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Old 28th January 2014, 17:23   #16
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Hello fellow star gazers!!! Wow, i never thought people will be this interested in astronomy.

For the past few years my interest in astronomy has grown in leaps and bounds. It all started with Kepler and now following up with all the new satellites. I do visit space.com very often and it has lots of interesting stuffs if you want to know more about astronomy and the technology to observe it.

Apps like Sky Guide and Solar Walk will really help you to understand the stars... It is very interesting.

Iam also looking for a good telescope for a price approx 50 K. Can some one suggest me a good brand.
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Old 28th January 2014, 17:48   #17
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Let's discuss a bit of telescopes for amateurs and beginners. What is a telescope? A device to view distant objects? Right? No, wrong. Telescope is an instrument which collects light and magnifies it. In this way, we are able to see distant objects.

3 major settings to be taken care of while telescope viewing. They are:

1. Latitude adjustment: Just set the latitude on the scale to the one you are located around. For eg. the people in Delhi would set it to around 28.6

Now, since you have googled the latitude for Delhi, let's move on...

2. RA or right ascension & 3. Declination: Saying in most layman terms, they are the coordinates of an object in the sky. Hence, very important for viewing.

There are commonly 2 types of telescopes around for people like us:
1. Refractor telescope
2. Reflector telescope

The refractor telescope uses 2 lenses to form an image. Typically like a lens arrangement that you find among binoculars. This telescope is also sometimes called as a Galilean telescope. According to the law, the telescope which has a larger and bigger aperture, or the front opening (which you point towards the object) is superior, other things remaining constant. Since larger front opening (aperture) lets more light into the telescope, hence better magnification. Now, for refractor design, that meant a large lens which in turn was expensive, the alternative came as what we call a reflector telescope.

A reflector telescope uses a primary mirror, secondary mirror and eyepiece lens to magnify light. The principle goes like the light or the object casts its reflection on the primary mirror inside the telescope. This light is reflected on the secondary mirror. We place the eyepiece in front of the secondary mirror to magnify and view the object at which the telescope is pointed. Change eyepiece to change magnification levels.
Reflector telescopes are often called Newtonian reflectors. Large aperture size Newtonians are called Dobsonians.

Softwares for Night Sky Observation:
There are quite a lot of softwares available which can take the date, time and location as inputs and show you the current position of the night sky objects from your location. Helps in spotting a particular object and then further taking it on your telescope. You can get the sky coordinates (yes, the RA and declination) to help you track them.


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Iam also looking for a good telescope for a price approx 50 K. Can some one suggest me a good brand.
Celestron, Meade, Vixen, Orion are few good brands which make intermediate consumer level telescopes. Look for good optics, sturdy mounts and bigger aperture while selecting telescopes.

Last edited by saket77 : 28th January 2014 at 18:03.
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Old 28th January 2014, 18:30   #18
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Ak916, nice one!

saket, I do not have a telescope so the question, but the Latitude you mention in pt,.1 is that only applicable to a EQ mount? Should not be the case for a Alt/Az?
As you mentioned for refractors (or any telescopes), larger the objective lens (the one at front which gathers light), better the prospects of seeing fainter objects. But this does not "magnify" the size of the object. That is done by the eyepiece lens (hence you can change eyepieces and change the magnification x factor)
Newton made the first reflecting telescope but John Dobson made a very nice modification much later to that design which made it cheaper/easier to build large aperture Newtonians. Incidentally, Dobson passed away recently I think!
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Old 28th January 2014, 18:31   #19
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There was a series called 'Cosmos: A Personal Voyage' by Karl Sagan and a few other people (don't remember their names). Good presentation with interesting insights. It is probably available on youtube too.
I have not seen the series but I read Carl Sagan's book COSMOS. It was an excellent book and sparked my interest in astronomy. Another book I would recommend is "A brief history of time" by Stephen Hawking.
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Old 28th January 2014, 18:55   #20
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What a nice thread!!! I have been mulling to take up astrophotography for quite sometime now. I have to start from scratch as I admit I have very little knowledge of space and beyond. Occassional events like GSLV launch, Shuttle landings, Space Station news etc. rekindle the interest.

One of the strongest inspiration for me would be the movie Gravity. The effect of space is so well taken that you really feel like being in space.

I am hoping to restart my research and invest in some telescopes to enhance my knowledge further. And of course share it with you all.
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Old 28th January 2014, 19:03   #21
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Its time we had a thanks feature on shifting gears thread as well. Feeling so handicapped without it. What a thread!! Isn't there anything that is not there on Team BHP !!

