Author Topic: *ideal* getting into this hobby order of operations  (Read 441 times)

James Holt

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Re: *ideal* getting into this hobby order of operations
« Reply #15 on: January 13, 2018, 05:06:24 AM »
"However, the EQ-3 mount that he suggests, I'm going to give that a thumbs down. I had one, configured just like is shown there, and it was too light and too fragile."

Said mount is certainly not, and by no means, suitable for long-exposure, prime-focus imaging, naturally. It can help to add a lock-washer to each of the long-bolt assemblies where the aluminum legs join at the mount-base, in maintaining a tighter fit, and for improved stability. The mount can then easily serve for instantaneous afocal shots with a camera held up to the eyepiece, and to show others what the live, dynamic views are like through the telescope, as seen by the eyes and mind of the observer. Video astrophotography is possible, too, with said mount.

Granted, our eyes, as human beings, are weaker than weak, however no image on a computer monitor can ever take the place of, again, living and at times dynamic views of our universe, no matter how "mottled grey" they appear...

...the first-diffraction rings of the stars of the Trapezium in Orion, shimmering, glistening, indeed living, and surrounded by the ghostly clouds of the nebula itself...

...the advancing sunlight on the surface of the Moon, suddenly illuminating this feature and that as it rolls along...

...one of Jupiter's moons suddenly casting its shadow as it begins its transit across the face of the planet...

...the actively sparkling and glistening globular clusters as seen through my 4" refractor, which is not very suitable for imaging I'm afraid, and most thankfully.

creasseinicomp

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Re: *ideal* getting into this hobby order of operations
« Reply #16 on: January 13, 2018, 08:28:37 AM »
My personal experience on the popular 8 inch Dob gives very nice images. So far purchased two, original was decades old but still impressive. Image isn't mediocre, it's very nice!

We find one scope doesn't do it all, see popular intro scopes sold simply moving to larger apertures. As I've done with mine thru the years.

Alignment is fast and easy, often kept in vehicle for thermal ready observation.

Had a nice 4 inch acro refractor, decent image but found on the challenging Mars views, more aperture released better detail. Sold the 4 inch for now upgraded XT8I as has some locator ability when needed. Increased Aperture in most cases will always win.

Have a 4SE Mak for portability, simply a fun scope for me, with the goto ability.

Eventually your likely to have more than one scope, each model has advantages.

This was simply my current road , not necessarily for everyone.

Note had some recent fantastic views of Mars, larger detail a snap when sky permits, it's a patience view, super fun.

Just my experience, we all take different roads.

ETX90, 4SE
XT8I, XT10
Meade 12 LightBridge DSO
Nagler 4.8MM, Clave 8MM, nice planetary view, my favorite experience

presarersweet

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Re: *ideal* getting into this hobby order of operations
« Reply #17 on: January 13, 2018, 12:37:37 PM »
Sky Muse

Beautifully described, Trapezium, exceptional sky gives a stunning view.

Shadows cast from a Jupiter moon is beauty as well, never tire viewing.

Easy view is the companion to the North Star Polaris. Also a quick rating on sky conditions, very modest scope a fun target.

coepupinsynch

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Re: *ideal* getting into this hobby order of operations
« Reply #18 on: January 13, 2018, 01:10:46 PM »
As Jon said, there clearly isn't one single route that works best for all people.

If you want to go the Dob route -- and it's certainly a good one -- I'm not sure it makes sense to spend lots of time looking for bargains on the used market. New Dobs are cheap enough to start, and they come with a warranty. The price difference between a used Dob and a new one is less than the difference in cost between a good eyepiece and a great one. And that's just one eyepiece.

In my opinion, people tend to spend way too much on eyepieces, assuming that the goal is to maximize their views at minimal cost. Five hundred dollars spent on a bigger scope will improve your views far more than five hundred dollars upgrading your eyepieces. No doubt the reason this happens is partly because big scopes have other problems besides cost, whereas eyepieces are easy to store and transport. So people with money burning a hole in their pockets are more prone to spend it on eyepieces rather than scopes.

You could build an eyepiece collection that would serve all your needs using Plossls and a 2X Barlow for less than $500. But in practice, $1000 seems like a better target.

Binocular are great, but they're no substitute for a telescope. Ideally, buy both at the same time. You can get pretty nice binos for $200 or less.

Bobby Cruz

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Re: *ideal* getting into this hobby order of operations
« Reply #19 on: January 14, 2018, 01:04:14 AM »
Indeed Polaris is, as my virtual sketch from the other night through a C90 Maksutov illustrates...
I don't think the scale is exactly correct in proportion, however, as I created the image just after returning indoors.

contpeeresto

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Re: *ideal* getting into this hobby order of operations
« Reply #20 on: January 18, 2018, 12:59:33 AM »
Your questions are well founded. Over the past couple of decades, this hobby has exploded with new technology and there seems to be no end in how one can spend their hard-earned dollar.

