Mentor Wanted

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Mentor Wanted

Post by ibrown » Tue Jul 17, 2012 2:53 pm

Hello everyone. My name is ian. I joined the BAS in June as a complete novice.

I live in a village near Clitheroe and recently retired.

Expectedly, I have all of the usual questions and am looking fopr a 'mentor' to help get me started. Any volunteers please?

I shall be at tonight's meeting (17/07/12)

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Re: Mentor Wanted

Post by DRatledge » Tue Jul 17, 2012 3:47 pm

Welcome to Bolton Astro. The big advantage of a society like ours is that whilst no one person knows everything you can always be sure that there will be someone with the necessary knowledge. So whilst a mentor might seem what you need, it is the breadth of knowledge and experience of the whole group that is so valuable.

We aim to cover most beginner topics throughout the season. I would particularly recommend the 16th October. The Moon is a good place to start and Mike and Dean are relatively new recruits so have recently gone through the same learning curve. What telescope to buy, what mount, how to set it all up, how to take pictures etc...? It might have stopped raining by then too!


Re: Mentor Wanted

Post by bholmes » Tue Jul 17, 2012 4:05 pm

Hi there Ian and welcome to the Society.

I would agree with David that you should treat the Society as a whole as a mentor and that way you will get a wide range of opinions and advice from which you can make your choices. I am relatively new to this game too and have found the people at Bolton are always willing to offer advice which is invaluable. There is a lot of information in the members area that will help and you can always use the forum to ask questions, someone will always offer an answer. The Society also has telescopes and mounts that you can borrow so that you can try out different types of set ups and that should help you make the right choice and avoid potentially expensive mistakes.

Things that I have learned since taking up astronomy: Patience; one scope is never enough; there is always something else that you need, or think you do; and its brilliant when it all comes together.

Good luck


Re: Mentor Wanted

Post by ibrown » Wed Jul 18, 2012 7:39 am

Thank you both for your advice.

I am arranging to borrow one of the society's scopes next month.

To bring some structure to my learning and cover the basics, I am thinking of enrolling for an online GCSE course. Planet earth looks good. Any comments on this?

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Re: Mentor Wanted

Post by bbones » Wed Jul 18, 2012 10:34 am

Hi Ian

Thought I had welcomed you to the Society but must have clicked the wrong button.

There is a wealth of information within the Society and they have all been very helpful in getting me up and running, one of the best bits of advice was to be patient while making your decision on your setup and also to get the best mount you can afford as this is one of the most important parts of the set up.

Not heard of the course you mentioned, However if I can can be of any help let me know as I'm new to the hobby and just gone through a very steep learning process and still learning.




Re: Mentor Wanted

Post by dean_kos » Wed Jul 18, 2012 11:45 am

Hiya Ian and welcome to bas....

I travelled along the same route as yourself a few years ago and joined the society to ask all the questions you're asking now.... Even considering some sort of astronomy course.
My advice is this, almost everything you would gain from a course you will gain from the society, be it from members or guest speakers so I would advise you to save your money for the inevitable spending on equipment as and when you are ready......
As for what equipment to purchase....... Now that is a question !! The beauty of being a member of bas is that you can try before you buy and work out what best works for you for what you want to achieve, be it observing or photography. If you are like many others who start in astronomy after a short while mere observing won't be enough you will want to start recording what you see and you must cater for this when you buy equipment. So, in short, borrow some gear and try out the various setups to see what works best for you and keep bringing along a notepad to the meetings for your questions answered, just like I did and many others. What you learn from the society will stand you in good stead for success believe me...... Save your money for the best gear you can afford when the time is right .....
This is of course only my opinion but hope it helps.


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Re: Mentor Wanted

Post by cstone » Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:39 pm

We've all been down the same route, which telescope, which mount, which camera.

As Dean has pointed out "The beauty of being a member of bas is that you can try before you buy" and I'm pleased to say there is such a variety of hardware now within the society, amongst members, that at some point you'll encounter the right piece of hardware that suits your needs and budget.

Also don't feel under pressure to purchase anything, it took me a year before I purchased my first scope.

As for having a mentor we have done some tutorials / workshops which we'll be revisiting, as there as people in the same boat as yourself and current members (like me) who want to polish up

Welcome to the society :D


Re: Mentor Wanted

Post by Amartin » Wed Jul 18, 2012 2:10 pm

I'd agree with both Dean & Carl,
the biggest mistake you can make is to rush in to any kit.
Ive been here since Feb & followed the 'path of the novice' -its a well worn path littered with bad kit, bad advice & healthy dose of over enthusiasm to get going - resist it & take your time, the stars & objects up there arent in a rush, so neither should you be!!! :)
If you can contain your enthusiasm, get to the tuesday meets & mither people - we're all here to help each other & use the society kit, its fantastic as it'll show you what you want & more importantly, what you need. This is a hobby that can swallow literally thousands of pounds from the enthused novice - just ask Billy Bones - he's almost as much kit as the society!!! lol.

There is no such thing as a daft question & you'll find more patience & guidance here in the BAS than in any course you can attend.

Hope to catch up with you soon.

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