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New Hobby

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
I've found a great new hobby to occupy even more of what little free time I have. I have become an astronomy buff. It all started back in the summer when I bought myself a Stargazing program, for the computer, to learn more about the universe around us (I've always had a more than just a passing interest in astronomy). Well, buying the software got the ball rolling and I have spent countless nights staring up at the stars. But things got even better when Wanda presented me with a telescope for my birthday. It's not a big scope, just a 4.5 inch reflector (the kind where the eyepiece is on the side not at the back), but it is big enough for a beginner like me. I now spend as much time as possible (when the skies allow) tooling around the universe, checking out the sights and freezing my butt off. Sure, my views aren't nearly as spectacular as those you see in magazines and books, but the thrill of seeing Saturn, Jupiter or the Orion Nebula on your very own is worth a million of those pics. And the best thing yet, after an hour or so of observing in subzero weather, I get to crawl into bed and warm my freezing hands and feet on my wife, making her curse, once again herself for buying me 'that damned thing'!!!:D :D :D :D
post #2 of 28
:cool:
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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post #3 of 28
Fun hobby...

Next year, maybe she'll buy you some foot warmers!
post #4 of 28
I bought a 4.5" mirror and made a reflector, and then sold it and bought a mirror kit and ground my own 6". Now, there's a project. I made a Dobson mount, but it's kind of rough. I'd like to rebuild it. Know a guy up the street with an 18" reflector. There is a ton of stuff on the web about homemade telescopes.
It's not Dairy Queen.
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It's not Dairy Queen.
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post #5 of 28
Being from the desert I really love stargazing around the beginning of August to watch and enjoy the Perseids. It's almost as if someones tossing colorful sparklers into the sky for my enjoyment.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
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post #6 of 28
Thread Starter 
WOW!!! An 18'', that would be great!!! The views he gets must be awesome!! What a pain to move around though. Does he have his own observatory to house it in? I would love to build my own scope someday, but that will have to wait awhile.
post #7 of 28
I've been complaining (okay, I was really whining) that there's no where here to really see the sky without light pollution. I was hopeful when we visited the Grand Canyon a few summers ago, but wouldn't you know it? There was a full moon as well as parking lot lights where we were. A couple of years ago we went on a short cruise, and I thought, okay, now's my chance! No.... they kept the deck lights blazing all night, so that was out.

Last weekend I went with the sixth graders from my religious school class to a retreat about 20 miles west of here on a small lake. I could not believe my eyes when I looked skyward. Hosannah! There was the Milky Way, clear as anything. I could even see the Pleiades clearly. I stood there for many frosty minutes exclaiming, "Wow! Wow!" :bounce:

No need to say my sixth graders thought I was nuts. Now if I can just get out there in August for the Perseid shower.... Wow! :bounce: :bounce:
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post #8 of 28

I love the night sky.

When I lived on the Salmon River I would go sit in the hot springs and watch the night sky. Drank a lot of beer, but never brought a telescope with me. It was @ 6400ft. in elevation and no light pollution whatsoever. I remember the Hyakitaki(sp) comet as being seen as a rip in the sky almost horizon to horizon. I catered a big party up there in years past that usually held the first or second weekend in August, and the Perseids on some years were like fireworks. I met my wife up there and blame it on the stars...
Since I moved to the Big City my wife and I have sporadically attended local Astronomy Club meetings. We have yet to make it to an all-night star party they hold up at Craters of the Moon national monumant every summer. They sound like loads of fun if you can stay awake that late.
This year the December Leonid meteor showers were a big disappointment. It was overcast around the entire region the whole time of the shower and it was supposed to be the best in years.
Enjoy your new hobby. May your search for the inky dark night sky lead you to a new adventure.
What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
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What a relief! To find out after all these years that I'm not crazy. I'm just culinarily divergent...
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post #9 of 28
He keeps it in a shed in the backyard so he can just roll it out. It's a Dobson mount, if you know what that is, so it's pretty portable. This guy is into it, goes to Stellafane every year. I could clearly see the comet hit jupiter through mine. One night I was walking home with it from the big empty ball field down the street and the neighborhood drunk was on the loose. I showed him Saturn, and he pulled his eye away from the eyepiece and said, "That's really real!" It amazes me that you can see something that far away so clearly. Jupiter and Saturn are both very prominent right now.
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It's not Dairy Queen.
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post #10 of 28
Hey man, get into astrophotography. IT'S AWSOME! :bounce: :bounce:

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
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post #11 of 28
Thread Starter 
Light pollution is a hassle here in Fond du Lac also. Once it warms up I am going to take the scope out to the golf course and hopefully get in some better viewing. If not, it will have to wait until April, and our first camping trip of the year.

