Sunday, May 31, 2009

The New Telescope (new astro toy) Curse

There are a few laws in nature that we all must put up with: gravity, inertia, come to mind. Then there are a few things that happen to us which cannot be explained but are as true and rigid as any law of nature. For example, if you wash your car it will rain on it within hours or at most a day. This was the very first truth I learned. I just bought my first car, a 67 Plymouth Fury III. I was so proud of it (it was a piece of poop) I went out and washed it and waxed it (polished a turd). Within minutes of finishing, I noticed a huge squall line forming to the west. How can this be they called for clear skies. I started to think back and it became clear to me there is a power at work here I remember my first telescope. The weather was cloudy for days after I got it. Hmmm wait and then there was that 6"Cave Astrola I got for a song. It was a year old and I got it for half of what it was new. It came with Abbe Orthos 10 and 20mm eyepieces! It rained for a week solid starting the day I got it. That was just the beginning of it. A couple of years later I decided to get a C8. I had saved up and bought a used C8 that someone had used for Halley's comet then put it away. I also got that scope for a song. This telescope nearly beat the curse. I set it up which took almost two hours since I did not know the C8 at all and I had no instructions. Note: Do not put a telescope together that you are not familiar with in the dark.This is a recipe for disaster. I did finally get it together without breaking anything. It was clear when I started but within 2 hours, thin cirrostatus clouds covered the sky. They were blow off from the thunderstorm that was headed my way. In the words of my cartoon hero Charlie Brown, Rats!!! I was foiled again. My next telescope purchase came a few years later. It was a Celestron 114gt. Yep you guessed it clouds. Then a Televue Ranger. Oh yeah the same... clouds. My latest scope to buy was a Celestron CPC 800. It was late arriving by two weeks in March. I had a star party to go to in 3 days so I loaded it up and took it with me to the party. I would play with it there. This was the Smoky Mountain Star Gaze and it poured out a record amount of the wet stuff that week. I never turned the scope on once. Forward a year later to Friday May 29th. It is clear as a bell!!! I helped play host to a Pack of Cub scouts and a Boy Scout troop. All went very well. We saw many cool things that night. M13 the Ring Nebula, Saturn and even M81 showed up in those light polluted skies. Saturday arrives and with that so does a box from Astronomics. It was a new 2" star diagonal by Astro Tech. I had come into a little money so I spent it on something I could get the most bang for the buck and this was it. You know without thinking about the public viewing I was attending that evening I opened the box up and must have set in motion, the events for the evening. It was clear for most of the day puffy cumulus clouds floated by without a care in the world. By 7:00 that evening(2 hours after opening the box) all that remained were sucker holes in the sky. By 8:30 I was sitting with my fellow astronomers watching the clouds darken and here came the rain and lightning and hail! So in short, we left and went to a local eatery where shot to poop about astronomy and recent trips we had. It was then it dawned on mesitting with my peers, that I had opened the box and somehow opened the Pandora's box for astronomy. I never realized I wielded so much power. I must be careful with this new super power I have and use it wisely. I will be very careful about when I open my new "toys" up. Note to all non super heroes: I promise to use my powers for good.

I have one box yet to open. It is a blue filter and I am saving this for a drought .

Clear Skies and great seeing too

Steve T

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