Thursday, 8 January 2015

Out with the old and in with the new.

Happy New Year everyone.  It is still new although I a bit am late with my greeting.
I am quite exited, I have recently upgraded my old six inch with a newer eight inch and I am very pleased with it. Once mounted, it knows exactly where to point and even talks to me. Should I want to look at Uranus, it simply whirls around and finds the exact location all by itself.

I hope no one got the wrong impression about what I am saying, it is of course a new Meade telescope with Light Switch technology. That means, it finds out exactly where it is by GPS and then finds a few stars it knows should be visible and quite quickly it is all set for me to do a bit of amateur astronomy. The only trouble is it has rained solidly ever since it arrived. Whatever happened to all those clear frosty January nights we once knew?
I bought my old six inch telescope over seventeen years ago and whilst it was a state of the art design of 1668, which is still used virtually unchanged to this day. That one was huge, being around four foot long with a massive support and counterbalance to keep it aligned. It came in a coffin sized wooden box, which took care of all the storage space in one of our built in wardrobes when not in use.

My new one is more compact being a much more modern Schmidt - Cassegrain design and whilst it has a larger optical mirror, it is much smaller in every other respect and will allow some clothes to be hung in the wardrobe as well as keeping the telescope out of the way when I am not using it. The old one required a lot of preparation and guesswork to find and view anything in the night sky, but was brilliant for looking at the moon in close detail. With my new one I hope to be able to see more deep space objects such as galaxies and so on. Obviously nothing I can afford to buy can compete with what is constantly being seen by modern professional observatories, but it is still awe inspiring to look at the sky through something a bit more powerful than a pair of binoculars.


  1. What you need is an observatory at the bottom of your garden. (That's a fancy name for a shed with a hole in the roof!)

    I used to have a small telescope but after a few chilly nights in the garden looking at the moon I got bored. Now my night sky views are limited to binocular magnification.

  2. It sounds really impressive, snafu. Have you found that two new planets that are apparently in our closest galaxy?