Astronomical Tips and Tricks for Dummies

hs-2007-41-a-1680x1050_wallpaperAbove is NOT your usual spiral galaxy!  It is ,in fact, quite young.  One clue is the over abundance of giant blue stars, and another is all the cloud you see.  That looks lake most of the galaxy is  a birth place for new stars.  You won’t get anywhere near this kind of view unless you can fly up to The Hubble Space Telescope and fiddle as you please.  No, backyard astronomy is a different picture all together.  I haven’t told you about my big 10 inch yet have I.  It cost me $8000 and galaxies through it just looked like little blips and blobs, and needles… 

The tube of this Schmidt Cassegrain behemoth weighed in at 56 lbs., and you had to struggle with it on the tripod because it has to line up perfectly over a screw hole.  (Can you say “screw hole” over the Internet?)  And of corpse it’s pitch black in the middle of the field behind my house. So that, you eventually got better at though.  The hard part was falling into a bush with the 56 lb. tripod.  Not on porpoise because there is no time to think.  You don’t want to break the tripod so you have to let it land on top of you.  OUCH!!!  #*&^@!*&!!!  

One time, it was in the middle of February (because the air is clearer, so you simple see more stars in the winter time than any other time of year), and I was squinting to try to see a globular cluster.  I know.  It sounds like a huge spit ball doesn’t it.  They can contain a few million stars.  Their star points are so tiny, that you just see a big blurry ball at first, then your brain finally figures it out, and all the tiny star points just “pop” into view!  We have about 150 of them that orbit the hub of our galaxy.  It completes one revolution about every 2,000,000 (two million) years.  Anyway, I’m getting off track…

TAKE TWO!  MAKEUP!!  POOOOOF!!!  Anyway, there I was, in a field, at 3am. breathing hard, and my breath froze my mustache to the side of the telescope.  Miriam, my wife at the time, was sound asleep in her bed.  I tried to call her, but it came out like: “Here-ee-ah!” and Help me, came out like: “Hell-Key!” Eventually, I ripped myself free, and feasted on my own blood!  “Tonight, when the moon is full, I’ll bite your throat!”  I mean I had to wear a black hood to keep any stray light out.  It looked like I was manning a bazooka!  My neighbor would ask me if I’ve found my home planet yet.

It looked weird, let’s face it.  When you look like “The Fly” about to blow up a piece of the neighborhood, people naturally want to ask questions like: “What the Hell (heck), is THAT thing?” and “Do you understand these rights as I’ve explained them to you?”  June bugs can fly up your hooded cloak.  The stars are out in June too.  You know?  And there’s dew, so don’t bring any star papers out unless they’re laminated.  You need a little, red flashlight, to read your star maps, and even that temporarily blinds you!  What a pain in the eye!  Awe, it’s probably better to just buy a good pair of binoculars…  Emmm…  Even prescription glasses, ya know?

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8 thoughts on “Astronomical Tips and Tricks for Dummies

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  1. It is refreshing to read a great quality article to get a change. You’ve made many fascinating points and I agree. This has produced me think and for that I thank you.

    • You’re more than welcome! I’m interested in people who are interested in Astronomy too. I used to belong to The Royal Astronomical Society… They’d send you their little. book faithfully, every month. Some of the articles were good. Others looked like French! LOL!

    • Love me? You don’t even know me… You love what I wrote! What if I’m a Cereal Killer? You don’t want to become Shredded Wheat do you? Well since we’re new lovers and all that CRAP, you wouldn’t happen to have $1 million dollars on you ’till next month, wood you? I’m running low on food…

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