Astronomy!

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RockyMountaineer

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Member I

Nice to find a group of fellow stargazers. Amazing views of the night sky help to fuel my adventures. Anyway what kind of setups are ya'll running? Personally I think with today tech a smart phone and adapter are all one needs. I tried my D3100 and found the setup to be excessively heavy and requiring a rather robust tripod.
 
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nparker72

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Contributor II

271
Akron, Ohio
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3153

So has anyone been to cherry springs in Pennsylvania? If anyone on the east coast would like to go, its known as the darkest skies east of the Mississippi. Trying to get a group together to go see it. Some time in August. Dm me if interested.

Sent from my SM-G930P using OB Talk mobile app
 
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DirtDestination

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233
Evanston, WY
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Mack
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Booth
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Stargazing has always been one of my favorite things about camping. My family and a handful of friends have had a standing trip to Flaming Gorge around the first week of august for the last 5 or 6 years. It has almost always fallen close to the peak days of the Perseids meteor shower, and we absolutely love staying up all hours of the night to watch. I think our best year, we were counting close to 100 per hour. So much fun, and a great time to bond with family and friends!
 
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ASNOBODY

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Benefactor

3,627
Detroit, Michigan
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My wife just finished her last Astronomy class. Every night for the last year or so shes been taking notes and logging data in her star log. It's been really fun learning more with her. I just hope to figure out how to use my camera a bit better tho… :/

While I was in Europe for the last month I camped out at an old (3500 B.C.) burial chamber in Wales (Pentre Ifan) but only had my cell phone for the night unfortunately. I should have brought my camera with me as it ended up being one of the only clear nights. Meh… *amateur*

 

HappyOurOverlanding

US West Region Member Rep
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2,522
Verdi Nevada
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This website is gold!

I recently heard about Havasupai Point at The Grand Canyon, and when I noticed it was right in a dark sky area I planned a trip there. Here is what I was able to capture.

Very nice shots....tried my hand at a couple shots in the dark sky area in Nevada (Tonopah area).
 

Lindenwood

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The best sky I have ever seen was in Somalia. For safety, white light wasnt allowed at night, and we werent near much development. So, seeing the milky way on moonless nights was awesome.

I have long looked forward to just being able to see them like that again, but I might actually look into some beginner stargazing equipment now!
 

Mike W

US MidWest Region Director
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Pathfinder I

2,528
Ankeny, IA, USA
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My daughter actually got us into the hobby. We wanted a setup that was somewhat portable but yet not horrible. We ended up with a celestron 6se which has a padded case that it will barely fit into. (without the tripod). Got to make space to enjoy space.

 

Spaceman Spiff

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One of my college jobs was in the school's planetarium. Mostly giving shows to elementary school classes but still got me familiar with the night sky and astronomy.

A small word of warning: many people have unrealistic expectations for their first telescope. A lot of what you will see are things such as four small dots that are the Galilean Moons around Jupiter or smudges that are clusters or galaxies.

Not to deter those looking at telescopes, but just a friendly reminder that you aren't getting Hubble :).
 
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Mike W

US MidWest Region Director
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Pathfinder I

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Ankeny, IA, USA
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One of my college jobs was in the school's planetarium. Mostly giving shows to elementary school classes but still got me familiar with the night sky and astronomy.

A small word of warning: many people have unrealistic expectations for their first telescope. A lot of what you will see are things such as four small dots that are the Galilean Moons around Jupiter or smudges that are clusters or galaxies.

Not to deter those looking at telescopes, but just a friendly reminder that you aren't getting Hubble :).
Very true. But you would be amazed at how excited my daughter gets by finding all the little lights/dots and making them less fuzzy. Ha! I am hoping we can find some slightly more interesting things as we get to visit some dark sights. So far it has just been moon viewing and things from our back yard which is too near town for anything amazing. (She just got the telescope this xmas)
 
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Spaceman Spiff

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233
Groton, CT, USA
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Matt
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Busta
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Very true. But you would be amazed at how excited my daughter gets by finding all the little lights/dots and making them less fuzzy. Ha! I am hoping we can find some slightly more interesting things as we get to visit some dark sights. So far it has just been moon viewing and things from our back yard which is too near town for anything amazing. (She just got the telescope this xmas)
That is awesome that your daughter is interested. The planetarium I used to work at was at Loras College. They used to do monthly shows on the night sky and sometimes break out telescopes to use after in the warmer months. I would recommend it. It is admission by donation.
 

toxicity_27

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Minnesota
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I recently got my telescope back from storage at my parents' place. It's a pain to travel with, so I might be looking for something a bit more travel friendly and keeping this one at home.
 

