Seize-and-Go Astronomy – SkyNews

February 15, 2019 - Comment

By David A. Rodger Pleasing night-sky classes generally final just a few minutes. When the clouds half will you be prepared? A telescope that requires minimal set-up time is good for benefiting from temporary clear intervals. Courtesy Gary Seronik Late one afternoon, after days of wet climate, I glanced out my south-facing window and observed a


By David A. Rodger

Pleasing night-sky classes generally final just a few minutes.

Seronik-Crescent Moon

When the clouds half will you be prepared? A telescope that requires minimal set-up time is good for benefiting from temporary clear intervals. Courtesy Gary Seronik

Late one afternoon, after days of wet climate, I glanced out my south-facing window and observed a crescent Moon excessive within the sky. It was a welcomed, however surprising sight. Sadly, I wasn’t capable of reap the benefits of this fleeting alternative for some Moon gazing. Right here’s why.

My favorite lunar-and-planetary scope is a Sky-Watcher 150mm Maksutov-Cassegrain. Nevertheless, the Mak has one important draw back: it will probably take an hour or extra to acclimatize when it’s chilly exterior. I knew that by the point I lugged the scope onto my deck, aligned the go-to mount and waited for the optics to regulate to the cool night time air, clouds would roll in and canopy the Moon. Certainly that’s precisely what occurred. I missed what might have been a short however nice session exploring the Moon.

And that wasn’t the one alternative missed. Typically the issues have been logistical. I recall an early morning planetary conjunction that will have meant both getting up at four a.m. to arrange the scope and provides it ample time to chill, or leaving the gear exterior in a single day and run the danger that somebody would possibly stroll away with it.

What to do? The plain reply was to get a telescope that could possibly be used on quick discover—what’s also known as a grab-and-go scope. The best instrument is primary and extremely transportable. It must be prepared for motion right away. A moderate-sized refractor on a easy altazimuth mount appeared like the proper resolution. There’d be no cool-down time required, no optics to collimate, no energy provide to fret about, no have to polar align the mount or find alignment stars—simply seize and observe.

DAR with the grab and go

David Rodger together with his grab-and-go companion, a 120mm refractor on a altazimuth mount.

After reviewing the choices obtainable at my native telescope retailer, I settled on a Sky-Watcher 120mm refractor on an altazimuth mount. Nothing could possibly be easier. Certain, it’s smaller than I’d need for my important scope, however I’ve different choices (together with the aforementioned Mak and a 10-inch Dobsonian) for nights when I’ve the time for an prolonged viewing session. The refractor permits me to reap the benefits of fleeting alternatives when the clouds half and a patch of clear sky presents itself. That’s the place this scope actually shines—it allows me to spend my time observing reasonably than making ready to look at.

What’s your thought of the proper grab-and-go scope? Let me know within the remark part beneath.

David A. Rodger observes the sky from his North Vancouver townhouse. He was the primary Director of Vancouver’s H.R. MacMillan Planetarium, and served in that capability from 1967 to 1980.



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