I have two amateur scopes:

  • Orion 12.5″ Deep Space Explorer. It’s a Dobsonian mount reflector with a focal length of 1511 mm and motorized focuser. Great views.
  • Meade 8″ LX (the original model in the LX series). It has an equatorial wedge and RA clock drive. I found it at an auction for next to nothing and got what I paid for; the secondary mirror was completely shot. A small company in Revere, MA, re-surfaced the mirror for me and now it’s as good as new.

I’ve been sitting in on a class at MIT for fun [!]: Hands on Astronomy, which is an introductory class for using scopes and CCDs. It’s whetted my appetite for astro-imaging and so guess what I’m hoping for next Christmas? MIT has it’s own observatory near Westford, MA called Wallace. It has two domes and a shed with various scopes upto 24″. If only it was closer to home…


Astronomy, Sky and Telescope

Telescope manufacturers

Orion, Discovery, Celestron, Meade

Astronomy sites

Excelsis – equipment reviews, Princeton Astronomy Club

Viewing conditions and weather forecasts (for Princeton):

Wunderground weather, National Weather Service forecast, The Weather Channel

Cloud Cover:
Overcast 90% covered 80% covered 70% covered 60% covered 50% covered 40% covered 30% covered 20% covered 10% covered Clear
Poor Below Average Average Above average Transparent
Bad 1/5 Poor 2/5 Average 3/5 Good 4/5 Excellent 5/5
-4 -3 -2 -1 0 1.0 2.0 3.0 3.5 4.0 4.5 5.0 5.2 5.4 5.6 5.8 6.0
Storm Strong Moderate Light to Moderate Light Calm
<29% 30% to 35% 35% to 40% 40% to 45% 45% to 50% 50% to 55% 55% to 60% 60% to 70% 65% to 70% 70% to 75% 75% to 80% 80% to 85% 85% to 90% 90% to 95% 95% to 100%
< -35C -35C to -30C -30C to -25C -25C to -20C -20C to -15C -15C to -10C -10C to -5C -5C to 0C 0C to 5C 5C to 10C 10C to 15C 15C to 20C 20C to 25C 25C to 30C 30C to 35C 35C to 40C > 40C

~ by Alistair on February 27, 2006.

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