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JamesHackerMP

Astronomy

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Sure...I have a dozen of them...from a 70mm refractor to 16 inch Dob.   Spent most of the summer with Mars, as it was in opposition this year.

Also helps to put all the drama here on earth in perspective.

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Yes, I have an old refractor (just about shot) a 10" Dobsonian and a good pair of binoculars for scanning around with. The sky is quite dark where I live  Lots of cloud cover at times but when its clear and calm (I'm right on the coast where surf throws up a fine mist that can obscure) the sky is filled with stuff to look at.  I can also go inland a few miles and gain some altitude to get above the mist if needs be.

Its a very relaxing hobby, makes the drama here on Earth seem like its light years away and about as relevant in the scheme of things.

Edited by eyeball

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I borrowed a colleague's telescope this summer for a while and I would like to get one of my own.  I don't want to impose, but if anyone has a view on what might be the best buy for a rank amateur with $2000-$3000 Canadian to spend I would appreciate the advice.

I have a fairly clear sky where I am and can get away from most of the light pollution.

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18 minutes ago, bcsapper said:

I borrowed a colleague's telescope this summer for a while and I would like to get one of my own.  I don't want to impose, but if anyone has a view on what might be the best buy for a rank amateur with $2000-$3000 Canadian to spend I would appreciate the advice.

 

The standard answer is to buy a very affordable 8" or 10" Dobsonian with or without automated object location & tracking (GoTo) to see what objects you prefer (planets, lunar, deep sky, double/variable stars, etc.), then go from there.    That kind of substantial budget leaves open a lot of possibilities.   Imaging with CCD and CMOS cameras including DSLRs is very popular right now, but that comes later after the basics are mastered.

Khan Telescope Centre in Toronto has lots of choices, as do well known mail order retailers like Orion Telescopes in California. 

https://khanscope.com/

https://www.telescope.com/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI3cb5sL-n3gIVCAxpCh3fqwS4EAAYASAAEgKmn_D_BwE

61lyU9BbumL._SY741_.jpg

 

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Used to have one, well, it was for the kids but it was a decent one.   Don't have it anymore cos they took it with them..  :)-

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29 minutes ago, bush_cheney2004 said:

 

The standard answer is to buy a very affordable 8" or 10" Dobsonian with or without automated object location & tracking (GoTo) to see what objects you prefer (planets, lunar, deep sky, double/variable stars, etc.), then go from there.    That kind of substantial budget leaves open a lot of possibilities.   Imaging with CCD and CMOS cameras including DSLRs is very popular right now, but that comes later after the basics are mastered.

Khan Telescope Centre in Toronto has lots of choices, as do well known mail order retailers like Orion Telescopes in California. 

https://khanscope.com/

https://www.telescope.com/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI3cb5sL-n3gIVCAxpCh3fqwS4EAAYASAAEgKmn_D_BwE

 

 

Thanks.  I'm going to study the "New to Astronomy" pages on that Khan Scope site

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1 hour ago, bcsapper said:

Thanks.  I'm going to study the "New to Astronomy" pages on that Khan Scope site

I'd save any money you might put towards a GoTo feature and invest in a better telescope plus a good pair of astronomical binoculars.  The GoTo feature will add another $800 or so to the price of a Skywatcher Dobsonian. There are enough apps available that will help you locate objects easily and the binos will allow anyone who's with you too scan around while you're focussing/looking at something else.

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Forest fires got in the way of viewing this past Summer...right when Mars was in Opposition.

I think I spotted Mercury a few times. Best viewing in ages...late June.

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1 hour ago, eyeball said:

I'd save any money you might put towards a GoTo feature and invest in a better telescope plus a good pair of astronomical binoculars.  The GoTo feature will add another $800 or so to the price of a Skywatcher Dobsonian. There are enough apps available that will help you locate objects easily and the binos will allow anyone who's with you too scan around while you're focussing/looking at something else.

Thanks, I was actually considering that sort of thing.  I have a lot to learn, but I have a lot of time to learn it too.

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Also buy a headlamp or flashlight that has a red light. This will let you see your lens' and things and won't mess with your night vision.