Kokopuffs, I would like to get into astrophotography at some point but my scope is not very powerful and the drive motors are are not the smoothest so that will have to wait until I can afford better equipment and possibly a CCD.
post #12 of 28
I am glad you enjoy this Pete. My grandfather introduced me to the magical world of stars...

Very soon you will feel the need to share what you see and you will start thinking of having a child :)
"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
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"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
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post #13 of 28
Thread Starter 
We are already working on that one!!!:D :D :D
post #14 of 28
Yeah, I'm spoiled, having lived in the desert at altitudes of 7000 feet in remote areas. There, the Milky Way really appears milky and the desert floor phosphorescent. One can really hear onesself think.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
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post #15 of 28
Good luck Pete :)

Kokopuffs, I envy you! It must be quite a spectacle!!!!

Have you seen that? http://stardate.org/

Edited to add: Regarding light pollution. Recently the municipality of Prague, asked UNESCO to declare "Night and Darkness" part of Human Cultural Inheritence and apply certain regulations regarding the lightening of public places!
Cool! don't you think?
"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
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"Muabet de Turko,kama de Grego i komer de Djidio", old sefardic proverb ( Three things worth in life: the gossip of the Turk , the bed of the Greek and the food of the Jew)
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post #16 of 28
Yes Athenaeus, it's cool- especially in view of the fact that there's no place in North America except in very remote areas where it's totally free of light pollution. This according to a survey done from space (by whom, I've forgotten).
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post #17 of 28
Earth at night (most of this is infrared emissions, but that correlates closely to light pollution)


Go here to link to a bigger one by clicking the pic.

http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap020810.html

Phil
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #18 of 28
I hear you guys talking about the Dobson mount . Was this mount invented by Berkley Professor John Dobson ? If it was I can tell you I had the great chance to have taken a telescope building class from him in 1973 at Berkleys Lawrence Hall of Science . We used for our glass the portholes from the mothball fleet of old world war 2 ships in the bay and we hand ground our own mirrors and built our own mounts . I built an 8 inch Newtonian reflecting telescope for about 115 dollars . This was a highly portable telescope and depending on the eyepiece or the location you could see it all . I lost this scope in the new years day flood of 1997 but I saved the most important piece , the mirror . One day soon I hope to have it operational again . Man , its realy good to see so much interest in the universe and its investigation . A good site to pick up daily space news is
www.spacewatch.com . Happy stargazing to all , Doug................................
The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity !
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The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity !
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post #19 of 28
Hear oneself think? Know how many times I've been told there ought to be a law against the way I think?

