I believe what is in the space takes almost everybody's attentions, including mine... It always pushed me to see the night sky closer and in more detail. I started to look for a solution. I knew that I can achieve my solution simply by investing in some optical equipment like binoculars or a telescope. My girlfriend's father is a hunter and he had really nice spotting scope. It was exactly Celestron Ultima 65mm with basic tripod. I was thinking can I see some interesting things at the night using that scope? I installed an application called SkyView to my phone to see location of planets, stars, and other objects. First I pointed that spotting scope out to some empty space, I looked through it and while I couldn't see any star with naked eye, I was seeing lots of stars in the eyepiece of the scope, though stars were out of focus. I played around with the eyepiece and got more sharp view. Well, I was seeing some stars but even through this scope stars were looking like any star. I needed to find a bigger object, I was lucky and Jupiter was smiling to me with its magnificent brightness and dignity. Because of I had really basic tripod, it was very hard to point it to Jupiter. Planets are relatively close objects in the space and world's rotation speed doesn't allow us to place planets without movement in the eyepiece. So, having basic tripod without auto tracking, it was really hard to see Jupiter more than a few seconds. But... I saw it. There wasn't really detailed view but I saw it. Jupiter was looking like a really big shiny star with its four biggest moons. I don't know why but I couldn't believe that I saw Jupiter's moons through a spotting scope. It was the most interesting thing at that night.
This little experiment with a small spotting scope was really nice for me, but I wanted more since this is the one of the characteristics of human being, always wanting more... I did a research about 2 months and finally decided to buy a telescope with a tripod which is controllable easier than the regular tripods. There is a lot of telescope types based on optics, whether is with mirror or lenses or both, etc. I chose a telescope with mirrors and it was a reflector (Newtonian) type telescope. It had 6" primary mirror that gathers light through the open tube and reflects the light to the secondary mirror, and secondary mirror passes light to eyepiece. I unboxed two big boxes and enjoyed setting it up. It was my first real astronomy equipment that I was dreaming for long time!
My first telescope - SkyWatcher 150/750 6" Newtonian
With my first telescope I got an equatorial mount where telescope attached. With EQ mount you can track objects easier along with the world’s rotation angle. It has two knobs to control, RA (right ascension) and DEC (declination) which are to the sky what longitude and latitude are to the surface of the Earth. So, using these knobs it was much easier to track object manually than the basic tripod. In first good night, I took my telescope out and started to look at the moon, I was shocked when I saw the very sharp view of the moon. Craters, stains, mountains… I grabbed my phone and tried to capture picture of my first observation from the eyepiece. It was hard to match small phone camera with small eyepiece but I got the image.
My very first capture.
Clouds came in.. But, that view was enough for me to keep me motivated until next time. After few days, I took my telescope out again and this time I wanted to see a planet! Was that possible? I found Jupiter and Saturn like on the one line side-by-side. First I tried Jupiter, because I already saw it through the spotting scope and I wanted to compare view that I saw. I pointed my telescope to Jupiter and.., wow. There she was with clearly visible 4 biggest moons. But there was one thing to note, even with astronomical mount it was hard to keep track of planets, same problems applies here like I mentioned at the beginning. But, time to take some picture! This time I used old DSLR camera Canon 450d borrowed from my friend. I attached to telescope and started to record Jupiter! It was recorded instead of pictured, because resolution was really bad to take one frame and the planet was constantly moving, so I recorded it and stacked frames together to achieve the view what I saw with a naked eye.
Stacked frames of Jupiter
And the next target of the same night, it is much much smaller when you look at with naked eye, and it is almost two times farther than the Jupiter to our Earth, and maybe most beautiful and unique planet in our solar system. Saturn... I saw it with beautiful ring, but not too much detail. It was brighter than Jupiter, and 10 times smaller in the eyepiece. But, was easier to look at longer than to Jupiter and it remained longer on the eyepiece because it is smaller and farther. I captured nice frames of Saturn also.
Stacked frames of Saturn
Improved technology and possibilities makes me more curious about the cosmos. I know, we are so small in the cosmos, even smaller than rice in a rice field, but we have better and bigger eyes opened to the outside now like Hubble, JamesWebb (soon), lots of giant ground telescopes. We have quickly improving space technology. We have more powerful computing. And we have more hope than ever. I have more hope each day, though there are really big problems in our home, our planet, but these all possibilities for the cosmos keeps me connected with the life and pushes me forward for tomorrows.
Keep your heads up, when you go to throw your garbage at night and think for a moment, why and how?