Hey, nice sketch!

October 16, 2012

Just a quick hit: Justin Balderrama, a fellow PVAA member who blogs at The Young Astronomer, had one of his sketches chosen for the Astronomy Sketch of the Day this past Sunday. Congratulations, Justin!


  1. Now where is the sketch of the comet?????

  2. Ha! Patience, my friend. The post with the comet sketch is going up tomorrow, after Justin gets a little well-deserved time in the sun. (And isn’t that an odd phrase to use as a positive thing for a stargazer!)

  3. Matt,

    Excellent post! Entertaining, informative, inspiring. We’ve had a lot of cloudy weather up here of late, but your post has me keyed up for the next clear night, whenever it might be. Those dark desert skies sound, well . . . heavenly.


    I am most interested in your report on your new Celestron, and how the GoTo worked for you, what you saw, how the experience compared with those with your Skyscanner, etc. Any issues getting the Celestron aligned? This is almost always a problem for me when using my Meade DS-2090 GoTo, almost to the point where I am now reluctant to use it.


  4. Doug – is the scope you’re referring to as your Meade DS-2090 the same scope you picked up for $30 at someone’s house, posted as a comment under the “Going Dark for Awhile” blog post?

  5. Terry,

    Yes . . . and no. I did buy the Meade DS-2102 (102mm refractor) GoTo for $30, but accidentally stripped some gears in the base by giving it a vigorous turn while it was in the locked position. Yes, careless and stupid. But done. It still works fine as a manually-operated scope but is currently occupying a corner in the attic, its future undetermined.

    In the interim, I got a great deal via craigslist on its smaller brother, the DS-2090 (90mm refractor) that came with a plastic case containing 5 eyepieces, none of which I needed. I paid $100 for the whole deal and ended up selling the EP set on ebay for $65, so my net cost for the scope, which was virtually brand new, came to $35. It has excellent optics, sharp and contrasty, and when I get the alignment right, the Autostar GoTo works well. But this (the alignment part) seems hit and miss, even though I try to follow the set up procedure to the letter each time. So I take it out less than I otherwise would.

    Which is why I am curious about your experiences with your new Celestron 102, which I saw at Costco just yesterday.

    If you have time, please send along your evaluation of your Goto sessions with your new scope. Which, I have to say, is a beauty. Love the black color.


  6. Doug,

    The Meade DS-2090 was another “Costco only” scope that was available only at these retail outlets from about 2007-2009. The 5-eyepieces that came with it were Modified Achromats – 3 elements EP’s that judging by the reviews, were not so good.

    I’m slowly learning about the GOTO on the Celestron as I start using it more – it’s also been hit or miss for me so far. I don’t know how differently the Celestron SkyAlign GOTO works compared with the Meade Autostar GOTO.

    Once I get the hang of the GOTO and use the scope more on a variety of objects, I will put up a general review of the Celestron NexStar 102GT here.

  7. Correct, Terry. It was a Costco Only scope. I know this only because it has been mentioned many times in various forums. The EPs were so-so quality, and I had no need for them anyhow as they mostly duplicated superior EPs I aready had, so I sold them on eBay.

    Your GoTo experience sounds much the same as mine. You seem to spend a lot of time getting everything level and pointed in the right direction, then do the 1- or 2-star alignment, etc and end up too often missing the target object by a wide stretch of sky. Oddly, the first time I set up this scope, the alignment was quite good, just maybe a degree off, and I was excited at how many objects I observed in such a short time. SInce then, I have yet to get as close and end up bringing the 2090 in and going with another scope. I really need to get it out again and try to perfect the alignment process.

    When the GoTo works, it’s wonderful. When it doesn’t, it gets frustrating very quickly.

    Keep at it, and I will look forward to your review.


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