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Old 16-05-2024, 09:37 AM
glend (Glen)
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Astronomy for the over 70's

So how are the Septugenarians (70-79) dealing with Astronomy in these years? Still at It? Modification to your gear, setup, etc required? Funny stories? Coping with strength reduction? Etc. Give us your advice.

No youngsters, haha.
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Old 16-05-2024, 10:20 AM
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Well perhaps a little off track here for me Glen but I would like to share my thoughts on how you can just keep on going.

Probably I became aware of how folk write themselves off very early as a result of real estate sales...so many people have it in their heads that at 55 they must downsize their home and start setting up for low maintenance living... which is OK but along with that their attitude changes greatly...

For myself I just will not give up...and really I could...building the observatory as a cripple seems impossible but you just have to work with what you have ..I could lay on my stomach to nail the floor..If I had to as to use my knees it was incredibly painful so laying on my stomach avoided that pain... Sure it is as slow but it got done...and months but note...patience is key...most jobs I get 15 minutes max and then its lay down for up to two hours .... Well even at that rate I still get five hours in a day and that translates to 30 hours in a week minimum...and over a year I just get stuff done...lifting ain't on but to get a genny or fire pump in the car I build a ramp, slide it up...then a series of boards to lower it in and to get it out...once I could lift it in and out but now it can be 30 minutes with two or three rests...more actually..but with patience it gets done...now so many folk can not move to engenuity rest and patience...

AND dont give up..my motor system had at least 12 pull downs ( two motors four bolts..on off on off etc etc) before I scrapped that system and set out to make an untried gate system work...talk about trial and error ... And even now it opens only half what I really wanted due to a bend that I have yet to sort out ..one day maybe...after I recover from cancer....but the fact is I can image within 15 minutes of opening the door ..opening the roof with a push button and sitting in a luxury chair running everything on my phone... All done in small bites and never saying I am too old or not strong enough etc.

Also as an old person not to live in the past...I want latest stuff...
Just think of the folk my age who do not even have a mobile phone...I have lectures world wide from the leaders in their fields and can study molecular biology or any science I can name name free...

Sure its harder...like learning astro photography is a rather big challenge but I dont give in...always a week later after hitting a brick wall I have found a solution by being patient and solve that one to continue my journey...

AND the boat was a challenge but I found even though I could not stand up on it or even on the jetty that I could crawl to something to use to climb up and well I am standing ...thats the goal...and not to worry about appearances...do what you must so as to get that last drop out of life.

I have one scope that is too big for me to lift so I get someone to lift...so I will get to use that big scope..

alex

Last edited by xelasnave; 16-05-2024 at 10:30 AM.
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Old 16-05-2024, 11:56 AM
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mldee (Mike)
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How about the octogenarians?

Not trying to turn this into an "I'm older than you" competition, but I just turned 81 and am still muddling along in Astrophotography, just a few valleys north of Alex on the southern Darling Downs. I follow his travails on IIS and wish him all the best.

I'm still a nerd and early adopter, with AM5, RC8, CF f4 Newt, lots of ZWO and Touptek gear, while finding lots of time to follow all the experts on Youtube.

I Remote Desktop to my obs with Nina, Siril, Graxpert etc etc. Pity my postprocessing skills are only mediocre at best. I even host a little FB astronomy group for my local village residents, to encourage them to take advantage of the Bortle 2 skies here, even if it's just with their smartphones. Starting to see some progress and hope to see some Seestar 50s pop up soon.

Funny, my family comes from Drake, next to Alex's Tabulam, and I grew up on your Lake Macquarie (Toronto), still one of my favourite places in the world.

Luckily my health is still OK, main thing I have is the occasional minor surgery to excise skin BCC's due to all that wonderful time sailing and swimming semi-naked around the Lake as a child.

1950's....Them's were the days, steam trains to school in Newcastle, VJ's on the lake, freedom to roam all day, etc, etc.

