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Way Overboard... and tackled everything wrong.

Started by mkmarcus28@gmail.com, 07/03/2015 01:16PM
Posted 07/03/2015 01:16PM Opening Post
Hello,

My name is Matthew and I have a problem. (This is where you say, "Hello Matthew".) I dove into this hobby with the intention of being satisfied with viewing the planets and moon. (Smacks forehead) ...I know. Well, now I am sitting with 4 pairs of astro-binoculars (Orion 20x80's - Scenix 7x50's and 2 pairs of Celestron 15x & 20X by 70 for Solar viewing), 2 (Celestron C90 from 1979 and Nexstar 4se OTA) Mak telescopes (with a 3rd refractor on the way that I have previously owned and I bought it because it is cheaper to pair with a tripod and mount). And not to mention an fairly extensive eyepiece set for .96 and 1.25". And now 3 different types of mount. I think I have weeded out what I want to keep... basically the Nexstar 4se OTA and Scenix binos. But I don't know where to go from here. If I were to sell everything else, what can I manage on a modest budget and be satisfied? Do I cut my loses and get nothing as I have a child coming? Does the hobby stall with children? Thoughts?
Posted 07/03/2015 03:38PM | Edited 07/03/2015 07:08PM #1
Hello Matthew, I've been a contributing member of the ALPO (Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers) and also enjoy the Deep Sky. For me a 6" f/8 reflector was my primary instrument for years while I raised three sons and today I enjoy the views thru 10" f/4.5 or 8" f/7 reflectors, either of which would also have served splendidly in place of the 6". Aperture rules where high-resolution planetary or lunar viewing is desired as well as Deep-Sky; bigger gives brighter, higher contrast and greater resolution regardless of the target (except the daytime sky turbulence allows no real benefit to aperture for solar observing). A driven & steady mount which holds the image centered is almost mandatory for the planets if you want to glimpse their fine surface detail and also is nice for powers over 100X on Deep-Sky. So for your next instrument, consider a larger reflector in the 6 to 10" range; 6" f/8, 8" f/6 or 10" f/4.5 are about equally portable in that they easily fit into most vehicles and are not un-manageable per weight. I easily carried my 6" German equatorial on my hip out the door and around the yard.
Posted 07/03/2015 04:37PM #2
Matthew, you've certainly amassed plenty of equipment.

What about knowledge? Have you read any of the titles pictured? It's a good start.

Success in this hobby is a mix of equipment, knowledge, and experience.
Good luck
John

Attached Image:

mirfak's attachment for post 149784
Posted 07/04/2015 07:47AM #3
Thank you for both of your responses. I can't say that I have read any of those titles but I will look into them! I will be looking around for something in the range you had suggested. Thank you again!

Posted 07/05/2015 10:40PM #4
Hello, Matthew! I am in the same boat. Starting in January, after a week or so with a 70mm refractor with cheap Plossls, I went on a the same quest for a view of Jupiter's GRS and more. A Celestron C8 with CG5 mount hooked to a GPS and my computer's serial port followed. Soon after binoviewers, CCD cameras, filter wheels, tons of processing software, and DSLR cameras followed. That was all in the first 3 months.

I will interject that I have an 8 year old and a son who turned two in March and loves to color on the telescopes with crayon and generally misplace lots of my equipment. lol

In the next three months some 7x50 binoculars, a 6-inch Criterion RV-6 on original equatorial mount, Meade Starfinder 10" dobsonian, and an Orion Starblast 4.5" ("for our daughter").

The next step in the problem occurred after/during reading the book Starlight Detectives by Alan Hirschfeld. We're talking aperture fever that could only be achieved, on a tight budget with kids and a non-profit salary, by seeking out means of making a large scope from whatever scraps I can find. This Saturday I acquired a kiln and intend to post about that later--and I also bought some plate glass. The goal to fuse layers of plate glass into mirror blanks, grind them, polish them, and have them coated.

I will probably start selling anything and everything in between to buy the needed supplies for making a large aperture telescope and keep the binoculars and C8 plus DSLR at the very least. I don't see why you would get out entirely. We picked up three trash bags full of baby clothes at the town-wide yard sale for $10 or so. Almost anything you can think of ends up by the side of the road here. We've gotten a sand box, stroller, high chair, etc all free. A very nice crib was bought cheaply off of craigslist. Babies can be fairly cheap assuming no health issues.

