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Does it *ever* get relaxing?


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When I first got a telescope I had this 'somewhat romanticised' notion of warm balmy nights sat outside with glass of something nice with company viewing lovely objects in the sky and having an intelligent conversation with my viewing buddy about what I could see.

The reality is that only lovely objects in the sky happens.  Warm balmy nights are at (late) times when I can't observe (my family won't tolerate late night nocturnal wanderings as it wakes them up!), they also don't make for good seeing.  My viewing buddy didn't materialise - my son was more interested in his phone!  The glass of something interesting isn't conducive to being outside in the dark where I trip over everything.  Thus, I find I am viewing on very rare evenings that it is clear and I can be bothered to lug it all outside, freezing my bits off IN THE WINTER, on my own, frustrated that I often struggle to find stuff and with no time to go to club sessions in places no better than I have at home.  Bah...Humbug!

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I remember those feelings very well. So much to see, so little time. I’d have a list of 10 things I wanted to see and manage about 2. I came up with a strategy where I’d always start and finish each s

There is a sense in which, I think, it never does. There is so much to see and we only have one lifetime in which to see it That said, I think that it is possible to manage the pressure. For me,

Yes. It's Just You. It gets better. It's mostly in the mind. You don't relax because it gets better. It gets better because you learn to relax. It sounds flippant (if not worse), but learni

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46 minutes ago, JOC said:

Thus, I find I am viewing on very rare evenings that it is clear and I can be bothered to lug it all outside, freezing my bits off IN THE WINTER, on my own, frustrated that I often struggle to find stuff and with no time to go to club sessions in places no better than I have at home.

So, par for the course then.

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I have just started out down the road of Astro Photography using my modded DSLR but am looking at getting in deeper, though I do visual whilst I snap away. This part of the hobby is far from relaxing. The first time or there abouts I spent about 90mins trying everything to get guiding to work, this was before Christmas and I still am trying. The first time though I had left the lens cover on the guidescope, after the 6th attempt i found out the guide cable that was with the camera was wrong and I never would get anything to work. Then I bought a new camera with the correct cable and I can't focus it as yet. Now it's snowing and minus 8, relaxing, yes maybe as oppossed to being in front of a firing squad.

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When stargazing is not relaxing, I blame it all on light pollution. This alone creates so many problems! Can't observe well from home, need to pack the gear and to drive, need larger scope to make fuzzies visible. Never see them as they really are, even from the suburbs or an observatory on the edge of a lit village.

Need to fuss with filters, time spent driving is lost for observing, street lamps directly in my eyes, a new megawatt schoolyard lamp blinding half the neighborhood during the whole night, as if kids played in the schoolyard at werewolf hours, astrophoto made more difficult for my friends.

For something that should be designed by thinkers, public lighting is so stupidly made it can only be gross carelessness. :angry2:

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Sometimes it's best to start anew with equipment. 

I would like to do night vision visual as @GavStar but don't know what exactly I need or where to buy it from. 

Starter kits at different levels, with comprehensive instructions, would be welcome. 

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2 minutes ago, Ben the Ignorant said:

When stargazing is not relaxing, I blame it all on light pollution. This alone creates so many problems! Can't observe well from home, need to pack the gear and to drive, need larger scope to make fuzzies visible. Never see them as they really are, even from the suburbs or an observatory on the edge of a lit village.

Need to fuss with filters, time spent driving is lost for observing, street lamps directly in my eyes, a new megawatt schoolyard lamp blinding half the neighborhood during the whole night, as if kids played in the schoolyard at werewolf hours, astrophoto made more difficult for my friends.

For something that should be designed by thinkers, public lighting is so stupidly made it can only be gross carelessness. :angry2:

Not enough deflecting downwards. It would save the skies and energy as less illumination needed if most directed to where it's needed. 

I envy the astronomers of old like Hershel who only had natural conditions to work around. 

