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Makeshift Telescope Answered

I apologize if I misplaced my topic; I'm sure it's nothing unusual though.

Okay.. so at night when I go to walk my dogs, I have a huge open sky and not too much light pollution (Go figure -- Orlando, FL). The moon is always super bright, and about once a month, way larger than usual. Among that and the usual contellations, I see brighter objects, flashing ones, so I know they're planets. I see three of them nowadays.

Thing is.. since I know they're planets, I want to see them bigger now! I want to see with my own eyes these planets, at least a liiiiitle bit bigger, but I can't afford a telescope. Even if I could, I'm just like the "why buy when I could make it myself"ers on here.

I have some lenses; Some from an old (good for it's day) film camera, some from.. other things. Now I know they are problem very limited in their ability to do the requested job.. but like I said, anything is better than a blinking dot; I'll be happy with any beneficial results.

I know someone is going to ask something about the lenses, and I'll tell you right now: I don't know. I have no idea how to "measure" lenses or their power.. so any guidance in this area would also be appreciated.

Thanks guys!

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NarNar (author)2009-01-10

Okay, well I am 100% positive those 3 things I mentioned are not planes. They are there every night, relatively same spots. That said, I rule out satellites too, I think.

They are very bright, in comparison to the stars that I see; Those of the constellations nearby (to 2 of them), one being the big dipper. (The only one I know by name =P)

None of them flash at a constant rate, and none of them you can tell are flashing unless you stand still and focus intently on them. One flashes redish and white, and another, if I recall, has a blueish dim to it.

Anyway, back to topic. Thanks Kiteman for the info.

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beado4ever (author)2009-01-10

The rule of thumb for bright lights in the sky is; if it "twinkles" as in the nursery rhyme, it's a star, if it's light stays constant then its a planet or planet like body. Flashing lights are probably very high altitude planes or even satellites. And if its a bright light getting rapidly brighter- run because you're about to be hit by a meteorite!

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NachoMahma (author)beado4ever2009-01-10

. My rule of thumb is: if the flashing/twinkling is periodic, it's probably man-made; if random, probably not. . > ... bright light getting rapidly brighter ... . ROFL

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Kiteman (author)2009-01-10

Oh, to measure the focal length of your lenses, use them to project an image of your window onto a piece of paper - the distance between the lens and paper is the focal length.

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Kiteman (author)2009-01-10

If the things you're seeing are flashing, they could be aircraft or satellites rather than planets.

If you're using lenses, google for "refractive telescope", but you need, for the most basic version, a short focal length lens, a wider, long focal-length lens, and a tube to hold them (that will, preferably, allow some movement for focussing).

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