Author Topic: Into The Universe with Stephen Hawking  (Read 1397 times)

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Offline Damian

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Holy heck guy and gals!  If you want your mind-holes blown you need to check out this new series on The Discovery Channel!  It's called Into The Universe with Stephen Hawking, and it's a marveleous examination of the universe by Stephen Hawking's great mind and unparalleled perspective.

The first episode was tackling the possibility of life on other planets, and there is some simplified (but relevant) logic applied as Hawking discusses this possibility.  They use some good analogies in the show to explain some of the more complicated concepts.  And Hawking does a great job of making his complex theories accessible to most everyone without dumbing it down too much.

I'm definitely enamored with this show, and can't wait to get home to watch more!  By the way, the CGI is breathtaking!  I immediately thought of Brian and Karl last night while I was watching.  I think you guys would appreciate the content.

Has anyone watched this show?
"A mind all logic is like a knife all blade. It cuts the hand that wields it." --Rabindranath Tagore

"Me fail English? That's unpossible." --Ralph Wiggum

Offline PPI Brian

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I watched the first episode but I missed it last night. Gotta catch up online later this week.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/g8fI8wdvteU&amp;hl=en_US&amp;fs=1&amp;" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/g8fI8wdvteU&amp;hl=en_US&amp;fs=1&amp;</a>

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/HSHpKkelE5c&amp;hl=en_US&amp;fs=1&amp;" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/HSHpKkelE5c&amp;hl=en_US&amp;fs=1&amp;</a>

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/ntKbZWXgll8&amp;hl=en_US&amp;fs=1&amp;" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/ntKbZWXgll8&amp;hl=en_US&amp;fs=1&amp;</a>

I found the "Fear the Aliens" segment very intriguing:
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/dtceqH9RipY&amp;hl=en_US&amp;fs=1&amp;" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/dtceqH9RipY&amp;hl=en_US&amp;fs=1&amp;</a>
« Last Edit: May 10, 2010, 09:29:29 PM by PPI Brian M »
"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."--Carl Sagan

Offline Damian

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I found that segment interesting as well, and more than a little uncomfortable.  But it's hard to argue with that logic.

Here's a link to the show:  http://dsc.discovery.com/tv/stephen-hawking/
"A mind all logic is like a knife all blade. It cuts the hand that wields it." --Rabindranath Tagore

"Me fail English? That's unpossible." --Ralph Wiggum

Offline PPI Brian

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Awesome.

This show reminds me somewhat of Cosmos:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/3lqsG9_ughU&amp;hl=en_US&amp;fs=1" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/3lqsG9_ughU&amp;hl=en_US&amp;fs=1</a>
"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."--Carl Sagan

Offline PPI Debra

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The timing of "Fear the Aliens" is interesting: it was when the White House announced the space program budget cuts.
"If you're after gettin' the honey, don't go killin' all the bees." -Joe Strummer

Offline PPI Brian

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The timing of "Fear the Aliens" is interesting: it was when the White House announced the space program budget cuts.

Are you suggesting that Obama is in league with the aliens?  ;D
"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."--Carl Sagan

Offline PPI Debra

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The timing of "Fear the Aliens" is interesting: it was when the White House announced the space program budget cuts.

Are you suggesting that Obama is in league with the aliens?  ;D
"If you're after gettin' the honey, don't go killin' all the bees." -Joe Strummer

Offline PPI Debra

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The timing of "Fear the Aliens" is interesting: it was when the White House announced the space program budget cuts.

Are you suggesting that Obama is in league with the aliens?  ;D

LOL!
The "birthers" believe he is one!

I think scientists and astronauts are lobbying to keep funding in the space programs. I'm on their side.
"If you're after gettin' the honey, don't go killin' all the bees." -Joe Strummer

Offline Damian

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I agree with you Debra.  We need that program kept alive.  And who knows, in a thousand years, perhaps we'll be the alien nomads in hulking ships trekking across the universe hunting for resources.   ;)
"A mind all logic is like a knife all blade. It cuts the hand that wields it." --Rabindranath Tagore

"Me fail English? That's unpossible." --Ralph Wiggum

Offline PPI Brian

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The timing of "Fear the Aliens" is interesting: it was when the White House announced the space program budget cuts.

Are you suggesting that Obama is in league with the aliens?  ;D

LOL!
The "birthers" believe he is one!

I think scientists and astronauts are lobbying to keep funding in the space programs. I'm on their side.

