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The most significant thing I've learned in my first year

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#1 OIC

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 04:02 PM

It's been one year since I bought my first telescope. In that time I have learned many things. Some on Cloudy Nights, like if I can't afford TeleVue eyepieces for my F/6 then Explore Scientific is good enough. Some I've learned on my own, like an 8" dob is the biggest I want to lift. But the most important factor in I've found in astronomy is the atmosphere. I'd love a Zambuto mirror, but it's not going to make poor seeing turn great. When the atmosphere does surpass normal, even if momentarily, my Zhumell mirror shows me a beauty that touches my heart. That's when I know why I stay up late.

So, what did you astronomers learn in your first year?


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#2 Taosmath

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 04:09 PM

Wonder.

 

The beauty, diversity and complexity of globular clusters.

 

A hint of a shadow of a glimmer of vastness.


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#3 Couder

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 04:49 PM

I learned my eyes aren't good enough to pick out faint fuzzies. That's why I observe mostly planets/sun.


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#4 SirLoyne

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 05:07 PM

I learned how to recognize galaxies. Once I did that, I was hooked.


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#5 Jethro7

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 05:09 PM

Hello CNers,

This is my third year into Astronomy hobby,  Looking back the most significant thing that I've learned is to make a game plan. What is it I want to do? Then do your homework on the equipment that you will need to accomplish your plan. I would say I've been lucky that I've not wasted too much money on wrong decisions. There have been some. 

 

HAPPY SKIES AND KEEP LOOKING UP Jethro


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#6 zipzipskins

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 05:26 PM

I'm still just beginning my first year, but patience is the biggest virtue in this hobby. It's one with lots of time to contemplate and rewards perseverance very highly. 

 

Nate


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#7 sterec

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 05:35 PM

Sooner or later you will make every possible mistake no matter how well you think you know things.  When problem solving it is usually the simplest of things that you know you must have done right - but probably haven't.


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#8 Asbytec

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Posted 04 July 2020 - 05:42 PM

The most important thing I learned in recent years is to take responsibility for what we see. Not to rely on the scope to hand you a planet or galaxy on a silver platter. To de emphasize the equipment, and emphasize ourselves. We are the observer, not the equipment. What we observe becomes truly our own and that's rewarding. Reward is internal to our experience, not external to it.

Edited by Asbytec, 04 July 2020 - 05:51 PM.

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#9 JedF

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 03:18 PM

As others have alluded to, that you can (and have to) learn to see through a telescope, from good position at the eyepiece to understanding and recognizing what’s in the view.  Like that one “star” that looks just the tiniest bit different from the others and turns out to be the nebula you’re looking for. 
A couple nights ago, after a session of viewing binaries under a very bright moon, I decided to look at a couple easy, familiar galaxies just to see the effect.  M81 and M82 were visible but nothing to write home about, very washed out.
I went to M51 and it was obvious to me, dead center of the field, but just barely there.  I realized that 6 months ago I probably would have completely missed it. 



#10 ClrSky89

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Posted 05 July 2020 - 04:06 PM

It's been one year since I bought my first telescope. In that time I have learned many things. Some on Cloudy Nights, like if I can't afford TeleVue eyepieces for my F/6 then Explore Scientific is good enough. Some I've learned on my own, like an 8" dob is the biggest I want to lift. But the most important factor in I've found in astronomy is the atmosphere. I'd love a Zambuto mirror, but it's not going to make poor seeing turn great. When the atmosphere does surpass normal, even if momentarily, my Zhumell mirror shows me a beauty that touches my heart. That's when I know why I stay up late.

So, what did you astronomers learn in your first year?

I learnt that when you see the skunk cross the road he/she doesn't know your there....... 



#11 jiblet65

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Posted 06 July 2020 - 07:36 AM

Hello CNers,

This is my third year into Astronomy hobby,  Looking back the most significant thing that I've learned is to make a game plan. What is it I want to do? Then do your homework on the equipment that you will need to accomplish your plan. I would say I've been lucky that I've not wasted too much money on wrong decisions. There have been some. 

 

HAPPY SKIES AND KEEP LOOKING UP Jethro

I'm a complete newbie to this but like anything in life I'm convinced we learn more from our failed attempts than our successes and it makes the latter even sweeter.



#12 clearwaterdave

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Posted 06 July 2020 - 07:59 AM

I'm not a newbie anymore but I wanted to say that for me,.after a few years of finding things with my homemade push-to set up's,.learning to starhop has been the most rewarding.,I now feel like I have the ability to find most anything,.Me and or my kit may not be able to see it.,but I will know with confidence that I have found it's nest.,

  Being able to really read a chart and not feel lost is a great thing for us who like lookin up.,best2all

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#13 SupernovaDust

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Posted 06 July 2020 - 08:23 AM

Not sure anymore if this was in my first or second year (15 years ago) but the biggest game changer for me was learning to use a Telrad seeker combined with a DeepSky atlas with Telrad circles imprinted. After a few months I knew the sky in and out, it's still my favorite way to go object hunting ;)

 

X-telrad-reflex-sight-red-dot-finder-fin

5143K-tx8-L.jpg

DSC08824_1200.jpg


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#14 Mbinoc

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Posted 06 July 2020 - 06:44 PM

I think for me, early on I was more confident in my abilities than I really am. It took me a little while to figure out how much I really do not know. I'm 16 months in, and the more I learn the more I realize what I do not know.


