Thursday, March 29, 2012

This Could Be Habit-Forming

I took took my new Dobsonian telescope for a spin around the early night sky...

This month, the last of my 53rd year, I spent some of my holiday gift money on something I've long thought about buying - a telescope.  The Bushnell ARES 5 inch Compact Truss Tube Dobsonian Telescope had many nice reviews for a starter scope and the price was very nice at OpticsPlanet.  Everything cheaper was smaller and had fewer features.  Everything more expensive was a lot more expensive.

I adjusted the collimation of the secondary and primary mirrors with a home made tool this evening and took it outside a little after sunset.  I used the moon as a target to zero the red dot finder scope (I ran out of adjustment; it'll need a shim).  The moon filled the eyepiece and the craters looked like I could reach out and touch them.  By then Venus was shining.  It is almost annoyingly bright and it was only quarter phase.  Then a pinprick of light appeared a fist width below it in the darkening sky.  Yes, it was Jupiter and its four Galilean moons.  I could make out bands of color.  I invited the folks to come have a look and then texted the kids and my sister-in-law, whose gift funded this neat purchase.  As Jupiter descended into the trees to the west Mars was rising above the trees to the east.  I reoriented my little Dobs and had a look at the small orange dot.  Not a bad start for my first night observing the sky in the light polluted suburbs.  This telescope will be a hoot at the cabin this summer.  Fun, fun, fun.

1 comment:

  1. If you haven't seen it already, check out the app "Google Sky Map" on your phone. I could see that being a very useful aid with your telescope.