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Messages - Ryan Hernandez

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Beginners Forum / Re: Which telescope to choose?
« on: February 09, 2018, 09:27:25 AM »
If your interest is "serious astrophotography" (lets say, anything other than a smartphone camera), you need to know that:

* For larger exposures (better pictures of dim objects), you need a motorized equatorial mount. This rules out alt az mount and dobsonians.
* A good camera (or sensor) costs as much or more as the telescope tube.
* A good sensor for planets is not good for DSOs, and viceversa.
* For astrophotography, the best telescopes are called "Astrographs", they are "fast" (short focal length), have corrector lenses, and more sturdy focusers to hold heavy cameras. Their mounts are equatorial, and motorized.
* You cannot get an astrophotography starting gear with less than $1500
* It takes a lot of time to learn the details on camera settings and image processing. Months to years. This on top of learning telescope use, and the sky.
* The best advice I've read here (from a 20yr astrophotography veteran) is: "just don't"
Hi Dale,
As I said in an earlier post, you would likely get inundated with advice:-) For my 2 cents I would agree with these points made above, if your expectation is to generate an APOD(astro picture of the day) picture. That is certainly a worthwhile mark to aspire too, and you will likely spend a heck of a lot more than 1500 Dollars getting there!!:-).

However, it is certainly possible to get cool images from a wide range of objects with much more simple gear.  Solar system, Moon, Sun, Saturn Venus and Mars are absolutely doable with a dob, a 100-200 dollar camera and a great deal of planning, PRACTICE and patience.

An example is here

This is a mosaic of images taken of the moon in an 8 inch dob with a 90 dollar Orion planet cam and a barlow. This gentleman now uses a C8 on tracking mount, but he started out with an XT8 dob and that little camera. All of mr. Varney's early work was done with the dob. Some of it used a tracking platform that he built from a kit, but a lot of the early images did not. If you go through his flicker account you can see the evolution of his imaging as he learned to use the camera, scope and image processing techniques.

I provide this example as a point of encouragement.  You can get started with a "relatively" small investment, and learn the basics of astrophotography, including how to find what you are looking for, how to tell if your scope is collimated, how to collimate your scope when it isn't well collimated, how to adjust gain and exposure time. How to stack images, Why you stack images, and the list goes on...  If you spend the time to learn all these skills using economical gear and "simple" targets like the moon or jupiter to get the very best image you can get with your gear, you will have an excellent foundation that justifies investing in more sophisticated equipment to image more challenging objects like fainter DSO's.

If on the other hand you come to the conclusion that imaging is a big PITA(not an unreasonable conclusion:-), and that both Orthoscopic and Wide field Eyepieces are really cool, then you have saved money to invest in some good EP's.

Astronomy, visual or photographic, is really a discipline and it takes time, effort and commitment to master either one. As you get better at it, you will likely want to add to and/or upgrade your gear. Just like any other hobby. And just like most other hobbies, there is ALWAYS more cool gear to be had and no limit to what you could spend:-)  The key is to be happy with what you are doing at the time you are doing it!  Set little goals that you can strive toward during an observing session so you can feel a sense of accomplishment, and First and foremost ENJOY things!  If you find your self getting frustrated, take a step back and look up at the sky. Drink in the quiet of the night. Pull out your favorite Eyepiece and look at stuff for a while. I like imaging, but I can also loose myself for 40 minutes just scanning around the moon with one on my eyepieces. 

I hope that you have found encouragement from all the advice everyone has provided. I think the key threads running through it all are that you should take your time, figure out what you are really interested in, and understand that if you really get into the hobby, you will likely end up spending more money on gear:-) To that end, any of the suggestions of scopes and mounts made here will enable you get started with a solid foundation.

Good Luck!


Beginners Forum / Re: Surprise for Husband
« on: February 03, 2018, 05:42:38 AM »

I will pour over all the telescope info, look at the links, try to educate myself some, and pick a great one.

I would highly recommend poring over the information. Pouring over it sounds so ... well ... messy.


Your resident former newspaper editor
Hey Meade, maybe she meant she had the info in front of her while she poured her coffee, looked at the sausage links to make sure they were done, do a little research into the telescope to buy, and then pick the best sausage link to go with the eggs???

being silly tonight

Eyepieces Questions & Recommendations / Re: Meade zoom
« on: February 03, 2018, 03:46:04 AM »
8x50 RACI finderscopes are highly recommend

It comes with the base which you can use to mount using the mounting holes in your existing scope

General Astronomy & Observing / Re: Eclipse traffic horror stories?
« on: February 02, 2018, 07:28:18 PM »
I just want to note that since the path of totality in 2024 is SW-NE through the US (and Mexico), it might behoove those who will be traveling by road to see it (at least in the US) I'd recommend that you begin lobbying the affected state governments in its path to suspend and road work on that day (aside from true emergency work) and or make other allowances for the enormous amount of concentrated traffic.

