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Posts Made By: Steve Hoff

August 16, 2005 08:36 AM Forum: Beginning Astronomy?

eye pieces: ortho vs plossels?

Posted By Steve Hoff

I was wondering what the functional difference is between U.S. or Japanese made orthoscopics (university optics) vs the wide selection of plossels on the market (many being chinese made. Or do other factors matter? I currently use the UO orthos with my old celestron 80 mm. I am currently looking at a couple of 150 mm refractors and I will likely increase my eyepiece collection.

thanks for the input,

August 16, 2005 08:00 PM Forum: Beginning Astronomy?

buying tips

Posted By Steve Hoff

when buying a used scope (I realize "buyer beware") what are some things to look for, or ask? I would be buying one (a refractor) from either a "remote" location where it would be shipped to me before I see it; or, if I see one and it really isnt possible to set it up and give it a test run. how can I reduce the risks of being taken?

August 22, 2005 02:47 PM Forum: Beginning Astronomy?

barlows, so many choices: 2" or 1.25

Posted By Steve Hoff

as some of you may know, I have a new 6" refractror. my new scope has a 2" star diag and a cheap (short tube) barlow. I also have an Orion "shorty" barlow from my 80mm. the question(s) is: does it matter (performance wise) where the barlow is placed, i.e. either bewteen the OTA and te star diag vs bewteen the star diag and the eyepiece? I can tell from using my 80mm that the image is magnified more when the barlow is between the OTA and the star diag. Is this the correct placement? the reason I ask is I am considering a new barlow for the 6" and I dont know if I want (need) a 2" etc...
again thanks for any comments.


September 26, 2005 09:12 PM Forum: Film Astrophotography - Imaging and Processing

reading list?

Posted By Steve Hoff

i am looking to try my hand at photography. I have an old canon a-1 slr, and i am looking for some good refernces (books or articles) that cover the various aspects of film astrophotography. any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


July 12, 2006 04:09 PM Forum: Coronado-Lunt-DayStar Solar Filters

photography question

Posted By Steve Hoff

Does anyone know how well hte canon digital cameras (eos 30d, 350 xt) record H-a? Does it make a significant (a subjective term, I know) difference is a Hutech modified camea is used? If I understand correctly the standard canon cuts the red wavelength at ~650nm, a modified camera cuts off at ~700nm or xxx nm if no filter is used.

I ask this, because I have recently ordered a sm40 and am now looking for a camera, and because economics rule (for most of us anyway).

A side question would be what type of film (I typically use Elite Pro 200 for DSO photography) would be best.

Thanks in advance,

July 23, 2006 03:03 PM Forum: Coronado-Lunt-DayStar Solar Filters

I dont know what I am doing

Posted By Steve Hoff

Well, that really isnt the case (or at least I dont think it is). Here's the situation. I recently acquired a SM40 with t-max and BF-10. I am using this on my TV102.

I would like some help with eye piece recomendations: I tried my TV-20 plossl and it really didnt work very well (low contrast and small FOV); I have an old Celestron SMA 25, and that appeared to work quite well. So, I am considering the Coronado 25mm ep, and or something else (dont know what) that will be lower power and greater FOV, after all, all of Coronado's scopes are 400mm FL, and I'm at 880. I am considering using Focal Reducer which will get me down to ~700mm. Any other thoughts?

I also have a question regarding the T-max: What is it for? I adjusted the thumb screw in/out/mid-way and really couldnt notice any chage.

One curious thing, with the SM40 threaded in securely, and hte adapter installed on the end of the scope, I noticed that if I rotate (unscrew) the SM40 a few degrees, it seems as my visual image goes blank. why would this be? does the SM40 work as an interferance filter (how would it do that without double stacking?


March 14, 2007 08:12 PM Forum: Coronado-Lunt-DayStar Solar Filters

recommended scopes?

