Astronomy!

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Boort

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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?

You're right they DO move. Just like the Polaris is not always going to be the north star due to earth's axis wobble. You can actually see the difference in position of Polaris from year to year. Useful to know when you are setting up your scope each night. Wired had a good explanation of this a few years ago ( GIFs Show Constellations Transforming Over 150,000 Years ).

Boort
 
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grubworm

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You're right they DO move. Just like the Polaris is not always going to be the north star due to earth's axis wobble. You can actually see the difference in position of Polaris from year to year. Useful to know when you are setting up your scope each night. Wired had a good explanation of this a few years ago ( GIFs Show Constellations Transforming Over 150,000 Years ).

Boort
Thanks for the quick reply. That explains a lot. I was in grade school in the 70s and I dont even remember it being taught that we are moving that fast...i thought the sun was stationery and we just orbited it and that was it. I was also taught that there are 9 planets, so I'm a bit outdated in this field. I'm probably just one step ahead of those who thought the earth was flat! :)
But yeah, taking binoculars or a telescope out west where the sky is so clear is really amazing and a great thing to when camping. Stargazing is a great way to relax and be in awe at the same time.
 
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Boort

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@grubworm
Thanks for the quick reply. That explains a lot. I was in grade school in the 70s and I dont even remember it being taught that we are moving that fast...i thought the sun was stationery and we just orbited it and that was it. I was also taught that there are 9 planets, so I'm a bit outdated in this field. I'm probably just one step ahead of those who thought the earth was flat! :)
But yeah, taking binoculars or a telescope out west where the sky is so clear is really amazing and a great thing to when camping. Stargazing is a great way to relax and be in awe at the same time.
YW, Star gazing is the way I find my priorities. Staring out in to the vast is the best way I've found to realize that my problems are truly insignificant! A few years ago I fell in with a group of night photographers we all head out to get into dark skys (which is what lead me back to Overlanding.) :D

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CSG

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@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.
I'm guessing you didn't read my two posts on this subject. Maybe you were addressing someone else.
 
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huf67

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I'm a long time astronomy lover but I've recently gotten into astrophotography over the last couple of years.

The last several years I've started vacationing out west to take advantage of the dark sky's and the solitude !! I was intimidated at the thought of taking shots of the Milky Way but after a small bit of trial and error I've found it to be very easy !!! The harder part for me is in the editing to bring out the richness of the images.

My suggestion is to find any descent DSLR, preferably a full frame camera, and a good wide angle lens, somewhere in the 11mm-20mm range. I usually rent a lens for vacation from Borrowlens.com to pair with my Canon SL1. My camera is a "crop sensor" model which basically means that the image won't have as wide of a field of view with the same lens as a full frame, but it works for me.

Everyone wants to know what settings people use but that varies because of full frame vs crop sensor and what lens that you're using but the settings are all pretty close if you're just wanting to get a single shot...ISO either 1600 or 3200, exposure length 15 to 25 seconds, and an aperture of 2.8 or less, and as wide angle lens.

I took a time lapse of the milky way at the visitors pull off area for the Very Large Array on highway 60 in New Mexico. Had I planned the shot better I would have picked a location more off the beaten path to avoid the flashes of light from car headlights. Who would have known that there'd be so many cars traveling thru the New Mexico high plains desert at midnight... Apparently not me !!! Nevertheless I was pleased at how it turned out. Caught a storm over the Gila National Forest at the same time. This time lapse is of 500 pictures each with a 15 second exposure to make the final 16 second time lapse.

The main thing I've learned is to just get out there and try... You can only get better !!!

 

4wheelspulling

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I have been interested in astronomy and night time photography, since I was a young kid. My Dad was an avid outdoorsman, so, have been playing outside in wilderness areas more than most ever get the privilege to do so. As an adult, I wanted to get serious and start studying about astronomy, but l just have never made it a real priority. Kind of sad too, as I have a beautiful night sky to watch, with beautiful views of the Milky Way most every night in the Summer! Was even enjoying the Milky Way last night. Did see the Aurora borealis a couple of years ago, again from my place. Even a neighbor of mine has a home built Observatory! Anyone out this way is welcome to come set up and enjoy the night sky at my place. But I will warn you, ahead of time I will bug you some asking questions, trying to learn more about everything, and the equipment you are using! Vance.
 

Boort

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@huf67

Love the storm on the horizon. I've not yet made it to the VLA, but last year on a trip down 395 met up with a friend who got us permission to shoot at the UCLA Owens Valley Radio Observatory outside of Big Pine Ca.
Did not get much that night but managed to get this shot when we got an opening in the clouds:

97611
Nikon D810 14-24mm at ~20mm 30 sec ISO3200

Boort
 

huf67

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@huf67

Love the storm on the horizon. I've not yet made it to the VLA, but last year on a trip down 395 met up with a friend who got us permission to shoot at the UCLA Owens Valley Radio Observatory outside of Big Pine Ca.
Did not get much that night but managed to get this shot when we got an opening in the clouds:

View attachment 97611
Nikon D810 14-24mm at ~20mm 30 sec ISO3200

Boort
Awesome photo !!! Now that's how I had envisioned my photos to look except with 26 other dishes in the background but when I got there it was completely dark, no lights on any of the dishes whatsoever !!! Turns out that the farmers were complaining that the lights on the dishes were bothering their cows !!! Hahaha !!! I guess the search for alien life forms isn't as important as a good steak after all !!
 

Boort

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Awesome photo !!! Now that's how I had envisioned my photos to look except with 26 other dishes in the background but when I got there it was completely dark, no lights on any of the dishes whatsoever !!! Turns out that the farmers were complaining that the lights on the dishes were bothering their cows !!! Hahaha !!! I guess the search for alien life forms isn't as important as a good steak after all !!
Thanks! The OVA has a number of smaller dishes that are to the north of this big one. I have some pics of them as well following the hole in the clouds but the light dome from Bishop killed the constellations to the north. This one was my favorite from that night. I was hoping that they would fire up an alignment laser but that is used more for visual astronomy and not so often done for Radio telescopes. It was a great trip.

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CTO1Mike

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Count me in as a Dark Sky Fan! Retired Navy, assigned to two different destroyers. My favorite thing to do underway was to go outside after dark when the ship was set for "Darken Ship" and watch the mast cut through the star field on a cloudless and moonless night. This was mostly in the Pacific off California.
 
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