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hours with a 3" telescope.

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#1 Chirp1

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Posted 18 November 2020 - 04:53 PM

Hey gang, I know this is about a book, but I thought that you vintage 76.2 & 80mm fans may just like to read this wonderful book. By the way, I just discovered this myself.

It's called Hours with a 3" telescope. By Capt. W.M. Noble

Published in 1887. The sketches and drawings are amazing

And the reports on all the planets are so cool to read, because 

Obviously the knowledge that he had back then is quite good 

for today's amateur astronomer.

Here's a link to it. You can read it for free on google books.

https://books.google...id=bwuDqYeHg7EC

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Edited by Chirp1, 18 November 2020 - 06:39 PM.

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#2 brian dewelles

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 12:08 AM

Very cool. Books from that era are an inspiration to me. I have R.A. Proctors "1/2 hours with the telescope" also 1001 celestial wonders by Charles Barns and  once had a title called "in star land with a three inch telescope."

I have many others i purchased many from a mail order place called knollwood books 20-30 years ago.

Those authors helped me a lot with presenting planetarium shows and doing outreach. Not with the facts but the descriptions which for me make the sky come alive. Thanks for the recomendation.


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#3 Paul Sweeney

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 03:04 AM

Thanks for posting this. I just got done scrolling through it. I find it very interesting to consider the pros and cons of his set-up, and what he could observe with it. I also love the descriptions of star colors, almost poetic. This is a cool book to put on my Christmas list!
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#4 GreyDay

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 03:31 AM

I'm in the process of observing all the objects the captain has listed in this book, I'm on night four from last years observing time.  Tracking Piazzi's stars can be a bit tricky unless you have a copy of his star catalogue to get the 200 year old positions from. To complete the task i'm using a Towa 339 80x1200mm with a 8" newt as backup to confirm splits and faint objects.


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#5 Terra Nova

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 09:35 AM

I love my old two volume Celestial Objects for Common Telescopes and my early Norton’s because the quaint observing notes are written largely from the perspective of viewing through the ubiquitous 3” long achromat of the time.


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#6 steve t

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 11:18 AM

My 1901 copy of Serviss "Pleasures of the Telescope" is one of my favorites. The copy I have has notes, from the original owner, written in the margins that makes is even more special.

 

 

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#7 grif 678

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 12:11 PM

I just wonder how much more an observer could see with a 3 inch scope back then than we can now. Just imagine how dark the skies were back then. Even today, when we go ( haven't been lately because of the covid) to my mother-in-law's house 100 miles away, way out in the country, the sky does not seem like the same sky that I see here at home. And I know that the skies were a lot darker back then than they are now in darker areas like I just mentioned.


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#8 grif 678

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 12:22 PM

I have a book that is very much like the one in the thread start. It is  "A Beginner's Star Book" from 1912, and it sub title says " An easy Guide to the Stars and to the Astronomical uses of Opera glasses, Field Glasses, and the Telescope" The pictures of the planets, comets, galaxies are awesome, way better than you would think from that time period. Mars has excellent detailed pictures, and the small telescopes are great to look at. All the pictures are professional grade on photo grade paper, and the charts of things to look at through a two inch and a three inch telescope are easy to follow.


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#9 Bomber Bob

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 01:05 PM

I just wonder how much more an observer could see with a 3 inch scope back then than we can now. Just imagine how dark the skies were back then. Even today, when we go ( haven't been lately because of the covid) to my mother-in-law's house 100 miles away, way out in the country, the sky does not seem like the same sky that I see here at home. And I know that the skies were a lot darker back then than they are now in darker areas like I just mentioned.

I logged 1000s of hours with a Tasco re-brand of the ubiquitous Towa 339 (80mm F15 EQ) -- most of that in the 5 years ('78 - '82) that I was at home in the stix of NE Alabama.  Those black country skies helped a very average Japan-made achromatic refractor on every object type -- completed the Messier List during that time.  I took that seeing for granted.  My current backyard imposes limitations on all my scopes, including that Orion 12" Dob that I owned & used for a while.  I try to keep all that in mind when I use my antique Mogey 3" F14...


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#10 Astrojensen

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 01:59 PM

Hey gang, I know this is about a book, but I thought that you vintage 76.2 & 80mm fans may just like to read this wonderful book. By the way, I just discovered this myself.

