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Posts posted by SlyReaper

  1. So many factors.  As a child, I was always fascinated with all things space.  I liked to imagine what it would be like to live in a cloud city on Neptune, or under the ice of Europa, or what it would be like to fall into a black hole.  I would pick out a random star in the night sky, and wonder if there was anyone in my line of sight looking back in my direction.  It also helped that I grew up in a time when Hubble was starting to return some spectacular images.  As a birthday present (11th or 12th I think), my parents bought me a telescope.  A refractor with an aperture of maybe 3 inches.  But I took it outside, pointed it at the brightest object I could see, and noticed that it resolved to a disc with 4 smaller dots arranged in a line going through the centre of that disc.  If I stared long enough, I could just about make out the cloud bands.  I was so happy to be able to identify what it was on my own.

    Then I grew up a bit, went to university, got out in the world, and my concerns became somewhat more mundane.  I sort of drifted away from it, because there was enough down here to keep me interested.  But I always kept one eye on the sky.  On a holiday in Spain, I stepped outside one night for some fresh air and some contemplative alone-time.  I could make out the Orion constellation quite clearly, and see that little smudge under it's belt.  The more I looked up, the more stars I could see, until I realised I could see the faint glowing band of the Milky Way galaxy.  Each star that I could see was surrounded by a faint mist, and I realised that the mist was just more stars.  That got me back into it.  As a child, it was always the types of things in space that interested me.  Now, it's more about the scale of things and the age of things.  I was no longer satisfied with the space [removed word] returned by big professional observatories like Hubble, I wanted to see it for myself.

    Last year, I bought myself a 5 inch newtonian telescope, and a few months after that, a 10 inch dobsonian.  Started taking some pictures of planets.  Sometimes I head out with the big dobsonian to the middle of the countryside, try and set up as far away from the nearest town as I can possibly manage, and just spend hours slewing it around, seeing stars for which I know no name, sometimes spotting a globular cluster or galaxy.  I love every minute of it.  

    • Like 2

  2. Yes, I had exactly the same though.   One would think a sun passing that close would be something akin to a daytime supernova yet it appears we probably wouldn't even see it unless we'd been looking precisely for it.

    Even using a domestic scope many people might miss it assuming it was something very far away instead of small and very close.  You'd only notice it moving if you were looking at it over a period of time.

    I like to imagine it from the other point of view.  If there's a life-bearing planet in orbit around Scholz's Star, from their point of view, it would be our sun "buzzing" theirs.  And our sun would most certainly have been visible from their world, one of the brightest things in its night sky.  

  3. Strictly speaking the Earth has no moon.

    The Earth and the Moon are a binary system orbiting a barycentre.

    Strictly speaking, you're wrong.  The barycentre is inside the Earth and the Moon is well within the Earth's Hill sphere.  By every definition, the Moon is a moon.

    • Like 2

  4. It will still remain orbiting the Earth. The increase is in the order of millimetres per year, as the friction of the tidal forces on Earth gradually slows our rotation. In the distant future both the Earth and Moon will be tidally locked together and at that point there will be no further increase in the distance.

    It's worth noting that by the time this happens, the sun will have swelled into a red giant and then shrunk down into white dwarf form.  The jury is still out on whether the Earth and moon would be enveloped and destroyed by the sun during its red giant phase.

  5. Thanks for the suggestions.

    Budget wise... I have recently found myself with an embarrassingly large heap of cash to spend, so I'd like to say money is no object.  4 grand?  Okay.  I can spend that.  But I also don't want to be that guy who has all the gear and no idea.  It has been less than a year since I bought my first scope, so I have absolutely no confidence in myself to make sensible choices.   I think I want to be spending a large fraction of the total spend on the mount, so something like a HEQ5 appeals to me.  But I worry that might be over-speccing it.  

    In addition to my dobsonian light bucket, I also have a 130mm newtonian OTA.  It was the first telescope I bought.  It's currently on an EQ2 mount.  If I slap that thing on a beefier mount and whack a guide-scope on the side of it, would that make a semi-decent rig for photographing DSOs?  It's a spherical mirror though, not parabolic.  

    • Like 1

  6. I'm unhappy.  I have this 10 inch dob that is fantastic at taking pictures of planets, but not a lot else.  Anything that's dim, that requires more than a few seconds exposure, it won't come out clearly, because the tracking system is simply not accurate enough.  I know, it's an alt-azimuth mount, of course it's going to be pretty much useless at imaging galaxies and nebulae.  What's worse is it's front-heavy, so it slowly pitches downwards.  I've known this all along.  But it came to a head last week when someone on another forum took an absolutely stunning picture of comet Lovejoy, tail and all, with what they described as a "budget rig".  They had used a small scope on an EQ2 mount with a motor.  Not even a guide scope.  The best I had been able to do was a greenish blob with nearly a grand's worth of kit.  I want to do better, and I don't think my current equipment is up to the task.

    So yeah, I'm looking for a proper AP rig.  Equatorial mount, guide-star tracking scope, small-to-medium OTA; I'm not expecting to get a 10 inch tube on an equatorial mount without selling a kidney.  I already have a fairly decent camera for planetary imaging, a ZWO ASI120MM.  Is that usable for DSO imaging with the right scope?

    • Like 1

  7. Just found it with my 10 inch dob.  Couldn't resist attempting a photo, even if it's probably a lost cause with my setup.  Currently guzzling photons at a rate of 1 frame every 20 seconds.  It just looks like a grey blob, but there's always a chance I might capture something more?  Who knows, I think it's worth a try.

  8. As I understand the danger lies in that we actually are in line of sight of its pole... of course I'd bet against humanity still being around, but who knows. Personally, I'd LOVED to be around for our demise. What I wicked cool time to be alive.

    Are we?  It was my understanding that we're nowhere near its pole.

    • Like 1

  9. http://rosetta.jpl.nasa.gov/

    Needless to say this isn't new news to most in the astronomy community but I can't help but think it is one of those playing "GOD" moments when we are interfering with things that arguably were supposed to be beyond our reach.

    I believe that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Who is saying that landing on this comet isn't going to in the vacuum of space have some influence on the comet destined path through time and space causing ripples along the way. 

    "Supposed to be beyond our reach"?  Supposed by whom?  The Flying Spaghetti Monster?  I think the FSM is cool with us dropping a robot on a comet.

    If we were worried about every small action having unforeseen consequences later on, we'd never get out of bed in the mornings.

    • Like 6

  10. Be careful here Simon. A Dobsonian is a type of mounting not a type of scope. It is therefore very possible to get a dobsonian refractor and trust me its been done more than once before. ;)

    I'm struggling to imagine how that would even work.  You'd have to lie prone on the ground to be able to see through the eyepiece.

  11. SGL used to be populated with common sense.

    Now, I feel nonsense is getting a big foothold here.

    I do enjoy Science Fiction, I read a lot of it as a youngster, and with so much cgi  in the Movie world these days, giving a

    notion of reality to the features, especially in Space movies, I feel some folks have allowed themselves to

    set aside their notion of what is real, and permitted the fiction to dominate.

    Sad really, as separate  subjects, they give a lot of pleasure, combined, they are causing problems.

    A first rule of observation, do not jump to conclusions about what you think you see. Make sure.


    Nobody actually thinks it's aliens, it's just fun to say it's aliens.  

  12. Doing the maths, if you travel at 99.9999999994324% of the speed of light, then relativistic time compression would shorten the one-way journey of 2300 LY to approximately 2 days.

    I'll give you a lift if you go halvsies on the antimatter fuel.  

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