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Monthly Archives: September 2011

30 Sep

I love taking fall color photos both with my digital cameras and film cameras. Fall color season gives me a much needed break from my digiscoping with the spotting scope and hassling with tripods. It’s a far more relaxing and casual type of photography and nothing beats being out in the woods on a beautiful fall day. When that first great color day finally arrives in the fall, I head for the camera case, grab as many cameras as I care to carry and hit the woods. Nothing fancy needed, either. My small digital point and shoot cameras do the …

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28 Sep

If you read my blogs, you may well get the impression that I own a whole garage full of telescopes and astronomy binoculars. Okay, let’s just talk telescopes. How many telescopes do I have and is this typical for an amateur astronomer?

Okay, I do actually know a couple of astronomers that have a garage full of telescopes and I literally mean a garage full, as in no room leftover for cars. That’s not typical, though. My situation is more than norm. I currently have three telescopes and, yes, this is fairly typical for an amateur astronomer who’s been doing…

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28 Sep

Wonder of wonders! The weather forecast, the long-range forecast, at any rate, is calling for some clear skies this weekend. Combine those clear skies with the new moon over the weekend and the dark skies that brings and, well, I may just have the nearly perfect weekend to uncase the astronomy binoculars and setup & use a telescope.

Okay, scratch the nearly perfect. I have some friends coming for a visit over the weekend and an observing session, looking through the telescope eyepiece with yours truly as a guide, is on the top of their “to do” list. Since sharing…

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26 Sep

When it comes to telescopes and sizes, there is no “official” standard size for any particular type of telescope, whether we are talking refractor telescopes, reflector telescopes and so on. Still, there is a size within a specific telescope design that represents the best combination of size, performance and price that makes this size more or less the unofficial standard of its type in the astronomy community.

In refractor telescopes, that size is the four inch or 102mm refractor. A four inch refractor is definitely large enough for some deep-sky work with brighter nebulae, star clusters and galaxies and four…

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26 Sep

Time to start waxing up the cross-country skis? Okay, that’s definitely jumping the gun, even for me, but it could actually snow, anytime. This is northern Wisconsin, after all.

It has been a decent summer – not a great summer, but a decent summer – for my astronomy with both the astronomy binoculars and telescopes. I had a few great nights with excellent transparency and those few precious nights made up for the depressing number of nights I had this summer when the sky transparency was lousy and everything – the binoculars, telescope, telescope accessories, me – were soaking wet…

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23 Sep

It’s been rainy, wet and cool for the last week – quite a contrast to the very sunny previous three weeks. Now, these north woods bouts of wet weather are all part of living in the north country and, for the most part, I just keep right on birdwatching, kayaking, fishing, working my bird dog in stride and so on. If you can’t take a little wet weather and, especially, cold weather, you have no business living in this country.

The only thing that makes anxious when the clouds roll in is my need to get out with the astronomy…

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22 Sep

Despite the fact that I can be extremely fussy about some features on binoculars, spotting scopes, telescopes and digital cameras and tripods, I am, by and large what I would describe as an optics optimist. I adapt, quickly, to individual quirks on a particular binocular, spotting scope or camera and have only rarely returned anything because a certain feature annoyed me to the point of frustration. Oh, yeah, the optics glass is usually half full for me. (Talk about the ideal optics consumer )

I suspect this adaptability has its roots in the fact that I wasn’t born with an…

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21 Sep

It’s the little things that can make your day. Works that way for me, every time.

I just spotted a flock of Wood Ducks out on the lake through the binoculars, so I just got up to get a closer look through the spotting scope. Life is good. I feel better. No matter what else happens, today, that was one fine moment.

Last night, I grabbed the astronomy binoculars and took a quick peek at the quarter moon. Not much more than a minute in the doing, but I went back to bed with a smile on my face. Hearing …

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20 Sep

With wildlife, you never know. That’s how I would describe the reaction of wildlife to my presence when I am out in the field with digital cameras, spotting scopes and tripod, trying to get some good pics. For sure, some species of wildlife are more naturally wary of humans than others, but, at the same time, some of these very same species are quick to adapt to the presence of humans.

The Great Blue Heron is a good example. In the wild, they are a very wary bird, indeed. We have one of these majestic birds that sets up shop …

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19 Sep

The moon is in its waning phases, this week and that will make for some good observing with the astronomy binoculars and refractor telescopes for the next week, or so. Next will come the new moon and dark, moonless skies and then it will be time to wheel out the big Dobsonian telescope to get back to some serious deep-sky work at the telescope eyepiece. Oh, yeah, I’ve been itching to setup & use a telescope for well over a week.

It has been a glorious harvest Moon, though, this past week, what with our clear skies every night, crisp…

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