Think I am just thinking.

Words are but thoughts made visible.

It’s bigger than it looks!

Yes I did envision taking my new telescope out each weekend for a quick view of the night, but I have to admit, I perhaps overlooked one minor item.  Bigger telescopes do weigh much more than smaller telescopes.  First you start off with the tripod that weighs in at around 40 pounds.  Now add on the motor drive unit and you tack on another 25-30 pounds, but that’s before you add on another 20-30 pounds of counter weights.  Ok, now your ready to put the optical tube (what we tend to think of as the telescope), adding on another 25-35 pounds or so.   So by the time you get everything put together, you have a device tipping the scales up around 140 pounds or more!

Now I am not a 90 pound weakling.  In fact I have always thought of myself as at least some what fit, and perhaps above average in terms of strength.  Well I have learned I can carry everything out put together, but I perhaps should not do so.  I find that the next day, my body is telling me I have lifted something fairly heavy the day before and perhaps we should not be doing that.   So,  I now at least take off the optical tube and then take the drive and counter weights off as a separate unit.

So, though I perhaps had not taken it out as many times as i planned, I have totally enjoyed the nights when I have.  Now figuring out how to make a camera work with it, is the next challenge.  Ok,learning my way around the sky at night and how to more accurately calibrate the Goto on the scope still need some refining, but that’s getting better pretty quickly.  Maybe I will start with some pics of the Moon.  After all the moon is a bit easier to find, and it’s so bright, any camera will do.

More to come.

November 1, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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

Stacked from High overhead.

What does being high overhead refer to?  Well the moon of course.  And what you say, does “stacked” have to do with anything you may wonder.  Well, there are some programs out there that will take a video and separate out all the frames and Stack them into a single photo.  The whole point of doing this, is to take all the best parts of each video frame and form what will hopefully be a single photo that is better due to the sum of the best of each frame.

So, below if my very first attempt at doing this with a video I made of the Moon.  As can be seen, along the right and bottom edges, I need to work on the setting a little bit as the edges got smeared somehow?  But, the center area did turn out sharper than anything I was able to see in the video.

So,  what is stacked from high overhead.  Well the moon of course!

Moon Video-2

June 2, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Palomar Observatory

Palomar Observatory

Not far away from Teddy Bear cactus and indoor/outdoor toilets, is something totally different. What could be more unrelated than a 200 inch mirror telescope known as the Hale Telescope.

Up in the Palomar Mountains of Southern California is one of the first great eyes to stare into the universe to start the new revelation into what makes up the universe we only thought we knew. For years this was the largest telescope in the world.

What other wonders can be found if not in the desert, near the desert, or perhaps light years from the desert.

April 15, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Indoor Toilet – Outdoors!

Indoor Toilet - Outdoors!

Previously I was talking about a Teddy Bear, not being very cuddly. Well, one other thing I saw down in the deserts of southern California was an indoor toilet, which was not indoors.

Who would have thought anyone would put a standard indoor toilet outside, and just surround it by a rather low 6-7 foot wall. Perhaps this was done this way as a means to encourage people not to stay too long? And, I will admit, you don’t need a big vent fan or candles!

Still, there is so much about this that just does not seem right to me?

April 13, 2013 Posted by | hiking, thinking, travel | , | 2 Comments