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An Old Lesson from the Philippines

Started by rolandlinda3, 01/21/2012 08:36PM
Posted 01/21/2012 08:36PM Opening Post
My wife and I teach practical observing from a biblical view in the Philippines. One thing we do comes from a lesson that is often recommended but seldom done, because the WOW effect of optics tends to cause people to forget some basics. We were reminded of the value of this old lesson as we taught a group of excited "students" (actually teachers and staff) in the Philippines. Here is the lesson:

1. Pick a night at the beginning of learning how to use a telescope and binocular by putting them away.
2. Get a planisphere and a weak red light so you can read in the dark.
3. Get your bearings for North and South.
4. Face North and dutifully find the most significant constellations and major stars.
5. Face South and do the same thing.

It's that simple. But take your time. And...hold to a self agreement: don't get out the optics. Just use your eyes.

There is no better substitute for exposure to the heavens that we know of because it gives people an overall sense of where things are and how they appear compared to how they seem to appear on the Planisphere.

We repeat the lesson often--even for ourselves. Preferably, it's good to do it every quarter or so because of the sense a person gets with the changes over time. And, you get to see things that optics cannot deliver better in terms of wide field.

Roland Beard
Posted 01/21/2012 08:51PM #1
Good lesson! grin I often find that a dog who needs a walk is a good piece of astronomy equipment.

I have several telescopes, but none are semi-APO, APO, or in anyway valuable.
Posted 01/21/2012 10:46PM #2
I appreciate the idea. But I have found that boys (I work in a boys school) are more interested in the equipment than the sky itself.

I start my lesson during the daylight hours showing them the two different kinds of scopes (refractor / reflector) and then move from there.

Once the boys see something like a global cluster, they more interested. They have the idea that they can see something the naked eye can't see and that tends to fascinate more than anything they can see with the naked eye.

Two different approaches... Sky first, scope first.


In lumine tuo videbimus lumen.

8O Home-made 10” Dob / Home-made 4” refractor

EPs: Konig 32mm (1.25") / Zhumell WF 30mm (2") / Nagler 13mm T1 / Orion Sirius Plossls 25 & 10mm / Zhumell Plossl 9 mm / Meade MA 9mm