Another expensive hobby: astronomy

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Eris
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Another expensive hobby: astronomy

#1 Post by Eris » Sun Jul 21, 2019 1:42 am

Since I turned 50 a couple of weeks ago and had a frustrating experience with my old Orion StarBlast telescope a couple of days later, I decided to finally break down and buy the telescope of my dreams. Behold!

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8" Meade LX200-ACF Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope, with full computer control and a 142,000 object preprogrammed into it's GOTO controller.

I've dreamt about having a scope like this for as long as I can remember, and now that I'm older and financially well off I've decided to finally let myself have a nice toy for a change! I also bought a really big eyepeice to go with it - a TeleVue 41mm Panoptic lens, which itself cost more than all of my old telescope gear combined! I'm also going to get more gear, too, especially a nice astro imaging setup. It's time to shoot the stars, baby!

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Re: Another expensive hobby: astronomy

#2 Post by dougb » Sun Jul 21, 2019 7:20 am

Wow. Envy.
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Re: Another expensive hobby: astronomy

#3 Post by lurker » Sun Jul 21, 2019 7:21 am

i had a cheesy 6" reflector i never used, gave it to the local high school.
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Re: Another expensive hobby: astronomy

#4 Post by eelj » Sun Jul 21, 2019 8:13 am

Impressive looking equipment. Looks like you could have seen the moon landing with it 50 years ago.

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Re: Another expensive hobby: astronomy

#5 Post by CDFingers » Sun Jul 21, 2019 8:31 am

That is very cool. I have a pair of "deep sky" binocs and two refracting telescopes, neither with a motor drive. I sure like looking at stuff even if I have to chase them across the sky. I use the two-volume Celestial Objects for Common Telescopes by The Rev. T.W. Webb.

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Re: Another expensive hobby: astronomy

#6 Post by MaxwellG » Sun Jul 21, 2019 9:31 am

My ex-wife was intro telescopes and Astronomy in the early 90's, it was fun getting a better view of stars and planets and spotting the occasional satellite.
Very impressive...can it also make coffee? Reflectors...because size matters. :sarcasm:
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Re: Another expensive hobby: astronomy

#7 Post by YankeeTarheel » Sun Jul 21, 2019 9:31 am

So nice! Things have really changed for amateur astronomers in the last 20+ years. I have an old, original Meade ETX (90mm) with some upgrades, but nothing like the newest ones. And an old 10" Meade S-C that's a PITA to use and weighs about 2 hernias. But those Televue lenses are incredible! Heavy, expensive, but WOW! 80 or more degrees of viewing! (Update: I just remembered the name of the guy who invented it, Al Nagler. Arrogant fellow but knows his stuff.

See if you can get a Thousand Oaks sun filter as well. And if you feel really, REALLY like wasting money one of those "hydrogen alpha" sun filters! I've only looked through them but you can see the solar flares with them.

Did you get some kind of camera back to go with it? I used my old, old Minolta adapter with my Sony Alpha SLR to shoot the 2017 eclipse, with my old Thousand Oaks filter. We didn't get totality but here's what I shot at the maximum coverage:
BestEclipsePic.jpg
Last edited by YankeeTarheel on Sun Jul 21, 2019 10:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Another expensive hobby: astronomy

#8 Post by highdesert » Sun Jul 21, 2019 9:37 am

Very nice, you're a serious star gazer. Can you use it at your home or is there too much light pollution?
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Re: Another expensive hobby: astronomy

#9 Post by YankeeTarheel » Sun Jul 21, 2019 10:09 am

highdesert wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 9:37 am
Very nice, you're a serious star gazer. Can you use it at your home or is there too much light pollution?
Was.
Light pollution's terrible here, plus lots of trees...and my gear is 20 years old or more. But eclipses are really fun to shoot.
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Re: Another expensive hobby: astronomy

#10 Post by Bucolic » Sun Jul 21, 2019 1:21 pm

So wonderful!! Excellent choices. The Meades are robust and have very good optics. We use them in our labs at the college.

