Tuesday 22 November 2011

I'm an astronomer again!!!!

Tonight, my 6 inch reflecting telescope got reborn under the stars out on the street here.

After 20 years plus of not being used.

Been looking to do this for a while now, feeling the astronomy bug of my youth coming back. When I got it many many years ago I burnt myself out a bit, and also never really got to use the thing to its best advantage - I was not good at starhopping and using the finder to accurately locate stuff, and urband conditions made it tricky to see deep sky stuff.

This time round, I will be casual, relaxed, and concentrate more on planets, and the moon, double stars, and any comets that might be in view. I will learn the constellations better. I will enjoy myself under the stars.

Tonight, Jupiter was the obvious target, and managed to find it at x60 or so in a 20mm Erfle eyepiece, very shaky view. 12mm Kellner produced a decent view, the main equatorial bands visible, and also the North was showing finer details. Or was it the South? Damn! 6mm Ortho was not useable.

The moon will be a better target and we'll get a better idea then.

Stars look occasionally good, seeing conditions from nearby houses made things crappy I think, and also all the street lights. Using my rubbish 6x30 finder which I've never found much use, managed to get the Andromeda Galaxy but again not a great view.

Meanwhile, the pretty Lithuanian girls opposite must have thought I'd gone utterly insane, as they pretended to ignore me as they parked their car with me on the pavement looking like a super powerful well equipped peeping tom. I imagine other curtains were twitching too, but I'm used to it. I've been quietly questioned by policemen while doing astronomy related stuff before.

Overall I'm excited I did it and my telescope works to some extent, even if it is difficult to see exactly how well. It is obviously a bit tired, but I reckon getting it properly looked at and resilvered will cost less more than getting a Celestron Astromaster AT70 or similar basic but still good refractor.

But I'm glad I can feel legit about calling myself an astronomer again

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