This thread rekindled my interest again on the sky and beyond. Star gazing was one of my past times when I was a kid. I have no knowledge, not even rudimentary, on astronomy. But find the info very interesting. Keep it going guys!
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Old 28th January 2014, 19:33   #22
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^Carl Sagan's Cosmos (and most of his other books are brilliant too) is a fantastic way to get to know the world beyond our tiny little earth for someone not well versed in it. Also Patrick Moore has a few good books on planets and especially the Moon.

bullrun87, Hawking's book is great but for a total layperson who has no knowledge of physics it might be tough to get it on the first go.
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Old 28th January 2014, 20:02   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Abhay View Post
the Latitude you mention in pt,.1 is that only applicable to a EQ mount? Should not be the case for a Alt/Az?

Newton made the first reflecting telescope but John Dobson made a very nice modification much later to that design which made it cheaper/easier to build large aperture Newtonians. Incidentally, Dobson passed away recently I think!
Fixing the latitude is something you need to worry about only when you buy an EQ mount. And when you do buy an EQ mount, that (lat adjustment) would be the least of your worries.

http://www.telescopes.com/telescopes...ntelescope.cfm

The telescope in the link shown above is a Newtonian reflector. Dobsonian refers to the white base which is made out of wood. There are no settings or adjustments to be made here.

For that matter, you don't need to know about RA/Dec system as such. The altaz coordinate system is far more easier and intuitive.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horizon...rdinate_system
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Old 28th January 2014, 22:28   #24
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Like many, I too have a great interest in astronomy. I was a member of ABAA (Association of Bangalore Amateur Astronomers) in 90s. During those time, every Sunday, we used to have a meeting. There used to be free telescope making classes. We used to organize star parties. On one such occasion, the Kirloskars (industrialist family) hosted a party at their home.

ABAA is active even now: their FB page: https://www.facebook.com/abaaonline

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For those who are interested in documentaries, do not miss The Universe produced by the History Channel. It has completed 7 seasons. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Uni...28TV_series%29. Most of the episodes are available on Youtube.

Congratulations Fraz33r for starting this interesting thread.

Last edited by iVento : 28th January 2014 at 22:32.
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Old 29th January 2014, 11:05   #25
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Super thread! Thanks a lot for starting this thread.

I am a graduate in Physics with specialization in Astronomy. For the graduation final year, I had done a project called LIFE CYCLE OF A STAR with the help of a professor from IUCAA and one friend who is into this field.

Post graduation, I joined a team which is doing a splendid job in Pune to make people aware and interested in Astronomy with the star gazing programs. Here's there official site: http://www.jvp.org.in/

I had appeared for an interview for the post of ASSISTANT SCIENTIST at the GMRT(Giant Meter-wave Radio Telescope) station in Narayangaon. However, after 2 rounds of interviews, I came to know that they had selected a masters person for the bachelor position and I had lost the spot.

After this event, I returned to routine life and joined an IT company.

However, I do keep reading astronomy stuff and follow NASA site for the latest updates. For all beginners, I would really recommend the most famous book called 'BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME' by Stephen Hawking.

I agree that studying physics, astronomy makes you realize how silly is Astrology and all that business of frightening people with what might happen in their future if they don't do this or that. Whenever, someone says there is 'Mangal(MARS)' in your kundali, I ask have you even seen the planet and how it looks and how far it is from Earth to have any impact in a person's life and all those basic question. None of these astrologers have any answers. They don't even know what is going to happen in their future. Anyways, this is strictly my opinion and I have no objection if people want to believe in Astrology and horoscopes and all. To each his own.

Sorry for too much OT, but Astronomy is too close to my heart.

Thanks again for starting this thread.

Cheers!

Last edited by ajay_satpute : 29th January 2014 at 11:08.
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Old 29th January 2014, 13:39   #26
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Astronomy is also a hobby of mine (apart from cars, photography and music). People normally make fun of me when I tell them astronomy is my hobby! Some even confuse it with astrology!

Glad to know there are bhp-ians who share the same hobby. I made my self a small telescope during my school days (with spectacle lenses). I used it to observe the moon. I still have a small telescope, though not much powerful, can still take you through different wonders of the universe.

I try my best never to miss "through the universe with morgan freeman", among others. Obviously, "Star Trek" has been my all time favorite.

I also like to read on Aliens/extraterrestrials; any bhp-ians with this hobby?

Hi Nitin,

I too dig into Aliens/extraterrestrials, it frees my mind to visualize the mystic heavens above.
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Old 29th January 2014, 19:09   #27
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Great thread which was missing for long!

