RODOL
Topic Author
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Astronomy Telescopes For Spotting!

Tue Jul 05, 2005 2:44 am

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 scratchchin .
 
pecoua
Posts: 284
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RE: Astronomy Telescopes For Spotting!

Tue Jul 05, 2005 2:56 am

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
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RE: Astronomy Telescopes For Spotting!

Tue Jul 05, 2005 2:56 am

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).

Sorry!  Sad
 
pecoua
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RE: Astronomy Telescopes For Spotting!

Tue Jul 05, 2005 3:00 am

David L...

Good comments...I never had a problem and I see a lot...never owned binocs though...could be a nice alternative....not as still as a telescope on a tripod though.
 
David L
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Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 2:26 am

RE: Astronomy Telescopes For Spotting!

Tue Jul 05, 2005 3:06 am

Quoting Pecoua (Reply 3):
I never had a problem and I see a lot

But you're using a terrestrial telescope, right?

Another thing to bear in mind is that you'd need a correcting prism if you wanted to see things the right way up with an astronomical scope.
 
RODOL
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RE: Astronomy Telescopes For Spotting!

Tue Jul 05, 2005 3:12 am

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
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RE: Astronomy Telescopes For Spotting!

Tue Jul 05, 2005 3:13 am

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.
 
David L
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RE: Astronomy Telescopes For Spotting!

Tue Jul 05, 2005 3:18 am

Quoting RODOL (Reply 5):
I suppose being able to reg things off at high altitude is asking too much

As an example, Jupiter will stay in view for something like 30 seconds to a minute (it's been a few weeks since I did that) and look how slowly it moves!
 
RODOL
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RE: Astronomy Telescopes For Spotting!

Tue Jul 05, 2005 3:26 am

...of course I am referring to actually being able to read tail numbers in case there is any doubt.
 
David L
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Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 2:26 am

RE: Astronomy Telescopes For Spotting!

Tue Jul 05, 2005 3:40 am

That's what I hoped you meant. I couldn't be bothered getting a dictionary to find out how rude "to reg something off" is.  Smile
 
Fly2HMO
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RE: Astronomy Telescopes For Spotting!

Sun Jul 10, 2005 3:15 pm

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.

Cheers  wave 
 
skywatch
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RE: Astronomy Telescopes For Spotting!

Tue Jul 12, 2005 7:49 am

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!

---Skywatch
------Forever Watchin' The Sky------
 
David L
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RE: Astronomy Telescopes For Spotting!

Thu Jul 14, 2005 9:31 pm

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.
 
RODOL
Topic Author
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RE: Astronomy Telescopes For Spotting!

Fri Jul 15, 2005 12:40 am

Cheers David L, i'll put the idea to bed!!
 
David L
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RE: Astronomy Telescopes For Spotting!

Fri Jul 15, 2005 3:07 am

I feel guilty now - sorry!
 
RODOL
Topic Author
Posts: 315
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RE: Astronomy Telescopes For Spotting!

Fri Jul 15, 2005 4:54 am

Quoting David L (Reply 14):
I feel guilty now - sorry!

Don't worry buddy!!!  Smile
 
STARalliance24
Posts: 371
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RE: Astronomy Telescopes For Spotting!

Fri Jul 15, 2005 5:00 am

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.
 
KDTWflyer
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RE: Astronomy Telescopes For Spotting!

Sun Jul 24, 2005 2:38 pm

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