It's called Hours with a 3" telescope. By Capt. W.M. Noble

Published in 1887. The sketches and drawings are amazing

And the reports on all the planets are so cool to read, because 

Obviously the knowledge that he had back then is quite good 

for today's amateur astronomer.

Here's a link to it. You can read it for free on google books.

https://books.google...id=bwuDqYeHg7EC

A wonderful little book. Thanks for bringing it to attention.

 

 

Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


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#11 Astrojensen

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 02:56 PM

I just wonder how much more an observer could see with a 3 inch scope back then than we can now. Just imagine how dark the skies were back then. Even today, when we go ( haven't been lately because of the covid) to my mother-in-law's house 100 miles away, way out in the country, the sky does not seem like the same sky that I see here at home. And I know that the skies were a lot darker back then than they are now in darker areas like I just mentioned.

The funny thing is, that back then, when observers had access to even VERY dark skies close to home (or from their home), they almost universally observed bright objects, like double stars, the Moon and the planets, all things that can be observed easily in moderate or even heavy light pollution. Very few observers looked at deep-sky objects, save for the brightest Messiers and a few Herschel (later NGC) objects. Almost no one had any idea that you could see thousands of deep-sky objects with a 3" refractor and in any case, good deep-sky atlases simply didn't exist, making starhopping virtually impossible. You had to rely on cataloged positions and setting circles to find objects, which work reasonably well with things you can see somewhat easily, like the Messiers, but fall hopelessly short if things are very dim. In addition to all this, the averted vision technique wasn't as well known as it is today and this meant that most observing guides were far more pessimistic about what should be visible, compared to today. In short, most amateurs didn't know how to observe deep-sky objects, so they tended not to. 

 

You can actually follow how amateur astronomer's perception of deep-sky observing changed over the decades by reading the deep-sky articles in Sky and Telescope from 1947 and until today. The change from then until today is profound. Some objects we today consider worthwhile and interesting targets in even modest instruments, were considered practically visually impossible back then, even in the largest telescopes, only visible on photographs. This is quite odd, because some of them had been discovered visually! By "reading between the lines", it becomes quite obvious that some observers had learned how to master averted vision, even if the technique wasn't well known, and that others didn't know about it, which explains the often enormous difference in what different observers saw. By the 1960'ies, averted vision had become much more commonly known. The first really good deep-sky atlas, Atlas Coeli, had become available and a certain, pipe-puffing Walter Scott Houston had begun writing deep-sky articles in Sky and Telescope, dedicated to owners of small telescopes. Soon, even owners of the now ubiquitous Japanese 60mm refractors reported seeing all the Messier objects, as well as many NGC. The knowledge of how to observe deep-sky objects had begun to grow.

 

Sadly, so had light pollution.

 

 

Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark  


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#12 Bonco2

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 03:35 PM

Thomas,

Great post. I began observing in the 50's and most publications available at the time were just as you described. No mention of observing the Veil Nebula, Helix, Rosette, Horse head, North American neb and many more just were not  commonly reported. It wasn't until the 90's that I even tried the Veil neb and was shocked that my little 4 inch f/5 refractor showed it beautifully in less than perfect skies. However I loved Walter Scott Houston's wonderful reporting in Sky and Telescope mag. He ventured further at that time frame than most with a modest sized telescope. His articles were very motivating for me in my youth. I'm still impressed with the capabilities of 60mm and 75-100mm telescopes. BTW thanks to the OP for the link.

Bill


Edited by Bonco2, 20 November 2020 - 03:07 PM.

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#13 oldmanastro

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 05:31 PM

I already dowloaded this gem. It is a great complement to my Celestial Objects for Common Telescopes, In Starland with a Three Inch Telescope by Olcott and my old Norton's. Reading these books is very relaxing and take you back to slower times and pitch black skies. They did a lot with these small telescopes and it was all visual astronomy. Thank you for sharing the information about this book.


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#14 The_Vagabond

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Posted 19 November 2020 - 07:08 PM

I've seen this book before, pretty sure that I have a PDF of it somewhere else. But I prefer physical books, so today I found a better scan at the Internet Archive, took it to the local office store and had it printed and spiral bound. Going to add this to my collection of vintage astronomy books. Wonderful book.  


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#15 highfnum

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Posted 20 November 2020 - 03:08 PM

real cool

pillar and claw mount

i got a couple antiques

its my time travel scopes

 

 

"But I prefer physical books"

i agree 


Edited by highfnum, 20 November 2020 - 03:09 PM.

