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Monthly Archives: October 2011

31 Oct

If you are new to astronomy or not familiar with astronomy, you might conclude that we amateur astronomers are bit touched in the head when you hear us argue and discuss the merits and faults of telescope eyepieces for hours on end. Oh yeah, when it comes to telescope accessories, there is nothing that compares to telescope eyepieces in the astronomy community when it comes to opinions. Anyone who has bothers to setup & use a telescope for any length of time soon develops strong likes and dislikes when it comes to this part of a telescope. In fact, I’ve …

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30 Oct

We don’t get many trick or treaters at our place in the woods, even though there are kids in some of the area homes. Mostly, I suspect that our 150 yard long driveway surrounded by scary woods keeps the kids, away. Then, too we do have a Barred Owl or, now and then, a Great Horned Owl calling at night. Coyotes, too. Did I mention we often get mists an fog rising from nearby bogs at night? All in all, our place can be pretty spooky at night. I know, because I spend a lot of time outside at night…

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27 Oct

I’ve been getting ready for winter. This week I packed up my fishing equipment and stowed it away until next spring. All our firewood is cut and split. The leaves have been raked. The canoe and kayaks …

Our canoe and, especially our kayaks, will be the last things we stow for the winter. I love paddling right up until ice time and I still have a lot of birdwatching and photography with the digital cameras, kayak style, to do before the ice comes. I’ll be exchanging the kayak for the cross country skis when the ice does come, but …

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26 Oct

One of the many, many things I love about amateur astronomy is that you can enjoy it with such a wide variety of equipment or even no equipment at all – some of my best memories are of nights under a dark clear sky just looking up at the stars from a lawn chair or a sleeping bag. Most of us, though, will choose to get a closer look with the aid of astronomy binoculars or telescopes.

What about spotting scopes, though? After all, a spotting scope is a telescope, albeit a telescope designed to be used by day rather …

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25 Oct

I don’t often get to write about rifle scopes, simply because we don’t have a lot of guns, especially guns that would use a riflescope. Neither of us hunt and the few guns that Bill inherited from his father are shotguns. The one Remington 22 he got from his father is so old it does not have a receiver designed to use a scope.

On the other hand, I do like to shoot, having grown up in a family with a brother that hunted. Hunting was also strong tradition on my mother’s side of the family. All those uncles and…

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24 Oct

Most spotting scopes, even relatively inexpensive spotting scopes, have pretty decent optics on the objective (large) end of the scope. It’s that darn eyepiece at the other end of the spotting scope that is all too often the deal breaker when it comes to performance.

This is especially true when it comes to zoom eyepieces on spotting scopes. Everyone wants a zoom eyepiece on a spotting scope and that’s why most spotting scopes sold, today, come equipped with zoom eyepieces. That’s the good news. The bad news is that optically decent zoom eyepieces are expensive to make. Buy a cheap…

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23 Oct

Do I need more than one telescope to do astronomy? If so, just how many telescopes do I need? Seems like when I get on the internet and read just about any telescope forum, everyone has darn near a garage full of telescopes and telescope accessories. Help!

Okay, don’t panic. If you are new to astronomy, you can do quite nicely with a single telescope and a few telescope eyepieces, assuming you do your homework and choose the right telescope for your needs. No need to rush out and buy a truck load of telescopes and accessories. In fact, you’ll…

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20 Oct

As historical pursuits and interest go, amateur astronomy has made a very successful transition into the digital age. Astronomy has always had a rich literary transition and many amateur astronomers, myself included, have amassed a nice library of astronomy books over the years. For sure, I expect I will be collecting astronomy books as long as I will be looking through a telescope eyepiece at night. I never dreamed, though, that the day would come when you could get on something called the internet and spend literally days visiting various astronomy websites and never see it all.

There are, of…

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19 Oct

I have a spotting scope mounted on a tripod right in our living room (also two other telescopes I use for astronomy), so one might think they’ve entered an optics store when they step foot in our house. The spotting scope and telescopes are not for display, though. The telescopes are parked in the living room because I don’t have a better place to keep them, at the moment, but the spotting scope I put to work on a daily basis.

I use this birding spotting scope to keep an eye on the birds out on our lake. This is …

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18 Oct

Our tamarack trees (my English friends call them larches) have turned a golden yellow, as they do every fall before they lose their needles. Yes, these trees have needles that they drop every fall, just like hardwoods such a maples and oaks. Tamaracks are a bog tree and since we have an abundance of bog land on our property, we have plenty of tamaracks. Acids in the tamarack roots are also responsible for the tea colored stain of the water in our lake.

Oh, yeah, nothing quite like a bog filled with tamarack and black spruce. Very interesting places for …

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