Star Gazing

Date: August 18, 2019

I like to take pictures of the sky.

Be it the moon.

(Taken from the roof top of our new home few weeks ago)

Or the Milky Way.

(Taken at Tasmania 2017)

Millions of millions of star above makes you wonder is there any life out there.

There are few things to think about.

1. Each dot you see which is a star can be millions of millions light year away. Which mean, we are seeing “the past”. The light we are seeing was emitted millions of millions of years ago, and it takes millions of millions of years to reach Earth.

2. There are so many stars in the sky. I am very sure there are life out there. It just that the technology of these life planets, is just like us are not so advanced yet to travel in light sleep or warp engine, or hyperdrive, etc.

I usually take the moon photo using my Fujifilm X-H1 with 100-400mm lens with x2 adapter. The quality is limited.

As for the kids, they have been using this to watch the sky.

This Celestron PowerSeeker 50AZ is quite reliable. But the aperture is too small to bring in more lights. I won’t count on the kids to find Jupiter using this. Hahaha, but for a beginner it is sufficient.

But since now we have access to a roof top on 28th floor that we can do star gazing almost every day, it is time to bring a big brother to accompany this PowerSeeker 50AZ.

So, yesterday, I brought the kids to the Telescope Shop at Science Center.

Of course, we have done a bit of research on Google for weeks before we finally decide to come here.

We know what exactly to get. But we need to be sure.

Of course I can get it from Amazon. But if you buy from Amazon, the warranty will be a problem. Although it might be 20-40% cheaper to buy online, but if you think about the after-sales cost and hazard, I think it is better to get it locally and enjoy the customer support and service as well as the warranty locally.

We are getting a “Mid-Range” telescope. As we think we have graduated from the beginner class. We owned that PowerSeeker for almost 4-5 years already. Hahahaha

So, it is about the time to upgrade.

Meet Jeffrey who is explaining every single detail of the new telescope that we about to buy. I make sure Jay is the one to receive all the “training”.

Jeffrey is very patient teaching us every single thing about the new telescope.

The first question is “What is your budget?”

I think Jeffrey’s first questions is to determine how committed are you?

Are you committed in spending a bit in this hobby?

So, I told him, why don’t you show me what you have quickly so that we can decide which range we want to be in.

So, the second thing he said is “Aperture is the key. The bigger the aperture, the more light you can see, and the bigger the telescope, and the price like wise.”

Jeffrey is speaking in the language I understand. Think of buying a F1.0 aperture lens vs. F4.0 lens. Then, you immediately understand. Optics for telescope works exactly the same as optics for camera. It’s physics.

I think Jeffrey knew a real customer when he sees one. So, he has no hesitation to open up and unbox the Telescope for us. We are getting the Celestron Evolution 6. It is a 6″ aperture telescope. We were choosing from Celestron SE 6 vs. Evolution 6.

Jeffrey explained that Evolution 6 comes with the 2-axis rotating arm so that if we decided to move the telescope up or down or left or right, Evolution 6 is the one.

We also did not take the the 8″ model which is 30-40% bigger and the price also likewise more expensive.

So, Jeffrey set up the telescope for us. Teaching us how to do the alignment.

Later you will soon see how easily we can setup the telescope at home.

Of course, Jeffrey also introduce us the road map of upgrades.

1. If we are bored with 6″ we can move to 8″ or 9.25″ etc.

2. There are many good eye piece we can buy. I.e. 9mm, 20mm, etc. The package comes with 15mm and 40mm.

3. You can buy T-Ring and T-Adapter to attached your Mirrorless camera to take picture. Which they run out of stock, so I have to order it from Amazon. Coming this Wednesday. Yeah…

4. The, you can add in more advance computer to help you search the stars. So that you don’t need to enter the date, location, time to align the telescope using the controller.

5. Of course, you can simply use a CCD camera (I.e. monochrome or color), a small camera module to take high quality stars or planet photos. OK, this one is a definite need after we figure out how to work out the new telescope.

And many many more.

The Celestron Nexstar Evolution 6 cost about SGD$2,503 from this shop.

OK, mommy’s iPhone XS Max is more expensive than this telescope I think. And my FijiFilm X-H1 body cost more than this too. Even my 100-400mm or 55-200mm Fujifilm lens cost around this price.

So, if you think about this, it is not a bad price at all. The thing is you don’t need to upgrade this every year or two… hahahahaha

So, with all these justifications, and for the sake or raising the awareness of “Is there life out there?” Let’s upgrade to this ya.

We decided skipped The Lab programming class. Hahahaha

So that Jay can build this.

I must say, before talking to Jeffrey, I have lots of hesitations… will I be able to build it? Is it easy to build? What are all these components..

He even teach us how to unbox. “Flip over”. Wow, that is easy.

This is the unboxing. By Jay Jay.

