Telescopes open to the Public

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SpaceBurger

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And I mean for actual viewing? Even with some sort of appointment?

Im so bummed that all the observatories I've heard of wont let a single person near the eyepiece.

They could make millions just selling time to average joes who want to look at the planets for a little bit...

Is there any observatory on the planet with a sizeable telescope that allows people to actually use it?

It always cracks me up when I search Google and read that theyre "open to the public". Yes. You get to walk in. Look up at the telescope. And leave.

Fascinating!
 
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crazyeddie

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SpaceBurger":2bmv0szh said:
And I mean for actual viewing? Even with some sort of appointment?

Im so bummed that all the observatories I've heard of wont let a single person near the eyepiece.

They could make millions just selling time to average joes who want to look at the planets for a little bit...

Is there any observatory on the planet with a sizeable telescope that allows people to actually use it?

It always cracks me up when I search Google and read that theyre "open to the public". Yes. You get to walk in. Look up at the telescope. And leave.

Fascinating!
How big a telescope do you need? If you hoping for one of the giant reflectors, you're out of luck. Even professional astronomers have to sometimes wait for years to get observing time on them, and they are not set up for visual observations in any case.

Here in California, there are lots of opportunities for public viewing through instruments that amateurs could have only dreamed about just a few decades ago. The Laguna Mountain observatory has a dedicated 21" Cassegrain reflector used only for visitors, housed in it's own dome. The San Diego Astronomy Association, of which I am a member, has a 22-inch Lipp Ritchey-Chretien reflector which is open to the public on certain public viewing nights. In Northern California, the Lick Observatory allows the public to view through the famous 36 in refractor on summer nights, and the Chabot Observatory has three telescopes open to the public ranging in size from a 36" reflector to a 20" refractor to an antique 8" Alvin Clarke refractor, built in 1883. In Southern California, the 12-inch Zeiss telescope at the Griffith Park Observatory is the most looked-through telescope in the world.

And then there are star parties, where you sometimes see an amateur with a monster dob in the 20"-30" range or bigger.
 
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SpaceTas

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It would help saying which city you are in?
There are opportunities in most places to view through medium sized telescopes.
Find your local astronomical society.

I have been working with a 1 meter (40") telescope for many years. In 10+ years I've only looked through it once. The sombrero hat galaxy. That was when all the detectors failed and had to be taken off the telescope and we could find an eyepiece. The view was not that great. It sure was a lot easier to see than say through a 10" telescope, but nowhere near the detail as pictures, and off course no colour.

There are several reason why large telescopes are not open to the public. They cost a lot to run (thousands an hour) and the funding for them is received for doing research. And it's not just a case of popping in an eyepiece. The camera's or other gear is complicated/delicate and so hard to remove. (eg our gear has 2 pump hoses and a 26 pin connector, power leads etc). Next getting to the focus is difficult to impossible in most positions on the sky. For us we has to go 3 meters into the air on a hoist, which could not be moved around the dome. On the 4 m AAT the only place to put an eyepiece is up in the cage, at the top end of the telescope. Fancy a ride in dark box, tipping at strange angles way off the ground. Of course a view is not certain because of the weather.

How much are you willing to pay?
 
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adrenalynn

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>> working with a 1 meter (40") telescope

That's a "new math" conversion, right? ;)
 
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LahTera

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Any star parties or telescopes in Anchorage, Alaska? I saw a beautiful view of Orion early this morning around 5AM without a telescope. I've never viewed the sky through a telescope and I just know I'd love it. Unfortunately, economics these days make buying one impossible for me.

Anybody from Anchorage viewing the stars? :geek:

LahTera
 
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believer_since_1956

Guest
SpaceBurger":1fem6b7h said:
And I mean for actual viewing? Even with some sort of appointment?

Im so bummed that all the observatories I've heard of wont let a single person near the eyepiece.

They could make millions just selling time to average joes who want to look at the planets for a little bit...

Is there any observatory on the planet with a sizeable telescope that allows people to actually use it?

It always cracks me up when I search Google and read that theyre "open to the public". Yes. You get to walk in. Look up at the telescope. And leave.

