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Jay F

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About Jay F

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    San Luis Valley, Colorado
  1. Thanks Louis D, That does sound like a better option, now that you mention it, with a reasonable price also. I have it bookmarked and on my wish list. Kind regards, Jay
  2. @Charic I only have a 6mm eyepiece, not a 3mm one. I mistyped that in the post above. Sorry about that, I just reread the post and it's pretty confusing, even to me :-) I do get it that, with my telescope specs, the 6mm with the 2x should be the highest magnification I should try, and I'm good with that. You saved me some money :-)
  3. Well, I tried screwing the Barlow lens in directly to my eyepiece, and there was some improvement that way. I was able to focus in pretty tightly on Crater Schickard this morning with my 3mm planetary eyepiece and it looked crisp and clear. That eyepiece with the Barlow was pretty good, but the focus is still just slightly off when compared with the 6mm without it. Thanks again for that suggestion, @Charic. @Louis D I appreciate that information. I think that is probably part of the problem. It is an inexpensive Barlow. I guess you get what you pay for! Possibly I would have better luck with TV 2x at some point down the line, might be my next upgrade. (but not a 3x :-)) Thanks, again. Kind regards, Jay
  4. I just saw the ISS!

    No, I haven't...but thanks for the suggestion. I will have to try to time it right and see if I can get a glimpse of something like that. I haven't seen this on the webcam, but I have seen video recorded by one of the astronauts on the space station that shows the aurora borealis. I don't think the webcams up there are capable of showing it for some reason, but it was really fantastic, flashing over most of the arctic regions and beyond. As great as the webcam views look to us, the live views must be 1000 times better for them :-) One of the perks of what I suspect is a pretty tough job.
  5. It's an Orion Starblast 4.5 on an EQ1 mount. (I may want to upgrade the mount before I do the telescope :-))
  6. Thanks Floater, I kind of thought it might be a limitation of the telescope more than the eyepieces, but it was worth a shot. :-( Thanks to Charic also for the calculations. This telescope has a focal length of 500mm, so a 6mm with a 2x barlow would bring it to 166x, if my calculations are right. The max magnification they recommend is 200x, so a 3x would apparently not be a good idea. This is most likely the max magnification I should attempt to achieve at this point. Thanks to both of you for saving me some money that wouldn't make much difference. Not disappointed at all, I am actually really pleased with what I can see, even with a low-end scope like this. It was so amazing the first time I looked a Jupiter and saw it not only as a more than just a bright light, but one with actual small moons in an orbital pattern. I was so excited, I don't think I'll ever forget that. So learning as I go, maybe some day a more advanced setup, but there is still so much to learn and see right now with this one, that I'm not too worried. Thanks again for the great advice. I really appreciate it.
  7. Thanks for the suggestion. I just checked, and yeah, it will unscrew and I can screw directly on to any eyepiece. Who knew? I never would have thought of trying that. :-) I'll give it a try tonight and see if it makes a difference. (I do realize that I can't expect too much from a lower-end telescope, but it was a bit of a compromise for me at this point. Hope to upgrade as finances progress.)
  8. Looking for a little advice. I have an Orion 2x shorty Barlow that came with my telescope. It seems to be much harder to focus when I use that with any of my eyepieces than my actual eyepieces are. I have a new Orion 6mm planetary eyepiece, which if terrific, actually, but when I pair it with my shorty 2x, I can't really get a clear focus on it, which is a little disappointing. I am thinking of buying a TeleVue 3x Barlow, which is much longer. It seems like with a longer eyepiece like that, it wouldn't require so many micro-adjustments to try to get a good, clean focus. (I could be wrong about that also, I know.) I Since they are quite a bit more expensive than the one I have, I want to make sure that it would be a good choice at this point. I am a beginner and am working with a 114 Reflector. Any thoughts or suggestions much appreciated.
  9. I just saw the ISS!

    Wow! How cool! I have the feeling it is not easy to find it or track it, given its speed and variable trajectory. Your description of that experience sounds like it is super fun and I hope to share a similar one someday. I'll have to set up the telescope early and be all lined up and ready for it. A new challenge :-)
  10. I just saw the ISS!

    Subdeo, those are great shots! I think I saw that lake once in South America. One clear day I watched it cross the entire continent from SW to NE, saw the rivers, the Amazon and delta, and it crossed pretty close to Sao Paulo, Brazil, where my nephew just happened to be at the time. That was the best sighting I've had so far. Most of the time I look, either the continents are clouded over or they are over the ocean. Either way, though, it is amazing how beautiful our blue planet really is! Thanks for sharing the photos.
  11. I just saw the ISS!