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#16 GreyDay

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 06:29 AM

You can actually follow how amateur astronomer's perception of deep-sky observing changed over the decades by reading the deep-sky articles in Sky and Telescope from 1947 and until today. The change from then until today is profound. Some objects we today consider worthwhile and interesting targets in even modest instruments, were considered practically visually impossible back then, even in the largest telescopes, only visible on photographs. This is quite odd, because some of them had been discovered visually! By "reading between the lines", it becomes quite obvious that some observers had learned how to master averted vision, even if the technique wasn't well known, and that others didn't know about it, which explains the often enormous difference in what different observers saw. By the 1960'ies

Personally i think the scientific community are largely at fault, nobody is willing to say they can see something that the majority can't.

 

If a scientist with poor visual accuity but a huge observatory telescope said an object can only be seen photographically, an amateur with a 4 inch refractor would be laughed out of the room if he insisted he could see an object visually. Until enough observers make the same claim, the scientific community refuses to acknowledge the possibility they may be wrong.

 

Aside from averted vision another way to train the eye is to downscale what you're seeing. If your brain is familiar with the pattern you're looking for, you'll see it easier. I usually observe with two or more telescopes mostly a 4" refractor and either 50 or 60mm refractor, if i can't split a double or make out a cluster in the smaller scopes i try the 4" to confirm position of the secondary etc then go back to the small scope, a lot of the time this helps.

 

When i first started reading and observing from these old books i couldn't split some doubles or see colours the author saw. Only after checking new modern catalogs i realized that separations had increased or decreased over time and that colour in stars is affected by aperture, equipment and the eye. All this just makes for a more interesting experience, far more rewarding than "this month" guides from S&T etc

 

Thomas is right to point out the differences in observing over the last hundred years, understanding how we got to where we are today is important and for me it adds depth to my time at the eyepiece.


Edited by GreyDay, 23 November 2020 - 06:31 AM.

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#17 Bomber Bob

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 11:23 AM

Thanks for making me aware of these antique guide books -- I downloaded PDF versions of both.  Next time I take out my Mogey 3 to observe Mars, Noble's chapter would make a great companion -- his physical descriptions of oceans & seas are so Lowell & Wells appropriate...


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#18 memento

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Posted 23 November 2020 - 05:44 PM

I like that solution with the bar and wire to add some means to track stars. How much more convenient is the equipment that we are using today ... even if it's "classic" scopes.

 

And one thing that this book actually reminds me to do more often is observing double stars!

 

Thomas


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#19 ccaissie

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Posted 24 November 2020 - 05:42 PM

I just wonder how much more an observer could see with a 3 inch scope back then than we can now. Just imagine how dark the skies were back then. Even today, when we go ( haven't been lately because of the covid) to my mother-in-law's house 100 miles away, way out in the country, the sky does not seem like the same sky that I see here at home. And I know that the skies were a lot darker back then than they are now in darker areas like I just mentioned.

Must differ by locale.  As a kid in the outskirts of Worcester, MA, I was very satisfied with home made (toilet paper tube spectacle lens) refractors and a 3" Tasco reflector.  Found nebulae and galaxies....probably Bortle 4

Now, the sky at the old home is pinkish orange and a couple of planets and 1-2 mag stars. Wouldn't bother to look up. Bortle 8.

 

Here in Midcoast Maine as a kid, it was DARK, probably a 2, now 4.  Up in the North, K.W.W.Monument, I've recently enjoyed B2 skies...Milky Way casting a shadow.  Hopefully the IDA Preserve designation and the local town's (Patten, Millinocket) adherence to light standards will preserve this experience for generations.

 

No doubt that the skies were universally (pun?) MUCH darker.


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#20 Bomber Bob

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Posted 24 November 2020 - 05:53 PM

On Topic:  I did a Side-by-Side between my antique Mogey 3" F14 and my vintage Celestron (Vixen) C-80 F11 last night.  I used only antique (& uncoated) prism diagonal & eyepieces in the Mogey, and similar-age Takahashi prism & spectros .965" Kellners & Plossls in the C-80.  Up to about 100x, the Old Stuff hung with the newer stuff on Jupiter, Saturn, & Mars; but at about 150x, the new stuff pulled ahead for resolving details while showing less false color...

 

It's interesting (& fun) for me to get a sample of what observing was like 100 or more years ago; and, to see that while the basic hardware hasn't changed that much, it sure has improved.

 

Sketching while manually tracking an object... our ancestors were tough, and patient.


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