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Old 05-08-2010, 01:32 AM   #1
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Default Star Gazing

One thing I enjoy is looking into the night sky. I just got a telescope for my birthday and have been enjoying using it. Found Saturn and could clearly see its rings. The telescope came with a program that will show you the night sky and name all the stars and planets for you.

I was wondering if anyone else uses a telescope or just looks up into the night sky?
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Old 05-08-2010, 03:10 AM   #2
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Default Re: Star Gazing

I use to but looking at the stars was just a pont of light. Planets are better especially Saturn and possibly Jupiter if the telescope is big enough. Of course there is always the moon too but after a while everything seemed to be the same. I chose to get a Celeston that I can put on my 35mm camera so I still can use it as a telescope. One other thing are the other planets moons, Jupiter has several that are very visable, or some constelations have double stars in them that appear to be a single star to the naked eye. One of the Dippers has this on the handle. Now I just like to gaze at the multitude of stars and hope to get out some night someplace to boondock where it is very dark. Been to bust lately to do some real camping. I have only been able to do some one nighters around towns that we visit.
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Old 05-08-2010, 01:59 PM   #3
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Default Re: Star Gazing

My family got me an inexpensive telescope and it was quickly returned. It came with lots of lenses but it was so unstable, you couldn't see very much. I ended up getting a nice Celestron telescope that is very stable.

I'm looking at stronger lenses but I really like the USB camera lenses. You put it in where the lens goes and you can see the image on a laptop. It allows you to see the image, make a small video of it or just take a picture. The price range on them is quite large. I've seen some as little as $50 and up to over $400. I won't be getting one for a while but will still be looking into them a bit more.

I'm still very new at this and agree on the planets being more interesting. I took my telescope out a couple nights ago and let my kids see Saturn and Mars. Currently, only those 2 and Venus are visible in the night sky but Venus is low in the Western sky behind trees so we can't see it. I looked at the full moon but it was too bright to really see much. From what I have read, looking at the first quarter of the moon is more interesting since the craters cast shadows.
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Old 05-08-2010, 02:26 PM   #4
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Default Re: Star Gazing

Satellite watching enhances the fun too. Now that the space station is about fully tricked out, it makes a brilliant view as it passes by. I last got to see it with the shuttle still attached on their last visit.

Another resource to star gazers is the great magazine from the McDonald Observatory in west Texas. Good place to visit, too. Go to www. McdonaldObservatory.org
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Old 05-08-2010, 04:39 PM   #5
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Default Re: Star Gazing

I haven't had a chance to look at the space station but it passes over quite regularly. Got a glimpse of it the other day with the kids but it was partially cloudy out. It's hard to believe it goes around the Earth about once every 1.5 hours.

If anyone wants to know where the space station is, here is a link that provides its location and you can get times when it will pass over you based on your Internet ISP location.

http://www.n2yo.com/
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Old 05-09-2010, 05:34 PM   #6
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Default Re: Star Gazing

It is a bit impressive, isn't it?
But when you think it had to get up to around 18,000 mph to escape the earth's gravitational
pull, to achieve orbit, and the earth is around 24,000 miles in circumference, it all makes sense.

renrut: That n2yo site is pretty good.
Here's another one I use on occasion (try the zoom buttons) for ISS tracking....
http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/realdata/tracking/
and this one has many satellite options as well, but no ISS tracking anymore(it's related to the preceeding one)....
http://science.nasa.gov/realtime/jtrack/
and another one I found today with ISS tracking....
http://heavens-above.com/
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