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Post by strangersatnite on Nov 16, 2004 20:49:18 GMT -6
Hey, I'm originally from Cleveland, Ohio but I go to school here in Chicago. I'm getting the impression that I may be the youngest person here but I don't mind. I'm 19 and I've always been interested in astronomy but kind of forgot about it but as of lately I've become interested in it again. I had to take a Physics 204 class, which ended up actually being an astronomy class. I loved it to death and started going crazy for astronomy. I look at the Astronomy Picture of the Day website everyday and I've joined this here awesome little "club." I'm really glad everyone here is so into astronomy and I hope that I can make it to some of the "parties."
Unfortunately I don't have a telescope yet but I'm hopeing to get a Meade Polaris 60mm. If anyone advises against that please let me know. It's on sale at Dick's and everyone here seems to have a Meade and it's in my price range so it seemed like the way to go.
Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Nov 16, 2004 21:23:39 GMT -6
Thank you for your introduction and registering as a member of the Chicago Astronomers.
Astronomy will be a lifelong passion for you, as an astronomer, you have a front seat to the universe.
If you can afford to get a larger scope, do it. But if not...don't despair. I first started out with a 60mm refractor, and although it's a beginners scope, it really showed me my first views of Saturn's rings, Jupiter's moons and the surface of the moon. It will enable you learn the sky and show you objects that the ancients never saw.
Where are you going to school and how did you manage to find your way to The Chicago Astronomer?
We are here to assist, share and enjoy the heavens with you and all others who squint throught light polluted skies.
Chicago Astronomer Joe Founder, Administrator and Chief Astronomer
Telescope/Observatory Docent Facilitator Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum
Astronomy Instructor Instituto Del Progresso/IHSCA
Astronomy Program Instructor British International School of Chicago /Lincoln Park Campus
Resident Astronomer Chicago Park District Nature Oasis/Night Out in the Parks/ 606 Trail
in it again. I had to take a Physics 204 class, which ended up actually being an astronomy class. I loved it to death and started going crazy for astronomy. I look at the Astronomy Picture of the Day
Unfortunately I don't have a telescope yet but I'm hopeing to get a Meade Polaris 60mm. If anyone advises against that please let me know. It's on sale
A 60mm scope is not a bad starter scope but one thing to consider is the mount. The mount on the polaris is pretty wobbly and shaky and the included eyepieces are not the best in the world so they might limit you views somewhat. I don;t know what your budget is but for about $130 you can get a Meade ETX-70AT, a 70mm short tube refractor with standard sized eyepieces, plus a fairly good tripod and a computerized goto mount from Meade's factory outlet:
The ETX series of scopes are quite nice and although the 70AT is their intro level scope, it is quie capable. You won't get high powered planertary views through the scope but you will get *very* nice wide field views. Also, the GOTO is nice in Chicago;s light polluted skies, as it is quite difficult to find stars to star hop and find things from. Also, as you are in school, space is probably at a premium and the 70AT is nice and samll and can be tucked away in a dorm room or apartment easily, and it's a breeze to set up and take down. You also do not even hav eot use the tripod, you can just set it up on a nice, sturdy table for a quick observing session.
One thing I'd recommend is not only browsing the web forums here, but also check out Astromart at www.astromart.com. You can get some excellent deals on used gear their.
You will probably want to do is to replace the stock eyepieces with some better Plossl eyepieces. For budget eyepieces, I like Orion's Sirius Plossl....you can almost always find them on Astromart for about $25 or so.
Finally, one really cool thing to do, and i'm not sure if they still do it, but when I attended Northwestern up in Evanston, they had public observing sessions at their Dearborn Observatory. They used to be on Friday evenings and you got to look through their 18" Alvin Clark refractor......**VERY** cool!
Take care and welcome!
John Glover Orion ST120, WO M102ED/SV, ZS66, Vixen A70Lf Meade ETX105 Orion SVP6, Hardin DSH6 Coranado PST
You've gotten some great advise from a couple of our experts. I'd suggest that you take your time and save up for something a little more than the 60mm. I started with a 4.5" Meade 4504 reflector with computerized GoTo which is about $160 new and you can find deals for around $100 if you watch eBay. As John pointed out, a GoTo is helpful.
Just keep in mind that whatever you get, if you really get into it, you'll want more. That's why I suggest saving up for a slightly better starter scope. Start small but not too small. Do you have access to a pair of binoculars to hold you over until you buy a telescope? Binos are a great way to start exploring the night skies.
The gatherings, aka "parties" is another great avenue since you don't need a telescope. You can get together with a smaller group (e.g. Joe frequents the Adler) and look through their telescopes. That will also help you see and understand the differences in types telescopes as well as what you can expect to see through each.
I've always been interested in astronomy but kind of forgot about it but as of lately I've become interested in it again
Don't let 20 years lapse like I did between my teenage interest in astronomy and buying my first telescope in my 30s.
Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Nov 17, 2004 6:43:08 GMT -6
Excellent advice so far...more to come,
To get a better handle on what's on there in telescopes, I have an idea, and this applies to all other Chicago Astronomers as well.
On the 3rd of DECEMBER 2004 - from 5:30 to 10:00 pm, The Adler Planetarium will conduct it's monthly event called "Far Out Fridays". This is when the museum opens it's doors later than usual and if clear, allows the public to view thru it's scopes, see shows and wander around.
Now...I will be working the event on that night as an Adler Telescope Interpeter...and if the sky is clear, targeting various objects in the sky. This will be a great opportunity to come by and look thru various telescopes and ask questions.
If this sounds interesting, let me know of your intentions of coming by, and I will look out for any of you.
Now on Dearborn.
I have been wanting to visit the Dearborn observatory for the longest, as well as the Ryerson observatory at the University of Chicago campus, as well with Friday sessions.
Perhaps one Friday we all can do the circuit one clear Friday.
On the 3rd of September 2004 - from 5:30 to 10:00 pm, The Adler Planetarium will conduct it's monthly event called "Far Out Fridays". This is when the museum opens it's doors later than usual and if clear, allows the public to view thru it's scopes, see shows and wander around.
Ummm, Joe... I don't have a time machine to travel back to "3rd of September 2004 - from 5:30 to 10:00 pm" so ummm... can I borrow yours or at least hop along for aride with you?
Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Nov 17, 2004 7:36:20 GMT -6
See it goes like this....
Had I originally made the error calling DECEMBER "September". I then would have cranked up the time machine that I have in the basement, (Uses tubes and kerosene), and gone back to "Fix" it. But if I went back to "Fix" it, then it never happened.
And if it never happened then the request for a ride in my time machine is folly, because I don't know what you are talking about.