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Old 03-21-2012, 07:17 PM   #1
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Star Gazing

I'm interested in star gazing and bought a basic telescope last year. There are several Passport America (50% off) campgrounds near this location so I'm thinking of checking some out.
Anyone else enjoy star gazing and have you been to this place. Any recommendations? Thanks


Supposedly, here in Pennsylvania we have one of the best star gazing locations,
http://www.cherrysprings.org located in north central mountains, Potter County, Pa. Here there is -0- light pollution and views spectacular.
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Old 03-21-2012, 07:36 PM   #2
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Over the past three years we have camped along the Colorado River about 25 miles Northwest of Moab, UT on two different occasions. If you can be there when there is no moon the gazing is wonderful.
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Old 03-21-2012, 08:07 PM   #3
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I used to enjoy watching night sky, even saw the comet Shoemaker–Levy impact on Jupiter in 1994. It was just a dark spot quickly despairing beyond the Jupiter horizon but plenty of excitement. Resolving Saturn rings, watching ice spots on Mars, or seeking other galaxies such as Orion Nebula was always a lot of fun. Since we moved to Oregon its clouded sky and rain stopped this activity. With advancement of inexpensive electronic tracking systems the excitement of finding could be gone but you can see more objects in less time.

Many years ago I had my telescope set up on the boundary of our campsite on Tioga Road in Yosemite. It was quiet, telescope gear did not make a lot of noise, and about 2AM some repeatable puffing noise pulled my attention from the sky to a small tent right next to me. After I realized what the commotion was I went back to our trailer. Next morning a young couple noticed the telescope next to their tent and looked at me, I could not resist and smiled to them, they smiled back.

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Old 03-21-2012, 08:08 PM   #4
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Jim, I hope that you've been stargazing this winter (especially March), when so many of the planets are visible at night? You can easily see jupiter and venus most nights. And with your small scope, you'll be able to spot the moons of jupiter.
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Old 03-21-2012, 09:18 PM   #5
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I took this at Craters of the Moon in ID. A great place for "Dark".

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Old 03-21-2012, 11:50 PM   #6
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Death Valley has a pretty amazing night sky as well.
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Old 03-22-2012, 02:39 PM   #7
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have always loved watching the sky. back in my youth, we could actualy see sputnic as it crossed the sky. so much less light polution then.
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Old 03-27-2012, 10:18 PM   #8
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Smile Sky Viewing

The first artificial satellite I recall seeing was Echo. Which was a large silverized mylar ball which was used to bounce radio signals over the horizon.

It is a lot of fun just to id the different constellations, like Orion which has been prominent this winter. His right shoulder is Betelguese, his left shoulder is Bellatrix, his left foot is Rigel, and his right foot is Saiph.

George, living in Oregon, you have only to drive a few (well, okay maybe more) miles to the east where there is desert and wonderful viewing.

Everyone in the Western US should be aware of the solar eclipse coming May 20!

NASA - Annular Solar Eclipse of 2012 May 20
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Old 03-28-2012, 06:49 AM   #9
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Having only owned a horrible $30 telescope in my life and living in upstate NY, I don't think I qualify as someone who knows a darn thing about peeking into the night sky. Is there an inexpensive beginner scope I can buy? I do know lots about photography, is there a lens that is preferred for taking these amazing pictures??? ( I'm off to do some photography research on this!!!)
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Old 03-28-2012, 06:57 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meghan View Post
Having only owned a horrible $30 telescope in my life and living in upstate NY, I don't think I qualify as someone who knows a darn thing about peeking into the night sky. Is there an inexpensive beginner scope I can buy? I do know lots about photography, is there a lens that is preferred for taking these amazing pictures??? ( I'm off to do some photography research on this!!!)
megan, without a very expensive and complicated scope you will not see much details in stars and planets. optics simply don;t work that way. but thats fine.
instead, buy the very best binoculars you can get. and a very good sky chart, compus, and a protractor, one of those half circle things you used in school is fine.
this is all you need to learn where the constilations are, watch shooting stars, gaze at the moon. and enjoy all sorts of things in the night sky. like satelites passing over, even the international space station.
plus you get to use them in daytime to see wonderfull stuff,,,,birds , those wierd people camping in that mega motorhome....stuff like that.
then do some looking around, sites like" skywatch" and the nasa website can tell you where to see things up there.
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Old 03-28-2012, 07:04 AM   #11
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I got this from amazon plus some night charts/books they suggested to go with it.
Amazon.com: Celestron 21035 70mm Travel Scope: Camera & Photo
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Old 03-28-2012, 11:13 PM   #12
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I always take with me my old 4” Meade Schmidt-Cassegrain with electric drive in a very compact table top package. I stopped using my 10” Meade, too heavy and too much hassle even though it has absolutely exceptional optics, practically the same images in and out of a star focus. I saw the Jupiter comet hit with this scope. You are correct, eastern Oregon has many cloudless days.

