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Author Topic: Amateur Astronomy  (Read 4686 times)

RedLeader

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Amateur Astronomy
« on: June 10, 2009 »

Is anyone in any way experienced in Astronomy? I bought myself a Sky-Watcher Explorer 150P about 18 months ago but to be honest, with the equatorial mount I could never find anything except the more obvious planets (and the moon obviously  ;D) so it's gathering dust now.

I'm thinking that after the summer when the nights get a little longer we could potentially organise a starparty camping trip if someone wanted to come that knew what they were doing!
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666_pack

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Re: Amateur Astronomy
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2009 »

Hi Jonno,
I think the Amagh Planetarium might offer some courses
Check it out.

http://www.armaghplanet.com/

I like a bit of sofa star gazing this sort of stuff really blows my mind.



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pillars_of_Creation
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Lee B

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Re: Amateur Astronomy
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2009 »

Hey Jonno :)

I have no experience, but it's a topic that interests me.  I keep up with Astronomy Picture of the Day (google it), and recently bought a cheap pair of 10x50 binoculars (which, I'm told, are a good option, for beginners).  I've been disappointed with how little I can see from my back garden, but I remember being able to see a LOT more out in the country on a dark night -- the milky way beautifully strewn across the sky, thousands more stars, etc.

I've been planning a camp up the mournes with a friend lately, and the binoculars are definitely going with.  I bet the night sky will look amazing up there through binoculars :)  Might be interested in doing it more -- especially if my co-campers are interested enough to care about figuring out what stars can be seen, what we're looking at, and all.

I've noticed this ties in nicely with other outdoor things like orienteering too, since you need a compass and a skymap and all to find stuff :)
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RedLeader

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Re: Amateur Astronomy
« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2009 »

So it seems like an astro night away seems like it might be a goer. If we can find somewhere that I can lug a 6" telescope & equatorial mount to. Maybe Meelmore Lodge in September-ish when the nights are darker.
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Lee B

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Re: Amateur Astronomy
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2009 »

I was about to suggest that we contact a local astronomy group and arrange something.  From the sounds of it though, the east antrim group, at least, already have quite active clubs that we could get involved with.  They have monthly meetings (including barbeques :D), forum, etc.

http://www.eaas.co.uk
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RedLeader

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Re: Amateur Astronomy
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2009 »

I was about to suggest that we contact a local astronomy group and arrange something.  From the sounds of it though, the east antrim group, at least, already have quite active clubs that we could get involved with.  They have monthly meetings (including barbeques :D), forum, etc.

http://www.eaas.co.uk


I've been involved with the astro scene in NI but here I was more interested in doing a bit of bushcraft / camping with a smidge of astronomy rather than a full on astronomy weekend.
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GASP Gary

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Re: Amateur Astronomy
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2009 »

This is a subject that interests me too, having recently bought a LIDL special offer Meade telescope which I'm still trying to figure out how to use properly.
The back road between Hilltown and Rostrevor, just past Leitrim Lodge, is perfect for stargazing. It is like a bowl surrounded by high mountains and so has very little light polution. Have stopped here on several clear nights without binoculars or telescope for amazing views. A telescope set up there should be awesome.
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RedLeader

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Re: Amateur Astronomy
« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2009 »

This is a subject that interests me too, having recently bought a LIDL special offer Meade telescope which I'm still trying to figure out how to use properly.
The back road between Hilltown and Rostrevor, just past Leitrim Lodge, is perfect for stargazing. It is like a bowl surrounded by high mountains and so has very little light polution. Have stopped here on several clear nights without binoculars or telescope for amazing views. A telescope set up there should be awesome.

Sounds great. What's the scope like quality wise? I have a reflector on an equatorial mount but have been stunningly unsuccessful at seeing much. I have too many problems star hopping with the way the mount moves.
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GASP Gary

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Re: Amateur Astronomy
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2009 »

Quality seems ok to me, but I don't know the difference!
Has automatic onboard computer for tracking and object finding, and some other stuff I have yet to figure out. Once properly calibrated it can point at any star/planet requested. Have tried this unsuccessfully a couple of times, need to spend more time with it to figure out properly. Have been using manually since.
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RedLeader

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Re: Amateur Astronomy
« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2009 »

Quality seems ok to me, but I don't know the difference!
Has automatic onboard computer for tracking and object finding, and some other stuff I have yet to figure out. Once properly calibrated it can point at any star/planet requested. Have tried this unsuccessfully a couple of times, need to spend more time with it to figure out properly. Have been using manually since.

Did you manage to get it properly polar aligned?
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GASP Gary

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Re: Amateur Astronomy
« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2009 »

Thought I had, but when it tracked to next object for confirmation, it wasn't pointing at anything. Instructions said that it would point at the 2 brightest stars available.
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Hound of Ulster

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Re: Amateur Astronomy
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2009 »

Been up in the Mournes and came down from Hares Gap in the dark. FANTASTIC night sky, no light pollution and loads of stars etc, could be a fantastic camp for star gazing.

Mrs always said we must go back some night with binoculars.

Hound
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666_pack

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Re: Amateur Astronomy
« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2009 »

amen to that brother.
sky was so clear we could summit donard with out the head torches on..

and what a view :o
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