Hello everyone, I thought I would give a little history about my Astronomy adventure. It starts in 1988 in Sunnyvale, California. I was married to my ex-Wife Cindi at the time and working for Beech Aero Services at Moffett Field, CA. I told my wife I wanted to get a telescope. She asked me what do you know about using one and Astronomy? I answered nothing, just interested. She then said maybe you should take some classes and learn about it first.
I said good idea. So I went to Foothill College applied for registration, got accepted and enrolled in an Astronomy class; ASTR-10AL Solar Astro Lab, ASTR-010A-01 Gen ASTRO - Solar Sys and ASTR-035Y-01 Special Projects. 9 hours of class. My teacher was Professor Lee Bonneau. So the journey had begun. I learned a lot about Solar Astronomy, telescope basics and even got to play with a Astroscan telescope. Fire ignited.
Next up was ASTRO-10B Stellar SY and ASTRO-10BL Stellar-LAB. Six more hours of Astronomy Class. This class was taught by Astronomer David Marx who stepped in for Professor Bonneau while he was on sabbatical. David has been the resident Astronomer at Lick Observatory. So guess what our class got to go to Lick Observatory and view through it (it is not open to the public) and tour the place. I should tell you that working for the Navy at Moffit Field came with some nice perks. This was Fall 1988 and the Hubble telescope was in the last stages of calibrations at Lockheed across from the Airfield. I worked for the Airfield Operations Officer who happened to be coordinating with Lockheed to move the Hubble on the airfield to a barge on San Francisco Bay and then moved to the launch site. Not expecting any thing I asked the Ops Commander if he could set up a field trip for my Astronomy class to see the Hubble. He did and about 7 or 8 of us in the class got to go see the Hubble in the clean room they had it working in. They treated us like we were VIP’s not realizing we were just college students. They took us to a large conference room over looking the clean room, gave us some literature about the Hubble, talked about the goings on in the clean room and had some refreshments. Right place at the right time.
Needless to say, I passed all these classes with A’s and got my first telescope. I went big. Got a 10” Meade on a motorized wedge, tripod two eyepieces, a 2x barlow, guide scope and 90 deg erector prism. I will say in 1989 I didn’t do much with computers. There wasn’t this vast avenue of information for me to access and learn how to do things. A lot of trial and error. I was lucky to be able to go into Orion Telescope store in Cupertino and ask questions and get more equipment. Got a T-ring and adapter for my Pentex K1000 35mm camera and tried my hand at prime focus and even thru the eyepiece with the camera on a tripod. I burned a lot of roll of film to get a handful of pictures that were not that good. The rest were just really bad. I had no way to auto guide (didn’t even know about it}. Just did the best I could to get a decent polar align. Didn’t have photoshop, knew nothing about stacking and aligning or even scanning photos.
So, around 1995 after a divorce and hard times living in California, I needed to sell the Meade. Now twenty-five years later and retired I am getting back into this new age of Astronomy. The computerized digital Astronomy. My hope now is to get the equipment needed to take the Astrophotography images I see in all the post people are putting out. I will say that my search on the internet has led me to some very insightful and helpful information. For XMAS my wife got me an Allan Hall book “Getting Started: Long Exposure Astrophotography”. I got another book off Amazon (used) Robert Reeves “Introduction to Digital Astrophotography”. Both of these books have given me a wealth of information. I also got a HTML book by Jerry Lodriguss “A Beginners Guide to DSLR Astrophotography”. I also stumbled onto the Galactic Hunters webpage where he has a lot of information.
I made my decision about the telescope and mount I want and ordered it. Sadly, at this time many telescopes are out of stock and are on the way. So now I am waiting and at the mercy of the shipping problems many manufactures are facing. But a lot of the accessories are available.