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No business owning a telescope - Anecdotes


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Hello all! Long time forum lurker here, 1st time poster, with an anecdote that underlines why I have no business owning a telescope and a request to all forum members who are brave enough to share any

I've recounted this a couple of times on the forum before, but probably my biggest one was packing all my scope kit into the car, along with children and camping kit for a holiday in Dorset. I fo

Don't imagine it will get better, I set up recently on a nice clear moonless night to do a bit of imaging and after a short while the focal reducer misted up so took it indoors to demist it, refitted

Posted Images

@vitruvian - Thank you for the tip my friend, once I have achieved perfect balance and marked up the OTA / plate for future reference, I'll give horizontal loading a go. 

@cletrac1922- Funnily enough, just last weekend was the first time I had the DSLR hooked up to take pics of the sun whilst using an 8 inch solar filter in place of the dust cap. What struck me as odd was that on previous visual only sungazing, the sun had a few sunspots to marvel over, but at the weekend, the sun appeared to be perfectly calm with not a sunspot in sight. Pic attached.

@Kanori24 - Backwards but as intended! The first time I went from only viewing the moon through the smaller cap to viewing the moon through all 8 inches really struck me as to how much strain it put on my eye. It was the first time I really found a lunar filter of use!

@Dave Lloyd- Hello and thank you Dave. To go from what was probably in reality a 1 inch telescope with my dust cap "situation" to 8 inches has blown me away beyond all expectations. With Snowdonia on your doorstep, I presume you have some pretty stunning dark sky sites local to you? 

IMG_2394.JPG

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On 10/04/2017 at 17:40, Dust Cap said:

Hello all! Long time forum lurker here, 1st time poster, with an anecdote that underlines why I have no business owning a telescope and a request to all forum members who are brave enough to share any equally silly / stupid / embarrassing "learning curves" they have (or an unnamed friend may have had!)  

Whilst I've long been fascinated with the stars, it was only on my 30th birthday that I first looked through a telescope and marvelled at a new perspective on the universe. I was given a 76mm Skywatcher Reflector for my birthday, and spent 2 years looking at the moon and various stars through the supplied 10mm and 25mm eyepieces, sometimes coupled with the 2x Barlow and filters. Most viewing is from my garden at home in Essex, but it always joined me on car trips to my parents place in the middle of nowhere in France for some amazing viewing conditions.

Having slowly learned some reference points to get me around the sky, it was after seeing a very grey fuzzy Jupiter through my 76mm, (that left the eye piece quicker than I could swap position to show my wife), that I finally got the “spend more see more bug”. 

After months of research on here, I took the step of upgrading to a Skywatcher 200PDS on a HEQ5 Pro SynScan in January 2017 order through FLO.

The Anecdote: 

About two days after it had arrived, having read the instructions from cover to cover, the weather was clear enough to set the 200PDS side by side against the 76. I removed the dust cap from the 76 and then tried to do the same from the 200PDS, sitting proudly on the HEQ5. But there was a problem, I couldn't get the dust cap off the 200PDS. After some head scratching, manual re-reading, it then struck me. For two years, I hadn't been removing the dust cap from the 76......I didn't realise that the whole big black piece of plastic, the entire diameter of the telescope, popped out. I had spent two years, and countless hours in awe of photons entering that small removable cap that sat in the middle of the dust cap. How it had never occurred to me that the hole wasn't anywhere near the 3 inches is beyond me. My wife says she has a good idea how. But that's for another forum!

Anyhow, having had the 200PDS for a couple of months, dust cap off, I have never been more amazed and enthused. Jupiter at opposition over the weekend was stunning. I’ve signed up to North Essex Astronomical Society and am looking forward to the first opportunity to get up there to talk to people in the know.

So, does anyone else care to share so that we all may have a laugh at your expense and hopefully learn something along the way?

PS: I have another thing that I have a gut feeling I'm doing really wrong when loading the OTA onto the mount, but that's for another time!

 

 

<Face palm> Hehe! We've all been there at some stage in one thing or another. ;) 

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14 hours ago, Dust Cap said:

@vitruvian - Thank you for the tip my friend, once I have achieved perfect balance and marked up the OTA / plate for future reference, I'll give horizontal loading a go. 

