Chelyabinsk Russia gets visited by Meteorite

By now most people know about the meteorite that entered the earth’s atmosphere yesterday Friday February 15th. This was on the same day that 2012 DA14 was to pass within the earth’s geosynchronous ring some 17,200 miles above the earth’s surface. Though totally unrelated they both have created quite a buzz in the news with the Chelyabinsk Meteor probably edging out 2012 DA14 in popularity. If you are like me you want to see as much video of the meteor as you can. Well, since Russian motorists have more than enough dashcams attached to their vehicles we have plenty of video to go around.

Here is a list a list of websites with lots of video and discussion:

http://say26.com

http://asterisk.apod.com

YouTube Video of Russian Meteor

Advertisements

Seeing In The Dark

Pretty cool title for a film if you ask me. I came across a preview of this film directed by Timothy Ferris today while searching the web for other astronomical data. It looks very good and the thoughts and opinions in the preview pretty much sum up my feelings for astronomy. Check it out!

Since the documentary was made for PBS they have a really neat minisite for the film as well. The site has a lot of useful information for anyone getting into amature astronomy like videos hosted by the film director Timothy Ferris. You can check it out here: Seeing In The Dark Website

My First Telescope

Picking my first telescope was not an easy task. What kinds of telescopes are there? What are their differences? What brands are the best? What can I get in my price range? What do I need to know that I don’t know I need to know? Where do I even go to buy a telescope? Ahhhhhhhhhh!

I don’t know about you but when I am about to embark on something new I want to know everything there is to know about it. I want to make sure I am informed as much as possible so that can make the best decisions and I will research, and research, and research every night until I feel like I have a competent understanding of the subject. Through my research I came across many sites that I would deem helpful to anyone interested in buying a first telescope. A few I would recommend are: How to Select Your First Telescope, and How to Choose a Telescope, and What to Know Before You Buy, as well as How to Choose a Telescope for Beginners. These articles do a nice job getting you up to speed.

Once I had an understanding I set out to see what all was available and for how much. I didn’t really know how much I wanted to spend or was going to have to spend; but I soon found out. Lesson #1: This hobby is expensive. Sure, you can spend little but your going to get little and see little. Who wants to spend time and money only to not be able to see very much and not see it very well? Not me. When it comes to the enjoyment of this hobby investing in good equipment is paramount but it doesn’t have to break the bank.

For my first “scope” I just wanted something that would give me good views of the moon, most of the planets, and some galaxies and nebula. I settled on one that would do a good job with all of those. But, before I tell you which one I landed on let me say this. Please, please, please read all the comments and reviews you can find on a variety of telescopes before you make your purchase. I don’t care how awesome the manufacturer’s description sounds nothing beats first hand accounts and an actual owner’s opinion.

Celstron 130 EQSo what did I end up buying? A Celestron AstroMaster 130 EQ Telescope. Here it is in my living room just after I finished the assembly. I ended up buying it over at Telescopes.com and it was a very good buying experience.

Now, this is not a top of the line scope nor is it bottom of the barrel. But it is a great little beginner scope. A 5″ one to be exact. It received great reviews but does have its drawbacks. I will save my own review for after I have used it more and looked at several objects. Go take a look at it. I have used it a little and right now I am impressed.

Clear Skies!

By mbruss33

In the Beginning

From the time I was a little boy I can remember spending many nights laying on our trampoline staring into the night sky. I would look in amazement at how many different looking “things” there was to be seen. With each moment that passed more and more objects would appear that weren’t there to begin with (or didn’t seem to be) until the entire sky was covered in a display so magnificant that I would lay there for hours on end. I had no clue what I was looking at but it intrigued me nonetheless, and to this day, more times than not, I find myself looking upwards whenever I step outside in the evenings to either take out the trash or go for a run.

It wasn’t until I was in high school (1997 to be exact) that I got a taste of what I was really looking at all those years before. My Physics teacher had our class out to his house for us to look through telescopes. Now, I came from a class full of jocks (me being one of them) and none of them where very interested and most of them didn’t even show up. But me, I was secretly anticipating this evening more than the kick-off at one of our football games. I didn’t quite know what to expect but I was interested in finding out.

Finally the night came and we made our way outside our small city to my teachers house where awaiting us were 3 telescopes of different sizes. Two were on tripods and one was sitting on a small table and was much smaller than the other two. One telescope belonged to our teacher and the other two belonged to students in my class. They would line there telescopes up with an object and we would take turns looking through the lens and discussing what we saw. What I saw through those lenses blew me away! I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I had no idea that what I was looking at as a little boy and appeared to be nothing more than a pin dot of light looked so amazing through the lens of a telescope. The Horsehead Nebula, the storm on Jupiter, the rings of Saturn. Needless to say, I WAS HOOKED!

Since that night I have never looked at the heavens above the same. Remembering what I saw and knowing how much more there was to explore and that feeling, that need to see it for myself has never left me, just ask my wife :). For the last 6-7 years of our marriage when she would ask me what I wanted or needed for my birthday or Christmas I would simply answer, a telescope. She would roll her eyes and say, “A telescope! Why do you want a telescope? You don’t Neeeeeed a telescope. I’m not buying you a telescope.” That’s fine I thought. Now, I pull down some decent chedder and I could go buy me a telescope at any time but I wanted her to buy it for me. And finally, this year, 7 years of saying the same thing each time she asked. I got, you guessed it, a telescope. But, I took it back and ordered me one a little better. (she was ok with it)

So, here I am with a telescope and a blog and not really knowing what to do with either one of them. I started this blog to share my experiences of learning about telescopes, and becoming an amature astronomer. I hope to use this medium to learn from those of you out there that know what they are talking about and maybe someone out there like me, who is starting out, can learn something from this blog.

Here’s to many clear nights.