Spring new scope purchase, AstroTech AT72ED II. Filling in focal length gaps in my equipment, and hoping it will be perfect for next year's total solar eclipse. More info about this scope is on my astronomy page.
This has been a little better year for me getting out with the equipment, although still an overwhelming amount of cloudy nights. I'm still learning new things all the time, this can be a rewarding yet frustrating hobby. Have been upgrading a little with adding a guide scope and guiding to the Star Adventurer 2i, and getting an AsiAir Plus camera and scope controller. What a pleasure this has been! This little computer unit has lowered my stress and made it so much easier to set up and have much better results.
The Black Forest Star Party this year was cold, wet, and windy. Only got one clear night out of the four that I was there. Still fun to meet up with like minded amateur astronomers and learning from them.
So here is my Fall camp at Cherry Springs this year. Had one really good, clear night but also had some equipment issues. I was able to get some good subs of the Andromeda Galaxy, not the best framing but I'm pleased enough with the result to post it. 2.5 million lightyears away.
As if I didn't have enough to do this summer, here's another completed project. A binocular parallelogram helps to position and hold the binoculars in place pretty much hands free (sitting or standing). Click on the photo to get a full view.
Here's my second project this spring. I already had constructed the 10" riser platform several years back, it raises the scope up to a comfortable height for me to view through the eyepiece without having to be bent over so much. Adding the "wheelbarrow" type handles and wheels makes it a snap to wheel out from the garage to the pad and set it right in place. If the handles or wheels become a stumbling point, they just detach with wing nuts in a couple minutes. Now I don't have to lug the 75 pounds of scope and base any more, that was becoming a deterrent to wanting to set up some nights.
My Spring project this year. Now I can leave everything hooked up and ready to go, just wheel out from the garage to my pads in the back lawn. Saving my back from carrying several trips. This was the test run, normally I'll have the power pack, counterbalance weights, and attachments also.
It's been a while, health concerns the last couple years have kept me otherwise engaged. Of course there's the "staying at home and away from everything" issues we've had during the same time, so vaccines done, winter's over, ready to do better this year! I'm finally ready equipment wise to start imaging the night sky the way I want to, and get some images that are worthy of sharing.
Sometimes we take for granted the blessings we have, my daughter and family are
visiting from Florida and are reminding me to appreciate what I can see right out my kitchen window. My son-in-law especially, a born and bred Floridian, is really enjoying his daily walks on the Pennsylvania hillsides, the deer, the air, running water and green, green, green.
It's good to drop everything and get away for a respite once in a while. That was the last couple of nights for me. I like going to Cherry Springs State Park, it's only 40 miles away yet it's the darkest Astronomy park in the Eastern US. It was one of the first International Dark Sky Parks in the country. My backyard observing spot is pretty good, open and not much light pollution, but nothing to compare with the night views at Cherry Springs. So many stars it's sometimes hard to pick out the constellations.