A good friend of mine came over last night. We did a little coyote hunting in the late daylight. (No worries. No animals were hurt in the making of this post.) As we were walking the half mile back to my house, we chatted about what few astro objects the two of us could pick out in the darkening sky. Sadly, he probably could name more than I could. I can sure point at them, though.
He commented that he had never looked at Orion through a telescope. I was already hoping for an excuse, and he had a bit of time. Once we made it to the house, I sat the C102F in the front yard to cool down a bit. The temp had dropped from almost 50* F to mid 30s. My front porch is not heated, but it had been a sunny day, and it was still significantly warmer there.
Inside for a beverage and some cookies my wife had just finished making. Good convo about our respective kids and all. Then, we went outside. Unfortunately, the sky had some wispy clouds here and there.
We were still able to get some nice portholes here and there. What we were forced to look THROUGH still allowed us pleasant opportunities. When he looked through the scope for his first "in-person" look, he provided the exclamatory response that makes sharing the experience with friends and family so much fun. He stayed glued to the eyepiece so long, that I started to worry that his eyebrows might have frozen to the rim. It was a privilege to share the blessing of God's amazing creation with a good buddy.
We stayed outside for probably around 30 minutes or so. I happened to get lucky and found a SARD Mk 43 6x42 binocular awhile back. Then more recently, I found a second pair. So, I pulled out the cases where I keep them and treated him to a wide angle view of all that we could see of the Milky Way through the WWII glass. It was fun, but the impact was minimized by the increasing clouds. Bummer! He still enjoyed it, but sadly it was nothing compared to what he would have seen a few hours later.
Before he left, I dragged the C6 into the driveway, just so we could compare the difference in FOV and brightness. It needs the collimation tweaked again, and I still have not had the time to fix the focuser knob. It still gave a nice rendition of its abilities. Orion was beautiful and brighter through the C6 and its native 26mm Silver Top. That was pretty much the end of the session with my buddy.
He thanked me several times. A lifelong, but geographically-distant friend of his built a radio telescope when they were kids. Other than that, he said, he had a limited exposure to observing. Even though, given my skill and experience level, it is a bit like the "blind leading the blind", he really seemed to love the experience.
After he left, I chilled on the couch with the queen of the castle. Eventually, I popped back outside to check on the conditions. Holy smokes!!! Crystal clear. I was pretty zapped for the night, but I did grab one of the Mk43s, and eventually my Audubon 820EDs. The Milky Way was so beautiful through both of them. I am looking forward to a clear night for my buddy and his wife to come over for dinner and some more observing.
The C102F gave gorgeous diamond-like pictures of the stars, even through the clouds. I used a 26mm Silver Top, and a 40mm TV plossl. I like the 26mm the most, between these two. Orion just never ceases to provide a boost to my astronomy drive. It is even better when shared.