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Got a Telescope or Observatory?

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posted on Dec, 7 2007 @ 12:32 PM
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I thought it might be interesting to find out how many members are scanning the heavens. Here's your chance to brag about your rig, and tell other interested members about your expertise.

In your post, you might include information such as:
  • Telescope Make/Model
  • CCD/SLR/Camera Make/Model
  • Accessories (Filter Wheels, GOTO Mounts, etc.)
  • Imaging & Control Software
  • Observatory/Dome Construction
  • Total Cost of Your Setup
  • Location
  • What You Are Able To See

    If you do have a camera mounted to your scope, feel free to drop off a picture or two. You might even show us a picture of the actual setup. Just keep in mind that this thread is not intended to become a photo gallery, so try to limit it to no more than 2 images!


    We're looking forward to hearing about your toys!


    [edit on 12/7/2007 by damajikninja]




  • posted on Dec, 7 2007 @ 12:49 PM
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    Telescope Make/Model: Meade 70AZ-USB Telescope with USB Camera
    What You Are Able To See: My neighbors

    Well, I just bought this during Black Friday sale at WalMart. But I am interested in any websites you guys know that would help a rookie Astronomer.



    posted on Dec, 7 2007 @ 01:02 PM
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    Originally posted by guppy
    What You Are Able To See: My neighbors

    Haha!
    Sounds more like a spyglass than a telescope! For the money though, I bet thats a cool gadget.


    MEADE 70AZ-A Telescope (Not the USB version, but close)


    [edit on 12/7/2007 by damajikninja]

    [edit on 23-12-2007 by Jbird]



    posted on Dec, 7 2007 @ 04:59 PM
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    Originally posted by guppy
    Telescope Make/Model: Meade 70AZ-USB Telescope with USB Camera
    What You Are Able To See: My neighbors

    Well, I just bought this during Black Friday sale at WalMart. But I am interested in any websites you guys know that would help a rookie Astronomer.


    Congrats, guppy! Hopefully, your purchase will start you off on a great adventure sky gazing. This is a great time to start with Mars and Saturn prominent. No matter how many pictures you see of what's "out there" there's nothing like seeing it with your own eyes. You'll see. Even if it's a lot smaller.


    I think a site like www.skyandtelescope.com... would be a good resource to start with.

    A sky mapping program for your computer can also be helpful. A freebie like Stellarium can help you a lot.

    [edit on 7-12-2007 by IAttackPeople]



    posted on Dec, 7 2007 @ 06:53 PM
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    reply to post by guppy
     


    A journey of a thousand miles, or in this case a lot further than that, begins with a single step. You are now an astronomer. And keep in mind that what you have is likely a lot better than anything found a few hundred years ago, so you'll start out equal to many of the great astronomers of the past, seeing the night sky just as they did.

    I look forward to hearing you tell us of your adventures through the endless night.



    posted on Dec, 8 2007 @ 01:15 PM
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    Thank you all for your warm welcome. I aim to get more out of my telescope besides looking at my neighbors. Hehe.

    As what ninja asked orginally, what kind of setup do you astronomer aficionados have?



    posted on Dec, 8 2007 @ 02:01 PM
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    I love astronomy but do not currently own a telescope.


    But it's OK because there are places like SLOOH that have really nice telescopes that are online and available for rent to make observations. Not quite the same as owning your own but the results are great and you don't have to freeze your tuckus off to get that great pic of the Orion Nebula.



    posted on Dec, 9 2007 @ 06:56 AM
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    Telescope Make:
    Big ugly (but elegant) 10 inch Dobsonian
    Maked it myself

    Model:
    Concrete form tube blue
    Painted the inside all nice and black.
    Left the exterior in Construction Site Cammo.
    (considered doing it up in a Rocket Launcher Olive
    paint scheme, but rethought the whole idea
    after I was sober)

    Imaging & Control Software:
    Imaging via Mark III Human Eyeball.
    Control Software by Squishy Grey Matter and Pink Fingertips.

    Observatory/Dome Construction:
    1997 Domeless Mobile Observatory Platform.
    (aka Ford Ranger)
    Fastest observatory in the neighborhood.

