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About Darryls

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  • Interests
    Stargazing, Guitar
  • Location
    Utah, USA
  1. mfrmus asked: "And how am I supposed to know which one produces a true 5mw or 50mw beam?" I find that if I buy from a site that sells astronomy equipment, I usually will get one that is bright enough for my purposes. Some sites even state that their lasers are "tested to be 5mw". For personal pointing (used with your telescope under dark skies) even the cheap ebay ones have worked for me. But for group pointing, you want a 5mw "tested" one. If you end up with a dim one, just have the group cuddle up close!
  2. I used to have a 10" dob. I loved to just put in my widest eyepiece and sweep the sky. I could spend hours doing this, and evey once in a while I would hit a galaxy or cluster. Then I would take a look at what constellation I was in, go get the computer, and figure out what I had found.
  3. I have some Baader Hyperion eyepieces that I use with my DSLR and an Intes 6" Mak-cass. (The camera is coupled to the eyepiece with a T-thread adapter). In order to get it to focus, I have to add about 5" of extenders between the eyepiece and the focuser! If I add a T-extension between the camera and the eyepiece, will that reduce significantly the total "inches of extension" required?
  4. Got mine last week. Just hope my old eyes can make out the small print in the dark! (It's been cloudy every night, no chance to try yet.)
  5. Whenever I look through a Newtonian and want to move to another position, I think to myself "move the sky" (as opposed to "move the 'scope"). Thus moving the scope actually does move the sky in that same direction because of the mirror reversal.
  6. Thanks to everybody. The "show & tell" went well. It was supposed to be one class of about 25 9 year old kids, but the other two classes piggy-backed on the demonstration, so there were about 75 kids total! The teachers have done a good job with the kids teaching them about the sun/moon/planets in the previous two weeks, so they basically just wanted to give the kids a chance to look through a telescope. I set up two, and each kid got about 30 seconds at the eyepiece on each. Most kids could see the sunspots in one and moon in the other quite well, although some (about 7 of 75) never could get a good look. Some (about 15) immediately said "wow, cool!" At one point, the sun was interfered with by the very top of a pine tree - could have done better planning there I guess. I just did my best to point the mounts north, and then accepted the two-star alignment without any adjustment. Both tracked well enough that I only adjusted them twice during the whole 45 minute session. Each class of about 25 kids was lectured to for about three minutes about the dangers of looking at the sun. "How long can you look at the sun without going blind?" "These telescopes magnify the sun 40x, so now how long?" I think they got the message that they would be instantly blinded if the look at the sun through a telescope. Amazingly, in one class, a little girl raised her hand and said "unless you have an appropriate filter." Smart kid!
  7. Wow lots of good points and ideas! I will need to contact the teacher and make firmer plans. These kids are 9 years old. Thanks so much everybody!
  8. I have been asked to bring my telescopes to a local school and let the kids look through them. But this will be during the daylight hours! So I thought about using a white light filter to let them see sun spots, and maybe another scope pointed at the moon. Their teacher also asked me to "tell them about it." Any ideas? TIA Darryl
  9. After buying our first "real" telescope (6" newt on an EQ5 clone) and studying all about polar alignment during the first 2 weeks of ownership due to cloudy nights, my 16yo and I went out for our first night under the stars. Spent nearly an hour tying to align the scope to Polaris, during which time my boy kept asking "Dad, what's that bright one over there?" Finally frustrated with the alignment process, I swung the thing around and pointed it at the "star" he kept asking about. Wow! There was Jupiter, clearly identifiable with its two cloud bands. What's more, the Galilean moons were strung out like four pearls all on one side. Beautiful.
  10. Mostly my own back yard. But I do have a friend who lives on 10 acres just 30 min away and there are nice dark skies on his land, it's further out of the city and higher up on the hill.
  11. After you complete a two star or three star the hand controller always displays the MEL and MAZ error. So just do your alingment then check those numbers to see how close you are. I have used those numbers as a guide to adjust my mount through trial and error and been able to get both numbers under 1/2 degree. It was time consuming but is possible. Section 5.17 of the maual tells us how to display the MEL and MAZ numbers at any time.
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