Since I was child I had always been fascinating by the stars and planets. From a young age I learned how to distinguish between a planet and star through "Bill Nye The Science Guy" television program. At one point, my mother decided to buy me a Celestron refractor telescope that cost her quite a bit but she felt like I deserved it. Unfortunately I was too young to take care of such an expensive gift and I ended up damaging it.
Years later, more mature and wise I looked back and felt bad for having "destroyed" my first telescope and had a urge to have it again. So I setup a "Telescope Piggy Bank" and started collecting money while at the same time researching all the different types of telescopes and their advantages/disadvantages. At the same time, I fell in love with a girl, Sara, whom I had been friends with for a while. I knew that she too loved the skies, stars and planets.
Sara, now my girlfriend, decided to visit me during Christmas break of 2010. I live in Gainesville, FL and she lives in Miami, FL. It's a total of 5.5 hours apart and we only get to see each other once a month. I knew about the Lunar Eclipse that would fall on December 21, 2010. Having saved up enough money, I went to www.telescope.com and ordered my new StarBlast 4.5 telescope.
My plan was to have her spend time with me and surprise her with a stargazing night for the two of us. Turns out, all my friends were also impressed by my new telescope that instead of a "romantic" night with my girlfriend only, it ended up being a bonfire night between all of my closest friend and my love. That night we had a blast! We got to see the moon like never before and looked at stars and even saw Saturn and Jupiter with it's moons! All my friends were astonished at how close up to the moon we could get. Saturn was visible to a certain extent. I didn't have extra eyepieces but with what I did have, we could see the rings on Saturn.
My, or should I say OUR stargazing night was a memorable one. I kept the StarBlast for another week and returned it. Not to worry though, I returned it and replaced it with an Orion SkyQuest XT8! I couldn't help myself. We got some much out of the StarBlast that I thought I?d spend the extra money for almost 2x the power. We haven't gone out as a group again for stargazing but everybody keeps asking me when and where it?s going to happen. I keep saying hopefully soon.
I still owe my girlfriend a special night. I am planning it and this time for sure it will happen just between the two of us.
That is my stargazing night story. All the photos taken were using my iPhone 4! I hope you enjoy.