PDA

View Full Version : Heartbreakers



Torsten
2001-Oct-29, 04:26 AM
We rented Heartbreakers (http://www.mgm.com/heartbreakers/) the other night. Now, you can't get serious about bad astronomy in a movie like this. It's a comedy after all. But you know, once a geek, always a geek, so here I dutifully point out a couple of things I noticed:

There's a scene where the bartender/owner Jack (Jason Lee) is showing Page (Jennifer Love Hewitt) his telescope which he has set up on the beach to do astrophotography.

I didn't pay much attention to the equipment -- JLH was in the scene after all -- but it looks like about a 5" refractor on a German equatorial mount. I noticed, however, there was no camera or imager attached, just a standard diagonal with an eyepiece. Okay, okay, I realize he could always have been planning to attach it later.

What was really amazing though, was the view of the Crab Nebula as supposedly seen visually through this scope. It looked like this:

http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/image/crab_h5m.gif

Man, I'm upgrading from my 90 mm ETX ASAP! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif

Wally
2001-Oct-29, 11:53 AM
I tell ya! It's visuals like that that get people to buy telescopes. . . and then subsequently sell them when they realize that ain't what they're gonna see!

Kaptain K
2001-Oct-29, 06:07 PM
On 2001-10-29 06:53, Wally wrote:
I tell ya! It's visuals like that that get people to buy telescopes. . . and then subsequently sell them when they realize that ain't what they're gonna see!

Yeah, that and misleading advertising like 657 power (for a 60mm refractor) when the maximum useable magnification is around 150X. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_evil.gif

The Rat
2001-Oct-29, 06:23 PM
I've got a liquid-filled scope that shows stuff just like that. But first I have to take the cork out and drain it.

Hale_Bopp
2001-Oct-29, 08:33 PM
I just happened to see them advertising telescopes on one of the shoppping channels while flipping through the dial last week. I had to stop and watch for a minute. It was a standard 60mm refractor and they held up some pictures that were obviously not taken through a 60mm refractor!

I was talking to a person who works at Apache Point Observatory. He said the best visual observing he ever did was while they were building the 3.5 meter telescope. Before they attached the camera, you could stand in the focal plane and just sort of look at galaxies and see color! Now THAT would be a telescope! You can't do that with the insturmentation attached /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_frown.gif

Rob

Wally
2001-Oct-30, 11:30 AM
Now that would be just too darn cool for words. No eyepiece or anything. . . just stand in the focal plane and see incredible images. Wonder how much a 3.5 meter Dobs would weigh??? /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif

Mr. X
2001-Oct-31, 02:13 AM
Hmm, usually it seems to me the pictures they show to sell telescopes are taken with Hubble or some sort of high altitude ground based observatory in optimal conditions.

It's why I bought a telescope, and since I can't see all those pretty colors promised it's being shelved. And it will stay that way for one hell of a time.

There's just nothing in that damned sky. Shimmering dots and one occasional spot like Jupiter or Saturn (which look like those small alphabet shaped noodles in soup).

My telescope: Worst money spent. Hint: Look at pictures taken by hubble or professionals.

Hale_Bopp
2001-Oct-31, 03:03 AM
On 2001-10-30 21:13, Mr. X wrote:
Hmm, usually it seems to me the pictures they show to sell telescopes are taken with Hubble or some sort of high altitude ground based observatory in optimal conditions.

It's why I bought a telescope, and since I can't see all those pretty colors promised it's being shelved. And it will stay that way for one hell of a time.

There's just nothing in that damned sky. Shimmering dots and one occasional spot like Jupiter or Saturn (which look like those small alphabet shaped noodles in soup).

My telescope: Worst money spent. Hint: Look at pictures taken by hubble or professionals.


Actually, the big problem with telescopes is expectations. Your eye cannot take a timed exposure and let the photons build up like film or a CCD camera.

With that said, observing is an art. It takes a lot of patience to see the detail in a small telescope. I have a 5 inch telesocpe, and 8 inch telescope, and a pair of 80mm binoculars. Each instrument has its strengths and weeknesses, but each is capable of showing stunning views when turned on the correct object.

I was at the Winter Star Party last year in the Florida Keys. Using the 5 inch telescope, I picked out 7 different galaxies in the same field of view in the Leo cluster (near M65 if I remember my Messier objects correctly). I have friends with larger telescopes who have shown me lensed quasars. Visually impressive? Maybe not. Kind of awe inspiring to realize you are looking at objects that are literally billions of light years away.