After dabbling in the hobby throughout the 1970s and early 80s I got away from it for a while. Then, when I got my first job out of school, I wanted back in. But where to begin? There had been a lot of change, especially with the advent of large dobs which were coming more and more into the fold in the 1990s. Cleary I needed to educate myself. So I read. And one of the books that helped me most was The Backyard Astronomer's Guide by Terrence Dickinson and Alan Dyer. Perhaps its pages contain some more answers for you. I bought the 2nd edition years ago and recently picked up the 3rd just because I like to stay up to date (and also because I had an opportunity to meet one of the authors (Terrence) and have him sign it!).

As for reinventing the wheel, I don't think there even is a wheel. But each of us has, I think, our own trajectory that always begins and ends with an interest in the sky. In between there are binoculars. A small telescope. A larger telescope. And maybe a really large telescope. Then perhaps back to a smaller one. Or perhaps you get a secondhand 8" dob that's been well looked after and that's the end of that. There is no right or wrong. Only what's right for you.

Scott Bentley

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Re: *ideal* getting into this hobby order of operations
« Reply #21 on: January 21, 2018, 01:06:54 AM »
Bando,

Lots of good advice and comments here. There is a lot to see in the sky. During my first couple of years star gazing I wanted to see it all. To "ease into" the hobby I bought a 4" Mak on a terrible mount (still have the Mak, the mount is long gone). I live in a white zone (tons of light pollution) so I was having terrible trouble learning the sky and jumped to go-to almost immediately. I chose a go-to equatorial mount, but one of the push-to or go-to 8" Dobsonians would have been a great place to start. An aperture of 8" is a sweet spot: not so big as to be a chore to move around or set-up, big enough to show colors on the planets (at least for me, the Great Red Spot on Jupiter wasn't red until I saw it through an 8" scope), and deep sky objects start to look like more than gray smudges.

I still want to see everything, but have decided that most of the time I like high magnification views to see details. My main scope has a maximum field of view a bit larger than the full moon. When I want a wider field, I have a smaller scope that can give me almost two degrees true field. There are other astronomers out there who wouldn't even consider owning a scope that gives less than 1-1/2 degrees true field. The point is, I recommend starting with very versatile equipment because your observing tastes will evolve. An 8" Newtonian scope on a Dobsonian mount is a very versatile system that will show you a lot. While you're observing what your first scope can show you, you'll discover what you like to observe, what ergonomic qualities are important to you, whether you want to explore photography, video, image intensified, H-alpha solar observing...

Crimguy, nice Capt. Willard quote in Post 11, by the way.

enmofinwins

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Re: *ideal* getting into this hobby order of operations
« Reply #22 on: January 21, 2018, 01:25:54 AM »
Quote

From my point of view, I'd say it's very easy to get hooked on the visual and never get more than peripherally involved with photography. A photo never captures the essence of the visual experience, only the photons. I have some astrophotography equipment but when I use it, at the end of the night, I realize I have spent the night with the equipment rather than communing with the night sky. Its a difference experience.

<p class="citation">QuotePersonally, I don't invest in plastic and silicon, nor particle-board. I overwhelmingly prefer mounts of durable, long-lasting metal, and telescopes of just-as-durable metal and glass, whether mirrors or lenses, hence...

[/quote]

The particle board mount mount on my 10 inch Dob is 14 years old and still going strong despite having spent a night uncovered in the rain during its first year. There is no practical reason to be afraid of a particle board base and given that most affordable Dobsonians have particle board bases, avoiding it means not taking advantage of the ergonomics and larger apertures that the Dobsonian offers.

Jon

trodnenwisen

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Re: *ideal* getting into this hobby order of operations
« Reply #23 on: January 23, 2018, 05:18:11 AM »
It certainly won't do any harm to start by learning the night sky with the naked eye and a good pair of binoculars. That's what I did, although you might not want to wait 30 years before following up by getting your first telescope (which is also what I did)!

My own suggestion: spend twelve months with your binoculars (12x50 in the $200 range are a good choice) and a star atlas (I recommend The Observer's Sky Atlas by Karkoschka), and thoroughly learn as much of the night sky as you can. Learn to identify the constellations and see how they change throughout the year. Be able to pick out and name all the bright or otherwise interesting stars. Be able to identify the planets, and the DSOs that are within range of your binoculars.

While you're doing this, read up on what you are observing so you get a really solid understanding of what it is you're looking at.

You could also pay regular visits to your local astronomy club to get some free views through a variety of telescopes, which would of course help you to decide what instrument you'd eventually like to purchase for yourself.

birchzufhyro

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Re: *ideal* getting into this hobby order of operations
« Reply #24 on: January 23, 2018, 06:09:17 AM »
Here's my order of operations from a few months ago.

1) check out astronomy book from local library, The Practical Astronomer by Will Gater, was great. (free, but it's a $15 book new)
2) download a freebie astronomy app from Android store (free, $2 for full version later)
3) buy cheapy 10x50 binos, on the order of $30 USD.
4) buy bigger 15x70 binos
5) 6" go-to reflector
6) EP kit

Then after that is more stuff, different EPs, barlows, finders, other scopes, and so on.

The books and app i decided I wanted to keep, so they've been my resources for sky mapping. For steps 1-3 &lt;$50 was a good way of testing the waters to see if I liked it.

