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  Amateur astronomy, telescopes and retirement

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Author Topic:   Amateur astronomy, telescopes and retirement
Michael Davis
Member

Posts: 353
From: Houston, Texas
Registered: Aug 2002

posted 06-30-2013 03:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael Davis   Click Here to Email Michael Davis     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Once upon a time I was a Physics and Astronomy major (and a bad Math double major to boot) and had the keys to the observatory at my university. I also had 60mm refractor scopes while growing-up. Since then I have completely lost track of the state-of-the art in amateur astronomy. A couple of questions:
  • If money were not an object, what amateur telescope would you buy and how would it be outfitted? My experience predated both computer tracking and charge coupled devices. So I would really like to hear just what the trends are now.

  • Where in the U.S. would you ideally relocate to for the best amateur astronomy viewing? I am not much for cold weather, so my first thoughts were New Mexico or Arizona.
l have seen the outstanding work done by cS members in putting telescopes to use, so any thoughts are appreciated.

mode1charlie
Member

Posts: 424
From: Honolulu, HI, USA
Registered: Sep 2010

posted 06-30-2013 03:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mode1charlie   Click Here to Email mode1charlie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Michael Davis:
Where in the U.S. would you ideally relocate to for the best amateur astronomy viewing? I am not much for cold weather, so my first thoughts were New Mexico or Arizona.
I'm unqualified to answer your technical questions about telescopes, but on the subject of locations don't forget Hawaii. Of the main islands, the Big Island probably has the best tradeoff between good locations and access to creature comforts. And of course there's a world-class astronomy community based there.

Jurg Bolli
Member

Posts: 520
From: Albuquerque, NM
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 06-30-2013 06:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jurg Bolli   Click Here to Email Jurg Bolli     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Come to NM, we have great weather, and very dark skies.

GoesTo11
Member

Posts: 1025
From: Denver, CO USA
Registered: Jun 2004

posted 06-30-2013 06:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GoesTo11   Click Here to Email GoesTo11     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For a combination of comfort, civilization, and dark skies, it's hard to beat the higher elevations of the American southwest, esp. Tucson or Santa Fe.

randy
Member

Posts: 1287
From: West Jordan, Utah USA
Registered: Dec 1999

posted 06-30-2013 09:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for randy   Click Here to Email randy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The desert west of Salt Lake City is perfect for observing. As far as telescopes go, I like my Meade 4" refractor.

SpaceAholic
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Posts: 3023
From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-30-2013 10:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We have a pretty significant density of amateur and professional observatories in my neighborhood including the Large Binocular Telescope ...this is a very astronomy friendly area with strict ordnances to protect dark skies.

Just down the road is a privately owned 32 inch RCOS, another with a 40" newtonian... and of course many of the mirrors produced for world class observatories are ground about an hour away under the UA stadium.

SpaceAholic
Member

Posts: 3023
From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-30-2013 10:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Michael Davis:
If money were not an object, what amateur telescope would you buy and how would it be outfitted?
Obviously money is an object since its unlikely you can afford to build a 100 meter aperture diffraction limited system.

Primarily into visual or astrophotography? There are a number of good commercial off the shelf options depending on how long you want to wait for production of the primary... you would need to be more specific about intended application before anybody could offer a recommendation.

canyon42
Member

Posts: 170
From: Ohio
Registered: Mar 2006

posted 07-01-2013 08:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for canyon42   Click Here to Email canyon42     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Two main questions arise. First, are you looking for any portability whatsoever or are you talking about something that will be permanently mounted in an observatory setting? Second, what are your main intended purposes for the instrument(s)? Visual observing, remote operation for research projects, deep-sky imaging?

Glint
Member

Posts: 747
From: New Windsor, Maryland USA
Registered: Jan 2004

posted 07-01-2013 10:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Glint   Click Here to Email Glint     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Michael Davis:
  • If money were not an object, what amateur telescope would you buy and how would it be outfitted?

  • Where in the U.S. would you ideally relocate to for the best amateur astronomy viewing?

That depends on what you intend to use it for. Are you planning to observe deep sky, planetary, or solar? Sounds like you're interested in imaging. But do you ever intend to view eyeball to eyepiece?

If it was me, and money was no object, I'd get a 1 meter Ritchey-Chretien telescope on a sturdy mount. Don't forget the observatory because you won't be carting this around.

As far as location, Flagstaff is nice and stays cool even in the summer.

Turns out there's already a telescope like that one at that location.

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