@cletrac1922- Funnily enough, just last weekend was the first time I had the DSLR hooked up to take pics of the sun whilst using an 8 inch solar filter in place of the dust cap. What struck me as odd was that on previous visual only sungazing, the sun had a few sunspots to marvel over, but at the weekend, the sun appeared to be perfectly calm with not a sunspot in sight. Pic attached.

@Kanori24 - Backwards but as intended! The first time I went from only viewing the moon through the smaller cap to viewing the moon through all 8 inches really struck me as to how much strain it put on my eye. It was the first time I really found a lunar filter of use!

@Dave Lloyd- Hello and thank you Dave. To go from what was probably in reality a 1 inch telescope with my dust cap "situation" to 8 inches has blown me away beyond all expectations. With Snowdonia on your doorstep, I presume you have some pretty stunning dark sky sites local to you? 

IMG_2394.JPG

Funnily enough never go to Snowdonia but we have a caravan in West Wales and it's pretty dark down there. 

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A warm Welcome to the SGL Forum DC.
Not difficult to suss how you came by the Username you chose. 
There are very very few Amateur Astronomers who are totally exempt from 
ever having made silly mistakes when first starting out.  You obviously
are now familiar with your Instrument, and thoroughly enjoying night sky's
many Gems. This is a well populated group of Amateur, and some quite professional 
astronomers, with lots of experience and Knowledge to share. 
Anything that you need to know, can be supplied just for the asking.
The forum has members of many nations,, all sharing a common aim, to enjoy the way of life
we refer to as Astronomy, the name covers a multitude of the different sciences that make up the whole.
It is an extremely friendly, and accommodating  group, and I'm sure you will make many friends quite quickly.
There are some Rules here, you probably will have read them in the Code of Conduct list.
The main rule is, Enjoy your stay.
Best Wishes.

 

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Welcome to the SGL.

You won't be the last person leave the cap in place, and a brave soul to admit the experience, but funny nevertheless. 
The 2" non-removable cap on the dust cap is where you store the removable 2" cap, save loosing it, but you probably know that now!
I sometimes just use the  2" aperture on my scope when I feel the Moon is just too bright, it works for me!

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On 2017-04-10 at 12:58, JOC said:

 one of these will probably come off leaving a circular gap of about 3" (the other won't!)

BION, that lid that won't come off has a purpose. When you take the  lid off the hole in the dust cap, you can put the lid on that second "cap" to keep you from losing it in the grass. It took me about six months to realize this at first.

(Edit) I see someone already beat me to this explanation. D'oh!

Edited by The Warthog
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Hi Dust cap, Good name :) 

I was imaging with my new 150P last year, an object at around 75 degree altitude. All was going well until my scope fell off the mount and hit the concrete, the tripod being fully extended so the scope fell around 3 feet.

It bounced on the plastic primary mirror housing, the weight of the DSLR suddenly stopping as the tube hit the concrete flexed the plastic focuser.

I was lucky, if it had been an expensive scope with metal mirror housing and focuser I'm sure they would have been damaged more.

A quick check of the scope and camera showed no real damage other than a scuff on the plastic primary mirror housing and a little white stress mark on the focuser.

I had not mounted the scope properly, a loose bolt and no slip screw on the mount.

I did continue imaging.

I now tighten the scope bolt very tight so it never happens again.

Its the first time I have seen a telescope bounce and the quickest I have ever moved in my life :) 

Cheers from Rayleigh

Nige.

Edited by Nigel G
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On 4/10/2017 at 17:40, Dust Cap said:

Hello all! Long time forum lurker here, 1st time poster, with an anecdote that underlines why I have no business owning a telescope and a request to all forum members who are brave enough to share any equally silly / stupid / embarrassing "learning curves" they have (or an unnamed friend may have had!)  

Whilst I've long been fascinated with the stars, it was only on my 30th birthday that I first looked through a telescope and marvelled at a new perspective on the universe. I was given a 76mm Skywatcher Reflector for my birthday, and spent 2 years looking at the moon and various stars through the supplied 10mm and 25mm eyepieces, sometimes coupled with the 2x Barlow and filters. Most viewing is from my garden at home in Essex, but it always joined me on car trips to my parents place in the middle of nowhere in France for some amazing viewing conditions.

