This past Sunday found me on cold recovery/prevent defense against further infection mode. Folks around me have been dropping like flies with this stuff and I did not want to make mine worse or spread the cheer to another. So with a need for some astronomy some Solar fun on the patio seemed about right. Yes sunlight on my face and some narrow red band in my eye will perk the guy up! But I almost did not make it to this private therapy observe.....
I am grateful for the astro gear I have and use it all. Nothing ultra hi tech or super fancy. But I have have a disturbing problem with my gear and that is what I call "Nick & Ding Astronomy".
I like most in our hobby value what I own and have a sense of pride of ownership. It is always fun to go to astro events and see all the bing and better to look through the bing! One thing that has always amazed me is just how pristine everyone else's gear looks; hence my problem.
No matter how hard I try, plan, think ahead, exercise care etc my stuff is gonna get some battle scars! Here are some examples:
My AstroTec Alt/Az recently took up diving! Yes diving off the shelf head first with a half twist! OK this is not a premium setup but its mine and I love it. So now it has a dandy scar on the head to with all the other nicks it has received since joining my household! Oh yea the altitude movement is a little stiffer since the fall......
Oh this really frosted my cake. Yes even 60mmLunt could not escape trouble! I handled this scope like a new born when it arrived and waited patiently for all the other pieces to show up due to holiday shipping snafus.
Please note that the dovetail bar needs 3 washers to properly seat the scopes mounting clamshell....no one told me this so Lunt received a nice series of dings and scratches against its nice pearl like finish. Imagine "feeling the tube scratch" as you rotate it! I was heartbroken........for days. There's more the very same day! Oh CR150 had a date too with my clumsiness. To make the story short this beloved scope has had its battles getting dinged in transport, knocked over by a drunk at a paid star party which broke the original focuser. But today while trying to forget about the above mistake with the Lunt a wrench fell out of my hand onto the scopes tube and produced a wonderful nick down to the base metal. This along with more scratches produced by my not having the rings seated properly! I amaze myself some days.....but there's more!
AT106 Le is not a premium Apo scope. But it is my Apo scope well loved and used. On it's first outing in my garage it recieved the nicks you see on the retractable dew shield; all because I did not have the altitude tension tight enough. Yes I learned that a 4" 3 unit lens set is heavy! Oh there were scratches too on the tube from the tube rings being out of alignment!
Here's some more. The AT ALT/AZ 's tray has been bent 3 times; once in the "dive" once in the car, and the nicking of AT106 LE !
My observing chair is very battle scared! One heavy weight guy bent the seat supports in the back just by sitting on it........so now my bottom is sideways when I sit!
Here's my latest incident that almost kept me from my therapy Solar observe. This really nice sun shield from ScopeStuff did a fall off the shelf as I was reaching for other items! It's nice enamel finish dinged down to the metal.
Speechless.......but the sky is clearing and SOHO/SDO are showing great Solar activity so I suck it up and press forward.
Oh this eyepiece a few months back had a "tumble" and now sees paint flakes across the field of view which mimic sunspots or UFO's coursing across the moon! Fun to fake out people on outreaches.....
Time and space will not allow me to tell you about the dings & nicks with my dobs!