Cheers,
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Old 16-05-2024, 01:54 PM
Leo.G (Leo)
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I'm under aged and shouldn't be replying in here because I'm only 64 BUT before the bouncers come in to check my ID.....
Just on what Alex has mentioned, I've always found so many people's limiting factor to be the way they think. I've known people all of my life when I've offered to teach them to fix stuff whether mechanical, electrical/electronic or welding (and a range of other useless skills I've acquired over the years) they would often respond with "I could never do that". They'd never tried and gave up before even being prepared to have a go. I could build your engine, lawnmower, car, boat, I could wire your house, I could fix that leak in the water or gas line running to the house, I could fix any machine, washing machine, sewing machine through to complex CNC equipment. Anything I couldn't do I could pick up a book and then do it. I had colleagues I worked with who called me Jarod in reference to the TV show The Pretender and they used to say if I couldn't do it it couldn't be done. Though I learned my limitations when asked to shoe a horse, I don't like horses and the thought of driving nails into their hooves terrified me (animal husbandry and I don't mix, I was married to a pig for 15 years).
My physical limitations my entire life have been migraines. It's hard to achieve things when the control centre refuses to play but I have a good sense of logic and have always been a problem solver.

As for strength I learnt the hard way it drops off after 40 and spend way too much time sitting around on my fat @rse because every breath or movement is like a bomb going off in my head. I bought a chin up bar and do regular chin ups and push ups to try and retain a little upper body strength most days though I have periods of laziness where I don't bother (or can't). But, I can use my brain and solve a lot of problems, laziness just means I'll find easy ways to do stuff, mostly.
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Old 16-05-2024, 02:52 PM
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Well guys I am a bit like you, and there is very little that I can't do, and if it seems impossible, I give it plenty of thought and come up with a solution and it gets done.

I think it comes from the early days when precious little possums where a rare species, and one had to do it yourself and not depend on others and technology to come up with an answer.

I am 74 next Month and we, Alice and I work most days, not all day of course but a few hours here and there.

We sit down at evening and relax a bit very stiff and sore sometimes, but the next morning all is well again, and we do it all over again.

If we didn't do what we do, we would surely end up just wasting away in front of a TV or just sitting around being bored silly.

We love what we do and expect to be here doing what we do for a long time to come or till they take us away in a box

By the way to those who may not know, we are caretakers on a 5-acre block overlooking the Hopkins River and live in our supplied fully furnished Cottage on the property.

The owners are away most of the year, so we enjoy this beautiful place and treat it as our own.

Leon
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Old 16-05-2024, 06:03 PM
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Crater101 (Warren)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leo.G View Post
I'm under aged and shouldn't be replying in here because I'm only 64 BUT before the bouncers come in to check my ID.....
At 57 I feel like a whippersnapper...

One of my guiding lights has been a quote I found by Steve Jobs, late of Apple fame. Regardless of what folk think of him, he said
"Your time here is limited; don't waste it living someone else's life."

There's another line by someone that I can't recall that's along the lines of You don't stop having fun when you get old, you get old when you stop having fun.

I've had a cancer scare (thyroid) and came close to losing my life on a couple of occasions over the years. Regardless of what you think you can or can't do, get in and have a go, I say. I'd rather fail and think "Well, I made a mess of that" than spend the rest of my life wondering. Our time here is limited - and there's all the stars in the sky to image! (And backfocus issues to sort out.... ) Never give up!
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Old 16-05-2024, 06:07 PM
Leo.G (Leo)
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Quote:
I'd rather fail and think "Well, I made a mess of that" than spend the rest of my life wondering.
Failure is often the best teacher but only if you're willing to persist. Too many people give up too easy.