Perhaps the most important and expensive component. Handle with care.

Jay is the one that is quite enthusiastic towards the space and stars. While Kay Kay is a Fortnite addict.

Within 10 minutes, the unboxing is done.

It telescope comes with StarBright high performance coating XLT… errr.. don’t really know what it means la… hahaha You go Google it.. haha

It is very compact. It has mirror and reflector inside. That is why it is compact. Otherwise, if you get those long long one, very hard to store.

A demo on the rotating wheels for up and down and left and right.. Without this it is not a telescope I knew lor. That is why we go for the Evolution 6 instead of the SE 6.

By the way, this Evolution 6 is in 2019’s top 10 mid range telescope list. I think it ranked no. 5 or no. 6. It’s ok la. No need to buy the most expensive one. Hahahaha This is good enough.

Extended its length, it is taller than Jay.

Testing out all the eye pieces. I bought two extra eyepiece.

Oh ya, the formula to calculate the magnification is…

1500mm divided by the size of the eyepiece. For example, this one is 13mm eyepiece, then, the 1500/13 is 115.38… Thus the magnification is 116x. Wow….

Let’s piece everything together.

Just now I mentioned about the focal length (FL) can be seen on the scope. FL 1500mm.

Let’s try to align it.

Pick a far spot to align in the eyepiece lens.

Then, adjust the infrared gun to align to the exact same place as the telescope.

This is what you will see. From my place shoot to one of the red roof top of a house at Hill View there.

Oh ya, every thing is upside down. Due to optical properties.

It makes no different for the moon ya. You view it upside down or downside up is all right.

The Manual. Did not even flip thru it. Thanks the Jeffrey who has explained everything to us.

Oh ya, it comes with wireless. You can control using your iPhone or iPad too.

The hand control. Manual.

Everything prepare.

Oh ya, never never point the telescope towards the sun. Otherwise it will burn your eyes and blind you.

This is correct way, point the telescope away or opposite from the sun.

Seems like everything is set.

Let’s go down get dinner, and then come back up in 1-2 hours time when sun is set.

This is our very first try using the telescope. Jay is figuring out and trying to remember what Jeffrey taught him this afternoon.

Still trying to figure out. Well it turns out that the Celestron software is trying to calculate and find Jupiter. Which the telescope suppose to point up instead of moving only horizontally.

Be patient boy. And the Celestron telescope really moved up vertical.

We are trying to find Jupiter. It is just up in the sky the brightest star we can see.

And, using my iPhone to snap this photo from the eyepiece holding in my hand.

WOW. That is Jupiter along with 2 stars beside it. And it is visible.

The old PowerSeeker never give us such a nice clear picture.

And my hand shakes a little.

But I tell you, if you see it with your own eyes it is a much much clearer and amazing scene.

After gaining the confident, he started to adjust and makes progress.

By changing the eye pieces, you can see more “bigger” image. Again, photo taken using iPhone pointing the iPhone camera into the eyepiece with shaking hand.

Mean time, I manage to get the SkyPortal app connecting to the telescope too.

Young Kay Kay also felt amaze with what he can see.

That is Jupiter. Now, can you magnify it more?

Using the NightCap app on iPhone XS, I magnify this to 5x. And you can see the rings or the lines of Jupiter.

But with our human eyes, you can see that clearly. It is just that I don’t exactly know how to take that scene using my iPhone. Hahahaha

But I am already so happy to see this crude and grains of Jupiter.

Here is another photo of Jupiter. Using the NightCap app again. Later, I will spent some time to look thru the tutorial to see how to take better photo using NightCap app or other better app. Hahaha

Oh, oh, oh, here comes the moon!!!!!

It is as red as an salted eye yoke. Hahaha

Let’s see what we can see from the telescope.

Again, key in “Moon” in the handheld control, the telescope move down and move to the left and point exactly at the moon.

And the image was SO SO SO clear.

Again, I used my shaky hand to take the moon shot from the eyepiece. You can see a bit. I can’t take a full photo as there are distance between the eyepiece lens to the iPhone camera lense.

But you get the idea.

Here is a fun timelapes video of Jay learning the sky.

He has grown so “Einstein” or so “Newton”… hahaha his hunger of knowledge has grown too. Hahahaha

I took another photo using my iPhone pointing its camera lens into the eyepiece. Manage to get 90% of the round moon.

With this Telescope, the moon craters map you Googled now makes a lot of sense.

Jay, find me the Plato crater. Hahahahahah

Another shot.

Wow… Lovely.

Zoom in a bit.

We have great fun.

I predict we going to spent a lot of time here.

And this December, there will be sun eclipse coming, so, next thing we going to stock is the sun filter. Hahahaha

Ultimately, I will have to come up with a roadmap. And eventual end game will be Takahashi Telescope. Wahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Leave a Reply