Bark At The Moon*
Brian Dipert - September 24, 2007
I’ve been up in the mountains since late Thursday night (heading back to Sacramento mid-day today), and most of that time it’s been overcast, sometimes rainy and (at night) snowing a bit. Last night, however, conditions were clear and the moon was nearly full, so I decided to break out the telescope I told you about a week and a half ago.
The Meade NGC-60TC was really easy to assemble and operate. I knew going in that it was a fairly low-power (and, in exchange, low-cost!) unit, so I wasn’t expecting much but was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. The unit’s 25mm eyepiece resulted in a moon image that almost completely filled the frame, enabling me to discern shadows within craters, as well as the moon’s uneven (due to hills and valleys) right semicircle edge.
With the stronger 9mm eyepiece, I could take a focused look at individual craters (and I haven’t even tried the 2x Barlow adapter yet). I’ve looked at plenty of moon photographs in the past (as a child, I wore out a 45 rpm record of the Apollo 11 audio transcripts), but seeing the sights live and with my own two eyes was very very cool. As was the ambient temperature at 11PM!
Because the moon was so bright, it obscured the views of the stars, and anyway I wasn’t dressed for a long, cold viewing session. I look forward to revisiting my humble telescope on future evenings, and a generous friend has also loaned me his barely-used Celestron NexStar 8 (a 203mm i.e. 8-inch diameter Schmidt-Cassegrain refractor with a 2032mm focal length). Granted, I don’t think I’ll be able to discern galaxies 7 billion light years away, but I’m sure I’ll still be content with my look into the Cosmos.
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*The title, of course, refers to the coyotes that I heard rustling about in the open field next to my home last night