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Skybrowser

What was the first thing you saw through a telescope which got you hooked?

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At the age of 10, over 40 years ago, my mate, who was 11 and therefore much older and wiser and his dad made a refractor. At the time, the Apollo missions were in full flight as it were..and Star Trek had just started on TV....

I looked through this wonder of modern engineering his dad had made and saw the moon seeing a crater (Clauvius), with my own eyes (well, one eye). I was mesmerised, completely and utterly.

The scope was then pointed at Saturn and I couldn't believe my eyes. Having seen pictures in books, to see the "real thing" right there, hanging so beautifully in space was a real defining moment for me. One never to be forgotten.

I got the usual "kid's" telescope for Christmas that year and my son, who is 28 actually still has it - battered to death but still in the original box.

I could never afford to get a good scope as family, house, etc. had to come first, but last Christmas, my wife bought one for me,taking great advice from the shop.

It was like being that 10 year old kid again - the skies full of wonder and a "real" telescope to look through. All of the great astronomers on this forum and others will I'm sure have similar stories - what's yours? :)

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my astronomy was on 'slow burn' since the appearance of the last two great comets (Hale Bopp and Hyakutake) and several eclipses (lunar and solar). My interest was really sparked though due to Bill Bryson and Richard Dawkins of all people! I read all of Dawkins books and this led me to BB's A Short History of Nearly Everything which really got me back into science and science reading - this led naturally to wanted to see more of the universe around us.

I had just managed to see the rings of Saturn and the bands on Jupiter through an old 60mm birding scope but got a 120mm f8.3 refractor and after seeing the moon, Ring Nebula, Jupiter and Saturn and a few others through that I was completely hooked. I now have a 12" dob and am planning in my mind at least, an 18" at the end of 2011/2012 assuming I don't keep getting tempted with gear that I should not be buying! I'll need to sell some of my current gear though to fund that. Well, my wife spends more in a year on her car than my new scope will cost and that's for life bar the occasional re-coating.

Edited by Moonshane

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It was in the middle sixties - a cold winters night my brother agreed to come out to help his "little" sister get this basic cardboard tubed 4 inch reflector diy scope working.. he fiddled at one end positioning the mirror into the little reflector scope and finally he fixed on the end cap

We pointed it as best we could at the moon ( it had no finder.. I later found that screwing in two eyelets, normally used for hanging net curtains, on either end of the scope, acted as a pretty good finder !)

Finally, looking through the eyepiece holder i could see the bright reflection of the moon as the light hit the flat diagonal mirror. which was glued onto a piece of doweling and poked through the tube either side

There were two eyepieces one giving 33x and one 78x I chose the 33x inserted it and I just saw this brightness at first so bright an image and so clear against so black a background it took my breath away.. Nothing can take away those first memories of seeing the craters on our Moon in such clear detail.. .. and I was " hooked "

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Definately Saturn. Twas about eight years ago when Saturn and Jupiter were in close proximity, though I was pointing at Jupiter, astonished and in awe to see Saturn. Still has that effect on me now as well.

Steve

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For me it was Hale Bopp through binoculars and the icing on the cake was the MIR space station with a Soyuz rocket docked. A sight I will never ever forget !

Steve

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Good topic this - it isn't just me then? I remember when my Mrs bought my new scope last Xmas and I couldn't get near the eyepiece to look at the moon for about half an hour - she also suffered "Blown Away by the view" Syndrome!

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First view was the moon, which was awesome, shortly followed by the faint, wobbly smudge of M31, that really blew my mind.

I had no idea you could see galaxies through regular telescopes, there was no going back after that!

If I am honest, stars were disappointing, they still looked like dots. The dots are definitely growing on me, though!

Edited by Luke

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Only really got into Astronomy 3 years ago. Never looked at the night sky with bins or a scope before, apart from a Tasco when 12, Moon looked ok though. Upon the arrival of my old Celestron 6se I had another look at the Moon, now it was breathtaking, been looking ever since :) Only the rest of the Universe left:icon_eek:

Alan

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I looked at a bright star, naked eye, then looked through a 6" SkyWatcher reflector and saw 4 other small stars... about 1 hour later, while reading my first astronomy book, I saw a picture of Jupiter with 4 moons lined up... ran to the scope, looked again... dang... the picture in the book was exactly as I was seeing in the eyepiece! Little did I know I'd be forever broke after that :)

Guylain

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I went to McDonalds Observatory in Ft.Davis Texas back in 92' . Saw Saturn for the very first time in a 16" Meade SCT . Not sure what EP was used but saturn looked about the size of a Silver Dollar !! Perfect rings , perfect color ! From then i was hooked . Bought my first scope in 95' , Bushnell 4.5" Reflector . Still have it even tho it's boxed up . Bought my Celestron SCT C8 in 97' and thats when i went full time observing evry chance i got . Started imaging in 02' . I still take mediocre images but i have fun ! SO .... , Saturn it is !!

