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Smart Telescopes and Future Astronomers.

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#1 Regulus 1.36

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Posted 16 April 2024 - 11:36 AM

I want to share that I have been donating telescopes to my local libraries and some local families to promote astronomy in my area. I dedicate these efforts to my late father and uncle.

 

Although I have been donating traditional telescopes, I believe that if the SeeStar had been available from the start of those efforts, I would have donated those instead.

 
Every telescope I donate comes with a couple of beginner amateur astronomer books. However, with smart telescopes becoming more popular, I wonder what learning materials would be more suitable. As responsible amateur astronomers, we must guide in this area.
 
If you were to recommend a smart telescope as a first telescope, what learning materials would you suggest?
 
While these telescopes are fantastic and offer today's youth a chance to explore the universe, they leave much to be desired regarding education.

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#2 jprideaux

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Posted 16 April 2024 - 01:24 PM

Since many smart-scope users may be inclined to view things on-line, they may just prefer a "QR-code" to some popular websites (or apps) with information about the night sky and what targets are best viewable each month of the year.  That could help generate excitement about what to point the scope at when they take it out.  It is always a little more meaningful for the person if they know a little about the object before they image it. 

There are lots of choices for people's favorite resources.  


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#3 project nightflight

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Posted 16 April 2024 - 01:55 PM

Tough question, Regulus.

 

With a small conventional telescope (like the scopes in your pictures) a beginning observer is limited to the brightest DSOs. So a simple night sky guide always did suffice as a first manual about the night sky. But the Seestar gives a complete new and different approach. Somewhat decent skies provided, even a rookie has access to countless faint objects. Distant interacting galaxies, dim planetary nebulae, obscure globular clusters, dwarf galaxies, even quasars and extragalactic supernovae are suddenly within reach. Maybe a comprehensive object catalog (like the Night Sky Observer´s Guide or Burnham´s Celestial Handbook) might be a good companion.

 

However, very curious what other CN members will recommend.


Edited by project nightflight, 16 April 2024 - 01:56 PM.

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#4 Dbsnottm

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Posted 16 April 2024 - 02:07 PM

I see smart Scopes like kindling its a great way to spark interest in our hobby. They are bound to appeal to a generation where smartphones and technology are common place. As with all subjects, how much they choose to learn beyond this will depend on the level of interest generated. 

The internet is obviously a great source too, but for me personally going outside on a crisp clear night under the stars with whatever scope, binos or just naked eye is where its at. 


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#5 BrentKnight

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Posted 16 April 2024 - 02:23 PM

This is a great question!

 

I think folks starting out with a Smart-Scope (with no previous experiences in astronomy) would be most interested in learning what they can see with the device and also learning a bit about the objects themselves.  I think Sue French's Deep-Sky Wonders would be a great start and it includes a great selection of WOW targets and some less well-known targets.

 

Deep-Sky Wonders by Sue French


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#6 Dale Smith

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Posted 16 April 2024 - 02:24 PM

As a retired librarian it warms my heart to see this, Regulus. Such a wonderful way to connect people with astronomy. Thank you for your giftings.

 

I agree that the new smart telescopes are a fantastic way now to make that connection. I’ve been doing astronomy since I was kid (with a long break from about 40 until age 59) and the Seestar has been transformational. I joke that it’s like having a micro-Hubble telescope in my backyard. Seriously though, compared to what my conventional telescopes can show, it is.

 

I’m with Dbsnottm in that going outside on a crisp clear night (somewhat rare here) is where it’s at, but I also love books (no surprise flowerred.gif

 

The accessible book for me would be Deep-Sky Wonders by Sue French. It was fun to read before I bought my Seestar, but now it’s energizing.


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#7 Dale Smith

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Posted 16 April 2024 - 02:24 PM

This is a great question!

 

I think folks starting out with a Smart-Scope (with no previous experiences in astronomy) would be most interested in learning what they can see with the device and also learning a bit about the objects themselves.  I think Sue French's Deep-Sky Wonders would be a great start and it includes a great selection of WOW targets and some less well-known targets.

 

Deep-Sky Wonders by Sue French

Great minds! I wrote the same thing at nearly the same time waytogo.gif


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#8 sevenofnine

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Posted 16 April 2024 - 02:31 PM

Every object on the Seestar has a detailed description and history so I would include a guide book that is very general in nature. One that paints this hobby with a very broad brush so the beginner can see all of the types of equipment available. "The Backyard Astronomer's Guide 4th ed." by T. Dickinson and A. Dyer would be my choice borg.gif


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#9 Regulus 1.36

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Posted 18 April 2024 - 09:11 AM

Thank you for all your suggestions. A QR Code that links to websites teaching about the night sky while viewing monthly objects seems logical. This may be already posted in the monthly challenges.

I think all the published recommendations are great. I made a note of these.

I want to acknowledge that the Seastar telescope does have information regarding Messier objects. Still, that information is limited to that catalog and doesn't extend very well to the NGC catalog, which is also limited.

It would be nice if an information button were located on the screen where the stack of images is displayed. This way, users can toggle between the object's information and the viewed stacking screen.

However, the astronomical highlight section on the leading page is informative for major astronomical events.

Edited by Regulus 1.36, 18 April 2024 - 09:32 AM.

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#10 Regulus 1.36

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Posted 27 April 2024 - 10:49 AM

Below is a list of books from my personal mini-library, with several available for donation due to owning multiple copies.

 

- Children's Night Sky Atlas by Robin Scagell.
- Night Watch by Terence Dickerson.
- The Backyard Astronomer's Guide by Terence Dickinson & Alen Dyer.
- Binocular Astronomy by Crossen & Tirion.

- Deep Sky Companions: Messier Objects by Stephen O'Meara. 

- Deep Sky Companions: Caldwell Objects by Stephen O'Meara.
- Binocular Highlights by Gary Seronik of SKY & Telescope
- Moon Observer's Guide by Peter Grego.
- An Intimate Look at the Night Sky by Chet Raymo.

 

The books I've ordered include "Deep-Sky Wonders" by Sue French and "Observer's Sky Atlas," which features the 500 best deep-sky objects with charts and images. In my Thriftbooks.com cart, I have "Burnham's Celestial Handbook." Additionally, the four-volume set "Night Sky Observer's Guide" is quite expensive, so it's on my wish list. I make an effort to buy used books whenever possible.


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