I am so happy for you. Please share your images with us.
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Re: Another expensive hobby: astronomy

#11 Post by Bisbee » Sun Jul 21, 2019 2:25 pm

The good Doctor Bucolic above is, ahem, also familiar with astronomy.
-Or so I hear.
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Re: Another expensive hobby: astronomy

#12 Post by Eris » Sun Jul 21, 2019 2:46 pm

YankeeTarheel wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 10:09 am
highdesert wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 9:37 am
Very nice, you're a serious star gazer. Can you use it at your home or is there too much light pollution?
Was.
Light pollution's terrible here, plus lots of trees...and my gear is 20 years old or more. But eclipses are really fun to shoot.
I have the same problem: a yard full of trees, and terrible light pollution. About 8 or 9 on the Bortle scale. But that's much less limiting now with this telescope since it has a GOTO function. I may not be able to star hop to find things (hard to follow the stars when you can't even see them in the first place) but once I got the scope aligned the other night I was able to tell it to take me on a tour of the sky and it dutifully slewed around and pointed itself for me. I saw more things in one night than I've ever seen with a manual telescope! I have an Orion Ultrablock light pollution filter, too, and that helps a bit, though not as much as you'd hope.
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Re: Another expensive hobby: astronomy

#13 Post by Eris » Sun Jul 21, 2019 2:51 pm

YankeeTarheel wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 9:31 am
Did you get some kind of camera back to go with it? I used my old, old Minolta adapter with my Sony Alpha SLR to shoot the 2017 eclipse, with my old Thousand Oaks filter. We didn't get totality but here's what I shot at the maximum coverage:

I've got a Canon 50D that I can use. Right now it's mounted on a Sky Watcher Sky Adventurer tracking mount with a 100-400mm zoom lens. I might try prime focus photography with in and the new scope, but I'm also looking at getting a dedicated deep sky imager of some sort. No idea what brand or model to get, though, as I'm still reading up on that.
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Re: Another expensive hobby: astronomy

#14 Post by YankeeTarheel » Sun Jul 21, 2019 2:55 pm

Eris wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 2:51 pm
YankeeTarheel wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 9:31 am
Did you get some kind of camera back to go with it? I used my old, old Minolta adapter with my Sony Alpha SLR to shoot the 2017 eclipse, with my old Thousand Oaks filter. We didn't get totality but here's what I shot at the maximum coverage:

I've got a Canon 50D that I can use. Right now it's mounted on a Sky Watcher Sky Adventurer tracking mount with a 100-400mm zoom lens. I might try prime focus photography with in and the new scope, but I'm also looking at getting a dedicated deep sky imager of some sort. No idea what brand or model to get, though, as I'm still reading up on that.
If your 'scope has goto tracking, you can get a camera mount to go on top of it and track with it. I did that with the 1999 eclipse but with the primitive s/w and h/w it was a lot trickier. Still, as long as the 'scope tracked the sun, so did the camera on top.
If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything." -- Mark Twain
My son says: "Don't argue with an idiot. They'll only drag you down to their level and beat you with experience!" -- YT

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Re: Another expensive hobby: astronomy

#15 Post by Eris » Sun Jul 21, 2019 3:20 pm

YankeeTarheel wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 2:55 pm
Eris wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 2:51 pm
YankeeTarheel wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 9:31 am
Did you get some kind of camera back to go with it? I used my old, old Minolta adapter with my Sony Alpha SLR to shoot the 2017 eclipse, with my old Thousand Oaks filter. We didn't get totality but here's what I shot at the maximum coverage:

I've got a Canon 50D that I can use. Right now it's mounted on a Sky Watcher Sky Adventurer tracking mount with a 100-400mm zoom lens. I might try prime focus photography with in and the new scope, but I'm also looking at getting a dedicated deep sky imager of some sort. No idea what brand or model to get, though, as I'm still reading up on that.
If your 'scope has goto tracking, you can get a camera mount to go on top of it and track with it. I did that with the 1999 eclipse but with the primitive s/w and h/w it was a lot trickier. Still, as long as the 'scope tracked the sun, so did the camera on top.
I've done piggy back photography before with my StarBlast, but I don't feel a need to do it with the new scope since I have a dedicated tracking mount for the camera itself.
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Re: Another expensive hobby: astronomy

#16 Post by eelj » Sun Jul 21, 2019 3:36 pm

What do you need for an electrical power source? There must be some place in the Texas desert where a person could set up a portable observatory.