Last edited by Leo.G; 17-05-2024 at 12:21 PM. Reason: to-too-two.....
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Old 17-05-2024, 11:41 AM
Startrek (Martin)
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I too am a youngster at 64 , but my youngest daughter’s “father in law” after watching my Astro journey since 2017 , has decided to buy a telescope at 73 years of age.
I steered him towards a SW 8” Goto Dob which is manageable and fairly easy to use , or at least it is for me.
After a few night sessions with me ( together with written laminated procedures) over the last 5 months, he’s making progress.
Unfortunately he’s not mechanically, practically or scientifically minded at all and has trouble remembering things but he’s getting there.
He’s able to set up outside near his garage , complete settings in Synscan , operate the scope in easy tracking mode and manually drive the scope up to a bright star and focus it.
Next hurdle is a 2 Star alignment
At 73 with no experience at all , he’s doing ok
We bought a 70kg collapsible parcel trolly from Bunnings and he just has to wheel the scope from the garage to his observing spot 5 m away. I’m 70kg wringing wet but he’s only 55kg wringing wet and can manage moving the scope easily.
These smaller 8” and 10” SW Goto Dobs are great , I’ve had a 12” since 2018.
See how the next month or so goes , but know you what he’s like a kid with a new toy , never stops sending messages or ringing me up about how wonderful it to observe the Universe. A happy ( old ) Chappy

Martin
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Old 17-05-2024, 01:54 PM
Leo.G (Leo)
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I have a spare Toro ride on (old wheel horse with 15HP engine-needs work) and a hiab crane from a truck, 500Kg lifting capacity.
I'm playing with the idea of mounting the hiab on the front of the mower (sans cutting deck, it won't need that unless I decide to move crap and mow at the same time) on an extended sub frame I'll have to make and a water tank on the back of the unit to fill with required water for a counterweight system to assist with lifting of heavier equipment. I should have a hydraulic pump laying around somewhere so I can convert the ram from manual pump to motorised unit. I'm just not sure on the wheel load capacity of the ride on (axle capacity may be a bigger issue but I can weld) but it would be more for lifting in position and lowering onto a suitable trolley to move than driving around the yard with loads hanging off. The mower frame itself will be strengthened for the job.

Water will be recycled into a drum to save boosting the water bill and wasting water.

I may have to modify the mower frame (strong hollow section welded frame) to fit some home butchered outriggers for stability. Be nice if I could get some suitable hydraulic units to do that too but finances dictate it will be what I can weld up out of junk I have laying around.
Like everything I do, one day maybe......
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Old 17-05-2024, 09:32 PM
glend (Glen)
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Alex seems to be an expert at modifying ride in mowers, he has one he uses to get down to the observatory. No blades, just sort of a mobility scooter.
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Old 17-05-2024, 10:29 PM
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alan meehan (Alan)
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Well i just turned 69 thought i woulnt get there a few times iam president of the newcastle astronomical society and love it ,iam supposed to know all about everything astro but i tinker as i have been told .Ihave learned the workings of telescopes by pulling them apart and rebuilding ,i break things then learn how to fix them its what you do ,i fell off a ladder some yrs back trying to build a frame 30ft high to stop stupid neighbours behined who leave ther back porch light on all night that didnt help my back i struggle so much to lift things now ,i have just sold my 10inch s/newtonion because at 16 kg i could not lift it any more now my eq6 is going replaced by a smaller gti and redcat 51 ,but iam still trying to get my head around polar alighnment at this stage my 10 inch was sitting in the observatory for 20 odd yrs have done a polar alighnment for donkeys yrs ,but i keep going its what keeps me going plus rebuilding old vintage telescopes the misses hates but thats life
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Old 18-05-2024, 01:24 AM
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xelasnave
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Quote:
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Alex seems to be an expert at modifying ride in mowers, he has one he uses to get down to the observatory. No blades, just sort of a mobility scooter.
Sorry Glen at some point I have created a misunderstanding as my mower has blades...perhaps what is novel is my route takes various courses so that over time my grass is being cut without particular attention one employs when one cuts the grass...I just take the path that sees me drive thru the longest grass as it appears...all times night or day ...five acres that is never officially mowed....I am just going here or there..to the observatory, the shed ...where ever and cut grass on each trip....

