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Hello from across the pond


Dr Strange
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Hello-

I am from the USA. Specifically Los Angeles California. I have been involved in the hobby since 2012. I am a horrible gear head. I have churned through just about every permutation of scopes, mounts, and EP's out there from Achro's to APO's to Newts, to DK's, to SCTs, to Maks, pretty much all the Celestron, Skywatcher, Losmandy, Paramount, and Astro Physics mounts, and the Celestron, Explore Scientific/Bresser, Tele Vue, and Meade EP's until I finally settled on the setup I have now. I have found it is what works for me and beyond getting a NVD (possibly in BV configuration if I like it and it doesn't cause flashbacks to the bad old days) and maybe a Mach2 (I NEVER should have sold my Mach1) I am at the end of my gear head journey. In my current lineup from smallest to largest are:

Scopes: Lunt 80mm Ha PTSS, Astro-Physics 92mm Stowaway, Tele Vue NP101is, Takahashi TSA-120, Takahashi TOA-130, Takahashi Mewlon 210, Takahashi Mewlon 250

Mounts: Skywatcher AZ-GTi, DiscMounts DM6, Astro-Physics 1100

EP's: Tele Vue 24mm Panoptic, 16mm Nagler, 11mm Nagler, 9mm Nagler, 3-6mm Click Zoom Nagler, TV Bino viewers (I have 2x 24mm Panoptics, 2x 16mm Naglers, 2x 11mm Naglers with the Baader T2 system and a 1.25x GPC which gives me 19.2mm, 12.8mm and 8.8mm respectively)

EAA: ZWO ASI 553

AP: SBIG Aluma 694 with guider and 8 slot FW loaded with Chroma LRGB, HA, OIII, and SII.

I have NO other hobbies, I eat A LOT of sack lunches, and I tell my wife it keeps me out of the pubs so all of my disposable income goes to this. Each scope has a purpose. The TSA and 210 are for dark sky trips and outreach. The TOA and 250 are in the observatory as is the 101. The 92 is my grab and go. And the Lunt is self explanatory. I am very sensitive to CA so that is why I have the APO's I do. Of all the APO's I have owned including a TEC 140 and AP 155 EDFS the Tak's have the best color correction to my eyes and provide the most pleasing views. Ditto on the reflector end of things.

I am 70% visual and 30% imaging with the imaging end of things being more for the technical challenge as opposed to making pretty pictures. My current project is making a completely self contained wireless imaging rig where there will be only one power cable coming off the scope. Ditto for the mount. That would mean two wires total off the imaging scope and mount since I will use a plate on the top for the focuser control and power source for the CCD and focuser motor. There would still be power cords for the CCD and auto focuser and a cable from the auto focuser control box to the focuser motor but the plan is to use custom length cables for that with everything centralized to the scope itself. 

 I am also very much equipment agnostic. I don't care who makes it so long as it fits my needs and  budget. 

Lastly I am a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador and, prior to the pandemic, did about 2-3 outreach events a month. 

Edited by Dr Strange
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Welcome to SGL,   That is a plethora of equipment you have listed here. I guess your California Skies afford you plenty of opportunities for both observational and imaging. It's sad that the current virus outbreak is playing havoc with so many aspects of people's lives at present. We only hope the nightmare ends sooner rather than later.

Looking forward to your forum input. Your Outreach work must have some interesting topics you may wish to share. 

Best Wishes.

Ron.

 

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Cheers guys. My family is from Ireland and I still have family there (Dublin and Killarney). I was over somewhat regularly and I have two young nephews who are interested in the hobby so it is good to have a place like this to hang out too. 

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Cheers guys. My family is from Ireland and I still have family there (Dublin and Killarney). I was over somewhat regularly and I have two young nephews who are interested in the hobby so it is good to have a place like this to hang out too. 

 

 

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Welcome! Awesome selection of gear you have there. I'm a bit the same, I've gone through phases buying and selling, but have finally settled on a couple of dobs and a modest set of six eyepieces, plus binoviewers with a few pairs of plossls. I've wondered what it would be like in the southwest US with a big scope, especially in eastern Nevada (well away from the light pollution of Lost Wages however, ha). Someday perhaps! 

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20 hours ago, Ships and Stars said:

Welcome! Awesome selection of gear you have there. I'm a bit the same, I've gone through phases buying and selling, but have finally settled on a couple of dobs and a modest set of six eyepieces, plus binoviewers with a few pairs of plossls. I've wondered what it would be like in the southwest US with a big scope, especially in eastern Nevada (well away from the light pollution of Lost Wages however, ha). Someday perhaps! 

I used to play rugby at Uni (Lock) but if I had it to do over again with all the injuries I have I would have joined the chess club instead! :lol: Because of those injuries a Dob just isn't in the cards for me though I tried it twice. Once with an Obsession UC15 and the other time with a Teeter 12.5 Journey. I am actually the plank holder on the 12.5 Journey. I was the test case and first person to have one. Both were wonderful scopes but just not in the cards for me. Too painful to work with unfortunately. 

Nevada and Arizona are amazing. I was there with my son less than a month ago for baseball (like Rounders but as popular as Cricket) spring training and brought a scope with me. Simply amazing observing from dark skies. I have to go to Las Vegas for work once per year and it is the same. If you can swing it I would highly recommend it as a trip. There are local clubs that you can connect with that will likely be able to lend you a scope. In addition Lowell Observatory is open to the public and you can look through some great scopes. Even in Los Angeles Mt. Wilson has reservations for visitors where you can look through the 152cm and 254cm telescopes for half a night or a full night. There is still light pollution at Mt. Wilson but the air is so stable that it makes up for it. 

