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Posts Made By: Paul Atkinson

July 31, 2003 01:02 PM Forum: Solar System Observing

Weather head-fakes and Mars

Posted By Paul Atkinson

Paul,

I get up every morning no matter what at 3 a.m. to check the sky. That is the only way to know. If it is bad you can always go back to sleep and you have probably only been up about 5 minutes.

Paul Atkinson
AstroProProducts.com

July 31, 2003 01:13 PM Forum: Solar System Observing

Mars and sleep deprivation

Posted By Paul Atkinson

Paul,

In a previous thread I stated that I get up every morning at 3:00 to check the sky no matter what. If cloudy I go back to bed. If clear I get up even if I don't want too. The way I see it, this is a once in 50,000 year opportunity. You will NEVER get to see Mars this close again. Why waste it? Because you are a little tired? No way! Also, remember that any day a dust storm could build and ravage the whole planet. In fact, several small storms have been observed the last few days around Aurorae Sinus. Then what? You'll have plenty of time to sleep unless you want to look at Mars doing it's best impression of being Venus like in 2001.

Paul Atkinson
AstroProProducts.com

July 31, 2003 04:50 PM Forum: Solar System Observing

Mars and sleep deprivation

Posted By Paul Atkinson

I must have the dream wife. She never complains! She knows how important this stuff is to me and even works the clock in the early morning hours. It buzzes and she wakes me up! How sweet is that? I check for clouds and either go back to bed or get up to view. That is also with a 4 year old and a 5 month old! Sometimes in a sleep deprived stuper she hits the snooze about 5 times even after I have come back to bed. If I am back in bed that is kind of bothersome but I dare not say anything. smile I wish she could get it together.

Now how to get by the sleep deprivation stuff:

1. Own your business. I do. I still try to get to work by 8 a.m. but it is a challange after some nights. If I fall asleep at my desk (like today) sometimes I think about giving myself a pink slip. Then I laugh. ha ha ha ha!

2. Go to bed early. I actually hit the hay around 8 p.m. knowing I want to get up. If it is cloudy I get more than enough sleep.

3. Buy your wife flowers. Remind her that 50,000 years ago (last time Mars was this close) cave men hit their wives with clubs when they wanted to go out and view. Then run and hide before she hits you with a club.

4. Learn to sleep at your desk with your eyes open. My employees do it everyday.

5. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy. Think of how neat this is. We are complaining about getting up to watch something that is part of a hobby we LOVE. What could be better?

Paul Atkinson
AstroProProducts.com

August 1, 2003 10:54 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Maybe too off topic - astronomy small business?

Posted By Paul Atkinson

I started AstroPro Products because I came up with several products that people said they wanted. To date I wouldn't say that it is a benefit because I put as much money back into it as I am making from it. I am just breaking even. I need more astronomers to buy things! There are way more cost involved then one thinks. The Gov't isn't simply going to let you say your are business and then write off your purchases to save on taxes. You have to show how and why the purchase purtains to your business and how the purchase is related. They have all kinds of formulas they use, so many years and you HAVE TO SHOW A PROFIT, etc...

Paul Atkinson

August 13, 2003 05:31 PM Forum: Equipment Talk

$429 80mm Apo??????

Posted By Paul Atkinson

What I hear is a lot of expensive telescope makers sucking a little wind. Now what we need is a good high quality goto mount that doesn't cost and arm and a leg.

Paul

August 18, 2003 06:29 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Is amature astronomy a dieing sport?

Posted By Paul Atkinson

I wouldn't call astronomy a sport. I find that almost every person I have ever met is inherently curious about the sky and space in general. However, to what extent is different for everyone.

I recently had several days of conversation with Leif Robinson (past editor of Sky & Telescope) and he seems to think the hobby is doing fine.

There are certainly events that make our hobby wax and wane, such as the comet impact of Jupiter, bright comets, Mars this year.

In the end, with the growth of the internet, Yahoo Groups, forums, it seems to me that our hobby is just fine.

Paul Atkinson
Astroproproducts.com

August 21, 2003 11:58 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

What am I doing wrong?

Posted By Paul Atkinson

As good as the pictures you've seen using the same scope? Are you trying to get your eyepiece image to look the same as a picture? Hardly anything you look at through a telescope will look anywhere near what a picture looks like. Sometimes the planets are very sharp, crisp, and show a tremendous amount of detail but even they fall well short of the photo's that are being taken with webcams, CCD, and digital camera's.

However, if you think the view at the eyepiece will look like what you see in books you will always be very disappointed.

Paul Atkinson
AstroProProducts.com

August 22, 2003 07:54 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Lens cleaner

Posted By Paul Atkinson

Maurice,

Sounds like you have a very rare and unique telescope. Perhaps you should be asking if there is anybody that could do this for you. You certainly wouldn't want to risk damaging a prize such as this!

Paul Atkinson
AstroProProducts.com

August 22, 2003 08:06 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Anyone Else Having trouble with Mars??

Posted By Paul Atkinson

John,

I live in an extremely humid enviornment in Florida. As such, I seemed to be having the same problem as you from time to time while using my binoviewers. Guess what? I discovered that the heat from my eye was causing some condensation to form on the EP's when I got in tight. How weird is that.

Paul Atkinson
AstroProProducts.com

August 22, 2003 08:09 AM Forum: Equipment Talk

Best Filters for Veiwing planets

Posted By Paul Atkinson

Best filter? I have tried them all. I have found on average the one filter that seems to work pretty good on just about all the planets is the Baader Moon/Skyglow filter. Extremely well made, and VERY reasonably priced to boot. Of course there are others that might be better at this, or better at that. But for just one filter it is a pretty solid choice.

Paul Atkinson
AstroProProducts.com