Wednesday, December 29, 2004

And to think I wanted to be an astronomer

In days gone by, news of a snazzy new comet would have me dragging out my big, heavy telescope (a 10-inch Dobsonian, for those of you who care--the 10 inches referring to the diamater of the primary mirror) even when the thermometer edged down close to zero, even when it meant driving for two hours to reach a dark-sky location and then tamping down a foot of snow to make a stable, level platform for the 'scope.

So just a few minutes ago I was considering trekking to a nice spot with one or both of my boys later this week (when the moon is almost new and the sky is clear--tonight will not be the night) to introduce them to Comet Machholz, which is currently at magnitude 4 (we're talking naked-eye stuff here, even from my suburban neighborhood) and I thought...

Naw. It's been awfully cold here lately. And let me tell you, there's nothing colder than standing out there in the dark, usually on a bare hill (for the widest possible view of the sky), not moving at all except to turn the focus knob or to swap out a lens or to consult a star chart and reposition the 'scope.

Check out this photo. That's about how it will look through my telescope. If I can just work up the nerve to go out in the cold.

Talk me into it, somebody.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

if it is not too it tonight!

Age does indeed change us...wears the sharp edges off of our passions. Makes us comfortable, but yearning. Over time the yearning diminishes and you are left with what you "used to do".

But what a victory to re-kindle a pleasure! (note that you STILL have the telescope...does that say something?) And what a cool thing to share with your kids.

So, you know...just do it. Take some hot chocolate and Baileys.

You can warm up later.