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How I Got the Bug
How I Got the Bug

I'll never forget when that box landed at my door step. Inside it was my brand new Orion Observer 70mm EQ Refractor Telescope. I instantly stopped what I was doing and put it together.

Unfortunately, it was still light outside (I didn't yet have a solar filter) so I had to calm my anticipation a little bit and wait until dark. Having never owned a telescope before, I was very excited. Being limited to some south, and a clear view of the west and north from the deck of my apartment, the first thing I looked at (of course) was the Moon. With the 25mm eyepiece installed, the first thing I said to myself was "Holy Cow." I was absolutely blown away by the stark beauty of what I was looking at! Razor sharp images of the slightly less than half Moon at 28 x magnification. The craters (with their shadows crossing them) looked completely otherworldly. I had my girlfriend take a look and she was like "Wow!"

Next, when it came into view in the southeast, on to what I had thought was Mars. This brilliant star-like object in the sky, to my great surprise, was actually Jupiter with 4 of its Moons in plain sight! Seeing the bands on the planet just blew me away with the 10mm eyepiece at 70x magnification!

It was around 3 a.m. when I finally went back inside, having been viewing our largest planet with awe for several hours. I just happened to look out an eastward-facing window of my apartment (no access to the ground on the east) and there was another brilliant white dot in the sky. So I set up the telescope in the bathroom having taken the screen off the window (yeah, yeah, I know you are not supposed to normally view from the inside because of the temperature differential and the distorting waves it causes, but I had no choice, I just HAD to take a peak anyway!) I honed in on this object and, low-and-behold it was Venus! I could just imagine where the sun was under the horizon because of the shadow on the planet. It was blueish/greenish Venus in 3/4 light. Absolutely beautiful!

I just moved up to the Orion 90mm F/10.1 Refractor and, as a novice (maybe now intermediate) stargazer, I can't wait till some of the other planets make themselves available in the night sky from my latitude! The ones I can see now are even bigger and brighter than before! I'm currently working on finding some of the Nebulas and Galaxies with the Starry Night software that came along with the telescope, so it looks like I'm going to have many more post-3 a.m. bedtimes ahead of me!!! I have the "bug." All for the better of mankind!

Date Taken: 06/15/2011
Author: Jeff P
Category: Orion's Astronomy Essay Contest (2009)

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