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ATTENTION: Astronomers and especially Telescope Experts by JSocha
Started on: 12-03-2001 07:22 PM
Replies: 27
Last post by: JSocha on 12-09-2001 02:33 PM
JSocha
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Report this Post12-03-2001 07:22 PM Click Here to See the Profile for JSochaSend a Private Message to JSochaDirect Link to This Post
Of course, we all know it tis the season for holiday shopping and of course maxing out the Credit Card to their maximum limits.

I've got one gift left to buy, and that is for my youngest daughter.

And of all things, she wants a "TELESCOPE" because she likes travel, travel shows and star gazing.

Well, today I just got my recent ORION catalog and have no idea if what I'm looking at will be any good.

I'm considering a NOVICE to INTERMIDIATE telescope for her, so she can grow with it. If I post links to scopes I'm looking at, could some Experts here on the forum in telescopes tell me if they are good or not and subsequently recommend one?

I'm going to read the catalog first and flag the ones I think before I go to the website and find the respective scopes. Unless, somebody else gets the same catalog I do and can recommend any from them. Under $600.00 of course.

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Report this Post12-03-2001 08:49 PM Click Here to See the Profile for OreifClick Here to visit Oreif's HomePageClick Here to Email OreifSend a Private Message to OreifDirect Link to This Post
I have a Bushnell Deep Space model # 78-9518
They run about $350, But I've seen them as low as $269. They work great and come with software that you enter your location and it shows you what and where to see things from your location. (stars, planets, etc). The software also gives a brief description of known stars/planets. It also come with a "Fun with Astronomy" book that gives all the basic's of star gazing. On a good clear night and the 3X lens you can see Saturn's rings. It is comparable to the "Orion Spaceprobe 130" (I personally like the Bushnell optics better) But I think either will be fine.
The telescope looks like this:

Hope this helps,

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Happiness isn't around the corner...
Happiness IS the corner.

[This message has been edited by Oreif (edited 12-03-2001).]

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Cliff Pennock
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Report this Post12-03-2001 08:50 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Cliff PennockClick Here to visit Cliff Pennock's HomePageClick Here to Email Cliff PennockSend a Private Message to Cliff PennockDirect Link to This Post
I'd go with a Reflector telescope instead of a Refractor. Optics are much simpler and she'll be able to see much dimmer objects.

The 130mm SpaceProbe ($229) looks good.

If you have a computer, you could complement it with a nice star mapping program so she will now where to find certain celestial bodies. I use an old Dos program called "Dance of the Planets" which is an incredibly acurate emulator.

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Patrick's Dad
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Report this Post12-03-2001 10:12 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Patrick's DadClick Here to visit Patrick's Dad's HomePageClick Here to Email Patrick's DadSend a Private Message to Patrick's DadDirect Link to This Post
The issues with reflectors are thus:

1) They're open tubes, open to dust, to moisture, and, I found, open to small objects that children might decide to drop in the tube. As to the first, I will admit that it takes a surprising amount of dust to degrade the image significantly. Also, the open tube lets the scope come to temperature more quickly than a closed tube.

2) Collimation (Alignment of the optics) is easier than other designs to lose. The primary and secondary mirrors move independently of each other, and, if jarred, can take time and patience to realign. Other designs are a little more difficult to knock out of collimation than a Newtonion reflector, but, of course, are more difficult to put back in if they are knocked out.

3) Most small reflectors (even many of up to 8") are Chinese made, and so you have to be careful mostly of the mount and the accessories. Believe it or not, a 4.5" from Bushnell is the same as a 4.5" from Celestron, Meade, Tasco, or Orion. The difference is in the mount (how sturdy is it) and the eyepieces, in particular. The Orions come with 1¼" ep's, as do the Celestrons. You can't be sure with Meade, especially if it is "by Meade," as in Polaris, Saturn, Jupiter, etc.

4) Unless the mirror is precision parabolic (or a corrected spherical, like the Celestron G-8N), the tubes are kind of long, making for a larger package to carry.