Posted By Steve Hoff


I have been using my TV102 with the bf10 and sm40 for some time now. I have been thinking of picking up a shorter FL scope (~480mm) for use with my sm40 setup. the main reason is to be able to easily reach the T-max while viewing, and to do imaging.

So, does it matter if I go with an APO, near APO, or achromat.
the scopes I have been looking at are: Stellarvue Nighthawk, TV Pronto, and TV76. Sadly economics are a consideration (hence the attraction of the Nighthawk), but, if an APO does make a difference I am willing to wait till I have the funds.

October 10, 2006 08:50 AM Forum: Polls

The biggest threat to world peace

Posted By Steve Hoff

I have to chime in now, I have kinda thrown this together, but, I think you’ll get the drift of where I am coming from. BTW, I picked N. Korea, as I feel they are more irrational, and they have less to loose (i.e. M.A.D. wont deter them.

1). Most of the world, which included, Mexico, many countries in So. America, and Asia, as well as many of our citizens were against the United States becoming involved in WWII.
Question: would the world have been better off if the U.S. followed "popular" opinion and not gotten involved? Were we right (not based on hindsight) to get involved? Did we have concrete evidence that warranted our involvement (speaking of the Lend Lease Policy that FDR initiated)? Remember, Japan was nervous of our presence in the Pacific, because they felt it was the only deterrent to their imperial ambitions, so they attacked us, expecting to put us out of commission.
2). NeoCons trying to capitalize on Iraqi oil? If so, why has the price of fuel spiked?
The greatest threat to the U.S. oil dependency is cheap oil. I am from the Petrochemical industry, and when the price of oil was very high in the mid 80s, there was tremendous private incentive to pursue alt energy resources. However, our "friends" with turbans and camels, saw this as a threat to their way of life (i.e. most of their population lives in 3rd world conditions, and a few living in luxury). They (the autocrats) used the petrol dollars to prop up their regimes by handing out money when needed to keep the people quiet; and when needed murdering (on a grand scale) all those who opposed them. Granted, U.S. policy at the time was to posture, and sidle up to regimes that were anti Soviet, but that was the prevailing wisdom and policy of the time. Anyway, what did the Arabs do when they thought we would eventually curtail our dependency on their oil? They flooded the market with oil, causing the price to plummet; the U.S. syn-fuels industry went “kaput" overnight. As far as oil companies making “excessive” profits, please define for me what you think are “appropriate” profits (the U.S. govt makes more in taxes on a gallon of gasoline, than the oil companies make in profit).
3). In my opinion, it is ludicrous to think that any area of the world is "stable" we live in/on a dynamic planet. Resources are constantly being utilized (or even under-utilized), populations are constantly changing (most of Europe is loosing more of their native born each year than are replaced; Russia alone is loosing over 700k people per year). So, those of you that thought the Zero population growth movement of the 60's (remember, all of the predictions said we'd be starving by the early 80's because the globe couldn’t produce enough food, most of the famines we’ve experienced are a consequence of despotic governments starving their own people) was a good idea, well, someone didn’t tell the third world that, they have continued to procreate at an high rate. And, you can’t blame the Catholic Church for not supporting birth control, because, if you were a good rich limousine liberal you could charter a cargo plane, fill it full of condoms and fly over the villages and shovel condoms out the bay door, or you could volunteer and work with the indigenous population and teach them birth control.
4). If you really think Bush and his evangelical bent are running us toward Armageddon, think about Ahmadinajad (spelling?? in Iran), he thinks he is going to pave the way for the 12th? Imam (or is he pandering toward his base??). What do you think will happen in Iran, if you stand up and criticize the direction of the country? Here at least, if you don’t like Bush, you can say so, you can put on a play that shows him being assassinated, you have tremendous freedoms, and these aren’t likely to go away any time soon. Lets contrast that with Salman Rashdie (author of The Satanic Verses), who has lived in fear (fatwa on him) since the early 80s; Theo Van Gogh, who had the audacity to make a documentary about how brutal Shari Law is toward women; cartoons from Denmark, the Pope comparing how little has changed in 700years. When was the last time Christians or Jews or Buddhist or Hindus rioted in the streets because someone said something they didn’t like? Bush may be making some mistakes, but then, who of us doesn’t make misjudgments? Does this absolve him? No, I think not. Do I think he is reckless, No. Which leader of the above countries do you think is more reckless, or cunning than Bush? I read recently that a journalist in Russia was recently murdered. Her crime, she criticized the Putin administration. Who in this country is afraid of being murdered for what they say and believe, Barbara Streisand, or David Gregory? I think not
Obviously, think what you want, but you are fooling yourself (ves) if you think the information that you receive on the news isn’t biased. Mark Halprin, ABC news political director, has said so himself, he said recently, that with out the “October Surprises” the Democrats wouldn’t have a chance. He also said in the 04 election that media bias was worth 10-15 points for Kerry. You don’t have to like Bush, but at least be serious with the criticisms of his administration (Clinton had contingency plans to invade Iraq, MANY thought and were convinced that Sadam Hussein was dangerous AND had WMD, just because something was not found, does not mean it didn’t exist). Was too much emphasis put on the testimonials of Iraqi dissidents, perhaps (again, hindsight).

