It's a real thrill to be an amateur astronomer... you're not expected to know anything and that makes it easy to play.... dumb! Buying a telescope was easy, a camera easy but knowing what to do is hard. So I've decided to do what I do best, just to Try! So I'm not smart like the guys in the astronomy club but I'm learning. They really know how to take pictures, about flat fielding images etc. Dang, I don't even know the constellations. But I've learned how to set the telescope up, do an alignment and enter GOTO M31! That's more than anyone at work knows!!
So, in a way I'm smarter than the average guy in astronomy. There is so much to learn. I met a guy at the star party who told me he's been doing this for four years now and he has some great pictures of the stuff he's been looking at.. so time will tell. Anyway I can get by now without looking like the dumb guy I am. There is just so much to learn that I'm in overload half the time! My brain isn't that big.
But so far, as I said... I can do a reasonable Drift Alignment so that puts me somewhere up on the scale! Someday, maybe I'll be an expert and know how to do this stuff better, but right now, I'm an Amateur astronomer. I'm content being in grade school while everyone else is in college..... so to speak. I do have trouble setting the scope up in the winter.. my body doesn't like cold weather and being outside at night when it's 40 degrees isn't my cup of tea. I shiver when it's 60 outside! Hopefully, the POD will have arrived before cold nights gets here and I can put a heater next to my scope and take pics of M42.
Here is where the OPT Astronomy club goes for it's star parties. Blair Valley, near Borrego Calif. A vast and desolate piece of the desert. No utilities, no lights, just plenty of clear dark skies every night (great for astronomers). The last time I was there I got stuck.. yep, I got my PT Cruiser stuck caddy-wampus across the dirt trail deep into the sand, and I was sure a huge truck rig was gonna come down the trail and side-swipe me. I was sure of it! This was the only time I've gotten the car in this predicament and it WAS gonna happen. So, for 30 minutes I tried and tried to get out (No one showed up on the trail) but I ended up jacking each front tire up (front wheel drive) and putting a big flat rock under each tire to get loose! I was dirty, tired and pissed off! But I got to the star party on time! You gotta bring your own water and food to this place. This is the desert you know. You have to respect the desert. It's not a FUTURE SITE OF WALMART!! That's for sure!
Here's a picture of me at my other hobby... ham radio (WB6NKJ). In front of an Icom 756 and Heathkit SB 200.
And here's my trusty telescope... an 8" Meade LX200 UHTC with GPS and Meade Wedge. Most people have the 10" but the 8" is 47 pounds compared to the 10" at 65lbs. so it is much lighter to manage. It's enough to cause me to do some heavy breathing just pulling it in its case!!
I own a Meade (Not Tasco) 8 inch telescope with UHTC and GPS and a few other smaller scopes. I got interested in Astrophotography about 6 years ago and decided to buy a telescope and camera. So for about $3000 my setup is almost complete. I will be getting a POD as soon as they are available.
I live on Disability, because my ex wife had me badly beaten in 2006! I attended Junior College for about 8 years and took nothing but electronic classes at night. I was working full time and going to school.. so I had very little time to do anything. In those days, I built a 12" Dobsonian and discovered Orion! But, you can't take pictures with a Dobsonian so I trashed my homemade DOB.
I am not married but living with my 2nd wife now), have a daughter (college educated.. but not working).
I was in the Air Force from 1972-1975 but didn't like being told where to live, how to live, what to wear, how to cut my hair, etc., so I got out. Now, I realize how easy I had it and should have stayed in.. I'd be retired for 10 years by now! But, I was young and knew EVERYTHING so that was my decision ... then.
I own a Mac and have had a Mac since the early '90s. They are 2 years ahead of anything PC. I love using a smart computer.. and will never own a PC. I use a PC at work so I'm familiar with those only too well. I know everyone owns a PC but I think that's too bad for them.... For some reason, people like what's popular ... not smart! I like smart machines that knows you just put a disk in it, not one you have to let it know what you did, first! After all, it's a computer! It's supposed to know everything.. that's it's job. On a PC, YOU'RE expected to know everything. Everything on a PC was on a Mac 2 years earlier... and todays OS X is crashproof (mine hasn't crashed since I bought it). I've had a wireless network for years, and PC people are just now getting in tune with them. I just hope that someday, Microsoft will make a good OS, not just an "OK" OS (although I don't think Microsoft is capable of that after producing a series of poor Operating Systems!!). One thing I know for sure, I have the right computer! Don't get me wrong, Dell makes good computers, it's the MICROSOFT OS that they're limited to, that's the problem. Plus, the latest version of Windows (Vista) is real shitty! I have yet to see how to eject a cd from it!! You would think Windows would have a button to push to eject the CD, but no. As I said, Macs are intuitive, Windows isn't. You need to be an engineer to use Microsoft Windows!! How trashy is that?
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