Author Topic: Introductions  (Read 8518 times)

BarnabyWilde

  • Observer
  • Posts: 2
    • View Profile
Introductions
« on: September 27, 2014, 02:11:21 PM »
Hi everyone,

I'm new here! Per a quick check with John, I'm starting an "introductions" thread.

My name is Mig, I currently live in Sunnyvale and work as a CRM admin at Shutterfly (the photo gift place). I've had an interest in astronomy since I was in third grade, in the 80s. It started when my grandmother got me a subscription to the now-somewhat-defunct Odyssey Magazine. (It still exists, but from a different publisher and it's now a general science format rather than just astronomy.) The mascot, Ulysses 4-11, actually answered one of my questions that I'd written in. I started with an Edmund Scientific 3" reflector on a horrible, nearly unuseable mount.

As Halley's Comet mania built, I saved and saved and saved for a Coulter Optical 13.1" Odyssey. After my parents saw me forego comic books and slurpees for over a year to save for this, they stepped in and helped me with the purchase. I then found myself on the now-infamous 12+ month waiting list... it was looking like I wouldn't get it in time to see the comet. At one of the Coulter star parties, I was talking to a veteran Coulter employee, Joe Neu. (I wonder whatever happened to him... he had a license plate that said "NGC 4565"! There's a picture in the Dickinson book that I swear is him.)  He told me that while the waiting list for the standard blue Zolatone paint dobs was long, they had a random can of white Zolatone paint and had painted 12 of them white. They would only sell them in-person, not via mail order. And if I was up for taking a white one, I could have it immediately. So I went for it! The pic (attached) is from 9th grade, I can tell by what I'm wearing.

A year or two later, I expanded my eyepieces to include a 32mm Erfle (the Coulter guys loved these) and the ultimate luxury of that time-- especially for a kid my age-- an old school 13mm Nagler, which at the time was the only such eyepiece of that kind. I loved that thing. Dropped it once and I still remember the horrific feeling!

I then spent many evenings in my parents' driveway with "the baby" as my parents referred to the scope. From the southerly latitude of San Diego, I was especially happy to be able to see Centaurus A and Omega Centauri. And once or twice, was barely able to see Canopus.

Into college, I'd haul the scope out to the desert over summer breaks to visit new college friends and observe there. I finally brought the scope up to college, and observed with it once before it sadly perished in my friend's garage fire. (I still have the mirror.)

I've been itching to replace it for years, but debated endlessly on what to get, and what the budget should be. I'd been hankering for an SCT/equatorial mount combo, but in order to gratify my itch sooner and get back into it, I recently got an Orion 10" dob. I just took it out for the first time and easily found "old friends" after all these years. (Some summer Messier objects.) I'm going to be acquiring some fancy eyepieces; then I'll probably step up to an SCT (either instead of, or in addition to).

The whole hobby has changed so much in recent years-- so many amazing eyepieces, photography is available to the masses, and there are things like internet forums that didn't exist back then. I'm happy to find this group here, and look forward to observing with you all soon!

Michael Logan

  • Observer
  • Posts: 1
    • View Profile
Re: Introductions
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2014, 04:01:45 PM »
Hiya, Mig!

Thanks for starting the thread - I'll continue with my own intro. My name is Michael, I live in San Francisco, and I work for an information security company as an Enterprise Solution Architect. I've also had an interest in astronomy since a very young age, but haven't had, nor taken, the time to explore it until now. My interest is primarily deep-space astrophotography and I've equipped myself with some Orion gear: 10" Newtonian Astrograph Reflector, Atlas EQ-G Mount, 50mm guide scope with autoguider, and a few other bits and pieces. I built my own battery box using components from Fry's in Palo Alto. My Canon EOS60D seemed like it'd serve a great purpose for the near-term, tho' a CCD is probably in my future.

The only thing that I'm missing right now is experience, and I'm still struggling with a pretty steep learning curve. I'd love to meet up with anyone who's got both time and interest in helping a newbie capture some spectacular images. I'll bring the pizza and beer :-)

Happy viewing!

TJSwift

  • Observer
  • Posts: 1
    • View Profile
Re: Introductions
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2015, 05:18:42 PM »
Hi, All,
My name's Ted; I live in Davis, CA, a bit west of Sacramento. I've been interested in astronomy since childhood- my dad made a pretty nice 3.5" f/~10 refractor from mail-order parts, and we had relatively dark skies where I grew up in eastern Washington. In high school I went to an OMSI astronomy camp in eastern Oregon, with even darker skies. I didn't do much astronomy during the 10 years I lived in Palo Alto, other than getting up on the ridge to find faint, fuzzy Comet Halley, and the annual Perseid meteor shower. Skies in Davis aren't all that dark, with Sacramento's light dome adding to the east, but a few miles out of town, the sky gets usefully dark. When I got back into astronomy after grad school, I looked around for a "citizen science" topic that I could contribute to under suburban skies. Super faint variable star photometry seemed like it would be frustrating. But then I discovered occultation astronomy, in which some body -such as an asteroid- passes between the viewer and a distant star. I hooked into the International Occultation Timing Association (IOTA), where predictions of upcoming events are available for main belt asteroids, Trojans, Trans-Neptunian Objects (TNOs), and lunar events. Of course, I'm also interested in visual astronomy, and I've dabbled with some astrophotography. I had fun being part of the observing team for the (90) Antiope occultation event in July 2011 (Antiope is a binary: two 90 km-diameter mountains waltzing around each other , and the annular solar eclipse and Venus transit in 2012. I also try to support public education of astronomy any time an opportunity comes up. I'd say I'm an intermediate experienced amateur, with plenty left to learn. My main scope is a 2nd-hand Meade LX5 8" f/10 Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope (SCT). I also have my dad's 3.5" refractor and a gifted Celestron C5. And my kids have an Edmund 3.5" Newtonian Astroscan, and a Meade ETX-70 f/5 refractor. Clear skies!

