Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A Whole New World

This Christmas, the box I found under the tree was really enormous. A few seconds later, I was holding an enormous tube - as it turns out, my gateway to the universe. After quite a bit of fiddling with intricately-made parts, I got its equatorial mount into something like the correct configuration, and there it stood: a brand-new fully-functioning Newtonian reflecting telescope of my very own.

Our neighbour, mid-phase, pictured by
camera phone through a
big, big telescope

Unfortunately, the weather did not co-operate that night; when it did clear though, what sights! Our near neighbour I saw as never before, plains and mountains picked out clear as anything in the razor-sharp shadows along the edge of lunar day; I particularly remember a tall peak catching the sun from an otherwise night-befallen crater. On moonless nights, I found huge numbers of stars where my unaided eye had seen only blank space; happened by chance upon a huge glowing nebula... absolutely astonishing sights.

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