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Everything posted by Brad737

  1. Last night, I tried to catch the ISS through my telescope. It was a nearly overhead pass, amazingly clear skies, and an incredible view of the station. She passed only 255 miles away, which made for a really FAST pass. (Yes, I know it's almost always going close to the same speed...but the further away, the less relative velocity...). Anyway, I tried to line up the ISS with my finder scope. I've discovered that's it's officially a piece of junk! I have the finder fairly well centered, but it has the flipped image, so a newbie like me couldn't translate that into a good telescope view. In fact, I didn't get to see the station through my scope at all. I'm shopping for a reflex sight as we speak!
  2. It was the latest one...Edge of Darkness maybe? The new JJ Abrams version with Khan. I like the Abrams flicks, but they don't have quire the same feel as the originals...I find the new ones to be a whole lot more Jason Bourne vs Shatner.
  3. Hello, I've owned my 90mm Skywatcher Virtuoso Mak for less than a week. It was specifically purchased as a grab-n-go scope, and camping trips. And as you may have seen in my other post, I LOVE IT! I knew from the get go that I'd be looking to buy a nice Dobsonian scope for home use. Like all newbies, I'm wrestling with the decision of an 8" Dob, or a 10". I know now that everyone says "APERTURE RULES!!!" And I know it's because the larger aperture gathers more light. But here's what I don't really understand yet. What exactly is the benefit of greater light gathering? I've read that it will allow you to find dimmer DSOs. But will the image through the eyepiece be bigger, using the same eyepieces? Will the image be clearer? As for my intended usage, right now we're giggling like school kids looking at the Moon, Staurn's rings, etc. I really don't intend on mapping out all of the DSOs out there. But I would love to see some things like nebulae, galaxies, etc. I've tried googling images showing the comparison of 8" vs 10" images, but they almost always just show photos of the actual telescopes. i like the idea of storing a smaller scope, but if the views are much better with a 10", I'd be happy to pay a little extra. Besides just saying "aperture rules", can you please tell my exactly why YOU would recommend a 10" Dob? Thanks, Brad
  4. Well my Skywatcher arrived Saturday, but unfortunately we had overcast skies and lots of rain. However, we went camping on Sunday and were blessed with no moon and clear skies. Even though I didn't have an opportunity to align the viewfinder, sky watching we went. I used the free Sky View app and quickly located Mars and Jupiter. I started with the wide angle lens, then switched to the 10mm lens after I got the planets centered. We were able to clearly see that Mars is mostly orange. We could make out the cloud bands on Jupiter, although we couldn't see the Red Spot. We could also see 4 of Jupiter's moons. And I'm not exaggerating when I say I felt like a little kid the first time I saw Saturn's rings. I can tell that I'm going to need decent Barlow lens as soon as we return from our trip. I think I'd also like to get a few better eyepieces. I think I need a 4 to 6mm lens for close ups. Do you all have any advice for decent eyepieces without spending a couple hundred dollars each? Thanks, Brad
  5. Thanks for the advice. I think I've pretty much decided on the Zhumell Z10, unless I get a great deal on something. Thanks, Brad
  6. Hello all, I'm brand new to astronomy, but I had a fun time Tuesday night and thought I'd share. I downloaded a free app on my iPad called ISS Spotter. It has a forecast that tells when the International Space Station will be visible from your location. It said I'd be able to see it in 8 minutes, so I grabbed my 10x50 binoculars and headed outside. Exactly on cue, I was able to see a bright spot moving quite fast across the sky. I grabbed my binoculars, and while I couldn't make out any detail of the station I WAS able to see that the bright spot was indeed TWO bright spots. I ran inside and interrupted my wife's viewing of the latest Star Trek movie on tv. She came out and saw it too. She was incredulous that we were watching a no-kidding space station with people inside streaking by. I'm sure this is probably boring for a lot of you. But hat a fun sighting! We can't wait till our 90mm MAK arrives on Saturday. Anyway, I thought I'd share the info about the app. Get it!
