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9 comments
1 Eventual Carrion  Mon, Dec 3, 2012 10:20:33am

I spy with my little eye ... whoa ... dude come here and look ... third floor down, second window from the right ...

Telescopes, not just for star gazing in the big city.

2 Dark_Falcon  Mon, Dec 3, 2012 10:23:03am

re: #1 Eventual Carrion

I spy with my little eye ... whoa ... dude come here and look ... third floor down, second window from the right ...

Telescopes, not just for star gazing in the big city.

'groan' [shakes head sadly]

3 erik_t  Mon, Dec 3, 2012 10:23:24am

If you want to get into astronomy (which is super fun and I wholeheartedly recommend it) (or if you just like reading about awesome sciency shit), please first consult Ed Ting's indispensable www.scopereviews.com

4 Political Atheist  Mon, Dec 3, 2012 10:24:44am

Charles,
Or anyone thinking telescope-Check these links out for attaching your camera
Digiscoping: A Look at Using a Spotting Scope as a Telephoto Lens
Read more at [Link: www.petapixel.com...]

[Link: www.petapixel.com...]


Nikon Announces a 1 Series Digiscoping Adapter for Using Telescopes as Lenses
Read more at [Link: www.petapixel.com...]

5 watching you tiny alien kittens are  Mon, Dec 3, 2012 10:37:46am

Hmmm...I have always wanted a "real" telescope, but the light pollution is so bad here I would have to drive quite a way to get away from it. Sigh...I will never forget the first time I made it the top of Thompson pass on the way to Valdez, Alaska on a clear winter night.

Millions and Millions of stars, I had never seen anything like it before, or sadly, since. :(

6 abolitionist  Mon, Dec 3, 2012 1:08:56pm

re: #5 watching you tiny alien kittens are

Hmmm...I have always wanted a "real" telescope, but the light pollution is so bad here I would have to drive quite a way to get away from it. Sigh...I will never forget the first time I made it the top of Thompson pass on the way to Valdez, Alaska on a clear winter night.

Millions and Millions of stars, I had never seen anything like it before, or sadly, since. :(

I'd made myself two telescopes (and helped friends complete 2 others) before graduating high school. Here's a light-pollution challenge --try finding Jupiter or Saturn in broad daylight. Hint: You'll need a telescope or good binoculars. [EDIT:] CAUTION: Only do this in the shadow of a building or whatever, so there will be ZERO chance of blinding yourself by mis-aiming at the sun!

My favorite night-sky experience was while camping with my family near Cape Hatteras, NC many years ago, many miles from the nearest town or city.

7 Egregious Philbin  Mon, Dec 3, 2012 9:39:14pm

You don't want a single fork scope, not well built. You need a dual fork, and one you can put an equatorial wedge on. Not a bad scope, but, if you love astronomy, you will outgrow it quickly.

I love my scope (10 inch Meade with GPS), but it is a bit of a dinosaur, RS232 via phone cords to USB, not so good. But still quite serviceable, just wish I didn't have to drive 50 miles to get good "dark" skies.

8 S.D.  Tue, Dec 4, 2012 7:53:20am

I'm Soooooooooooooo trying to convince my Wife that we 'need' one...
;)

9 Capitalist Tool  Tue, Dec 4, 2012 8:25:08am

Using my antique B&L 60X (pretty good even today) spotting scope has prompted a desire to get a much better instrument for star gazing. First use of the old spotter and low and behold, there were the rings of Saturn. I don't know much yet, but have learned a couple of things about celestial viewing.

There are some good comments in this thread about what works or doesn't. Adding to those thoughts-
1) Steadiness is your friend- necessitates a great mount/tripod and forks.

2) Equatorial wedge mount (mentioned above) with very fine adjustments helps keep an object from earth- spinning out of view and allows time- lapse photography of a single object, which is often the only way it can be observed.

3) Get the largest objective lens/mirror you can afford, as you will increase the amount of light reaching your eye. The amount of light reaching your eye is defined as exit pupil, which is defined: EP= objective lens (mirror)/magnification. e.g. 60mm obj./ 60X power= 1 (EP). The youngest eyes can only make use of light with EP~7 and old guys like me, maybe only 4 or so. The greater your magnification, the less light reaches your eye, so one can literally find a faint object and increase magnification to get a closer look and there won't then be enough light reaching your eye to see the object.

4)Angled/perpendicular eyepieces are much better for stargazing than inline eyepieces such as found on many spotting scopes or low- end telescopes. Low- power "finder" scopes aid alignment at higher power.

If one is more interested in a multi- purpose instrument, then a spotting scope might be a better choice. The very best spotters are made by Kowa and prices (mostly) go down from there.
Many fine old instruments (like my B&L) outperform a lot of today's offerings and can often be found used on auction sites at great prices.

Even great spotting scopes will underwhelm without a steady tripod such as a solid Bogen/Manfrotto, which can also be found used.


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