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Thread: Mistakes.. contribute freely.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2004

    Mistakes.. contribute freely.

    Often asked and seen frequently are questions of what equipment should I get...

    Here I open my mouth and talk briefly of thing NOT to do..

    and I must add quickly that as my knowledge is first hand..

    but the choices were not mine to make.. and we find the costly foolishness is funny... now.

    We bought a 'home made 22 inch dobi'.. and soon found the 12 foot ladder was a issue...

    We also found it nearly useless as a telescope.. only just useful as a wide field platform..

    A sad wast of our limited funds.. Its lucky to be used twice a year.... BIG Oops.

    My work took me out of the district often.

    I came home to this monster error others made and acted out. and now we are thinking of ...

    does any one want? NO, you do not. and we should not have.and wont again.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Then one evening at the observatory a fellow said... " Wow look at all the dust on the mirror.."

    and next minute he had a rag and some surgical meth ( I said NOooo. that's a very bad idea guys...)

    ..and 'Presto'... we soon had a un mirrored mirror. "Oh you idiot thats going to cost us a resurface job..."

    and it did.. and we lived happily ever after.. and they leave the mirrors alone now.. Whew !

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Bought a 10" dob as my second scope. I call it "the backbreaker," but still lug it outside to quasi-urban skies, where the LM is ~2.5. If not for the Orion nebula and a few open clusters, this thing would be pretty dusty. Should have stuck with the original plan to get a new mount for my 4.5", so I don't have to fight with burned out motors to get the damn thing to move.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    WA state, USA - Seattle area
    I've got a 10" dob and I don't consider it much of a 'backbreaker', the size/weight isn't much of an issue for me. Try it this time of year in Leo and Virgo, you'll see plenty of galaxies that are difficult at best with a 4.5". In fact, I had a tough time with my 8" seeing very many of the galaxies in Virgo. The 10" brings them out nicely.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    In order to assist the uninformed 'NEW' astronomers.. Come on my fellow observers.. fess up.

    Fill this page 'pronto' It is my experience that many astronomicle observatories have reams of foolishness to share..

    or am I almost alone in my observations.. Like this one;

    Four men and a 10 inch dobi in a fortunately large old car.. The Police officer was only doing his job,

    but insisted we assemble it to show him it was not a cannon. He now has joined our society and is a keen observer...

    and at last contact he owns three rocket launchers and mortar cannons himself...

    Dig deep my fellow astronomers and share the lessons learned..

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Not exactly a mistake but a fiasco. Back in the mid 60's our club did grazing occultation work for the Naval Observatory to better determine the moon's orbit in preparation for the Apollo missions. One night I left town heading to our appointed meet up location then to go on to the occultation area to set up our observation timing line. No GPS, just recorders and WWV short wave time signals so relied on topographic maps as elevation was critical as well as longitude and latitude. The occultation was at about 3:30 a.m. so I was leaving about 1 a.m. to have plenty of time to find the locations and set up for the timings. I hadn't gotten out of town when a cop car pulled me over. Seems a tail light burned out. Cop saw it burn out and pulled me over saying it was illegal to drive without one. Of course who carries a spare. He gave me a defect ticket that allowed me only to drive directly home and gave me 10 days to have a mechanic report the light as fixed. I continued on my way telling the cop that was on my way home. Not but a few miles out of town a state trooper pulls me over for the same reason and again the same result. I continue "home". Now on a side road I'm pulled over by a county deputy. Same result and I continue "home". Meet with the others and we are driving when we drive through a small town. Town's cop pulls me over and the rest stop as well. Cop went ballistic over that thinking we were some gang. Eventually they went on without me. After a lot of fast talking I got yet another defect ticket and went to catch up. Got there too late but didn't matter we were clouded out. Everyone made for home. On the way, in a different county another deputy pulled me over, yet another defect ticket. One more county later same again. I couldn't avoid a town and yep their cop was on duty. This happened 10 times before I got back to my town! Fortunately in those days there was no communication and no one knew of the other tickets. Back in town however I hit the same cop at the same corner who gave me ticket #1. That time it wasn't a defect ticket, I got another of those (now 11) too but also a real one for not going straight home. Turned out this was St. Patrick's day (well a few hours after). I had left after the 1 a.m. bar closing and all cops were on duty for drunks! I found every one. My corner garage was a bit ticked filling out 11 forms that it was fixed. By law he couldn't charge for them but it took him a lot of time.

    Good thing no one processing the defect tickets checked closely or the time and jurisdictions would have given away I wasn't going "home". I was careful to mail them in mostly a day apart in reverse order of getting them just in case.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Depew, NY
    I don't have a telescope, but I did ruin/provide entertainment at a star party.

    I was looking at the crescent moon through a friends telescope. As I turned away from the telescope I stumbled and poked myself in the eye on the eye piece. Or a screw, I swear it felt like a screw. Between my flailing and the telescope owner trying to stop me from tripping on the tripod, I managed to put on a dance display that would have rivalled the most intricate mating ritual in the animal kingdom. With a telescope...

    "You're only given one little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it." Robin Williams.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    A dark sky site and a star party, would you might think be a astronomers place to excel and relax...

    Not so I learned this night.. Hot coffee was no help..

    Some miles into the countryside and a gaggle of cars with telescopes being assembled in the dark..

    Fumbling about with intricate equipment when you can not actually see.. anything..

    Oh yes a few of the better experienced have those classy little red LED headband lights..

    Yet it was these same fellows who were loosing their decorum.. and the language was shockingly hard..

    I have learned that its better to let your sight dark adjust. After about twenty mins., you can see.

    and keeping it simple really does pay.. This night was so funny it hurt..

    Unfortunately this fellow did manage to break his mirror. and he did it thus;

    He had assembled a truss tube of what resembled a pile of sticks. Lots of little wing nuts and small parts..

    When assembled a 12 inch reflector with motor driven 'go to'. Not to be, this night..

    As he fitted the stylish rotating ring that supported the secondary mirror and eye piece holder

    a what I describe as a awful 'crack' was heard... shortly followed by a mumbling and muffled

    " delete expletives " use your own words... they were shocking and ugly...

    and only after some light was thrown on could we see the real disaster.. followed by more language..

    He had lost some balance..and stepped into his scope structure. Rendering it into a pile of kindling...

    While attempting to regain his balance and neatly put his weight in that foot which was now on the mirror..

    We all abandoned the 'dark' and lots of little lights were now in use.. and the extent of the destruction was apparent..

    The lesson learned that night was this.. What you can do at home is not related to the reality of the dark sky site.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Going to the Oregon star party. Central Oregon, dark, 5,000 feet up.

    Discovering the altitude was making me sick. Difficulty breathing, unable to stay warm, unable to sleep.

    Going home.

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