Thursday, October 14, 2010

Telescope Time!

Hey Fellow Space Placers!

If you have any questions or you want to write to me please do so by either leaving a comment or dropping me a line at I can also make public appearances before school groups or organizations.

This Monday, October 18th,  you can join me and George Mason University astronomers at the Observatory at 7:30 p.m. if the sky is clear. Check out this link for more details: We will have several telescopes available to look at the gibbous Moon, Jupiter and some pretty deep sky objects.

GMU expects to have its new 32-inch telescope completed by the end of the year which will be the largest  aperture telescope on a college campus in Virginia and possibly in the U.S. Please join us!

Although you don't need a telescope to enjoy the sky, it sure opens up a whole new perspective - literally. It takes time and effort to figure out what type of telescope - if any - you want to buy. But it is a real treasure when you have one.

I have had several telescopes so far, starting when I was 12. It was a department store refractor and I stepped up to the big time with a 6-inch Newtonian Reflector from Edmund Scientific when I was 16. Then followed two 8-inch telescopes, one I sold, one I kept for over 20+ years until I donated it to GMU. It now serves a variety of students. I still have a 4-inch "suitcase size" telescope that I grab and go with to have something to observe with. My current 10-inch is a dream and will be with me to the end of my days.

Before you get a telescope, spend some time checking out what you want to do with it.  You can write me and I can help you along with your decision making process. You can got to local astronomy clubs and "test drive" some 'scopes at a star party - events where amateur astronomers bring their telescopes out to dark sky sites to observe. I will post these events each month so you can check them out.

If you have binoculars use them to observe the Moon and the stars. These are handy to learn your way around the sky and enjoy the view while you are at it. If you don't have them, you should get a pair of 7x50's as you can use them at sporting events, during the day and then for skywatching.

This weekend Jupiter will dominate the night sky in the southeast right at sunset and the Moon will keep the king of the planets company as they move closer together in the coming days. Enjoy the view, the cool crisp air, and the changing leaves.

SkyGuy in VA

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