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Topics - Adam Mann

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I am a high school Physics/Engineering teacher at a small PBL based high school in Evansville, IN. (http://www.evansvill.../real-world-now) In my teaching experience of 31 years, I have introduced students to Astronomy with borrowed telescopes or telescopes that I have picked up at yard sales. ( http://www.cloudynig...-i-ever-spent/) That first year I showed students sunspots, and the rings of Saturn; one of those original students became a science teacher and is now my principal!

I got away from Astronomy for several years but got the bug again last summer after finding that RV-6 last summer. I have started an Astronomy club at our high school and have recently acquired a Celestron 8SE from a donor. The kids and I are very excited, but the weather has been rotten for some time. However, with the solar eclipse coming in August of 2017 we have a unique opportunity as we are only 70 miles from Hopkinsville or Princeton, KY which will have a 2:40 second duration of the eclipse. We plan to take all of our students to experience this once in a lifetime event, but I want to them to see this in a number of different ways. This is where I need your help, and the members of Cloudy Nights have been more than helpful on several occasions in the past.

I want to purchase a dedicated solar scope (Lunt or Coronado?) , tripod, a video camera, and a solar filter for the 8SE, along with several Sunspotter Solar Scopes. What equipment would you recommend for this? Is there anything that I should be considering?

I have a number of goals with the Astronomy club’s future:
1) To get my students comfortable enough with the telescopes so they can do outreach programs at other schools and with adults.
2) To build an observatory so the school can have access to the telescope from their computer at home. Our school is in the Career and Tech Center and the students have the ability to design and build the observatory under one roof. (http://www.edlinesit..._Programs/SICTC)

I want to preface this - I now have the gamut of scopes - a 8 inch Celestron C8 classic Orange tube , a 10 inch orion Dobson , a Meade 90 MM refractor goto , and last but not least a 4.5 reflector on a nice german eq mount - I read about people who have zambuto mirrors that have certain strehl ratios and ooh and ahhh about being able to go to 300x magnification-my question to you with more experience - I cant seem to go above 120X or 150X in magnification without things going soft. Chasing perfect scope I can do - but in the end where or what do I fix - my eyes are 55 years old - I don't see very good - I don't think I can improve my C8, on the refractor I cant improve it - but the things I can change is the 10 inch orion Dobson - it is factory made - is it worth getting the 10 inch mirror refigured , would it improve my lot in life ? What about the secondary - how important or quantam leap is a secondary with 99% reflectivity and made from quartz will improve my lot in life?
Is a 500 dollar eyepiece going to significantly improve my views ? Inquiring minds want to know...

ATM, Optics and DIY Forum / Black Plywood
« on: December 30, 2017, 02:14:52 AM »
What's the best method for getting a deep black color on Birch Plywood?

The 2' x 2' x 3/4" plywood from Lowes to be specific.

I'm assuming some sort of dye...?

Light Pollution Topics / Search Light Hobby!
« on: December 27, 2017, 01:07:53 PM »
My across the corn field neighbor is collecting and playing with high powered SEARCH LIGHTS!!!!!
They beam photons across the field about 1/2 mile to my only clear observing area and into my house
I must admit he has a nice collection of lamps dating back before WW2, but he can't put them down. He doesn't believe they affect my hobby.

Light Pollution Topics / Led Lights
« on: December 24, 2017, 01:46:53 PM »
The town of Markham is starting to replace the outdated standard light with led lights this    is a movement in the ideal direction.  We where declared a town in the last year, this is the first noticeable shift I have observed.

Beginners Forum / Can I trust skatronic?
« on: December 24, 2017, 08:18:43 AM »
Hi Experts,

I am trying to purchase the 9.25 or 11" SCT telescope and that I found a very good deal from a web site called skatronic.  On the surface it seems legit, with fairly complete web site and no erroneous spellings and no pop up ads.  According to the web site, the contact phone number is in Indonesia.  I did sent them email and they replied saying they send the range out of Singapura (Singapore?) , and they requested us to wire them the money that is very strange.  On the web site, it does say you can use credit card to pay.  They say they provide guarantee for 2 decades.

So my questions are:

1.  Can we trust this web site?

2.  Have anybody bought anything from the web site?  What's the experience?

3.  If using credit card to pay (that is a lot safer), and we don't obtain the scope, can we request the credit card company to stop payment to the vendor aboard?

4.  Generally speaking, is it safe to purchase scope from companies not in US?Here are more information regarding the web site and products I am interested in:

Celestron Advanced VX 9.25" f/10 Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope - only $951

Celestron CPC 1100 11"/279mm Catadioptric Telescope - $1,557.00

Celestron CGEM-1100 11"/280mm Catadioptric Telescope Kit -$1,542.00

Any help will be greatly valued.



General Astronomy & Observing / Any auroras in the lower 48 lately?
« on: December 24, 2017, 12:01:35 AM »
One of my very best astronomy associated memories is seeing the aurora borealus.  I remember seeing it quite clearly a
Couple times in the late 60's and early 70's.  Beautiful ripplingsof color and light across ahuge part of the northern NY sky.

Since then I have just seen a few sad, quite minor aurora events.  Nothing to compare.

Nowadays I have light pollution in the space which reduces my nude eye reach from magnitude 6 overhead to
Many magnitudes less on the horizons.

Are my conditions preventingme from seeing some more beautiful auroras?  ....or is it more of just being in the right
Place at the perfect time?

I remember seeing the auroras stretch across half of the sky so I always believed I should be able to view them clearly overhead
When prominent.

Anyhow I like when a member places an aurora awake so I could at least have a better chance to observe a good one again.
Member Ken Fiscus when I remember properly has done alarms like this earlier.

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