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Re: Another expensive hobby: astronomy

#17 Post by K9s » Sun Jul 21, 2019 4:03 pm

What a cool hobby! I love the subject, but have too many trees and too much light pollution here to even consider it. Maybe some day.
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Re: Another expensive hobby: astronomy

#18 Post by Bucolic » Sun Jul 21, 2019 4:52 pm

Bisbee wrote:The good Doctor Bucolic above is, ahem, also familiar with astronomy.
-Or so I hear.

Sez who??!!

Yeah, I dabbled. Some good gigs.
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Re: Another expensive hobby: astronomy

#19 Post by YankeeTarheel » Sun Jul 21, 2019 6:12 pm

Eris wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 3:20 pm
YankeeTarheel wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 2:55 pm
Eris wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 2:51 pm
YankeeTarheel wrote:
Sun Jul 21, 2019 9:31 am
Did you get some kind of camera back to go with it? I used my old, old Minolta adapter with my Sony Alpha SLR to shoot the 2017 eclipse, with my old Thousand Oaks filter. We didn't get totality but here's what I shot at the maximum coverage:

I've got a Canon 50D that I can use. Right now it's mounted on a Sky Watcher Sky Adventurer tracking mount with a 100-400mm zoom lens. I might try prime focus photography with in and the new scope, but I'm also looking at getting a dedicated deep sky imager of some sort. No idea what brand or model to get, though, as I'm still reading up on that.
If your 'scope has goto tracking, you can get a camera mount to go on top of it and track with it. I did that with the 1999 eclipse but with the primitive s/w and h/w it was a lot trickier. Still, as long as the 'scope tracked the sun, so did the camera on top.
I've done piggy back photography before with my StarBlast, but I don't feel a need to do it with the new scope since I have a dedicated tracking mount for the camera itself.
Now that is seriously cool, Eris. Long before I started shooting paper I enjoyed shooting the heavens.
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Re: Another expensive hobby: astronomy

#20 Post by Eris » Mon Jul 22, 2019 10:28 pm

Today I got a laptop to run the scope. And it occurs to me that once I get a decent imager with computer control on it I can:

- set up telescope
- connect the imager
- hook up both to the laptop
- connect to my home wifi
- go inside to my desktop
- connect to the laptop remotely
- WATCH THE FREAKING STARS FROM AIR CONDITIONING!

BWA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!
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Re: Another expensive hobby: astronomy

#21 Post by YankeeTarheel » Mon Jul 22, 2019 10:31 pm

Why not just run the USB cable with extensions all the way to your desktop? Then it's just one PC running it all!

Maybe you can even run it to FaceBook as a "live camera" so we can watch the stars with you!
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Re: Another expensive hobby: astronomy

#22 Post by Eris » Mon Jul 22, 2019 10:37 pm

YankeeTarheel wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 10:31 pm
Why not just run the USB cable with extensions all the way to your desktop? Then it's just one PC running it all!

Maybe you can even run it to FaceBook as a "live camera" so we can watch the stars with you!
I'd need about a 150 feet of USB cable for that, and serial cable too.

Live camera feed could be interesting, though I'd probably use Twitch since I dont' do FB.
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Re: Another expensive hobby: astronomy

#23 Post by YankeeTarheel » Mon Jul 22, 2019 10:41 pm

Eris wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 10:37 pm
YankeeTarheel wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 10:31 pm
Why not just run the USB cable with extensions all the way to your desktop? Then it's just one PC running it all!

Maybe you can even run it to FaceBook as a "live camera" so we can watch the stars with you!
I'd need about a 150 feet of USB cable for that, and serial cable too.

Live camera feed could be interesting, though I'd probably use Twitch since I dont' do FB.
That would call for Cat5 + and balens to handle it. Of course it depends on where you place the 'scope and where your desktop is.
If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything." -- Mark Twain
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Re: Another expensive hobby: astronomy

#24 Post by Eris » Thu Aug 08, 2019 9:52 pm

Here's my "first light" image. It's a cell phone video shot through the eyepiece at 222x magnification showing Mare Serenitatis. You can mute the sound. It's just the wind.

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Re: Another expensive hobby: astronomy

#25 Post by senorgrand » Thu Aug 08, 2019 9:58 pm

Wait...you can see that from your house? Oooh...I don't need another hobby. Also, I'm about 30 min away from a very low light polution area...hmmm....
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