Stargazing - Helpful hints and stuff.

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Josh of the Bushveld
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Green laser pointers

Unread post by Josh of the Bushveld »

Hi guys, I'm thinking of buying a green laser pointer for star gazing. Does anyone have experience with green laser pointers? Anyone have any advice?

I'm probably going to get a 20mW or 50mW unit.
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Imberbe
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Re: Green laser pointers

Unread post by Imberbe »

They are great and works excellently.

But they are rather expensive.

If you are going to use them regularly, it might be worth the money. Otherwise a good torch with a concentrated light does the same basic job. The green pointers does have the professional image though.
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Lockie
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Re: Green laser pointers

Unread post by Lockie »

What are these lasers that everyone is raving about? In case you were wondering - "name of supplier" isn't in regular low power (5mW) presentation or key chain laser pointers. We sell the highest powered green laser pointers in the world. Our green lasers are so bright and powerful they can burn, slash and melt plastic or, if you are so inclined, light your smoke. The green lasers create a beam you can see for miles in dark conditions. Our high-powered green laser pointers are used by the US military to disorient and intimidate the enemy.

This is what I was referring to joshilewis. I will NOT be posting where this quote was taken from. The price quoted was US$99 for 20mW
I agree it would be a useful tool for stargazing, but in the wrong hands and for the wrong purpose...a weapon!
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Josh of the Bushveld
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Re: Green laser pointers

Unread post by Josh of the Bushveld »

I was agreeing with you :)
Most reviews I've read online claim that manufacturer's claims are usually exaggerated, i.e. the lasers can't burn plastic or pop balloons etc. They're still very dangerous though.
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Josh of the Bushveld
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Re: Green laser pointers

Unread post by Josh of the Bushveld »

Lockie wrote:I knew you agreed with me and thanks josh, I just wanted to drive my 'point' home :lol:
I was amazed by the Southern Sky both in the daylight, but especially at night! EVERYTHING was so different from what we were used to, and at time I was kicking myself I didn't include an astronomy book with the rest of the bird, reptile, mammals books we had used while visiting that most beautiful spots most of you call home

Yeah it is very different. I've made a point of looking at N Hemisphere stars on two occasions, both in deserts (in Israel and India) and our stars are much more impressive.

I'm slowly starting to get into the finer aspects of guiding/ecology etc, including star gazing (I wouldn't quite call it astronomy yet).

For book recommendations check this topic.

I wonder if there's a market for a 'safari book' rental service?
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Josh of the Bushveld
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Re: Green laser pointers

Unread post by Josh of the Bushveld »

Preliminary review: I've been playing with my pointer over a few nights, but I haven't had a chance to do some decent star gazing due to the weather and light pollution in Jo'burg.

So far I am very impressed. The laser dot can be seen clearly at 50m away in twilight, and possibly more (I haven't had the chance to check further distances yet). The beam can be seen indoors with curtains closed (assuming decent curtains). The beam can also be seen clearly while pointed at a full moon.

All in all, I am very impressed.

The only real downside is it seems to eat batteries (rechargables); and the beam intensity drops after a few minutes of continuous usage (not sure if its batteries, heat or a low quality unit).
I paid under USD20 for mine from Amazon (with a traveling relative kindly bringing it back).

I can't wait to try it out 'for real'.

I'll try taking some photos and posting them soon, when the weather here clears a little.
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G@mespotter
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Re: Stargazing - Helpful hints and stuff.

Unread post by G@mespotter »

Ai... I'm only reading this topic now...

Problem is, out of my whole family/friends group, it seems I'm the only one really interested in the stars, etc :doh: :roll: (Besides Sawubona who has a scope and then 'forgets' to take it with :twisted:)

Anyway, definately getting that book Beutelgeuse 8) Good idea about the 'printing per month' method, will remember when I go to Kruger in december!

Back to falling stars: last October, I couldn't sleep, duhu, it was my first night in Marakele!! SUCH a cool place to relax. Our tents were a bit packed, so I took my matrass I 'parked' on the front-tent. I positioned it in such a way that I could look at the awesome display of stars, and as I switched off all the nearby lights, I could even clearly see the milky way. That aside, between the Jackals calling and the 'growling' sounds of the ostriches, I managed to see 12 falling stars! A few very clear, 1 BIG one and that all in 5 hours.