That all said, my pick is the Celestron G-5 Schmidt-Cassegrain scope. Hand configured 5" optics corrected beyond the limit of vision, made in USA, good mount, 1¼" eyepiece, and a decent finderscope. About $700.00.

If that's too much, the Orion StarMax 102mm EQ looks interesting. a 4" Maksutov-Cassegrain on a similar mount to the G-5. The eyepiece is even a Plössl (A flatter field design than the SMA of the Celestron). $389.00

There are also some decent short tube achromatic and near apochromatic refractors out there, if you want to lavish her with more $$!

If you have more Q's, feel free to e-mail me.

EDIT: Added the pic, and just really reread your post. The StarMax 127 actually fits all the bills. Under $600, and compact for travel. Of course, you could look at the 102 and a bunch of accessories, like a carry case, more eyepieces, and software. Look at Starry Night at http://www.space.com

[This message has been edited by Patrick's Dad (edited 12-03-2001).]

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ray b
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Report this Post12-03-2001 11:40 PM Click Here to See the Profile for ray bClick Here to Email ray bSend a Private Message to ray bDirect Link to This Post
GET SKY AND TELESCOPE MAG
HOW OLD IS KID
BINOCK'S ARE BEST FOR LITTLE ONES
7X50 OR 10X50 K-WAL-MART $50 OR SO
IF BIG ENUFF TO HOLD THEM
OR A LAP SCOPE LIKE EDMOUND SCI SELLS
CELESTRON ARE GOOD BUT HI END
SMALL C-TYPES CAN BE USED AS A CAMERA LENZ
START SMALL MY 8" NEWTONEAN IS VERY HEAVY
WITH MOUNT AND DRIVE MOTOR.

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Question wonder and be wierd

[This message has been edited by ray b (edited 12-03-2001).]

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JSocha
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Report this Post12-04-2001 12:15 AM Click Here to See the Profile for JSochaSend a Private Message to JSochaDirect Link to This Post
Thanks so far with the input.

Patrik's Dad: Now I feel like a kid...have absolutely no idea what you said. I'll email you within a day or two and after I've had a chance to review my Orion. Maybe it will enlighten me some...not likely...but hey...who knows! Maybe then I can interpret what you tell me.

Age: 16 - Freshman in High School and lays out on the ground during the summer time to view the night sky or when she is out with the horses.

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JSocha
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Report this Post12-04-2001 10:01 AM Click Here to See the Profile for JSochaSend a Private Message to JSochaDirect Link to This Post

JSocha

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Okay, I went through the ORION catalog late lastnight; read what I could; understood very little of what they were talking about; wondering if these are good or not to view planets up close and see beyond that. Kathy wants to be able to see the surfaces of planets, rings of Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Nebulas, Galaxy's, etc..

I've narrowed it down to these from the ORION catalog, but as stated earlier, don't know which one is better then the other. I'm below illiterate on the nomenclature they talk about on any of these.

LEVEL: NOVICE
Name/Link: Orion SkyQuest XT4.5 Dobsonian Telescope
PRICE: $199.00

LEVEL: NOVICE
Name/Link: Orion SpaceProbe 130mm EQ Reflector
PRICE: $229.00
RECOMMENDED BY: Cliff Pennock
==================================
LEVEL: NOVICE / INTERMEDIATE
Name/Link: Orion SpaceProbe 130ST EQ Reflector
PRICE: $299.00

LEVEL: NOVICE / INTERMEDIATE
Name/Link: Orion SkyQuest XT6 Dobsonian Telescope
PRICE: $349.00

LEVEL: NOVICE / INTERMEDIATE
Name/Link: Orion StarMax 102mm EQ Compact "Mak" Telescope
PRICE: $389.00
==================================
LEVEL: INTERMEDIATE
Name/Link: Orion SkyView Delux 6 EQ Newtonian
PRICE: $399.00

LEVEL: INTERMEDIATE
Name/Link: Orion SkyQuest XT8 Dobsonian Reflector
PRICE: $479.00
==================================
LEVEL: INTERMEDIATE / AVID
Name/Link: Orion AstroView 120ST EQ Rich-Field Refractor
PRICE: $519.00

