I love my telescope.
It’s sleek, it’s beautiful and it’s seriously orange. More orange than an orange. More orange than Donald Trump’s tan.
It’s not the most powerful or sophisticated scope on the planet, and I’m sure real astronomy buffs would hurrumph and guffaw at my dewy-eyed love of an 8″ orange Schmidt Cassegrain when I should clearly be using a kick-arse Newtonian or a massive Dob or whatever, but anyway, I love it. It can go anywhere, it’s quick to set up, and as Marie Kondo would say, “it sparks joy”.
Here’s a random list of 5 of my favourite things to look at in the Southern Sky through my beloved Celestron Nexstar 8.
At No. 5…. The Solar System
Somewhat bizarrely, the first thing I ever looked at through the scope was The Sun. Using an appropriate solar filter of course. And even then there wasn’t much of it because the moon happened to be covering a fair portion of it at the time. Speaking of the Moon, well what’s not to like there? Looking through an 8mm eyepiece you feel like you’re hovering about 100 metres above the surface – absolutely fantastic. And of course the moon has a starring role in The Benevolent Troll (…was that a shameless plug right there?) so it has to be a fave. Of the planets, Jupiter and Saturn play the starring roles – with Jupiter you can distinctly see the bands and numerous moons all neatly lined up. And when I first saw the rings of Saturn through my scope I felt the most incredible, smiley, wonderful tingle of outrageous happiness. I mean really how many ringed planets are there in the universe – no idea but surely not THAT many, and here we are with one standing up in our porridge. So yeah, the solar system.
At No. 4… The Orion Nebula
Cloudy and gorgeous, kind of like a crafty hipster beer. Of course you don’t get the awesome colour shown below when you’re looking through the scope, but hey-ho, still amazing, especially when you remember that cloudy effect is actually caused by a gazillion stars being born. Goes well with a crafty hipster beer.
At No. 3…The Jewel Box
Nothing to see, nothing to see, nothing to see… then BANG! Lots of bright stars all clumped together rool pretty like. Great when you find it – not that I found it exactly, because if I HAD, I wouldn’t have named it the rather obvious “Jewel Box”. I would have called it Andrew.
At No. 2… The Sculptor Galaxy
Can’t see it quite as large as shown below, but you can definitely see the side on spiral shape, which makes it look, quite frankly, like a galaxy SHOULD damn well look.
And finally, my No. 1 all time favourite sky object is …
Could have done better on the name you stupid star namers. But anyway look at it – it’s absolutely friggin’ beautiful. It makes you feel so infinitesimally insignificant yet at the same time like you’re captaining the Enterprise just hitting warp speed – you can’t say that about too many things in my experience. Like a banana – you can’t say that about a banana. That’s why 47 Tucanae gets the chocolates.
So there you go… find someone with a scope, get out there and as they say in astronomy world, clear skies!