If Obama cancels the Constellation program, hundreds of thousands of aerospace workers from coast to coast will lose their jobs. Most of those workers are represented by my union. Here's a clip from our national staff conference in Houston, TX:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/Nzdc4HztMKE&amp;hl=en_US&amp;fs=1&amp;" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/Nzdc4HztMKE&amp;hl=en_US&amp;fs=1&amp;</a>
"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."--Carl Sagan

Offline PPI Debra

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"If you're after gettin' the honey, don't go killin' all the bees." -Joe Strummer

Offline Damian

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That was a great point the gentleman made in the video, about how the space program has given us a number of products and technologies that we rely on today.  Pretty scary stuff, and I wonder what shape the space program will take if left to the commercial sector.
"A mind all logic is like a knife all blade. It cuts the hand that wields it." --Rabindranath Tagore

"Me fail English? That's unpossible." --Ralph Wiggum

Offline PPI Karl

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I've missed too many episodes of this show already.  It was on my list of "must-DVR", and for some reason (gee, I dunno, maybe a hundred and thirty projects in April?!!!) kept me from watching it.  I caught one episode so far.  I think Discovery Channel OnDemand might be archiving them.  I am really looking forward to watching the whole series, though.  (I confess, I'm a little disappointed with Hawking's xenophobic warnings.)
« Last Edit: May 11, 2010, 12:28:44 PM by PPI Karl »
If you want to end your misery, start enjoying it, because there's nothing the universe begrudges more than our enjoyment.

Offline PPI Jason

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I've been so busy I hadn't noticed this show. It will be programmed into the DVR as we speak. Thank you for the heads up  :)
Probably the earliest flyswatters were nothing more than some sort of striking surface attached to the end of a long stick.
-Jack Handey

Offline PPI Tracy

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I've been so busy I hadn't noticed this show. It will be programmed into the DVR as we speak. Thank you for the heads up  :)

Ditto Kiddos!!

ljiljanac

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I've watched this series a number of times.  The History Channel also has a program which airs on Tuesday nights called "The Universe".  Both programs are awesome!  Stephen Hawking adds to it by mere presence alone, but both are fantastic to watch.  I have a story about these shows.........

I FINALLY FINALLY got to take Astronomy 101 in college and was SOOO excited!!  I sat in the front row RIGHT SMACK in front and was nearly falling over in my chair to participate and answer questions.  But...everytime the teacher called on me, my answer was wrong!!  Not only that, suddenly all of my questions were very dumb and a waste of the teacher's time.  I new this because he would got right past my raised hand and visibly cringe when I'd ask a question after that.  This went on for two or three weeks.  He really didn't like me, thought I was stupid, and openly displayed that by rolling his eyes at me and ignoring me as I stood in front of him at his desk before and after class to ask a question.

I went home dejected each day and was extremely bummed out and embarrassed.  THEN!  LO AND BEHOLD, WHAT TO MY WONDERING EYES SHOULD APPEAR!! BUT A UNIVERSE PROGRAM ON T.V.!!!!!!  My love for Astronomy of which I knew SO little about was reaffirmed, and I watched every episode.  This program was my friend because it gave me the answer to my problem in the form of......a question.  Yes, you all know that big unanswered question at the end of every episode that Astronomers and researchers are STILL trying to solve????  YES!!! THAT ONE!!!!  Weeeeelllll..........let me put it to y'all this way.  My Astronomy teacher couldn't answer those questions all semester long either and OBVIOUSLY had never watched the program.  But, in his visible stupor in front of the class each day, he was constantly AMAZED at my questions and gave me an "A" in the class.   In his mind, I would become, nurtured by him, the next famous Astronomer to discover a planet.

Offline PPI Tracy

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Well Lillie....get down with yo bad self! You GO girl!

Offline PPI Brian

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I've watched this series a number of times.  The History Channel also has a program which airs on Tuesday nights called "The Universe".  Both programs are awesome!  Stephen Hawking adds to it by mere presence alone, but both are fantastic to watch.  I have a story about these shows.........

I FINALLY FINALLY got to take Astronomy 101 in college and was SOOO excited!!  I sat in the front row RIGHT SMACK in front and was nearly falling over in my chair to participate and answer questions.  But...everytime the teacher called on me, my answer was wrong!!  Not only that, suddenly all of my questions were very dumb and a waste of the teacher's time.  I new this because he would got right past my raised hand and visibly cringe when I'd ask a question after that.  This went on for two or three weeks.  He really didn't like me, thought I was stupid, and openly displayed that by rolling his eyes at me and ignoring me as I stood in front of him at his desk before and after class to ask a question.

