New member Timbergrove

New member Timbergrove

Postby lee-whitesell » Sat Jul 11, 2020 3:29 pm

I posted the below in the Facebook group. I'll add that we live in Timbergrove, well within the bright shining light dome emanating from this city and with a backyard that allows views of about half of the southern sky above, say, 30 degrees or so.

By way of introduction:

I had bought a decent pair of observing binoculars a while back, in anticipation of one of the recurring meteor showers, and on a recent trip to Lake Travis, startled myself by spotting 3 of Jupiter's Galilean moons. My wife noticed my excitement and bought me a telescope for Father's Day.

The telescope she bought me is what you folks would call a "toy." It's a 70mm refractor with a 400m tube, which is acutally fine for a cheap unit. I very quickly realized, however, that the finderscope and the tripod were going to be serious limitations. The finderscope is "calibrated" basically by jiggling it and hoping the thumbscrews hold it in place. The tripod might as well be made of half-cooked pasta.
That said, I've been able to manhandle the thing to catch that last Galilean moon (Io, I think?) and, with some considerable effort, pulled Saturn into view with sufficient resolution to see space between the rings and the planet. I forced my wife to come out into the sweltering night, admonished her not to touch anything on the wobbly setup, and to just hover her eye over the eyepiece. She obliged me, and when she finally saw the object, exclaimed to the effect of "whoa dude!"

So another telescope is on its way. This time it's the Orion StarBlast II 4.5, which I view as simply a better version of the "first" telescope to allow exploration. I'm a little leery of the EQ mount, but assume I'll be able to figure it out.
Once the current surge pricing is over, I'm hoping to get a 6" or 8" Dobsonian or maybe just a large aperture alt-az.

I'm looking forward to learning from all the "professional amateurs" here, and meeting some of you at the dark site as soon as that's a reasonable thing to do again.
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Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2020 4:10 pm

Re: New member Timbergrove

Postby rene-gedaly » Sat Jul 11, 2020 9:38 pm

Welcome, Lee! Thanks for posting on the Facebook page, too. You should be a Smarty Pants soon. :D

I'm really sorry you, and so many others, are missing the morning apparition of Comet NEOWISE, but with those restrictions on viewing, you may need to wait until later in the month when the comet appears in the evening. Just as you've heard from others, the Dark Site is really a special place to observe comets, planets, star clusters and other deep sky objects. It's a great location to get outside while socially distancing.

Watch for others traveling to the Dark Site. It'll be a few more months before I can get there myself, but I have some dark enough skies from my location.
Rene Scandone Gedaly, Membership Chairperson
WSIG, Observatory Trainer, Texas 45-Visual, President 2015-2017
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