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Duncan Idaho

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  • Location
    Lewiston, ME
  • Interests
    Games, Chicks, Anime, Games, Star Trek and Games and Dune!!!

Duncan Idaho's Achievements


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  1. Good. Now you better post up some pictures of Deep Space Objects when you get some, or I'll have to hunt you down. Idaho
  2. lol make up your mind! Just go buy Mt. Palomar observatory and get it over with. Idaho
  3. Doesn't look much better than Homeworld graphically...save for the backgrounds. Mind you, I still love Homeworld. I hope it's better than Homeworld: Cataclysm, which I found vaguely disappointing. Idaho
  4. Use binoculars and pretend? Just a thought...poor guy. Idaho
  5. LOL! His game is almost photorealistic as it is, but why not? Have fun, keep me posted on how you get on with it. Idaho
  6. Heheh...I think all along both Dreada and I did concur that for visual quality, (that's quality, not distance or 'light gathering ability'), a refractor is best. That is because lenses are inherantly easier to make with no abberations than a mirror. That said, problem with a GOOD refractor is they are pricier for a unit with quality lenses compared to a similar sized reflector. Especially if you try going over 5 or so inches. I did state a 4 inch or larger refractor would be great for most of the planets (say, out to Saturn), and for nearby (relatively speaking of course lol) nebula, as well. All that said, a good 8" or larger reflector will produce excellent images, yet will also able to get images of 'faint fuzzy' deep sky objects. I have to point out it is also hard tell what conditions existed when a picture was taken, such as the comparison pictures you mentioned. Not to mention the skill of the person taking them, or the quality of their equipment. Any light pollution, or even poor air quality, can make pictures taken with a 8" or larger scope seem fuzzy, as excess light, and atmospheric distortion will show up more on a scope with more light gathering ability. I'd be reluctant, were I you, to lean upon those pictures you saw as 'proof' of which is better, considering most of the beautiful images I've seen in my life came from reflectors, not refractors. (i.e. National Geographic magazine, Astronomy mag, and most Astronomy books I've read prior to the launch of Hubble...go take a look for yourself!). It's just not as simple as 'Before and After' diet photos, and anyone trying to claim it is is off in their own world somewhere, lol! I'll say this, though, all things considered, it would probably be easier for a beginner to take nice images with a good refractor. Smaller scopes are less subject to vibration, and light pollution, and a host of other things. If your aim is only planets and near nebulae, then jump on the 6 or so inch refractor, if you want room to grow, though, bigger is better. Pretty much as we've said from the start. It's a choice only you can make, based on what you're looking to do. I would suggest you keep looking at such websites as you've visited, it does seem you've found that it isn't as easy as just saying 'I'll get this one and hope it'll do what I want'. Idaho
  7. Yup, reflectors need to be collimated once in a while, (aligning the mirrors), especially if you move them around a lot. You can buy a kit, and do it yourself. It's very simple. I remember being scared of collimation, but it's easier than setting up the scope, heheh. I think the worst thing about reflectors is cleaning the mirror. Even that's not so bad, though. Idaho
  8. Yup, Dreada's right. 10 inch reflector would beat the pants off a 5 inch refractor. A scope that size could even find Pluto, though the detail would be low. As a plus, you'd also be pretty well set for deep sky objects, too. That's a good deal you found, Tac. Really wouldn't be much you couldn't do with it. Let us know if you get it, I'll be interested to hear how you're doing with it. By the way, the LXD-55 is a Meade, isn't it? I really like Meade's scopes. Idaho
  9. The biggest advantage to a Cassegrain scope is it tends to be considerably shorter in length when compared to a reflector or refractor of the same aperature. It has no other real advantages/disadvantages over reflectors, other than they tend to require more maintenance, because they have more complex innards. I have to correct my previous statement on them, they actually DO make 16 inch versions of this kind of scope...(though the one I just saw was over 12,000$ US). There appears to have been some changes in the hobby since I last looked for a scope. Cassegrains are one of the more complex scopes internally. Also, it seems they can vary as far as image quality is concerned, even when you are comparing two identical scopes from the same manufacturer. I'm guessing that has to do with the fact they actually use a reflective mirror AND a refractive lens, as opposed to the simpler Newtonian reflector. Doesn't take much of an imperfection in one mirror to cause an abberation, consider if you have a few imperfections between the lens, the mirrors, and I guess that could do it. After what I just read, I'd still probably pick a reflector, but that's just my budget talking. That said, the Cassegrains are good for deep sky viewing, if you get a good sized model for it...(8inch plus in my opinion). Smaller sizes would be good for the moon, planets, and larger nebulas and such. Take my opinion here with a grain of salt, however, as even with a 4 inch scope you can still take a picture of say...M31 Andromeda galaxy and discern it's disk. But there wouldn't be much more detail than that. A refractor as you've settled on is a great bet for planets, and some nebulas and the like, and will give you unbeatable image quality, (provided you don't buy a cheap department store scope...steer clear of those). If you outgrow it, you can keep it for a spare, or spotting scope, or sell it to put the cash towards another scope, so you can't really lose. Hope I haven't confused the issue any. Keep looking up! Idaho
