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I like to watch the stars ...

Displaying poll results.
With my totally naked eye
  3641 votes / 35%
With my scantily dressed eye (glasses, Lasik)
  3249 votes / 31%
With a heavily dressed eye (optical telescope)
  1382 votes / 13%
With a robotic eye (radio telescope, say)
  297 votes / 2%
Only enough to meet social obligations.
  1794 votes / 17%
10363 total votes.
[ Voting Booth | Other Polls | Back Home ]
  • Don't complain about lack of options. You've got to pick a few when you do multiple choice. Those are the breaks.
  • Feel free to suggest poll ideas if you're feeling creative. I'd strongly suggest reading the past polls first.
  • This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane.
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I like to watch the stars ...

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  • I use a.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by someoneto (187298) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @04:30AM (#38722516)

    I have a smelloscope, you insensitive clod!

    (it had to be done really.)

  • Google Sky Map (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Neil Boekend (1854906) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @04:34AM (#38722534)
    I prefer to watch through Google Sky Map (untested link: can't open at work) []. Now I don't even need to go out into the cold.
    • Re:Google Sky Map (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @05:14AM (#38722656)
      I prefer Stellarium [].
      • I can't praise Stellarium enough. Particularly interesting is to open the date window and change the day. Then note how the planets and stars move from day to day.
        • I tried to install on 64-bit unbuntu and all the menu images were broken, among other things. I think you could praise it a little less.

      • by Deag (250823)

        Agreed, google sky map doesn't even have the moons of Jupiter on it.

        • by hedwards (940851)

          Different purposes. Google Sky Map is there for people that are walking around wanting to know what constellations they're seeing. The folks like me that never bothered to learn to find them. Although these days it's getting harder to see the constellations and find them as you might only be able to see some of the stars.

          But, more importantly, it doesn't appear that Stellarium has a mobile version. I personally use Google Sky Map outside where I can actually see some of the stars and planets referred to in

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        What about Celestia? Flying around the solar system and beyond is too gimmicky?

        • by Trogre (513942)

          Horses for courses. Celestia is absolutely wonderful for travelling through the galaxy and beyond, but Stellarium is much better at showing you what is in the sky from the ground. Think of it as an atlas (a very beautiful one) verses a flight simulator.

  • by srussia (884021) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @05:02AM (#38722618)
    Oddly enough, my stargazing preference is the same as my water immersion preference. Is yours?

    Totally naked
    Scantily dressed (trunks, speedo)
    Heavily dressed (wetsuit)
    Robotic enclosure (submarine)
    Only enough to meet social obligations.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      One can also apply it to Sex:

      - Totally Naked (Married, wanting to have kids or just plain irresponsible)
      - Scantily Dressed (Shirt, Socks, Condom)
      - Heavily dressed (Bondage gear, Chain mail, Swing)
      - Robotic Enclosure (If you're old enough to watch ultraporn)
      - Only enough to meet social obligations (Your Jewish mother is nagging you to find a girl and get out of her basement).

    • by tirerim (1108567)
      Sadly, no -- if I attempt to stargaze with totally naked eyes, I can't see any stars at all.
    • by CptNerd (455084)
      I'm hydrophobic you insensitive clod! (snarl, froth)
  • by earthloop (449575) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @05:26AM (#38722706) Homepage

    But I have to resort to "optical telescope" when watching Natalie Portman. (She's a star, right?)

    • by azalin (67640)
      I guess a remote controlled hidden webcam would count as robotic eye then
    • I'll just turn down the lights and watch the network cards blink on my Beowulf cluster...

      • by Macgrrl (762836)

        ACHTUNG! ALLES LOOKENSPEEPERS!: Das computermachine ist nicht fuer gefingerpoken und mittengrabben. Ist easy schnappen der springenwerk, blowenfusen und poppencorken mit spitzensparken. Ist nicht fuer gewerken bei das dumpkopfen. Das rubbernecken sichtseeren keepen das cotten-pickenen hans in das pockets muss; relaxen und watchen das blinkenlichten.

        Or, as translated into manglish...

        ATTENTION: This room is fullfilled mit special electronische equippment. Fingergrabbing and pressing the cnoeppkes from the co

  • except I have been clouded out for the past week or so.

    And before that not much was happening and when it was I was clouded out.

    I want to buy a telescope but the WAF on that and another guitar is quite low.

