Any Astronomy Enthusiasts On Here?

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dhizzy

Preferred Member
Aug 29, 2011
650
0
Just curious if anyone shares my new found fascination with space and what it has for us to view? Santa brought my oldest daughter (8 years old) a Celestron 127eq AstroMaster reflector telescope for Christmas and so far, its been lack-luster. I understand its all probably just beginner troubles and I have begun to read just about everything I can find. I have figured out that I may need to collimate the telescope and I need to get a star map. I have been able to get it onto stars but man, are we moving fast! The telescope has slow-motion controls but they are still difficult to track and keep up with. Any tips or general info will be appreciated. I am still fascinated but don't want her to lose her enthusiasm. And as luck would have it, the moon has not been visible at all and is continuing to wane (I think that's the correct term.)
Dave

 

warren

Preferred Member
Sep 13, 2013
7,422
146
If there's an iPad in the house get the app "Star Walk." It will greatly assist in finding the various bodies in your sky. The 8yo will readily be able to use many of the features making it easier for her to use the scope. Plus the app is entertaining in and of itself.
Good on you to take such an interest.

 

dhizzy

Preferred Member
Aug 29, 2011
650
0
Thanks Warren. Yes! We have an ipad. I'll download it ASAP. I'm guessing you are in to astronomy?
The other thing I want to do with her is build a model of the solar system. She can earn a badge from her troop by doing so and I think it will somewhat bring into perspective, the vastness of space. It is mind boggling. Earlier, we looked up how long it would take to travel to the nearest star, besides the sun and it was something crazy like 69,000 years at 10's of thousands of mph.

 

warren

Preferred Member
Sep 13, 2013
7,422
146
I'm a bit into star gazing. Got into it the same way you are, with my daughter, too many years ago. She no longer has that as an interest, but she has the basic knowledge should she rekindle the interest when she's older and life slows down a bit.
So, now it's down to the craft store for an assortment of Styrofoam balls. Been there and done that.
Cherish these years my man, they fly by all too fast. Oh! And if all three of those lovely lassies are yours, I suggest you start putting a bit of cash now and then for the weddings.

 

scrapyardape

Member
Oct 9, 2013
261
0
Florida gulfcoast
You have a decent starter telescope there. Keep practicing with the controls.. you will get the hang of it. In addition to the star map, use a good pair of binoculars to get acquainted with the night sky. It is amazing what you can see with a simple pair of binoculars. All of this will make using your telescope easier and more fun.
Once you feel comfortable with your scope, you can get started with obtaining more and better eyepieces. I won't go any further because you will then be at the same point I was when I "cut myself off" from any more expansion of the hobby. (just got too expensive for me)

 

jthomas04

Junior Member
Oct 15, 2013
72
0
Wait until the moon is in view and point your telescope up at it. I know it was like a religious experience when I was a kid and did that for the first time. Take your time learning the controls and how to focus.
Look up online where planets will be and find them. You should be able to see Saturn's rings as well. That is also truely amazing to see for the first time.
And just think, all of the stars we see in the night sky are part of our Milky Way Galaxy, just one of billions of galaxies in the universe.
The universe is mighty spacious for sure.

 

antbauers

Preferred Member
Jul 12, 2013
675
0
I love astronomy. I remember the telescope Santa brought me when I was a kid. It was great. The universe is extremely fascinating.

 

dhizzy

Preferred Member
Aug 29, 2011
650
0
Cherish these years my man, they fly by all too fast.
Exactly what I'm doing. It is already going by fast. I'm just lucky that I'm still "cool."
Oh! And if all three of those lovely lassies are yours, I suggest you start putting a bit of cash now and then for the weddings.
I'm in trouble, I know.
You really need to spend an extra $40 for a motor drive. Chasing whatever it is you want to see is no fun.
Santa almost got her one but he thought that she's be best off to at least know the fundamentals first. I'm pretty sure we'll pick one up for her though.
Thanks guys for all the help.

 

voorhees

Preferred Member
May 30, 2012
3,575
86
Gonadistan
I had a decent telescope when I was younger, I reveled in the night sky. I still look at it with wonder on clear nights. I may one day get into it again with a better tele, but that is just another hobby. 8O

 

mso489

Preferred Member
Feb 21, 2013
26,209
408
Amateur astronomers might be interested in a book by a former faculty member at UNC-Greensboro,

a directory of observatories throughout the U.S. I don't have the title, but the author is Thomas

Kirby-Smith. You probably have to get this used on Amazon. It has lots of detail about the telescopes

and astronomer access to use of telescopes. Useful for pros, but extra interesting for casual star gazers.

 

captainbob

Preferred Member
Oct 5, 2010
768
0
I am extremely satisfied with my LX-200 8-inch Schmidt-Cassagrain purchased in 1992 with its go-to capabilities. I use it in the Alt/Azimuth Mount, not the Equatorial Mount.



__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

aristokles

Senior Member
Jan 18, 2011
402
0
Hey Dave,

Any local astronomy clubs nearby? Pittsburgh has a large one with two large observatories. Monthly "in season" public Star Parties are a great contact source and family experience.

 

dhizzy

Preferred Member
Aug 29, 2011
650
0
Aristokles, yes, that was actually what started it all in the first place. We attended a star gazing event that was put on by The Cincinnati Astronomical Society. I do plan on taking them to future events because the folks are very kind and explain things so well to children. Thanks!
Dave

 

aristokles

Senior Member
Jan 18, 2011
402
0
Cool Dave.

If you ever get into making your own Newtonian optics, let me know. I've a bit of experience with that avocation (or madness if you ask my wife). I packed my scopes away after moving to the city from our dark sky farm.

 

dhizzy

Preferred Member
Aug 29, 2011
650
0
She saw the moon tonight guys! It was an incredible experience. We played with the filters and turned the moon blue and red! She was blown away and my two younger daughters got to see as well. It was freezing but she was not deterred by the cold. She hung in there for about an hour just marveling at it. There were thin clouds that we're passing by and we could see the dark side in great detail. What a night!
Warren,
I downloaded Star Walk and that app is incredible. Thanks.