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Saturday, March 12th, 2011
Months.... it's been months since I've done anything other than read about Astronomy.  But now the weather is finally starting to turn.  It's warmer and the length of time between periods of rain seems to be increasing.  Last night I saw the Moon and some stars poking through the clouds.
 
The point of this entry is to create a starting point for this year.  I have a lot going on.  Thursday I ordered a scope for my 13 year old son.  He and I shopped online for quite a while looking at different makes and models.  Last year we borrowed a dob for him to use at Camp Hancock and while it worked well he didn't like it.  He's tall and found himself having to crouch to get a look through the finder and the eyepiece.  Diagonal?  No, didn't want that.  GOTO functionality?  Nope, wants to get the Messier award.  So after a lot of discussion he decided on a reflector on an equatorial mount.  In this case I ordered an Orion AstroView 6EQ.  I must say this is not the scope I would have chosen for him.  However, the salesman who sold us his first trombone a couple of years ago made a great point:  "Buy him the one he likes.... because if he likes it, he'll use it.  If he doesn't like it he'll never play it."  Those are wise words when buying for someone else.  Anyway, it should be here shortly.
 
I had fully intended to have purchased an astrophotography setup by now.  However, our family priorities have changed and that's going to have to wait for next year at the earliest.  Another year of visual observing and, when I think about it, another year for the technology to improve.
 
So now on to our observing plans for this year excluding any impromptu sessions from our back yard or elsewhere.
 
April 1-4 Camping at Crow Butte with my son to test his gear and see if I can remember how to work my Celestron 8SE.
 
April 29-May 1 Camp Hancock
 
June 29-July 3 Golden State Star Party (really looking forward to this one!)
 
September 23-28 Either Camp Hancock, Crow Butte, or both.
 
It doesn't look like I'll be able to make OSP this year due to a scheduling conflict with work.
 
So there's the update and our schedule.  Now to execute to plan.
 
Clear skies,
 
Jim





Comments:
On 04/09/11 at 11:49pm Chris wrote:
OSP"s not on your list - would be a mistake to miss

On 03/24/11 at 08:36am West wrote:
Barry, I actually have a motorized base on mine. I have yet to even really get to use this thing as well as I'd like to.... with the weather and all. I am going to check into what you suggested... I've trying to "strike while the iron is hot" with all this tax return money I have *I'm a student =D*... Honestly though, the astrophotography may have to wait till next year... but then again, that's what I said to the other guy, lol.

On 03/15/11 at 01:14pm Barry wrote:
West, you might want to consider an off-axis guiding adapter....put the webcam in one socket, and an eyepiece in the other, for webcam imaging with a Dob. That way you can manually keep your object centered while you capture the video. Otherwise, you have to use the "drift" method....letting the object drift acress the field of view while you are caturing. It works, but it makes for very short video clips. You can always set your Dob on a motorized platform, but they are pricey, and still not suitable for much but webcam imaging. Not accurate enough for much more than 15 second exposures with a still camera.

Astro imaging is a very large can of worms. LOL

On 03/15/11 at 12:09am Barry wrote:
I hope he likes the new scope. I found that an EQ mount with a reflector is a pain in the back side....for visual observing. The eyepiece always seems to be at an awkward angle. I found a Dob so much easier to use.....the bending over issue was solved with an adjustable observing chair. They aren't giving them away, but I have found it is worth it's weight in gold. Makes observing a pleasure at any elevation....on the horizon or at the zenith.

On 03/12/11 at 09:10am West wrote:
I checked out the very same telescope when I went shopping for mine. In the end I went with the 10" Dobby with GoTo features though. Orion has some good products and their customer service is fantastic! Astrophotography is something I intend to do as well.... even if my Dobby isn't exactly designed for it.... I'm not above "jimmy rigging" a modified webcam to the scope for a couple of simple shots. I can understand how priorities shift from time to time, but I've the feeling you'll end up scooping up that astrophotography set a little sooner than next year. ;)

....and if so, I hope you post what you have so I can see.


~West~



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