Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

Exploring the Universe - Size Matters But it's Always a Compromise

  • Please log in to reply
44 replies to this topic

#1 MarkMittlesteadt

MarkMittlesteadt

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 2,879
  • Joined: 08 Oct 2013
  • Loc: Weston, WI. USA

Posted 01 July 2022 - 05:01 AM

Maybe 50 years ago, back when light pollution didn't rob us of the glorious views we no longer have access to, as a child of the 60's I used to lay on my back out in the yard at night and just look up and wonder what was "out there". I watched with hypnotic interest on our old black and white TV the first humans land and set foot on the Moon. I was hooked. I even had models of the Apollo rockets, orbiter and lunar landing module and of course toys of all kinds that were about pretending to be an astronaut. My imagination was consumed with what was "out there" in the Universe. It was more obsession than interest.

Click here to view the article
  • Second Time Around, Poppashrink, Johnnycarter22 and 1 other like this

#2 Faris

Faris

    Vendor-Astronomical Solutions Co.

  • -----
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 363
  • Joined: 11 Feb 2015

Posted 01 July 2022 - 01:09 PM

I really like this piece. Thanks for sharing!

It is such a personal journey that few appreciate its details!

In the hustle and bustle of today's technology hungry crowd, the simple questions are forgotten. 

 

Stay curious and clear skies!


  • MikeMcCaskey, mklosterman1, MarkMittlesteadt and 1 other like this

#3 MarkMittlesteadt

MarkMittlesteadt

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 2,879
  • Joined: 08 Oct 2013
  • Loc: Weston, WI. USA

Posted 01 July 2022 - 01:15 PM

I really like this piece. Thanks for sharing!

It is such a personal journey that few appreciate its details!

In the hustle and bustle of today's technology hungry crowd, the simple questions are forgotten. 

 

Stay curious and clear skies!

Thank you. I'm sure we all share somewhat similar stories that captured our imagination (if not our wallets. wink.gif ).


Edited by MarkMittlesteadt, 01 July 2022 - 01:16 PM.

  • markbc and VitaliyK like this

#4 outthereguy

outthereguy

    Lift Off

  • *****
  • Posts: 12
  • Joined: 20 Mar 2017
  • Loc: East Indiana

Posted 05 July 2022 - 01:10 PM

" as a 60's child".......

In the 60's I learned all of the circumpolar constellations sitting on the counter by the sink looking out my grandmothers north facing kitchen window. The nearest light was the corner 100W incandescent streetlight the next block over. Now I live within a block of that house,

to see the same constellations, especially Draco, takes Binoculars, or looking thru some kind of LPR filter. My grandchildren don't see the big deal, "Its just a few stars". Until they saw saturn thru a good scope. It still has the power to WOW. Now one of them asks, where did all the stars go?

 

The curiosity still exists!


  • ChristopherK and MarkMittlesteadt like this

#5 MarkMittlesteadt

MarkMittlesteadt

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 2,879
  • Joined: 08 Oct 2013
  • Loc: Weston, WI. USA

Posted 05 July 2022 - 01:56 PM

" as a 60's child".......

In the 60's I learned all of the circumpolar constellations sitting on the counter by the sink looking out my grandmothers north facing kitchen window. The nearest light was the corner 100W incandescent streetlight the next block over. Now I live within a block of that house,

to see the same constellations, especially Draco, takes Binoculars, or looking thru some kind of LPR filter. My grandchildren don't see the big deal, "Its just a few stars". Until they saw saturn thru a good scope. It still has the power to WOW. Now one of them asks, where did all the stars go?

 

The curiosity still exists!

My grand children are almost old enough to be able to share it with them. I showed my daughter-in-law a view of Saturn a couple of years ago. First time she ever saw it with her own eyes through a scope. Her reply? "It's so small!" and I could see she was unimpressed with the view. I told her, "Well, it is about 800 million miles away." 



