your earliest observations ??

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andyT
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your earliest observations ??

Post by andyT »

afternoon all,just got to thinking about my earliest observations,by that i mean what you can remember and when.my interest in astronomy began in the early 1970's,as a young boy i can remember sitting down the bottom of the garden,with my mum watching the perseid meteor shower.
i can remember watching for ages then going back indoors as the sky was getting light.
does anybody else have fond memories,of their early observations.
rgds,
andy
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mike a feist
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Post by mike a feist »

1. 30th June 1954 at the age of 10 years in the playground of Balfour Road Primary School in Brighton. I used two pieces of smoked glass sandwiched soot-inward and with a spacer to follow the Eclipse of the Sun from the playground. I even made a series of little drawings of its progress on all the paper I had to hand - some embossed wall paper - not the easiest to use! - although soon lost it.
2. 26th April 1957 at the age of 13 years from the verandah of our house in Southdown Road Portslade. 1 used my father's binoculars to look at Comet Arend-Roland. Although I have no written record of this, the date is correct because we saw it following the first "Sky at Night".
maf
andyT
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Post by andyT »

morning Mike,i bet that comet was worth seeing lol!!
rgds,
andy
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Post by brian livesey »

I remember Arend-Roland too, Mike. I think it was directly overhead at the time.
My first "serious" observation of the sky was seeing a gibbous moon, on a warm summer evening, in the early fifties, with a primitive refractor.
The refractor was "primitive" because the objective (ex-MoD) was a single meniscus lens of three to four-inches diameter with a focal length of forty-or-so inches.
The eyepiece was from a brass gunsight and had the weight of a Churchill tank. The EXCHANGE & MART was full of cheap, quality, war-surplus items at that time.
brian
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Post by Davej »

Hi Andy,
I can't remember the exact date or year when I started observing (well just looking realy as I couldn't identify much like all beginners (no mags or computers, just Sir Patrick)).
I think I must have been around 12 yrs. old (1967, now that's given the game away :) ) when I just used to lay on the grass and stare at what was an incredible night sky (sometimes still is but the weather seemed to be different then).
Didn't start taking notes till the early 70's and I remember seeing the moons of Jupiter for the first time through my dads binoculars. That sight will never be forgoten.
Also remember seeing Comet Kohoutek in '73 but my most memorable comet (and favourite sketch) is of Halley in '86, no way can it compare with Hale-Bopp for brightness and was a bit dissapointing but I'll never forget it.
All the best.
Dave
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andyT
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Post by andyT »

Davej wrote:Hi Andy,
I can't remember the exact date or year when I started observing (well just looking realy as I couldn't identify much like all beginners (no mags or computers, just Sir Patrick)).
I think I must have been around 12 yrs. old (1967, now that's given the game away :) ) when I just used to lay on the grass and stare at what was an incredible night sky (sometimes still is but the weather seemed to be different then).
Didn't start taking notes till the early 70's and I remember seeing the moons of Jupiter for the first time through my dads binoculars. That sight will never be forgoten.
Also remember seeing Comet Kohoutek in '73 but my most memorable comet (and favourite sketch) is of Halley in '86, no way can it compare with Hale-Bopp for brightness and was a bit dissapointing but I'll never forget it.
All the best.
Dave
Hi Dave,i've been digging around the weekend i found my notes for Halleys,with sketches.i was in my local astronomy club then/cardiff.
there was another comet around then too comet thiele,on a similar track i think.i remember Hale Bopp what a comet,i remember sneaking a pair of 10x50 bins into work to have a look.
rgds,
andy
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Post by Naplesnut »

My father pointed out Orion's belt to me when I was about 7 (early 1960's) when we lived in Worcester Park, Surrey. Light pollution was minimal in those days and when we moved to Kent a couple of years later the sky was even better. So I was bought a 3" refractor on a wooden tripod for £5 7s 6d made by a Japanese company called Greenkat. I then also got a small x6-21 zoom hand held refractor and in later years would go up to RAF Manston to do stargazing as skies were even darker there. Now some 40 yrs later you can't see diddily squat because of light pollution, so God knows what Worcester Park is like now.
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Post by david entwistle »

