What Equipment Do I Have?
Celestron 4.5″ Equatorial Reflector
Focal Length: 1000 mm
25 mm & 10 mm eyepieces
Highest Theoretical Magnification: 225x
Single RA Axis Clock Drive
Orion Skyview Pro 8″ Equatorial Reflector
Focal Length: 1000mm
25 mm & 10 mm eyepieces
Highest Theoretical Magnification: 400x
Dual Axis Clock Drive
Celestron 1.25″ Eyepiece & Filter Kit
2x Barlow Lens
32mm, 17mm, 13mm, 8mm, & 6mm eyepieces
#80A Blue, #58A Green, #56 Light Green, #25 Red, #21 Orange, #12 Yellow Filters
Landove Universal Smartphone Adapter For Telescopes
More will be added with more purchases!
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!”
Planets By Q Continuum
This is a fun, interactive app that gives you 3D views of each planet, as well as gives you a simplified star map that gives positions of where to find them!
There’s not much else to it, but it’s free!
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, like my back yard despite being in light polluted Riverside, California.
For dark sky observing, my usual spot of choice is the Cottonwood Campground in Joshua Tree National Park, California. This spot is about 30 minutes east of Indio, CA and is easily accessed off I-10 on the Cottonwood Springs Road exit into the south east entrance of the park. It’s enclosed by hills, and far enough away from the highways.
There’s plenty of pavement and parking, and the campsite has running water and bathrooms. During the day there are trails for hiking.
However, there is no cell service at the campsite. As you get off I-10, there is good service when you start climbing into the park, and at the Bajada trail head exhibit, but once you go through the hills, it’s gone.
Summer days are typically hot while the nights are comfortable and don’t usually require jackets. During the winter months, the days are cool, and nights can get below freezing. Spring and Autumn months are usually nice at all hours.
It can get pretty dark and the night sky looks beautiful, but there is a small amount of light pollution to the west and south. Dry conditions usually persist throughout the year, and the seeing conditions can be above average on the best nights.
However, because the summer months are suspect to monsoon flows, clear skies can pave way to high clouds and sudden overcast due to all the moisture in the air, so 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.