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D:Ream

There isn't much that I feel I need. A solid soul and the blood I bleed...

76 posts in this topic

Hey all. I'm a binocular newbie and really enjoying it. However, I'm starting to find all the equipment discussion slightly alarming. Most people on here seem to (understandably) list their stuff as a badge of honour which for poor lost generation souls like myself, I am frankly finding a little off putting. It increasinly feels like there may be a glass ceiling beyond which I can take my interest no further. I'm wondering whether the "problem" might be solved by joining an astronomical club? Or perhaps I should stick to more affordable pastimes? What do you (very helpful) people think?

Thanks! :)

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Some people are "equipment freaks" and rarely observe. Some people just use what they've got and are happy doing it. Whatever turns you on, really.

There are some things that really require serious investment to do properly - like long exposure imaging of deep sky objects. There are other serious observing programmes - variable stars - that you can do with nothing more than a small pair of binoculars (a tripod helps), a set of charts (free download), a notebook, a pencil and a red torch.

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The reason I list my equipment is to give others a heads up to what I'm using when I ask for or give help. Certainally not a status badge.:)

I often read the posts of similar gear user as myself more than others. This gives me some idea of how their combinations work etc.

I think we all have a limit to how far we take things either financially or otherwise in our hobbies.

Joining a Astronomical club is certainly the way to advance, there is so much to learn from others.

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I think an astro club may be an excellent idea. you've put a smiley there so I don't know how much of your post is serious. people put their kit on for two reasons and neither of those reasons is to make anybody feel inadequate. its (1) to brag and why not they've worked and saved hard so why not show off . (2)most important when people post it saves them having to write out what kit they have all the time. If I see somebody has an sct in there handle I know they understand my problems because most likely they have had them or they've found a solution.

Small scopes have a long and honourable tradition in astronomy galileo had one so did newton. It doesn't matter what if any equipment you have, what matters is the desire to learn and share experiences and as such your contributions are as honoured and respected as anybody elses. there really is no reason to be ashamed just 'cos mine's bigger than yours. :)

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TBH, I think you're looking at it the wrong way. A lot of people (including myself) list their kit in their signature so others can see what kit you're using. There probably are members using it as a 'badge of honour' as you put it, it's down to them I guess. You don't have to read them!

I think everyone finds their own level in regard to their hobbies don't they? Whether it be time, money, light pollution or whatever constraint it is, there's always a limit to what you can have or do. Personally, as long as you're enjoying yourself then I think it doesnt matter what kit you have.

Tony..

Edited by Whippy

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The equipment signatures are very useful when asking for advice. If you see someone with kit you just bought answering a thread then you know they are probably talking from specific experience relevant to you.

Also helps finding someone with the same scope as you to pm for advice on a particular problem or technique. Dare I say the egotists amongst us broadcast in large text and loud colours. That's why mines a small one liner lol :)

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The best way to start discovering the night sky is with a decent star chart (or stellarium), the naked eye and a pair of binoculars. With the advent of GOTO scopes some people forget that. Astronomy 'can' get very expensive, same as any other hobby, but it's not a competition, and on this forum especially everyone is welcome to share their passion. It's a hobby, enjoy :)

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Hey - thanks for your replies! It was a deliberately controversial post and I hope I haven't offended anyone. I was hoping for some thoughtful, interesting responses and I certainly have them! Actually, what has struck me more than anything is the way in which the astronomy scene seem to be prepared to go the extra mile to help people out.

Edited by D:Ream

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I think I understand where you're coming from. I have stretched my budget to the absolute limit in this hobby this week and shall not be buying any more equipment, barring a lottery win, for the forseeable future.

The sky will always be there, and financial situations change. As long as you enjoy this hobby, even just using your eyes, then it is a good thing.

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The reason i have my gear in my signature is because i like to make people laugh.

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The rumor is that the universe is a pretty big place, there will always be the pull to see more and more and people will be happy to follow that path and list how they have achieved it. You definitely shouldn't be put off though, the kind folks here are listing their wares because its helpful, not to brag or show that others should follow. If you can resist the pull there is plenty to get without following the upgrade path.

In terms of viewing other peoples observations and images its incredibly helpful to know what gear they have.

