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Monthly Archives: April 2011

29 Apr

It may surprise some people new to astronomy and even an astronomer, or two, to learn that I use astronomy binoculars and use them, often, despite the fact that I own and have owned all kinds of telescopes, too. Why bother with astronomy binoculars if you already own a telescope? Who needs astronomy binoculars?

In my opinion, all astronomers can make good use of astronomy binoculars. The fact is that both binoculars and telescopes have their place in astronomy. It is not an “either, or” situation by any means. There are some things that astronomy binoculars do better than telescopes …

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28 Apr

One of my favorite north woods fun things is about to start and, no, it doesn’t require birding binoculars, astronomy binoculars, spotting scopes, digital cameras, tripods or any og the other things I write up in my blogs. All you need to do is to get comfortable in your favorite chair (a Human Touch i-Joy would be glorious), open the windows on a warm spring evening and listen. I’m talking about listening to frogs in the spring, of course, and frog music is awesome, up here in the lake country. Figure it this way: when you live in a county …

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27 Apr

Seems like there are a million telescope eyepiece questions you ask when shopping for this most important of telescope accessories, even when you are an old timer like me that has been nuts about astronomy all her life. The technical questions regarding telescope eyepieces may seem to be daunting to a beginner, but they are relatively simple and straightforward, at least. It’s the darn personal preference side of telescope eyepieces that make selecting just the right telescope eyepiece for your favorite telescope so hard.

I am a case in point. I wear glasses when I observe and absolutely hate taking…

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26 Apr

Finally had a nice spring day, yesterday, so what does a north woods gal do on a nice spring day when the ice has melted and her lake is now open? Why, she jumps in her kayak for an afternoon of paddling, of course.
A canoe or kayak, by the way, makes an excellent vehicle for spring birdwatching. Yesterday, I spotted Bald Eagles, Wood Dicks, Buffleheads, Ring-billed Ducks, Mallards, Song Sparrows, Red-winged Blackbirds and more through the binoculars as I slowly paddled along the shore. Indeed, a cautious approach with the paddle along the shore with a canoe or kayak …

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25 Apr

I have a 12.5” Dobsonian telescope coming next month, so I have been busy with plans on how to best use this telescope on our property. Now, telescope size is relative, of course, but a 12.5” telescope is much larger than my current 80mm (three inch) refractor telescope, no matter how you define small or large telescope. With a 12.5” telescope, you have to be a bit more deliberate and thoughtful on where you setup & use a telescope. You can’t just throw a 12.5” telescope over your shoulder and head out the back door as I often do with…

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22 Apr

Because I much prefer to wear glasses when looking through a telescope eyepiece, I’ve always made good use of barlow lenses, especially back in the days when it was hard to find telescope eyepieces that had enough eye relief to use with glasses. Barlows help, here, by allowing you to double, triple and so on, the magnification you get with those eyepieces that do have enough eye relief for use of glasses because the eye relief of your eyepiece doesn’t significantly change when you add a Barlow lens. Barlows also help the budget because a single Barlow lens can be…

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21 Apr

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Our lake might not have its resident pair of Loons, but it does have resident Wood Ducks, so I am not complaining. Doesn’t matter what tool you use to get a good look at a Wood Duck – birding binoculars, birding spotting scope or digital cameras – this is one spectacular bird.

I saw our first pair of Wood Dicks, yesterday, flying over the house, but it was that very distinctive whistling call I hear, first. That’s often the first notice you get that Wood Ducks are in the area because of the wooded, secluded areas they prefer. My Wood

20 Apr

I miss teaching. I gave my astronomy presentation to very enthusiastic and very grateful bunch of my fellow seniors, this morning, and could not be happier. I guess once a teacher, always a teacher. Teaching is in my blood as much as astronomy, birdwatching and all the other things I love.

The biggest challenge of my astronomy presentation was getting my Apple laptop connected to the provided Epson projector, but with some expert help from my hosts, we got it done and just in time, too. I was about to improvise for a couple of hours when, low and behold,…

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19 Apr

I will be giving a presentation on amateur astronomy, tomorrow, for a group of my fellow retirees and a two hour presentation, at that. When I started designing the presentation, I was quite sure it would include a great deal about astronomy binoculars, telescopes, telescope accessories and so on. After all, writing about all this astronomy gear is one way I help to support myself and it’s saved the farm a time or two during hard times, not to mention helping to buy a telescope or more binoculars.

My presentation, now that it has been prepared, actually has relatively little…

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18 Apr

I have an astronomy presentation to give to a group of my fellow seniors this week, but it just so happens that there is a winter storm forecast to hit on the very day of my presentation. Not to worry, I have been told, because folks up in this country are a hardy bunch. That’s good, because spending long hours at the telescope eyepiece or with the astronomy binoculars, up here in the north country, sometimes demands a bit of that hardiness. If the cold in the winter doesn’t get you, the mosquitoes in the warm months will. That’s enough…

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