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Thread: Any amateur astronomers out there?

  1. #1
    Is ready to take this hobby to a whole new level DavyJones's Avatar
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    Any amateur astronomers out there?

    After saving up some money, and getting a new *well* paying job, I was able to purchase for myself my first real telescope (not counting my old, childhood junker.) As such, I have been trying to find some more companions in this hobby. I recently joined the local Cuyahoga Astronomical Association, and have been doing all sorts of reading and research. As for my astronomy background, it has been an interest of mine since childhood. In college I completed a small 3 course thematic sequence on astronomy, but it simply covered the history, future, and physics of astronomy, there was no observation included.

    Anyhow, since CPs are also a huge hobby of mine, I thought I would come here and see if there were any other amateur astronomers, budding or seasoned. So far we've only had incredibly cloudy nights here in Cleveland, and since receiving my telescope two weeks ago, I've only had one good hour under the stars. I've already ordered a nice light pollution (Orion Ultrablock) filter to combat the Cleveland light pollution, but haven't had a chance to use it yet. Darn weather. What telescopes do any of you have? How long have you been in the hobby? What are some things that you like to observe the most? My telescope is the Orion Skyview Pro 120mm Achromatic refractor. So far I've only been able to view the Orion Nebula M42, and the Pleides M45. I'm hoping to catch some good views of some planets and the moon once the weather clears and summer arrives!
    "We are in a sense the Universe trying to understand itself. By Observing it we are observing what we are." - Phillip Plait

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  2. #2
    I've got a magic window! elgecko's Avatar
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    I had a very nice 8" Meade Schmidt Cassegrain many years ago. I still have a small one I use every once in a great while.
    The Orion Ultrablock will help cut the light pollution nicely, used to have one myself.
    I was always happy with Tele Vue Plossl eyepieces performance.


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  3. #3
    Admin- I'm growing CPs in the Desert of Tucson, Az. adnedarn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elgecko View Post
    I had a very nice 8" Meade Schmidt Cassegrain many years ago.
    Is that the ETX125-AT? I have that, and the little hand held thing that controls the telescope to show yah stuff, it works pretty good. I also have a program called Starry night pro that I play with some times. Cool to be able to look at the sky from where ever you want on earth- or not

    Andrew
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  4. #4
    I've got a magic window! elgecko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adnedarn View Post
    Is that the ETX125-AT? I have that, and the little hand held thing that controls the telescope to show yah stuff, it works pretty good. I also have a program called Starry night pro that I play with some times. Cool to be able to look at the sky from where ever you want on earth- or not

    Andrew
    NO.
    It was not like the ones now a days that have the computer built into them to take you right to the objects.

    It just had a right ascension and declination drives with a hand held control just for tracking adjustments. No nice computer in the hand held controller to tell you that you where looking at M51 or any other object.

    To tell you how long ago I got it, 386 computers where the hot stuff.
    CCD imaging systems for the telescope where just coming out. Very cool. I wanted to get one for my telescope but did not even have a computer back then.

    I'd like to get another one some time down the road with a CCD imaging system.
    Hooking up a camera and tracking a star in the cross-hair eyepiece for hours at a time really sucked.


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  5. #5
    Admin- I'm growing CPs in the Desert of Tucson, Az. adnedarn's Avatar
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    Yeah, it came with what you're talking about.. Just the controller with arrows. But then the updated one is available and plugs right in and of course has online updatability. BUT you have to have this really old plug on your computer, or a slew of adapters (what I have) come to think of it, I don't even know if my Win7 would be able to do it or if I'll need to find a old computer to do it. It's been a while, but I think the kids are almost old enough to give a crap And the computer is ok... but can suck too. Like when you set it up each time, it slews to two or three different stars to calibrate itself.. So you need to be able to zero in on those, and even when that is successful, it can still miss it's target by a bit- especially when on higher magnifications.

    Andrew
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  6. #6
    Doing it wrong until I do it right. xvart's Avatar
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    I love astronomy, and I love telescopes! I haven't taken mine out in several years. I'm hoping to move out of my apartment and into a house in the next couple of months (pending a new job) and will recalibrate and realign my mirrors and such to start using it again. Some of my favorite memories in college were taking a six pack of 1554 out to Tuttle Creek (Manhattan, KS) and busting out the telescope.

    I'm with you elgecko. I have a six inch Orion telescope I got in college with no auto-CPU deal. I'm not sure they even make them without CPUs anymore. If they don't, I would still recommend doing everything by hand for several months just so you get the feel for it; you'll learn a lot more about navigating the night sky, and you'll be able to say that you used to navigate the night sky with hand turning knobs when it was 10 degrees outside.

    In fact, my favorite mug is the Messier Mug, with all the Messier objects listed with their declination, magnitude, right ascension, type, and constellation location on it. I broke it last week (I had been using that mug for about eight years). Luckily I found some Gorilla Glue that is non-toxic and glued it back together and it works like a dream. Rather unsightly with two large chips of pieces that were too small to put back together, but it still holds tea!

    Depending on the your lens diameter, I might be able to hook you up with some lenses and some filters that I don't use anymore. They aren't the highest of quality (I was a broke college student when I bought them) but they worked great for me, and especially for a starter set. I have a 4mm, 6mm, 9mm, 10mm, 15mm, 20mm, 25mm, 32mm, and a 2x Barlow lens. I also have the following filters: Light Green (53% T), Green (24% T), Blue (30% T), Deep Yellow (74% T), Orange (46% T), Red (14% T), and a moon filter (13% T). Send me a pm and I would be happy to put a little astronomer care package together for you.

    Happy gazing!

    xvart.

    edit: I forgot to mention that in college we hooked up one of the original Digital Rebel camera's to my telescope and did some amateur astrophotography. We didn't get any really great pictures but we did get some nice planet pictures of Saturn and Jupiter. I also stupidly enrolled in a astrophysics class my senior year as an elective without having the seven prerequisite classes. I had to quickly drop that class even though I really wanted to try and tough it out.
    "The tragedy of life is not that every man loses; but that he almost wins."

    "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?"

  7. #7
    Gardening freak! tommyr's Avatar
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    I've been into astronomy and the space program since I was little. Currently have a Celestron Nexstar 5. Also have a Meade 2045. I collected sunspot data for the AAVSO solar division for 8 years way back when.
    Twitter : Tommytimbertoes


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