Think I am just thinking.

Words are but thoughts made visible.

Christmas arrived and so did my telescope.

Well, it only took me just over 14 months to pick out a telescope.  I think I got the one that will be right for me.  You would think that deciding would have been an easy task, but it was far from it.  So in the end, I had to weigh the following factors:

*  Should it be easy enough to carry fully assembled or if quick to assemble, is that as important?

*  Should it be a goto (computerized) telescope, which would make finding things easier?

*  Will I be able to grow the setup by adding new components?

*  How much will it cost and how much am I willing to spend at this time?

*  It must be able to be used to take photographs (astrophotography).

*  Will my existing cameras work?  If yes, how much to add.

*  If to be used for astrophography, does it have to be an equatorial mount or will a azimuth mount work and if so, how well?

So after looking at perhaps at least a hundred different models of telescopes, based on cost, size, expandability, weight, cost, ease of use, cost, and months of hand wringing, I ordered a Meade LX80 10″ computerized scope with a newly designed combo mount which works in Equatorial as was as Alt/Azm operation.   So, for the past couple weeks, I have had either cloudy night, or temperatures down around ZERO every night.  So, now owning a 135 lb’s of scope (includes about 30lbs of counter weights), I now know I have to allow for setup-alignment-observing-teardown time when putting the scope to use.  As such, considering a slight fear of not wanting to get frost build-up on my new scope, I await slightly warmer weather.  Meanwhile, each clear night, even though it may be negative temps outside, I step out and take a look a Jupiter through my spotting scope, as Jupiter just happens to be at it’s brightest for the whole year!   So though I cannot yet get out to gaze into the night, at stars and galaxies and start the process of trying to capture them in a photo, I still am enjoying learning more about the things I hope to view directly for myself.

Let the viewing begin……as soon as it warms up a bit.

January 7, 2014 Posted by | Hobbies, Photography, Space, Telescopes | Leave a comment

Back to looking at the stars!

Well, I have now been looking for the perfect (for me) telescope for many weeks, I mean months now.  Ok, it’s almost a year.  With so many great telescopes to pick from, figuring out which is the right one has turned into much more of a challenge than I ever thought it would be.  When you contemplate spending what will be over a couple thousand dollar investment, you want to get it right.

In the interim, I have not been avoiding the night sky.  I do own a small, 45x power spotting scope that has been able to give me some decent views of the moon, and some viewing of Jupiter, Saturn and Mars.  I have easily seen three of Jupiter’s moons and have even been able to make our some of the cloud banding.  Though I have been able to make out the ring of Saturn, I am not able to see any ring bands.  I am still on the starting path of learning some of the star formations, and due to light pollution of the city, have not been able to spot any of the other many more spectacular sights to see, such as galaxies or even one of the great nebula’s weighting for me to spot.

So, as much as I would love a 12″ or larger mirror, I have decided to rule out Dob’s, even though they cost less for mirror size, they tend to be heavier and as such, would need to be set up in sections, which I know (knowing me) would mean I would not use it as much due to the extra time needed to set up for viewing.  So, taking weight into account, I have narrowed the search down to either a 10″ Mead Casigrain or an 11″ Celestron casigrain type telescope.  Each comes in at a bit under 100 pounds, and are still within my carrying capabilities.

So, by the end of the month, my goal is to have one of the two, setting in my home, ready for a night of exploration.

Stay tuned!

October 16, 2013 Posted by | Hobbies, Mars, Saturn, Science, Space, Telescopes | Leave a comment