Fascinating!
Cincinnati Observatory Center is open every Thursday (except first Thursday and Friday of the month), Friday and Saturday for public viewing with the 2nd oldest telescope in the world. An 11 inch Merz and mauler 1842 refractors. Additionally the astronomy club sets up our telescopes twice a month at Stonelick State park in Southwest Ohio

www.Cincinnatiobservatorycenter.org
 
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SteveCNC

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adrenalynn":24e3fju0 said:
>> working with a 1 meter (40") telescope

That's a "new math" conversion, right? ;)
What do you need (39.37") ?
 
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SpaceTas

Guest
Actually the mirror was made as a 40" so it's a tad over 1m but close enough.
 
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nailpounder

Guest
SpaceBurger":2ckcz9nm said:
And I mean for actual viewing? Even with some sort of appointment?

Im so bummed that all the observatories I've heard of wont let a single person near the eyepiece.

They could make millions just selling time to average joes who want to look at the planets for a little bit...

Is there any observatory on the planet with a sizeable telescope that allows people to actually use it?

It always cracks me up when I search Google and read that theyre "open to the public". Yes. You get to walk in. Look up at the telescope. And leave.

Fascinating!
Don't expect to have these "prima donna" scopes at your beckoning. Furthermore don't expect these scopes to have
any more capability than your own. I've had the "privilege" of looking through the 12" refractor at Griffith Park.
It was terrible! My own 10" newt was far superior. Furthermore I've been to Star Parties put on by the VCAS(Ventura County Astronomical Society) and my personal "newt" was deemed FAR superior to those telescopes that were THOUSANDS of dollars more costly, and that was for the mount alone!! At this particular "EVENT" that I participated, twenty plus persons told me that MY scope was FAR superior, and by the end of the evening, had a line a half hour long waiting to have a view. I was quite suprised at the least. I am a complete AMATEUR at this, however, I invested in superior optics, and the end result was proof. I am a carpenter, and if astronomy is your bag, don't cut yourself short.
For a thousand bucks you can see the universe. If you or ANYONE would like to use my scope, I would GLADLY oblige, and would assume (and hope) there are many others who would do the same... give me a jingle when skies are clear!
.......................Al
 
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SpaceTas

Guest
Large telescopes let you see fainter objects if they are in dark skies. However the detail you see is limited by the unsteady atmosphere. Generally the patches of steady air are 12 inches. So for a 40" diameter telescope there are about 7 spread across the surface of the mirror. This pattern changes as patches move through the line-of-sight of the telescope causing stars to twinkle. Each patch gives a slightly differently focused image, in a slightly different position. These 0overlaping images change all the time. Often the moon looks like you are seeing from underwater. So for things like planets, Moon, double stars the sharpest images are seen through telescopes about the size of the air "patch" ie round 10-12-16". How clear an object looks is called seeing.

So I am not surprised that the view through a 10" telescope can look sharper than one through a larger telescope.
 
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nailpounder

Guest
SpaceTas":gvbmb5ys said:
Large telescopes let you see fainter objects if they are in dark skies. However the detail you see is limited by the unsteady atmosphere. Generally the patches of steady air are 12 inches. So for a 40" diameter telescope there are about 7 spread across the surface of the mirror. This pattern changes as patches move through the line-of-sight of the telescope causing stars to twinkle. Each patch gives a slightly differently focused image, in a slightly different position. These 0overlaping images change all the time. Often the moon looks like you are seeing from underwater. So for things like planets, Moon, double stars the sharpest images are seen through telescopes about the size of the air "patch" ie round 10-12-16". How clear an object looks is called seeing.

So I am not surprised that the view through a 10" telescope can look sharper than one through a larger telescope.
Tas, I couldn't agree with you more. Size is everything IN DARK SKIES. However we live in a world that does not cooperate completely (dark skies, or good seeing) . Of course your mirror has something to do with it also! There are parts of my mirror that I prefer to use. I don't believe anyone with a significant time behind a lense would argue. I don't know if it's because of collimation (which I'm a moron) or that part of my mirror is just ground better. I surely would like to think that there are parts of my mirror that are better, to justify my collimation ability! :D
 
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adrenalynn

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I suspect the larger difference is learning to observe from the corners of your eyes but still inside the edges of your eyepiece (which, unless you're rockin' some of the Televue HD or similar, tend to get a little fuzzy at the edges of the grind.) Our peripheral vision is more sensitive to changes in light and motion, it's a natural selection.
 
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