    • by rwa2 (4391) *

      Yeah, missing option... binoculars are actually a pretty great way to experience a good deal of stargazing. Astronomers like David H. Levy (of Levy-Shoemaker fame) certainly recommends it above even a modest telescope as a good way of catching a good many features, like galaxies and nebulae. And you can even track moving things like airplanes, satellites, ISS transits, etc.. You're also more likely to take it with you when you go traveling or hiking so you can see wildlife, or take it to a concert / the

      • by tqft (619476)

        I looked at what I needed - at least 12in mirror the minimum of what I want. I could go Dobsonian & save the $ (and get a bigger mirror)

        But I want tracking and star finder and stuff. So very much a serious WAF problem.

        But I have one half decent pair of binoculars and can get away with another

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Binoculars are just two low end optical telescopes.

  • Radio telescopes are not robotic eyes, you insenstivie clod.
    Even an optical telescope, equipped with a digital camera could fit the evil concept of "robotic eye".
    The point is that you need some software for imaging analysis of astronomical images in order to keep the Humans useless.
    But then the outcomes of those software would be useless without a Human being(tm) to "understand" them.

  • by Patchw0rk F0g (663145) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @06:14AM (#38722866) Journal

    Not the first time something on /. has weirded me out, but it's usually on the comments pages.

    So this is what "violated" feels like.

  • When looking up, I see an average of 2 stars and 5 airplaines, so gave up looking. Would love to go to a place where I can see more though.
    • by xaxa (988988)

      When looking up, I see an average of 2 stars and 5 airplaines, so gave up looking. Would love to go to a place where I can see more though.

      It's really incredible how many stars there are, and how infrequently I see them. With all the buildings everywhere, I'm lucky to see the moon.

      My parents claim to live in the countryside (in the Midlands), but they're still too close to a city to see any stars.

      How far away from London does one need to go? Zone 6? Or further?

    • I used to live in Los Angeles, not known for it's seeing. I saw almost nothing with the naked eye. But with my 8 inch SCT I could see so MUCH more! There is so much more light you can capture when your eye is 8 inches (or more) in diameter.
  • I'm thinking about getting my eyes fixed (not just to look at the stars). Can anyone comment on it? Like many /. users I spend a fair amount of time looking at screens. My current prescription isn't terribly strong but I keep my glasses on all the time.

    I am a bit concerned about the dangers and how it might affect my work if I get one eye done at a time.

    • Re:Laser surgery (Score:4, Informative)

      by dwillden (521345) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @12:59PM (#38727138) Homepage
      I had Lasik almost a decade ago. Best money I ever spent. Post surgery back then was a miserable day because your eyeballs felt badly scratched (not surprising considering they'd cut the cornea open to zap it,). Not sure about how it works with the newer bladeless techniques.

      The surgery itself is extremely safe. The effects are great, I went from 20/275 in my good eye to 20/15 and am still slightly better than 20/20 in both eyes. What you will notice is a definite impact on night vision. They only correct a narrow circle on your cornea, for most vision, that's no problem, but at night when your iris opens to take in more light, it will open wider than the corrected area thus causing haloing around any and all lights. You get used to it but it's always there. Also in line with the poll that prompted your question, star gazing post Lasik sucks. I live in the west and when camping always enjoyed star gazing, but now I can only make out the brightest stars and can no longer see many of the constellations. This is due to the same cause as the halo effect, my eyes can't get enough focused light through the fixed area and the unfixed blurry area just blurs what light is coming in.

      I'd recommend just getting them both done at once, so as to get it over with. One eye or two you're going to have to take at least one full day off with each surgery.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Nowadays, they correct a bigger circle and test how much your pupils dilate in complete blackness so they can make sure you won't get haloing effects. I had mine done about 6 years ago, with the new bladeless method (they now use a laser to cut the flap). I went from 20/150-2/200 to 20/10-20/15, and am still significantly better than 20/20. No halo effects at all, and the stars look great at night. You need that day off with surgery now (mostly because you'll be incredibly dilated all day), but the next day

      • by AmiMoJo (196126)

        Thanks for that, it was an interesting post. The night vision issues seem quite worrying. How is driving in the dark?

        A lot of people I speak to say it is the best thing they ever had done, but it just worries me that the surgery is non-reversible so if there is a problem you are screwed.

        • Driving in the dark is hell. It's like you're inside a pinball machine.

          that said, I agree with parent that it's the best money I ever spend. The joy of being able to see in the swimming pool, not having to fiddle with lenses for 5 minutes in the morning and evening. It's great.

