Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tom's Big Chunky Astro Adventure

I met Tom several months back at the Marina during a Sun Earth Moon Saturday morning program. His interest level was keen and he was actively involved with all I was doing this day with a expressed interest in getting started in astronomy. I meet many folks who share a interest in getting started in astronomy but I tend to never hear from them again. Maybe they forget or get sidetracked (did they get overwhelmed by the SUG?) but this was not the case with Tom. Sure enough several weeks later my phone rings and its Tom asking about my whereabouts and program times along with questions concerning a certain pair of large binoculars he has acquired. Sure enough Tom meets me at my next outing and is totally into it and now has become a regular at my programs just soaking it all in. He also pulls out these beefy binoculars so lets get out the credit card and order a snazzy mount (that can also hold other small telescopes and one that the SUG can barrow from time to time) to get his hobby rolling.

Two weeks later in early July the mount arrives and so does Tom and in my backyard we are like 2 youngsters at play tearing open boxes and thinking about some fun binocular views. My mind is racing thinking about getting Tom trained on his new toy when oh no! Missing mounting post. Here's Tom holding some steroid binoculars with a stoutly built mount and we can not use either. Yes we where sad and heart broken. Tom would be leaving for several weeks the next day so no binocular fun for us till August.

Here we are now with the finished product. Our wait is over and Tom is digging on the Lunar views this evening. Nice gibbous moon details and comfortable viewing from almost any angle. But there is more. Yes this guy has gotten infected with the astro bug and of course I am going to egg it on whenever possible. Over the weeks Tom has kept his eye on my C8 OJ and has expressed a interest in having one. Sure enough I saw one for sale locally and Tom went out and bought it while I was at home still thinking about it and wondering when I could break free to check it out for him!

How can you go wrong with one of these? Yes it is old but in nice condition. Built like Fort Knox, light weight, easy to set up with good optics. So in between binocular views we start to tinker with this black beauty and it will only require minor repair to the altitude adjuster, finder bracket and a fresh mirror alignment. The drives hum along nicely and it is tracking like a champ. Tom already had a power supply and inverter - cool. I quickly make out a minor shopping list to get this scope ready for some fun beginner astronomy and outreach. Yes outreach ! Tom not only has acquired the astronomy infection but also the outreach passion. He has experienced first hand the joy in sharing the universe with others. No Tom is not a seasoned observer and has much to learn but he wants to give out of what he knows now and share what he has acquired. This so cool to watch and be part of this process so expect to see another scope and outreach guy in the pics on this blog. Tom is in no hurry to learn everything or master the sky but I expect his patient and quiet demeanor to be a great assist to a whole other segment of people that the SUG bowls over with his energy, excitement, and observing challenges! Not everyone needs a SUG but some will need a Tom with his binoculars and black C8 to lead them on a simple heavenly viewing quest.

Welcome aboard Tom!


Paulie said...

It's cool that you have found a helper. Having Hillary around takes some of the pressure off of me, especially with kids. The drawback is that she's just learning astronomy, so I do all the talking. Not that I'm all that experienced as an astronomer, but I can certainly do well with a novice crowd.

Big binos rock!

Sidewalk Universe said...

Any help most of the time is good help! Especially if they have the same passion and heart that you have!

Anonymous said...

happy to read~ thank you!............................................................

Johany said...

I think it's great that you're teaching Hillary about astronomy. One day you'll both be able to compete in the Messier Marathon competition! I put my bid on Hillary!!! Heee heee heee! :)

Nice post SUG, like always! Can't wait for some HEOC! Yum!