Welcome to Doubleglaze's Online Astronomy Journal.
I'll be using this site to record my observations and progress as I enjoy visual and photographic backyard astronomy.
I started out, as many did, with a 2 inch Sears refractor somewhere around 1971 or 72. Ever the experimenter, I discovered angular momentum when I found that I could spin the focus knobs off at high speed by crashing the focuser inwards with great force. Messed up the gears pretty well, but a couple of years later I became a scope tinkerer when I bought a new focuser and fixed it. Used this scope for a couple of years and had great excitement when I first saw Saturn's rings and the phases of Venus.
My next scope came in around 1982 or 83 when I got a 4 inch Bausch and Lomb Criterion 4000. This small Schmidt Cassegrain traveled with me all over the country and still sits in my garage, having done good duty as my first real scope but is surpassed now by my other gear. The views I had with the 4000 were very exciting, first to be able to find the target at all and second to get my first views of bright DSOs. The finder on the scope is pretty much unusable so I had to learn to star hop around to find targets, which in the end taught me how to navigate through the night sky. I used this scope until the early 1990s and had many cold nights twisting my neck around trying to get the scope pointed to the right spot.
My interest in astronomy waned when I moved to Seattle and then San Jose, being barely able to see the moon at night from these locations and not having time to get out of town put a damper on my interest. I used the 4000 a couple of times throughout the 1990s and 2000s but nights were few and far between. Over time I became a "Scientific American" type of amateur - interested in reading about science, but not really doing it.
In 2008 a buddy of mine asked if I could help him pick out a scope to satisfy a life long desire to view the night sky so I went along on a trip to Sean's shop. As soon as I saw the gear lined up my life long interest got rekindled. I had come full circle with my hobby, all the way from carefully redrawing star charts as a kid, to loosing my interest when life and light pollution got in the way, and back to having a great interest (and a better budget) to really get serious about viewing the night sky. I picked up a Vixen scope and mount and from my first night out the scope knocked my socks off, targets I had seen poorly at best were bright and full of detail. I always had some measure of fun trying to star hop around the sky but being able to GoTo an object is a great luxury.
My current interests are about 70% imaging and 30% visual - I get a tremendous kick out of taking a satisfying astro-image but I haven't lost the desire to just look at the sky.
I've been keeping some images at Astrophoto Gallery:
I'd say imaging under the night sky is my top interest, followed by visual work. I also like taking photos of wildlife and nature, gardening, and hiking around.
Over time I'm going to get into photometry and spectroscopy - when I was an undergraduate at Stony Brook I had a chance to mess around in their observatory and since then I've always wanted to try and collect real data form my back yard. Never had the ways and means but over time I'm going to take a shot at it.
Favorite Sky Object
I've always liked the Double Cluster in Perseus. I "discovered it" a long time ago in binoculars and have been attached ever since.
Experience: 10+ Years
Astrophotography: Yes, I do take pictures through my telescope
Where I live
Comments about where I live
It doesn't rain here all the time, just all the time between October and May!