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This thread is an eye-opener for me. Stargazing is what makes me relaxed. I don't think there's been an occasion when I haven't benefited from getting outside. If I can't find something, it's a shame but not the end of the world and the experience helps me find whatever it is in the future. This autumn I took the short walk with my gear numerous times only to be thwarted by mist or unexpected clouds. Though disappointed, I still felt very chilled from having been outside in peace with a cup of tea.

Maybe what helps me is- AZ mount and quick set-up, definitely a chair, food and hot tea, plenty of naked eye stargazing.

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Girders,

I'm very new to this and know exactly what you mean by not being able to relax, however time constraints are my problem and  probably for much different reasons.

By the time I get outside it's usually 8 to 8:30 ish, dog needs walking by 10 ish, then bed ready for work tomorrow so I feel that my time is limited.

However when time is limited planning really makes a big difference, plan what you want to look at, "Plan the walk, walk the plan". If you get extra time to look at other things then that's great.

Last week I spent over an hour on a simple star hop, never done a star hop before, but that was the only thing I had planned to do in that time.

Have a list of objects/targets beforehand, don't over do it just select a couple and do the research before hand, how you gonna find em etc.

Hopefully after achieving your list you'll feel better and a little more relaxed.

Try to avoid going in feeling disappointed as that's when the rot will set in.

I still don't understand where the time goes when I'm outside, 1 hour feels like 15/20 mins.

Good Luck..... 

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52 minutes ago, 25585 said:

 

I would like to do night vision visual as @GavStar but don't know what exactly I need or where to buy it from. 

 

I think Gavin has made it very clear what is needed, all the info is in his threads.

NV is not, currently, or as far as I can tell likely to be something which has entry level kits available unless the volumes go up dramatically and costs come down.

Would I buy NV kit? Absolutely, I just don't have £7k down the back of the sofa currently ;) The great thing is, I get to look through Gavin's, so that's ok then!! :) 

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Here's an example of how sketching really helps sometimes. I convinced myself I had seen and sketched Comet 41P last March but it did not quite match with the quite faint but very large a diffuse description that others gave. I checked again the following night and what I had sketched had not moved - pretty good evidence it was not the comet. So I checked again and then found the comet, this time in a different place and very obviously different.

See the two sketches below and one with a corrected annotation which was a new galaxy for me too.

58dba74d02fcf_NGC394520170324.thumb.JPG.d718ff8d88e39e8e90dcb5452ae33cc7.JPG

 

 

58dba747397e3_41p20170325.thumb.JPG.3499e4e2f3d628920528532a9cf3299b.JPG

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Thanks again for all the interesting replies.

I’m fortunate in that I’d been careful choosing my scope - with a lot of input from people on here. So, it’s a tabletop mini dob which makes set-up very quick - and the downside of a small aperture scope (114) and light pollution is that I don’t really have long lists of targets to work through - really just the moon, whatever planets are in view and a couple of clusters. Although I realise now I do need to spend more time on some of the more interesting coloured and double stars.

”relaxed” was maybe the wrong word, but I can’t think of a better one. I do find my time observing very enjoyable and usually finish very chilled - in every sense!  I’ve not been doing this long enough to get frustrated, but as many of you picked up it’s more about missing opportunities or equally as bad of rushing through them.  

But I’ve seen lots of good ideas here and also been reassured by those saying “yes time is almost always a pressure - but don’t stress about it”. I’m also starting to feel more comfortable with the scope - which was a big pressure for me.  The point was to help spark my wee girl’s imagination and needed to get the hang of things myself before really involving her in sessions. And I think I’m just about there.

And of course the lack of decent weather I’ll just need to lear to file as “out with my control”.

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Girders, surely another issue for you particularly towards the summer is lack of 'dark'?   I'm coming to Gt. Cumbrae in the summer which I gather is not a zillion miles from Glasgow and have already been disappointed to find that lack of 'dark' won't make it worth my while touting my baby telescope with me.