Visual observing isn't for everyone, but it sure holds some rewards if you are patient and have realistic expectations.

Rob

Wally
2001-Oct-31, 04:28 PM
On 2001-10-30 21:13, Mr. X wrote:
Hmm, usually it seems to me the pictures they show to sell telescopes are taken with Hubble or some sort of high altitude ground based observatory in optimal conditions.

It's why I bought a telescope, and since I can't see all those pretty colors promised it's being shelved. And it will stay that way for one hell of a time.

There's just nothing in that damned sky. Shimmering dots and one occasional spot like Jupiter or Saturn (which look like those small alphabet shaped noodles in soup).

My telescope: Worst money spent. Hint: Look at pictures taken by hubble or professionals.


Sheeeesh Mr. X!!! Where's your sense of romance, adventure and pure love of the fine science of Astronomy and the art of observing??? I'm sittin' here dieing to buy me a scope, and then you gotta come along and burst my bubble! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif. . . Actually, I'm fully aware that what you see doesn't compare to the long exposure photo's, but how can you still not be filled with awe when viewing globular clusters, far off galaxies, etc. . .

Mr. X
2001-Oct-31, 06:00 PM
It would be fun if they didn't all look the same. I mean, it feels like we're part of some cheap low-budget crappy computer game with the same textures repeated over and over, sticked on some sphere. Add to that the fact that they look really distorted and low res.

To me that little levitating thing from balsa wood and aluminium foil is a lot more exciting mainly because it gives me the illusion it has a point. The universe on the other hand impresses me because of its overall complete pointlessness. Why if I had all the matter wasted on the universe I could build untold numbers of aluminium foil lifters. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif Oh well, had to settle for 1,80$ of balsa wood and 8$ of cyanoacrylate glue.

I guess I'm just one of those people who prefer to live inside of their heads. Now if only I had company in there. Wait that would make me a schizophrene. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_razz.gif

Now to attack the problem of the power. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

Moonpuppy
2001-Oct-31, 06:35 PM
Just think of the countless hours that astronomers spend at a telescope, searching the skies for some new anomaly or discovery--and the even more hours they spend looking through star charts filled with millions of tiny white specks (or black specks if they're using a photographic negative). Seems immensely dull to me, but I guess someone has to do it.

Wally
2001-Oct-31, 06:50 PM
On 2001-10-31 13:35, Moonpuppy wrote:
Just think of the countless hours that astronomers spend at a telescope, searching the skies for some new anomaly or discovery--and the even more hours they spend looking through star charts filled with millions of tiny white specks (or black specks if they're using a photographic negative). Seems immensely dull to me, but I guess someone has to do it.



Actually MP (may I call you MP???), I think the astronomers also found that type of thing to be immensely dull as well. Hence, they now have them there fancy computers do all that analysis stuff. They just sit back drinking their coffee and shnopps, wait for the little "I found something" buzzer to go off, then they take all the credit!!! Ain't that right BA!

ToSeek
2001-Oct-31, 08:46 PM
On 2001-10-31 13:50, Wally wrote:


On 2001-10-31 13:35, Moonpuppy wrote:
Just think of the countless hours that astronomers spend at a telescope, searching the skies for some new anomaly or discovery--and the even more hours they spend looking through star charts filled with millions of tiny white specks (or black specks if they're using a photographic negative). Seems immensely dull to me, but I guess someone has to do it.



Actually MP (may I call you MP???), I think the astronomers also found that type of thing to be immensely dull as well. Hence, they now have them there fancy computers do all that analysis stuff. They just sit back drinking their coffee and shnopps, wait for the little "I found something" buzzer to go off, then they take all the credit!!! Ain't that right BA!


I want one of those buzzers. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif

Hale_Bopp
2001-Oct-31, 11:12 PM
Yes, sitting around looking for specs is dull. With CCD imaging, you can do all kinds of fancy stuff.

I work with SDSS data a lot. There is a query tool based on SQL. I can tell it to return all blue galaxies with a redshift from .2 to .3 and presto! I have my data set and can get to work.

The software measures all the magnitudes, spectral lines, classifies the objects as galaxies, stars, or moving objects, etc., then you get to dig in!

Rob

MongotheGreat
2001-Nov-02, 03:17 AM
Sheeeesh Mr. X!!! Where's your sense of romance, adventure and pure love of the fine science of Astronomy and the art of observing??? I'm sittin' here dieing to buy me a scope, and then you gotta come along and burst my bubble! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_wink.gif. . . Actually, I'm fully aware that what you see doesn't compare to the long exposure photo's, but how can you still not be filled with awe when viewing globular clusters, far off galaxies, etc. . .

