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Littleguy80

How has technology changed Astronomy for you

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1 minute ago, cloudsweeper said:

Same here. 

And just as well it's not compulsory to append your birth year to your ID - in my case it almost goes back to when they thought the Sun orbited Earth.  😉

Doug.

Ha ha this reminds me of my Accountant, who reckons he knew the Dead Sea when it was still only sick 😄

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55 minutes ago, domstar said:

... I'd be interested to hear of anyone you doesn't use technology to look up the location of Neptune and Uranus...

 

Once I know where they are in the sky (admittedly using Stellarium or Cartes du Ciel) I just star hop to the most likely looking star and then examine the candidate with a high powered eyepiece in the scope. Both Uranus and Neptune are visible in a 30mm optical finder.

To be honest, it should be just as easy with a printed star map or even using RA / DEC co-ordinates from an almanac if you have a mount with accurate setting circles that is properly aligned.

Once I've found them at one session, I've often found them again with no map etc because they don't move that much night to night.

 

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1 hour ago, RayD said:

Ha ha this reminds me of my Accountant, who reckons he knew the Dead Sea when it was still only sick 😄

Very amusing!  On a more realistic note concerning clues to age, as a child I had an astronomy book that proclaimed that Jupiter had nine moons!  

Doug.

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3 minutes ago, cloudsweeper said:

Very amusing!  On a more realistic note concerning clues to age, as a child I had an astronomy book that proclaimed that Jupiter had nine moons!  

Doug.

Crikey!! Are you sure the book wasn't that old the 7 in front of the 9 hadn't just worn off? 🙂

I must make an effort to find some older books to see how much our understanding has changed in print as there must be lots of instances like this.

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Hi @John . I'd be interested to know- how did you find Neptune/Uranus the first time? Was it from a magazine? a yearly guide? Did you feel tracking it down was a rare achievement? and was it early in your career or after finding a lot of objects that we would now  consider a lot more difficult? 

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Unlike many of the older members here I came to visual astronomy late in life.
I started with a fully manual equatorially mounted Newtonian and struggled to find objects in my light polluted back yard. My sessions usually consisted of looking at a few easily found objects. I did gradually increase the objects I could find and remember one evening finding three new objects.
I gave a lot of thought to how I was going to proceed and ended with the scope in my signature. Before acquiring the GOTO Dob I had read enumerable posts here on the difficulty setting up GOTO systems but eventually took the plunge. From day one I never had a problem getting good alignment, perhaps because I already knew where most of the bright stars were.
Now I go out and spend my time look at objects instead of looking for them.
I also find it useful when lunar observing at 200x and above to have the scope track. BTW when embarking on a lunar session I don't bother with an alignment just tell the scope to track at lunar rate. I have been surprised how accurate this is.
This is just my take and know others will have different views, we should all do what gives us pleasure but don't think our way is the only way.
 

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I too came to astronomy relatively late in life too.  Built my observatory in my late 60s though I had been interested in astronomy before that mostly using binoculars.

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7 hours ago, dannybgoode said:

I am of course slightly hypocritical in all of this as don’t get me started on so called DJ’s who can’t mix vinyl :D

Just a press of the sync button 😎

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The availability of the means to observe the Sun in Ha has changed my prime astronomical focus.    😎

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In my youth I did the eye frozen to the eye piece thing. Spent hours star hopping to nowhere I intended. Nearly died of a heart attack when one of my cats leapt onto my back at 1 am.

Got into spectroscopy, got automated, now it just works. I have never looked through my current scope 😱

Each to his own

Regards Andrew 

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It must have been challenging to finding planets, asteroids and comets armed only with their ephemeris or interpolating from a few predicted locations onto a map.

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6 hours ago, domstar said:

Hi @John . I'd be interested to know- how did you find Neptune/Uranus the first time? Was it from a magazine? a yearly guide? Did you feel tracking it down was a rare achievement? and was it early in your career or after finding a lot of objects that we would now  consider a lot more difficult? 

It was a long time ago but it was probably from a magazine article. I always feel a quiet pleasure from observing something for the 1st time even if it's not a particular challenge in the larger scheme of things. I've been even more pleased to be able to spot Neptunes largest moon Triton and the Uranian moons Titania and Oberon a few times since. With those I observe first, make a note of any suspects then consult Cartes du Ciel to see where the moons actually are. The Uranian moons in particular are towards the limit of what I can see from home with my largest scope so it's nice to get those :smiley:

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Cooled CCD cameras have made a huge difference, to the point that imaging is now do-able for me, no freezing my eye against a guide telescope for hours, only to have an image ruined by a wayward aircraft. GoTo as well, with a big sky model, I can click or type in coordinates, and have the target bang on the cross-hairs. Imaging time is too precious to waste with star-hopping.

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The relatively cheap ZWO CMOS cameras with their low noise and high gain have transformed my imaging.

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18 minutes ago, DaveS said:

Cooled CCD cameras have made a huge difference, to the point that imaging is now do-able for me, no freezing my eye against a guide telescope for hours, only to have an image ruined by a wayward aircraft. GoTo as well, with a big sky model, I can click or type in coordinates, and have the target bang on the cross-hairs. Imaging time is too precious to waste with star-hopping.

+1 for all this.  My first astrophotographs were in the late eighties, using emulsion film and eyepiece projection.  Autoguiding and PC control of the telescope still seems unreal to me and I never fail to be amazed when it all works.

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For sure, the digital age has revolutionised imaging. In the old days I had to travel to a dark site, manually align and star hop to the target, ( and with faint targets kind of hope you were pointing at the right bit of sky). Focussing the camera was largely guesswork, then came the fun and games of manually guiding. After all of that, you spend another evening processing the film and if it by some miracle it all worked you would just about get a discernible image.

I have a framed photo in my office of the Horsehead Nebula taken with the Siding Springs Schmidt telescope in the 1980s. Without being too boastful, I can now obtain a comparable result from my own backyard. Yes, technology is a wonderful thing.

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Technology is present in every aspect of this activity, you cannot escape it. From CNC machining of components and optical parts which makes them affordable, to the production of magazines, internet access, star atlas and planispheres its influence is everywhere.

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Treasure humble books. They're relatively modern technology. I'd rather not be without them. I don't have to log-in to read them or have an account. I can drop them and they don't break. And i can borrow and lend them unlike e-books. (i know how good real books are because i have a kindle)

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5 hours ago, TSRobot said:

Treasure humble books. They're relatively modern technology. I'd rather not be without them. I don't have to log-in to read them or have an account. I can drop them and they don't break. And i can borrow and lend them unlike e-books. (i know how good real books are because i have a kindle)

I love my kindle and always have something I’m reading on there. However, all my astronomy books are of the traditional variety. They just don’t work on a kindle 

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12 hours ago, Tomatobro said:

Technology is present in every aspect of this activity, you cannot escape it. From CNC machining of components and optical parts which makes them affordable, to the production of magazines, internet access, star atlas and planispheres its influence is everywhere.

Thats true. This forum has been a pretty important part of my hobby for the past decade or so. It certainly would not exist without technology (and some folks behind the scenes who really know how to utilise it !) :icon_biggrin:

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I now use a red and white light torch to study my star charts. 

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