Friday morning on the way to work, I listened to an Astronomy Cast show on dark skies: areas far from cities where one can still see an amazing number of stars plastered across the sky. My own most amazing dark sky experience occurred on a 1am drive from Roanoke to Bluefield: it happened to be a perfectly clear winter night, and as I looked up through the windshield for a second, I saw more stars in the sky than I’d seen in my entire life. Darn near wrecked the car, I was so transported by the sight.
At any rate, last night on the way home from an errand, I saw a brilliant, clear moon hanging in the sky over the house. Suburban Chesapeake is far too bright for many other stars, but I suddenly decided that this would be the perfect night to assemble and set up my Galileoscope. It went together easily, though I’m not 100% sure I assembled the optional Galilean eyepiece properly. I’ve since found a PDF with more detailed instructions, but the basic setup worked well enough.
As the instructions mentioned, we had to find a tripod: this is no spyglass. But once we got it focused and aimed, the moon was gorgeous. Starr and Celia and Chris and I all took turns looking through the eyepiece – a little tricky because the moon was quite high in the sky – and initial complaints about the setup time vanished. Even this simple observation with a basic ‘scope made the evening memorable as hell. I think that soon we’ll have to find a dark sky and a cool night and set up the Tasco Novice that Starr gave me a couple of years ago. Awesome stuff!
And then we went in the house and played Star Munchkin.