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Messages - bankrybettdog

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Beginners Forum / Re: Is This Neptune?
« on: February 09, 2018, 10:58:54 AM »
Good job on that shot. I really had to enlarge the screen to pick up Triton.

Light Pollution Topics / Re: Questions about light pollution
« on: February 09, 2018, 06:08:30 AM »
I think one way to be certain that the Bortle class will stay the same is to move somewhere extremely bad now. Ah, who knows, it may get better; I hope so.

One of my responses to this, as well as frequent nightly fog, was to increase my emphasis on viewing the Sun, Mercury and Venus (in daytime), and the Moon. This has its own challenges, but it makes my light pollution problem completely irrelevant.

For photography, I have put tremendous effort into post-processing to cancel out the effects of light pollution. In the last two years, I've imaged 43 Messier objects and several other DSOs from the heart of my white zone. Most of these, I have never seen through the eyepiece, but in many cases, the photo comes out quite clear, which is a nice surprise when the object was totally invisible to my eye. My one journey to a dark site required 6.5 hours for me to get photos of two objects. For me, personally, I think I got more out of photographing ~50 objects recognizably than I would out of several nightlong journeys to photograph a few. But perhaps in the next year, I'll have different priorities.

General Astronomy & Observing / Re: Observing vs imaging existential crisis
« on: February 09, 2018, 03:07:28 AM »
I'm in the middle of that transition due to visual issues. I see the doc next week to discuss Lasik / cataracts
The intermediate step will be a traveling mount, a small scope of ~ 70-80mm short focus, and a fast camera, to take South for the winter
As much as I love my Genesis it is a bit on the long side and not really an AP scope
Leaning towards StellarVue at the moment but I could be tempted upscale
The DSLR will go back to pictures of puppies and little kids
Now really deep and faint objects will not be on the menu for this modest equipment - but it should keep me occupied for now
I will revisit the 'big' scope issue in the spring
OK, back to slopping paint on the new door for the observatory - and on me

ATM, Optics and DIY Forum / Re: Help me wrap my brain around FigureXP
« on: February 08, 2018, 01:49:16 AM »
Congrats on the project! Do you have the blank and supplies already?
When do you plan on starting to grind?
I'm restarting a project I abandoned a couple years ago -- a 6 in f7.5 also.

Thanks, Steve!

Nope, ordering a blank and supplies this weekend or next (depends on spare funds *heh*). Hope to be hard at it grinding away by some time in April.

Plan for the OTA itself is the old standby concrete form tube, and I'll make up all the cells and focuser and whatnot myself. Not really looking to produce some fancy worldbeating rig...just want to learn the basics, and produce a usable and enjoyable telescope by my own hand for visual use.

The "plan", such as it is, is to make a few of increasing complexity and effort, learning as I go, eventually to produce a truly well done larger (10-12"ish) astrograph in a CF tube.

Reflectors Telescopes Forum / Re: Right Angle Finderscope on my 10 inch dob
« on: February 03, 2018, 08:17:10 AM »
I wouldn't want to be dependent on the green light pointer since it's banned at certain star parties.

I do love using it with my daughters. And in my light polluted sky no one will complain.

ATM, Optics and DIY Forum / Re: Dimensions for 8" f6 reflector
« on: February 02, 2018, 05:54:59 PM »
The spikes get thicker as the % of obstruction of the aperture increases.
Thinner spider vanes (note the spelling) yield thinner spikes.
The spike increases in apparent length because what light is in the spikes is compressed into a smaller area.
The visibility of spikes, because they are fainter than the star, is dependent on the same factors that influence the visibility of DSOs:
exit pupil, contrast with the night sky, etc.

For a smaller scope, the 3-vane spider is a viable alternative to 4 vanes.
Note how the curved spider puts more glow directly around the planet.

General Astronomy & Observing / Re: Rank your astronomical interests
« on: February 02, 2018, 03:46:46 PM »
Double stars - there are thousands of these and you can see them no matter how large or small your scope is, no matter if the moon is out, or no matter how much light pollution you have to live with. I have also looked at doubles through thin clouds.

Variable stars - this includes carbon stars. These are always changing and I see something different every night.

Everything else - I enjoy looking at the Messier list and any other objects I can find with my scopes.



Ok folks, for those of you that are confused by posts referring to the Beginners forum, this thread was originally posted there; however as pointed out, Beginners is for beginners‚Äčto start threads there. So this thread was moved here, as it should be. Any more questions pertaining to this should be directed by PM to a Moderator or an Administrator.

Now, let's get back to the question the OP has started this thread with.

