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Monthly Archives: June 2009

30 Jun

Had a recent visit from our Meade friend and VP of Sales, Greg Bragg, and he is going to get one of those new Meade ETX-LS telescope coming our way, so Bob and I can actually put an ETX-LS telescope through its paces and post a hands-on ETX-LS review. That ssumes, of course, that we will get at least one clear nigth before the end of summer. Ha! Really looking forward, though, to see if the ETX-LS lives up to its billing as far as its automatic, do-everything computer alignment. Personally, I am more interested in the new 6″ optical …

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29 Jun

It may be July hot, but I have seen a lot of widlife this last week, early in the morning, just as it is getting light. Does with fawns have been my favorite, but have also seen plenty of raccoons and one coyote leaving the suburbs to take shelter for the day in the Forest Preserve. I wonder how many people know what is in their backyard every night. Might be fun to check out a night vsion moncocular, either an inexpensive gen 1, like the Night Owl NexGen LightWeight 2X or, even better, a digital, such as the Bushnell …

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24 Jun

I am having a lot of fun with my old Sears TLS film SLR I bought from a friend for a song. Going back to an all manual, do everything for yourself film camera with absolutely no automation has been a refreshing break from the menu saturated, automatic, computer controlled everything digital cameras I have been using. It’s put the fun and romance back into photography for me. The only negative, so far, is discovering how hard it is for these old eyes to focus on the viewing screen of a manual focus film SLR – I am definitely getting …

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23 Jun

I am one who does her best to stay on the sunny side of the street, but with our area about to set a record for June rainfall, that’s not easy. My birding has not suffered, at all, but my astronomy has taken a big hit. My telescope and astronomy binocular have not seen any real use for over a month and that hurts. Ouch! I would love to convince my boss to move OpticsPlanet to the desert in Arizona where I could use my telescope and binocular on a regular basis, but I suspect that suggestion will not get …

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22 Jun

I know how eager a beginners can be when buying their first telescope, but I always advise caution when they also want to start, right away, with astrophotography. Astrophotograpy requires a thorough knowledge of atronomy and telescope use and a solid background in the basics of photography. This is much more involved than taking pics of the family at a picnic. The question a beginner should ask when buying a first telescope is if the model selected is appropriate for astrophotgraphy, should they choose to do astrophotography after they have learned how to use their first telescope. Some telescopes are …

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17 Jun

When we left the moon back in 70s, we confidently wrote it off as a cold and incredibly dry place and many believed there as not much more to know about our satellite. Hard to believe that four decades, later, we are sending a probe to not only scout for a possible moon base, but also to see if there is water in the bottom of some of the moon craters at the pole. Yes, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter will be launched, later this week and should it succeed in locating ice at the bottom of a crater, that will, …

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16 Jun

New moon, next week, so I will be keeping my fingers crossed for a clear sky, though the immediate forecast is less than encouraging. This has been the poorest year for astronomy, yet, since I moved here to the Chicago area some five years, ago. Ouch. Should the sky cooperate, I will have my astronomy binocular on a tripod with the goal of doing some binocular double stars. Double stars are the one and only place I like to use a tripod with my Nikon 10×70 astronomy binocular. That extra support really makes a difference on very close doubles. I …

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15 Jun

We’re moving into the last quarter for the moon and that is a good time to check it out with a binocular or a telescope. After all these years of observing the moon with binoculars and telescopes, I am still fascinated with the way the changing light alters what you see on the moon, night to night. The same crater can look amazingly different one night to next and some of the features can appear downright eerie – after all, this is another world and a world, quite different than earth. I often wonder, as I stare through a telescope …

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11 Jun

This winter I proved to myself that it was quite possible to mix birding with cross-country skiing, at least when using a birding binocular. (Next winter I may be crazy enough to add a spotting scope to my ski package. ) So, as thoughts begin to turn to retirement, I have began some very preliminary research to find a place that offers both plenty of snow with the right terrain (gently sloping or a bit hilly) and still provide a good diversity of birds. To someone not familiar with birding, the number of bird species drops off , in a …

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10 Jun

For many years, an 8″ Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope on a fork mount, such as the Celestron CPC800 and the Meade LX90, has been the standard size and type of telescope for the serious amateur astronomer and for good reason. This is nearly the universal telescope that will do just about any job required and do it well. Times have changed, though; the pace of life in this decade is more hurried and more mobile. Slightly smaller and thus more portable telescopes have begun to come on strong. Sales are up for the 5″ and 6″ Schmidt-Cassegrains such as the Celestron Nexstar …

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