I don't think the hobby will stall for me. Thankfully my wife is absolutely enchanted with the idea of a large telescope. I'm hoping to build a second kiln after I master this one... or reconfigure it... to make a 40" mirror blank from plate glass and put that into a string telescope design.

Matthew Marcus said:

Hello,

My name is Matthew and I have a problem. (This is where you say, "Hello Matthew".) I dove into this hobby with the intention of being satisfied with viewing the planets and moon. (Smacks forehead) ...I know. Well, now I am sitting with 4 pairs of astro-binoculars (Orion 20x80's - Scenix 7x50's and 2 pairs of Celestron 15x & 20X by 70 for Solar viewing), 2 (Celestron C90 from 1979 and Nexstar 4se OTA) Mak telescopes (with a 3rd refractor on the way that I have previously owned and I bought it because it is cheaper to pair with a tripod and mount). And not to mention an fairly extensive eyepiece set for .96 and 1.25". And now 3 different types of mount. I think I have weeded out what I want to keep... basically the Nexstar 4se OTA and Scenix binos. But I don't know where to go from here. If I were to sell everything else, what can I manage on a modest budget and be satisfied? Do I cut my loses and get nothing as I have a child coming? Does the hobby stall with children? Thoughts?

~ Charlie Stevenson

8" f/5.7 String Telescope - 1st Scope Build; 2nd Place Stellafane 2016 Optical Award for Newtonians 12.5" and Smaller
10" f/4.5 Newtonian (June 2015) mirror refigured by Optic Wave Labs P-V WaveFront 1/14.24, Strehl Ratio 0.993 (Aug '15)
Criterion RV-6 seems to be circa 1973 (June 2015) [For Sale]
Celestron C8-A XLT (January 2015) [For Sale]
Celestron PowerSeeker 70AZ (Christmas 2014)
Aldrich Astronomical Society member since 2015
http://astro.charleskelleystevenson.com/
Posted 07/20/2015 02:31PM #5
Hi Matthew et al, I've been an obsessive avocational astronomer my whole life and fortunate to also work in Aerospace optics...so the combo is ideal. The community seems to be populated by dreamers, buyers, builders and observers. A good approach is to only reward yourself with equipment after USING what you have to its capability and beyond. And to spend at least HALF your time observing if you are an otherwise obsessive builder. I've seen the whole spectrum of obsession in friends and myself. One lens designer spent DECADES designing his ideal giant refractor and ... Never built, bought or used ANYTHING! Other friends built ambitions observatories and scopes and then rarely used them! So my default is "When in doubt - OBSERVE." The hero/mentor in this would be John Dobson, who built scopes from 6 to 24 inches from the cheapest materials using hand tools and then used the hell out of them for his own pleasure and as outreach to hundreds of thousands adults and kids. Image-capture seems all the craze now (been there, done that, burned out), but there is nothing more satisfying than looking at the photons, up close and personal. Enjoy the Universe and don't feel obliged to continually outdo yourself and others. This is just as much a reminder to myself as to others! 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 07/22/2015 12:55AM #6
Matt, I watched your very first ad and thought you may find your way into the forumworld; great to have you!

I will say three things that are my personal anchors into astronomy:

1) You will NEVER find the perfect telescope. I do not believe they exist and I cannot be made to. But us humans live a long life of most creatures on this planet, so SAMPLE all that you can when you can. You will find an eyepiece or a scope that you will attach to for a long time, maybe all your life, but keep on sampling all there is to in the world of optics, mounts, and gadgetry. Innovations to this hobby change month to month and will re-facet your views. So finding just one scope to fulfill all your ambitions will only work until you run across someone else with the next great "thing". It is quite a satisfying mindset if you are one for goals.

2) NEVER sell ALL you own in relation to your relationship with astronomy. DO NOT divorce the stars. I've hit some mighty hard times. I had to give-up my greatest telescope love of all time to this date; my FCT-150. It had to be done though and although I was bitter gnashing angry over the inevitable consequences, I kept one Nagler 11mm T1, two $20 plossls, and a pair of binoculars. The Nagler was my talisman, so to speak, which I won't get into details over. The binoculars saved my interest from going dark and my mind ignorant. And a few years later when I met my Jill, the binoculars got us going into astronomy not only together, but strong.

