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A tale of a small telescope.



 
 
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  #1  
Old August 9th 03, 05:47 AM
Chuck Simmons
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default A tale of a small telescope.

Nine months ago, I became handicapped in such a way that I can't carry
much and can't walk without a cane. With the Mars opposition coming, I
had thought of asking my brother to ship the parts of my 8" to me but I
was forced to drop the idea because I cannot possible assemble it let
alone use it. I dropped the idea of a telescope at all then.

A friend of mine with whom I had sometimes backpacked in better times
encouraged me to go camping with him. He lives in another city but is
willing to help me out occasionally. I was still using a walker then but
felt it would be nice to get out of the city even if I was tied to the
pickup truck. We were early in the camping season (mid May) so it was
quite cold. My water was frozen when I got up in the morning to make
coffee. This worked out nicely anyway and I soon hatched another
telescope idea.

I will never be able to stand while observing again. Thus a refractor
with equatorial mount on an adjustable tripod seemed right. I decided on
a 90mm as the largest I would be able to set up alone. 90mm is also fine
for casual car camping. I ordered the telescope, a longer focal length
eyepiece to go with the two supplied and a 2X barlow.

My friend and I took it on our next camping trip. Jupiter and Saturn
were up then and we found the telescope satisfactory. Later I was trying
for some other objects but fell off of the lawn chair while trying to
use the finder. The finder was not very satisfactory for me. Another
problem was packing and carrying all the bits and pieces.

I decided to solve those problems and ordered a padded bag for the
telescope, an accessory case and a reflex finder. My friend solved my
chair problem by buying an excellent camp chair for me to use.

But the camping trips since then have been disappointing. We have ended
up after dinner sitting in the back of the truck during thunder storms.
It grows cold even in summer at 8,000 or 9,000 feet so it is very hard
to get up at 2AM or so when it clears. We haven't succeeded.

Tomorrow after we finish my shopping for food and variuos drugs and
medical junk, we will head for what we call the "telescope meadow" where
we once used the telescope. It is a large meadow with a nice place on
the edge to camp under trees. We are hoping for our first view of Mars
along with some other objects. Too bad it is not dark time. Perhaps I
will be lucky and it won't rain.

The next time we would ordinarily camp would be the last week of August.
However, we have been invited for the whole week to the observatory of a
friend of mine. The place is about 150 miles from where I live so I
rarely am able to go there. There are several larger telescops though I
will have tremendous trouble using them because I cannot stand for more
than a minute or so in daylight and cannot stand at all in the dark. I
may bring the 90mm and a camp chair even to this week at the observatory
so I will have more to do.

In spite of the rain and other difficulties, I am quite pleased with the
90mm. Not only is the telescope as I have equiped it an excellent
beginners telescope, it is easy to use while camping and meets my
special needs due to my handicap. I shall surely have some clear nights
with it eventually since my friend and I will camp as late as mid
November if there is little snow.

Chuck
--
... The times have been,
That, when the brains were out,
the man would die. ... Macbeth
Chuck Simmons
Ads
  #2  
Old August 9th 03, 05:56 AM
Ratboy99
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default A tale of a small telescope.

Nine months ago, I became handicapped in such a way that I can't carry
much and can't walk without a cane.


What the hell happened, Chuck?

I'm glad to hear that you enjoy your 90mm. Please don't be overly discouraged
by the weather out camping, there are many, many good nights to be had out
there under the stars to go along with the rainy ones.


rat
~( );

email: remove 'et' from .com(et) in above email address
  #3  
Old August 9th 03, 06:11 AM
Chuck Simmons
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default A tale of a small telescope.

Ratboy99 wrote:

Nine months ago, I became handicapped in such a way that I can't carry
much and can't walk without a cane.


What the hell happened, Chuck?


Spinal chord injury from a tumor. It left me with lack of proprioception
which is why I have trouble standing. In order to stand, I have to
either see the ground or hang onto something.

I'm glad to hear that you enjoy your 90mm. Please don't be overly discouraged
by the weather out camping, there are many, many good nights to be had out
there under the stars to go along with the rainy ones.