I went home dejected each day and was extremely bummed out and embarrassed.  THEN!  LO AND BEHOLD, WHAT TO MY WONDERING EYES SHOULD APPEAR!! BUT A UNIVERSE PROGRAM ON T.V.!!!!!!  My love for Astronomy of which I knew SO little about was reaffirmed, and I watched every episode.  This program was my friend because it gave me the answer to my problem in the form of......a question.  Yes, you all know that big unanswered question at the end of every episode that Astronomers and researchers are STILL trying to solve????  YES!!! THAT ONE!!!!  Weeeeelllll..........let me put it to y'all this way.  My Astronomy teacher couldn't answer those questions all semester long either and OBVIOUSLY had never watched the program.  But, in his visible stupor in front of the class each day, he was constantly AMAZED at my questions and gave me an "A" in the class.   In his mind, I would become, nurtured by him, the next famous Astronomer to discover a planet.

I'm so sorry to hear that your astronomy teacher made you feel as if you didn't belong in that class, but I'm glad to hear that you got an "A" at the end of the semester. I have been an avid ametuer astonomer all my life, and I spent countless nights as a kid cooking my retinas looking at the full moon with cheap department store newtonian reflectors without the benefit of a lunar filter. (This was back in the day when most children's astronomy books claimed the craters on the moon were caused by volcanoes. To me they looked they were caused by something other than volcanoes, but what the hell did I know?)  ;D I read dozens of astronomy books, and studied star charts, but very little of it seemed to stick. I used to climb on the roof and lie down under the stars and try to make sense out of them, but I couldn't do it. I was just amazed by all the stars.

When I finally got the opportunity to study astronomy in college I was stoked. My astronomy teacher at Southwestern College was the exact opposite of the teacher you described. Our classroom was in the planetarium, and nearly all of our classroom activities invlolved sitting at our desks and being absolutely blown away by the light show.  ;D  It was a great way to learn the positions and motions of the planets and constellations. We were encouraged to return for weekly lab work at the college observatory, where we were allowed to use their collection of excellent telescopes. A friend of mine borrowed the college's 90mm Questar Maksutov-Cassegrain and gave me my first clear view of Saturn's rings and moons, Jupiter's Great Red Spot and shadow transits of the Galilean moons, as well as views of my favorite star cluster--the Pleiades. 

I always wanted to buy a scope like the Questar, but I simply couldn't fit the $4000.00 price into my budget.  :P I got a simple 60mm Tasco "Galaxsee" refractor for Christmas in 1995, but the eyepieces were low quality plastic and the 2x barlow was useless. I used to take it out in the parking lot of our apartment complex and wow the neighbors with views of Saturn and Jupiter, but it didn't have a clock drive, so it required constant adjustment. In 2001 Tim stumbled across a little 60mm computer driven Go-To telescope at Costco for $99.00 made by Meade. I was amused by the fact he had never heard of Meade before.  ;D Needless to say, after using Tim's ETX 60 telescope, I bought one myself.  :) The scope also came with a free version of Starry Night planetarium software that proved absolutely amazing. We ran simulations of lunar and solar eclipses, Jupiter shadow transits and planned deep sky observing sessions with 100% accuracy. Within six months we had spent more than two hundred dollars on accessories, including cases, eye pieces, flexible focus adapters, digital camera adapters, barlows and filters. I bought a simple mylar white light solar filter for the scope in time for the annular solar eclipse in 2002, and have been a devoted Meade fan ever since. We had quite a crowd out in the parking lot, watching the moon obscure over 80% of the sun. Looking back at the video clip from that day, many beers were consumed. 8)
« Last Edit: May 12, 2010, 09:08:11 PM by PPI Brian M »
"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."--Carl Sagan

ljiljanac

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Thanks, guys....the stars and T.V. programs aligned in my favor somehow, and I thank them all for it.  lol lol    ;D

WOW, Brian, that's awesome!!!  I definitely was at the wrong school for Astronomy!!  My class consisted of about 15 students in a classroom that had NOTHING Astronomy about it, other than our books and what was coming out of the teacher's mouth.  I'm questioning that now too.  haha!   :D  We didn't do ANY of what you did and didn't see it either.   :-[   I just might have to take that class again somewhere.   P^/

I'm amazed at the fact that your $99.00 Meade telescope with extras is probably waaaaay better than what I have right now.  lol  My ex spent upwards of $800.00 on mine for me for Christmas, and I still don't know enough about it or what I need to make it do what you described.  Everything is fuzzy, except the moon.  The moon is never fuzzy.  Everything else.....fuzzy.  lol   :D   And I seriously would love to get a clock drive for mine.  I am constantly readjusting it myself. 