RoyaleConQueso

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Contributor I

271
Denver, CO
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10369

I feel that overlanding and astronomy go hand in hand with each other so well! I am going to look into a medium sized tele that I can strap down in my Tacoma. Thanks to everyone who has posted suggestions, it is very helpful!
 
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Graham1298

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271
Winston-Salem, NC, USA
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Robert
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Graham
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*Is there a thread for this already? I could not find one. Seems like there should be, as it's a perfect overland activity.*

Anyone care to share tips, tricks and observations? Favorite resources, maps or locations? Dark sky parks? Navigation? I'd personally like to learn more from people participating in activities and shared experiences that are familiar to my own…not just watching YouTube videos and reading websites.

Anyone here really into this? What do you love about it? What are some easy ways for someone to be more engaged in this activity?

Thanks!

Yes, I’m an amateur astronomer. Just getting I. To Overlanding as a way to find good skies. Also just getting back into astronomy. I have a LX 50, LX 90, and an antique Odessey 10” Dob. Haven’t taken them out yet as I’ve been prepping my rig to handle the off the beaten path trails. Long story short, yes there is someone else that does this.
 

CSG

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Idaho
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16713

I've been an amateur astronomer for 40 years or more. Very casual about it but minored in astronomy in college. I almost always take a small refractor camping (fan of TeleVue and have a Pronto and TV-85). I've been through a number of set-ups but the small, high quality refractor and a decent alt-az mount allows for easy gazing into the Milky Way. I'm all about asterisms and wide field views, not splitting doubles or counting how many bands I can see on Jupiter (although I do look at a variety of things). More often than not these days, I use one of my pairs of Zeiss bins as set-up is even easier and they have more practical applications during the day. Occasionally, I take my Kowa TSN-883 spotting scope instead if I think I might do daytime wildlife/birding activities but it's a bit more difficult to use for astronomy with its angled ep.

The best places in the lower 48 are remote desert areas far from the cities. As to which ones, specifically, get out your map of the American Southwest.
 

vdeal

Rank III

Advocate II

So has anyone been to cherry springs in Pennsylvania? If anyone on the east coast would like to go, its known as the darkest skies east of the Mississippi. Trying to get a group together to go see it. Some time in August. Dm me if interested.

Sent from my SM-G930P using OB Talk mobile app
@nparker72, not been to Cherry Springs but I would suggest that the middle of the Monongahela National Forest in WV near Spruce Knob may be just as dark or darker. It's one of only 4 or 5 dark spots on the light pollution map in the East. I've done some amateur astonoomy and still have my scope but haven't been out in some years. I will recommend that folks get as large of an objective as possible. Reflectors will probably get you more bang for the buck and are great for deep sky objects such as galaxies and nebulae. I have a 10.1" Dobsonian that I added digital setting circles to - helps find things much easier. Get some good star charts, red light and learn the constellations. You'll be amazed at what you can see. Galaxies were usually my favorite but planets are nice also.
 

CSG

Rank V
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Pathfinder I

1,798
Idaho
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16713

The only issue with large scopes for most amateurs is they get used less and less often until they are no longer used at all. Better to have a small, light refractor on an alt-az mount that weighs little, sets up in a minute or two, and comes to temp quickly. Also, low to no maintenance. If I need to see big aperture, I go to a star party. I know what the DSOs I look at with my little refractors look like from the abundance of astro images available. Behind the ep, my mind fills in the blanks.
 

vdeal

Rank III

Advocate II

@CSG, you might want to look into a Rich Field Telescope. Here's a link about them. Thinking about it more you may want to explore a set of astronomical binoculars. I've done some viewing through a set of Celestron 16x70's and it was phenomenal. (Actually may have been Fujinon's, need to check my notes) Nonetheless, a set of Celestron 20x80's is $250 and then you need a proper tripod and binocular adapter but it takes up a lot less space than a telescope.
 
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grubworm

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1,685
Louisiana, USA
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mike
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c
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17464

Hey...got a quick question for someone who knows this stuff...

OK, I got into star gazing a couple years ago and bought some kind of Orion 5" tube telescope with an eyepiece sticking out the bottom side. Saw the moon craters and stuff and bought a star chart book and tried to get my kids interested in this. My son watched a tv program with Neil DeGrasse Tyson and he was saying that there was the Big Bang and everything was flung out from a single point going in all directions. OK, I get that. And that the sun is traveling thru space at over 500,000 miles per hour and pulling us and the other planets along with it as we orbit in a corkscrew pattern around it. My son asked how come the stars never change...like how can the dipper still have the exact position over all these years if everything is moving at over 12 million miles a day in all directions? I guess they are really far away and all, but are the stars that make up the dipper all the same distance from us? Theyd have to be, right? Otherwise the ones closer would appear to move more than the ones further out, right?