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Thread: Experiments for Novices

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
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    Experiments for Novices

    Hello, I am thinking about purchasing a relatively inexpensive telescope online for casual use and wanted to know what sort of experiments would you recommend conducting?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by CptHarper View Post
    Hello, I am thinking about purchasing a relatively inexpensive telescope online for casual use and wanted to know what sort of experiments would you recommend conducting?
    I would suggest going to an astronomy club in your area and picking their brains. You could look through their telescopes under their guidance and get some ideas about what you would like to do on your own.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hornblower View Post
    I would suggest going to an astronomy club in your area and picking their brains. You could look through their telescopes under their guidance and get some ideas about what you would like to do on your own.
    I wholeheartedly agree.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    And though it's probably too late by now, remember, a 3 inch telescope is the largest telescope you can buy and still not see anything!
    Time wasted having fun is not time wasted - Lennon
    (John, not the other one.)

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDon View Post
    And though it's probably too late by now, remember, a 3 inch telescope is the largest telescope you can buy and still not see anything!


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    I agree with others.

    CptHarper: it is really easy for a novice to buy a bad (or merely inappropriate) piece of equipment, and end up frustrated with the hobby.

    1] Cheap < 3" scopes tend to advertize huge magnification, but that is not the determining factor in seeing. Diameter is a bgger factor. (SeeBigDon's post, above)

    2] There are different types of scopes, depending on what you are interested in, how and where you might use it.

    Hooking up with a local astronomy club - or at least an online astronomy forum - would be the first, best way of getting the most bang for your buck.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
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    Here's one; I have a 7' 4" x 10" homemade Newtonian. On a cool night (@ 55 deg F.) I pointed it at the moon, and moved the telescope slightly such that the cone of light coming off the primary mirror reflection - missed the secondary mirror, but could be found by putting my fingers over the opening of the scope. The dime-sized spot of moonlight, on a fingertip - was warm. Not too surprising, but still interesting.
    Another must-do cool thing to try is set up a pin point light source and, careful, razor - in a Foucault-test configuration with any cheap primary mirror 6" in diameter or bigger. If you put your hand between the light source and mirror, and look past the tester-blade as you would testing, the heat rising from your hand will make it appear as though your hand is on fire, in black and white. The other cool effect is the little hologram that floats near the razor''s edge .. needless to say you have to make such setups carefully so injury is impossible.
    Telescopes aren't quite made for this .. but you can try seeing how far away you can read the date off a dime.

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