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If you could do this hobby all over again, what would you change?

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#51 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 01 November 2020 - 08:33 PM

I would have bought an Astro-Physics Starfire apochromat back in the 1990s.

#52 mikemarotta


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Posted 02 November 2020 - 05:27 PM

Long, broad, and deep field of answers, all very personal. The agreements are interesting, probably the sage advice: save your money and buy the better telescope later.

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#53 Sketcher


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Posted 02 November 2020 - 08:06 PM

Hmmm . . .


Looking backward in this thread:


I did purchase an Astro-Physics Starfire apochromat refractor in the 1990s (and I still have it).


I did purchase land in a Bortle 1-2 location -- in the 1980s -- and I still live there -- and my sky still hovers around the Bortle 1-2 range.


I did observe, document, and sketch many of the one-of-a-kind events from the past several decades -- and I have a rather large stack of observations and sketches -- some of which date back at least 50 years.


I started out with naked-eye astronomy -- So, yes, I didn't skip out on naked-eye observing.  I still enjoy the occasional naked-eye session (. . . and binocular session . . . and telescope session).


I did study astronomy -- Library books, University courses,  purchased books, and (of course) my own quality time beneath earth's sky.


I didn't marry an astronomer, but I did marry a person who has always supported and encouraged my interests.  When you think about it, that makes for more of a "win - win" situation.


I did start the hobby early in my life -- more than 50 years ago.


What could I possibly want to change -- other than (perhaps) devoting less time to astronomy forums?

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#54 AnakChan



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Posted 02 November 2020 - 08:39 PM

Nicely done @Sketcher, you've done it right :D!!!

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#55 viewer



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Posted 03 November 2020 - 12:51 PM

I would probably have observed more. Plain and simple!

#56 epee



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Posted 03 November 2020 - 02:14 PM

When my wife and bought our home together, I would have looked somewhere outside the middle of town.

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#57 BillP



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Posted 03 November 2020 - 02:41 PM

To borrow the excellent approach Sketcher did...


Looking backward in this thread:


I did not purchase an Astro-Physics refractor, and passed on the one offered me when I came up on the list.  There is no magic in the hardware so no loss there.  Actually a gain probably since freed up a lot more cash for more important odds and ends to enrich the pursuit of the hobby!


I did not purchase land in a Bortle 1-2 location, but I have observed in a Bortle 1-2 location.  Just once, but that is enough for me.


I did observe but never documented, sketched, or imaged the many of the one-of-a-kind events from the past several decades.


I started out with naked-eye star gazing for hours when I was a kid.  Not what I would call naked eye astronomy though and more of just spending an hour or so being with the night sky.  Did that the entire 1st night I was at a Bortle 1-2 site and did not use optics until the 2nd night.  So just looked up, observed, and enjoyed the new and different looking sky. I still enjoy this naked-eye gazing and is typically how I end an observing session with optics and just sit back for 30 minutes and take in the naked eye splendor.


I did study astronomy -- Library books, University courses,  purchased books, internet.  Still do the internet and book reading of course, and at times read and study the maps in an atlas then cross referencing targets on internet for visuals as I "observe" the atlas.


I didn't marry an astronomer and do not have any local in-person friends that are into this hobby.  I am perfectly fine with that.


I did start the hobby early in my life -- with optics when I was 10, some 55 years ago.


What would I possibly want to change?  It is a hobby and I pursue it as I am moved to for enjoyment when I want.  I would not change a thing if I redid it all over again. cool.gif

Edited by BillP, 03 November 2020 - 02:42 PM.

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#58 Tyson M

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Posted 03 November 2020 - 03:22 PM

Getting in when I was a bit younger....although I am still youngish @ 35


Also, save more for premium scopes outright, rather than waste a ton of money on shipping + pp + customs fees trying out more midrange scopes when they are all very close in performance. 


Also, skip buying most scopes except refractors.  I will look at mirrored scopes once the observatory is built.

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#59 EverlastingSky



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Posted 03 November 2020 - 09:00 PM

Only a few minor regrets, nothing too bad. Started early at around 12 with a junk Halley era 60mm dusted off from storage, gave it away after a year, regret not getting replacement quality 60mm. Went to 7x50 Fujinon binoculars for the next 9 years... skipped scopes altogether... (the trash Halley scope was that bad  lol.gif )... kept a log since I was 15. Always had a "get what you pay for" mentality. Never bought junk. Never dropped out of the hobby or got distracted with "life". The sky is life, truth, wonder, awe and the stuff of fantastic futures. 

