What I am going to talk about is the “other reason” I went to Iowa this weekend: to pick up my new telescope! This is gonna sound like me going on and on about my new scope…but hey! Gimme a break…I’m really excited!

What is it? A 22″ f/4.1 Starmaster Dobsonian. Excellent Pegasus optics. QSP coatings: the primary has 96% reflectivity, and the 3.5″ m.a. secondary has 99% Endurobrite.

This thing also tracks, with the soon-to-be-announced Sky Tracker system. It’s a new system from Sky Engineering, the same company that makes Sky Commander digital setting circles. In fact, the Sky Tracker uses the Sky Commander as it’s “brain.” The way it’s mounted on the Starmaster telescope, the drives can be disengaged with the flick of two levers (one for each drive). Then you can move the scope around yourself, and because the Sky Commander is still active, it still knows where you are at all times. So you can push the scope to an object yourself, and just engage the drives to let it track You can also “power-slew” the scope around with four buttons on the hand controller.

me_22.gif (67527 bytes)

That’s the me and my new telescope, set up in my driveway. I wanted to put it together right away when I got home, to make sure the electronics all worked. You see, Rick Singmaster and I were going over the scope in the parking lot of my hotel in Iowa. About 5 minutes after the scope was set up, a cloud came out of nowhere and it started to rain. I’m not kidding! It started getting heavy, so Rick and I took the scope down and put it into my van. By the time we got ourselves into my van, we were both literally soaked! I was very worried, even though Rick assured me that the scope had gotten much more wet with dew on several occasions. It rained a while longer, and when it stopped, it was time for Rick to go home. So that’s why I was a bit nervous and set the scope up right away when I got home…”just to make sure.” Everything looks AOK…I’ll try it out for the first time this weekend!