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First Night With My New Eyepiece
First Night With My New Eyepiece

I did not start getting really enthusiastic about astronomy until I was in my late 40's. Until then, I never had or ever really made the time for astronomy. I could find a few constellations, but that was about it. After I retired from the Army, both of my daughters gave me a pair of 10 x 50 binoculars for Christmas one year so that I could watch wild life from the deck of our new home.

I was watching some deer late one evening and I noticed a few stars that were already out and I trained my binoculars towards the stars. I was hooked. I started reading everything I could get my hands on. I began having star watching vigils into the wee hours of the mornings that next Spring, Summer and Winter. I even set up a tripod so that I could steady my view.

My wife surprised me with an 8" Orion Dobsonian Star Quest for my birthday in January. I was thrilled. I had several very interesting initial astronomy experiences. I got to see a full lunar eclipse one very, very frigid February evening. That same evening, I saw the rings of Saturn for the first time and I also got to see the Orion Nebula in all its glory. But... I knew that I needed more optic power than currently had. My lenses were okay, but I "needed" more.

I decided that I had to have a 9mm Nagler lens and a 2X Barlow. I found what I wanted on Astromart. When my package arrived, I could not wait to check something, check anything, out.

The moon was waxing towards full that evening, so I got out a Moon Filter and put in my 9mm Nagler Type 1. I had been warned about experiencing a fuller Field of View and more clarity with the Nagler, but I was not fully prepared for the shock that I received. Holy Cow, the Moon was absolutely gorgeous. I could not believe what I was seeing. I could actually see the boulders on the moon's surface and the details of the craters and mares. It was fantastic. Then, I jumped to the 7 Sisters and the Orion Nebula and I was absolutely blown away. This was fantastic. I could not believe the color and the contrast. Then, I decided to put on my 2X Barlow. Oh My Gosh! Now, I could see not just the boulders, but the small rocks. The Seven Sisters and the Orion Nebula were incredible. I was using a great lens and a Barlow in combination together and it was a picture perfect night.

I also got to have the wonderful experience of seeing the Beehive Cluster at about 300X power with my friend's 16" Dob, but nothing can compare to that first night of using my new 9mm Nagler Type 1 and a 2X Barlow. I will never forget it. It keeps me coming back and looking for more and more.

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

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