Having slowly learned some reference points to get me around the sky, it was after seeing a very grey fuzzy Jupiter through my 76mm, (that left the eye piece quicker than I could swap position to show my wife), that I finally got the “spend more see more bug”. 

After months of research on here, I took the step of upgrading to a Skywatcher 200PDS on a HEQ5 Pro SynScan in January 2017 order through FLO.

The Anecdote: 

About two days after it had arrived, having read the instructions from cover to cover, the weather was clear enough to set the 200PDS side by side against the 76. I removed the dust cap from the 76 and then tried to do the same from the 200PDS, sitting proudly on the HEQ5. But there was a problem, I couldn't get the dust cap off the 200PDS. After some head scratching, manual re-reading, it then struck me. For two years, I hadn't been removing the dust cap from the 76......I didn't realise that the whole big black piece of plastic, the entire diameter of the telescope, popped out. I had spent two years, and countless hours in awe of photons entering that small removable cap that sat in the middle of the dust cap. How it had never occurred to me that the hole wasn't anywhere near the 3 inches is beyond me. My wife says she has a good idea how. But that's for another forum!

Anyhow, having had the 200PDS for a couple of months, dust cap off, I have never been more amazed and enthused. Jupiter at opposition over the weekend was stunning. I’ve signed up to North Essex Astronomical Society and am looking forward to the first opportunity to get up there to talk to people in the know.

So, does anyone else care to share so that we all may have a laugh at your expense and hopefully learn something along the way?

PS: I have another thing that I have a gut feeling I'm doing really wrong when loading the OTA onto the mount, but that's for another time!

 

 

an excellent anecdote and one mistake out of many that i have no doubt that ALL novices have made even myself.

 speaking of mistakes i am sure i am making one and if not then i have a big problem may i ask all to kindly take a look at my post please and if possible HEEEELLLLLLLLLLPPPPPPP lol maybe its my brain not clicking into full function but its a bit more of a head scrather than a dustcap.

 

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Kanori24 that was exactly what I did with my system - it was a long while before I realised the little cap came off and longer still before someone on SGL told me I could store it on the other cap.  The big problem is I still lose the cap when I've put it on the other side when it looks like part of the larger cap and then I forget when I put things away the next day where I've put it.  Which reminds me for the last three weeks I haven't been able to find the smaller cap - I think I'll just pop out and check the other holder where I fully expect it is!!!:iamwithstupid:

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Welcome to sgl! I often stop down the aperture and do from time to time forget I have done so. Usually I then get a feeling something isn't right and will realise. You would think this is something you would only do once but I keep doing it.

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Great stories. My story is more one of incompetence! In my early days... about 2 months ago... I wanted to see Andromeda. At that point I just used my phone to figure out what was what in the sky using the Sky Guide app. Things weren't going well so I held my phone out as far as I could and aimed the red dot finder at Andromeda on the phone. Failed miserably to find it ;) Even then I knew this was a terrible idea but I figured it was worth a shot. I've not seen M31 yet but have seen M51 with a bit of star hopping so I've progressed a bit in the last couple of months :)

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Don't imagine it will get better, I set up recently on a nice clear moonless night to do a bit of imaging and after a short while the focal reducer misted up so took it indoors to demist it, refitted it got everything focused on target and took a 20 minute luminance sub, this had a  strangely bright gradient which was when I realised I'd taken the light pollution filter of the focal reducer and in my rush forgotten to refit it.
So start again get on target and focussed start next 20 minute sub and it clouds over before it's finished.

Another two hours of my life I'll never get back :grin:

Dave

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welcome @Dust Cap. I did exactly the same with my very first 3" scope, too. Spent nearly a year observing with it like that! Still gave me the big to get something bigger and better.

And this winter, whilst swapping my eyepieces, I dropped the one I was taking out, swore rather loudly and then also dropped the one that was going in!! And they weren't the stock EPs either! Fortunately, the only damage was a slight dent on the 2" one, means I can't screw a filter into it anymore.

As for your mounting options, when I had an EQ, I used option 2.