With what you have now, are you still wanting that Questar?  I would say that anything that happily (key word "happily") leads to the consumption of many beers is a keeper.   ;D  I know you mentioned a video....do you have any pictures of the Solar Eclipse, Saturn, Jupiter, or Pleiades that you can show us?  That star cluster is the only one that I remember and can find.  I've loved Astronomy ALL MY LIFE and am a totaly amateur novice junior new green boot Astronomer.   ;D

Offline Damian

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I very badly want to get together with you guys someplace with minimal light pollution and do some star-gazing.  I have no doubt that I'll learn a ridiculous amount from you (collectively)!
"A mind all logic is like a knife all blade. It cuts the hand that wields it." --Rabindranath Tagore

"Me fail English? That's unpossible." --Ralph Wiggum

Offline PPI Karl

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I FINALLY FINALLY got to take Astronomy 101 in college and was SOOO excited!!  I sat in the front row RIGHT SMACK in front and was nearly falling over in my chair to participate and answer questions.  But...everytime the teacher called on me, my answer was wrong!!  Not only that, suddenly all of my questions were very dumb and a waste of the teacher's time.  I new this because he would got right past my raised hand and visibly cringe when I'd ask a question after that.  This went on for two or three weeks.  He really didn't like me, thought I was stupid, and openly displayed that by rolling his eyes at me and ignoring me as I stood in front of him at his desk before and after class to ask a question.

Just say the word, Lillie, and my posse of vigilante colleagues and I will teach this jerk how to treat a student like you with a little more class.  (I'll just say it before one of you does:  Yes, we're the "K-Team"!)

I had a math teacher in my Junior year of high school (1976) that, for reasons I never figured out, treated me with absolute disdain and made me feel exactly the same way your teacher made you feel.  Even other students in the class started to notice.  My friends were sure he had me confused with some other kid, but it didn't change the fact that, with his constant haranguing of me even when I performed well, or his snarky comments whenever I had a question, he pretty much killed my enthusiasm for math.  Even though I was initially looking forward to taking Advanced Algebra and Trigonometry in my senior year, he was the guy teaching it, so I never took another math class--ever, for the rest of my life.  In college, I satisfied the math requirements by enrolling in Logic or Computer Science.  I l-o-v-e-d Logic class and did really well in it, but I shifted the rest of my education to left-brain subjects in Literature and Creative Writing.  Here's the kicker, though.  I've taken the GRE on two separate occasions (because the certificate of result from the first one expired after four years), once in 1982 and again in 1986; and, I took the C-BEST in 1995.  My math aptitude scores were good enough to have applied to graduate school math programs.  It turns out I'm way more right-brained than I thought.  I could have cultivated that interest and aptitude in college, if I hadn't been made to feel so worthless by a jerk math teacher in high school.  It's one of those life experiences that serves to remind me about my affect on students.  I know there are always going to be a few "misses" with students along the way, but I never intentionally try to make a student feel stupid.  In fact, I would go so far as to argue that this is the main difference between universities and colleges:  a professor is hired at a university to bring in grant money and recognition through her research and publication, not to be a good teacher; that's a secondary consideration at best.  Community colleges hire people to be good, caring teachers first, and then they look at what else the can bring to the table to represent the college in a favorable light.

Anyway, before I maunder on any further, I'll just say how happy I am that you prevailed, Lillie.  Your enthusiasm for any subject is always infectious.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2010, 12:10:15 PM by PPI Karl »
If you want to end your misery, start enjoying it, because there's nothing the universe begrudges more than our enjoyment.

Offline PPI Karl

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By the way, Brian, I meant to say thanks for posting these awesome video clips!
If you want to end your misery, start enjoying it, because there's nothing the universe begrudges more than our enjoyment.

ljiljanac

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You're the bomb, Karl!   ;)  What you said somehow puts it to rest a bit in my mind.  I'm pretty sure it's because you are a teacher in College and because you personally experienced that yourself.  I have to believe that both of our experiences were blessings in disguise.  For all we know, you could've ended up teaching a Math class in some ghetto school somewhere where the students and parents and teachers didn't care to even be there, getting paid minimum with crappy benefits.  I could've ended up failing in half of what I've done in life due to a belief that I cannot prevail or overcome hardships and the big fat "F" in the subject that I cherished could've damaged my fragile (at the time) psyche and killed my motivation to stick with what I love to do and learn what I love to learn about.   ;D   Thank you, Karl.   :)

Offline PPI Brian

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Thanks, guys....the stars and T.V. programs aligned in my favor somehow, and I thank them all for it.  lol lol    ;D

