Killing my scope softly with her dust

Killing my scope softly with her dust

Postby chiefdanfox » Wed Jul 25, 2007 11:24 pm

8" SCT w/ gps, battery. prb. out on the playa Wednesday night (I will miss the eclipse.
Moon and Uranus, jokes aside, next to each other, the Moon nearly full.
We could point the scope at thousands of objects.
Jupiter is low in the West. Neptune rides to the West of the Moon.

Anyone interested?
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Postby scootert » Mon Jul 30, 2007 1:47 pm

Hi Chiefdanfox,

That's a nice offer! Even though people haven't replied here, if you make yourself noticeable out there I'd bet lots of people would enjoy the gift of a view of celestial bodies (more jokes aside). Maybe post again with a rough location and time. If my art car works and gets its final license from the DMV, I'll be out cruising with several passengers and we'll definitely stop if we see you.

Thanks!

Scott
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Postby chiefdanfox » Tue Jul 31, 2007 11:34 am

Thanks.
A less cryptic message on my part would have been helpful.
SCT= Schmidt Cassigrain Telescope 8"=diameter of the mirror. It links with gps satellites, has motors that keep the scope tracking, etc.

Anyway, this is a great scope, so we'll point it at few galaxies, nebulae, planets, (Neptune, Jupiter) and of course we'll look at Uranus. :shock:

I am not exactly sure where I'll be, but I will likely be near the Esplanade, probably in the 7:00 - 5:00 slice, depending on the light, and I'll go early on Wednesday, so folks can get a look at Jupiter before it disappears.

I haven't decided when beyond that, so I'll update this thread, as we get closer.
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Postby Ugly Dougly » Tue Jul 31, 2007 1:52 pm

Don't know what your scope can do, but some of them have video cameras in the objective. It would be great to see that linked to a video projector.
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Postby chiefdanfox » Tue Jul 31, 2007 11:41 pm

I could bring a lapped-out laptop, and use the ccd camera I have, but I am w/o a projector. Maybe something for next year?
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Postby chiefdanfox » Tue Aug 21, 2007 9:19 am

http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2007 ... _north.gif

more geeky telescope nonsense. But for those of you awake at that time, this is worth a look. 3 AM. Two red eyes staring down from space. Next night? Eclipse. We'll have a look at Mars, but I won't be on the Playa until Tuesday evening. If it is still, we should be able to make out the dust storms...on Mars. Planet "Playa". Mars comes up in the AM, and Jupiter sets in the PM, so I am thinking either two set ups, or different set ups on different nights.
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Come Close...

Postby [CDS] topher » Thu Sep 20, 2007 9:38 pm

Being a fan of "Sidewalk Astronomy: education (and having an astro degree), I've contemplated bringing a scope out during various years. If I found a cheap enough 8" or so on ebay, I might even buy it just for use in hostile conditions, and the pleasure of showing people (CITY people, mostly) what the sky really looks like.

Idea:

AstroCamp, way out by the MOOP fence, incredibly far away from the noise and hassle and light...and a nice wide aperture dob, plus a good equatorial refractor or SCT. Nightly night sky introductions & lessons, views of various late summer sky highlights, etc.
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Postby stargeezer » Thu Sep 20, 2007 10:14 pm

This sounds like a neat idea, but I am not sure fine optics and playa dust are really compatible. In a cleaner environment than the playa, I have done what you suggest, and as careful as we are it is amazing how much dust we collect. I just cannot imagine taking my scope out there.

Now on the flip side of that, if you were to take several pair of old binoculars and a green laser, you could still put on a pretty good show without seeing any of the deep sky objects. Those little green lasers are a really neat pointing aid. It is nice to go away from the old directions such as three fingers north and two east of Arcturus.

Good luck in whatever you decide to do.
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Postby [CDS] topher » Fri Sep 21, 2007 4:48 am

stargeezer wrote:This sounds like a neat idea, but I am not sure fine optics and playa dust are really compatible. In a cleaner environment than the playa, I have done what you suggest, and as careful as we are it is amazing how much dust we collect. I just cannot imagine taking my scope out there.

Now on the flip side of that, if you were to take several pair of old binoculars and a green laser, you could still put on a pretty good show without seeing any of the deep sky objects. Those little green lasers are a really neat pointing aid. It is nice to go away from the old directions such as three fingers north and two east of Arcturus.

Good luck in whatever you decide to do.


Well, the nice thing about cheap dobs is that a) they're cheap, and b) they're dobs - making cleaning of the mirror a less-than-freakout-mode activity. Some distilled water, some drying time when it's not windy, and bingo - back to a near normal mirror. Now it's not like I'd be beinging any high-end Naglers to use, any one of which I'd worry about more than the primary.
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Postby [CDS] topher » Fri Sep 21, 2007 5:06 am

[quote="chiefdanfox"]I could bring a lapped-out laptop, and use the ccd camera I have, but I am w/o a projector. Maybe something for next year?[/quote]

I have a projector, but it's a really nice one. Also turns out (after an experiment last year done by a campmate) that without extraordinary efforts, either a) the heat in an enclosed space (vehicle), or b) the dust on the playa going through the projector's ventilation system, or c) the artificial (read: choppy) sine wave produced by all generators and most inverters will wreak havoc on a projector on the playa.
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Postby Valkyrie » Fri Sep 21, 2007 3:35 pm

I thought about bringing my own scope out there this year but dismissed the idea. (mostly transportation issues) Homemade PVC dobsonian scopes like mine are cheap enough that you're not out a huge investment if something happens.

There are a couple of telescope designs that I think would work great on the playa. This is a lot like the scope I have. (My brother in law built it and my sister decided he didn't need 2947 scopes so made him get rid of it. Mwahaha.) It's cheap enough that I'm not going to get all broken up if it doesn't come back in one piece. Plans here

Truss scopes would be extraordinarily easy to clean. this is a nice design the US Naval Observatory published, but it's about 3 times as expensive to build as the 4" I have. But the 8" aperture!
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Postby bobalou » Sat Sep 29, 2007 11:34 pm

I've been taking out my XT4.5 Dobsonian for the last three burns. If you keep it covered when your not using it, and only use it when it's not too windy, then it gets surprisingly little dust in it.

that said, binoculars, green lasers, and lounge chairs, are the way to go on the Playa.
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scheduled astro night in '08?

Postby [CDS] topher » Sun Sep 30, 2007 6:51 am

How about a community-organized (that's US!) astronomy meet & education session in the deep playa in '08?

If we decided on a night & time (with an alternate to account for weather), we could get listed as an event in the guide, get together and show anyone who showed up some cool stuff. Those of us with dobs or binocs could bring them, and we could have some fun sharing what we know about the night sky.

Any takers?
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got my ticket, will bring scope

Postby chiefdanfox » Sun Jan 27, 2008 8:33 pm

The dust made it nearly impossible, but my scope got very little dust, very little. I used it both in the day and at night. This year I plan to be on the playa from Sunday on.

I like CDS' idea. I'll bring it again this year, and it would be good to have more than one scope, binocs, etc.
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Postby skygod » Mon Jan 28, 2008 12:33 pm

Post where you will be when you can, I'd like a look.
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