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Thread: Size Doesn't Have to Matter

  1. #21
    matthewota's Avatar
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    When I turned 12 years old in 1969 I told my father I wanted a telescope for my birthday.

    He got me a 76.2mm (3 inch) K-Mart terrestrial Refractor which had an alt-az yoke mount and wooden tripod. It had a fixed eyepiece and the drawtube had click stops that went through about 4 settings . I t had no diagonal, used a fixed 40mm 1.25" barrel eyepiece. Since it was a terrestrial telescope, it had no motor drive and no slow motion controls. I could just make out the rings of Saturn with it, and usually looked at the Moon and stars with it.

    I was on the Edmond Scientific catalog mailing list, and dreamed about getting just a 2X barlow to increase the magnification. But I was a child with no income and my parents were divorced. My parent's income did not allow for any indulgences in expanding my hobby.

    In late 1975 I used this telescope to view Comet West from the outskirts of Evansville Indiana.

    On October 12, 1877 I used this telescope to view the solar eclipse, which was viewed as a partial eclipse from Reese Air Force Base near Lubbock, Texas. Using the telescope to view the Sun with projection method, I took this photograph with 400 speed Kodak Tri-X film and a 35mm Yashica SLR camera. I developed the negative and printed the photo on the air base's photo hobby shop.



    One of the overlooked amazing things about solar eclipses is that after decades of time it is one of the few photos from your old albums that you can place in location and time with exact certainty.

    Shortly after the eclipse I sold the telescope to a Staff Sergeant that was in the jet engine shop where I was assigned. I was into rocketry as a hobby at the time. After a week I had some regrets as I realized I had no telescope to do astronomy anymore, but I was so busy doing my Air Force duties and working a second job to make ends meet. I maintained my interest in astronomy as an armchair astronomer as I have been a bookworm all of my life, using libraries as I could not afford books.

    It took 21 years before I purchased another telescope, and by that time amateur telescopes had vastly improved in aperture and technology.
    Since I was not (and never) married, getting back into observational astronomy had no limits monetarily. Now I have over 100 hardcover and paperback astronomy books.

    In a form of nostalgia, in 2007 I purchased a modern Orion ED80 60mm Achromat refractor telescope and placed it on an EQ-2 GEM to make a telescope of similar type and aperture to the one my father bought me in 1969. However, most of the time it is off of the EQ mount and piggybacked to my 10 inch SCT.

    Not a day goes by where I do not think of astronomy. I think about astronomy more than women, even. I have an illness that telescope dealers and booksellers love.
    Last edited by matthewota; 01-24-2012 at 04:33 AM.
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    Matthew Ota
    10" Meade LX250GPS SCT, 80mm Orion ED80 Achromat, Lunt LS60THaPT H-alpha Solar Telescope

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  3. #22
    John_D's Avatar
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    Literately one of the coolest things I have read on here! Bravo sir! And your finish, while slightly sad, is beautiful

    Quote Originally Posted by matthewota View Post
    When I turned 12 years old in 1969 I told my father I wanted a telescope for my birthday.

    He got me a 76.2mm (3 inch) K-Mart terrestrial Refractor which had an alt-az yoke mount and wooden tripod. It had a fixed eyepiece and the drawtube had click stops that went through about 4 settings . I t had no diagonal, used a fixed 40mm 1.25" barrel eyepiece. Since it was a terrestrial telescope, it had no motor drive and no slow motion controls. I could just make out the rings of Saturn with it, and usually looked at the Moon and stars with it.

    I was on the Edmond Scientific catalog mailing list, and dreamed about getting just a 2X barlow to increase the magnification. But I was a child with no income and my parents were divorced. My parent's income did not allow for any indulgences in expanding my hobby.

    In late 1975 I used this telescope to view Comet West from the outskirts of Evansville Indiana.

    On October 12, 1877 I used this telescope to view the solar eclipse, which was viewed as a partial eclipse from Reese Air Force Base near Lubbock, Texas. Using the telescope to view the Sun with projection method, I took this photograph with 400 speed Kodak Tri-X film and a 35mm Yashica SLR camera. I developed the negative and printed the photo on the air base's photo hobby shop.



    One of the overlooked amazing things about solar eclipses is that after decades of time it is one of the few photos from your old albums that you can place in location and time with exact certainty.