WOW, Brian, that's awesome!!!  I definitely was at the wrong school for Astronomy!!  My class consisted of about 15 students in a classroom that had NOTHING Astronomy about it, other than our books and what was coming out of the teacher's mouth.  I'm questioning that now too.  haha!   :D  We didn't do ANY of what you did and didn't see it either.   :-[   I just might have to take that class again somewhere.   P^/

I'm amazed at the fact that your $99.00 Meade telescope with extras is probably waaaaay better than what I have right now.  lol  My ex spent upwards of $800.00 on mine for me for Christmas, and I still don't know enough about it or what I need to make it do what you described.  Everything is fuzzy, except the moon.  The moon is never fuzzy.  Everything else.....fuzzy.  lol   :D   And I seriously would love to get a clock drive for mine.  I am constantly readjusting it myself. 

With what you have now, are you still wanting that Questar?  I would say that anything that happily (key word "happily") leads to the consumption of many beers is a keeper.   ;D  I know you mentioned a video....do you have any pictures of the Solar Eclipse, Saturn, Jupiter, or Pleiades that you can show us?  That star cluster is the only one that I remember and can find.  I've loved Astronomy ALL MY LIFE and am a totaly amateur novice junior new green boot Astronomer.   ;D

LOL! I'm sure your scope is top notch, and with a little practice, you'll be weilding it like a pro. The "fuzzy" problem you described is quite common, and with a little determination you will learn how to focus on deep sky objects. Most high-end scopes have amazingly narrow bands of absolute focus. You're probably just turning past the focus point. To make things easier, you might try focusing on a bright object like the moon before you trek across the universe. That way you will have the scope basically focused before heading out into uncharted space. You should also give yourself time to allow your eyes to adjust to the low light levels, and most importantly, let your scope reach thermal equilibrium (translation -- let your scope cool). The first hour of observing is usually the worst because the temperature inside the scope is higher than the ambient air temperature. The result is blurry images.

The annual solar eclipse inspired me to try my hand at astrophotography. I couldn't capture any decent pictures of the sun that day, but I did captures some hi-8 footage of everybody goofing around. I remember my daughter brought out a collander from the kitchen and held it up to the fence -- this produced dozens of crescent suns projected through the pinholes of the collander just like a pinhole eclipse viewer. Very cool.  ;D 

There are some in the astronomical community who sneer at Go-To telescopes, but I absolutely love mine. Fortunately Meade "borrowed" the Questar design and launched a line of Go-To telescopes that preceded our little ETX 60's. The ETX 90 is a close copy of the Questar Maksutov-Cassegrain for a fraction of the price. I upgraded to an ETX 125 in 2003, and that scope has become my workhorse for planetary and deep sky observations, but my ETX 60 still gets used on a regular basis, especially for lunar eclipses. I used the 60 to capture the Mercury transit of the sun a few years ago, and hope to use it again when Venus transits the sun in 2012. I'll try to find some images of the Mercury transit and post them here.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2010, 03:35:56 PM by PPI Brian M »
"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."--Carl Sagan

ljiljanac

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Very cool, Brian!  Your daughter sounds like a little Brian.   ;D   Thanks for the info about the fuzzies.  I had no idea!  I can't wait to take my scope out and try it again now.  I would love to see any pictures you can dig up.

Offline PPI Tracy

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Okay, now I want to drag Taylor's little cheapo scope outside to see what I can see.  (ya see?)

Offline PPI Brian

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It's amazing what you can see with a cheap scope. Most of these telescopes have great optics but the eyepieces are garbage. You can buy good replacement eyepieces for these scopes and dramatically improve their performance.

"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."--Carl Sagan

Offline PPI Jason

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It's amazing what you can see with a cheap scope. Most of these telescopes have great optics but the eyepieces are garbage. You can buy good replacement eyepieces for these scopes and dramatically improve their performance.



My experience, however, has been that you CAN see amazing things with a cheap scope. But I've never been able to see much with a CHEAP tripod.
Probably the earliest flyswatters were nothing more than some sort of striking surface attached to the end of a long stick.
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Offline PPI Tracy

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I think Taylor's scope was put together incorrectly.  You look into it, everything looks upside down.  (hmm....ya think we screwed it up?)

Offline PPI Brian

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I think Taylor's scope was put together incorrectly.  You look into it, everything looks upside down.  (hmm....ya think we screwed it up?)

Hi Tracy,

I don't think you screwed it up. I think you have a newtonian reflector.  :)

There are three types of telescopes:

Refractor, Newtonian Reflector and Catadioptric. All three telescopes present the image in a different manner. Refractors show the image with left/right orientation flipped, reflectors with top/bottom flipped.  :)
"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."--Carl Sagan