The greatest error of the U.S. involvement in Iraq (IMO) is that Bush may have unwittingly (remember, hindsight) he has set the stage for the reunification of the ancient Persian Empire of Shiites (remember, it was the Brits who broke up the Ottoman Empire). I believe this error was made because so many in the world (Liberals AND Conservatives) are ethnocentric in how they perceive the world. The conservatives, thought all we had to do was bring them liberty and they would be happy and free (see “A case for Democracy”, by Natan Sharansky), the liberals on the other hand think that everything can be reasoned out if we sit and talk (because we are too civilized to fight, (i.e. Neville Chamberlain, Jimmy Carter). The huge benefit with Hamas now leading the Palestinians, is that they are up front and clear as to what their goals are, unlike Yasser Arafat who would tell us one thing (i.e. lie) and then go home and continue to stoke the flames of hatred.

Hey, sorry for the rant, just my 0.02 worth.. We can still be friends, right? I still know the words to Cume-by-ya, 8^)

October 10, 2006 12:07 PM Forum: Polls

The biggest threat to world peace

Posted By Steve Hoff

It is a slow day at work..

Fortuitously, I don’t have to write for a living (or ramble on for that matter). You are oh so correct in pointing out that the syn-fuels industry was supported primarily by government hand outs (I was a participant in the Oil Shale Boom of the early 80s, and sadly, I didn’t profit from it).
As far as CO2 levels, if I do my math correctly, and if I remember (sniffed too many benzene ringed HC way back..) We should be ~.03% co2 now, and for it to go up to 1% (considered a threshold, yes?) then we would have about ~10,000ppm. We are currently ~350 ppm up from ~300ppm 50 or so years ago (?), and if we cross reference that with the geologic record (see pic) or this reference

We see that the levels of CO2 have been quite high in the past with not much relation to global temperature. Sadly there were no internal combustion engines around then either. As I remember, the CO2 levels are typically related to the planetary carbon cycle. Which interacts with other cycles Nitrogen as well as the Milankovich cycle and other Earth orbit issues. The carbon cycle is where as the earth gets warmer carbonate precipitate out of sea water to form limestone, as water depth increases (warm weather melts ice caps), and sea temp cools (as a consequence of additional ocean depth), the carbonate goes back into solution. Now, as a consequence of a moderately high amount of exposed land mass (including carbonates, limestone and dolomites, which when eroded liberate CO2 into the atmosphere, (somebody correct me, as it has been a while since I have pondered this...)
I (I may be alone here) am not too worried about Global Warming or fossil fuels running out anytime soom. Again, basic economics, as oil becomes more scarce (or politically unreliable) the price will go up (price controls...bad idea), and people will conserve and investigate alternatives. The alternative has to be economic, that is why: solar, electric, ethanal and some of the others havent panned out yet. Currently, the three leaders in Hydrogen powered commercial cars are: BMW, Honda and GM. Honda and BMW are quite a bit further along than GM and either one of them is expected to have production cars out in a few years. And then, the “rag heads” will get another lesson in economics. How will this change our future, I don’t know, but, like I said before, the world really is a dynamic place; and when I am dead, I’ll be but food for worms.