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21 minutes ago, JOC said:

Girders, surely another issue for you particularly towards the summer is lack of 'dark'?   I'm coming to Gt. Cumbrae in the summer which I gather is not a zillion miles from Glasgow and have already been disappointed to find that lack of 'dark' won't make it worth my while touting my baby telescope with me.

I've not experienced a summer where observing has been on my mind, but I still expect to get sufficiently dark in the early hours for me to see the things I'm interested in and my scope is capable of - Jupiter, Saturn, Mars and the moon.  All of which should be viewable  on the basis that I don't mind dragging myself out of bed or staying up until silly o clock (which I'm definitely willing to do for a clear night).

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10 hours ago, Stu said:

I think Gavin has made it very clear what is needed, all the info is in his threads.

NV is not, currently, or as far as I can tell likely to be something which has entry level kits available unless the volumes go up dramatically and costs come down.

Would I buy NV kit? Absolutely, I just don't have £7k down the back of the sofa currently ;) The great thing is, I get to look through Gavin's, so that's ok then!! :) 

I know Gavin has provided a lot of info. But someone considering starting needs a concise list to look at & price up. 

Also what is not worth considering. 

All effective NV optics are pricey, even general use.

One thing that would be cool and encouraging for astro viewing is image stabilisation. It's in binoculars and photo lenses, just needs to cut across to bino viewers and eyepiece to telescope interfaces. Steadier high magnification views would be excellent. 

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Down under we have milder weather, and less light pollution than else where

Know where you coming from, as have a 4yo grandson, who enjoys sharing what is above us

Club belong to, we also go into primary schools with grade 1-3, and also do space badge, Joeys, scouting/guide movement

Very rewarding, and do 2 or 3 presentations per month

If you log onto the European Space Agency website, is heaps of projects for your 4yo to engage in

Have also attached copy of Scouting Space Badge, which put together from scouting handbook for your 4yo, and link to ESA included

Unfortunately is aimed at Southern Hemisphere, when come to identifying some constellations   

Enjoy your time together

John

 

 

 

Space Badge.docx

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7 hours ago, 25585 said:

I know Gavin has provided a lot of info. But someone considering starting needs a concise list to look at & price up. 

Also what is not worth considering. 

All effective NV optics are pricey, even general use.

One thing that would be cool and encouraging for astro viewing is image stabilisation. It's in binoculars and photo lenses, just needs to cut across to bino viewers and eyepiece to telescope interfaces. Steadier high magnification views would be excellent. 

I wrote up a list of my kit for another member, so I've copied that below. Please note that NV is very much DIY. I know of only 2 users in the UK, a couple in Europe, and even in the US the number of users is probably less than 50, so its a very small market.

Key parts of my kit are with suppliers are:

PVS-14 with Photonis 4g white phosphor tube, manual gain and autogating - about £6.5k with ActinBlack.com (Luxembourg). You can buy a cheaper tube, but astronomy is hard on the tubes (due to the filters used and so really I think you have to go for the best to get good results)

TNVC televue PVS-14 adapter - only from TNVC direct in the US. I ordered the televue fonemate and TNVC adapter as well which was worthwhile since I've enjoyed taking iphone photos. Total cost around $250 dollars I think plus import duties. TNVC also wouldn't accept credit card or payment - just direct bank transfer. Unfortunately I don't think there are any other options and its an essential part of the system for us in Europe that can't buy the Mod-3 NV monocular.

Then just two filters really needed - one for nebulae and one for galaxies, clusters, and stars.

I use a 2 inch 6nm astronomic HA filter for nebulae from telescope express in Germany (and Flo do them now) and a 2 inch Baader 685 ir pass filter for star clusters and galaxies (from flo)

55mm televue plossl to get the focal reduction (turns my f7 into an f3.5, ie under the magic 4 for nebulae) - telescope house. I've also got a 32mm plossl and 18.2 delite for extra magnification but this results in higher f ratio so you lose brightness quickly. Therefore I use these eyepiece only on brighter objects such a m82 and m42 to get some image scale.

