RODOL From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 2601 times:
This might sound bonkers, but has anyone explored the possibilities of spotting aircraft through one? I mean if you can look at the surface of the moon, an aircraft at FL270 should be no problem, right? I'm not sure whether using such a high powered telescope in daylight hours would have any ill effects on the eyes, or whether it's possible to focus in on a relatively small object. I can just see me sat in the garden in a reclining chair, with a beer, poling off United triples en-route to Pole Hill over my house! C'mon someone else must have wondered .
Pecoua From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 298 posts, RR: 0 Reply 1, posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 2602 times:
I spot every day here in Las Vegas...you can see the star of David on ElAl's 767 from LAX to YYZ at cruise and the shamrock on Aer Lingus from LAX to SSN...get a nice spotters telescope...they start at around 300 bucks and work their way up...they look great in the livingroom too...do it...you won't regret it.
David L From United Kingdom, joined May 1999, 9214 posts, RR: 42 Reply 2, posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 2597 times:
No chance! They're too bulky and the field of view is so small you'd you'd only catch a glimpse if you managed to actually point the telescope in the right place at the right time. It takes me about 30 seconds to line it up with a stationary target, like a hilltop, on a tripod. Without a tripod it would be useless.
No danger of eye damage as long as you don't point it at the sun. You'd be better off with a quality pair of 10x binoculars (rather than a dodgy pair of 20x binoculars).
RODOL From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 5, posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 2590 times:
I have a spotting scope which goes up to 45x mag, but if you zoom in too much, the image is too dark and without a tripod far too shakey. I just thought that a proper refracting telescope might just work (obviously with a thing on to turn the image the right way up). I suppose being able to reg things off at high altitude is asking too much, it would be cool to spot a Lufty 340 en-route FRA-JFK or somewhere from the garden though!!
David L From United Kingdom, joined May 1999, 9214 posts, RR: 42 Reply 6, posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 2589 times:
Quoting Pecoua (Reply 3): not as still as a telescope on a tripod though
Oops... I was a bit hasty with my reply - I hadn't finished.
A terrestrial scope or binoculars on a tripod would be ideal - the higher the magnification, the more important it is to use a tripod but that makes it tricky to follow aircraft at FL270, for example. Telescopes give you better quality for a given price but good binoculars are more comfortable to look through.
FLY2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 10, posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 2520 times:
A maksutov or shimdt-cassegrain telescope wont make the images look upside down. They will look mirrored though...
I've read the titles on the airplanes and seen ground equipment at MEX from 10 km away at my grandfathers apartment. It is a rather small telescope (3.5" dia.) but the quality of the image is as good as an 8" dia. Mind you, it is a $4000 dollar telescope. Also he uses a tripod that was originally used for mounting video cameras in TV studios back in the 70's. And yes it is very very sturdy, extremely heavy and industrial sized!!!
Although this $500 'scope will do the job fine:
Google for MEADE or CELESTRON.
I'm also a bit into astronomy, so if you want to know about scopes, let me know.
Skywatch From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 923 posts, RR: 6 Reply 11, posted (7 years 10 months 2 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 2488 times:
I spot using a telescope! I usually stick with a 12.5mm lens. I have a little $80(got it for $40) telescope, but it works great! The traffic inbound to AUS that passes my house is usually 4,500-5,500 feet AGL, but with my telescope I can make out cargo doors, passenger doors, cockpit window panes, all the windows, and even the American flags on the side. I also use it to spot high-altitude aircraft. I usually have a 80-90% success rate on successfully finding the aircraft in the scope. I have not been able to read tail numbers with it, although sometimes I can see them. It is a very enjoyable hobby, but beware! Sometimes police will check you out to make sure it is a telescope and not a WMD!
David L From United Kingdom, joined May 1999, 9214 posts, RR: 42 Reply 12, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 2445 times:
Quoting FLY2HMO (Reply 10): I've read the titles on the airplanes and seen ground equipment at MEX from 10 km away
Yes, but could you track an aircraft flying at FL270? I have a Skywatcher refractor, F = 1000mm, D = 120mm, and there's no way I could point that at an aircraft in flight and keep it centred long enough to read any detail.
If you want to buy an astronomical telescope for looking at the moon, planets and/or stars then by all means try it for spotting but I really wouldn't recommend buying one just for spotting aircraft in flight.
STARalliance24 From Canada, joined Jun 2005, 378 posts, RR: 2 Reply 16, posted (7 years 10 months 1 week 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 2423 times:
I usually track aircrafts at any flight level with my home binoculars. You can't see very close like a telescope but you can tell what company it is and what type of aircraft. Plus its not too expensive.