Back at the helm

Man, it’s been too long since last posting!  Due to some increased work travel, it’s been tough finding time to get the scope out, let alone write about it.  But with things settling down, it’s time to get back at it, and there are three pieces of news/stories I wanted to share:

  1. About two months ago, I brought my telescope out to nearby high point in South San Diego, called Mt. Soledad.  It was a Friday night, and I thought it would be a nice way to relax after a long week.  Mt. Soledad is a local favorite for its amazing panoramic views of the city and ocean, plus it has a nice veterans monument.  It also gets me away from a lot of the nearby bright lights at my house.  I expected the area to be empty, but there were a few cars driving around.  At one point, a group of four kids walked over to me, clearly intrigued by the telescope.  One of the guys prodded one of the girls, “Come on, just ask him.”  And she did, “You see that one over there?  Is it a star or a plane, because I swear it’s moving.”  I chuckled and told them that one was a star, but in the other direction we could see a distant plane coming in on the flight path to San Diego International Airport.  I asked them if they wanted to look through the telescope (it was aimed at the moon just over half-full).  The four of them took turns looking, then stepping away jaws agape.  We all agreed, it was awesome!  They turned out to be sophomores in high school, and by all accounts this was the first time they thought something related to science was cool.  So, they stuck around for another half-hour or so while we looked for Saturn rising.  Eventually they had to take off for curfew, but not before asking tons of questions.  All-in-all, it was a pretty cool experience to see some youngsters get to look through a telescope for the first time!
  1. A few weeks ago, I got to meet up with my parents up in Napa Valley for a night.  Before I left, my dad asked if I could bring my telescope.  I wasn’t sure how I would get it up there, but somehow it fit in my biggest suitcase, tripod and all, even wrapped up in my sleeping bag for protection.  I’m thinking it would probably be wise to get a travel case for next time.  Anyway, we had really dark skies, if not a little hazy.  We got everything setup on the patio of the inn we were staying at, and we had a blast checking out the moon (a low hanging crescent), Mars, and Saturn, all over some dessert wine.  Great way to cap off a trip with the parents!
Telescope iAstrophotography

The Telescope in Napa

  1. I got a new telescope!  More details to come in future posts, but it’s sweeeeeet!  It’s definitely going to be helpful for improving my iAstrophotography.  Here’s a shot I recently took of the Double Cluster.  I know it’s not particularly impressive by astrophotography standards, but I think it’s still aesthetically awesome, and a great way to share with others.
telescope iAstrophotography

Double Cluster with iPhone 5s

Clear skies!

Matt

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