Cheap scope put to good use

June 22, 2010

You’ll recall that Amazon recently had a nice intro-level reflector on closeout for a stupid-awesome price (sadly they’re out now no longer stupidly cheap, just sorta cheap), and that I got one, sold the included tripod, and got to work building a new mount for it. After about three weeks of non-action, I finished the mount today, and took the scope downtown this evening to do some sidewalk astronomy.

It was fun, and funny. To me, this 5″ scope is small. Like, that’s why I got it–because I wanted the biggest scope I could carry around with one hand. But out in the wild, where most people’s only exposure to telescopes is by way of shaky 60mm department store horrors, a solidly mounted five inch scope is but a little lower than the Hubble. People thought it was HUGE. They gravitated, especially kids. We were down at the fountains for an hour and 32 people came by for a look at the waxing gibbous moon. The last person was the 1027th passerby to look through one of my scopes since I started doing sidewalk astronomy in the spring of 2009.

The moon was pretty great, too. And obviously I’m pleased with the scope.

Single 1/60th of a second exposure with a handheld Nikon Coolpix 4500 in macro mode, shooting through an Orion Sirius 32mm Plossl and a Sky-Watcher 130N Newtonian reflector.


  1. Truly awesome. In the literal sense.

    For $99, that was a ridiculous deal.

  2. Very nice lunar picture! I will have to remember to set my camera to macro and adjust the aperture next time I try some afocal pictures.

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