3) Keep the largest aperture you can or the biggest setup that you can while you are young. Once you get near your 40s the male lumbar and rotor cuffs suddenly become your very worst enemy over stargazing with big gun scopes. Enjoy the large apertures while you can. Or better yet, have a serf that will always be present to move your large scope at your will; thus making this point moot.

And does the hobby stall with children? Financially, yes it can. But don't worry. You being there with your son or daughter and a pair of binoculars and you will win their enthusiasm for years! I don't have kids, but Jill and I have some nephews and a niece we educate on a fun level. Uncle Andy never drives to Tacoma, WA without a telescope. And the kids know well that mom will let them stay out LATE if with the telescope!


Just a few thoughts:

8) FS-152SV sitting in the office
grin Japanes super lucky zen observatory garden
:S Meade ETX-90 finder scope position
shocked Hino Optical Mizar 120SL observatory model
:C SR-4mm eyepiece with a 3x barlow in a 60mm refractor
8O Zeiss Victory 7x42 SFs
wink Having over 135 vintage oculars to play with
smile My life surrounded by wonderful friends and impeccable optics
Posted 07/23/2015 05:52AM | Edited 07/23/2015 11:10AM #7
Hello, Matthew. I just took you up on your suggestion. 8) Although my children are adults, I'm still in your boat since I'm supporting the two younger ones as they make their way through college. And my experience pretty much bears out what Andy wrote in his response. I have a 5" achro refractor and at some point I'd like to get a "complementary" telescope for it, maybe a 10" class Dob or a 7-9" Cassegrain type reflector (Mak-Cass or Schmidt-Cass). But family comes first. The good thing is that although I've been back in the hobby for 10 years (I started back with a 4" achro and replaced it with my current 5" achro five years ago), I haven't come near observing all of the wonders my 5" refractor can show me. It's the same way with your line-up. Between your C90, 4SE, the binoculars, and the refractor (what type is it?), there're plenty of different type deep sky objects within your reach. The "cats" (C90 and 4SE) and maybe refractor can be used on the moon, planets, and smaller deep sky objects (like the Wild Duck open cluster now on its way to prime time viewing) while the binoculars and again maybe the refractor can be used for larger objects (star fields now at their best and large clusters like M39 and the Seven Sisters. If you do decide to replace your gear, you could get a 6" Dob as Ron mentioned or perhaps even an 8" Dob (in this case you might want to hold on to the 20X80 binoculars or maybe the refractor). Meanwhile you might have the joy of seeing your new child wanting to spend time with his or her Daddy looking at the stars. It didn't quite work out that way with my children, but some of my nieces and nephews have been enchanted at what they saw at the occasional informal star parties I have thrown for them. I still can see the face of a niece and her friend as they stepped up to the eypiece of a 4" refractor and took in Jupiter at 220X.

Hope this helps. Best regards....

Mark Costello
Matthews, NC, USA

"I hear you're mechanically inclined. Did you ever do anything with perpetual motion?"

"Yeah, I nearly had it a couple of times."
Posted 07/31/2015 05:36AM #8
Thank you for your input everyone! It really helped! I will post some pictures of the finished project! smile
Posted 02/04/2021 07:50PM #9
Originally Posted by Thomas Dey
Hi Matthew et al, I've been an obsessive avocational astronomer my whole life and fortunate to also work in Aerospace optics...so the combo is ideal. The community seems to be populated by dreamers, buyers, builders and observers. A good approach is to only reward yourself with equipment after USING what you have to its capability and beyond. And to spend at least HALF your time observing if you are an otherwise obsessive builder. I've seen the whole spectrum of obsession in friends and myself. One lens designer spent DECADES designing his ideal giant refractor and ... Never built, bought or used ANYTHING! Other friends built ambitions observatories and scopes and then rarely used them! So my default is "When in doubt - OBSERVE." The hero/mentor in this would be John Dobson, who built scopes from 6 to 24 inches from the cheapest materials using hand tools and then used the hell out of them for his own pleasure and as outreach to hundreds of thousands adults and kids. Image-capture seems all the craze now (been there, done that, burned out), but there is nothing more satisfying than looking at the photons, up close and personal.  Enjoy the Universe and don't feel obliged to continually outdo yourself and others. This is just as much a reminder to myself as to others!  Tom Dey
Thank you Mr. Dey. You just saved me thousands and thousands of dollars and time.

Barry