Following universal laws and models I should have grown interested into mopeds and engines at some pre-teen and teen stages. I got small experience with mopeds and karting car but it never really took off. Perhaps it was because I never really was part of any bunch revving around. Instead one day I received a boy’s magazine with cover gizmo packed within; it was a small table telescope, a cardboard and plastic refractor. Once assembled, it looked kind of humorous but surprisingly you could focus it into the brightest stars.
At least it followed the Galileo line so I could see four Jovian moons. Nevertheless, on cloudy days I started to gaze to horizons in hope of any yellowish line pointing bright skies my way. Up in north midsummer meant no observations but lots of astronomy literature. Later I ordered a more sturdy little refractor from a company that mostly sold workout stuff so I started to receive Arnold Schwarzenegger workout spam for years; kinda huge irony for a stargazing ‘semi-nerd’. Then in high school I used summer job money to get a larger Newton-type reflector, though the greatest zeal was gone and after few -30 centigrade sessions it ended into storage. Then into another and another and it’s still with me, used now and then.
Actually I started a new project, starting with a DSLR camera with which I took photos of the skies without tracking. This late summer I purchased first a tracking mount so I could follow celestial targets gathering as much target light as possible. And just little later a new reflector, which accepts camera attachment. It is a dangerous hobby as any for bank balance: I thought the shopping spree should be at end but I’m still missing, say, camera filters and a power tank so I don’t have to hang around with weak standard batteries. And what’s after them? Better close the wallet for a while; there is enough stuff up there for photoshooting without having to build a whole observatory. Moreover, Finland is NOT the country with most clear skies around the year. Actually, local pros and amateurs have estimated those clear and moonless(unless you’re moon fan) winter nights ending up to some ten or less!
But last weeks I have been enjoying any cracks on fall weather, in backyard and endeavouring to pack my stuff into car and driving to countryside to spend a few hours sitting in the cold and clicking camera’s remote control to take tens of images of single targets, sipping that rapidly freezing coffee from thermos now and then and listening funny noises of nocturnal fauna; until condensed moisture hits the lenses; that’s one of the nasty parts which of course have commercial or DIY solutions.
The nice part is that you don’t just shoot and leave it after admiring the results. Thanks to digital revolution in cameras you have to edit images photoshop style, using both software devoted to astronomical photography and ordinary photo editing programs. That’s ‘legal’ as you are only adjusting the values to get everything out that is really in the image, not adding your own if you intend to keep it real.
So, to return to the beginning, us teenager proto men go revving early, and then, in our fifties we MUST have that sporty vehicle. No, I returned to ‘stellar’ stage and I’m glad of it. Or then I get a hangover and see at the heap of optical junk, throwing it into the storage.