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Fitzgerald
2006-Oct-16, 07:39 PM
Hello all. While I am by no means as "in the know" as everyone else on this forum I do love the astronomy cast episodes. Being a poor college student I dont even own a telescope :mad: , but reading and learning about astrophysics, cosmology, and astronomy has always been a passion of mine. (BTW...I think Dr. Gay and Fraser should be the model that college professors are required to follow...very nice teaching style). Anyways, I was reading earlier today on the astronomynow.com website about a possible new theory of the Universe, or rather of Gravity; a five-dimensional theory that would stray away from Einstein's theory of relativity. This seems very interesting to me and was wondering if, at some point in the future when more evidence is presented, you would be willing to do a show about it. If not, atleast maybe post your thoughts on the idea. The article was a bit vague, but like I said it seems very interesting.

"The theory holds that the visible universe is a membrane (hence "braneworld") embedded within a larger universe, much like a strand of filmy seaweed floating in the ocean." -DUKE AND RUTGERS UNIVERSITIES NEWS RELEASE Posted: May 29, 2006


P.S. What type of telescope/lenses would you recommend for a low budget, casual star gazer? There seem to be endless amounts of them depending on budget/location and I can never figure out what to do look for. (I live in a slightly bright city, Charlotte N.C.)

Thanks again for your time and I hope I haven't broken any rules by posting this here :whistle:

squid
2006-Oct-19, 03:21 AM
I'm a broke high school chick, and I've been wondering the same things about telescopes, although for more rural areas.

Kevn
2006-Oct-24, 05:43 AM
You'll both like the current podcast, which talks about getting started with telescopes and such.

I would suggest finding a local astronomy club and hooking up with them. I will point you to this thread (http://www.bautforum.com/showthread.php?t=48414) where we are commenting on the new show, and I posted links on where to go online to find a local astronomy club.

Kevin

Fraser
2006-Oct-24, 02:58 PM
You ask, and we deliver. Thanks for the great show suggestion.

suitti
2006-Nov-20, 06:36 PM
I've been doing ameteur astronomy with some vigor for about five years. This year, I bought a scope. While having a ten inch scope is better than having a six inch scope, it is becoming very clear that having a dark sky site to view from with a four inch scope is better than having a ten inch scope in downtown Detroit (more or less where I live). From my back yard, M87 (a galaxy) is simply not visible in my 10 inch. From a dark sky site, it was visible to Messier, who would have killed to have my 10 inch scope. He used something like a three inch refractor to put his famous list together. He lived before Edison invented the electric light. Even in 1930, downtown Philadelphia was a decent dark sky sight. The Franklin Institute has a couple very nice 20 inch scopes mounted on the building. Today they're good for looking at Jupiter, The Moon, and The Sun. This has been fixed since then.

That said, there is an $80 filter that saves a class of object for my even my front yard (which faces a shopping center parking lot with flood lights). It's the Oxygen III filter. With it, you can see nebulae. I saw M16, the Eagle Nebula, from my front yard, even though I had to aim the scope between the lights in the parking lot. The narrow band filter does not let anything through that wasn't emitted by this excited gas. It is recommended that you have at least an 8 inch scope for this filter. I've had good luck with one on a 6 inch refractor. For my front yard, a thick black cloth to put over your head helps block out the stray light.

Object types i've seen this calendar year: The Sun (use a filter or projection, please), the Moon (I use a moon filter which blocks 90% of the light with my 10 inch, and it's still too bright), the other planets except Pluto. Ceres, and a couple other minor planets. Stars, double stars, double double stars, galaxies, nebulae, clusters - open and globular, and comets. Not once have i looked for heavenly bodies through neighbor's windows.

suitti
2006-Nov-20, 06:39 PM
Nebulae. What are they? If the "empty space" two hundred miles above the Earth's surface is a pretty good hard vaccum, why can we se nebulae at all? I mean, there must be an atom per cubic meter, or something like that.

luckynate
2007-Jan-02, 10:27 AM
Where does gravity come from? PLEASE! tell me this and i will die happy

Sticks
2007-Jan-03, 01:54 PM
How about Near Earth Objects?

They are the stuff of disaster movies like Meteor, Armageddon and Deep Impact. It is believed that a NEO caused a mass extinction at the end of the Cretatious, yet from what I heard the number of people scanning the skies for these is equivallent to the crew compliment of your local MacDonalds.

Perhaps we could have a discussion about how likely these things will hit us and if one were on course for Earth, how much warning would we get and what we could do.

chuckb
2007-Jan-03, 08:45 PM
I realize that this may venture a bit off the core topic, but you did mention in Episode 17] that the moon causes some mountains to change height by up to 30cm in line with the tidal surge caused by the moon [oh yeah, and the sun], so what I would like to hear about is thy effects of this much force flexing our planets techtonic plates and this contribution to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions etc etc.

KingNor
2007-Jan-06, 03:24 PM
Fitzgerald and squid:

I'm in the same boat as you, low budget and little experience, but i can recomend something to you.

Try hitting up a big 5 (they have sales all the time so wait for a good deal) and pick up a pair of 20x150 binoculars. i got mine for thrity bucks and they're made by Barska, who i understand are a good name in binoculars.

the cool thing is they are great for looking at the moon, and looking at dark spots in the sky, you can see SO much more with them than the naked eye it'lll definatly be fun for you.

the reason i think binoculars are a good starting point is because you can use them for things other than stargazing, theyre hand held and super easy to use obviously. I took mine to fleet week in San Fran not too long ago and watching the planes up close was just that much more fun.

Also i highly recomend a tripod adaptor, with that i could see moons around jupiter. that was a trip. it helps to have a tripod for things that are closer too, because the high magnification can make things a little jittery

I'd try looking for a good star comunity in your area, too. the san jose group has days specifically to let newbies check out other members telescopes and look at things you normaly would have a lot of trouble finding yourself. (you have to be very careful though :-) )