History (where did you start astronomy from)?
I got my 1st telescope when I was 12. Bought a used Tasco from my best friend. Great views of the moon a couple of times then into the attic it went. Fast foward fourty years, my daughter is in college & I have free time. This time I’m wanting to see the spiral arms of a galaxy! I joined a local Astro Club & bought a 12″ dobsonian. Had lots of fun with it. Learned (more or less) the night sky. Although it was fun & challenging, most DSOs were just faint fuzzy splotches of grey, some bigger & brighter, some smaller & dimmer…no spiral arms.
Where did you hear about EAA?
I found out about EAA on YouTube. Perusing the astronomy search results. I bumped into Emerald Hills Astronomy. They could see Spiral Arms and tons more.
What are your expectations?
I’m aiming on seeing lots more stuff…even when conditions are less than ideal, moon and light pollution. I’m expecting to not see amorphous grey blobs anymore.
What do you already have? / Budget (cost of starting kit, cost of current kit)
My visual setup was a 12″ “push-to” dobsonian. Roughly $2,000 with all the accessories, Nexus DSC setup, eyepieces, telrad, upgraded finderscope and so on.
For EAA I got a used 8inch Newtonian ($500), used CEM70 mount ($2,500), used ZWO294 camera ($900), used ruggedized laptop that works outside at 10°F ($ 1,000?) All totaled around $5,000. Could have probably saved $1,000 if I got a less robust mount.
How much is too much?
Depends how rich you are. Figure if you buy new stuff you could spend $10,000
OTA (advice) –
Mount (advice) –
What don’t you like about EAA
I will miss a couple of things that I enjoyed with visual astronomy. There is something special about having a photon traveling for oodles of light years actually hitting my retina….actually looking at an object instead of a computer screen. Learning the sky by manually starhopping was great fun (when it wasn’t insanely frustrating). I’m awed by the guys that know the sky inside & out, like the way you knew your neighborhood when you were a kid.