Some beautiful nights…

This week has been great for our (Marci and I) budding astronomy hobby. A few things have happened. First, I hand dug a flat spot into a hillside on our property where the views are best:

diggin’ a hole…

Second, some new equipment. A guide scope and camera to make polar alignment less painful, and also to improve our tracking for future astrophotography endeavors.

On Monday 10/21/2019 Marci and I set up and randomly picked objects to look at. It was a beautiful night with good viz. Marci generated a random astronomy target selector using some iphone app she found which ultimately landed us on something we hadn’t seen before, namely NGC253 the “Sculptor Galaxy”. It was pretty dim in the eyepiece but an awesome sight, and we agreed we should definitely try and image it as one of our first objects.

And then yesterday, Wednesday 10/23/2019 I brought some building blocks together to the point where we were able to do some basic imaging. I polar aligned using sharpcap and our new guiding gear, and used Backyard Nikon to control Marci’s D810. The entire thing was off the cuff since we had no experience, but we imaged the Pleiades, M33 Andromeda Galaxy, and Milky Way. None of these images are great, but given this was a first, off the cuff attempt, we couldn’t be more pleased!

Milky Way

This hobby continues to reward me with a unique sense of awe. We are equally significant (because we are curious and want answers) and insignificant (because we are such a small subset of the universe). Both are wonderful feelings I am happy to share.

Autumn! (not really)…

…but damn close! We’re getting our first rain up here in Fiddletown, CA which means giant beetles will be swarming soon (prolly?)

…lovin’ the rain

The smell and just the feeling of rain is the greatest thing and something I’ve really missed. It adds a nice calm to everything, the sound is calming and everything feels clean. Not sure how this is going to affect our burgeoning astronomy hobby. I’m thinking if it’s clear by the evening we should have some great views prior to the moon rising.

I’m considering some new eyepieces for the scope. I’m thinking a 32mm wide field (>60 degrees) and maybe a short (5mm) widefield to augment some of our planet views. And a battery so I don’t have to drag a power cord out every time. Good thing this isn’t a gear hobby!

Hello world!

An initial post to get some stuff up here. Let’s see, what’s on my mind? Healthcare? Yeah, that’ll do. After being diagnosed with colon cancer in February and the corresponding surgery which fully cured me for the time being, I’m still getting bills. They come in as simply $ amounts, no context or itemization. I always have to follow up, which can take hours of my time.

Something between the best of intentions on the part of our lawmakers, resulting laws, and capitalistic monetization of my health has led to an experience that is utterly frustrating, especially considering the stressful nature of being unhealthy. I’m very lucky. It was caught early. I had excellent, competent doctors all of which were working together to optimize the outcome. I have excellent insurance. And I’m cured! No chemo, no radiation, just a surgery which was unpleasant but endurable.

What about people where all of those things don’t line up? I can’t even imagine. We should do more as a country and society to make this better.