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Any rider-astronomers out there?

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by Tylluan, Apr 1, 2015.

  1. One of the reasons I bought a bike was to earn a little freedom from the city. I'm also really into astronomy, which is a bit rough when you live in the innermost bit of Sydney since all I can see is an orange haze at night! I was wondering if somehow I could combine the two...

    I was wondering if anyone here had the same combination of interests. I'm looking for camping spots that are accessible by bike and have dark skies but are still as close to Sydney as possible. Dark sky map here.

    At first I'll be doing visual obs only - looking through binoculars and cameras. However, does anyone know if it's possible to transport a telescope by bike (and not have it ruin the calibration!)?

  2. I love a bit of astronomy, but I have a dark sky at home anyway. It is one of the reasons we left the city and moved country.

    As for transporting a telescope, I would suggest that if I can transport two coffees back to work without spilling any, or transport two dozen eggs home 40 kms without any breakage, it should be quite possible. I would think it through, in terms of mounting it so it cannot shift or move. Bikes have some vibration, but dropping it would be more of an issue. A bit of rubber or foam underneath could easily dampen the vibrations. How long is the telescope box? That is probably more of an issue. Do you mount it sideways or lengthways?
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  3. I'd love to live in the country, but if I could get away with that I'd probably still be peeing off my verandah on a 10 acre block on the North Canterbury plains in NZ! The fancy schmancy job that buys me motorbikes and telescopes lives in the Sydney CBD and that's where I'm shackled by those golden* handcuffs :(

    * Well, let's not get carried away - silver handcuffs.

    I don't have a scope yet - since I didn't want the gearlust to make me drop a bunch of money on something I couldn't use. I plan to do a few trips with just binoculars to get a feel for it first. It's the vibrations I'm worried about when transporting a telescope. They've got delicate bits in 'em and electronics to boot. I'm pretty impressed with you carrying coffee! I'm not sure I'd be able to do that - especially with the shopping method my old man taught me (down the front of your tucked-in shirt).
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  4. It is one of the great joys in camping with the bike to get out from under the light pollution. Just the view with the naked eye is an experience. Interesting thread, I look forward to hearing how you go.
  5. I have an interest in Astronomy (although it's not my main hobby) and at home I've got an 8inch dobsonian and a 102mm refractor on a computerized mount with a Telrad fitted.

    Neither of those scopes are suited to carrying on the bike and naked eye visual astronomy didn't really grab me so I bought a pair of half way reasonable Binoculars (and a southern hemisphere binocular astronomy book).

    This is a link to a test of the 10x50 version (but I decided to get the 8x40 to reduce the carry size). There are several sizes and magnifications available.


    Even a modest pair of binoculars will make a huge difference to what you can see.
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  6. Your plans sound quite interesting, Tylluan. You should totally post a trip report if you would actually do a stargazing ride.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. Yes but in Melbourne, can't transport my stuff by bike though.
  8. Hmm. Also pondered biking to a remote destination and gazing, however my 10" Dobsonian would NEVER survive even the smoothest of rides :( Not to mention it is HUGE. lol

    However my 6" might just about make it, but will definitely need to pack all the tools to calibrate it again.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. hmm pack a camping kettle, some food, and get a car going with all of you, the driver eats and drinks for free?
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  10. Calling mr PetesulPetesul Yay another star gazer!
  11. Yep, Mr TylluanTylluan, guilty as charged by Madam OldmaidOldmaid. I studied astronomy for navigation purposes.
    Whilst not anything like a telescope, a pair of binoculars allows you to see things hidden from the naked eye. I have locked onto daytime stars (they're there every day), but you have to know exactly where to look in both horizontal and vertical planes, and observations are based on time as well.
  12. I've ocasionall thought that a 70mm or 80mm refractor of f5 to f6 would travel ok on a bike, it's the mount that would be difficult to pack. Maybe an alt-az mount strapped sideways across a rack would work.

    The 2 tested here against each other seem to be the most common suggestions.

  13. I saw this thread yesterday and it's got me interested. I live in a dark area (it's black on the map linked in this thread) and the night sky is breath taking on a clear night.

    I just placed a bid on a Garrett 10x50 Gemini, but I'm wondering if I should have stuck to an 8x50 or 8x56. Budget is around $200 max. Any recommendations on a first set of binoculars?
  14. I bought a 10x50 many years ago, and while they are great to look at things with, they are hard to hold still enough with hands to see things easily. If you can lean against anything, or brace them somehow, then they are fantastic.
  15. I love the stars alas my gear wouldn't like a bike so much, I have a smaller 90mm with a laptop hooked up to navigate using deep sky software, just point and click and the scope seeks it out, but I nearly always use the binoculars to have a quick look around as they are just so darn quick and easy.
  16. That post poses more questions than answers to me grim assimgrim assim. I would expect you would need to know the following quite accurately:
    *your position on earth
    *orientation (which way is north)
    Is your telescope motorised?
    Or does it take a digital view of a part of the sky and the software tells you what you are looking at?
  17. I polar align the scope to the celestial south pole based on my current location the scope itself has a computer and is motorised, the PC just tells it what coordinates to goto.

    The software also reads the current cords from the scope to render the viewer on the star chart, this allows you to read up on the stars, cluster etc and make some fields notes. It's a pretty geeky setup and tbh taking it a bit far :p

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  18. Sounds brilliant! Wish I had that kit when I was studying astronomy! Would have been able to put the Star Almanac away!
    • Agree Agree x 1
  19. I'll be dammed if this thread hasn't got me Googling for a new set Of Bins. I took out my little Olympus 8 x 21 last night to check out the Moon. Very cool indeed. So much to choose from. What's the big deal about shake when you go above 10 x 50? Is it not relative to the person?
  20. I'd take a 15x70 binoculars or a 10x50. Even if you could a f5 refractor. There is no way you'd be able to take a decent mount. You could get away with a small tripod though.