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.

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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

Time and Space – part 2

   I wrote a while back about some thoughts on Time and Space.  There seems to be much conflicting information regarding the true nature of the universe.  Another item which crossed my mind the other night as I lay in bed waiting for sleep to arrive, was the rate of the expansion of the universe.

  Hubble measured the expansion of the universe to be one of ever-increasing rates of speed, the farther distant you look.  I have yet to hear of a theory of why this difference in speed exists.  Well, as I was contemplating this issue, a deep dark thought occurred to me.  No, not anything evil, but rather Black Hole Theory.  When you  think about a the gravity well of a Black Hole, the concept that comes to my mind is one of a string of rubber bands.  In this case, rubber bands that start off as weak ones, followed by ever larger ones and more powerful ones as you approach the Black Hole. 

  So what does this have to do with the expansion of the universe?   First you have to think about what is beyond the boundary of the universe?  Based on much of what I have read, what is perhaps most logically to be expected is a total pure vacuum.  Not the vacuum of space as we know space outside the boundaries of the Earth, Solar System, or even the vacuum of space between the Milky Way and our neighbor the Andromeda galaxy.  For this space is anything but empty.  All the partial physicists agree that in the vacuum of space as we know if, you will find molecules abound and particles keep popping into and out of existence in the subatomic regions of space.

   Now back out to beyond the known universe, is the pure vacuum of nothingness that existed prior to the singularity, or event region between different dimensions, which Banged, or Tore itself, depending on theories, into being. 

   I think of this pure vacuum of nothingness as being the source of why the galaxies further away, are moving faster and faster the further you look.  Think of the inverse of the Black Hole effect.  as the universe expands, matter is moving farther away from each other.   This increasing distance correlates to a reduction in the force that gravity can expend between the gravity wells of the galaxies.  This would mean that the true vacuum of space outside the universe, is acting as an attraction force drawing matter ever outward at ever-increasing velocity as the force of gravity becomes weaker as matter is spread ever thinner in our expanding universe.  Thus as the force of gravity increases exponentially around a Black Hole, the force the The True Vacuum outside the boundary of the universe is having an exponential influence on the speed of the expansion of the universe as the universe thins due to expansion.  Thus, the closer the galaxy is to the edge of the universe, the faster it will move, being drawn, or pushed as it were, through a straw, from a region of high pressure of compacted matter, into and toward the low pressure region of the True Vacuum beyond the edge of the universe.

Ok, I think I can go to sleep now.

July 6, 2010 Posted by | Science, Space, thinking, thoughts | , , | Leave a comment

Time and Space?

  As lay in bed the other night, after a day long consumption of at least one full pot of coffee, I found sleep totally evading me.  Not being one to try something as arcane as counting sheep, I instead entered into other forms of mind exercises in an attempt to find the Zzzzzz’s which were eluding me.

   Having spent a few evenings browsing Hubble images on the Web, things started to make less sense then normal.  If Hubble is able to capture an image from which the light originated over 13 Billion years ago, which is closing in on the time of the big bang, a thought occurred to me. 

   First some assumptions:

    1.  The universe is expanding outward away from the source of the big bang.

    2.  Our Milky Way is at least half to three quarters of the way, away from the big bang source.

     3.  We are in the Milky Way, so we are also around 3/4 of the way toward the edge of the universe.

    So, if we are this far away from the source of the big bang, the Big Bang has to be in one direction away from us.  But, as the Hubble images have shown, no matter which way we point Hubble, the images look the same.  In other words, we can see over 13 Billion light years in every direction we look.  Shouldn’t the universe be shorter in one direction over the other?

    So this would mean that space is not uniform, and thus must have curvature to it.  But what form or shape this curvature is in the shape of, has yet to be explained.  Perhaps space is compressed in one direction and stretched in another, but to us, due to light speed limitations appears to more uniform than it is.  Perhaps also, the effects of the the first moments of the Big Bang, which having an expansion speed faster than the speed of light has impact?   After all, if a Black Hole can pull light into it with effects we do not fully understand, then perhaps expansion exceeding the speed of light would also have impacts beyond what we would normally be expected.

   So I managed to arrive at absolutely zero answers, but I did fall to sleep with something interesting on my mind.

June 3, 2009 Posted by | Exercise, Science, Space, thinking | , , | 1 Comment

NASA Live

 

If you haven’t ever watched a NASA mission live on TV, it’s likely because television stations do not seem to think it is Ad worthy.  Television stations need to sell ad’s if they are to make money.  NASA on the other hand can broadcast a mission via the Web, and no advertisements are required.  After all, it is tax money that pays for the mission.  So why not take advantage of your tax money and watch a Live NASA Mission.  I know I am.

Click to link below to see NASA TV.

http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html

May 16, 2009 Posted by | Science, Space | , | Leave a comment

Looking back into Time.

   Once again NASA has launched a space shuttle back into space to perform life extending service to our own public “Time Machine” the Hubble.   If you have not yet logged onto http://hubblesite.org/, you really need to check it out.  Click on the Galley tab to view into the eyes of the earths best time-machine. 

   The photons of light the Hubble Telescope captures originated as far back in time as over 12.7 Billion years ago.  So we may only be able to go backward in time, but “Wow” what a backward glance it is.  The job of getting your mind around the fact that we are able to see light that is over 12 billion years old, is just as difficult as trying to start to grasp the distances being observed.  Light travels at a speed of 186,000 miles every second.   Now think about how far a photon of light can travel in just one hour.  That’s well over 6 million miles in a single minute.  Now extend this by hours, days, weeks, months, and finally a single year.  You just might be starting to grasp the distance and then we start talking about thousands, millions and then billions of years, traveling at that same 186,000 miles each and every second of those billions of years.

   These numbers are so great, that if each of us represented a single atom, and we lined up each and every single atom that makes up the earth, we are still not reaching across the cosmos.  It is extremely difficult to comprehend these type of distances.  Now that you have perhaps started to understand that we are talking about distances beyond imagination less than 100 years ago, we have thus far only talked about looking in one single direction into space.

   Now consider that we can look in every other possible single direction outside of our world and see light coming at us from these same extreme distances.  About this time you may be feeling rather small and insignificant in the cosmic universe.  Though it is true each of us does not amount to even a grain of sand on the earth, in comparison, we can each look at the images captured by Hubble and revel in the knowledge that each and every one of us is unique in this same universe. 

   So at a time when we can each perhaps feel very small indeed, we should realize that in all the universe we have yet to find other life, be it intelligent or not.  Though the odds are greatly in favor of there being life elsewhere, somewhere, we know life appears to be very rare off the planet earth.  At least we have yet to find any.  So my wish is everyone could realize how precious life is, and what a shame it is that our history is filled with our willingness to destroy what is so rare in the universe.

This is an image taken by the Hubble Telescope. 

The Hubble telescope was pointed to what was thought to be one of the most empty regions in known space.  As can be seen in this image, the Hubble time-machine was still seeing hundreds and hundreds of galaxies even as far back as almost 13 Billion years ago.  And around each of these galaxies are millions or stars with their own solar systems in an area of space which is less than a grain of sand as far as we can see.

Myriad Galaxies in Hubble's Deep Field Image

No matter where we look, there is more to see.  What will the upgraded Hubble show us next?

A Gravitationally Lensed Quasar

May 13, 2009 Posted by | Space | , , | Leave a comment