    Shortly after the eclipse I sold the telescope to a Staff Sergeant that was in the jet engine shop where I was assigned. I was into rocketry as a hobby at the time. After a week I had some regrets as I realized I had no telescope to do astronomy anymore, but I was so busy doing my Air Force duties and working a second job to make ends meet. I maintained my interest in astronomy as an armchair astronomer as I have been a bookworm all of my life, using libraries as I could not afford books.

    It took 21 years before I purchased another telescope, and by that time amateur telescopes had vastly improved in aperture and technology.
    Since I was not (and never) married, getting back into observational astronomy had no limits monetarily. Now I have over 100 hardcover and paperback astronomy books.

    In a form of nostalgia, in 2007 I purchased a modern Orion ED80 60mm Achromat refractor telescope and placed it on an EQ-2 GEM to make a telescope of similar type and aperture to the one my father bought me in 1969. However, most of the time it is off of the EQ mount and piggybacked to my 10 inch SCT.

    Not a day goes by where I do not think of astronomy. I think about astronomy more than women, even. I have an illness that telescope dealers and booksellers love.

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    "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

  4. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by matthewota View Post
    Since I was not (and never) married, getting back into observational astronomy had no limits monetarily. Now I have over 100 hardcover and paperback astronomy books.

    .

    Nice read Matthew and the bit above made me smile. Thanks
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  5. #24
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    It was a good article and my first scope I got when I was 11 or 12 for Xmas. Don't remember the brand and gave to my brother later. I did enjoy it though.

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  6. #25
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    i guess i was lucky to come into astronomy at this time i havent had the pleasure of using a scope so bad it made star gazing impossible, i started about 2 months ago with a celestron 60mm refractor and enjoyed it so much i then just recently bought a Orion spaceprobe 130mm reflector and WOW the difference is just mind boggling i cant imagine having anything worse to deal with.

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    Default Re: Size Doesn't Have to Matter

    I still have my Garrett 10x60's that are a great grab and go binoculars. I still remember seeing the moon for the first time through them.
    Angie



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    Default Re: Size Doesn't Have to Matter

    Honestly, I haven't even gotten my first scope in the mail yet, but I do remember what was technically my first set of optics that I used for the night sky, and it was completely by accident. I worked night shift in the military for 6 years as an MP, and every night, part of your required equipment is the NVG's (night vision goggles). Of course, you give a bored veteran a set of military grade NVG's, and he/she will play with them. As I did. After a few weeks of spotting satellites and convincing my coworkers that they were not in fact UFO's, I started paying more attention to what I was seeing. Thousands upon thousands of stars that weren't visible with the naked eye. Ever since then, optics or not, I've been looking up.
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  9. #28
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    Default Re: Size Doesn't Have to Matter

    It was a learning experience for me.

    I recall having a 4" Meade Go-To reflector when I was 12 for Christmas that I promptly ruined within a few weeks trying to add my own upgrades to the telescope. The first thing I did was try to swap out the easy dot finder with a crosshair finderscope (to this day, I still refuse to use laser finders in favor of a crosshair finderscope). I found out pretty quickly that the finderscope wouldn't fit, so I used duck tape to put the finderscope on there and threw away the old one. I also had no idea the telescope needed periodic collimation, and even if I was aware of the process, I didn't have the proper tools I do now to get an exact collimation. So, the images I got after awhile started to suck. What's more, I wasn't aware of the process involving polar alignment with the Go-To scope, so the telescope never went to the right place. Eventually, I ended up taking it apart after a few years of misuse after I got my next telescope to learn and understand how reflector telescopes work. I still have the secondary and primary mirrors, both in surprisingly good shape considering, maybe someday I'll go out and buy a sonotube and make a 4" dobsonian? Who knows.

    I was fairly irate over the loss, and I ended up getting a 70mm telescope 4 years later that I used to figure out how telescopes work until, now that I'm in my 20s, I got a 8" Orion XT8 and I handle it like a dream. I was actually able to this time swap out the EZ Finder Scope on the Orion for a crosshaired one, and it worked to my fullest expectation as a testament to what I learned from my childhood stupidity.

  10. #29
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    Default Re: Size Doesn't Have to Matter

    The Orion XT8 is a good scope. I had one for several years.
    Rob
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    Default Re: Size Doesn't Have to Matter

    My first piece of equipment, if you can call it that was a couple of dark black and white negatives that I held up to the sun to watch an eclipse. It was in my school playground, the teacher said to bring them in.....1961 I believe.
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