I will still remember that night, surrounded by jackals, a bunch of springhares and 6 or so ostriches. Not a 'BIG 5' hunter's paradise, but truely a magnificent jewel of african wildlife VERY close to nature. As pure as it gets.

Definately going back, even if it was only for the stargazing oppurtunities 8)
Walking is the best way to explore Kruger: 2x Olifants Backpack Trail (2009, 2016), 3x Mphongolo Backpack Trail (2011, 2013, 2015), 1x Mathikithi Wilderness Trail (2022).
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DuneRichard
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Re: Stargazing - Helpful hints and stuff.

Unread post by DuneRichard »

There are two sites that have helped me out a lot,
(Stellarium runs far too slowly on my pc) :evil:

I highly recommend
www.skymaps.com (click on downloads for a monthly sky chart)
www.heavens-above.com (have those GPS co-ords at the ready)
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DuneRichard
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Re: Stargazing - Helpful hints and stuff.

Unread post by DuneRichard »

Sky Maps is a great way to introduce your clients to astronomy at a very low cost - I give night walks (Kalahari stargazing is AWESOME) and print out the charts for my clients so that they can each look at their own stars in stead of having to do the guesswork.

Heavens Above is again great for the more "artificial" side of astronomy because it gives you great info on iridium flares, satellites, the ISS passings etc.

Just remember that the star charts on Sky Maps are all collaborated on UT, so you must add two hours to whatever event times are given on the chart.
Ex Africa semper aliquid novi
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Re: Southern Cross

Unread post by Bennievis »

Many years ago...
Southern Cross.. how many nights did I lie on my back in my sleeping bag.. looking up at the stars. .looking at the Southern Cross.. dreaming of being at home.. Southern Cross will always bring back memories of longing and missing loved ones.
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Re: Stargazing - Helpful hints and stuff.

Unread post by Tshwene »

i am also a newbe with stargazing. (one of those that still see a bunny in the moon....) Stargazing from game reserves in sa- Anthony Fairall helped me a lot. I can id now scorpion in winter, orion in summer, southern cross, moon (most of the year). with greek and african tell tales/beliefs. In this book, there are sky maps for every month. Last night a friend tried to show me "the arrow", which was next to orion's belt, he said the arrow always point north(from army days). Tonight i will use my glasses try to spot it. Do any of you know about it?
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ndloti
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Is there a space shuttle currently orbiting the earth ?

Unread post by ndloti »

Last evening from my home town roughly 50 km south of Johannesburg at about 6:36 pm I saw an apparently fairly fast travelling and relatively low and large object pass overhead in a roughly north easterly direction (from the south west) .
Could it be a space shuttle or is it a large or low altitude satellite ?
KNP is sacred. I am opposed to the modernisation of Kruger and from the depths of my soul long for the Kruger of yesteryear! 1000+km on foot in KNP incl 56 wild trails.200+ nights in the wildernessndloti-indigenous name for serval.
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Re: Is there a space shuttle currently orbiting the earth ?

Unread post by chirinda »

You probably saw the International Space Station which was scheduled to have passed over Joburg in that direction about that time yesterday. The brightness was -3.5 which would have made it a good sighting. I missed it :( .

The next NASA space shuttle is apparently scheduled for November, don't know about Soyuz.
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Re: Is there a space shuttle currently orbiting the earth ?

Unread post by DuQues »

ISS is very easy to see, and your most likely candidate.

It won't be a soyuz, they are actually quite small, with few solar panels. And none is scheduled to arrive at ISS at the moment.
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ndloti
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Re: Is there a space shuttle currently orbiting the earth ?

Unread post by ndloti »

Thanks folks , it reminded me of a similar sighting which was in fact a space shuttle passing over Olifants wilderness trails camp in the mid 90's (?) .
KNP is sacred. I am opposed to the modernisation of Kruger and from the depths of my soul long for the Kruger of yesteryear! 1000+km on foot in KNP incl 56 wild trails.200+ nights in the wildernessndloti-indigenous name for serval.
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