    Total Cost of Your Setup:
    Under $100 bucks until I finally ponied up another
    $25. for Teflon™ strips to stop the damn mount from
    squeaking so horribly.
    (Why is that stuff so expensive?)

    Location:
    Banished to the storage building, as the
    wife thinks it's unattractive.

    What You Are Able To See:
    That you don't need that much money
    to own a pretty nice instrument.

    Build your own



    posted on Dec, 9 2007 @ 07:28 AM
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    I got a meade ETX125 a couple of months back.
    Its only been in action 3 times so far as the weather here is awful!
    But in those three times I saw some awesome detail on the moon,tycho was incredible on the first night out.I have since seen my first galaxy,NGC1275 which was amazing,and got a short look at mars,which is great viewing at the moment.
    The scope seems great so far,even though getting it aligned properly took a few goes.Just a shame the weather is so bad here at the moment.
    My bro has a cannon 400d DSLR,which we are going to try to mate to the scope when I get an adapter.

    I also tried the scope out on the mountains opposite my house,approx 10 miles away,and I found a rabbit warren complete with rabbits hopping around!(using a high mag lens and barlow x2)
    Amazing detail!
    Trouble is its pretty cold up here,and I could really do with a vehicle with multi removable sunroofs(like a renault espace)to use as a mobile observatory.
    When I get a hard case for it I want to take it to really high mountaintops,to give the best conditions I can in the UK.
    I can't wait to get the astrophotography going,although I won't rush until I have fully sussed out the scope.



    posted on Dec, 9 2007 @ 07:59 AM
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    reply to post by SpaceMax
     


    I loved the link. As a matter of fact, I have an old two wheel trailer that I could mount this in and build a simple shelter around, and have a relocatable observatory.

    Thanks a lot for my new winter project.



    posted on Dec, 9 2007 @ 11:09 AM
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    reply to post by NGC2736
     

    WooHoo!
    Maybe you'll name it after me.....sniff.

    There are other plans available, and if you can find a local astronomy club, there's always someone who will help you with any technical details.

    I was thinking of rigging mine with a secret flashbulb inside to surprise friends.

    "How did he get the name Pinpoint Pupil Pete" they'll ask....
    and I'll have a story to tell.



    posted on Dec, 9 2007 @ 11:14 AM
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    reply to post by SpaceMax
     



    op by SpaceMax"Imaging & Control Software:
    Imaging via Mark III Human Eyeball.
    Control Software by Squishy Grey Matter and Pink Fingertips."


    Heheh,the best way!!
    So is that your page-did you design those plans?
    Good stuff if you did!


    [edit on 9-12-2007 by Silcone Synapse]



    posted on Dec, 9 2007 @ 11:17 AM
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    reply to post by SpaceMax
     


    The Space Max Mobil Observatory it shall be called. That actually has a nice ring to it.




    posted on Dec, 10 2007 @ 03:38 PM
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    Dude, I wish I had a Mobile Observatory in my Ranger!! That would be pretty damb cool.


    you made that scope yourself right? What are you able to see with it? Being home-made, will it work with a GOTO mount?



    posted on Dec, 11 2007 @ 04:19 AM
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    reply to post by damajikninja
     


    Greetings damajikninja!

    I have my 8" SkyWatcher Reflector permenantley mounted in my observatory in Leicester, UK. I have converted an ordinary garden shed into an observatory by modifying the roof- it is hinged and can be lifted back to reveal the full sky. The equatorial mount aligned with the north and there all the time, however I keep the telescope tube indoors!

    I'm a lunar and planetary astronomer, and I do all my observations via pencils, water colour crayons and ink. You can create some very accurate images of the planets like this without CCDs!

    My telescope was about 400 pounds, the Shed, another 200 or so so the whole thing came to about 600 pounds and worth every penny!!!

    Even though I'm on the outskirts of a city, we are frequently blessed with good clear and transparent skies with excellent seeing. What you will see depends on what you wish to observe and so what type of telescope (relfector/refractor/cassegrain) you have. Aperture is all important of course, along with a stable and sturdy mount (a wobbly mount will make a telescope worse than useless!!!). I can clearly the see the polar ice caps of Mars, many belts and features of Jupiter, The Cassini Division, and Encke's division in the rings of Saturn, and I saw some belt lkike structure on Uranus. The Moon is simply wonderful!