I remember seeing a spectacular daylight fireball from a beach in North Wales, while on a family holiday around 1966, or about then. I didn't know at the time, but my eyesight isn't that good - I thought I saw it trailing aerials, like Sputnik had....
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Post by KendalAstronomer »

When I was ten (1991), I was given an old greenkat terrestrial spotting scope and pointed it towards the Pleiades, the Moon, Saturn and Jupiter. No matter what they say about poor quality, small refracters, to a ten year old, that was brilliant.
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Post by jb1970 »

Always loved looking at the sky as a kid but i suppose the earliest observation I can put a year to would have been around 1983 (age 13) when I used to like drawing the moon looking through a 60mm scope. Unfortunately I think they were all thrown away at some point.

All the best
Jack
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Post by mike a feist »

All my early drawings of the lunar surface made in the early 1960s using my 8.5" reflector also went the same way and are gone for good...with the exception of copies that I sent to the BAA Lunar Section. I wonder if they are still lurking in a musty cupbroard somewhere! maf
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Post by Grumpy Martian »

:D Hi,
I remember in the mid 1970's as a teen.A friend had a Tasco 40mm scope.It had a zoom eyepiece 15 to 45 times as I remember,also a table tripod.The optics must have been good as we were amazed to see the rings of Saturn and phases of Venus.It fell out the window one evening and sheepishly returned it with a dent.I recently bought the same model on ebay for a tenner.Happy memories.


Martin
andyT
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Post by andyT »

Grumpy Martian wrote::D Hi,
I remember in the mid 1970's as a teen.A friend had a Tasco 40mm scope.It had a zoom eyepiece 15 to 45 times as I remember,also a table tripod.The optics must have been good as we were amazed to see the rings of Saturn and phases of Venus.It fell out the window one evening and sheepishly returned it with a dent.I recently bought the same model on ebay for a tenner.Happy memories.


Martin
Hi Martin/All some nice memories so far,keep them coming,it's nice to hear about other peoples experiences.
andy
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Post by jb1970 »

I recently bought the same model on ebay for a tenner.Happy memories
If I could remember the exact model of my old scope I would try and get hold of one. Part of the mount broke and I ended up selling it for a few quid. My girlfriend wouldn't be too happy (the bedroom cupboard is full of my telescope and camera kit) but I would love to have it back even though it would seem utter junk compared to my current scope.

All the best
Jack
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Post by Cliff »

Dear AndyT
This is avery tricky one for me.
I got interested in astronomy when I was a boy, the exact date is best said to be a mystery although there is a family legend which is best kept secret, I can say for sure though, that I was as near as is possible I think it can be, a self taught star gazer (my Mum and Dad had no interest in astronomy but bought me a telescope 30mm aperture x20 magnification and a basic astronomy book). I spent time in our garden alone learning the stars. I saw some lunar craters and Jupiter's galilean moons and glimpsed Venus's phases with the little scope but was disappointed not seeing Saturn's Rings, and Mars was just a red dot. However, my big discovery was seeing M31 by unaided eye. What puzzled me though was why I couldn't find M1. Indeed as a boy I think I only saw four deep sky objects and was puzzled because although I never saw M1, I could easily see M45. I suspect I was guilty of not reading my astronomy book properly because I was only quite a few years later I realised M stood for Messier. Indeed I must admit although I continued to be interested in star gazing my knowledge of astronomy didn't improve much for quite a long time. Showing friends M31 was my party piece, some were impressed when I told them it was a huge galaxyabout A MILLION light years away but some were skeptical - I wonder what my friends would have said if I'd informed them it was 2.5 million l.y. away. Would any of them believed me ?
About 1973 I saw my first comet (Kohoutek) a rersult of chance meeting with a chance meeting with an unknown experienced amateur astronomer whenI was returning late at the end of hill walk on the Pennine Moors.
When many years later I eventually got a "proper" astronomical telescope (a 215 mm newtonian) one of my first serious targets was M1. I spent more than a month trying on and off to observe it without being sure only suspecting possibly seeing it in my light polluted skies.Then I took my scope up on the dark Pennine Moors and found M1 in about 3 minutes.
It was almost as exciting as my first sighting of M31.
Best wishes from Cliff
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