LEVEL: INTERMEDIATE / AVID
Name/Link: Orion SkyView Deluxe 8 EQ Newtonian
PRICE: $529.00

LEVEL: INTERMEDIATE / AVID
Name/Link: Orion StarMax 127mm EQ Compact "Mak" Telescope
PRICE: $539.00
RECOMMENDED BY: Patrick's Dad

LEVEL: INTERMEDIATE / AVID
Name/Link: Orion SkyQuest XT10 Dobsonian Reflector
PRICE: $649.00

If anyone can assist me on reviewing these to scratch which ones would not fit the bill (as I have no clue) so I can have just a few to choose from that would be ideal and allow future growth, would be certainly appreciated. Would like to get one ordered soon so it is here in time for when Santa needs to visit.

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JSocha
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Report this Post12-04-2001 10:12 AM Click Here to See the Profile for JSochaSend a Private Message to JSochaDirect Link to This Post
Thank you Patrik's Dad for the link to software. Finally had the "mental capacity" today to look, as that was my next search.
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Patrick's Dad
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Report this Post12-04-2001 11:27 AM Click Here to See the Profile for Patrick's DadClick Here to visit Patrick's Dad's HomePageClick Here to Email Patrick's DadSend a Private Message to Patrick's DadDirect Link to This Post
I'll try to simplify what I said, not because of any estimation of anyone's abilities, but because I'm used to having a bunch of demonstration aids beside me (alas, no longer have that job....).

The main benefit of a telescope, any telescope, is that it collects fam more light than the eye can. The larger the scope (in tube diameter), the brighter the object viewed will be, and greater resolution (amount of visible detail) is available. For instance, a 5" scope (like the SpaceProbe 130 or the Celestron G-5) gathers twice as much light as a 3.5" scope (The Meade ETX). The problem with this is that the larger scope is more vulnerable to light pollution, i.e. too much stray light from a nearby city. Cliff has this problem, and, to an extent, so do I.

The secondary benefit, of course, is magnification. This has to do with the length of the light path from primary lens or mirror to the eyepiece when focused at infinity (This is the focal length) divided by the eyepiece focal length. A refractor or Newtonian reflector at this price range are typically 900-1000mm in focal length, and, by design, this is the minimum length of the tube that she will carry. A 1000mm scope is 40" long. Plus mount and accessories. OTOH, compound telescopes, AKA catadioptrics, "fold" light within themselves, and are, therefore, smaller tubes. The G-5 SCT (Schmidt Cassegrain Telescope) is about 15" long despite its 1250mm focal length, plus mount and accessories, and the two Maks (Maksutov-Cassegrain) from Orion are similarly sized. Another benefit to the 102 over the 127 is the smaller (lighter) mount. Beware of the 120ST only for its massive mount. It's rock solid, but you mentioned that your daughter likes to travel.

Other limitations:

Dawe's Limit: Most commercial scopes are limited in resolution to about 60X their diameter in inches. Therefore, the SM102 (4") has a top limit of 240X, and the 127 (5") is 300X. That said, it is rare that you'll want to use so much power, but not out of the question. I'm expecting a Tele-Vue 4.8mm Nagler for my 5" SCT (268X) for Saturn, in particular, but I enjoy the Orion Nebula at 48X.

Atmospheric limitations: Most scopes will not make thier top capabilities most of the time. Atmospheric movement, smog, high clouds, and humidity will all limit a telescope's capabilities to one extent or another. This isn't to say you won't get a great view, but you may not be able to push even the best scopes on many nights.

Portability: As you can see, I really stress this. Dobs (Like the XT8) are great if you're willing to carry them (I have a friend with a 30"). The mount is often heavier than the tube, so keep that in consideration. The alt-az movements are neat, but, at 16, your daughter should be able to figure out an EQ mount. Plus, if your daughter travels by air, the dob would not be able to go with her. Think about what she will be willing to take, carry, and use. $800 is better spent in use than $300 in the closet.

Hope this helps. I look forward to your e-mail.

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JSocha
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Report this Post12-04-2001 11:41 AM Click Here to See the Profile for JSochaSend a Private Message to JSochaDirect Link to This Post
I must have gotten smarter over night. I actually understood some of what you said...to a point.