I think one thing to note is the amount of recommendations for the cheap books, cheap eyepieces, cheap webcams, and budget scopes (sky watcher for example), I notice far more recommendations for skywatcher than I do for any of the high quality scopes that the seasoned frostbitten :) folks use themselves.

Just my view on the matter :)

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D:Ream......interesting user name. Sounds like a certain band Prof Brian Cox used to be in.:):rolleyes::):rolleyes::):rolleyes::o:rolleyes:

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Like with any hobby there is an upper and lower and then there's the stupid.

All my gear is second hand and has still cost quite a lot but I use it, I used to be into "Home Cinema" which can become as cash eating as this hobby and to my ears I couldn't tell the difference between a £2000 and a £20,000 amp and I think it will be the same with scopes (CCD's and mounts is another thing though).

Like has already been mentioned, listing gear is an aid to others (especially imagers) to see what people are using.If you go into the imaging section and some one has posted an image and do not have there equipment listed you can bet your bottom lip that some one will ask "what ccd/scope etc".

I also like to see what people with the same setup as myself are producing.

I think some times we can confuse "badge of honour" with our own "envy" :)

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I'm starting to find all the equipment discussion slightly alarming. Most people on here seem to (understandably) list their stuff as a badge of honour which for poor lost generation souls like myself, I am frankly finding a little off putting. It increasinly feels like there may be a glass ceiling beyond which I can take my interest no further.

What's stopping you going further? What do you mean by lost generation?

I haven't even started yet. I had a 3" reflector when I was 12... I'm starting again almost from scratch at 42. I haven't bought my first scope yet actually (well.. 2nd scope really). I find the sigs useful, as I can see what gear others are using, especially those posting images, as imaging is something I will eventually be doing.

The only limit that is imposed upon you is budget, but there are ways around that with second hand gear, or even one day figuring your own mirrors and making your own scope. I did it when I was 12! I'm not boasting or anything, as my knowledge is minimal, and the mirror I ground was actually pretty rubbish, but I did it... and I enjoyed it, and I learned a great deal.

Everything else can be learned. It's way easier now as we have the internet to research with. Back in the 80s when I did it, I had to go to my local library and rely on the few books they had. The amount I've learned by being on this forum for 1 week is astounding. I've learned more in this one week than I did in 2 years of the hobby between ages 12 and 14.

Edited by pook

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Well there's an interesting post ..

I've long had an interest in things astronomical but never did anything about it - my physics teacher at school was properly useless and failed to ignite a spark. Last year my lad started taking an interest and we've taken up from there - I have to keep working on finding and explaining stuff for him to fan the flames.

One point that I have come to understand is that a lot of my interest is maintained by playing to my learning style. There is a fairly mainstream model of different modes of learning: visual, aural, kinesthetic (seeing, hearing, doing) which works for me. I'm primarily kinesthetic - followed by visual. This means I find it easiest to understand things by doing something with them but useless at sitting in lectures. Astronomy - manually finding stars, DSOs etc that illustrate the theories helps me get a grasp all that universe science stuff and the sheer scale of the place.

I also find it properly amazing that we can reach out and observe this stuff (across the whole spectrum) - to understand how that works, I will probably end up building a Dobsonian reflector. I could save up and buy a 2nd hand one for far less effort - but it wouldn't be as rewarding..

So no don't let the towering materialism of telescope acquisition syndrome :) put you off - find what will drive you, go to local meets and look at stuff (in the sky!) and follow the biggest Wow! factor for you.

FWIW Equipment lists make me giggle too, it doesn't tickle my astronomical itch - but they are informative. Similarly I'm sure some people will find my utter lack of interest in GOTO* or longterm desire to build a DOB equally amusing :)

* other than the software behind it.

Rob

--

Equipment:

Eyes (x2)

Mind

A few bits of other stuff that don't matter much :)

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D-ream, I hear ya.

Don't think for a second that you need a £200 scope with fancy £50 eyepieces to 'qualify'. Just looking up into the night sky is enough to earn the 'stargazer' title.

As is, you have bino's which is more than some people have who are as keen.

I'm the type of person that lives off 'Tesco value' produce, tips up the hose for those extra drips when fuelling the car and walks around in battered old trainers. I live on a shoestring budget.