alex
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Old 18-05-2024, 09:02 AM
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Rainmaker (Matt)
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Like others here, I haven’t yet circled the Sun 70 times, about to complete my 67th circuit. My main focus in this pastime these days is Outreach Astronomy, attending public events at Mt Stromlo Observatory as well as numerous local community events run by Communities at Work and ACT Government. To date, more than 20 thousand adults and children have viewed through my scopes……

I use two setups for my outreach efforts, first being “Excalibur” an 18”F3.5 Dobsonian which I wheel in&out of my Ford Transit Sport fully assembled. My second setup is the William Optics Gran Turismo 153mm F7.8 that rides on an AZEQ6GT & the biggest Tak tripod. Both setups weigh around 60Kg.

I think the secret to longevity is keeping fit and delaying the onset of sarcopenia by high protein diet and weight bearing exercise. To that end I ride bikes (non powered ones), I also windsurf, ski in winter, bushwalk and play badminton…….

“ Use it or lose it “

Last edited by Rainmaker; 18-05-2024 at 10:55 AM.
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Old 18-05-2024, 10:01 AM
Leo.G (Leo)
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I do chin ups most days (around 50, a few at a time, I have a chin up bar mounted in a doorway between my kitchen and back room leading to the dunny. I try and do a few every time I walk through except the 18 times through the night when I get out of bed to do the walk) and push ups. Every now and then I get the bug and do sit ups too along with a host of other exercises, I used to be relatively fit after doing martial arts for some time, I must lose this gut but I always wanted to be a fat **** and I was always the last part of it, just couldn't gain weight and was often nicknamed "greyhound".
Though my 8" Newt is getting heavier. It's not so much the weight, it awkward lifting it on and off and my son usually helps for security. The concept with the ride on mower is if I decide to get a larger scope I can have an electric control for the hydraulic lift and stand and guide a heavier scope onto a mount.
As for mowing, I have a working ride on and a working 60s Victa Mayfair but my grass is 3 feet tall beside the fence. Mowing and migraines don't mix, I get to it on occasion but I'm not overly fussed. My last place in Lithgow I had to mow, I had tiger snakes everywhere but I've never seen a snake in this yard in 15 years living here, maybe because my grass is always so long.

Quote:
I think the secret to longevity is keeping fit and delaying the onset of sacropenia

Yes, movement is the key but health often dictates as we age we can't always do that. Every step (and every breath) with my migraines is like a bomb going off in my empty skull. Throw in sciatica and I can get very lazy and just sit on my @rse and watch TV or go through a few forums on my PC.
As I mentioned I have a gut I have to lose, not a big gut, I don't drink alcohol but it's big enough to be embarrassing even if I am 5'10 (and a bit) and weigh 65Kg. No one else notices it but I do. I started doing squats with 15Kg soft weights but my knees soon decided they didn't like it. I have an incline sit up bench when I can be bothered dragging it out and using it. Last time I did a quick 100 sit ups in my back yard (without incline bench) and it didn't even hurt the next day, I was so disappointed, I failed. Throw in no more than 1-2 hours sleep per night (on heavy sleeping pills), I just don't have the energy most days.
There's a thought, I haven't slept, I might go for a nap.

Last edited by Leo.G; 20-05-2024 at 01:21 PM.
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Old 20-05-2024, 10:14 AM
N1 (Mirko)
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Sorry Glen at some point I have created a misunderstanding as my mower has blades...perhaps what is novel is my route takes various courses so that over time my grass is being cut without particular attention one employs when one cuts the grass...I just take the path that sees me drive thru the longest grass as it appears...all times night or day ...five acres that is never officially mowed....I am just going here or there..to the observatory, the shed ...where ever and cut grass on each trip....

alex

Brilliant!
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