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I own the Celestron Nexstar 8SE--so it's not only a go to scope, but an 8" Schmidt Cassgrain. It's a bit heavy to pick up the tube and attach it to the mount, so I'm  pondering trading it in for a newer, and slightly smaller, one (maybe a six inch, dunno). I haven't made as much use of it as you'd think, though; so I'm still relatively new to the hobby even though I've had it a few years. Maybe with a less cumbersome telescope I might use it more often. There's even a newer model that's go to but you don't have to go through the complicated alignment process first (which I haven't totally mastered yet). The only real pain in the ass was aligning the darn finderscope.

Still though, I do not regret buying that particular model, and I've seen Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, Venus, and a few deep sky objects. The "tour" function particularly useful: it'll give you a list of interesting objects that happen to be up at the time.

https://www.celestron.com/products/nexstar-8se-computerized-telescope

I hope that going from an 8" to a 6" doesn't disappoint as far as how good things will look, since the former gathers more light than the latter.

I belong to an astronomy club in the area, which actually built its own observatory at a local park. When I was at UMBC, we had a $2 million research telescope we (the astronomy club there) were able to screw around with.

I don't get into astrophotography, however.

To bcsapper: If you're looking to spend $2000-$3000, well sounds like the sky's the limit for you. But that depends what you want to drag around. Like I said, mine is slightly cumbersome, so maybe you wouldn't want more than a 6-8" if you're going Schmidt Cassgrain, for example. And you might as well get the go-to or the newer automatic go to's. (Get a good carrying case by the way. That's useful.)

Like this: https://www.celestron.com/products/nexstar-evolution-8-hd-with-starsense

It has a rechargeable lithium ion battery. Saves carrying around one of those power tanks as the battery is directly inside the mount.

Edited by JamesHackerMP

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On 10/27/2018 at 3:23 PM, bush_cheney2004 said:

Sure...I have a dozen of them...from a 70mm refractor to 16 inch Dob.   Spent most of the summer with Mars, as it was in opposition this year.

Also helps to put all the drama here on earth in perspective.

Holy crap! That sounds expensive...

Edited by JamesHackerMP

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1 hour ago, JamesHackerMP said:

Holy crap! That sounds expensive...

 

It is...but I don't own any Harleys, bass boats, snowmobiles, or monster trucks.  One or even two scopes won't cover all the bases when imaging is included with visual use.   Takahashi and Astro-Physics refractors are addictive.

I bought a used 6SE two years ago to compliment a larger C9.25 SCT, and it is a Goldilocks size for aperture and portability.  

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17 minutes ago, bush_cheney2004 said:

 

It is...but I don't own any Harleys, bass boats, snowmobiles, or monster trucks.  One or even two scopes won't cover all the bases when imaging is included with visual use.   Takahashi and Astro-Physics refractors are addictive.

I bought a used 6SE two years ago to compliment a larger C9.25 SCT, and it is a Goldilocks size for aperture and portability.  

I want to get a Meade ETX-125 Maksutov-Cassegrain when I retire. I'd like to use it to do planetary imaging. Also I like the "flip mirror" that the ETX-125 has.
What I really would love to do is spectroscopy.

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The most fun thing about astronomy is the look of amazement on a kids face if they've lived in a light polluted location and when they really look deep into a dark star-filled sky and Milky-Way blazing overhead for the first time.  I'd stress the astronomical binoculars again maybe a couple pairs when keeping grand-kids up late to go star-gazing.  Binos make it easier for kids to master the patience it takes to use a more sophisticated instrument and you probably won't have to cook them breakfast until lunchtime.

Edited by eyeball

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It's amazing what people don't know is up there. I read about an earthquake that occurred in Los Angeles (no unusual phenomenon of course) during which the power went out all over L.A. People were calling into radio stations reporting "strange lights in the sky" and "could they be responsible for the quake?" I kid you not. The strange lights were, of course, the stars, which Los Angelinos had rarely seen before.