NV also gets expensive if you want to look at both large and small objects since in order to keep the f ratio low you need to change telescopes to increase image scale. Hence my recent purchase of the C11 to try to get some higher image scale on galaxies. I use 72mm, 100mm, 130mm and 160mm refractors and the C11 with my NV depending on which objects I am looking at.

I've also got an AP photo visual reducer to reduce the f ratio of my refractors by around 0.75, ie take the TEC down to 2.5 ish to try to get even more light (at the expense of large fov, but should be great on larger nebulae)

People in the US seem to rave about using the monocular at 1x and 3x (ie with a 3x lens separately purchased from actinblack). You need to get 1.25 filters for Ha and 685 which I have and some adapters from rafcamera.com in Ukraine to fit them to the pvs-14. However, I've not really got into the 1x viewing yet - I think I need a darker sky maybe. You also get significant vignetting with the 3x when using the 1.25 filters.

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7 hours ago, cletrac1922 said:

Have also attached copy of Scouting Space Badge, which put together from scouting handbook for your 4yo, and link to ESA include

Space Badge.docx

Those badges look great - I'd have some work to do to get space level 1!

40 minutes ago, GavStar said:

I've also got a 32mm plossl and 18.2 delite for extra magnification but this results in higher f ratio so you lose brightness quickly. Therefore I use these eyepiece only on brighter objects such a m82 and m42 to get some image scale.

Thanks for posting this info, it's very interesting. It is weird hearing things like m82 being described as a "brighter object", but that illustrates how NV seems to be on a different league all of its own.

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52 minutes ago, Paz said:

Those badges look great - I'd have some work to do to get space level 1!

Thanks for posting this info, it's very interesting. It is weird hearing things like m82 being described as a "brighter object", but that illustrates how NV seems to be on a different league all of its own.

It's all relative isn't it? ;) 

To put things in context, I was able to easily observe M81 and M82 in my 4" frac on the same night that we looked at them with the NV gear. In the C11, the image scale was far greater and there was detail visible within the galaxy. In the Tak, I could see the cigar shape in M82, much smaller and with the barest hint of internal structure.

So with these brighter objects it's a matter of gaining image scale and detail.

Properly faint objects like the HorseHead and Cone are simply invisible under these conditions with any scope, let alone a 4"! In these cases NV makes the impossible possible!

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9 hours ago, cletrac1922 said:

If you log onto the European Space Agency website, is heaps of projects for your 4yo to engage in

Have also attached copy of Scouting Space Badge, which put together from scouting handbook for your 4yo, and link to ESA included

Thanks for that. I'll have a look tonight (seeing as I'll have no clear sky to look at!).

Much appreciated.

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On 26/02/2018 at 09:46, JOC said:

When I first got a telescope I had this 'somewhat romanticised' notion of warm balmy nights sat outside with glass of something nice with company viewing lovely objects in the sky and having an intelligent conversation with my viewing buddy about what I could see.

I've had one of those! It was getting on for 20 years ago now and the wife still talks about it! :D

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I'm a beginner too but I find I just lose myself through the eyepiece. Nothing else matters. I do what somebody else suggested and look for something easy but cool first, like M42, the harder stuff once I've got my eye in, and then plan a finish on something I can find easily with tired eyes but of which there's always some new aspect, like the double cluster.

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Looking in star fields, at different densities and colours is relaxing. Come across lots of things that way, then look them up to see what it is/was. Same kind of approach with moon craters. More fun than hunting down something specific to get agitated over if its difficult.

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Breaking news

NASA is launching a new probe to our sun called Parker Solar Probe later this year

NASA have invited astronomy communities members world wide to submit their name, to be included on microchip on the probe, and then print a VIP Boarding Pass

 

http://parkersolarprobe.jhuapl.edu/The-Mission/Name-to-Sun/

 

John

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