Though nothing like a pro, I have a Celestron telescope (Celestron 114 EQ) which I use to get 'closer' to the mystics. I hope that the picture I am attaching of the moon through my lens would add a little 'masala' to this thread!

Taken at 45X; Gear: Canon EOS 400D and of course, Celestron 114 EQ Reflector Telescope

Hope you guys like it:
Hi, I'm glad I saw this post, I recently bought an Astromaster 130eq as a wedding gift to my buddy, Its not yet gifted, I just wanted your suggestions if its a good one or should I buy any extra lens sets to make it better?

How would you rate 130eq already being an user of 114eq?
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Old 30th January 2014, 09:38   #28
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Some other points I would like to add in this thread.( BTW this is all theoretical Astrophysics and will/can be proved wrong including the info I put it here)

1) Our Solar system is made up of Gas planets and rocky planets, Mercury, Venus, Earth ,Mars are the rocky ones and Gas planets are Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.

2) We all know that our planets revolve around the sun in circular fashion. But most asteroids do not. We are very much in the path of the giant asteroids and at constant risk of striking. Dinosaurs were extinct because of one such explosion.The craters on the moon are believed to be from the many asteroids that have been hit.

3) Surprisingly we have a giant bodyguard in the solar system which protects us from this mayhem of asteroids/comets and that bodyguard is the planet JUPITER. The placement of Jupiter is so perfect and its gravitational field strength absorbs most of the asteroids coming towards the Sun. Jupiter has absorbed a lot of such comets and continues to do so. One such e.g. was the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 in 1993.

Its just amazing to see the planets in our Solar system are so perfectly lined up to provide the right combination for our existence And I am truly grateful that I am a part of the tiny Blue dot....

Now to over to watch Carl Sagans documentary.

OT: Not trying to break the integrity of thread, But Christopher Nolan's next movie is INTERSTELLAR coming in 2014 and will definitely pique interest in astronomy with all the people.

Last edited by Fraz33r : 30th January 2014 at 09:49.
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Old 30th January 2014, 10:22   #29
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wow. What a thread. On countless night treks i have slept in the open staring at the amazing sky. I stay in Mumbai, so i have to get far from the city to see the stars, i usually go towards Lonavala, Nashik for Star Gazing activities. I wish to buy a telescope for this reason :

http://spotthestation.nasa.gov/sight...i#.Up1z3dIW2Ck

This is a website run by NASA which tells you when and for how long you will see the ISS pass over the sky. Mention your location and it will give you co-ordinates and i know people have track ISS passing by and with telescopes have seen it in its full actual form ( and not just like a star passing by ) with its Solar Panels open and other few details. I would also love to see planets with the help of that telescope.

Does anyone know any website which gives comparative info on telescopes?
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Old 30th January 2014, 10:35   #30
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Quote:
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Hi, I'm glad I saw this post, I recently bought an Astromaster 130eq as a wedding gift to my buddy, Its not yet gifted, I just wanted your suggestions if its a good one or should I buy any extra lens sets to make it better?

How would you rate 130eq already being an user of 114eq?
Yummy wedding gift! (BTW, you want your buddy to observe the night sky after this transition??)

Ok...getting back to the topic, Celestron has been a good telescope maker and their optics are really crisp. The mounts are very sturdy which eliminates vibrations quickly.

The 130 Eq is a better model than the 114Eq that I have, since it has a larger aperture size. And as a rule, bigger the aperture, more the telescope is sensitive to light, and hence better for faint objects. Also, do remember, the maximum useful magnification a reflector telescope can attain is about 60X of its aperture size (in inches).

See this calculation:

130Eq means 130 mm of aperture size and Eq means it has an equatorial mount. Now:

130mm/10= 13 cms aperture size.
13 cms/2.54 = 5.12 (aperture size in inches)
Therefore, the useful magnification without getting the object fuzzy will be about 60*5.12= 307X

For the 114Eq, it comes to around 270X, hence with the larger aperture of 130 Eq, an eyepiece with about 300X can be useful (For reference, the shot of the moon that I posted was at only 45X.). BTW, both telescopes are excellent starter/ amateur telescopes and one can do some cool observations. The Saturn rings look awesome. I once shot a picture of Saturn too.

Now, about the lenses. IMO, the lenses that came with the telescope are of very good quality and sufficient for casual watching. Investing in filters would be more like it.

The 'X' times magnification calculation goes like this:

Find the focal length of the telescope. For 114Eq, it is about 900mm. Now, suppose you are using a 20mm lens. Then the object in focus will be magnified by 900/20 = 45X.

Trust this post helps!

Regards,
Saket
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