She's 16 and by travel, I meant she likes TV shows and other things that deal with the topic "travel". She actually knows where TIMBUCKTO is. But do you think we can get her to go there. Nooooo!

She even reads "National Geographics". Mind you, from cover to cover. I only looked for the pictures...of the nudie women when I was that age. hehehehe

But, for now, she'll be using it around our place, which is just outside the city limits and we have fields all around us that she can go out into to setup that are devoid of city lights or we can go out of town to our old place which is out in the country with absolutely no lights for miles. If she needs help lifting, more then likely, old step dad here will be throwing his back out moving it if its a big one.

EDIT: Even thought she's a small kid at 5'8", around 60-100 pounds, she lifts 35-100 pound straw bales with no problems for the horses.

She's also about ready to get her drivers licence, so she can load it in a vehicle.

Just want something that is going to be good.

I'll email you tonight when I'm at home Patrik. If possible, maybe even call you? Thanks!

[This message has been edited by JSocha (edited 12-04-2001).]

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Patrick's Dad
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Report this Post12-04-2001 06:24 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Patrick's DadClick Here to visit Patrick's Dad's HomePageClick Here to Email Patrick's DadSend a Private Message to Patrick's DadDirect Link to This Post
E-Mail me at will, though I'm teleconfrencing with a friend whose web site we are putting the finishing touches on.
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JSocha
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Report this Post12-04-2001 07:13 PM Click Here to See the Profile for JSochaSend a Private Message to JSochaDirect Link to This Post
Patrik's Dad: You got email!
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Report this Post12-04-2001 09:14 PM Click Here to See the Profile for NeadleMeyerClick Here to Email NeadleMeyerSend a Private Message to NeadleMeyerDirect Link to This Post
I have been into Astronomy for over 15 years... very hard core! I owned a Meade LX200 back in 1994.. but sold it for school


This is my new scope, a Orion XT10.

Also, I am saving for a $10,000 Takahashi Telescope - I hope to have one before 2005.

I live for Astronomy, it is my passion of life. My passion.



my old Meade... I miss you baby

[This message has been edited by NeadleMeyer (edited 12-05-2001).]

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ray b
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Report this Post12-04-2001 09:56 PM Click Here to See the Profile for ray bClick Here to Email ray bSend a Private Message to ray bDirect Link to This Post
the dobsonian is most glass/bigest for $$
but not as good for photo's of stars or on earth or eazy to move. best backyard for looking up with bigest brightest view
smaller shmidt-cassiograins are better with a camera or for a look at horses/birds and eazy to move and take with c-3" to 6" size.

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JSocha
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Report this Post12-06-2001 09:50 AM Click Here to See the Profile for JSochaSend a Private Message to JSochaDirect Link to This Post
I still need help. Just when I thought I had 4 picked out, the proverbial Monkey wrench had to be thrown in.

Days are counting down fast.

Patrick's Dad, when's a good time to talk with you emono/emono on this?

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Report this Post12-06-2001 11:39 AM Click Here to See the Profile for turbo86seClick Here to Email turbo86seSend a Private Message to turbo86seDirect Link to This Post
I've been thinking about getting one myself. Did you check out Discovery Store? They have a bunch at good prices. www.discoverystore.com
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Ken Wittlief
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Report this Post12-06-2001 12:06 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Ken WittliefSend a Private Message to Ken WittliefDirect Link to This Post
OK Jeff, here comes the BIG monkey wrench!

I had a telescope when I was a teenager - a generic $100 refractor, about 3 feet long with a plainjane wooden tripod.

Set up for the highest magnification you could point it at Jupiter and see a small disk and its moons, and you could tell there are rings around saturn, and you could see venus go through it phases like the moon does.

And if you point it at the moon, thats really cool, you can see the craters and lots of details and it gives you a real sense of awe.

But the bummer part is, if you point it at any star all you see if a point of light! Not much diffent than looking at them with the naked eye.

and you dont see much detail at all looking at the planets. At 300x they are about as big as - about as big as this letter -O- if you are sitting 3 feet from your monitor - thats what saturn will look like! Thats it!

