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MistrBadgr's Introduction


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#1 MistrBadgr

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Posted 15 February 2018 - 11:01 AM

Well, if I want other people to introduce themselves here, I guess I need to do it first, myself!

 

My name is Bill Steen, and I live in northeastern Oklahoma in Broken Arrow.  My first introduction to astronomy was when I was about seven years old.  A kid across the street, received a little Gilbert reflector telescope.  It was not much, but we looked at the Moon and such things.  All went well for a couple of weeks, then my friend left the scope out at night and it rained.  Unfortunately, the scope had a cardboard tube, which drooped into a nice U shape.  Well, that was that.

 

After that first experience, any time something about astronomy came along, it caught my attention.  This went on for many years, until after our youngest daughter graduated from high school.  My wife had noticed my interest in astronomy.  One day, after watching an astronomy program on television, she said, "You need to get a telescope!"  That is all it took, the door was opened, and an avalanche of activity took place.  That was about fifteen years ago.

 

The rest is a convoluted history that lead to me be, somewhat by circumstances, an administrator on this forum.  I currently have a little domed observatory in my back yard with a Lightbridge 12 inch reflector, an LX 70 mount with the 8 inch reflector and six inch Mak Optical tubes.  But, where my heart really lies is with my large collection of small telescopes.  I like to get an entry level scope, use it, optimize it, and just see what it and I can do.  It is both a journey in learning about telescopes as well as a journey learning about myself.

 

I am now retired, after a 47 year carrier in power plants.  I am still a registered professional mechanical engineer and do some consulting on a part time basis.  With retirement, I can spend more time with this forum and hopefully help people with their astronomical pursuits.  I consider it an honor to be here in this position and do my utmost to make this a safe place for anyone to come learn and share their astronomy experiences.

 

Best Regards,

 

Bill Steen

 

P.S.  You don't have to be as wordy with an introduction as I have been! :)


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Bill Steen, Sky Hunters' Haven Observatory, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

#2 SBacon

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 10:30 AM

My name is Steve Bacon and I am a 62 year old astronomy junkie.  As long as I can remember I have always be fascinated by the stars.  My grandmother bought me my first telescope when I was 9 years old from Kmart which I still have.  It is a Tasco Variable Power 60mm.  It had a altazimuth mount, wooden tripod and a fixed eyepiece that extended out to give it 15x, 30x, 45x and 60x. With it I explored the moon and got my first glimpses of the stars and planets.  I was never good at star hopping and could never find any of the nebulas pictured on the box that it came in which was always frustrating to me.  I even wrote the company and requested information on how I could increase the magnification so I could see these objects. In my mind at the time surely the magnification was the problem. (I had no knowledge of aperture size back then!) They politely wrote me back and said that it could not be changed on that model.  Alas, I was resigned to view the nebulas and galaxies through books at the library.

 

Years passed and finally in my mid 20’s I traded an old pistol I had to a co-worker for a Jason Empire 60mm scope with several eyepieces AND screw on sun and moon filters.  While I did observe the partial solar eclipse with it in February 1979, the nebulas and galaxies still eluded me. I have by this time realized that I needed more aperture. 

 

In the 80’s and 90’s, I lusted after the Meade ads of their SCT’s. While raising a family with 3 teenagers at the time, I knew I wouldn’t be able to afford one for some time. I came across a deal and bought my first Meade telescope in 1996.  It was a 90mm Model 390 refractor on an altazimuth mount with motion cables.  I coupled it with one of the first digital cameras HP ever made, the Photosmart HP Digital Camera and photographed the lunar eclipse of 9/26/1996.  With that setup, I got my best views to that date of the moon and planets but the galaxies and nebula were still eluding me.  I tried numerous times to find the Andromeda galaxy for several years but all in vain.  (Remember I have never been good at star hopping and envy those like Bill Steen who have that ability.)

 

Finally, in the summer of 2015, Meade ran a sale on the 8” LX90 SCT and I ordered one from the great guys at High Point Scientific.  I LOVE IT!!  The first few nights with it was AWESOME!  I was seeing everything in a whole new way while listening to descriptions of each target.  The sights of Jupiter and Saturn were amazing and star clusters quickly became one of my favorite targets. When the scope slewed to Andromeda I just knew it was out of alignment because it just wasn’t there.  I changed eyepieces because I knew what it was supposed to look like from all the pictures I had seen for the past 50 some odd years.  Still not there.  Then I saw a faint smudge.  Could this be it?  Then it hit me. The pictures I had seen were composed of hours of exposure on larger telescopes such as the 200” Hale Telescope on Mt. Palomar.  My scope and eyes have limitations on seeing and gathering light.  To get the sights I want to see with this scope I would need to dive into astrophotography which I did.  Now after 2 ½ years and spending more than I care to admit, I am finally living my dream of astronomy by capturing the beauty and wonders of the heavens God has created.  AP definitely has a steep learning curve but I am enjoying every minute of it.  I finally have on a wall MY picture of the Andromeda galaxy along with other galaxies and beautiful nebulas.

 

I have been the Technical Services Manager for a local plastics company for the past 28 years and don’t plan on retiring soon so my nights are limited due to my work schedule.  I do have plans for an observatory this year so that I can set up a shoot and let it run all night which hopefully will yield better pictures.  I love this hobby and wish everyone clear skies!


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#3 RickScofield

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Posted 21 February 2018 - 05:57 PM

Steve,
Great story and well done, question: Are you still using the LX90?

Thank you,
RickScofield
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#4 SBacon

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Posted 22 February 2018 - 06:51 AM

Thanks Rick.  Well, for the past 20 days the LX90 has been sitting in the sunroom with a brand new 60mm guidescope waiting for clear weather. :(  Here in north Alabama we've had either rain or overcast skies for the whole month of February so far.  It's pouring down rain now but the forecast is for sunny skies next Monday. :D Let's hope that happens!  

 

I was looking back at the last two years and during Jan/Feb 2016 I managed to image 6 nights.  The same period in 2017 yielded 8 nights.  So far in 2018 I've only had 4 good nights of imaging.  I'm really anxious to get back out under a starry sky!

 

Steve


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#5 RickScofield

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Posted 22 February 2018 - 05:23 PM

Bill,
You mentioned that by circumstance you became an administrator for this site, sometime you wil have to go into a little more detail on how that happened. I think that without you and your involvement this site would probably die off. I think we all need to THANK YOU for doing what you do.

THANKS A MILLION Bill

RickS
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#6 MistrBadgr

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Posted 22 February 2018 - 06:31 PM

Thanks for the kind words, Rick! :)

 

Mark Sibole has been the real, behind the scenes, workhorse for this forum since its inception.

 

I am doing more of that work now.  But, in truth without Mark, the whole thing would have gone down the tubes before I ever really got started.

 

Bill


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Bill Steen, Sky Hunters' Haven Observatory, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

#7 SBacon

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Posted 23 February 2018 - 06:30 AM

Bill,

 

Many thanks to you and Mark for all your work on this site.  It allows us to express ourselves and learn from others.

 

Steve


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#8 MistrBadgr

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Posted 23 February 2018 - 08:38 AM

Thanks for the kind words, Steve! :)


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Bill Steen, Sky Hunters' Haven Observatory, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma




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