Some years here we have thunder storms almost every night from sometime
in May through early September. I can really only get out once every two
weeks given I can't drive. There is little use in taking the telescope
out where I live since the light pollution is the worst I have ever seen
anywhere.

Chuck
--
... The times have been,
That, when the brains were out,
the man would die. ... Macbeth
Chuck Simmons
  #4  
Old August 9th 03, 06:25 AM
Ratboy99
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default A tale of a small telescope.

There is little use in taking the telescope
out where I live since the light pollution is the worst I have ever seen
anywhere.


I've often wondered what I would do if I found myself back in L.A., where I
could not see the stars. I have a great time observing the Moon and Planets. I
think they could keep me going for a long time. Heck, nowadays they are most of
what I look at anyway, and I live under a dark sky.

Really sorry to hear about your back. I did in a disc (L4-L5) last summer and
spent the summer laying in a bed on my back looking out a window for my
stargazing. Man, that hurt! It still does as a matter of fact. And talk about
depressing. Any chance of things coming back around for you?

rat
~( );

email: remove 'et' from .com(et) in above email address
  #5  
Old August 9th 03, 06:52 AM
Chuck Taylor
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default A tale of a small telescope.

"Chuck Simmons" wrote in message
...
Ratboy99 wrote:

Nine months ago, I became handicapped in such a way that I can't carry
much and can't walk without a cane.


What the hell happened, Chuck?


Spinal chord injury from a tumor. It left me with lack of proprioception
which is why I have trouble standing. In order to stand, I have to
either see the ground or hang onto something.


Yikes! You sound like you are handling it better than I probably would. Have
you considered an SCT or MCT scope? Even a 5" is pretty portable, and with
wedge, the eyepiece doesn't move around a whole lot.

Hang in there on the camping. You're bound to hit some better weather.

Clear Skies!

Chuck Taylor
Do you observe the moon?
Try the Lunar Observing Group
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/lunar-observing/


  #6  
Old August 9th 03, 07:19 AM
Ron B[ee]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default A tale of a small telescope.

Hello there Chuck,

It pains me to hear of your condition. I hope you get better and better
as time goes.

When I read that you fell off your chair, I thought maybe your 90mm
(I'm assuming it's an f/11 achromat) might be fairly long and still
not easy to handle. I was going to suggest something like an 85mm
TV-85 APO, very small, very short and very light. But if you're quite
happy with your 90mm, I'm happy for you. Small scopes can give
lots and lots of enjoyment.

Ron B[ee]
--------------
"Chuck Simmons" wrote in message
...
I will never be able to stand while observing again. Thus a refractor
with equatorial mount on an adjustable tripod seemed right. I decided on
a 90mm as the largest I would be able to set up alone. 90mm is also fine
for casual car camping. I ordered the telescope, a longer focal length
eyepiece to go with the two supplied and a 2X barlow.

My friend and I took it on our next camping trip. Jupiter and Saturn
were up then and we found the telescope satisfactory. Later I was trying
for some other objects but fell off of the lawn chair while trying to
use the finder. The finder was not very satisfactory for me. Another
problem was packing and carrying all the bits and pieces.


In spite of the rain and other difficulties, I am quite pleased with the
90mm. Not only is the telescope as I have equiped it an excellent
beginners telescope, it is easy to use while camping and meets my
special needs due to my handicap. I shall surely have some clear nights
with it eventually since my friend and I will camp as late as mid
November if there is little snow.

Chuck
--




  #7  
Old August 9th 03, 07:23 AM
Al
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default A tale of a small telescope.

Chuck,

You didn't mention if your condition is likely to improve, but I certainly
wish that it does!

While I was reading your post, I thought about an item I saw several months
ago that may be useful for you...if money is no object. It's a motorized
GOTO chair. (I believe it's made in Australia and I think there's a review
of it on www.cloudynights.com . I don't remember the cost of the item but
I do remember it's expensive. Nevertheless, you sit in this chair, which
can be set in any position, and you simply push buttons. A large pair of
binoculars (100mm or more) is mounted on the chair and held in position so
you can easily view in any seated position. The chair then slews to any
celestial object you select, moving the chair with you in it. Anyway, check
cloudy nights, as you may get a kick out of looking at the chair even if you
don't buy.

