Saturday, February 4, 2023

Paul Stephen's Journal

Astrophotography and More

Paul’s Notes – Volume IV

Missing Orion and the Return of the Dobsonian

Greetings subscribers and random Internet visitors alike.  The past month and a half, from January and most of February, was defined much as it is every time this year, by the heart of Winter.  Although this season (thus far) has yet to yield either a major snowstorm or treacherous cold (into the -20 degrees Fahrenheit range), outdoor evenings have been inhospitable enough to keep my telescopes and cameras indoors, mostly.

And what I have grown to lament during this annual frigid span is missing out on prime time viewing of my favorite constellation, Orion.  On nights when I do venture outside, briefly, I always look to the South to gauge the hunter’s position, and always do a quick calculation on how many weeks/months I still have until he falls too far West for practical evening viewing.

Thankfully, March and April are generally the last, best opportunities before Orion pushes too close to the Sun.

How much I can take advantage of pending agreeable weather will rest on the state of my healing arm.  And I do say healing, as I have made significant improvements over the past several weeks to regain motion.  No longer do I protect it from common movements (which, as I subsequently learned, likely exacerbated the problem by stiffening the shoulder joint).  I feel like I could almost throw a baseball again, maybe 80% of the way there, which is a huge leap from January, when I guess that motion was 5-10%.  I felt crippled.  Still a lot of work to do, but I see no reason not to resume lifting my Dobsonian, which I very much hope to do at the next available opportunity.

After all, what could possibly go wrong?  I could only drop my Dobsonian tube and watch all my effort and toil from the Fall of 2016 break into who knows how many irrecoverable pieces.  But in all seriousness, I absolutely will be careful and take no reckless actions, for both my sake and that of the scope.

In the Sky, Spring 2022

If you are reading this near the time of publication, late Feburary and early March is a prime stargazing window, with the Moon effectively out of the way.  Enjoy Orion, and Gemini, and Pegasus.  If you have binoculars, look above and try to find the gray smudge that is the galactic core of Andromeda.

See In the Sky for my upcoming astronomy trackers.


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