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Posts Made By: David Simons

March 9, 2004 02:28 AM Forum: Beginning Astronomy?


Posted By David Simons

Van writes:

>>> I'm pretty new to this star gazing hobby, but so far I've been having a blast. To date, I've only seen: the moon, mars, saturn, jupiter, the orion nebula (if that's the one in his scabard), and the pleiades. Plus a few random stars, but I don't know what they were.

So, here's my question. I'd like to find some galaxies. Can anyone recommend some good starter galaxies to look at? North and west horizons are tough for me to see due to hills and trees, but I have great views above, south and east. Oh yes, I'm in the northeast, too.

-Van <<<<<

Hi Van,

Great question !! As the early Spring has a reputation for being Galaxy season. But a lot depends on your observing location and to a lesser extent your telescope. There are some big galaxies out there that do not require much magnification, but are very dim. There are some very small but bright ones that will need high magnification, and everything in-between. The best luck with Galaxies will be at a dark sky site since these faint fuzzies usually have a kind of filmy appearance. Thin clouds in the sky or a moon (or both.. ugh ) will make it very hard to track these down. If you can see the Orion Nebula very brightly from your location, it may be good enough.

A good starter Galaxy is always the Andromeda, but as mentioned earlier is starting to set when the sky gets dark. If your North view is not too bad, M51 off the handle of the big dipper is an easy one to find, and on a very dark night, may give you a glimpse of a spiral shape. There are also some nice galaxies around Leo now. Here is M65,66 near Jupiter below Leo. The circle is about 1 degree.

What Star Chart are you using ?

I would say around 5-6" of aperture would make these straight forward to find.

8-10" would really make these interesting

David Simons

March 11, 2004 03:42 PM Forum: Deep Sky Observing

Need a new Atlas

Posted By David Simons

My observing notes are terrible. But at least I never lose them.

: )

David Simons

March 17, 2004 06:16 AM Forum: Off Topic Discussions

Mars Spirit landing base in the background?

Posted By David Simons

Was doing the zoom program on the Mars Spirit pictures of the Bonneville crater on, and spotted the shiney object in the distance. This must be the lander base?

David Simons

March 21, 2004 09:22 AM Forum: Telescope Making

My version of the Turret Telescope

Posted By David Simons

Many years ago I read about a funny kind of telescope design used at the Stellefane Convention. It was called the "Turret Telescope". It used a perforated flat to direct the star light towards a parabolic mirror, and the parabolic mirror was aimed at the flat, such that the focused image went through the hole in the flat. The eyepiece then viewed the image from the other side of the flat. The observer viewed the image from the inside of a large polar aligned turret.

Here is my setup to get the same kind of image. (Sans Turret) I could only slightly tip the telescope towards some low stars since I did not have a mounting yet. Sirius looked great, and lots of little faint stars all around it. The in and out of focus images looked like a refractor with a very small black dot in the center from the perforation. I was using a 10" mirror and flat combination with a 1.2" hole giving 12% obstruction.

I hope to get these optics installed in an aluminum tube with a large oval cutout to bring the light in from the side. Baffling this scope will be a challange.


David Simons

March 21, 2004 09:37 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Celestron Pacific

Posted By David Simons

Anybody know when the "Celestron Pacific" scopes were made?

This one has essentially no image shift.

David Simons

March 24, 2004 08:42 AM Forum: Deep Sky Observing

M91 tough in bino's

Posted By David Simons

I was scanning through Virgo, past M64, 100,99,88 and on to M91. But the going started to get really tough. I found the guide stars on the chart (Herold Bobruff, nice atlas) and the area I looked at was surrounded by the right stars, but I was barely on the edge of seeing it. Worst case of averted imagination I have ever had. The sky was clear but a little bright. Maybe Mag 5. A good night here in Santa Rosa CA is around 5.5+. Maybe 6" at 25X is not enough aperature or magnification. Everything else was looking great though.

Anybody else stumble with M91 ?

David Simons

April 13, 2004 12:07 AM Forum: Telescope Making

Cutting a large hole from a thin wall 12" od Tube

Posted By David Simons

Hi Folks,

I'm about to cut a large hole from a 12" diameter thin wall (.06) 12" diameter aluminum tube. I'm thinking of using either a saber saw, or saw-zall type saw. I'd like to preserve the piece that is coming out. Any words of wisdom on this before I dive in?


David Simons

April 14, 2004 01:16 AM Forum: Pictures of Me and My Telescope and........

New Delivery

Posted By David Simons

Thought you folks would get a chuckle. The outfit was my wifes idea. I was amazed she got some of the moons of Jupiter and even the red spot on the shirt.

David Simons

September 4, 2004 01:42 AM Forum: Chinese Optics Imports

A simple mount

Posted By David Simons

Lot's of terrific discussion on lens design issues. This humble forum has recently produced much more useful/relevant info than I ever had hoped.

I have made a side by side pipe mount to do some simple optics comparisons. I have access to a couple of different refractors however, I am not so experienced at optics testing.

I have Suiters book, but it is slow reading :S Any simple techniques on star testing? Ronchi screen testing ? Autocollimation testing ? (I have a pretty smooth 8" flat) I could even post some digital pictures if anyone is interested. Thanks for any ideas !

(BTW The BO1278 is on the right.)

David Simons

August 21, 2002 11:53 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

Which scope to purchase?

Posted By David Simons

Hi Tom,

If you don't yet know your way around the sky, I'd suggest:

1) A decent planesphere to show you what is up that night, or Orions all-sky map on their web site is good.

2) A beginners sky Atlas, Wil Tirion has something good, again Orion.

3) Decent 40 to 50mm binoculars with a 6 or 7 degree field of view (you may have these now)

4) Comfortable chair to lean back in outside. (again, you may already have this)

5) Small red light to see the Atlas at night, again Orion.

6) A small notebook to make a log of what you observed. As you get bigger scopes it's fun to add to the comments of your first observations.

My test would be to memorize at least 10 constellations, and find 10 to 15 Messier objects found in the Atlas using the binoculars and intro star charts (yes, many "M" objects are visable in 50mm bino's). If you had some fun doing this, then a 6" or 8" dob, or even a Short Tube 80 on a camera tripod will keep you busy for a while. If this exersize was boring, or you did not finish, then the larger scopes will be frustrating because you won't know where or how to look for the good stuff.

If you already have done all these things, then you most likely would already know what scope you want!

Best of luck!