I don't know if this John Dobson was a professor. I know he spent time as a monk and founded the San Francisco Sidewalk Astronomers, which is how I heard of him because PBS did a thing on him. He mentioned in that show about the portholes so probably it's the same guy. Having a class with him is pretty cool. I got him on the phone when I was grinding my mirror and recently spent some time on the sidewalk astronomer's web site reading how you can get him to come do a seminar for you or your group. this is refreshing..he will come for travel expenses, and I think a stipend, he would prefer to stay at your joint, not a hotel and only needs like ten bucks a day for walking around money. Try to get Todd English for that.
It's not Dairy Queen.
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post #20 of 28
Thread Starter 
Wow, I never imagined that there were so many amateur astronomers and stargazers floating around CT!! thebighat, I think I saw that same PBS special, quite awhile ago, on Dobson. Very interesting character, would love to hear him speak sometime.
post #21 of 28
Hey Bighat and Pete , yes this is the same John Dobson . I consider myself very fortunate to have attended his classes . What a character he is ! I remember my first class with him , he told us his name and then he got on the teachers desk and did 20 quick & perfect clapping pushups . He was 58 at this time and man he didnt even breath hard after his intro . Oh and he had his trademark ponytail also . He is a very good speaker and Einstien and him would have had good conversations over tea I am sure . I am very proud of the fact that
I was his youngest student in the class ( I was 13 ) and that my mirror was ground with the most accuracy the first time . I also took his astronomy class and man does he make stargazing fun and also puts quite a different spin on things . If any of you get a chance to hear him speak I would grab it in an instant . i plan on having my telescope operational again by this spring and I think I have been inspired to build another one , perhaps a 12 inch this time . Somthing to look for is Mars I think this August . I believe it will be at its closest to earth at this time and the view should be spectacular . Also Saturn is at its best alignement now for viewing the rings so keep your eyes to the sky and enlighten yourselves .
Your friend in food and astronomy , Doug................:D
The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity !
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The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity !
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post #22 of 28
Thread Starter 
Yes, Saturn has been giving a great show this winter, not only is it the closest it will get in years, it is also at its point, in its cycle, where the rings are facing us as much as they ever do. In April, they will reach their fullest facing, at 27 degrees. Next next time it happens will be in 2017. Saturn will also be at its brightest in Dec. 2002 and 2003 as its and Earths orbits will bring them the closest they come every 30 years. Even small scopes, like my 4.5'' give a really great pic of Saturn, and the other night, conditions were so perfect I was even able to pull out my 4mm eyepiece for a great view of Saturn, even making out the Cassini division in the rings. Unfortunately those conditions only lastest minutes before the atmosphere got too turbulent again my 4mm eyepiece showed only a blurry image once again.
post #23 of 28
I wish that you people could visit the California desert to do your astronomical viewing. The state despite the "crazies" affords much pleasure for engaging in the natural sciences. Consider visiting the town of Bishop located just at the foot of the Sierras. You won't be disappointed especially with SCHAT'S BAKERY nearby and the magnificence of the Sierras. They leave the Rockies in the dust IMHO. You know, my being a desert rat and all.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
Reply
post #24 of 28
OK , thats it , I cant take it any more . My work schedule is to busy right now to start rebuilding my scope so I decided to order one from Orion . Its the Dobsonian XT 8 . Basically an 8 inch newtonian reflector on a Dobson mount . It comes with a set of filters , 2 eyepieces 9 mm and 24 mm , 6 x 30 finder scope and an eyepiece holder on the side . This was ranked the best scope for the buy in several astronomy publications and I have had it recomended by several other star buffs . The scope costs
$ 449.00 and the extras you will want to buy for it will cost you an additional $ 150.00 as well as $50.00 plus bucks for shipping .
i could not afford it all at once so I purchased the scope and the tool kit for a grand total of $ 530.00 . I will pick up the rest of the things I want like a scope cover and a collomiter on my next payday . The link is www.telescope.com . I should recieve in a couple of days and I will let you all know what I think of its performance . Happy stargazing , Doug
The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity !
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The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity !
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post #25 of 28
The story continues . Recieved my scope tonight via Fed Ex and started assembly of the mount at 6:20 P.M. At 8:00 my son and I were out using it and our first site was Saturn . His wow and reactions were enough to have made the purchase OK in my book . We then looked at Jupiter and then the Orion nebula . It will probably take me many months to learn the ins and outs of this scope but my first impression is very positive . I have never had such a good product come through the net as this one and
it was so easy to assemble . I give a thumbs up to Orions Dobsonian mount telescopes !
I got this line from another site but it sounded so good .

The two most common things in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity.

Keep cooking and dont forget to look up . Doug ..........
The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity !
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The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity !
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post #26 of 28
Thread Starter 
Sounds great Doug. I was out the other night also. Couldn't resist. Not only, were the skies perfectly clear, it was warm enough to go out with only a light jacket and gloves on!!! No bundling up from head to toe!! I am bumming though, because I am having a really hard time locating Andromeda Galaxy recently. The moon has been so bright and the light pollution in that part of the sky make it very hard to locate.
post #27 of 28
Hey Pete , I can relate to the light pollution . I live in down town Reno Nevada , 2 blocks from our little gaming strip with all its hotels and casinos and with all the light pollution it can be tough to see the sky . I remember as a kid thats why John Dobson and his sidewalk astronomers used to pack up there scopes and take them to the mountains for star parties . Even then though remember that we always face atmospherical distortions . Every now and then though you are in the right place at the right time and the viewing is so crispy and clear ( crispy , guess Im still a cook ) that the images you see through your scope are burned in your memory for your lifetime . I plan on attending some star parties in the future ( maybe the grand canyon one ) and also creating some of my own . You know you can look at all the great hubble photos and see much more but there is just nothing like looking at these objects in the here and now . It kind of makes you feel humble . Keep looking up my friends , Doug..........;)
The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity !
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The two most common things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity !
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post #28 of 28
Thread Starter 
I hear you about the Hubble thing. It is great to see the awesome pictures that Hubble can take. I don't think I truly understood the true beauty of our Universe until Hubble came along. And then there is my puny, earth-bound 4.5'' telescope. Can't see jack compared to Hubble, but the thrill of seeing it for myself makes it all worth while. Sure I can't see storms raging on Jupiter or Saturn, but everytime I see something new (that I found myself) I feel like I am discovering it for the very first time, and that is a thrill that looking at all the pics that Hubble takes can never compare too.
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