Alex Hart

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Re: *ideal* getting into this hobby order of operations
« Reply #25 on: January 23, 2018, 06:34:53 AM »
Quote
The particle board mount mount on my 10 inch Dob is 14 years old and still going strong despite having spent a night uncovered in the rain during its first year. There is no practical reason to be afraid of a particle board base and given that most affordable Dobsonians have particle board bases, avoiding it means not taking advantage of the ergonomics and larger apertures that the Dobsonian offers.

In other words, just take what they give you and be thankful? I know what particle-board is, and you do, too. You'd be surprised at how many people do not know what it is, or maybe not. Then, to complicate matters, the bases are described as being of "wood" in the advertisements.

I think we all know about the bookcases.

There's got to be another way.

What about OSB(oriented-strand board)?

John Fletcher

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Re: *ideal* getting into this hobby order of operations
« Reply #26 on: January 25, 2018, 08:24:21 PM »
My take is go for a dob. They're simple, cheap for the amount of aperture you get, and easy to use.

Use the extra money for decent eyepieces.
For a star atlas, I like using the triatlas. I've got a printed version of the A set, and I print out the needed B and/or C pages to help find things.
I'd love to get at least the whole B set printed and bound.
I also sometimes use Cartes du Ciel for printing charts.

If you want to get into astrophotography, that's a whole different boat that I know next to nothing about. I'm perfectly content with my dob and sketching at the eyepiece.

Kyle Wood

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Re: *ideal* getting into this hobby order of operations
« Reply #27 on: January 30, 2018, 06:57:08 AM »
Quote
Quote
The particle board mount mount on my 10 inch Dob is 14 years old and still going strong despite having spent a night uncovered in the rain during its first year. There is no practical reason to be afraid of a particle board base and given that most affordable Dobsonians have particle board bases, avoiding it means not taking advantage of the ergonomics and larger apertures that the Dobsonian offers.

In other words, just take what they give you and be thankful? I know what particle-board is, and you do, too. You'd be surprised at how many people do not know what it is, or maybe not. Then, to complicate matters, the bases are described as being of "wood" in the advertisements.

I think we all know about the bookcases.

There's got to be another way.

What about OSB(oriented-strand board)?
As a materials engineer, I know that particle board is a description for a class of materials with a range of properties. Certainly there are better materials one can use,. The furniture grade plywood with the exquisite fabrication and finish on an Obsession is certainly better. It also is very expensive by comparison. A no frills 12.5 inch is $3500, a 12 inch Zhumell is $700. Both are good scopes.

The question is not whether there is a better solution, there almost always is. The question is, Is the particle board good enough? 14 years and still going strong, I'd say yes. I have some pretty fancy scopes but that 10 inch GSO Dob, it fits right in..

And yes, we are consumers making choices, we choose between the choices we are given.

--------------------

As far as one path..

I joined Cloudy Nights 12 years ago when there were about 3000 members and was a moderator of this form for several years following . I have had the great pleasure of watching many first timers come here, ask questions, make decisions and go on to be skilled, experienced observers. Not every one does. Some find its not for them, some seem to get bored and just go on to something else.

But what I have observed is that there are many paths that are possible and that while one maybe better for some another better for others, which path, which equipment one chooses, is relatively unimportant in terms of success in this hobby. What really matters is what is inside the individual, their spirit, their patience, their curiosity.

Buying decent equipment is helpful in many ways. But poor equipment is not a deal breaker, it's not a road block, it's a detour. These days I have some very nice equipment. My first scope, $5 at a garage sale and I have to say the seller got the better end of the deal. But it was capable enough, worn out as it was, only one narrow eyepiece, 60mm of aperture, that early one morning out on the Arizona desert I stumbled upon a faint bit of nebulosity, I later found out it was M42, and the fire was lit.

I think lighting the fire is the critical step and just about any telescope can do that.

Jon

James Bradmon

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Re: *ideal* getting into this hobby order of operations
« Reply #28 on: January 31, 2018, 03:31:08 AM »
Laminated non-furniture-grade plywood could be used, and with filled knots even, no?

Hmm, interesting...

http://www.doityours...s-particleboard

Fortunes are being made off of unwitting consumers.

David Schwartz

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Re: *ideal* getting into this hobby order of operations
« Reply #29 on: January 31, 2018, 01:39:54 PM »
Quote
Laminated non-furniture-grade plywood could be used, and with filled knots even, no?

Hmm, interesting...

http://www.doityours...s-particleboard

Fortunes are being made off of unwitting consumers.

The advantage of particle board is that it is essentially a uniform, homogenous material so it is a good material for automated production. Every piece behaves the same.

I am not sure why this is an issue. The particle board has shown itself to be a reasonable material for commerically manufactured Dobsonian bases. It does the job. When other mounts are discussed in this forum, similar decisions were made. A Celestron SE mount or a AVX mount, a CG-4, these are decent mounts made to a price point, they do the job reasonable well. They are not comparable to an Astro-Physics mount in terms of quality and material choices but like the particle board Dob mount, they are solid mounts that are reasonably durable.

Jon