The moon

I took the new telescope into the backyard just now. It wasn’t 100% dark, but it was dark enough. I still need to learn how to work it properly, align it correctly, etc. But I pointed it at the half-moon or so that was up there and even with the low-power lens, all I could say was, “Oh my god!” What rich detail. You could see the shadows in the craters, the razor-thin sharpness of the terminator line. It was amazing!

I also pointed it at a bright star in the southern sky (I used to know all of this stuff when I was 7 years old; it will take some time to catch up again). I thought it might have been a planet, but it was, in fact a star. I brilliant white point of light. It’s a little cool out and I didn’t want to stay out too long. I also noted Orion to the southwest, and was tempted to point the telescope at the double-star in the center of the belt: Mizar and Alcor. I can remember as a 7-year old, discovering these two stars with my Dad. I think that was the first time I’d ever seen a “double” star system.

I can tell I’m going to have a lot of fun with this. Eventually, I’ll have to catch up on general astronomy. While I do keep up with SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, most of my astronomy education came from reading The Nine Planets over and over again when I was in 1st grade. The rest of it came from Isaac Asimov’s F&SF science essay collections. I can’t wait to dig into it again!


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