I hope that if I downgrade (in size that is) to a 6" from the 8", I'll be able to lug it places more easily, especially if I get the one with the built in battery. (No need to have a powertank, etc.) I hope it's at least 10 pounds lighter. Even that will help. I'm not the strongest person in the world, and putting the tube into the mount brackets after leveling the tripod and mount is hard work with my 8SE. I have to pick the thing up and hold it without dropping it while I slide the tube into the brackets. I think this contributes the amount of use it's gotten (or lack thereof). This is what I'm looking at now:

https://www.celestron.com/products/nexstar-evolution-6

If you go and spent $3000 on a telescope, you must first ask yourself, is it something I am going to use, or will I just be blowing three grand? I spent $1200 on my 8SE, but after finding it cumbersome and non-Goldilocks sized for my meager strength, it's been money that has gone to waste, to some degree. So if you end up buying a 10" Scmidt-Cassgrain telescope that's so bulky and heavy that you rarely use it, what's the point? Go smaller (or lighter) and cheaper if it means you won't let it sit there in the garage.

Edited by JamesHackerMP

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I'm fortunate that I live in a very dark place and can simply set my telescope up on the back deck. Notwithstanding the issue I mentioned with mist off the sea is the need to let the instrument cool down to the outside temperature to prevent distortion of the light reaching my retina. I'm also a little nervous that the jarring and bouncing from driving somewhere with my telescope will screw up the alignment of the mirrors. My opportunities to go sky watching are probably mostly limited by weather so when the opportunity does arise I can jump on it. I also live in a rainforest and there is a tree out back that I'm afraid will soon be getting turned into firewood.

So, considering where you will be more likely to use your telescope like James suggests is pretty key when deciding what to get.

Edited by eyeball

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I was quite into it years ago and had a 6" Celestron reflector but I've let the hobby lapse. Definitely pretty fun to go out there and look at things, but don't expect to see or take images like you see NASA posting. Some of the coolest objects to look at in my opinion were globular clusters. 

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6 hours ago, eyeball said:

I'm fortunate that I live in a very dark place and can simply set my telescope up on the back deck. Notwithstanding the issue I mentioned with mist off the sea is the need to let the instrument cool down to the outside temperature to prevent distortion of the light reaching my retina. I'm also a little nervous that the jarring and bouncing from driving somewhere with my telescope will screw up the alignment of the mirrors. My opportunities to go sky watching are probably mostly limited by weather so when the opportunity does arise I can jump on it. I also live in a rainforest and there is a tree out back that I'm afraid will soon be getting turned into firewood.

So, considering where you will be more likely to use your telescope like James suggests is pretty key when deciding what to get.

Oh I didn't think of that: driving with it can screw up the mirrors?

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7 hours ago, JamesHackerMP said:

Oh I didn't think of that: driving with it can screw up the mirrors?

It might on the roads we have around here. Probably safe enough with a refractor but I'd be careful with a reflector. Speaking of which anyone buying a light bucket will want to get a laser collimator for lining the mirrors up. 

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59 minutes ago, JamesHackerMP said:

what about a Schmidt Cassgrain?

 

Schmidt Cass (SCT) will require collimation too...and it is more difficult than with a Newtonian/Dob.

Replace the collimation screws with "Bob's Knobs"....model specific.

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2 hours ago, bush_cheney2004 said:

 

Schmidt Cass (SCT) will require collimation too...and it is more difficult than with a Newtonian/Dob.

Replace the collimation screws with "Bob's Knobs"....model specific.

Merde....oh well, I guess I'll have to do that eventually...in the mean time I'll be careful what I drive over lol.

In the mean time, I haven't used it much as I would like to have, so it probably doesn't need collimation yet, I would think.

What exactly do you all like to look at? preferred objects?

Edited by JamesHackerMP

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On 11/4/2018 at 10:39 PM, JamesHackerMP said:

Merde....oh well, I guess I'll have to do that eventually...in the mean time I'll be careful what I drive over lol.

In the mean time, I haven't used it much as I would like to have, so it probably doesn't need collimation yet, I would think.

What exactly do you all like to look at? preferred objects?

Jupiter and Saturn.

jupiter-in-small-scope-n.jpg

saturn-in-small-scope-n.jpg

The Moon. 

Moon-So-Highlands.jpg

Andromeda. 

M31-guided-2010-ST_edited-1-495x360.jpg

Globular Cluster, like M5

m5noao.jpg

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