#6 MarkCosmos

MarkCosmos

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 146
  • Joined: 08 May 2022
  • Loc: Tampa, FL

Posted 05 July 2022 - 04:55 PM

A great read, I enjoyed the personal touches.

 

Similarly the fascination began with me as a kid “Why does the moon follow us in the car?”,“What else is out there?”, “How did we get here”, “Why are we here” and, “are we really alone?” Before long I was engrossed in every space program that came on PBS at the time. The objects we look at can be extremely dramatic, or faint and fuzzy. But it’s understanding what we’re looking at, the scale of this vast universe, and searching for answers to out insatiable curiosity that keeps us looking up. We are fortunate now to have to access to such a plethora of good equipment at affordable prices, technology has developed at such a rapid pace, It’s easy to get wrapped up in the equipment, the specs, optical performance, and photographic perfection. But as the man made lighting continues to eat up our sky with pollution we must remember that curiosity and why we have such equipment in the first place. We have it to look up, to see things we normally couldn’t, to take in the grandeur of the universe, and scratch that insatiable itch to deeply contemplate what we’re seeing, how, and why it exists, and of course continually wonder “Wow, what else could be out there?”

 

As a re-entering newbie to observational Astronomy I’m more excited than ever for the skies to clear, and to peek into this vast universe we all share while contemplating what it all means.


  • MarkMittlesteadt likes this

#7 MarkMittlesteadt

MarkMittlesteadt

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 2,879
  • Joined: 08 Oct 2013
  • Loc: Weston, WI. USA

Posted 06 July 2022 - 09:26 AM

A great read, I enjoyed the personal touches.

 

Similarly the fascination began with me as a kid “Why does the moon follow us in the car?”,“What else is out there?”, “How did we get here”, “Why are we here” and, “are we really alone?” Before long I was engrossed in every space program that came on PBS at the time. The objects we look at can be extremely dramatic, or faint and fuzzy. But it’s understanding what we’re looking at, the scale of this vast universe, and searching for answers to out insatiable curiosity that keeps us looking up. We are fortunate now to have to access to such a plethora of good equipment at affordable prices, technology has developed at such a rapid pace, It’s easy to get wrapped up in the equipment, the specs, optical performance, and photographic perfection. But as the man made lighting continues to eat up our sky with pollution we must remember that curiosity and why we have such equipment in the first place. We have it to look up, to see things we normally couldn’t, to take in the grandeur of the universe, and scratch that insatiable itch to deeply contemplate what we’re seeing, how, and why it exists, and of course continually wonder “Wow, what else could be out there?”

 

As a re-entering newbie to observational Astronomy I’m more excited than ever for the skies to clear, and to peek into this vast universe we all share while contemplating what it all means.

Thank you. I am decidedly an equipment "geek" (as my wife calls me). I like to tinker and putz around with it all, modify or enhance or improve it, etc. and as you say we have so much equipment to choose from these days, we're really blessed with an even greater capacity to study what's "out there".

I think sometimes we often forget we are "out there" too, as if we are here on a solid base, while everything else that exists is just floating above us. We are on a big ball of rock spinning like a top and going through space at speeds we cannot fathom.

I look at every tool we now have and wonder what was going on in the minds of the early explorers using instruments we now would probably sell for pennies at a garage sale. I imagine Galileo with his tiny little achromat he built himself discovering Jupiter and four of its moons in the 1600's, and what he would think of our discussions today over which scope  is better than another. What perspective would he have about them?  Would he be envious?

 

We are quite spoiled. Sometimes, just using my eyes alone and looking up at the night sky I envy his sky without light pollution.


  • VitaliyK, Dbhatta and MarkCosmos like this

#8 Apollo XX

Apollo XX

    Sputnik

  • *****
  • Posts: 25
  • Joined: 30 Aug 2011

Posted 08 July 2022 - 08:43 AM

Very nice piece and enjoyable read, thank you.

 

Mike M.


