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Post by williamrobertellis on May 17, 2010 8:19:42 GMT -6
My name is Bill and I'm new to astronomy. I have always been fascinated by the heavens. I enjoy stargazing. Just bought a telescope for my 11 year old son (Celestron 76mm EQ reflector). Still trying to figure out the basics. I look forward to new learning experiences and new friendships.
Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on May 17, 2010 12:44:37 GMT -6
Welcome to the Chicago Astronomer.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your interest in astronomy.
A 3" Newtonian telescope is a decent beginner scope to learn on. It will show you the rings of Saturn, Lunar craters and the Moons of Jupiter. I cut my teeth on a Montgomery Ward 60mm refractor - and it served me well for many years....still got it.
If you have questions about the scope or any other subject, feel free to ask - and post your experiences. We would like to follow along.
Ain't astronomy fun?
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
Hi Bill! I never did one of these intro things, just jumped in and started firing away. Guess I should.
Anyway, welcome. Looking forward to learning lots from these folks as well. So far, I have to say that they have been very judgmental and mean-spirited, but perhaps it's just the initial hazing period and we'll get through it.
Seriously, they may be laughing at me off the board, but on the board and in person, everybody I have met has been exceedingly helpful and supportive.
Welcome! patrick —W00! I moved up to Apprentice. Thanks CA Elves!
Last Edit: May 17, 2010 17:10:51 GMT -6 by patrickm
Post by williamrobertellis on May 17, 2010 19:50:05 GMT -6
We are in Oak Park. First night out was able to point out several constellations, then thought I would show my son Saturn which was no problem with the naked eye and with Binos, but it took me 30 min to center it in the scope. Think I might need to calibrate the star finder and my eyes. Got a decent look with a 20mm eye piece. Called my son over to look and he propped his hand on the back of the scope, we were done for the night. Hope for clear skies this weekend. No week day astronomy for us until school gets out.
Post by williamrobertellis on May 17, 2010 21:10:26 GMT -6
My intrest in astronomy started as a kid. My parents bought me a department store scope and I would spend hours looking at the Moon, Venus and Saturn. Being from Florida I saw every rocket or shuttle launch (or landing) that I could. In college my roomates were studying aerospace engineering and Jet propulsion one is at NASA and the other at Lockhead Martin. We would spend whole nights on the balcony with binos. My life took me to Central America where I lived for 15 years practicing only naked eye stargazing. My family relocated to Chicago 18 months ago.
I've had no luck with my Celestron UHC/LPR in the city. It always seems to just dull everything and the wavelengths filtered seem to do as much damage to the object I'm trying to view as anything else. I think I remember Joe mentioning that it might only work on nebulae. I can't vouch for the exactitude of my memory on the best of days, and I got so much info that night, and was so jacked up on geekadrenlyn, that I think it best to let one of the cognoscenti confirm that. Time to go find a nebula!
I think the best light filter is to get the heck out of Dodge or find the darkest possible spot nearby. Heck, they set up UNDER A STREETLAMP at the last meeting and we still saw plenty. Until we both figure out the easiest ones, I sense that we're probably good watching in the city for a while.
A few websites I've found super helpful getting me going: www.calsky.com
where you punch in your location and expertise level and it spits out super clear results on what you can see, where, and when.
cleardarksky.com/c/Chicagokey.html If you click the 60 mile link on the right, you can see spots maybe closer to you that don't have to account for our weird lake weather in the city.
I think this board has been my most helpful resource, mostly with stiffening my courage to just dive in and go and see what we shall see! The rest will come in time.
Having a blast and glad you and your son get to spend that precious time together. Looking forward to getting our nephew up from Texas in July. He's 15, and nocturnal, so should be a perfect astroboy! p
Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on May 17, 2010 21:19:13 GMT -6
In time, locating targets will be second nature to you, but it sounds that you need to align the finderscope to the main scope.
Locate a distant terrestrial object, (smoke stack, antenna etc...), and center it in the eyepiece. Then, without moving the tube, center it in the finder scope with the adjustment screws. Keep checking for the object in the eyepiece, making sure it is still centered.
You will need to do this quite often on your sessions, as things get bumped - but no big.
Once, you get the feel of the scope, you will be locating objects instinctively, using the top of the telescope barrel like a gun sight and only taking moments.
At the Adler, we get hundreds of visitors during our public sessions - and countless times, overeager individuals grab on to the scope and ruin the set-up. I reset it, and they move it again...I just leave it and adjust it for the next person.
On light pollution filters...
Not a big fan.
A simple UV filter, will cut out haze...and they are cheap. The very expensive light pollution filters do a limited job, and lend a un-natural tint to the views and dim the object. There are various types of filters, but I have gone back to unfiltered observations quickly.
They are nice to have, but will not remove the light pollution to any great extent.
We used a Nebula filter Saturday night - looking at M57. But, with all the ambient light around us, the image was quite dim with the filter. Now, with dark adapted eyes, I could tell that more detail was seen and even the central star.
It will come in handy on the C11 SCT when we go to a dark sky....we are thinking about making a trip to the Dunes soon....where we had decent sky conditions and actually observed the Milky Way paint overhead.
Bill, I would also strongly recommend heading down to Adler, or some other place closer if you can't make it in, for a star party. Bring the scope, a sweatshirt, and the kid and ask a ton of questions. If that doesn't get you both hooked, there's not much hope! Gave me a really positive kick in the butt and I might still be down there if the cops hadn't kicked up out two weeks ago!
Last Edit: May 17, 2010 21:20:35 GMT -6 by patrickm
Post by Paulie pchris00 on May 21, 2010 14:14:35 GMT -6
Oh yeah. Not so familiar with the state park, trails and such, but I know the entire area. I've been to nearly every beach from Ogden Dunes to New Buffalo, Michigan. I could hang out by the lake all day and night. And it's always coll to look "over there" and see Chicago.
"Just a boy, just an ordinary boy, but he was looking to the sky." -Vanessa Carlton