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2015... lessons learned.

Started by, 12/22/2015 10:48AM
Posted 12/22/2015 10:48AM | Edited 12/22/2015 10:49AM Opening Post
The year in review from a baby hobbyist. Overall, I have learned the following things:

1. Just because it is for sale doesn't mean it is a viable option. I ended up with an 8" Meade SCT OTA and although it gives me better views than my 4" Nexstar, I think I jumped into it too quick and should have saved for a better option.
2. I need to utilize more of you. Out of how many members there are, I hardly come here to ask questions. I have a resource at work that has been very helpful though!
3. Pride in your vision. I now know that it is good to have a vision before you start spending money on substitutes. Patience in this case does prevail.
4. As there is much more out there beyond our solar system, I started combing the skies for Messier objects later in the year. Open clusters and globs were really easy to locate, but I haven't experienced nebulae or galaxies. I think it is going to be very difficult to locate in heavily polluted skies along the Ohio river outside of Pittsburgh so I may have to take a trip. I didn't get a chance to focus in on Neptune or Uranus (which I was told will be small faint blue and greenish dots with my 8" SCT)as of yet either.
5. I am looking forward to Mars as I saw a lot of Venus, Jupiter and Saturn this year. I think I would like to take a look at Mercury as well.
6. I also learned a very important lesson concerning eyepieces. Yes, quality eyepieces make a difference, but not so much in a mediocre Scope. So I need to figure out a happy medium. I have a few different options now with a nice array of vintage Kellner/plossl eyepieces for my 8" Dob (which I need to figure out a weight system - received from a friend and I cleaned the mirror up. Seems to be made of cardboard kit?) and 4" Nextstar. I have a nice 2" eyepiece collection for the 8" Meade SCT and 80mm University Super Finder.
7. All in all, it was a good year of experimenting and hopefully I can learn a little bit more. I should probably read something other than the internet for my information too.

(Picture of setup to follow!)
Posted 12/22/2015 11:43AM #1
Hi Matthew, and welcome to the hobby! I like your reviewing the year idea. That’s something I have done in my journal for pretty much my whole life. A few philosophical reminders here to myself and others:
>there are few wrong ways to do things, just a LOT of alternative ways
>try lots of things and settle on the ones you like
>recycle equipment to others and honestly disclose what you like/dislike about it
>spend most time OBSERVING and the remainder acquiring, researching, reading, building
>when unsure, ask others (ALL others); then decide for yourself
>there is no perfect telescope, camera, etc.; enjoy what you have
>try at least one new or different thing each year

Your comment regarding Deep Sky, yes indeed, it takes very dark, moonless sky to see that stuff well. Then the difference is Amazing!

My 2015 summary is good: We did major excavation and landscaping including demolishing an abandoned dome that had served well since 1975 and replacing it with an “observing shed” with ramps to roll out the scopes --- under DARK skies! Doing Night Vision astronomy, which is a whole new world. Refurbished my big scope and using it with friends. Collected a lot of solar images and a few lunar --- including that wonderful eclipse! It was a Very Good Year! Tom Dey

29-inch Dob in a dome
36-inch upgrade soon
LUNT 80/80 solar scope
FLI 6803 cam
APM 100mm APO Binos
JMI RB-16 Night Vision Binos
Zeiss 20x60 IS binos
Posted 12/22/2015 04:53PM #2
Try some naked eye astronomy. Learn the major stars and constellations, and you will have that always.
Or try these exercises: Memorize
Names of the Big Dipper stars
Names of the Pleiades stars
the Greek alphabet

Try binoculars observing as an endeavor, and to bridge naked eye and telescopic observing.

Maybe set some goals for 2016?