  10. I just noticed you mentioned a 600$ or under price point, so Dreada's comments are probably the best advice for you. A 6 inch scope would give awesome shots of the moon, and would do good at resolving Jupiter and it's moons, and perhaps some cloud detail, as well as Saturn and it's rings. It would also do fairly well with some of the larger nebulas (Orion Nebula comes to mind) and clusters such as Pleiades and the like. (Even a 3 or 4 inch scope can resolve hundreds of stars in the Pleiades cluster). Most of the info I gave earlier reflects my strong leaning towards deep sky objects. Idaho
  11. First off, that's one seriously screwed up test you put up there. Plate 6 has no number, and will scare the crap outta anyone who tries to go to the next plate...(puts up a picture of some old chick all covered in blood and plays a loud sound of her screaming, scared the bejesus out of me!). Second, I would consider at least an 8 inch scope for astrophotography, less than that will be somewhat disappointing. 8 inch scopes on up will give pretty good detail on even the more distant planets. My interest in astrophotography was deep sky objects, however. For that, even an 8 inch will be a disappointment. That said, you can still get some nice pictures out of an 8 inch, but I really wanted to resolve some nice images of other galaxies, and other deep sky objects. For such photography, 12 to 16 inch reflectors are likely the best bet, but be prepared to pay through the nose, ears, and various other bodily orifices. For the record: You mention not expecting to get nice color shots out of a scope. Not true, you won't be able to SEE the color during naked eye viewing, but the color will show up on film, (often spectacularly in a 16 inch scope...those 16 inch Meade reflectors are great deep sky scopes, I still dream of getting one...but the cost...ouch!), and the longer your exposure time, the better the color will be... Try to recall that prior to the Hubble space telescope, we still had beautiful full color pictures of deep space objects, and most of these pictures were taken with medium to large reflectors. Hubble now blows them away...but who could afford one of those? Aperature affects maximum usable magnification, didn't seem that you were too clear on that. On maintenance: It's unavoidable with any scope. Sooner or later, it'll get dust inside, or you'll jolt it and mirrors will need to be re-aligned...or the mirrors will need resurfacing... Refractors are fairly easy to clean...but it's a pain. Reflectors of any real size often have a side cover you can take off to reach in and use a VERY soft brush/blower to flick dust off lenses/mirrors. Reflectors overall are your best bet. Casselgrains are too small for what you want. (Though you can still take pictures, and resolve some detail of planets and some deep sky objects, and not worry as much about the cost). Again, it all comes down to what you're willing to spend. One last thing: If you have an interest in astrophotography, especially of the more distant planets, or deep sky objects, I hope you don't live in or even anywhere near a city, or streetlights. If you do, you'll need to trek to a darker place. Good astrophotography really rather requires no sky reflected light. With this in mind, remember that moving a scope around a lot, (not to mention the vibration it'll recieve inside a running/moving vehicle), will hasten its need for maintenance. I hope this has helped some. It's a great hobby: It's also an expensive one. I can no longer afford it. Enjoy it for me, will ya? Idaho
  12. quote:Originally posted by Paddy Gregory: Have you read the other Tolkien books? Silmarillion, Book of Lost Tales, Book(s) of Unfinished Tales? Did you know Aragorn and Arwen are related and that Arwen is Galadriel's granddaughter (as well as being her 5th cousin)? Read the Silmarillion and you'll find out how. I'll second the other Tolkien books. Especially the Silmarillion, which, though a tough read, is probably my favorite Tolkien book. And thanks for that info on Galadriel. I knew Arwen was related to her, for some reason my mind was stuck thinking Arwen was her daughter. Well, it HAS been nearly 20 years since I read it. Idaho
  13. The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, and the Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever are very good...(though the hero is more of an 'anti-hero', he has leperousy). The first trilogy of this series are the only books I've read that compare to Tolkien's...even beating it in many respects. The Dragonriders of Pern series mentioned above are one of the best Science Fiction series, as well. (They seem like Fantasy, but they're really Sci Fi about a 'lost colony' if you will). If you want something REALLY different, look for the 'World West of Eden' series by Harry Harrison. The premise of this story is '65 million years ago, an asteroid collided with Earth and wiped out the dinosaurs. What if this event hadn't happened?'. Picture mankind at the beginning of the ice age finding the warmer climate areas full of dinosaurs, including one very advanced sentient reptilian race. Primative man against scientific, sentient dinosaurs. Real good story, never read anything quite like it. Idaho
  14. Well, a week of play, not one crash, bug or glitch to be seen. In fact, I've stopped looking, and gotten down to the business of enjoying myself in the vasty reaches of space...and stuff. Nice work, SC, a thousand thank you's for your dedication to your vision. Idaho
  15. quote:Originally posted by Supreme Cmdr: Hey where've you been?!?! You missed out on a lot of fun.....and as usual, controversy Yeah, that Sygan Triangle problem was a real problem. It was as difficult to reproduce reliably as it was to fix. Had to implement a whole new camera system (from BCG) to solve it. Have been busy with real life issues...(I know you know just how annoying real life issues can be ). I can't wait to go visit Sygan, though, hoping to get a chance to have a looksee tomorrow. Looks like lots of changes will greet me, (I just checked, I'm still using, so I've missed a lot of cool updates heheh). Can't wait to play though, now that I have some time on my hands again. See ya man! Idaho
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