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Monthly Archives: April 2007

25 Apr

After living in the Chicago suburbs for nearly three years, I am nearly convinced that the earliest humans to inhabit this area placed a curse on the night sky. Every time the calendar says “new moon”, the sky says “rain”. I’m not sure if those early folks had astronomers of the distant future in mind, but it happens often enough to make me suspicious. This week is a case in point – rain, rain and more rain. In most locations, it begins to rain as soon as you bring home a new telescope. Around here, it begins to rain if …

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23 Apr

Meade has been advertising their new Meade MySky quite a bit of late in their bid to compete with the Celestron Skyscout. For those who new to this technology, both units are basically handheld, computerized star maps and planetariums. Just point at an object in the night sky, and both the SkyScout and MySky will tell you what it is in an instant. The sky has never been easier to learn.

The MySky carries this new technology a step or two beyond the groundbreaking Celestron Sky Scout. Instead of just identifying an object, the Meade MySky will show you sky …

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19 Apr

Been thinking of building a mount for astronomy that will handle a good 10×70 or 12×80 giant binocular. Maybe I should say I’m thinking of “assembling” a mount, since “build it yourself” is not a phrase my friends would ever associate with me. When it comes to hand tools like saws and hammers, “dangerous” is a word they are more likely to use.

Of course, I could just buy one of the many good specialized astronomy binocular mounts on the market, such as a parallelogram mount or a mirror mount, but I really want something I can also use for …

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17 Apr

Last week was pretty much a blur for me. Due to a nasty virus, I missed several days of work, but at least I didn’t miss any nice spring weather – the wind blew in snow and cold all week. Had it been more typical April weather, I might have been drawn outdoors instead of resting as per my doctor’s orders.

Now that I’m back in the saddle (bicycle saddle, that is), my thoughts have been turning the usual stuff: astronomy, birding, photography, and so on. Last night I managed to get a 15 mile ride on my road bike …

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06 Apr

This week, we seem to be celebrating January in April in my area, so the prospect of getting the bicycle out for a long run seems doubtful. Back to putting the bike on the trainer and watching the TV as a I ride. It’s not as much fun as feeling warm breezes in my face as I ride, but watching some tanned guys on TV run down the beach isn’t bad, either. It does make spinning my wheels a bit easier to take.

So what else does an optics nut do for optical fun when she is trapped indoors? Quite …

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04 Apr

I bought a high quality photographic loupe a few weeks ago in the Pentax 5.5x Loupe. Not that I need one for it’s designated purpose of examining negatives (I don’t have a film camera, anymore). Rather, I bought it to do a little close-up digiscoping. It’s large lens diameter (49mm), generous eye-relief and quality optics makes it ideal for this work and with its clear, transparent stand, it transmits enough light to the specimen for a photo.

What specimen, you say? I’ve doing spiders and insects, mostly, but also small flower parts and rock specimens. I just trap the specimen …

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02 Apr

With all the rain over the weekend and expected cold weather this week, our area seems to be doing its best to fight off spring. Still, Earth Mother will not be denied. I have already seen the signs. Trees are budding out and showing the first signs of green.

The birds know it is spring, too. I rode my bike past a Canada Goose and it surprised me by showing aggressive behavior – sure sign of a nest nearby. In fact, it flew up and head slapped me with its wings. Good thing I had my bike helmet on or …

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