Edited by Mbinoc, 06 July 2020 - 06:49 PM.

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#15 Cames

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Posted 06 July 2020 - 06:58 PM

Sky & Telescope's Pocket Sky Atlas  became my 'roadmap' to locating the gems of the night sky.  What a confidence builder!   I said to myself, "You know, I think I can do this thing..."

-------------

C



#16 DSOGabe

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Posted 07 July 2020 - 12:34 PM

That your time out there with the scope is not a race. No need to attempt to see everything in one night. Now I just focus on what 2-3 constellations have to offer. Things may go over the horizon but they'll be back.


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#17 MaknMe

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Posted 07 July 2020 - 06:46 PM

Not sure anymore if this was in my first or second year (15 years ago) but the biggest game changer for me was learning to use a Telrad seeker combined with a DeepSky atlas with Telrad circles imprinted. After a few months I knew the sky in and out, it's still my favorite way to go object hunting wink.gif

 

X-telrad-reflex-sight-red-dot-finder-fin

5143K-tx8-L.jpg

DSC08824_1200.jpg

I am only a few months in and learning new things every night. So, I want to save my answer for later. But, I want to second this. My Telrad makes aligning like a video game—ez and fun. Plus, I can leave my highest powered eyepieces in while slewing to anything visible to the naked eye. If the object is in my Telrad’s inner circle, I know it will be in my eyepiece—even at 200x. 


Edited by MaknMe, 07 July 2020 - 06:48 PM.


#18 MellonLake

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Posted 08 July 2020 - 06:02 PM

The most significant thing I learned in my first year or so has been that dark skies are better than any telescope, eyepiece, or accessory. 

 

I would rather have a 90mm telescope with cheap Plossls, an EQ1, and a red dot finder under Bortle 1 skies, than a 10" with expensive 82° eyepieces and a right angle finder under Bortle 4 skies.  (Not that I prefer to use the 90mm over the 10" in dark skies, the 10" is still far better).   

 

There is simply no substitute for dark skies.  Just being out in the glow of the milky-way under Bortle 1 skies on a night of superb transparency leaves me in awe.       


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#19 Bowlerhat

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Posted 08 July 2020 - 07:10 PM

It's been one year since I bought my first telescope. In that time I have learned many things. Some on Cloudy Nights, like if I can't afford TeleVue eyepieces for my F/6 then Explore Scientific is good enough. Some I've learned on my own, like an 8" dob is the biggest I want to lift. But the most important factor in I've found in astronomy is the atmosphere. I'd love a Zambuto mirror, but it's not going to make poor seeing turn great. When the atmosphere does surpass normal, even if momentarily, my Zhumell mirror shows me a beauty that touches my heart. That's when I know why I stay up late.

So, what did you astronomers learn in your first year?

I don't need telescope set, I need good OTA. 



#20 MalVeauX

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Posted 08 July 2020 - 07:59 PM

Dark skies, weather and seeing conditions are everything.

 

Having a 34.500 EUR CFF 230mm F7 Triplet APO refractor in a fully kitted observatory doesn't mean much when it's cloudy every day and the seeing is rotten and you're in a white zone. No, I don't have that CFF. Was just my example of what would drive me absolutely bonkers.

 

I don't stress equipment anymore. I stress dark skies. I stress good seeing. And none of it even matters when the clouds are out. And that's every single time you want them to not be out. I have everything setup 24/7 and ready to go in my observatory and also on separate yard piers so I can take advantage of good weather when it happens. When the clouds are gone, I have relatively good seeing conditions and I live in a green zone so fairly dark skies. But doesn't matter if there are clouds, which is way too often compared to what I'd like it to be.

 

"Sunny Florida."

 

FloridaWeather_01_06272020.jpg

 

I have the seeing conditions usually:

 

BestSeeing_LateDay_LowAlt_01152020.jpg

 

Very best,


Edited by MalVeauX, 08 July 2020 - 08:11 PM.

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#21 Chris Y

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Posted 09 July 2020 - 04:21 PM

It pays to keep an observing log.  Some of the info I tracked included eyepieces/focal length, how the 0.5x focal reducer would vignette with certain 70° eyepieces in my mak...lots of stuff I can look back on if I need to refresh my memory.

 

The importance of atmospheric conditions, and how much less "immediate light pollution" there is in my back yard compared to the front yard.

 

Edit Note:  I'll soon be stashing a scope at my sons house, since his back yard is WAYYY darker than mine.  lol.gif


Edited by Chris Y, 09 July 2020 - 04:23 PM.


#22 Sam Danigelis

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Posted 16 July 2020 - 09:33 PM

Learning how to star-hop. The more practice I get, the quicker I am, and the more fun it is to fund new objects!
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