If anyone makes it out to Los Angeles in the warmer months the club I belong to has nights were visitors are welcome and we have a site in a Bortle 3 sky to work with so let me know and I will arrange something.  

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Rugby is a rough one for sure! I'd last about 30 seconds tops. Sorry to hear about that, both of the dobs you mention are held in high esteem by the 'dob mob' here I would imagine, I'd love to look through either one.

Rural Scotland can be great when conditions are right, but of course pretty hit and miss with the cloud cover and the jet stream never seems too far away. I've always been a casual stargazer, but only really started appreciating properly dark skies after a string of camping trips here, which ultimately led to my interest in astronomy. 

I'm actually from Indiana, but have lived in the UK for around 20 years. I played little league, but it's been many, many years. My pitching arm was better when I was 14 than it is now!

I was in Vegas once in 1993, some friends and myself worked in Alaska for a summer and took the 'long way' home.  We were driving through the pitch-black desert at night, and all the sudden we went over a crest on the highway, and there it was, surreal, lights to the horizon, the contrast with the desert could not have been greater. We won about $400, ate some pizza and ran before we lost it all. It wasn't a huge amount, but needed four new tyres the next day so that came in handy, haha, good times. 

I was wondering about Mt Wilson vs light pollution from LA, the conditions are still so good as you mention it's well worth a look. That would be amazing. I'd like to do another road trip next time I'm in the States and go out west again and combine it with some observatory stops. Lowell would be another one for sure. We've two little ones, so it may be some time!

It's a really good group here, I've learned so much in the relatively short time I've been on this forum, it would have taken me years and years otherwise to figure much of it out through trial and error. 👍

 

 

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Hello and Welcome from me too. This is a great forum and I've met so good folks here. I lived in Los Angeles from the 1950's through the mid 1980's and was the construction superintendent for installation of the piers and small building housing the Interferometer on Mt. Wilson. I remember a detail on the plans showing the instrument, and noticed the entrance door specified on the building appeared too small for clearance, so I brought it to the attention of the user and he said "we can turn the instrument on its side and carry it through". I asked to see the instrument which was on site in another building, and it was mounted on about a 4' x 8' x 5" thick slab of alloy, which I'm confident weighed about a couple of tons; so a couple of guys were not going to be able to lift it and carry it through, lol. :rolleyes:  Thought you might appreciate this bit of trivial information.

Edited by L8-Nite
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26 minutes ago, L8-Nite said:

Hello and Welcome from me too. This is a great forum and I've met so good folks here. I lived in Los Angeles from the 1950's through the mid 1980's and was the construction superintendent for installation of the piers and small building housing the Interferometer on Mt. Wilson. I remember a detail on the plans showing the instrument, and noticed the entrance door specified on the building appeared too small for clearance, so I brought it to the intention of the user and he said "we can turn the instrument on its side and carry it through". I asked to see the instrument which was on site in another building, and it was mounted on about a 4' x 8' x 5" thick slab of alloy, which I'm confident weighed about a couple of tons; so a couple of guys were not going to be able to lift it and carry it through, lol. :rolleyes:  Thought you might appreciate this bit of trivial information.

That's amazing, small world!

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Welcome Dr Strange. I have a son in Berkeley, and we have been out a couple of times to see him and his wife. Last time we were out we visited Bryce Canyon area. Amazing skies. Also managed a trip to Barringer Crater, which should be on any Astro-nuts bucket list.

I look forward to hearing observing stories with your amazing collection of kit.

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On 29/03/2020 at 02:59, Ships and Stars said:

Rugby is a rough one for sure! I'd last about 30 seconds tops. Sorry to hear about that, both of the dobs you mention are held in high esteem by the 'dob mob' here I would imagine, I'd love to look through either one.

Rural Scotland can be great when conditions are right, but of course pretty hit and miss with the cloud cover and the jet stream never seems too far away. I've always been a casual stargazer, but only really started appreciating properly dark skies after a string of camping trips here, which ultimately led to my interest in astronomy. 

I'm actually from Indiana, but have lived in the UK for around 20 years. I played little league, but it's been many, many years. My pitching arm was better when I was 14 than it is now!

I was in Vegas once in 1993, some friends and myself worked in Alaska for a summer and took the 'long way' home.  We were driving through the pitch-black desert at night, and all the sudden we went over a crest on the highway, and there it was, surreal, lights to the horizon, the contrast with the desert could not have been greater. We won about $400, ate some pizza and ran before we lost it all. It wasn't a huge amount, but needed four new tyres the next day so that came in handy, haha, good times. 

I was wondering about Mt Wilson vs light pollution from LA, the conditions are still so good as you mention it's well worth a look. That would be amazing. I'd like to do another road trip next time I'm in the States and go out west again and combine it with some observatory stops. Lowell would be another one for sure. We've two little ones, so it may be some time!

It's a really good group here, I've learned so much in the relatively short time I've been on this forum, it would have taken me years and years otherwise to figure much of it out through trial and error. 👍

 

 

See when you are good looking, bright, and well liked you play Cricket or Football. When you are ugly, brutish, not very bright, and not well liked like I am you play Rugby. ;) 

I would encourage you or anyone else to definitely make the trip to Wilson if it is in the cards. It really is mind blowing! 

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