Kevin's 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 Perterson Field Guide to the Stars and Planets, a book on astronomy at the bookstore (when you really went to a 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 Newtonian 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 many telescopes (Yeah, just many 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.
Since 2003 I've
spent most of the time imaging from our driveway. As of 2019 we sold our home in California and are currently exploring New Mexico and the rest of the country in out 5th wheel recreational vehicle, I have
one science telescope and one solar telsescope. All of the other equipment was put in storage until we find our next dream property under dark skies. But having friends and family over on a clear dark night
has always been a treat for us Now we can do this on the road all over the country. This brings the fun of looking through the eyepiece, brushing up on our starparty skills and meeting new people
again. 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.