My subscription to Life expired, but I still have a subscription to Mad.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

new telescope

For Christmas, my family bought me a new telescope, a Celestron NexStar 130 SLT. It is a 130 mm reflector with a "fully computerized altazimuth mount."

It is not something that was on my wish list. My Christmas wish list typically includes some books, DVDs, CDs, and nothing that is very expensive. If my family wants to buy me something expensive, they try to figure what to give me that will be a hit.

In early November, the explosion of Comet Holmes rekindled my interest in astronomy. I followed the progress of the comet using my old refractor telescope. One night, I was lazier than on most nights and instead of hauling my refractor outside, I used my father's old binoculars and was surprised that the binos did a better job than my scope. I must have mentioned that fact to my wife and/or daughter and they decided that I needed a new telescope and chipped in with my sister to buy the aforementioned Celestron reflector.

The weather has not been to kind as far as breaking in the new telescope. Since Christmas, there have been more nights with fog, clouds, and precipitation than there have been clear nights, but this past week, I managed to find some clear skies and put in some good time getting acquainted with the new scope.

Last night, I viewed the Moon until the clouds moved in. I went to bed, but could not sleep, and when I got up to get a drink of water, I noticed that the sky was clear and Saturn was visible. So, I took the scope outside and viewed Saturn in my pajamas until the clouds moved in again. (What Saturn was doing in my pajamas, I'll never know!)

An online review of my scope recommends getting a Barlow lens "to give the magnification necessary to view detail on the planets." I'm all for that, so I started shopping around for such a lens.

Celestron has a Barlow lens for $60. I found the very same lens on eBay new for $24. I bought it and with shipping, cost me half its list price!

The lens is being shipped from Pennsylvania, so I hope to have it in a few days, and weather permitting, be able to try it out (and report my findings here).


  1. I forgot to add .. they bought you a better quality , I'm impressed. I have an 8 and 12 inch dobsonian .

  2. [...] I was looking forward to viewing the lunar eclipse with my new telescope last night, but K1GF’s 5 PM  forecast was not promising (an overcast of clouds), so I did not expect to see much. [...]