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Monthly Archives: May 2010

28 May

Memorial Day is the start of summer for most folks, regardless of what the calendar or science say. Bill and I had planned to go camping, as so many thousands of others will be doing this holiday, but our recent purchase of a home and subsequent relocation will keep us home, packing and making ready for this big change in our lives. Besides, some of our camping gear is already packed, away.

Nevertheless, you can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl. No matter what, I will sneak out for…

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27 May

To say the least, my bird feeder setup is a busy place and it is consistently busy from sunup to sundown. Just about any time, during the day, I can look out my kitchen window and see birds, and, when I want a closer
look,

my Nikon binoculars are always at hand. Not sure what I would do without my feeders and birds to keep me company, during the day and, to be sure, I may even be more addicted to the feeders than the birds. If you are love birdwatching and feeding birds, you understand.

So which birds are …

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26 May

Every state has its own set of potential natural dangers. If you live along the Gulf, you have hurricanes. If you live in the plains, there are tornadoes and blizzards. If you live in the southwest, there are deserts and heat. West coast states have earthquakes, mudslides and volcanoes. Most states have at least some poisonous reptiles, spiders and so on. Most folks, of course, accept these potential dangers and go on about their lives, but more than a few people relocated to escape the potential natural disasters in their area.

Northern Wisconsin might seem to be a place where…

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25 May

It’s been one of those springs: so cool you wonder if you’ll ever get a tan and then you wake up one morning and it’s summer, with temps on the 80s and pushing 90. Our yard shows it, too. It’s now an impenetrable wall of green on all sides surrounding a nearly out of control tall grass prairie we call a lawn. It’s also an almost overwhelming collection of odors and smells, too, what with all our flowers and shrubs. I can still see my birdfeeders and do some birdwatching, though, but I am getting a little concerned – the …

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24 May

You don’t get to go shopping and buy a telescope very often, so most of us spend some time and do a lot of thinking and research about that “perfect telescope” as if it was going to be the last telescope we buy. Of course, this seldom the case, but it is a good idea to think about what is your perfect telescope.

The truth is, though, the perfect telescope does not exist, so you simply try to balance the pros and cons of each telescope model and go forward. Right now, for instance, I am trying to make a…

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21 May

One of the many things I like about astronomy is that you can make it as simple or as complex as you want. In other words, there is something for everyone in amateur astronomy, regardless of your technical prowess. This fact is sometimes lost obscured by all the talk of telescopes, telescope accessories, objects with strange names and all the other buzz you read and hear in astronomy circles. However, it is very important for a beginner to know there is a great deal of fun to be had with nothing more than your unaided eye and a dark night …

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20 May

In my 80mm APO refractor telescope, my 3 mm Televue Radian eyepiece gives me 160x. As magnifications go in an astronomy telescopes, this is a fairly useful magnification for viewing some objects, but either too much or too little for others. That’s why you need several telescope eyepieces to cover all the bases in astronomy. Of course, there is also telescope size to consider. In a small telescope, like my 80 mm refractor, 160x is closing in on the maximum the telescope can handle and still provide decent image quality, though I can go a bit higher when observing conditions…

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19 May

I have a birthday coming up and it is the big 60. (Scream). Okay, I have no reason to be frightened. For one thing, there was more than once in my life when I did not expect to see that number and, hey, today’s 60 is yesterday’s … whatever. What counts is not the number, anyway, but the quality and, in that respect, I am doing better, now, than perhaps at anytime in my life.

I was once advised, in my youth, to pursue interests that would stay with me for a lifetime and, as I look back, that was…

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18 May

On the advice of someone who read my blog and posted a comment (thank-you!), I have decided to that a Garmin 76 in one of its variations will be my next GPS for outdoor and back country work. I already have the low-end Garmin Nuvi for the car and my daughter has one, too and low-end or not, the Garmin Nuvi has been very reliable and trustworthy. It still has an annoying tendency to want to route me through the back streets, rather than the main arterials, but it does get me home, no matter what. If a cheaper Garmin…

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17 May

I’ve always had a love affair with small, premium grade refractor telescopes, such as my current APO triplet, one of a kind, LOMO/Apogee custom refractor. Nothing like a small telescope when it comes to ease of use and great portability and nothing like an APO refractor to blow your socks off when it comes to image quality.

On the other hand, even the best quality small telescope is still a small telescope and limited in terms of how many objects in the sky it can see and how much detail it can resolve. The laws of optics always give the…

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