        • by dwillden (521345)
          Driving in the dark is slightly more challenging. The haloing is really bad at first, but you get used to it and I think the brain figures out how to tune a lot of it out. I also believe my depth perception is not as good in the dark, I tend to think oncoming cars are closer than they are leaving me to wait longer when trying to turn into traffic, but that might just be me.

          But overall, I've still been able to drive safely since the operation. This time of year I'm most likely to be driving in the dark
      • My dad had troubles after a similar op, and after that experience I would advise anyone *never* to get both eyes done at once in the same op. You definitely don't want to put all your eyes in the same basket. Are you willing to take the risk to remain blind just to take one day off instead of two?
  • I look at the sky with my eyes through my contact lens. For individual features (stars, planets, whatever), the general rule is the higher the magnification the better. I don't have any emotional attachment to looking through a telescope with my eye, rather than a camera. When I was about 12, I saw Saturn through a huge telescope, and the ring was just about visible - it was cool, but then looking at the same image with some digital magnification a few minutes later was even more impressive. I'd rather
    • by Tim4444 (1122173)

      I'll second that. All my experiences with home telescopes and observatories I've visited have been underwhelming to say the least. I'd rather look at Hubble images any day. The only exception is when I've been fortunate enough be in the mountains (or just away from urban areas and other sources of light) on a few clear nights. A telescope would have been nice, but it's amazing enough just to see the full night sky and everything I usually miss living in large cities. For shear breadth of view the naked / le

    • by jamvger (2526832)
      I once saw Saturn set - looking at it through a telescope, rings and all, as the Earth's rotation caused the western horizon to systematically block the view. All present - there were three of us - agreed it was the most amazing thing we had ever seen.
  • Stars? What stars? (Score:5, Informative)

    by axp_bofh (930745) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @07:57AM (#38723326)
    I live in a large urban area, well lit. It's a rare night when you can see more than a few stars.
    • by Creepy (93888)

      yeah - the light pollution overwhelms my "scantily" (are coke bottle thick glasses scantly?) dressed eye. I'm lucky to catch a glimpse of Venus, much less any stars that weren't manufactured in Hollywood. Nothing will ever beat the night I was in Aruba and the island lost power, though - that was amazing.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Technically, yes. They're scant in the same sense granny panties are.

  • My God, CowboyNeal is full of stars.

  • insensitive clod !
  • I always thought MS World Wide Telescope" [] was interesting. I've never tried the web version so I don't know how well it works on Mac, or if it works at all on *nix though.
  • Although I own a couple of small (5",8") scopes, my generally preferred tool is a decent pair of binoculars. I've tried computer-based star finders without a lot of success, but nothing works quite as well as pointing the binos toward a constellation or region of sky between constellations I recognize.
  • I prefer kstars myself, with direct downloads of particularly nice images with a click.
  • All joking aside from this poll, those fortunate enough to live or visit areas with dark sky (low/zero light pollution) are aware of the bewildering awe that comes from gazing at the Milky Way in all its glory. I always found it a bit of an oxymoron that the brightest night sky you can see is called "dark sky".

    Oh, and to the ignorant masses: Observe. []

  • hmmm where does that fit?
  • 1, 3 and 4 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mike449 (238450) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @10:59AM (#38725454)

    I like all stargazing options available to me, but voted for 4.
    My radio telescope is a very simple one: a receiver tuned to remote (500-1500km) Mexican analog TV transmitters on channel 2, connected to a "rabbit ears" antenna in the attic. I can hear reflections from meteor trails as short "pings". The next step is to connect it to the PC sound input and use SpectumLab+Colorgramme software to count the reflections 24/7/365 and then upload the data to About $200 worth of equipment (the PC is an ancient laptop), and I collect some real scientific data.

  • Eyeshadow, mascara, liner and some false lashes for effect.
  • if i pull my eyes chinese style(im white), I can focus them with out my glasses,
  • by Ritchie70 (860516) on Tuesday January 17, 2012 @11:40AM (#38726018) Journal

    I'm awash in city lights and can't see any stars, you insensitive clod.

    I live in the Chicago suburbs. About a year ago, my wife and I took her sister's son, then 9, to visit my mom, roughly a hundred miles south. He had never left the metro area and was amazed by all the stars visible on the drive back.

