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Old 01.06.2020, 04:07
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Telescope/Stargazing in Basel? Help Needed

Hi all,

So I'm new to this site. I used to live in Zurich and Basel but now back in the UK, but my man is Swiss and still lives in Basel - we're separated during Covid-19 :-(

Anyway, he has really taken an interest in Astronomy over the past 6 months and especially during lockdown. I wanted to buy him a telescope but I know it will be wayyy to complicated for him

So I'm looking for a way to organise for someone to take him out on a dark night when Jupiters visible and teach him about telescopes and astronomy. Essentially, a private stargazing session

I have no idea where to start looking for this. I'd be happy to pay for a professional service but I don't know any in Basel that do anything like this. Any ideas?

Thanks
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Old 01.06.2020, 06:25
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Re: Telescope/Stargazing in Basel? Help Needed

This seems a possibility: http://astronomie-basel.ch/teleskopsprechstunde.html
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Old 01.06.2020, 08:55
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Re: Telescope/Stargazing in Basel? Help Needed

A good set of binoculars are relatively cheap and considerably easier to use than a telescope. You'll be able to see Jupiter's moons - which is amazing when you see it for the first time! (And subsequent times).

Bruderholz is probably the best place to do your gazing. That's where the observatory the AVB meet is.
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Old 01.06.2020, 14:20
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Re: Telescope/Stargazing in Basel? Help Needed

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A good set of binoculars are relatively cheap and considerably easier to use than a telescope. You'll be able to see Jupiter's moons - which is amazing when you see it for the first time! (And subsequent times).

Bruderholz is probably the best place to do your gazing. That's where the observatory the AVB meet is.
I'm afraid that it's not such a good idea. You cannot really see much of Jupiter's moons with binos, perhaps you'll see one or two, with a very steady hand, and optimal viewing conditions. I agree that binoculars are fantastic to watcht the moon and some asterisms (e.g. the Pleiades). But that's all. I also do not recommend to buy a small, cheap telescope. It will be nothing but a source of frustration. The OP's idea of a guided tour is excellent: her husband will get to see what more "serious" telescopes let you see: good views of Saturn's rings and Jupiter's red spot, and then deep-space objects, such as nebulas. It's not for everyone: everything you see is in shades of gray (not like the beautiful, colorized pictures you see online). And it takes patience to learn how to point.

Then, and only then, if the bug bites him, you can sink a few grand or more into a half decent scope (you can get a beginner's 8" Go-To Dobsonian for around Fr. 1000, a 12" for around Fr. 1500, or the real-deal if you have the space, a very decent flex tube Dobson with go-to functionality for Fr. 3'000 or so).

If you have technical questions, let me know. I've been building and using scopes for about 35 years. You can contact me by PM if it's a bit too much for a thread.
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Old 01.06.2020, 17:00
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Re: Telescope/Stargazing in Basel? Help Needed

Of course star-gazing session with a bunch of experts is a lovely thing to do, but as far as binoculars are concerned, other experts have different opinions. https://earthsky.org/human-world/top...for-stargazing

The point is that with a pair of binoculars you can fairly cheaply decide whether it's something you want to do.

I used to have a 3" reflector. I gave it up for a pair of binoculars which is sufficient (and easier to use) for me. With I might had, perfectly satisfactory views of the moons of Jupiter. Now, if I was interested beyond that, I'd go for a fully automatic tracking, computer controlled, with digital image streaming. (My son did attach a webcam (CCD) to my reflector and got some lovely photos).

I do think about it sometimes, but know I'd seldom use it.
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Old 01.06.2020, 17:59
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Re: Telescope/Stargazing in Basel? Help Needed

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...but as far as binoculars are concerned, other experts have different opinions. https://earthsky.org/human-world/top...for-stargazing

The point is that with a pair of binoculars you can fairly cheaply decide whether it's something you want to do.
I just read the article, and please allow me to respectfully disagree with the recommendation (let's keep in mind the authors of that article sell gear). The next points are my personal opinion, and I don't suggest it would be the same for everyone. On the other hand, I've been stargazing for many years, and I own binoculars from 8x22 through 25x100 (which I have to mount on a tripod, as they weight around 5kg), and scopes of all types, from 8" to 24" aperture (that's 200mm to 610mm); the next points are my personal experience.

1) 7x50 binoculars, just as I wrote above, will let you see maybe 1 or at most 2 of Jupiter's moons when the conditions are perfect (low humidity, high altitude, very low light pollution), and the store that wrote the article actually says the same thing: halfway through the article there's a telescopic view of Jupiter's moons, and they say "This is a telescopic view, but you can glimpse one, two or more moons through your binoculars, too.".
2) Holding binoculars with your hands makes it shaky...especially after 20 seconds, because you get tired. And because you have to constantly track your target (as Earth rotates, all objects in the sky "move" quite quickly), you will be spending a fair amount of effort looking for those tiny pinpoints of light again and again, and won't have time to enjoy the watching experience as you would with a scope. With a telescope you can steadily adjust manually with a knob (unless you have a tracking scope that makes it automatic) and keep your object in sight.
3) Scopes are mounted, which allows you to easily star-hop, and the mounted star finder "helps" you find your target. Binos in your hand only let you see their narrow FoV, and you can't adjust; as soon as you take your eyes off to star-hop, the binos moved.

The watching experience of binoculars is so limited and so frustrating (for anything that's not the moon or clusters), that anyone trying to determine if they will enjoy telescopes or not will be very misguided. I think a fair comparison would be to give someone a mountain bike to help them figure out if they want to buy a fast motorcycle. They are designed for dramatically different things, and although both have 2 wheels, a steering bar and move at a certain speed, all similarities end there.

That's why I thought that a real experience with scopes, even if it's just for a few minutes, is WAY better than owning great binoculars.
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Old 03.06.2020, 15:49
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Re: Telescope/Stargazing in Basel? Help Needed

Thanks everyone for all your help here. I knew this thread might turn into a debate around telescopes/lenses etc as every forum seems to be like this but where there is passion there should always be passionate and healthy debate so its all good

Dear Jern, thank you so much for this link. This does look promising. However the email address on the website is just nnnnnn @ nnnnn. Very odd. I'll try to dig out a phone number but will need to do a lot of google translating on the site so if you are familiar with the site and could provide one that would be much appreciated. No worries if not though

Thanks all
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Old 03.06.2020, 15:51
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Re: Telescope/Stargazing in Basel? Help Needed

Oh and by the way guys I'm not getting him a telescope because he wants to see Jupiter and Saturn, and to see them well that would require an expensive telescope that he would never figure out how to use so would be a waste of money. that's why I was looking for a service where someone who has a telescope can take him out, set it up and show him the planets

I've always wanted a telescope too so when we're living together I will buy him one for his birthday - which will really be an undercover gift for myself
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