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For me it was Jupiter and 4 moons through a spotting 'scope in the middle of a field having a barbecue - a magical moment that I'll never forget. The sausages were good too .....

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For me it was when young. My Dad bought me a telescope when I was about 11/12. It was quite a tiny thing but well made, back then telescopes cost serious cash, this one was like an upmarket spotting scope. Cant really remember that much about it other than it had a crackly grey finish.

Anyway after the instant flcuh wore off and I didn't see pictures like I was expecting it got put under the bed and forgotten about.

When I was about 13 I was sta in my room bored one evening and looked out and saw a bright twinkly star so I thought I'd fish the telescope out and have a look, it took some time to get it in the EP but when I did - WOW - it resolved into a crescent. It was Venus and looked rather wonderful. That was it really - kind of hooked.

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I had a Tasco 60mm refractor when I was about ten. Used it on and off for about five years.

I have to say: Jupiter and it's moons for me. Then Venus, the Pleiades, the Great Orion Nebula and even M31 over that time.

That was enough to keep me interested for the time interval between then and now. Just never had the opportunity.

Compared to that 60mm, the 130mm makes everything a whole lot more friendly :)

Still reading as to what to do next depending on finances. Probably (aside from other 'normal' targets) some Baader film for a Solar filter. I used to project the sun through the 60mm onto card and thought I saw spots. Don't do this anyone reading It'll wreck your optics if nothing else - I didn't know any better then and neither did my parents!

It's a bit ike my other hobbys - scuba and tropical fish. With fish - I just want to keep everything.

With Astronomy, I just want to do everything!

But one step at a time :D

Edited by Altair40

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The first things i saw was Venus & moon from the Godlee

Observatory in manchester amazing seeing the moon craters so

close & clear made me want a telescope so bad :)

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Saturn.

I was so stoked I danced around the garden like a right good'un.

Edited by Beulah

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My first view that amazed me was Saturn through a 50mm refractor at about x40 - it only looked like a blurry rugby ball but I still thought it was great. That was back in the mid 80's. I suppose the first time I became 'hooked' was a few years a go when I bought a Skywatcher 150p and looked at Saturn and the moon ( or the shadows of montes appenninus being cast across mare imbrium to be precise)

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Blimey there's some passion in this hobby. I don't know why non-astronomers don't get it. I really enjoyed reading all the responses the my question. Working away from home a lot as I do, I tend to read all the new posts and replies and I guess if we all had enough money and time we'd all become nocturnal!

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I had been observing casually with 10X50 bins since i was about 8 yrs old. Back then all i knew was the Moon and Orion. It was only about 4 yrs ago that i bought my first real scope. The moon was superb but never got a WOW from me. It was only when i say Saturn and its ring system with my 90mm refractor that my real passion for astronomy started to burn brightly.

Now i go around all the time looking up at the night sky when i'm out and about. I've even been known to wheel myself off the edge of curbs and fall flat on my face on the road because i was too busy looking upwards instead of where i'm going in my wheelchair.

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I know what you mean....I find myself looking up at the sky all the time. When I was on holiday in the Maldives in July, there was virtually zero light pollution and I couldn't make out any constellations as there were so many stars! I tried for ages, but couldn't even find a single reference point from which I could start to star hop. Then my wife said she could see a smudge in the Sky. M31. Gotcha. Binos picked it out beautifully. Couldn't believe what a difference really good dark skies made. Wished I lived out in the sticks......

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As with many always had an interest, in fact some of my strongest memories are astronomical - a meteor storm in Sardinia, Hale's comet, Jupiter and Saturn of course and the southern lights when living in NZ. However, also like many, there was a (long) gap and it is only this year that I have had opportunity to pursue, loving it....!

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Amazing how many people got switched on to the hobby as kids and then went back to it many years later. Me included!

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I really cant remember what I saw first, But i do recall, Jupiter, Saturn, M45 M42, possibly the horsehead, maybe a few clusters. I never managed m31 as a kid only this time did i view it of course I looked at the moon.

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