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FirstScope – Review August 28, 2009

Posted by Treehopper in astronomy, review.
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The Celestron FirstScope proves that cheap doesn’t necessarily mean “cheap.”

With 2009 being the International Astronomical Union’s “International Year of the Telescope” (commemorating the 400th anniversary of Galileo Galilei’s first attempts at turning the newly discovered telescope toward the heavens), the astronomy community has been all abuzz over various products and projects that bear the official “stamp” of the event.  One of these products is the FirstScope, produced and distributed by Celestron.   When it originally rolled out, it was priced at a modest $50 or thereabouts.  Not horrible as telescopes go, but enough to keep budget-minded fence-sitters like me at bay.

Then, the e-mail arrived.



Ode to the Small Scope August 23, 2009

Posted by Treehopper in astronomy, equipment, opinion.
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Maybe I’m just a sucker for the underdog.  Maybe I’ve never quite gotten over that tendency to be an underachiever.  Or maybe it’s just the allure of not using the biggest and best equipment and still enjoying my astronomy habit.  But I’m usually in the vocal minority of folks who routinely defend and champion the smaller aperture telescopes.

I’ve seen it happen time and time again.  A neophyte would-be astronomer comes asking one of the very first questions a newbie always asks when in the company of more learned folk.  “How do I select a new telescope?”  And it seems as though as sure as night follows day the majority will rise up chanting the near-universal mantra, “Aperture is king!  Buy the biggest thing you can afford!”  And more often than not, what they mean by this is, “Get a Dobsonian reflector!  Dobs rule!  I wouldn’t let my ugliest, smelliest dog sit on anything less than a 8-inch Dob!”

“I remind myself that the likes of Galileo, Newton, or Messier didn’t have even an 8″ Dob to accomplish the deeds for which they are so highly regarded and fondly remembered these centuries hence”

Galileo must have left his 12 Dob at home...

Galileo must have left his 12" Dob at home...


The Basics August 3, 2009

Posted by Treehopper in opinion.
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In the interest of full disclosure, I suppose I should make a few declarations up front.

First off, I’m not a professional anything. I’m not a scientist. Nor am I a theologian. I have great respect for both science and theology, and consider myself a student of both. But I don’t have a vocational vested interest in one position or the other.


Welcome to Faint Fuzzy! August 2, 2009

Posted by Treehopper in astronomy, catholic, general, opinion.
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Welcome to Faint Fuzzy.  It’s my little corner of the interwebz where I can ponder a few of my favorite things: science (namely astronomy), religion (namely Catholic Christianity) and why I feel the two aren’t mutually exclusive.

The articles here will represent my particular view on things.  I don’t claim to be unique.  I certainly don’t claim to be incredibly smart or gifted.  I won’t even claim to be right about certain things.  Most of what will be found here will be “thoughts in process” or perhaps slightly more advanced ruminations.  I’ll try to be “fair and balanced”, but I’ll never claim to be unbiased (and never trust anyone who says they are!)  While I have no problem with differing opinions, I can and will wield editorial control over the content here (meaning I will edit or delete comments at my discretion.)

For those unfamiliar with the term, a “faint fuzzy” is a euphemism used by some in the astronomy community to refer to Deep Sky Objects (or DSO’s).  These objects (and there are a lot of them) often appear as dim smudges in a small telescope.  I thought the name was appropriate because I often feel as I’m trying to frame a position on a topic, it’s as unfocused and indistinct as some of these far away celestial doo-dads.  Sooner or later, I hope to articulate some of these faint and fuzzy concepts into something more tangible. Just bear with me.

Speaking of bearing with me, I’m somewhat new to this whole blog thing as well.  I manage a couple of online game-related blogs which use the WordPress “engine”, so it’s somewhat familiar.  But it’ll take me a while to figure out all the in’s-and-out’s, gadgets, widgets, and deely-bobs I have at my disposal.  So this is very much under construction for now.

Let me know what you think.