From Here To Kolob



The Astronomers Dream (1898) Georges Méliès





Most of us have no idea the vast panorama of lights that dot a clear night sky when there are no city lights to interfere with the view. Sure we all love the enhanced experience of studying the sky using binoculars and various sizes and powers of telescopes. But I bet you can remember as a child that very first time you saw the fully displayed clear night sky with all the amazing constellations, meters and comets moving about and an exposure of dots of light far to numerous to ever count. 

The three primary types of telescopes that the amateur astronomer might buy are the Refractor, the Reflector and the Schmidt Cassegrain telescope. The first two are named for the kind of lens that is used. It is pretty easy to see that the lens is the heart of the telescope so the kind that you will use will determine the success of your use of that telescope. 

The focuser has to be stable and in good repair for you to have an image you can rely on. - Mount and Wedge. Both of these terms refer to the tripod your telescope sits on. The mount is the actual tripod and the wedge is the device that lets you attach the telescope to the mount. The mount and the wedge are there to assist you with a superior viewing session and to keep your expensive telescope safe from a fall. 

In 1993 a new lens was installed on the Hubble which corrected the problem of picture resolution that was noted in the early operation of the telescope. It is hard to imagine the science of astronomy or the natural quest for greater knowledge of our universe without the Hubble. While many times those who would not fund space exploration have tried to cut funding for the Hubble, the operation of this telescope is just too important to astronomers and to the scientific well being of mankind and our planet not to continue to use the Hubble, or its next natural successor. 

The last thing we would want to do is to take away any of the fun of your hobby of astronomy because the joy of what we do as star gazers is a big part of the appeal. But unlike many other hobbies, ours is a passion of science, of learning and of discovery. And don t kid yourself, even a hobbyist with a limited telescopic set up can see some amazing things in the stars. 

So for the sake of having some really good trivia to toss around at astronomy club next week, let s highlight some of the big moments in the history of astronomy. For many centuries the science of astronomy was not distinct from the practice of astrology. For clarity, astronomy is the study of the stars, planets, and the universe with a clearly scientific approach.