For a start I would suggest to get for example a Maksutov-Cassegrain which does not require adjustments and it is very compact. You can always add a camera, such as Micro 4/3 in lieu of 1 1/4 eyepiece. Very often folks don’t see the value of motorized mounts but our planet moves fast, at high magnification there are only seconds for an image to disappear from you view. With the exception of wide angle photography any photography of deep space needs to compensate for our planet rotation. Pending on the budget you could consider the following for start-up.
StarMax 90mm TableTop Maksutov-Cassegrain Telescope | Orion Telescopes
Celestron 90mm Computer Controlled Advanced Cassegrain Telescope
Celestron - NexStar 4 SE 1325mm Altazimuth Maksutov-Cassegrain Telescope - Black/Orange - 11049
Amazon.com: MEADE 3514-03-55 ETX -90PE 90MM Maksutov-Cassegrain Telescope: Camera & Photo
And if money is flowing prosperously 50th anniverary is a Hasselblad.

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Old 03-29-2012, 04:44 AM   #13
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CPAHarley, is that what you used to get the pics you posted?? Haven't had a chance to search online yet
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Old 03-29-2012, 08:52 PM   #14
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Remember Carl Sagan's, billions and billions.....

Aren’t we small?

Milky way in IR. 1 Billion Stars Shine in New Milky Way Photo | Milky Way Galaxy | Space.com

George.
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Old 04-04-2012, 10:13 AM   #15
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Universe.

The whole shebang.

NASA - NASA Releases New WISE Mission Catalog of Entire Infrared Sky

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Old 04-04-2012, 05:10 PM   #16
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Probably the cheapest route would be a Dobsonian (reflecting scope on alt-az mount) around 3-400$. It's simple, easy to set up, BUT an 8" is just about as big as you'd want in a medium SUV or bed of a pickup-type tug. Lot of smaller (4 to 6") GOTO scopes out there now. A GOTO scope basically finds objects for you after polar alignment and calibration. Most are also on an alt-az mount. I have an 8" Schmidt (folding reflecter) on a surprisingly handy equatorial mount (Celestron CG-5 GOTO). I've had the scope for 20 yrs. but got the GEM in January this yr. If I were taking the Burro to a location at which I anticipated dark sky, I would take this scope in a heartbeat. If you want to fiddle around, there are a number of small table top reflecters from Orion and Celestron. I have a little 3" reflector (Heritage First Scope) from Celestron. Gave 20 bucks for it. It damps down very quickly on it's little fiberbd. alt-az, can be used on a picnic table or a photographic tripod, and has one thing that is great for looking at the moon and planets and hunting and pecking for stuff like M42, the Pleiades. That one thing is a very forgiving wide field of view. I think the little thing is still available from Amazon for 30-40 dollars. It probably has a plastic mirror, you've can't collimate, you'd can't adjust the secondary, but it's just pretty good out of the box and much more fun for a child than a cheap 2" refractor which is practically the definition of unusable junk.

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