As a boy I had always wanted to learn more about astronomy, and now, as my oldest son started to earn his astronomy belt loop in scouting, I quickly found that I had an excuse to purchase a new toy. So... after diligent scanning of newsgroups and ebay, and a carefully structured discussion with my wife, I found the perfect scope that fit my budget. After a brief phone call and a short trip down the freeway, I was the proud new owner of a "new to me" 10" Odyssey Dobsonian telescope.
Mason and I studied star charts, planned all that we wanted to see and were as excited as two kids on the last day of school. Of course, the skies were as cloud covered as could be for the entire week. Then, as luck would have it, I was up late working on a client’s website and right before I went to bed (or started to) I looked out the window and what did my eyes see? CLEAR SKIES!!!!
So I sprang to my son's room (9yo).. "wake up, wake up" "Wanna see Jupiter?", a groggy groan from his lips sounded like "Sure" to me, or maybe it was "No". Didn't matter... I gave him a nudge and up he came. Down the stairs, outside to the front driveway, we (I) eagerly stepped with Mason and the 10" Odyssey Beast in tow to an awaiting jewel in the sky. Mason sighted in Jupiter on the telrad while I looked through the eyepiece for focusing.
As I stepped aside and let him peer through the 12mm eyepiece, he exclaimed "Wooooaaahhhoowwwww". "You can see the stripes! Wow, Dad and look, Jupiter's moons are all lined up and brighter than a lot of other stars" he said. I smiled and said.. "Awesome, isn't it? Now let me see".
So for the next 20 min, at 2 a.m., in the brisk wind and overbearing street-lit night we swapped gazes at the striped beauty of Jupiter and her pinpoint moons. We shared a memory that I will keep locked in the vault of "Time with my son" for as long as my memory holds.