We have seven years to make sure we don't have another debacle like this time. And to be clear... It won't affect me either way. I live in its path and will be viewing (and imaging) from my home or within waling distance, so this post is for the benefit of those of you who *will be driving to it, not mine. I won't be chasing the longest totality and traveling to Nazas. If you're anything like me, driving a N hour trip in ~2N hours isn't a very happy thing, especially when much of that 2nd N is due to DOT mismanagement

For me depends on a couple things, I find that 32-35X per inch of aperture is my maximum magnification I can use on the planets, this results in an exit pupil that is around .8 to .7 and for me thats it.  I don't observe with anything larger than a 6 inch scope, at least not yet, maybe I'll invest in a larger Dob soon.  Last night with Jupiters shadow transit the 4.5mm Delos and my TMB 92SS was providing tack sharp views at 112X when the seeing steadied, I got the 6inch Dob out to see if I could push the magnification and all I did was magnify the bad seeing conditions mostly, so I pretty much stuck with the TMB.  So I guess for me here in Michigan the seeing conditions are always so back and forth I'm at the mercy of the skies when it comes to how much magnification I can use with what scope.


I have an AYO Master alt-az mount and adore it. Best alt-az mount I've ever used. Simple, counterweighted, massive capacity, when balanced and frictioned using clutches, one-finger movements are a piece of cake and it doesn't look like someone's science faire project or doo-doo. What's not to love?


I've noticed something now that I've been using the mount for awhile. When I first received it, by day in my shed, I could hear the slightest "hiss" of friction with the clutches unlocked when I spun the mount around its azimuth axis. When I was showing it off at night to clubmates, though, and wanted to show them the slight contact on that axis, it didn't manifest. A couple of times in the shed by day of late I've attempted to rotate the mount with one hand in azimuth and even though the clutch was loose, it wouldn't budge and instead the entire mount pivoted on the workbench. Later everything was loose again with no friction on that axis.

Last night I set up to use the mount as a guiding platform for p-gram mounted big binoculars (using a GLP on a scope on the AYO Master as the "finder" for the binoculars). By day the azimuth axis with clutch loose was very stiff. So much so I almost wrote the manufacturer to ask about how I'd go about adjusting or perhaps lubricating/cleaning that bearing surface. But then when I went out after 10pm to use the mount it was again completely smooth.

Then it dawned on me: It's a temperature thing. Every instance of slight contact or tightness in the unlocked azimuth axis has been during the day, near sea level in warmer temperatures. At the same location, at night, when ambient temperatures drop into the 50s and the mount has equilibrated, it's butter smooth.

I am thinking that the tolerances are so tight that in warmer conditions than the maker could have tested (daytime use in Mediterranean climate at ~85F or warmer) there's some differential expansion of materials used in the mount that triggers contact. That contact goes away as soon as the material contracts with lower temperatures. I may have a peek inside to see if anything could be tweaked/adjusted, but for now I'll leave well enough alone since it does not interfere with any actual use I plan.

Still an odd "glitch" likely due to different geographies of maker and user.




In about a week or so I am expecting delivery of the next smaller version, the AYO Digi II (ordered without the encoders for now) which I will also be using at essentially sea level. Albeit in the somewhat cooler climes of British Columbia, we do still get some very warm summer days. Not sure whether the Digi II and the Master have the same or different internal bearing construction. The website notes the included use of teflon for the Master but is silent as regards its use in the Digi II. But in any event I'll report back if I have a similar experience with differential ambient.

The Master also uses Teflon simple bearings in addition to sealed bearings, so a slightly different design (albeit likely similar as far as the sealed bearings are concerned).

- Jim

Mounts Questions & Expirience / Re: Mount for TV85
« on: January 31, 2018, 05:44:41 AM »
I've had a Telepod head for about 15 years and I'm not really a fan. It's light and nicely made, with plenty of options for accessorising. However, the alt bearings are small and it is difficult to get the tension right with the double, extremely sensitive, tension adjustment screws. Attaching the scope is done by loose screws, which is fiddly at best, and makes it unnecessarily involved if you want to use different mounts with the scope. I'd much prefer a side-mounting mount that takes a standard Vixen dovetail. I have my eye on the Ayo II.

ATM, Optics and DIY Forum / Re: My new 16 inch F3 Dobsonian
« on: January 31, 2018, 02:27:27 AM »
Thanks for posting. How big a secondary mirror you use?

Kevin, note from post #14 above the minor axis of the secondary is 120 mm, or 4.72". This is indeed large and fast!

Beginners Forum / Re: Member Title?
« on: January 31, 2018, 02:02:49 AM »
Ya. If you're "in the clique" you can get a cool title.

Light Pollution Topics / Re: The ultimate light pollution?
« on: January 31, 2018, 01:42:27 AM »
What a bunch of morons. Hopefully this fails....I would think other countries would have something to say about an obnoxious bright object cruising over their country over and over.

Been using the 17mm version for a few weeks now and agree - this is a game changer. Compared directly with the 17T4, I find that the new ES is actually a little sharper along with the extra 10 degree AFOV. I've already ordered the 12mm too.


Do you have any comments on distortions, edge of field and the like?

I have 2 of the ES 82s and recommend them often. I know you will like them.

ATM, Optics and DIY Forum / Re: Building a Foucault tester.
« on: January 31, 2018, 12:54:16 AM »
Pretty sweet tester

The Meade 8-14" LX200 mounts are completely different animals from the 16" models.

Mechanically they have very little in common, specification-wise.

Reflectors Telescopes Forum / Re: Hubble Optics 12" Travel Scope
« on: January 30, 2018, 11:08:34 PM »
I've been on ladders many times to view through other people's scopes. I never liked the feeling of being up on a ladder in the dark. Never.  If a scope requires a ladder, I won't buy it. If I need to stand, I won't buy it. Those are two factors that will cool my aperture fever real quick.


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