  • MarkMittlesteadt and VitaliyK like this

#9 BoldAxis1967

BoldAxis1967

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,302
  • Joined: 11 Oct 2012
  • Loc: Kentucky

Posted 10 July 2022 - 11:56 AM

Enjoyed very much reading your journey. Nicely written and I suspect almost all of us here on CN share in common at least some of your experiences and thoughts about viewing and learning about the night sky and ourselves.

 

L.


  • MarkMittlesteadt likes this

#10 FRANKVSTAR

FRANKVSTAR

    Mariner 2

  • *****
  • Posts: 221
  • Joined: 14 Nov 2015
  • Loc: GASTON S.C

Posted 12 July 2022 - 04:10 PM

  An honest account of your history in astronomy which is very similar to mine. Light pollution is a robber a thief that's grows as each day passes by. It is a shame I have to really on memories of what I used to see and can no longer see,even after spending thousands of dollars more than I ever spent years ago. No I have to rely on images I take for minutes to get even a decent view, the eyepiece to my eye is of no use now days. Sky glow is everywhere and I to at my age don't want to travel 70 to 100 miles to find a darker location, plus it's not safe.

 Thank you for sharing!


  • MarkMittlesteadt likes this

#11 MarkMittlesteadt

MarkMittlesteadt

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 2,879
  • Joined: 08 Oct 2013
  • Loc: Weston, WI. USA

Posted 12 July 2022 - 04:20 PM

  An honest account of your history in astronomy which is very similar to mine. Light pollution is a robber a thief that's grows as each day passes by. It is a shame I have to really on memories of what I used to see and can no longer see,even after spending thousands of dollars more than I ever spent years ago. No I have to rely on images I take for minutes to get even a decent view, the eyepiece to my eye is of no use now days. Sky glow is everywhere and I to at my age don't want to travel 70 to 100 miles to find a darker location, plus it's not safe.

 Thank you for sharing!

Yes, memories are rich with wonder. I'm thankful I got into this hobby when I was young enough to haul out bigger equipment on a more regular basis and still get up for work the next day!

 

Thankfully we do have some technology on our side, but the experience is really not the same as it once was. 


Edited by MarkMittlesteadt, 12 July 2022 - 04:21 PM.


#12 careysub

careysub

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,981
  • Joined: 18 Feb 2011
  • Loc: Rancho Cucamonga, CA

Posted 13 July 2022 - 07:49 AM

Although I am a young almost-65 (in a couple of months) and not retired, operate my clubs 22" reflector, and have a 20" F/3.7 mirror to build a scope for still, I am also working more with smaller scopes.

 

For reasons similar to those expressed here I have just acquired a Skywatcher 150mm Maksutov-Cassegrain for a "small scope" to use for planets (especially), the Moon, the Sun and double stars.


  • MarkMittlesteadt likes this

#13 biminitop

biminitop

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 1
  • Joined: 16 Jul 2022

Posted 17 July 2022 - 10:32 AM

  An honest account of your history in astronomy which is very similar to mine. Light pollution is a robber a thief that's grows as each day passes by. It is a shame I have to really on memories of what I used to see and can no longer see,even after spending thousands of dollars more than I ever spent years ago. No I have to rely on images I take for minutes to get even a decent view, the eyepiece to my eye is of no use now days. Sky glow is everywhere and I to at my age don't want to travel 70 to 100 miles to find a darker location, plus it's not safe.

 Thank you for sharing!

Regarding ever increasing light pollution, my one wish is for future generations to experience what I could view in the night skies 50+ years ago.  The wonder of seeing large swaths of stars through a set of binoculars for the first time is forever ingrained in my mind.  It was like opening the lid to a beautiful jewelry box.

 

With the rate of technological change accelerating, perhaps some means will eventually be discovered to enable this wish.