Al


"Chuck Simmons" wrote in message
...
Nine months ago, I became handicapped in such a way that I can't carry
much and can't walk without a cane. With the Mars opposition coming, I
had thought of asking my brother to ship the parts of my 8" to me but I
was forced to drop the idea because I cannot possible assemble it let
alone use it. I dropped the idea of a telescope at all then.

A friend of mine with whom I had sometimes backpacked in better times
encouraged me to go camping with him. He lives in another city but is
willing to help me out occasionally. I was still using a walker then but
felt it would be nice to get out of the city even if I was tied to the
pickup truck. We were early in the camping season (mid May) so it was
quite cold. My water was frozen when I got up in the morning to make
coffee. This worked out nicely anyway and I soon hatched another
telescope idea.

I will never be able to stand while observing again. Thus a refractor
with equatorial mount on an adjustable tripod seemed right. I decided on
a 90mm as the largest I would be able to set up alone. 90mm is also fine
for casual car camping. I ordered the telescope, a longer focal length
eyepiece to go with the two supplied and a 2X barlow.

My friend and I took it on our next camping trip. Jupiter and Saturn
were up then and we found the telescope satisfactory. Later I was trying
for some other objects but fell off of the lawn chair while trying to
use the finder. The finder was not very satisfactory for me. Another
problem was packing and carrying all the bits and pieces.

I decided to solve those problems and ordered a padded bag for the
telescope, an accessory case and a reflex finder. My friend solved my
chair problem by buying an excellent camp chair for me to use.

But the camping trips since then have been disappointing. We have ended
up after dinner sitting in the back of the truck during thunder storms.
It grows cold even in summer at 8,000 or 9,000 feet so it is very hard
to get up at 2AM or so when it clears. We haven't succeeded.

Tomorrow after we finish my shopping for food and variuos drugs and
medical junk, we will head for what we call the "telescope meadow" where
we once used the telescope. It is a large meadow with a nice place on
the edge to camp under trees. We are hoping for our first view of Mars
along with some other objects. Too bad it is not dark time. Perhaps I
will be lucky and it won't rain.

The next time we would ordinarily camp would be the last week of August.
However, we have been invited for the whole week to the observatory of a
friend of mine. The place is about 150 miles from where I live so I
rarely am able to go there. There are several larger telescops though I
will have tremendous trouble using them because I cannot stand for more
than a minute or so in daylight and cannot stand at all in the dark. I
may bring the 90mm and a camp chair even to this week at the observatory
so I will have more to do.

In spite of the rain and other difficulties, I am quite pleased with the
90mm. Not only is the telescope as I have equiped it an excellent
beginners telescope, it is easy to use while camping and meets my
special needs due to my handicap. I shall surely have some clear nights
with it eventually since my friend and I will camp as late as mid
November if there is little snow.

Chuck
--
... The times have been,
That, when the brains were out,
the man would die. ... Macbeth
Chuck Simmons



  #8  
Old August 9th 03, 07:38 AM
Chris Knight
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default A tale of a small telescope.

I can remember going to Mt. Kobau in the early '90's On of the founding
members of the star party...Peter something-or-other (his last name escapes
me), had a debilitating disease, such that, like you, he could not stand at
the eyepiece. I think it was ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). Anyways, he built
a scope in such a manner, that no matter where it was pointed, he could look
through an eyepiece mounted on the altitude axis. I know there is a name
for this type of scope, but that too, escapes me. Perhaps this may help
you, if other members of this group can help me out with the details.

Chris


"Chuck Simmons" wrote in message
...
Nine months ago, I became handicapped in such a way that I can't carry
much and can't walk without a cane. With the Mars opposition coming, I
had thought of asking my brother to ship the parts of my 8" to me but I
was forced to drop the idea because I cannot possible assemble it let
alone use it. I dropped the idea of a telescope at all then.

A friend of mine with whom I had sometimes backpacked in better times
encouraged me to go camping with him. He lives in another city but is
willing to help me out occasionally. I was still using a walker then but
felt it would be nice to get out of the city even if I was tied to the
pickup truck. We were early in the camping season (mid May) so it was
quite cold. My water was frozen when I got up in the morning to make
coffee. This worked out nicely anyway and I soon hatched another
telescope idea.

