My Telescope & Hobby

Last revised: 09/06/06 07:49 PM

link to: End Of The World Events or The Sky Data Bases (SDB's)

My telescope is the Orion 8" Deep Space Explorer with Dobsonian mount.

Orion Deep Space Telescopes

This picture shows the telescope with Telrad and dew shields installed.  The funny looking objects, sitting on the bottom right, are 3 bean bag frogs with velco attached on their bottoms.  I use them as adjustable counterweights

It's separates into two pieces for easy transport and I take it with me whenever I go camping. I sometimes get my most enjoyment from showing the other campers the sights.

For a scope like mine I found the best aiming sight to be the Telrad Reflex Sight.

Telrad Reflex Sight

I went from a frustrating 20-30 minutes to sight a celestial object to less than a minute. It is a very easy device to use. And I've recommended it to every person who has a non-computer driven scope. One couple I meet at the Annual Island Lake Star Party (outside Detroit, MI USA) were so excited about the Telrad they saw on my scope, that they dug up every bit of change they had and bought the last one at the party. I even gave one to my father-in-law.

What to Look At?

I subscribe to Astronomy magazine. Each issue covers one month and has a fold out in the center, showing a simple star map of what can be seen for that month. It also has details on sky objects of good viewing for that month.

I use this as a guide of what I may observe in the coming months. For example, I used the July 1995 issue to observe most of the galaxies in the Virgo Galaxy Cluster.

Software Observing Programs

I use two different programs depending on weather I'm at work or home.

At work, which restricts software on PC's, I use an old DOS version of SkyGlobe.  It quick and usually answers those questions from co-workers.  Like: "What is that  ______ I saw this morning/last night?"

Then at home I use The Sky Level IV.  It does everything.  Including controlling telescopes.  I especially like being able to add new interesting objects of current interest.

The Sky software allows importing of user definable data bases.  I've created many Sky Data Bases (SDB's) using Access 2000.  Some I use when camping for outreach.

Logging Observations.

The best method I found for keeping simple records of observations, is to record the object observed date next to the item in the Index of our The Audubon Society 'Field Guide to the Night Sky' book.

This book has beautiful pictures of most of the major astronomical objects. And also gives the user a quick and dirty method to confirm what object is really being observed.

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Log of Observations:

Not every observation is logged, but I usually do log most observations done with my telescope during any camping trips.

 Solar Objects / Date 
Messier Objects / Date / Name


  NGC Objects / Date / Name
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