If you want to look at deep space objects like nebula and galaxies, you have to spend lots of money - you need to get a big lense out there, and time lapse photography quickly becomes your next step.

The problem is we are all spoiled by the exceptional images from big observitories like Palomar, and the stuff we have seen from Hubble - so I can guarentee you dissapointment when you look throught the lens of anything you can afford without a government grant and help from NASA.

Im not trying to discourage you, only to point out that you can see the moon and most planets with a $200 refractor telescope - but if you are really serious about seeing much more - you need to spend thousands of dollars to make a significant step above that.

One other good thing about refractor telescopes it the image is rightside up, so you can use it to look at birds and animals and other nature stuff. To give you an idea, with a 300x setup if you look at a fire hydrant a block away, all you see is the top (cap) part of it. They are fun to play with in the daytime too.

If your daughter is really interested in astronomy she might be happier joining a club that has a big telescope, or that goes to a university observatory from time to time.

There is a thrill in looking through a small telescope at Jupiter and saturn and the moon, like Gallelio did hundreds of years ago - but all the advances that have been made since then come with a big pricetag $$$.

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Report this Post12-06-2001 12:30 PM Click Here to See the Profile for JSochaSend a Private Message to JSochaDirect Link to This Post
Ken, you didn't throw a BIG Monkey Wrench into this.

More like an oil driller's wrench. Much, much bigger then a BIG Monkey Wrench.

No observatories and no astronomy clubs around here. She checked already. She thought she could get involved with it in 4H club, as they have the option/box on the activities form, but its not available in our area. She was kind of bummed about that when she signed up for it and they told her last weekend she needed to pick something else because they never offered it, its just on the form.

We were looking at buying her something that would grow with her. If she outgrows this one and/or wants to do more with it, we want the flexibility there to expand upon it instead of having to buy her a completely different setup.

I learned lastnight that when she was younger, she had several books on astronomy and could pick the constellations out of the sky along with other stars when she was 8-9 years old.

However, her father at the time, didn't like it so he took her books and threw them away because it was becoming a threat to his intelligence (which IMO he lacked) and the girls were becoming smarter then him.

His whole goal was to "discourge" their growth rather then "encourage" it.

I've found that the interests the girls had as kids, but could not enjoy because of their father, are taking full advantage of being able to do it now.

Band, horses, animals, games, sports, reading, crafts, art, social activities, music, etc.. If they have a particular interest in something, we (especially I) want to encourage it as much as possible.

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Report this Post12-06-2001 12:50 PM Click Here to See the Profile for RaydarClick Here to Email RaydarSend a Private Message to RaydarDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by JSocha:
His whole goal was to "discourge" their growth rather then "encourage" it.

Sad. Why do people have to be like this? Just damn.

Sorry. I don't know much of anything about telescopes, but I couldn't let that go without comment.
I'll leave, now. Please continue.

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Raydar

From the Department of Redundancy Department.

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Patrick's Dad
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Report this Post12-06-2001 09:36 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Patrick's DadClick Here to visit Patrick's Dad's HomePageClick Here to Email Patrick's DadSend a Private Message to Patrick's DadDirect Link to This Post
<quote>I had a telescope when I was a teenager - a generic $100 refractor, about 3 feet long with a plainjane wooden tripod... and you dont see much detail at all looking at the planets. At 300x they are about as big as -...</quote>

Ken, your problems came from the scope you had, and unrealistic expectations. I had these too, when I was young, and that's why education is so important. That's what I did for a living, up until two months ago, and still do as a member of South Shore (Boston) Astronomical Society.

To wit, as I explained earlier in the thread, a telescope's main feature is light gathering, by which increased resolution is available. While a 60mm refractor is quite a bit better than the 5-7mm dilated pupil, it is about 15% of the 5" telescopes that I own and Jeff is considering for his stepdaughter. While planetary surfaces are not entirely in reach (Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn, among others, don't have visible surfaces to the HST!), increased resolution makes for wonderful observations of the ring groups of Saturn (Including the Cassini Division), the atmospheric bands and Great Red Spot on Jupiter, Polar Ice Caps on Mars, and far, far more in interstellar space.

