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Budget Astronomer Blog

Way too much fun
So, after a month of brutal clouds, I get a few clear nights in a row to run th enew scope throught it’s paces. I am really enjoying the sharp, contrasty image this little scope throws. I was able to easily resolve the four main trapezium stars - at 23x! when boosted to 140x I [...]
In my last post I mentioned, ever so subtly, that I had a want-on for the WO Anniversary scope. Well, as luck would have it, one came up for sale in time for an early christmas present! Woohoo!  Since I name all my scopes, I think I will call this one Ruby, for obvious reasons (though my family wanted [...]
The end of an era
It has been a while since I have posted on this blog, and much has changed - apart from yesterday’s US election. I have installed an HEQ5 mount in the POD, and have the C8 mounted on that, allowing for computer control, go-to and autoguiding. In the city, the trees are growing up around my [...]
Some nights are better than others?
… and Friday was one of those nights! I got up to my dark sky site near Meaford for the first time since labour day, and the sky was clear and dark, and the waning crescent moon stayed out of sight. On the “how dark was it” scale, it was dark enough that M33 was [...]
Comet Holmes keeps up the show
To those unacustomed to the wonders of astronomy, it is a little speck of light. But this comet is really remarkable, and has the amateur astronopmy community abuzz. The puff of gas and dust is spreading out rapidly, so the appearance is changing nightly, if not hourly. Some have reported rapid fluctuations in the light from [...]
17p/Holmes - the Holy Crap! comet
  Comet 17p/Holmes was an unassuming, minor short period comet until a few days ago. At magnitude 17 it was invisible even in large amateur scopes. This comet has an orbit that brings it no closer to the sun than Mars, and no farther than Jupiter. Although discovered in 1891, it was lost in 1906, and not [...]
Google Sky hits the streets
Adding to its popular Google Earth, the search engine and software giant has turned its gaze skyward with Google Sky. Accessed from within the Google Earth desktop application, Sky allows users to peruse the night sky, identify stars, constellations, and a variety of deep sky objects. An information bubble pops up when you mouse over any [...]
DSI - Get ?em while they?re hot
The Meade DSI was introduced a few years back, and brought affordable, long exposure prime focus CCD imaging to the masses. Available in colour or monochrome, they had an immediate impact on the amateur astrophotography community. Well, the DSI is being replaced with the DSI-II, and the old stock is being dumped at prices well below [...]
Yesterday the weather was sketchy, but I dragged my wooden tripod (the “tristipes”) into the POD, levelled it, and mounted the 10″ Ray Thompson Telescope. It was nice to know that I could just leave it there, set up, protected by my POD. Tonight was the first clear night in the POD. As soon as it [...]
POD Day!
At last, after over a year since first hearing about it, I took possession of my own Skyshed POD. My friend Pete was here with his pickup, so we drove 35 minutes to Shallow Lake to pick up the grey and white XL3 from SPI. We made a second trip to pick up a second [...]

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