    A friend of mine has a 15inch reflector in a dome which was made for him by a local blacksmith. He also has a 12.5 inch reflector in a run-off shed. I have used both telescopes to observe Mars and Saturn and both give stunning views!



    posted on Dec, 11 2007 @ 06:24 AM
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    So is that your page-did you design those plans?


    No, just a link I thought might be helpful. There are many sites out there with good plans.




    Being home-made, will it work with a GOTO mount?


    I suppose one could adapt one for it. But I suspect the initial alignment would be an interesting problem. An good question though, I'll have to pose it to some real amateur astronomers. I have discovered that if you show up at a local star party with a nice selection of Krispy-Kremes™ and hot chocolate, those people will tell you anything you want to know....(and then some.)

    I myself don't feel I qualify as an amateur, as most of the ones I know are quite serious about it, and are extensively vested in equipment and expertise. I'm really more of a "casual astronomer" who spends most of my scope time viewing the Moon, and planets.
    Binoculars are perhaps my favorite viewing method. I've been considering a deep sky set lately, especially since finding these Celestron at such a nice price.




    I do all my observations via pencils, water colour crayons and ink.


    Gotta love a traditionalist! Any chance you'd share some with us? Love to see your work.

    Anybody into amateur radio astronomy? Always thought that would be an interesting project should I come across an old satellite dish somewhere, like this guys "poor mans radio telescope"



    posted on Dec, 12 2007 @ 01:04 PM
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    Hi SpaceMax!

    Here's a couple of Mars sketches I made. I took a picture of them in by Mars observing book and put them on photobucket. Never posted pictures online before, so hope it works out!

    Hope you enjoy them!

    -Paul.






    [edit on 12-12-2007 by timelike]



    posted on Dec, 12 2007 @ 05:03 PM
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    Great contributions from all of you. Do any of you have pictures of what you can see from you telesccope?

    SpaceMax, thanks for the links. Perhaps one day I will construct my own. But time is not a luxury I have. How accurate do you have to be in aligning the mirrors?

    Would the ISS Space Station be moving too fast to observe? I'm assuming it would but doesn't hurt to ask.



    posted on Dec, 14 2007 @ 11:25 AM
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    Are you guys really the only ones on ATS with scopes? There's gotta be others out there... just gotta convince them to surf in here and post!

    BUMP



    posted on Dec, 14 2007 @ 12:09 PM
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  • Telescope Make/Model
    I have a used 8" Meade LX-200 that I bought for $800.



    edit: I forgot to mention that I have a 80mm Stellarview Nighthawk refractor telescope piggybacked on my LX-200, which is what I used to take these pictures. Cost $400.

  • CCD/SLR/Camera Make/Model
    Meade DSI Color and DSI Pro CCD camera, purchased on closeout $99 and $129 respectively.

  • Accessories (Filter Wheels, GOTO Mounts, etc.)
    My LX-200 came with the Alt/Azim goto mount and I have a only a few eyepieces and filters. I plan on buying a laptop, so I can do imaging in the field.

  • Imaging & Control Software
    Using the Envisage software built into Meade's Autostar Suite software, but plan on experimenting with others also.

  • Observatory/Dome Construction
    My back porch.

  • Location
    Ohio, which is cloudy and light poluted most of the time, hence the reason i don't spend more on this hobby.

  • What You Are Able To See
    My favorites are the Orion Nebula M42, Hercules Cluster M13, Ring Nebula M57. I also use binoculars to look at larger open star clusters like the Plades M45, and Wild Duck M??

    I posted lots of pictures of Comet Holmes in this thread...

    Obscure Comet Brightens Suddenly

    I like these in particular...





    Both are from this post.

    I also want to add that your local Astronomy Clubs will publish schedules for star parties and I highly recommend going to them if your interested in learning a few things. The club that I am a member of also does great charity work for cancer patients, cub scouts and museums. It is a great way to volunteer your time.

    [edit on 12/14/2007 by Hal9000]



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