I will never be able to stand while observing again. Thus a refractor
with equatorial mount on an adjustable tripod seemed right. I decided on
a 90mm as the largest I would be able to set up alone. 90mm is also fine
for casual car camping. I ordered the telescope, a longer focal length
eyepiece to go with the two supplied and a 2X barlow.

My friend and I took it on our next camping trip. Jupiter and Saturn
were up then and we found the telescope satisfactory. Later I was trying
for some other objects but fell off of the lawn chair while trying to
use the finder. The finder was not very satisfactory for me. Another
problem was packing and carrying all the bits and pieces.

I decided to solve those problems and ordered a padded bag for the
telescope, an accessory case and a reflex finder. My friend solved my
chair problem by buying an excellent camp chair for me to use.

But the camping trips since then have been disappointing. We have ended
up after dinner sitting in the back of the truck during thunder storms.
It grows cold even in summer at 8,000 or 9,000 feet so it is very hard
to get up at 2AM or so when it clears. We haven't succeeded.

Tomorrow after we finish my shopping for food and variuos drugs and
medical junk, we will head for what we call the "telescope meadow" where
we once used the telescope. It is a large meadow with a nice place on
the edge to camp under trees. We are hoping for our first view of Mars
along with some other objects. Too bad it is not dark time. Perhaps I
will be lucky and it won't rain.

The next time we would ordinarily camp would be the last week of August.
However, we have been invited for the whole week to the observatory of a
friend of mine. The place is about 150 miles from where I live so I
rarely am able to go there. There are several larger telescops though I
will have tremendous trouble using them because I cannot stand for more
than a minute or so in daylight and cannot stand at all in the dark. I
may bring the 90mm and a camp chair even to this week at the observatory
so I will have more to do.

In spite of the rain and other difficulties, I am quite pleased with the
90mm. Not only is the telescope as I have equiped it an excellent
beginners telescope, it is easy to use while camping and meets my
special needs due to my handicap. I shall surely have some clear nights
with it eventually since my friend and I will camp as late as mid
November if there is little snow.

Chuck
--
... The times have been,
That, when the brains were out,
the man would die. ... Macbeth
Chuck Simmons



  #9  
Old August 9th 03, 08:06 AM
Ratboy99
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default A tale of a small telescope.

So, um, he's going to build a goto chair with a stationary eyepiece and a C5
and take it out camping?

Sheesh!

I'm sticking with the 90mm suggestion, the one he already bought. Chuck, It's
great to see that you got back into the hobby.
rat
~( );

email: remove 'et' from .com(et) in above email address
  #10  
Old August 9th 03, 02:01 PM
Chuck Simmons
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default A tale of a small telescope.

Chuck Taylor wrote:

"Chuck Simmons" wrote in message
...
Ratboy99 wrote:

Nine months ago, I became handicapped in such a way that I can't carry
much and can't walk without a cane.

What the hell happened, Chuck?


Spinal chord injury from a tumor. It left me with lack of proprioception
which is why I have trouble standing. In order to stand, I have to
either see the ground or hang onto something.


Yikes! You sound like you are handling it better than I probably would. Have
you considered an SCT or MCT scope? Even a 5" is pretty portable, and with
wedge, the eyepiece doesn't move around a whole lot.

Hang in there on the camping. You're bound to hit some better weather.


I developed a prejudice against SCTs (which really aren't) when I was
involved in trying to make a Celestron 14 capable of use as a remote
automated telescope. The project was a failure and the Celestron 14 has
not been used in nearly 10 years. The mount for it was redesigned to
carry usable optics on it and the mount has been running automated
southern sky surveys unattended for the past 7 or 8 years. Stable
mechanically good optical support is key to automation. I really have a
bad taste in my mouth from the Celestron though its failure made
possible a real scientific program which is ongoing.

I didn't even look at SCTs in making my selection.

Chuck
--
... The times have been,
That, when the brains were out,
the man would die. ... Macbeth
Chuck Simmons
 




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