Sorry to be naive, but who would be classified as a beginner? I've been in a club and active for a little over 2 years. I still see that i'm a beginner as I learn something new every day


General Astronomy & Observing / Re: When do you usually hang it up?
« on: January 31, 2018, 10:48:01 AM »
Only time I would be outside in the cold temperatures is if there was an astronomical even happening such as the geminids shower next week.

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...

The holes on the MA are there to bolt on the lightweight tripod legs.The central hole is adequate to mount the MA to the field tripod.Rex
So, the Losmandy MA adapter is basically designed for the Losmandy LW tripod but may also be used for the Meade tripod?  I didn't know this!I'd still prefer if the hole pattern on the MA adapter sold as a separate unit matched the hole pattern on the Meade tripod.Thank you Rex for shedding some light on something that has been vexing me for a while!

The Porta 2 does not play well at all with a 4" frac
At least with any of the supplied tripods.
The thing wouldn't even handle a c102gt
I had the vixen star guy heavy duty tripod and it simply didn't cut it for me
Maybe for some ok. I can't stand any dampening time.
I had some wiggles at the Alt axis. I was gonna try putting it on a CG5 tripod until I saw that  I'm on a one man mission to keep 4",long tube fracs away from the Porta ll LOL
That being said it's a great mount for an 80mm or even a C6 sct

ATM, Optics and DIY Forum / Re: Folding a 7" f/12 R35 iStar refractor.
« on: January 31, 2018, 02:19:43 AM »
Very interesting instrument. Can't stop admiring it, especially on your blog site. I can only imagine the wonderful views you are getting through your scope. Thanks for sharing with us.

Ed D

Thanks for the kind words, Ed.

Early days yet, but I was staring at Jupiter for hours last night until the flats finally dewed over.
I was using 15mm and 12.4mm EPs for 144x and 174x.
I tried the 10mm for 216x but the seeing just would not support it.

Only at the bitter end was the true potential seen in fine detail in the belts and GRS.
This was a more promising indicator of potential than the hours wasted just staring at the seeing.
This was with Jupiter below 30 degrees altitude.
It just scraped above 37 degrees before I packed up for the night.
I'm at 55N and ideally need 40 degrees to bring out the best in the optics.

Now I need to make a shroud for the main body of the framework to stop mirror dewing.
The main dewshield cleared the dew on the front of the objective within minutes of fitting.
The permanent [stubby] dewshield, though quite generous, could not hold off the dew as the frost fell around me.
The car nearby was soon white and sparkling.

The mounting method works but is a nuisance to employ and needs attention.
I may just use four simple, cam-shaped pieces of plywood to clamp down on the lower OTA rails.
Much sturdier crossbars would probably help too.
Ever onwards!


Beginners Forum / Re: Dob not working out for me, what should I try?
« on: January 31, 2018, 01:51:37 AM »
I live in Miami, Florida and understand what it's like observing in extremely heavy LP, which can be super frustrating at times. I have a Skywatcher 10" collapsible Dob. Forget the faint fuzzies, like galaxies, go-to or not. However, there are many brighter DSOs that are viewable in LP. Last year I pointed the 10" at the Orion Nebula and was amazed that my daughter and I could see structure, the cloudy puffiness. I was also amazed this year when pointed at glob M22, which resolved into a bright cloud of stars. A 10" scope does have a punch in heavy LP, but a much smaller refractor will out perform it in dark skies. With the persistent cloudy/rainy weather this past year and a half the Dob has been in storage for most of the time. It's my least used scope.

I suggest complimenting the Dob with a smaller, more convenient to use scope. For DSOs I have recently been using an ES AR102 f/6.5 achro. I really like the size and convenience, as well as the views of star fields, nebulae, etc. The low power views are beautiful, and also make finding objects a lot easier. For planets/moon and double stars I like my 127mm Synta-made Mak for the sharp, color free high magnification views. I mount either one on a Twilight I.

Yeah, it's hard to point my scope at a blank part of the sky and find anything. But, I learned how to use the very few bright stars I can see to visualize and help me get into the general area, and then use a low power eyepiece to get to where I'm going. Bright planets are a different story, being easy to find, but challenging to eke out detail.

ADDED: Setting circles work. In 2014 my daughter and I were at a darker sky site and observed supernova SN 2014J in galaxy M82. After we got home I set up my vintage Vixen Polaris GEM with setting circles to show her how they work. I pointed the scope to a naked-eye blank part of the sky. We couldn't see the galaxy through the scope, but the SN was plain as day. I didn't even need to find the SN, it was almost centered in the field of view of the EP.

Ed D

I have the stock lazy susan bearing on my Apertura 10" Dob. I liked it so much that I bought two more of them to install on my other Dobs. They may wear out over time, but they're easy to replace when the time comes to do so.

Most people seem to go the opposite route, replacing the rollers with Teflon-laminate bearings.

What do you like about rollers, what kind of magnifications are you using?


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