Lumpy Darkness

  • Guest
Re: Introductions
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2015, 05:59:51 PM »
Hi Ted, welcome to TAC.  Folks from Sac and Dais areas used to go to Esparto for near town observing, and either Blue Canyon or Ice House for dark skies.  Shneor Sherman is probably still an active observer in your area, very experienced.  Randy Muller keeps threatening to get out observing again soon, too.  He's in Roseville.  It would be great to see TAC regain its activities out your way!

remotenemesis

  • Observer
  • Posts: 2
    • View Profile
Re: Introductions
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2015, 07:36:05 PM »
Hi there!

Andy from Fremont here. I've been learning how to use my first telescope, a Celestron NexStar 130SLT since mid-may. The weather in the SF East Bay has been quite cloudy at night since then, which has made observing somewhat of an intermittent experience. My first views of the moon have been absolutely magical and I've been taking advantage of Jupiter being readily visible to work on seeing rather than looking. So far, I've been treated to nice views of the darker cloud bands on Jupiter with a 2xBarlow and the 9mm EP the scope ships with.  I'm looking forward to picking up a 6mm planetary EP to see how much more wonder my Newtonian can produce.

I'm also starting my hunt for locations with less light pollution than outside my front lawn and will be heading up to Montebello Open Space Preserve once there's a clear night on the books. I'd love to see some Deep Sky Objects...

The hunt will continue!
« Last Edit: May 30, 2015, 07:49:55 PM by remotenemesis »

mccarthymark

  • Observer
  • Posts: 127
    • View Profile
    • observing blog
Re: Introductions
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2015, 11:48:02 AM »
Welcome Andy.  Nice to see a fellow Fremont resident!  The nightly marine layer has been driving me nuts.  I'm sure you've found the observing sites section, which is very helpful.  Aside from Montebello, nearby Henry Coe is also good, as is Del Valle.  A bit further out is Fremont Peak.  Hope to meet you out there sometime.
Mark

remotenemesis

  • Observer
  • Posts: 2
    • View Profile
Re: Introductions
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2015, 10:07:58 PM »
Thanks for the welcome Mark. Looking forward to getting out to one of these sites soon!

bigfatdaddy

  • Observer
  • Posts: 1
    • View Profile
Re: Introductions
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2015, 08:26:07 PM »
This is pretty great. I'm John from San Jose. I'm a chief engineer at General Dynamics in Sunnyvale. Just getting started in AP. I own an Atlas EQ-G, Canon T3i (that is slated to be modded), A T6S for my everyday photography, and a ST80 to learn how to operate everything else with.

I've built a few Newts (6" F8, 8" F6 and a 12" F4) that are all now broken back down. I did them to practise and to see where the pitfalls are.

My observing site is my driveway and it is in contention for the Worst Observing Site on the Planet Award. My house blocks the West, A huge tree blocks the west. Polaris is barely observable above my neighbo's house and the south is somewhat visible. I really need a site nearby where I can train and not be hassled on the weekends.

Any suggestions?

bfd

DDK

  • Observer
  • Posts: 359
    • View Profile
Re: Introductions
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2015, 01:49:06 AM »
bfd - what a moniker.
You have a wide choice of sites in the area. Do check out the list on this very forum. From the main page, you can see the link titled Observing Sites
http://observers.org/index.php/board,14.0.html
See you in the dark!
TAC - astro anarchy at work <*>

hr

  • Observer
  • Posts: 1
    • View Profile
Re: Introductions
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2015, 11:18:16 AM »
Hi there,

New here as well. I'm H├ęctor and I've been interested in astronomy since a very young age, but never really got into the hobby until very recently -- I once asked for a telescope as a kid, and received a terrestrial refractor that was not of great use for astronomical observing, which kind of turned me off the whole thing for a couple decades. Recently I started researching telescopes and purchased a Celestron NexStar 8SE SCT which I've enjoyed using from my suburban deck. I live in the Bay Area and would like to take out the telescope to a darker sky area soon, and hopefully make it out to a star party soon!

StacyJo

  • Observer
  • Posts: 3
    • View Profile
Re: Introductions
« Reply #10 on: December 24, 2016, 09:07:40 PM »
Hi All,

After many years, a few different laptops and OS's, finally figured out how to get back on TAC (or TRACK LOL).

Stacy Jo McDermott-Armijo
mid 50's
Originally joined TAC about 2000'ish
Equipment: 80mm StellarVue Nighthawk Refractor, Skywatcher 150mm Tabletop Dob and Orion XX12i Truss Tube Dob (yet to see first light as of 12/24/16).
Love everything about astronomy, figuring out how to outwit, outplay and outlast light pollution, married to a wonderful person - who is finding out that astronomy is cool, and! looking forward to getting back to getting out more since I've cut the corporate 9-5 cord...

Clear skies y'all!