  7. Hello all, I do have an update for you all. I did select the Sky Watcher Virtuoso as our camping scope. It's supposed to arrive on Saturday...which is nice because we're going camping Sunday! Just to try and clarify, the reasons I went with the Sky-Watcher over the other contenders were the fact that I probably wouldn't need to collimate a Mak. Also, the reviews were amazing. Next, I'm not sure that I'll use the tracking system on the Virtuoso. But I'm glad it's there. For only an additional $40, it seemed like a no-brainier. Also, it seems like the Sky-Watcher comes with more extras than the other scopes I was considering...2 eyepieces, solar filter, and a camera bracket. I'm not sure I'll use that. If not, I'll give it to someone who can use it. The more I looked at it, the Sky-watcher Virtuoso just seems like it offers everything I wanted in a travel scope, with some extras, for a great deal. Needless to say, I can't wait for it to arrive. I must admit that this process was a LOT more difficult than I'd envisioned. Until I pulled the trigger, I don't think the Virtuoso was ever my top choice. But I feel like this is the right scope for us. Like I said earlier, I'm absolutely, 100% going to buy a Dobsonian very soon...either 8" or 10"...Right now I'm leaning towards the Zhumell Z10, but I'm going to do some research first, and get acquainted with the Virtuoso a bit first. Then I'll decide which size, brand, and options I want. I have learned a TON over the past few days. And I truly appreciate all of the friendly advice. Your help has been extremely generous, and I thank you. I'll keep you all updated as my family gets more involved in the hobby. Thanks, Brad
  8. Hello all, I'd like to get a nice, portable scope to bring along on camping trips with my family. Before I pose my possible choices, I should point out that I'm aalmost certainly opposing to get an 8 or 10 inch Dobsonian for home use...probably a Zhumell or Sky-Watcher. Having said that, I've narrowed my choices down to four different scopes: Orion StarMax 90mm MAK ~ $210 Focal length ~ 1250mm Highest magnification ~ 180x Needs Barlow & Moon filter Orion StarBlast 4.5" ~ $210 Focal length ~ 450mm Highest magnification ~ 228x Needs Barlow & Moon filter Zhumell Z130 ~ $200 Focal length ~ 650mm Highest magnification ~ 165x Needs Eyepiece kit $90 Sky Watcher Virtuoso 90mm Mak ~ $250 Focal length ~ 1250mm Highest magnification ~ 180x Needs Barlow & Moon filter If you were going to buy a "camping scope" which of these would you select? If you have another recommendation, I'd be happy to hear it. Many thanks, Brad
  9. Thank you all for the advice. I've narrowed down my choices. I'm going to post a poll in a few, and I'm hoping you'll join me there to help me pick which scope I'll go for first. Thanks, Brad
  10. Thanks for the suggestions so far. I think for our camping trips, a refractor or Maksutov are definitely the way to go. I'm Internet shopping as we speak. Thanks, Brad
  11. Hello all, I bought a cheapo ToysRUs reflector for my daughter for Christmas, but as I've come to find out, it's pretty poor quality. I'd like to get a better telescope for the kids (and me!) to use, and have been poring over all sorts of buyer's guides. I'd like to keep our purchase to $400 or less. From what I've read, the Zhumell Z8 and the Orion XT8 both seem to be very nice scopes for beginners. Herein lies the rub. Our family really enjoys camping, and the 8 inch Dobsonians just seem to be too big to bring along on our camping trips. I was thinking we may be better off buying something around 130mm on a tripod mount, solely for ease of packing in the Family Truckster. Would stepping down to a 5 inch scope be a total waste of time for us? I'd like to be able to show the kids stuff like the rings of Saturn, the cloud bands and storm of Jupiter, the Moon, etc. I should also point out that I'm something of a gadget freak, so I'll probably spring for one of the 8 inch Dobsonians at some point in the future as well. What do you all think? Any recommendations for a nice 5 inch tripod scope? I'd prefer to stay away from computerized systems for now, solely because I'm a rank beginner. Thanks, Brad
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