  • MarkMittlesteadt likes this

#14 RichA

RichA

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6,182
  • Joined: 03 Jun 2010
  • Loc: Toronto, Canada

Posted 19 July 2022 - 03:28 PM

One of the most common refrains from observers who frankly don't know much is, "I don't want to get a big scope, my (light-polluted) skies won't support it!  I live under some of the worst skies you can imagine, where a 4-5 inch scope will only show you planets and the very brightest deep-sky objects in minor detail, but I was thrilled the first time I saw the Veil nebula, in detail using an 11 inch SCT and an OXYIII filter.  If you live in poor conditions, aperture is a must-have.  Otherwise, you are perpetually confined to viewing maybe 30 objects.


  • MarkMittlesteadt likes this

#15 MarkMittlesteadt

MarkMittlesteadt

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 2,879
  • Joined: 08 Oct 2013
  • Loc: Weston, WI. USA

Posted 19 July 2022 - 03:57 PM

One of the most common refrains from observers who frankly don't know much is, "I don't want to get a big scope, my (light-polluted) skies won't support it!  I live under some of the worst skies you can imagine, where a 4-5 inch scope will only show you planets and the very brightest deep-sky objects in minor detail, but I was thrilled the first time I saw the Veil nebula, in detail using an 11 inch SCT and an OXYIII filter.  If you live in poor conditions, aperture is a must-have.  Otherwise, you are perpetually confined to viewing maybe 30 objects.

I'd have the biggest scope ever made if I could, even with my light polluted skies. But I also have a wife, kids, grandkids and I'd like to keep it that way. I also deal with some physical and time limitations, so I'm more of a grab'n'go guy now. ;) Always a compromise with something, be it location, health, relationships, disposable income, etc. nevermind the myriad of choices available and what compromises we might make between them all. 

 

I've never tired of studying the Moon or planets, so my needs aren't geared towards DSO's. Although my Mak does show the brightest to good effect if I'm so inclined.



#16 RichA

RichA

    Fly Me to the Moon

  • *****
  • Posts: 6,182
  • Joined: 03 Jun 2010
  • Loc: Toronto, Canada

Posted 20 July 2022 - 06:31 PM

I'd have the biggest scope ever made if I could, even with my light polluted skies. But I also have a wife, kids, grandkids and I'd like to keep it that way. I also deal with some physical and time limitations, so I'm more of a grab'n'go guy now. wink.gif Always a compromise with something, be it location, health, relationships, disposable income, etc. nevermind the myriad of choices available and what compromises we might make between them all. 

 

I've never tired of studying the Moon or planets, so my needs aren't geared towards DSO's. Although my Mak does show the brightest to good effect if I'm so inclined.

The thing is, the phrasing regarding the use of large scopes; "even" under light-polluted skies.  Those are skies you need the largest aperture for. A 4 inch scope under good skies performs like a 10-12 inch under bad skies.  A 10" scope will show you things, even in light pollution, it'll resolve globulars, show nebulas in some detail (with filters) and even show some galaxies.  When seeing is good, it'll do planets real justice as well.


  • MarkMittlesteadt likes this

#17 MarkMittlesteadt

MarkMittlesteadt

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 2,879
  • Joined: 08 Oct 2013
  • Loc: Weston, WI. USA

Posted 20 July 2022 - 08:33 PM

The thing is, the phrasing regarding the use of large scopes; "even" under light-polluted skies. Those are skies you need the largest aperture for. A 4 inch scope under good skies performs like a 10-12 inch under bad skies. A 10" scope will show you things, even in light pollution, it'll resolve globulars, show nebulas in some detail (with filters) and even show some galaxies. When seeing is good, it'll do planets real justice as well.


Do you want to haul that 10" scope out for me? 'Cause I'm not going to.

That's why I said..."Size matters, but it's always a compromise." And that is going to mean different things to different people.
  • VitaliyK likes this

#18 VitaliyK

VitaliyK

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 3
  • Joined: 11 Apr 2022

Posted 01 August 2022 - 02:34 AM

Great read.  Thank you for sharing your astronomy journey and enthusiasm in continuously asking the big questions. 