My binoculars were inherited from my late grandfather and probably more than 50 years old. My telescope I picked up for £75 new as I believe it is discontinued stock, I did my research to find the largest aperture for my hard earned at a price I can manage to afford. Don't be fooled into thinking the minimum requirements to get involved here is a skywatcher 130 with plossl's. That's exactly the impression I got when initially lurking through the pages of the forum.

I live under that same glass ceiling you refer to, but I can still whip out the old binos or the budget telescope and see pretty much the same stuff that those with equipment costing hundreds more can see.

I apologise if anyone feels offended by what I say, that is truly not my intention.

Edit: Just a quick look around, this discontinued scope can still be had cheap, here, I stand by what I say in that you wont find better quality at that kinda price.

Edited by Kp6

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Add equipment lists when it's relevant (asking for help, or annotating what was actually used to make an image). Otherwise IMHO they're at best a distraction, a waste of bandwidth and at worst just simple bragging.

Edited by brianb

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The number of PM's I get that start with:

"I see you have ....... xyz telescope. I just got the same and can you help me with.......xyz problem"

Tends to contradict the idea of "bragging" as such. But the good thing about SGL is that people are generally mature enough to "agree to disagree" on a point without conflict.

I was very reluctant to list my gear at first cos I don't like advertising my valuables on a forum - but I had to reassure people so many times that I "had the gear and new what I was talking about" that, in the end I caved in and listed it for convenience.

If I ever felt it intimidated anyone I would surely remove it, but most times it seems very helpful to others :)

Edited by brantuk

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I think ALL groups have a (better or worse, hidden or overt) hierarchy. Owing to naivety, upbringing, lack of "emotional intelligence", I figured the "system", FAR too late to be useful in real life... and internet forums. :)

Take what you need? But, if you can GIVE a little, someone may be (even silently) appreciative of your efforts?

Failing that, read: The 48 Laws of Power - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia :)

P.S. I have occasionally THOUGHT about rejoining certain forums as "expert" though... :)

Edited by Macavity

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I've never seen listing your equipment as bragging, more informative. Most of my equipment is second hand and certainly nothing to brag about but I've received PM's from members asking questions just because I use the same kit as them.

My location is also in my signature.....I'm meeting up with a fellow member next week. They are just starting out in the hobby and because I'm local to them they started asking questions about societies etc in the area and I said I'd be more than happy to have a chat with him to try and give him some pointers from my limited knowledge.

I find it strange that some members feel so strongly on the subject.

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As brant says the amount of people that have sent me PM's and said "i see you have XYZ".

I've also had this happen. There is no better way to find out about any gear other then to ask people who use it. I like to google peoples scopes etc. Not just to see what they are using but to also educate myself as to the myriad of codes in the scopes names: EXT,LXT,CPC etc etc.

A hobby is a hobby and should not be seen as (or try to be done by) "keeping up with the Jones'.

The only thing about a hobby is that you enjoy doing it. If it is not fun then it isnt worth doing. It doesnt matter how much or little gear you use in astronomy or the cost.

The joy of the hobby is priceless (when its not cloudy).

P.S.~~~the only astro gear i had for over 20 yrs was a pair of 10X50 bins. That didnt stop me enjoying the wonders of the universe.

Edited by LukeSkywatcher

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I think I have been convinced that, on balance, it is a good idea to list equipment if it is helping people. However, I remain a little alarmed by the proportion of chatter on here that relates to equipment and I do find it off-putting. The science of astronomy is what really motivates me but it often seems to be absent. I suppose, to a large extent, newbie's like myself are to blame with the standard "what telescope" type questions.

I'm a clarinetist and I find a similar obsession with 'set-ups' which I find even more annoying. A poor player will sound poor whatever instrument they pick up!

I'm very tempted to start listing fake equipment though... SC-32" (mod) 'Caroline'

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Lol D:Ream - SC-32 is a webcam modification for long exposure photography. The technique was pioneered by Steve Chambers :)

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I would say that 99% of all the user kit has been bought/sold/traded over quite some time. We all bought a scope for the first time, then changed eyepeices for better ones. Then replaced the mount , added a camera etc etc.

It's taken 10years + for me to get the kit that I have. I've had so many Pm's and emails asking question on the kit that I have (how to attach stuff to stuff, what software do you use, all sorts) - it's nice to help people out.

I wouldn't have got any of them if no one knew what stuff I had.

Cheers

Ant

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