    I have only recently discovered it, so I only have a few so far. It's hard to catch it when it's over a continent in good weather. And it's not always clear exactly where the camera is pointed. Sometimes I am expecting to see some land mass and it doesn't seem to be visible :-( Is the photos on your ID taken from there? That is terrific! I have seen the astronauts inside, but I haven't been fortunate enough to see one outside yet. Maybe someday...I still spend a lot of time watching it.
  12. Mars & Jupiter nearing conjunction

    We do have many dark clear nights. It's a great place for watching the stars. Ideal really, in many ways. It's about 50x100 miles of flat-as-a-pancake farmland, ringed with mountain ranges and national forest that they are close enough to get to quickly, but far enough away to not be too much of an obstruction to the horizons, maybe only 10-15 degrees are blocked. It's also very sparsely populated, mostly potato farming with a few small towns scattered about. Not only that, but there is a national wildlife refuge about 5 miles south of where I live which is about 20 square miles without a single light, plus a not-insignificant Amish population in the area, also with minimal to no lighting at night, so very little light pollution, low humidity, and lots of clear days year round. The downside is that the valley floor is at about 8000 feet, so the cold air from the mountains really settles down here and keeps it really cold here in the winters. No complaints though, it's a good place to live. The milky way is pretty stunning and definitely lives up to its name, even without any visual aids, on those clear nights. I'll bet you do miss it. What took you so far away? Do you ever get back on this side of the world? Is so, I would highly recommend a visit to this area :-) Grand Junction itself may have grown since you were 9, but there are still plenty of dark spaces near there also on both the Colorado and Utah sides. Back on topic, however, for this event, we currently have cloudy skies, with 3-6" of snow projected overnight and through Sunday afternoon, so chances are slim to none that I'll be able to see anything in the morning. I did get to see how close Jupiter and Mars were this morning however. It's like you said earlier, they seemed to close the distance from where they were yesterday morning so quickly! You could hold up one finger and cover them both. Wow! We should have clear skies again on Monday and Tuesday mornings, so I'll be out watching. Kind regards, Jay
  13. Mars & Jupiter nearing conjunction

    Thanks, Special K, and for posting the moon configuration for Sunday. Looking forward to it, although there's a possibility of snow and clouds overnight Saturday, so I hope I get a chance to look at it :-) If you get any good photos, make sure you post them!
  14. Mars & Jupiter nearing conjunction

    Thanks for all this great information. I can't help but bring all this newbie enthusiasm and excitement about seeing all this for the first time. I remember once camping out and just laying on the ground looking at the sky all night, watching the milky way rotate from one side to the other. It was amazing to watch, and also all the contemplation of the wonders of the universe. But now, I am seeing it through new eyes (through the eyepiece of a telescope) and seeing wonders that are new to me. I went out Tuesday morning early and spotted it right away. It was cold, like 16(F), but I bundled up and first looked at Jupiter and saw three tiny moons all lined up. I had to look them up on Stellarius and discovered that Io was there also but hidden behind Jupiter at the moment. I couldn't take my eyes off it for a long time. I realized my fingers had gone completely numb when I tried to sight in on Mars. Not quite as impressive, but the color was stunning. I have a real beginner telescope, a 114mm reflector on an EQ1 mount, but it is certainly enough to whet my interest. Already saving the pennies for some serious upgrades at some point in the future. Anyway, I watched both until it got to light to see, and then went inside and wrote it all down. The same for yesterday and today, but this morning it was down to 2 degrees F and I just couldn't quite do it. I grabbed my binoculars for "just a quick look", which was actually pretty good, but then decided to set up the scope inside and try looking through my dining room window :-) Not too shabby, just a little harder to focus through the glass. Good suggestion :-) Once more, just couldn't step away, it was so amazing to think about actually seeing this wonderful, huge planet and 4 of its moons from my dining room window. I have a new Orion 6mm edge-on planetary eyepiece (and I have a 2x Barlow already) and some planetary filters on the way, so I hope that increases the resolution of the planets a little more. Any other suggestions for enhancements like that are most appreciated as well. This is so great! I can't believe I'm actually watching as Mars gets noticeably closer to Jupiter every morning. Thanks to all of you for sharing all your knowledge with those of us just learning. It is just fantastic!
  15. Moon chart advice please

    Hey Martin, thanks for posting this. And thanks to all who recommended the Virtual Moon Atlas and for sharing what you know. This is great! I'm new also (obviously) and find that I am learning so much here. I've been looking at it for a while this morning too. Can't wait for later this afternoon and early evening to start observing the moon again :-) Kind regards, Jay