  • MarkMittlesteadt likes this

#19 Rustler46

Rustler46

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,535
  • Joined: 10 Feb 2018
  • Loc: Coos Bay, Oregon

Posted 02 August 2022 - 12:41 AM

Very interesting reading - most enjoyable. My earliest exposure was in the 1950s before light pollution got as bad as now. I saw Comet Mrkos in a neighbor's binoculars. Then once laying outside on a summer night feasting on the Milky Way was my next memory. But I didn't get hooked on astronomy until 1962 when I got my first issue of Sky and Telescope. Still getting those very month after 60 years. 

 

After two home made reflectors of 6- and 8-inch aperture, I acquired others, some of increasing aperture: C-5, C-8, C-11 and a 10-inch Dob reflector. The 5- and 6-inch telescopes have been passed on to others. The 8- and 10-inch reflectors have digital setting circles, which helps my 76 year old body find my targets. 

 

Recently my favorite telescope to use from my Bortle 4-5 skies is my old home made 8-inch reflector with DSCs. The 10-inch Dob is quicker to set up, but the 8-incher has tracking for ease of use. I'm usually good for 1-2 hours before I get tired. But the biggest impediment to observing is the frequent fog blowing in off the  Pacific Ocean after a clear day. That's a bummer sometimes. But I do enjoy our temperatures, with a hot day getting up to maybe 75°F. No heat waves so close to the ocean.

 

I will likely fire up my go-to G-11 mount for planets later on this year with the C-11. But before then mounting my little AT115EDT refractor is easier to set up on that mount. As time goes by that little APO may end up being my telescope of choice.

 

Not having any children or grandchildren makes life less complicated. Together with my wife of 41 years, we each have our own hobbies and common interests. Along with gardening and bird-watching, astronomy is my life-long interest. We all just make do with our differing circumstances.

 

Clear Skies,

Russ


Edited by Rustler46, 02 August 2022 - 02:06 PM.

  • MarkMittlesteadt likes this

#20 MarkMittlesteadt

MarkMittlesteadt

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 2,879
  • Joined: 08 Oct 2013
  • Loc: Weston, WI. USA

Posted 02 August 2022 - 01:47 PM

Very interesting reading - most enjoyable. My earliest exposure was in the 1950s before light pollution got as bad as now. I saw Comet Mrkos in a neighbor's binoculars. Then once laying outside on a summer night feasting on the Milky Way was my next memory. But I didn't get hooked on astronomy until 1962 when I got my first issue of Sky and Telescope. Still getting those very month after 60 years. 

 

After two home made reflectors of 6- and 8-inch aperture, I acquired others, some of increasing aperture: C-5, C-8, C-11 and a 10-inch Dob reflector. The 5- and 6-inch telescopes have been passed on to others. The 8- and 10-inch reflectors have digital setting circles, which helps my 76 year old body find my targets. 

 

Recently my favorite telescope to use from my Bortle 4-5 skies is my old home made 8-inch reflector with DSCs. The 10-inch Dob is quicker to set up, but the 8-incher has tracking for ease use. I'm usually good for 1-2 hours before I get tired. But the biggest impediment to observing is the frequent fog blowing in off the  Pacific Ocean after a clear day. That's a bummer sometimes. But I do enjoy our temperatures, with a hot day getting up to maybe 75°F. No heat waves so close to the ocean.

 

I will likely fire up my go-to G-11 mount for planets later on this year with the C-11. But before then mounting my little AT115EDT refractor is easier to set up on that mount. As time goes by that little APO may end up being my telescope of choice.

 

Not having any children or grandchildren makes life less complicated. Together with my wife of 41 years, we each have our own hobbies and common interests. Along with gardening and bird-watching, astronomy is my life-long interest. We all just make do with our differing circumstances.

 

Clear Skies,

Russ

After raising 4 kids and now 4 grandkids, I now find myself having a little more free time. However, now that I'm older that "free" time eats into my sleep. LOL. What a hobby. It should be the opposite...start out with grandkids and then kids, and then as we get younger, we can have more leisure time and the energy to use it as we wish without as many compromises. 



