My Astronomy Story:
Well I was bitten by the astronomy bug in 1986 when Halley's comet was big news. I bought a $50.00 refractor (glass
lens) telescope at a department store hoping to see the comet of a lifetime. This telescope was the shakiest piece of junk, but I did manage to see Halley's comet. It looked like a fuzzy cotton ball that was
surrounded by stars. But then I started playing around and pointed it at the planets. I could see the cloud bands on Jupiter, and the rings of Saturn. Even though I had a poor image, I could still tell that
they were planets.
Then I picked up The Field Guide to the Stars and Planets, a book on astronomy at the bookstore. It was packed full of photos, star charts, loads of information, and last but not least
telescope makers. Real telescopes, not department store junk. It listed telescopes that had mirrors, great for looking at objects like galaxies and nebulas. The reflector style telescope with a ten
inch diameter mirror was under $300.00. I thought if I get bored with this I'm not out thousands of dollars. So I went for it and I still have it today. Now after twenty years and spending lots of
money. I have three telescopes (Yeah, just three with a wish list of more), more accessories than I can play with at one time. Most of all, I have spent hundreds of hours looking at and imaging the night
sky, all because of one comet and one book.
With computers and CCD digital imaging for astronomy dropping in price. Highly detailed digital images can be obtained with a telescope by amateur astronomers
today. So I made the jump to CCD astronomy and now have the capability to image galaxies million of light years away. This is a great time for astronomy. I have shared my telescopes and knowledge of
the sky with thousands of people for eight years up on Palomar Mountain, California. As part of a United States Forest Service program called Explore the Stars
, amateur astronomers like myself setup our telescopes and share the wonders of the night sky with campers and visitors. I spend most of the time imaging from my driveway now. But having friends and family over on a clear dark night is still a treat for me. This brings the fun of looking through the eyepiece and brushing up on my starparty skills. An Astronomy theme for a web page can be a great way to share your hobby and hopefully create more interest in the hobby of amateur astronomy .