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New Hobby

2552 Views 28 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  lilymi
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
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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
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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.
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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.
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 . I should recieve in a couple of days and I will let you all know what I think of its performance . Happy stargazing , Doug
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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 ..........
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.
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..........;)
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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.
That's great! Using a telescope can be a really exciting and fulfilling hobby, as it allows you to explore the night sky and observe celestial objects that are not visible to the naked eye.
Here are some tips to help you get started with your new hobby:
  1. Learn the basics of telescopes: Before you start using your telescope, it's important to understand how it works and how to use it properly. There are many resources available online and in books that can help you learn the basics.
  2. Choose the right telescope: There are many different types of telescopes available, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Consider factors like the size of the telescope, the type of mount, and the type of telescope (reflector, refractor, etc.) when choosing the best telescope for your needs.
  3. Learn the night sky: Familiarize yourself with the night sky and learn about the different celestial objects you can observe with your telescope. A star chart or astronomy app can be very helpful.
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