 

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rockystar......my local Halfords have some interlocking floor matting that could/maybe suitable for permanent and mobile installations.
It has a sheet metal non-slip effect, and can be used in/outdoors. 1200x1800mm (total coverage) and cost me £10.
In-fact I've bought two for two separate projects. I'm sure you'll be more cautious next time, but prevention is better than cure. 

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7 hours ago, Charic said:

rockystar......my local Halfords have some interlocking floor matting that could/maybe suitable for permanent and mobile installations.
It has a sheet metal non-slip effect, and can be used in/outdoors. 1200x1800mm (total coverage) and cost me £10.
In-fact I've bought two for two separate projects. I'm sure you'll be more cautious next time, but prevention is better than cure. 

I now place the off-cut, from my home-made dew shied, down by my feet - definitely more careful, but I agree, learn by your mistakes :)

 

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I have melted the dust cap on the Quark whilst in front of a crowd of folk !!!!! and I have been known to wake up freezing cold in my shed with an eyepiece still in my hand, I only went in it half way through a session to warm up a little.... it wasn't a short nap either, I awoke quite a few hours after the Cockrell :happy7:

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  • 3 weeks later...

Welcome. Similar to Stu, but not quite as comprehensive, I lugged a solid tube 10" Dob and eyepieces to a camping holiday, and when I got there, set it up and realised I had forgotten the Dob tightening handles on the sides to attach the tube to the dob mount. Spent the holiday trying to physically point and hold the tube...

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I am just packing ready for my holiday to Cornwall and I am taking my scope with me :happy8: so after reading this thread I shouldn't leave anything at home :happy8:

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On ‎4‎/‎10‎/‎2017 at 21:27, Dust Cap said:

Thank you @ronl - That's the route I currently go, though I've been thinking more and more that one I have the scope all perfectly balanced, if I marked the OTA as to where the rings should meet the OTA, I could leave the dovetail and rings on the mount head and just load the OTA into and out of the rings each time, which sounds easier to manage compared to locating the dovetail into the mount head and then freeing up a hand to tighten the two bolts that bite the dovetail plate on the mount head. Maybe this one is down to preference rather than a right or wrong way of doing things. 

I have a 8" Newtonian. When it arrived I looked at it for a minute and decided I did not at all like the idea of trying to hold up a large scope weighing 9Kg while doing up a dovetail clamp with the other hand. So I drilled a metal bar and fitted it across the tube rings opposite the dovetail, making a handle giving me a secure grip on the OTA. I'm amazed that no such handle is fitted as standard. Maybe the manufacturers think amateur astronomers have three arms or come in pairs.:icon_biggrin:

The handle also makes it much easier to pick up the scope by the 'handle'  and dovetail and carry it.

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@barkis Thank you for the welcome

 
@Charic & @The Warthog - Thank you for the tip - I didn't know that! 
 
@Nigel G - Sounds like one of those heart in mouth moments. I'm not too far up the road from you in Billericay. Do you do most of your observing from home or do you get out to any local darker skies? I've been meaning to get up to Great Notley with North Essex Astro Society but just haven't found the time....
 
@rockystar - Pleasure to meet a fellow dustcapper! Haha I love the double drop story - I guess not in the least bit funny at the time. If Benny Hill did eyepiece insertion! Thanks for the input on the mounting option too.
 
@Pig I'd love to know how on earth you melted the dust cap? Sounds like one to avoid if you can share! Haha love the sleeping in the shed story too. I wonder what the neighbours would think as they throw back the curtains and see you emerging from the shed doing morning stretches :-)
 
@cletrac1922 Thanks for that. I'm toying with getting a H-Alpha filter to see some off body activity whilst the sunspots are quiet. 
 
@MattJenko - How frustrating! Like the fact that you didn't let a minor technicality get in the way of your viewing though. Nice commitment! 
 
@Cosmic Geoff - I like the sound of your mod. I've been thinking there must be something I could pick up from the local hardware store that resembles a handle attached to something like a tube ring but I guess attaching a handle direct to the tube rings opposite the dovetail is the way to go. Do you have any pictures?
 
