The next day I was browsing at one of the vendor tents (www.all-startelescope.com) and I picked up Terence Dickinson's Book: Nightwatch; A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe. Then, as I leafed through my new book, gleefully enjoying the untouched, glossy pages, I glanced up and saw it. It was sitting in the sun, sparkly and tall and dark. Simon was viewing the sun through another scope as I walked by him to see the object of my desire. It was an 8 inch Dobsonian Sky Watcher. A recent model that collapses for ease of transport, it had been traded in by its original owner who wanted something smaller. The mirror was pristine in spite of its used status and Evil Scientist had a moment of disbelief when I asked if he would mind if we gave it a home.
That night I continued my photography and started to learn how to star-hop in order to find a particular object. The only one I really managed on my own was the “Double Double” double star in Lyra. Evil Scientist helped with the rest. My last viewing was of Jupiter which I found on my own and Evil Scientist focused for me. For a radio guy he's still good with the optical scopes.
I packed it in early again but not before taking a few more photos.
Evil Scientist checks his work
The “cloudiness” in the left of the picture is the Milky Way arching over the sky. The “red light district” takes on new meaning at a star party. White lights destroys night vision so all flashlights and headlamps are required to be red. If you break that rule, you'll know. Anything but red is not tolerated and even the most mild-mannered astronomer will become enraged should they catch a glimpse of bright white light in the minute of the night. Our trailer also has red gels on the lights which create a devilish glow. The squiggly light is another party go-er passing by with a flashlight in hand.
A nice view of how many stars are visible to the naked eye in the dark sky area.
Evil Scientist's scope at work.