Don't listen to X, buying a telescope was my best investment and has given me countless hours of enjoyment. Also, learning to use it helped prepare me for my college work.

Wally
2001-Nov-02, 11:58 AM
Thanks Mongo. But no need to worry. My hankering to buy a scope is unquenchable. My wife even wants one. If only she didn't want a remodeled living room more, I'd already own one!

Torsten
2001-Nov-02, 11:53 PM
Mr X:
My telescope: Worst money spent. Hint: Look at pictures taken by hubble or professionals.

My 90 mm Meade ETX is amongst the best investments I've made. It has good optics and its portability makes it easy to set up on short notice. With it, I have


watched the changes in sunspots from day to day,
seen Io disappear into the shadow of the Jupiter,
detected the Cassini division in Saturn's rings,
looked at M81 and 82 and savoured the idea that those photons had travelled for millions of years to land on my retina (perhaps someone out there was looking back at me??),
enjoyed the Orion Nebula with a view that no imager can duplicate,
followed the day-to-day changes in the position of Ceres as it moved through the Hyades,
struggled to find the Ring Nebula the first time, but amazed with the ease at which I can find it now,
shared the above and many other things with my kids and friends.


Now and then I crave for a larger and fancier telescope, but the reality is that my current situation will only allow so much time for this hobby, and resources are limited anyway. But time spent at the eyepiece in visual observation is just something that can't be replaced by the stuff from Hubble or the other big scopes. It satisfies a different need.

David Simmons
2001-Nov-03, 01:44 AM
On 2001-11-02 18:53, Torsten wrote:
It satisfies a different need.



Exactly!

It is exactly the same thing as asking why go fishing when you can get all the fish you want at the market just down the street?

Why play golf when you can watch people on television who can really play?

Why do anything when somewhere there are people who can doubtless do it better than you?

Ben Benoy
2001-Nov-03, 02:46 AM
On 2001-11-02 18:53, Torsten wrote:

looked at M81 and 82 and savoured the idea that those photons had travelled for millions of years to land on my retina (perhaps someone out there was looking back at me??)




Woah... taken in the right context, this is one of the more egocentric lines out there. All those photons. Travelling for millions of years. To get to my eyes.

But seriously, is the Meade 90 mm the little short and stumpy one they have at all the Discovery Stores and stuff at the mall?

Also, David, stop pointing out that there's always somebody better. It's depressing.. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_frown.gif

Ben Benoy

David Simmons
2001-Nov-03, 02:58 AM
On 2001-10-30 21:13, Mr. X wrote:
Hmm, usually it seems to me the pictures they show to sell telescopes are taken with Hubble or some sort of high altitude ground based observatory in optimal conditions.

It's why I bought a telescope, and since I can't see all those pretty colors promised it's being shelved. And it will stay that way for one hell of a time.

There's just nothing in that damned sky. Shimmering dots and one occasional spot like Jupiter or Saturn (which look like those small alphabet shaped noodles in soup).

<font color="red">My telescope: Worst money spent. Hint: Look at pictures taken by hubble or professionals.</font>


Oh, Ben, I was just trying to satarize the post by Mr. X, cited above. He later said he was being satarical also. Maybe so.

Torsten
2001-Nov-03, 06:18 AM
Ben: Woah... taken in the right context, this is one of the more egocentric lines out there. All those photons. Travelling for millions of years. To get to my eyes.

I guess that would be the wong context then. I think a person would have to be pretty egocentric to have an understanding of the size of the universe and not wonder whether there is other life out there that might be wondering the same thing. And the only chance of "interaction" is by way of a few photons that register as a smudge on our retinas, with no hope of really understanding except by what we can learn from those photons. And of course, all we see is the way those galaxies were, not the way they are. I dunno, but I feel at once very small, and at the same time very privileged to be able to catch a personal glimpse of these distant places and to ponder such thoughts. It's difficult to express. I guess I'm still in awe of it all.

As to the ETX, it's a very popular scope, and I imagine it's sold in a large variety of places now. I bought mine in a little science shop several years ago. Weasner's Mighty ETX Site (http://www.weasner.com/etx/index.html) offers a lot of insights into the various models and accessories.


<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Torsten on 2001-11-03 01:26 ]</font>