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View Full Version : For all you amateur astronomers out there.....



Tito_Muerte
2003-Apr-09, 04:12 AM
So, I recently resolved to take up a number of hobbies....these include both gardening (hey SHUT UP! I think it'll be fun)...and amateur astronomy. I mean, I've always been a big fan of all that astrogeek stuff, but if I really want to get into buying a telescope and going out nights and doing stuff.....can anybody reccomend a good way to get into it? tell me all you know, hold nothing back!

Comixx
2003-Apr-09, 05:00 AM
Well, as the BA often says: Did you notice the big ol' website this message board is attached to? Hehe, here's the link (http://www.badastronomy.com/bitesize/scopefaq.html) to the BA's own telescope page.

Tito_Muerte
2003-Apr-09, 12:41 PM
wow cool thanks, I didn't realize Phil had that link up. Man, after all these years, I really should maybe explore around the website somemore (I only just recently found the BABB)

Glom
2003-Apr-09, 01:57 PM
You don't want to buy a telescope yet. Telescopes are good for looking at specific dim objects, but they are cumbersome to use and don't give a large field of view. Earlier on, what you want to do is just do naked eye astronomy, finding constellations, keeping an eye out for meteors, that sort of stuff. A pair of binoculars is certainly a must as well. But make sure you know you're way around the sky before spending lots of money on a good scope.

Tito_Muerte
2003-Apr-09, 02:12 PM
thanks for the suggestion...I'm not about to buy the telescope emmediately, but I've decided I'm going to at some point (possibly over the summer). I do spend a fair bit of time stargazing and checking out constellations stuff....so...I think it may be time to start upping the anti (although as sad as this may seem.... the number one factor is I'm going to wait until I can convince my girlfriend that she'd actually enjoy it)

snowcelt
2003-Apr-09, 02:41 PM
Tito: It should not be hard to get your lass out stargazing. Appeal to the romantic in her. The starry skies---, how the milky way reminds you of how her hair sweeps across her---. Well, you know what I mean. Good luck!

Tito_Muerte
2003-Apr-09, 02:50 PM
snowcelt I appreciate the suggestions...but she's just not that kinda gal. If I try and pull that on her, I'd never hear the end of it. I think it's just gonna take some constant nagging.... (which I really have perfected down to a fine art).

Tom
2003-Apr-09, 03:14 PM
Just tell her that when you have "a night out with the boys" that they're all astronomers and she'll know "what you are up to".

(then she can worry when you stay in at night!)

:D

nebularain
2003-Apr-09, 03:29 PM
Well, why not telling her the truth? You want her to be a part of your life, right? You want her company, right? You want to share with her the things you are interested in, right? Well, let her know that. If that doesn't work, I fear you are in trouble :-?

(P.S. This comes from a female.)

Tito_Muerte
2003-Apr-09, 03:31 PM
oh no, we're not in one of those paranoid "what are you doing" relationships.....I'm far too much of a geek for that, and she's not nearly normal enough for that.

She's just less interested in the sky than I am.....



Now let's get back to astronomy..this is beginning to feel like Oprah! :wink:

Tom
2003-Apr-09, 04:31 PM
this is beginning to feel like Oprah! :wink:

What exactly does Oprah feel like? And can it be shared in public?

:o

Dickenmeyer
2003-Apr-09, 11:18 PM
....these include both gardening (hey SHUT UP! I think it'll be fun)...and amateur astronomy.
Gardening is fun. Most days I'd much rather be out in the yard with a spade and a rake than at the office, and you need something to do when the sun's up anyway.

Tito_Muerte
2003-Apr-10, 12:59 AM
I agree...gardening is fun. I mean....it really is the ultimate guy thing....because thing about the customization possibilities!!!


Oprah...well....Oprah feels like...uh...er...... alright, so I've never watched Oprah....I stole the line from that movie Phone Booth!!! THERE, ARE YOU HAPPY?? *sobbing*

BigJim
2003-Apr-10, 01:31 AM
Two things:

a) This is nothing wrong with gardening. :D

b) I have a problem that perhaps some other amateur astronomers could solve. I've been cruising the sky for a few years with my trusty Minolta binculars and am pretty good finding things, at least with a star chart handy. I can find most of the constellations, planets, etc. So I decided to expand my hobby and I bought a Meade ETX-105EC with the Autostar controller.

The Autostar is supposed to be world famous for its ease and simplicity, but I CAN'T FIGURE OUT HOW TO SET THE !@$#%^ THING UP!!! I read the manual and here is what I have tried:
I set the ETX level.
I twist it all the way around manually until it stops, and then turn it back so the fork arm is over the control panel .
I point it north.

Now, what happens is the Autostar tries to push the telescope past its hardstops. I can use the scope without the Autostar, but it seems to have a lot of potential and I want to get the most out of it. Can anyone help?

Tom
2003-Apr-10, 03:41 AM
I twist it all the way around manually until it stops, and then turn it back so the fork arm is over the control panel .
I point it north.

Now, what happens is the Autostar tries to push the telescope past its hardstops.

I've never used one of these, but question - when you say "manually" do you mean with your hands, no power? Anything with stops has to be run electrically. Run it with the controls from one stop to the other. Then set it in the proper orientation. I'm not sure what orientation the hard stops are to be set, but the 'scope probably gives like a 380 degree turn? Try to keep from turning it with your hands. The Autostar won't have any idea where it really is pointed.

AGN Fuel
2003-Apr-10, 07:32 AM
thanks for the suggestion...I'm not about to buy the telescope emmediately, but I've decided I'm going to at some point (possibly over the summer). I do spend a fair bit of time stargazing and checking out constellations stuff....so...I think it may be time to start upping the anti (although as sad as this may seem.... the number one factor is I'm going to wait until I can convince my girlfriend that she'd actually enjoy it)


Glom has hit the nail on the head. Binoculars are an absolutely ideal way to get into the hobby. Cheap, vastly more portable, wider field of view - and it is quite remarkable what you can see.

Set up two deck chairs, have a thermos flask of coffee on hand and show your girlfriend the Pleiades and the Orion neb through a pair of 7x50 binoculars on a good clear night. She'll be hooked! :D

(Oh - just noticed that you are from Canada. Better include the Long Johns in that equation as well! :o )

BigJim
2003-Apr-11, 10:17 PM
Try to keep from turning it with your hands. The Autostar won't have any idea where it really is pointed.

You are supposed to do this manually. Perhaps I should rephrase my question: Can anybody explain how to simply put the telescope into alt/az HOME position?

Tito_Muerte
2003-Apr-12, 02:59 AM
Well AGN..that sounds like a good plan.

Interesting crack about Canada though, my Girlfriend JUST got back from Australia of all places...... anyway, good idea...I'll invest in some binoculars first I guess....then we'll upgrade.

(by the way, we're both Tea drinkers :))