Of course distant stars are just brighter points in a telescope, they are *incredibly* far away. OTOH, had you ever pointed your scope to Mizar, the middle star in the Big Dipper's handle? It's a double, easily resolved in a 60mm scope (The companion is called Alcor. I've even resolved it in a 16mm camera lens!). Check out the Pleides (sp?), a group of new stars within the Taurus boundary. They are visible to the naked eye as a miniature Subaru logo ("Subaru" means "Seven Stars," aka the Pleides). There are several non-star objects for the asking, like the Orion Nebula and the Andromeda Galaxy (Now setting early). And on and on. Get a solar filter and look at the Sun (Get one you can trust, and take care of it! Your vision is at stake!)....

Jeff, the weekend looks best for me. My wife is out at a company party tomorrow, so I'll be rounding up the kids. Let me know by e-mail.

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Patrick's Dad
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Report this Post12-06-2001 09:41 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Patrick's DadClick Here to visit Patrick's Dad's HomePageClick Here to Email Patrick's DadSend a Private Message to Patrick's DadDirect Link to This Post

Patrick's Dad

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Jeff, there are two clubs in ND, according to Sky and Telescope magazine; one in Bismark, and one in Grand Forks.
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Report this Post12-06-2001 09:52 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Ken WittliefSend a Private Message to Ken WittliefDirect Link to This Post
i agree with 'you get what you pay for' esp with telescopes.

my main point was there are only a few things in the sky that look different through a telescope than with the naked eye - you look at all the stars and think "i wonder what they all look like up close in a telescope" well they all look the same, like stars.

and we really are spoiled by what you can get online from the hubble web sites. But having your own telescope is still fun.

I use to spend hours and hours making my owns star maps, measureing the two angles of a star and marking them on a polar graph.

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Report this Post12-06-2001 10:18 PM Click Here to See the Profile for GTFiero1Click Here to Email GTFiero1Send a Private Message to GTFiero1Direct Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Ken Wittlief:

I use to spend hours and hours making my owns star maps, measureing the two angles of a star and marking them on a polar graph.

...nerd...

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JSocha
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Report this Post12-07-2001 12:36 AM Click Here to See the Profile for JSochaSend a Private Message to JSochaDirect Link to This Post
Patrick, you got email.
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Report this Post12-07-2001 01:45 AM Click Here to See the Profile for ray bClick Here to Email ray bSend a Private Message to ray bDirect Link to This Post
never never look at the sun I dont trust filters BUT IT IS EAZY TO SEE SPOTS AND OTHER STUFF ON THE SUN DISK BY PROjECTION ON A paper screen and any little scope or binocks just point the lenz at sun and look at the paper 1 1/2 to 3 feet away depends on focus you use this will make a big image 3"to 6" eazy to see spots with out risk to eyes fun for eclipse tooo.

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Question wonder and be wierd

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Ken Wittlief
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Report this Post12-07-2001 01:10 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Ken WittliefSend a Private Message to Ken WittliefDirect Link to This Post
ray b is right - galellio went blind from studying sunspots with a telescope

the projection method is foolproof.
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Patrick's Dad
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Report this Post12-08-2001 05:18 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Patrick's DadClick Here to visit Patrick's Dad's HomePageClick Here to Email Patrick's DadSend a Private Message to Patrick's DadDirect Link to This Post
The solar projection method is not completely foolproof if you have a closed optical assembly (like a binocular or refractor telescope). Heat buildup inside the tube will eventually degrade the image, then the glass itself.

I just used a Baader Astrosolar Film solar filter on my C-5, and observed for a little over an hour. I just take care of it, and check it visually before each use.

A newtonian reflector can be used for projection without too much worry.

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JSocha
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Report this Post12-09-2001 02:33 PM Click Here to See the Profile for JSochaSend a Private Message to JSochaDirect Link to This Post
Patrik's Dad,

Check your email.

Also PM'd you.

Jeff

Gotta run to the store.

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