Sunday, December 3, 2017

I Made a Decision

In the previous post I expressed my frustration with not finding time and energy for astronomy. Work and household chores have taken it out of me, but I have decided that I am going to make a greater effort to keep on going. It won't be easy, and I don't expect to be out there observing and imaging like I was during the Golden Age of 2009/2010.

Still, there is new incentive...

...on the way... the mail...

...coming to my house.

Yes, I bought a new telescope! It's nothing fancy, but it is a full step up from my current primary imaging scope, the Orion ShortTube 80.

The new scope is an Astro-Tech AT72EDII. It has a 72mm aperture and 430mm focal length, which gives it a focal ratio of f/6 (slower than my ST80, which is f/5). The objective is an air-spaced doublet made with Ohara glass, with an FPL-53 lens to reduce false color (from chromatic aberration). It has a dual-speed rack-and-pinion focuser and a built-in camera angle adjuster.

I also ordered an Astro-Tech ATR8 focal reducer/field flattener. This reduces the focal ratio of the scope from f/6 to f/4.8. The field of view is also increased, which will be great for some of those large targets that I like to image.

Speaking of targets, I now have an excuse to re-image everything that I have imaged before! It's a case where everything old is new again. I am looking forward to this because now I can apply my new image processing skills to (hopefully) much-improved images.

The next big purchase will be a new mount. The Vixen Super Polaris is adequate for now. It produces good 3-minute subs consistently. Longer exposures tend to overexpose in my light polluted sky, so a CCD camera will be the next big item after the mount.

But these purchases are still a long way off. I have a great deal of difficulty buying things that don't have a practical purpose of some kind. It's not that I'm cheap, but there are tons of better things that the money can go toward. For example, I don't mind spending a good chunk of change on a good computer. But, on the other hand...I need a break. I need something fun to do. All work and no play is driving has driven me out of my mind. So, I'm going to make a better effort to do some fun stuff--and not just astronomy.

Anyway, the new scope will be here soon, and I've already lined up my first few targets!

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