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      First, im thinking a x3 barlow lens (to replace the original crappy one) and a 15mm lens (to have a bit better view than the 10mm, but less spread than the 25mm) in two or three months (with this id be able to check if my new eyepiece outperforms my default ones, but given the quality of the scope, i dont expect this to be noticeable).
      And Afterwards id love to get a new Scope, but im not quite sure what i want... and i would like some advice and help in choosing my next Scope upgrade.
      -I entered with and im liking the refractors; however i dont wanna spend 300-400$ on another refractor that is 20-30% better for triple the price
      -Ive heard really long focal lenght might bring some distortions; and also make the scope much bulkier, annnd most importantly i know that magnification is not everything; so a 1000mm long tube would prob bring too much magnifications for me to use properly on my backyard skies. So i think id settle for a maximum of 600-700mm.
      -Originally i was againts Newtonians in general, those inverted views scared me, i have a hard time of my own with my finderscope. Then i found out that Reflectors are the name of efficiency as they have more value per aperture than refractors; and as someone once mentioned "There is not really up and down in space, you will get used to it" annnd its true... save for references on the ground, like buildings, trees and mountains to help you locate where you are in the sky; once you are on it, you dont need right ups and downs.
      -I did see some 90mm Orion's Refractors as well as 90-102 Celestron Astromaster Refractors (these are 350-400$)
      -Im thinking a 130mm reflector is what im looking for; i think the 130mm aperture is a nice upgrade for my 70mm, and will keep me occupied for quite a long time; ive read about Orion SpaceProbe 130EQ and Celestron Astromaster 130EQ (ive also read, Power Seekers and Astromaster's are made out of pretty much garbage lol) Ive read that the main issue is the constant collimation required for them; but ive also read its something that can be learned and once you get used to it; its a pretty easy thing to do to keep getting amazing views.
      -Ive also seen people recommending  6-8'' Dobsonians; i know the deal with them; if anything i could aim for a 6'' one i found a litter under 300$ ive read they are amazing values for their aperture
      So, TL;DR: I have a 70x400mm Telescope, im new to stargazing, im really amazed and excited by what im seeing with my current scope, but would like an stable upgrade before the end of the year that will last me a year or two. I am interesteted both in regular and deep sky stargazing and astrophotography;  im not currently interested in an motorized mount; could deal with a regular Equatorial mount. But overall i am looking for  more aperture (100-150mm) to have clearer views; than focal lenght for zoom.

      Im also open to the fact that at one point i might have to get a scope for stargazing and another for AP; but would like an upgrade that could help me all around for both while i get initiated.
      ------------------------------------------------------------------
      Sorrry for the Huuuuuuuuge post, i was very excited while writing it; please let me know what you think and if there's anything else you'd want me to add to help understand my situation, thanks in advance!
       
       
    • By benzomobile
      Hi to all.
      The most popular mounts - even those that are included in  the small-medium range group, do drive the axes rotation  via worm wheel coupling . 
      This one are plagued by the drawback that I have always considered very unpleasant: the mechanical play  is not properly controlled and it can’t be always limited within acceptable tolerance limits.
      The adjustment of  Back Lash (BL) is entrusted to two screws (more often they are grains) usually positioned at 180 ° from each other. However - as we all know, even a wheel very slight eccentric creates
      an inconstancy of contact with the worm: when the play is adjusted for an initial position of the axis, it is not in other positions. 
      In other words, there are positions where the worm rotates with adequate friction, others in which the same friction can increase significantly, and still others where it is so reduced to the point 
      that it causes excessive play. 
      So, the tuning screws are  sometimes  too tight and sometimes too loose … mission impossible to find the right compromise! 
      This behavior is already annoying in manual movement because  the task of pointing at an object  in a steady way  is not feasible because it ever  'jumps'. 
      In photography it's even worse. 
      Not only does an unavoidable backlash often  appears in Dec – and it is very badly correctable also by the autoguider software, but- and it is dirty worse, the tracking in RA does not perform evenly 
      and smoothly.  The typical ‘micro’ irregularities in  star images is what we see in our shots. 
      Many high range mounts adopt different methods to contain lashes, and the best ones adopt mechanical systems with which that error is reduced to zero. 
      With this long introduction, I will tell you what very simple modification I thought of making on my HEQ5.
      Please, stay tuned 🙂
      Beppe
       
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