What Equipment Do I Have?
Celestron 4.5″ Equatorial Reflector w/ Single Axis Clock Drive
Orion Skyview Pro 8″ Equatorial Reflector w/ Dual Axis Clock Drive
– 1.25″ 32mm, 25mm, 17mm, 13mm, 10mm, 8mm, 6mm Plossl Eyepieces
– 1.25″ 2x Barlow Lens
– 1.25″ 3x Barlow Lens
– 1.25″ Lunar Filter
– 2″ 42mm, 35mm, & 28mm Deep View Eyepieces
– 2″ 2X Barlow Lens
– 2″ Skyglow Broadband Filter
– Skyview Polar Alignment Scope
– Smartphone Adapter
What Are Some Great Astronomy Apps?
Here are the apps I like to use.
This is a great simulator of the sky, and will give you the positions of the sun, moon, planets, stars, deep sky objects, and even known satellites, comets and asteroids, on any day and time from any location!
There are versions for desktop PC’s, MACs, and for your phone. Last I checked, for iPhone’s and Androids it was $1.99. According to a great friend of mine, he said “it’s the best two bucks I ever spent!”
Want to try taking long exposure photos on your smartphone? This app can get the job done. Your phone may not have the same capabilities as DSLR and other cameras that can take low light photos, but this app can give you decent pictures. So far, this is the only one I would recommend for any type of astro-photography with a smartphone.
It’ll cost you a few bucks, but it’s worth it!
Dark Sky Finder by Skidmore Properties LLC
This is a fantastic app that helps guide you to a dark site anywhere on earth. It’s essentially a light pollution map over google maps!
It also uses Dark Sky data and forecasts from Clear Dark Sky.
The colors used are represented by the Bortle Dark Sky Scale. White and Red are terrible. Orange is “okay.” Yellow is average. Green is good. Blue is great. Black and clear are excellent.
Where do I Usually go to Stargaze?
For observations of the sun, moon, and planets, I can do them anywhere.
For dark sky observing, my usual spot of choice is the Cottonwood Campground in Joshua Tree National Park, California. The main reason is the comforts of running water and bathrooms at the campsite.
However, be advised that there is no cell service at the campsite. As you get off !-10, your service will end once you cross into the mountain pass.
Being the darkest of the campsites, it’s far less affected by light pollution than the rest of the park. However, there is still a small dome from Palm Springs that affects the sky.
Being around 3,000 feet in elevation, the temperatures vary from hot days and comfortable nights in the summer, to cool days and freezing nights in the winter.
The other big enemy is moisture, especially from summer monsoon flows, which sometimes cause overcast skies out of nowhere. Always check for forecasts on Clear Dark Sky.
Why the name “Orion Bear Astronomy?”
The truth is the name comes straight from a Bible verse:
“He is the Maker of the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the constellations of the south.” – Job 9:9 NIV
And as you can see here, the picture includes the constellations Orion, Ursa Major (the Bear), and the Pleiades in the middle.
I am not ashamed to admit that I believe in God, and am on side of the Faith vs Science spectrum that says Faith and Science CAN co-exist.
However, if you are reading this and you are more on the side coming from the beliefs of Richard Dawkins, Stephen Hawking, and many other brilliant minded scientists who are atheist and/or agnostic, then don’t worry, I am NOT against their work or beliefs. I will NEVER say that they are wrong when it comes to the matter of faith.
I may believe in an intelligent creator that exists outside physical space and time, but I also will be the first to say the Bible is NOT a science book, and I don’t treat it as such.