#21 avx2021

avx2021

    Lift Off

  • *****
  • Posts: 17
  • Joined: 18 Feb 2021

Posted 10 August 2022 - 04:21 PM

I've had a bad attack of "GAS" for years - your article has freed me from the associated guilt pangs!  I had a 90mm ETX and your description of its basic design shortcoming was spot on.  Meade actually sold a camera adapter to do astrophotography over straining those plastic gear train parts to know end.  Meade's journey to oblivion was predictable - I warned one of their VP's about it but he assured me things were under control.  Sigh


  • MarkMittlesteadt likes this

#22 MarkMittlesteadt

MarkMittlesteadt

    Mercury-Atlas

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 2,879
  • Joined: 08 Oct 2013
  • Loc: Weston, WI. USA

Posted 11 August 2022 - 10:52 AM

I've had a bad attack of "GAS" for years - your article has freed me from the associated guilt pangs!  I had a 90mm ETX and your description of its basic design shortcoming was spot on.  Meade actually sold a camera adapter to do astrophotography over straining those plastic gear train parts to know end.  Meade's journey to oblivion was predictable - I warned one of their VP's about it but he assured me things were under control.  Sigh

GAS is incurable, but it is treatable. Just buy more stuff, guilt-free of course! wink.gif



#23 Old Southern Man

Old Southern Man

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • Posts: 48
  • Joined: 10 Aug 2022
  • Loc: South Carolina

Posted 11 August 2022 - 02:21 PM

Enjoyed the article.  I too was inspired to get into this by the moon missions.  I had just finished second grade when Apollo 11 landed and then I asked for a telescope for Christmas.  I've been off and on with the hobby since.  I'm retiring soon and decided to start it up again.


  • MarkMittlesteadt likes this

#24 bjkaras

bjkaras

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 625
  • Joined: 24 May 2019
  • Loc: Back and forth between Santa Clara, CA and Las Vegas, NV

Posted 14 August 2022 - 10:33 AM

Your journey is similar to mine. I didn’t have a teacher like yours, but my interest was self generated at an early age. As I tell people, I didn’t choose to study astronomy, it chose me. I would say that it’s not so much of a lonely hobby because it can be shared, but it’s a personal hobby. We all get something different out of it, and it’s very difficult to explain to others, because it’s only important to ourselves. I get what I want out of it and you get what you want, but they are equally valid.


  • MarkMittlesteadt and Rustler46 like this

#25 Poppashrink

Poppashrink

    Sputnik

  • *****
  • Posts: 31
  • Joined: 11 Jan 2022
  • Loc: Los Angeles,CA

Posted 15 August 2022 - 01:31 PM

Thank you for your wonderful and personal essay. As a later life retired foray, back into a once frustrated and failed (pre internet rich 1980’s) Astronomy experience, I have been mentally struggling in finding the Goldilocks equipment just right for me.

 

Two years of isolating with home hobbies, while avoiding Covid, left me craving camaraderie, and outdoor activity. This led me to CN, active involvement with my local Astronomy club (Los Angeles Astronomically Society), and a third or more hand 8” Dob. These all have yielded a wealth of knowledge and enjoyment for the past 7 months

 

I have once again found myself “cutting my teeth” while entering this hobby. “NightWatch” by Terence Dickinson, CN deep diving, and my club activities have given me a basic fundamental knowledge of (and success with) Astronomy, which I totally lacked after my first telescopic endeavors in the 80’s. My Dob has given me a whole other skill set and educational experience into what I want and don’t want from my future equipment.

 

Your article and the many insightful following comments seemed to have channeled and put voice to my internal struggle with size, difficulty to transport-maneuver, viewing and aging eyesight. I don’t have all the solid answers yet, but I feel this thread has definitely led me further along the path to selecting that almost “just right” next scope. Let’s just hope that this isn’t the starting tumble into the throngs of the dreaded “GAS.” Yet at this point in life that too could be an enjoyable journey. 


Edited by Poppashrink, 15 August 2022 - 01:33 PM.

  • MarkMittlesteadt likes this


CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics