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447 posts

Ultimate Geek
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Topic # 68094 14-Sep-2010 21:12
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Hi All,

I have had an interest in space for ever since I can remember. I now have a bit of cash and was looking at getting a telescope (leaning towards a 6 inch reflector). I have done plenty of reading & figure that I can't be the only one into this kind of stuff on a website such as GZ. Anyone else with an interest with space and wishes to give their 2cents on anything related (suppliers, favourite brands, favourite thing in the sky.....)? 

On a different note, is anyone aware of public viewing with astronomy groups in Auckland/is involved with them already? 




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269 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 379872 14-Sep-2010 21:47
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There is the Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand of which the Auckland Astronomical Society is a part of. There is also the nzastronomers mailing list. The RASNZ also puts out a yearly NZ Astronomical Yearbook; you may still be able to find a copy of the 2010 one in some bigger book and magazine shops, or in the Stardome Observatory shop.



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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 380341 15-Sep-2010 21:50
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Seriously? Only one? You surprise me GZ.

Thanks for the suggestions Jarno, I will look into them. The mailing list is a good find, I have been looking for something similar to it for a little while. Any other suggestions?

 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 380659 16-Sep-2010 14:16
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Hi Nickd,

I've been thinking about my scope (120mm reflector, equatorial mount, very cheap) and how I use it.

I find my equatorial mount very difficult to set up accurately, and usually just end up fudging it, and manually driving the scope in approx the right directions to keep things in view. I would certainly like to try an better, more expensive mount out before buying one!

Have you thought about what you will most be observing, and whether you would be trying astrophotography?

If you will be just picking the most interesting objects to observe (in my opinion... moon, mars, jupiter, saturn, clusters and nebulae etc) , have you considered a large reflector on a Dobsonian mount? This is the kind of scope I have on my wishlist. The reason I like the idea of a Dobsonian is that is very simple, and you get a bigger, cheaper mirror. Easy to point, also.

Anyway.

I also thoroughly enjoy observing satellites, I find it very satisfying to get the nights list of satellites from heavens-above, and head outside, and then successfully find things going in the direction I expect!
The ISS in particular can look awesome, sometimes it's so big and bright I can't help but listen out carefully, it seems like I should be able to hear it going overhead!

I also head outside with Stellarium on the laptop which I find to be great. (but I get concerned about dew/condensation). I have also a couple of good iPad apps, Pocket Universe is very cool with GPS and motion detection, you just hold it up to the sky and it shows approx what you are seeing, v cool.

Cheers,
Joseph

 



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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 380952 16-Sep-2010 22:57
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I have, I decided long ago not to set my sights very high on what I set out to look at, astrophotography is definitely out. My camera just wouldn't compare to hubble images. I also want to keep the scope simple and of a manageable size. I figure I am more likely to use something that is small and quick to get out than something huge. It will be transported as well so size is something I was investigating.

I figure I would start on planets and some of the brighter faint fuzzies. I never even thought about the ISS or satellite observing!

I have been looking at getting a 153mm reflector, when I started looking at what was out there I really liked the look of the astroscan with it being small and robust, but they aren't available outside the US.

I have Stellarium already, it's such an amazing piece of software which I find hard to believe it is free.

If you do buy the 250mm scope, I would be interested in taking a look through it some time!

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  Reply # 381073 17-Sep-2010 09:38
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I have a Dobsian style that I picked from Camera and Camera on Queen Street, Auckland for around $400 ( on special - floor stock). Being out in the boonies, there is plenty of dark sky - but I don't go to much trouble setting up the scope - just plonk it on the tripod and aim at something interesting :-) Magellanic clouds, the moon, jupiter etc. Just found out the other day that the handle of the "pot" is composed of a few planetary nebulae ( i think). So out with the scope again ...
I have have a young niece that is showing interest in star gazing.
It's a nice way to while away a few hours.




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  Reply # 381149 17-Sep-2010 11:21
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Yeah, love following astronomy and space news. Big fan of guys like Carl Sagan, Neil degrasse Tyson and Phil Plait et al.

Planning on going back to school (correspondence) to do science with a view to getting further into astronomy.




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  Reply # 381160 17-Sep-2010 11:32
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Aye. The two Universe series on Sky's doco channels was pretty amazing, as well as similar docs - like the moon landings, Alien life, etc.

Also try an catch some tech / sci news on the other channels as well - Planet Science on TV1, Beyond Tommorow (bit dated), Tech Today (?) (German / Euro slant). TV1 used to have the BBC Click series - not too bad. Not really "sit down and watch" stuff, but good enough to have playing while cooking, etc. The Universe and Planet Science is pretty visual, so you do need to sit and watch.







My thoughts are no longer my own and is probably representative of our media-controlled government


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  Reply # 381177 17-Sep-2010 11:59
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Mate I could watch documentaries on that stuff all day given half a chance!

Reading "The Moon: A Biography" at the moment. Fascinating.

Been catching quite a bit of Brian Cox stuff on TV too - good to see some "cool" guys out there making astronomy and theoretical physics interesting for Joe Public. Nobody has really picked up where Sagan left off when he died :(

There's so much pseudo-scientific garbage out there on the internet unfortunately - I'm often chiming in on other forums shooting down all sorts of silly stuff.




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  Reply # 381264 17-Sep-2010 13:49
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Further recommended viewing... I've watched all this over the last year

Wonders Of The Solar System (Brian Cox, HD, watched with the wife and she thoroughly enjoyed it, highly recommended)
When We Left Earth (NASA, 6 Parts, HD)
Moon Machines - The Saturn V Rockets (6 parts)
National Geographic - Direct From The Moon (JAXA Kaguya Moon Orbiter, awesome moon footage) 
James May On The Moon (he doesn't actually go to the moon of course, good show tho) 
Apollo 17 Final Footprints On The Moon
PBS - 400 Years Of The Telescope (HD)
Carl Sagan - Cosmos (brilliant, 12 parts, Carl was the best!)
In The Shadow Of The Moon

That's just what I currently have on my media HDD!

Pale Blue Dot is also one of the best Audio Books (Sagan narrates it) I've listened to.

And getting really off topic, BBC Life (HD) is possibly the best nature documentary I've every seen, absolutely amazing!

Cheers,
Joseph.
 

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  Reply # 381265 17-Sep-2010 13:50
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BurningBeard: 

Been catching quite a bit of Brian Cox stuff on TV too - good to see some "cool" guys out there making astronomy and theoretical physics interesting for Joe Public. Nobody has really picked up where Sagan left off when he died :(


Which channel is the Brian Cox stuff on ? Haven't seen any yet.

And there is the Richard Hammonds Blast Labs and Invisible Worlds series. Who'd thought raindrops are not the classic tear shape ?  Brainiac History Abuse is quite funny, though their test methodolgy is a bit suspect :-)

Anyway, diverging a bit from Topic.

Obilgatory on Topic comment - I subscribe to the Space Review RSS feed :-)







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  Reply # 381269 17-Sep-2010 13:59
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SepticSceptic:
Which channel is the Brian Cox stuff on ? Haven't seen any yet.


"What Time Is It?" was on Documentary Channel IIRC.




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  Reply # 381270 17-Sep-2010 14:01
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jofizz: Further recommended viewing... I've watched all this over the last year

Wonders Of The Solar System (Brian Cox, HD, watched with the wife and she thoroughly enjoyed it, highly recommended)
When We Left Earth (NASA, 6 Parts, HD)
Moon Machines - The Saturn V Rockets (6 parts)
National Geographic - Direct From The Moon (JAXA Kaguya Moon Orbiter, awesome moon footage) 
James May On The Moon (he doesn't actually go to the moon of course, good show tho) 
Apollo 17 Final Footprints On The Moon
PBS - 400 Years Of The Telescope (HD)
Carl Sagan - Cosmos (brilliant, 12 parts, Carl was the best!)
In The Shadow Of The Moon

That's just what I currently have on my media HDD!

Pale Blue Dot is also one of the best Audio Books (Sagan narrates it) I've listened to.

And getting really off topic, BBC Life (HD) is possibly the best nature documentary I've every seen, absolutely amazing!

Cheers,
Joseph.
 


Thanks for the list! Will slowly track them down no doubt.

Cosmos is still brilliant.... and I could listen to Carl Sagan speak for ever and ever! If only every single audio book was read by him (or Tom Baker)

I'd really love to get a telescope but right now cannot justify spending the money :(




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447 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 381418 17-Sep-2010 19:56
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jofizz: And getting really off topic [...] 

 SepticSceptic: Anyway, diverging a bit from Topic 


I'll allow it. It is the off topic forum after all! 

Ahh, if only I had Sky, it seems most of these programs are on there. I have been keeping an eye on Richard Hammonds Invisible Worlds, I think I prefer David Attenborough though.

@BurningBeard: You can always do all the fun of doing the research of what to buy on behalf of me if you want :-P  

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