    • I was disappointed to learn the human eye only sees at most about 2,000 individual stars on typical night, 3,000 *might* be seen with fantastic eyesight and extraordinary viewing conditions (unpolluted desert night, for example). And the farthest ones away we can see individually would be 4,000 light-years away under ideal conditions, and such stars are tens of thousands of times more luminous than our sun.

      Within 50 light-years, we only see 133 of the 1,400 stars. So most star we see are REALLY bright
    • I live in the city of Chicago, only a couple of miles from the Loop, and on hazy nights I can only see a few, but I can see some (think single digits). Lately, it's been much better, and I've been able to see quite a bit more than that with the naked eye (I can see Orion's sword e.g.). With binoculars, I could see the Orion Nebula very easily, many stars in the Pleiades, and even found Uranus the other day (I could even tell it was blue).

      That's right, Uranus is so big I could see it from downtown Chicago.

      • by Ritchie70 (860516)

        Oh sure, we can see a few but it's nothing like where I grew up, in a small town in the middle of miles of corn fields.

        I'm just looking up at the sky while walking around outside, not really looking. I spend a lot of time driving my nephew around and he's been doing planets and stuff in school lately, so he's really funny. "Hey, that's Jupiter. Oh wait it's flashing and moving. That's a plane."

  • I voted for the silly option, but my real preference is binoculars. They magnify nicely, but are much easier to slew around the sky to look at whatever interests you.

    In fact, in my experience, binoculars are what amateur astronomers most often recommend to novices.

    Telescopes are very nice, too, but they're only useful if you have the time and interest to sustain them.

  • ... Ricky Gervais has something snarky to say about them.

  • With at least a 1.8 m scope (like last night), or up 8 m if I can; using either a V+R broadband filter or going longward to H-band if using adaptive optics (helps to close the loop, you see). Granted, I'm always tracking non-sidereal targets, and so the "stars" show up as streaks...

    • An 8m scope like the LBT, perhaps? I work next door at the SMT, which just produces nice spectral plots and the occasional false-color map.
  • I usually make two trips to dark sky sites in the summer during new moon weekends to do some astrophotography. While my imaging rigs are doing their thing I prefer to sit back and soak up those ancient photons.

  • Not sure if they would be considered heavily or scantily dressed eye. So I chose Heavily dressed though I was wanting more of an in-between the two.
  • I do miss the neighborhood where I grew up. It was outside a small town on the Oregon coast, and there were no street lights (mainly so as not to clutter up the ocean views). It was fantastic to just sit outside on clear nights (admittedly, few and far between) and look up at the sky with almost no light pollution at all.

    Brooklyn is nowhere near the same in those terms...

  • by Jethro (14165) []

    200mm lens with a 2x teleconverter.

  • ...when your 'eye-dressing' is bigger than you. I'm an innocent victim of this malaise ;-)
  • I guess SETI@Home falls into the 'radio telescope' option. Of course I'm really listening to the stars for something other than a clue to my next horoscope....
  • Or some other equally sarcastic show. But eTalk just bites. Ohhhhh not those stars.
  • Because, let's face it, there are a heck of a lot more fruit flies watching the skies than people.

  • Behind the old lady counting out $49.63 in exact spare change.

    Ok, so Demi and Ashton have split, and Miley Cyrus Got Liam Hemsworth a Puppy for 22nd Birthday, but I'm still left wondering what the hell is a "Kardashian" - is that like an Elbonian?
  • I use binoculars. Somewhere between options 2 and 3 I guess.

  • There are no windows in my room.

    What do I need them for anyway, I have Google Earth -> View -> Explore -> Sky.

  • ... facially mounted dual output image intensifier tube? They give new meanings to the proverbs regarding stars and the counting thereof.
  • While I enjoy solo stargazing the real joy comes when you share the sky with someone. When I hear a child or adult say "Oh, my!" when they see the Ring Nebula or M13 through a telescope it makes my night.
  • While totally naked

  • Are so much fun. Picked up a Meade ETX-125 and a T-Mount over the holidays. Seeing Jupiter and it's moons, Saturn's rings, etc, absolutely amazing. Also I've got a pair of 2nd gen nightvision, if any of you have some nogs go out one night and just look straight up with them. Absolutely amazing.
  • Its winter here now - if its clear emough to see the stars then its damned cold. Naked eyes would freeze. Wind chill tonight could be -40 degrees

It is much easier to suggest solutions when you know nothing about the problem.


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