October 10, 2006 04:07 PM Forum: Polls

The biggest threat to world peace

Posted By Steve Hoff

Ah, the Iranian perspective, and exactly what is that? True, they did elect a socialist PM in the 1950s, True, we did what we did (believed at that time to be justified, by some) to overthrow the PM and reinstall the Shah. But, do we know that the PM was elected via fair means (we don’t know that, Jimmy Carter wasn’t there to verify the results)? Or was the election rigged by the Soviet Union (because, as you know, both the U.S. and the Soviets found it better to fight via proxies). I don’t know the answer, as I am sure no one really does (we do know from unclassified KGB files that the Soviets weren’t angels). But, you can’t make the leap that if we hadn’t done what we did, then the fundamentalist revolution of 1979 would not have take place. In all likely hood, it would have, the only difference is that instead of a corrupt (and sometimes brutal) right wing monarch, a left wing (i.e. secular) PM would have been the target of the 1979 revolution, remembering, that one of the goals of the cultural revolution was to create a “pure Islamic” state, which of course is the antithesis of a secular government.
As far as fears of the U.S. justified, I am not sure I follow. After WWII, we left Europe, and Japan (yes, we left bases there, but we did not control their governments, and when our soldiers violated the local laws, they (in general) were dealt with severely). We could have stayed (as the Soviets did in Europe).
Your Peter the Great comment is interesting, if you are correct, it doesn’t at all answer why the Bolshevik Revolution occurred, or Lenin’s work camps, or Stalin’s gulags (i.e. The Great Terror), or why when the Soviets didn’t like history, they changed it (there are early photos of the communist party and Leo Trotsky has been air brushed out (after Stalin had him murdered in Mexico). So, how did we (the west) influence Russia to behave that way? IF I remember correctly, one of the tenants that Peter the Great brought to Russia was the belief that the state is supreme, and the monarchy is subordinate (i.e. he believed in self sacrifice for the good of the state, and not necessarily a bad thing to have a sense of duty for a greater good). This can be contrasted with what already happened in England, and eventually, across the pond. In England, individual freedoms and rights were developing, and that the laws applied to everyone, the King, as well as the peasants. And as such we now have The Magna Carte (~1215 A.D.). Across the Atlantic, the influence of the Magna Carta can be seen in our Constitution, and our other laws.

What is a Zionist Israel? What would be a non-Zionist Israel? As far as I can see it, Israel is one of the only legitimate democracies in the Mid East (we’ll give Hamas a chance). Every citizen is entitled to inalienable rights in Israel, women, have equal protection, homosexuals and religious minorities (what happens if you are in one of the countries that the U.S. has been mean to (in the Mid-East) and you are not a Muslim? You either sign an oath that you and your religion are subordinate to Islam (similar to what the Jews had to do in Nazi Germany) or you get out, or you get murdered (I think they call it cleansing?).
In closing, while I will never defend the U.S. as being above the law, or too good to make mistakes, your comment that all we do is create enemies, doesn’t make sense. What if you are in a room with a bunch of hooligans and you either become like them, or you stay true to yourself, what would you do, and would you make enemies? How many would come over to your side?

Hey, this is great fun, I hope I am not p##!! @% off anyone (I am not trying to do that), I just had time today. But, I don’t take back anything I have said…