for me..It motivated me to go bigger and better. So I'm happy I got a "Hobby Killer" many decades ago. Still own 2 classic 6o mm's on very good equatorial mounts that provide wonderful quality views.
Bill
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#44 bbqediguana

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 05:57 PM

My "Hobby Killer", sometime in the late 50's was a 60 mm with a sliding tube eyepiece allowing 15,30,45,60X It was the BEST Christmas present I ever had. It showed me crater details on a very blue moon, a foggy disk of Jupiter with 4 moons, Saturn's rings which knocked my socks off and a very blue view of the stunning Pleiades which was one of my favorite targets. All of this in heart of Dallas, Texas. Didn't kill the hobby for me..It motivated me to go bigger and better. So I'm happy I got a "Hobby Killer" many decades ago. Still own 2 classic 6o mm's on very good equatorial mounts that provide wonderful quality views.
Bill

Yup, that's the same feeling I have. My parents bought me an inexpensive telescope from Sears for Christmas in 1979 and it is by far the best Christmas present I ever got. It took me a while, but I did finally replace it in the early 90's with a 4.5 inch Newt. That didn't last long though, as I went for a C8 shortly after that. But that original 40mm is what got me started, and for that I'll forever be thankful to my parents for being so thoughtful (I didn't even ask for a telescope that Christmas! I wanted a Bionic Man action figure - which I also got!).


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#45 Russell Smith

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 06:35 PM

So, do we all agree that 60mm scopes are of some use?
What about 50mm?
Is this a line in the sand?
I personally have not been in this hobby for decades, however I turn 60 next month.
I have the luxury of this site to help me along my path.
Long story short, I've got six 60mm refractors, I'm learning the sky, and well...I don't see any particular scope stopping my time under the stars. No matter the maker or cost. I have a few hobby killers.(not)

Also I must add, a friends teenage son has shown an interest in astronomy and all my gear so I gave him a jason 60mm. 

What have I done?


Edited by Russell Smith, 30 November 2019 - 06:58 PM.

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#46 Garyth64

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 06:56 PM

I haven't had a scope that turned me off to Astronomy.  From my first scope, I was hooked.  I know now that it gave good images, but back then I was none the wiser.  I had just assumed what I was seeing is what a little 3" reflector would show, .965" eyepieces, and a wobbly mount, included.  Even after I made my 6" f/10, that showed me so much more, I still occasionally used the 3".

 

What about a 50mm?

 

I have recently acquired one that I believe will be very good.  Even though it's just a little 50mm, I can't wait to get it out and put it thru it's paces.  I'll feel like a little kid 55 years ago.


Edited by Garyth64, 30 November 2019 - 06:58 PM.

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#47 CHASLX200

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 07:17 PM

So, do we all agree that 60mm scopes are of some use?
What about 50mm?
Is this a line in the sand?
I personally have not been in this hobby for decades, however I turn 60 next month.
I have the luxury of this site to help me along my path.
Long story short, I've got six 60mm refractors, I'm learning the sky, and well...I don't see any particular scope stopping my time under the stars. No matter the maker or cost. I have a few hobby killers.(not)

Also I must add, a friends teenage son has shown an interest in astronomy and all my gear so I gave him a jason 60mm. 

What have I done?

I think all sizes are of some use if made right. My friends brother had that blue tube Sears 60mm and i thought it would be best scope in the world if i could get it back in 1976. At the time in the summer of 76 i had a 40x40mm scope on a 10" tripod. This was before i knew about the stars or knew anything in the sky. Never knew about SKY&TELE or other people that had scopes. I thought i was all alone.  Never knew there were bigger scopes for sale or any scope stores or other eyepieces you could buy.  I remember going to the USF observatory in the summer of 1976 and seeing a M160 Unitron set up inside. I was in love when i saw that as it seemed to be unreal and something i could never have at the age of 13.

 

 

 

But that first star party in 1977 sure ruined me after that view of the ring thru a C5 and M13 thru a C14. 


Edited by CHASLX200, 30 November 2019 - 07:19 PM.

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#48 Russell Smith

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 07:28 PM

I went back and read all the posts and followed embedded links.

Seems an experiment may be in order. 

I'll pay for the (hobby killer).

Who do we send it to and we would need some control. 

Just a thought as I wait for the skies to darken in the yard with a 60mm .



#49 kansas skies

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Posted 30 November 2019 - 07:59 PM

My introduction to telescopes and astronomy was my brother's Tasco 9TE. Although I haven't seen it in many years, I remember it being rather shaky and somewhat difficult to adjust while attempting to track an object. Still, it wasn't an impossible task and I feel as though it delivered a decent introduction to astronomy. I was in my early teens, and as my interests were all over the map at that point in my life, I didn't pursue this hobby as much more than a passing fancy, but not before the little Tasco had a chance to make its mark. For some reason, my first view of the Ring Nebula through that Tasco is still firmly emblazoned in my mind. Ten years would pass before I would actually get "hooked" on astronomy, but to this day, I still find M57 to be one of the most fascinating objects in the sky and I visit it every chance I get.

 

As for the article in question, I found it to be very disappointing on many levels. The author obviously entered into this hobby with blinders on, and in my opinion, they're considerably more limiting than the old, weather-worn "soda straw" cliche that was made in reference to Orthoscopic eyepieces.

 

Bill


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#50 Russell Smith

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  • Loc: 76707

Posted 30 November 2019 - 08:10 PM

To be honest,  the more I re read the article the more I like it. 

We, for the most part are seasoned vets .

 

Is this the orion scope recommended?

Orion 10015 StarBlast 4.5 Astro Reflector Telescope (Teal) https://www.amazon.c...i_KhX4DbYKC3GFS




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