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#60 Sketcher


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Posted 03 November 2020 - 09:50 PM

What would I possibly want to change?  It is a hobby and I pursue it as I am moved to for enjoyment when I want.  I would not change a thing if I redid it all over again. cool.gif

Nicely said and very true!


There are many different paths that can lead to the same place -- or to a similar end result.

#61 therealdmt


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Posted 09 November 2020 - 05:58 AM

I actually kinda did start over and do it the way I wanted to. Didn’t become young again, but otherwise...


When I was about 9, I’d saved up two years of Christmas, birthday money, bits of allowance, etc. and bought myself my first big purchase, an Edmund Scientific 4 1/4" Newtonian on a German equatorial mount. It wasn’t really the scope I wanted. When I was at the store (Edmund Scientific in Barrington, NJ), I kept looking over at the refractors but the salesman said they were too expensive. Finally I just asked the guy exactly how much they were and whatever the price he said was, I was crushed - I’d have had to save up until freaking high school to buy one of them! Okay, well, back to the reflectors it was.


So you need a mount too, of course, and the package was a heavy German equatorial mount that I always hated. And I hated "the central obstruction" secondary. And i wished I could buy a bigger scope, but my budget was maxed out, plus the 4 1/4"er was already a bit of a beast for me (especially as I had to keep it down in the basement). So, the 4 1/4" newtonian on a GEM. I did get a few memorable views early on, but the scope then largely sat unused throughout the rest of my youth.


Meanwhile, my neighbor had a small, long focal length refractor and I learned I didn’t want one that long (the eyepiece was down by the floor when pointing up, lol) and I further learned that I really hate chromatic abberation. So I knew all this by like age 9 - what I really wanted was a small-to-medium-sized, medium length APO refractor on a tall tripod with an alt-az mount. But such was out of my budget.


Well, over 40 years later, after spending a few years really learning the sky visually and with binoculars (something else I’d always wanted to do), I got myself that APO refractor on an alt-az mount like I’d always wanted. The only thing I kinda skipped was that at 100mm, it’s not bigger than my first scope - I keep thinking I kinda should have gotten the next size up, 120mm, but I really wanted a grab-n-go type experience. Accordingly, maybe an 80mm and a 120mm would be best, but I’ve already invested in splitting the difference. We’ll see - could still end up there, but I could also just be happy with what I’ve got.


My only regret really is waiting so long, especially during an 8 year period in my 40s when I lived under pretty dark skies and was just a short drive from very dark skies. My wife kept saying to get a scope, but my childhood experience had made me leery. Anyway, I’m back in now, doing it they way I’d always wanted to, and having fun

Edited by therealdmt, 09 November 2020 - 01:06 PM.

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#62 jcj380



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Posted 09 November 2020 - 09:01 AM

I would have kept my grandparents' farm in a Bortle 2-3 rather than sell it b/c I saw no reason to keep it at the time.  It would have made a good retreat in general.


I'm thinking maybe I should have bit the bullet and bought an APO refractor when I got back in the hobby.  OTOH, I really had no idea what was available to amateurs when I did get back in.  But I could sell my scopes now if I really want to upgrade.


I would have held out for a house with a better view of the southern sky from the backyard.  My current view is limited by trees, although they are old, beautiful things.

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#63 Blackbelt76


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Posted 09 November 2020 - 04:12 PM

My only regret is where I live in the midwest U.S.

Scope time is limited by weather; if it's a clear night, the moon interferes. :(

The odds of a great night of viewing or AP are low.

Think I need to move to AZ.


On a positive note; I am probably more excited when I do get a opportunity to view or shoot AP.

I sometimes wonder if some get bored with many opportunities to use their scopes?

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#64 jmohme


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Posted 10 November 2020 - 09:46 AM

First, I would not have settled for the optics that I could afford instead of saving a little longer to get the equipment that I really needed.


Second, I would have found the time and space to take my 10inch LX200 before my house burned.


On September 4th 2011, when we were forced to evacuate our house when a wildfire started 1.5 miles from us.

We grabbed a few valuables and pets, and got outta Dodge.

What we did not know was that very shortly afterwards the winds shifted and the house did not burn until the next day. But how could we have known? At least nobody got hurt.


It was another 8 years before I was in a position to replace it.

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