Cornfield Meet

Things collide here.

No attack ships off Orion’s shoulder, but…

I finally got around to borrowing the telescope the North Canton Public Library loans out, and spent a little more than an hour outside last night just wandering comfortable territory and taking in easily-spotted stuff: the Great Nebula in Orion, Sirius, Mars, and the Pleiades, just before they sank over the rooftop to the west.

The telescope is an Orion StarBlast 4.5-inch reflector – and for an uber-amateur like me, it’s just about perfect: compact and stable and portable and really simple to use.

I tried to do a little more targeted observing and see if I could find star clusters and things in Cassiopeia, but the battery in the red-dot viewfinder ran low, and I wasn’t really in the best location, with the constellation low over the neighbor’s house in a smudge of streetlight reflection. Still, even though the Milky Way wasn’t apparent to the naked eye, it was there in the telescope like I’d never seen it before. I just sort of gently swept my aim back and forth – I landed on something neat up between Orion’s club and Gemini, but honestly, that area’s so rich with stuff I couldn’t tell you what it was, even though I tried to pinpoint it by memory after I’d gone inside. I even managed to catch a satellite crossing the telescope field at one point.

I’ve got the telescope for the next two weeks – fingers crossed for clear skies during a planned visit to my mom’s house, which is a good 20 miles from any significant city lights – and now that I’ve got that first impatient night out of the way, I’ll do some better planning and try to pick out some things I’ve never seen before.

Of course, even the familiar remains fantastic: This morning, I couldn’t resist checking out the waning crescent moon before the sun was fully up.

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March 9, 2010 - Posted by | geek, Ohio, Science | , ,

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