Given that my Q7, TEC180 and Celestron Edge HD are the 3-4-5 hitters of my lineup, my mind has occasionally pondered the heretical thought of selling my Q3.5...after all, it's been close to a year since I've used it. However, it was a night such as tonight that reminded me just how important a purpose my "baby' Questar fills, and how invaluable it is.
The weather out in Northern California has been abysmal, at least from an astronomical perspective, since the terrible Camp fire in early November. The smoke and haze gave way to winter forthwith, resulting in my having exactly one night of observable weather in January, where I employed my cleanup hitter, the TEC180, to easily pick off E and F in the Trap and plow through several double stars.
I had batted .000 in February due to the rain and clouds - until tonight. Predictions were for cloudy skies and intermittent rain tonight in advance of more rain tomorrow and a gully washer on Wednesday, so once again I would have another rain delay in my efforts to observe Lunar X and V - something that simply has never worked out yet in the 4 years I have been fully back into astronomy.
The predicted time, as posted by fellow CNer Dana Thompson (who in January of 2018 selflessly spent several emails educating me on Lunar X, V and the Curtiss Cross), was 6:16 pm local time. Incredibly, right around 6:00 pm, the clouds parted and the Moon was almost straight overhead, crystal clear and ready to put on a show.
I was so excited that this time I was going to hit a home run by finally observing X and V. With about 10 minutes to get something set up, and not knowing when the clouds and showers were going to fill the sky once more, I looked at my line-up:
The TEC180? Since it's permanently mounted, it wouldn't take toooo long to get ready, but if the clouds rushed back and it started raining, in all my gimpiness there was no way I could get it covered up in time...and considering the contract and signing bonus on that thing - no way I was going to risk it!
Q7? Not even warming up in the bullpen, much less mounted, and the second highest contract on the team...pass.
Celestron Edge 14"? Without any fan support - Wrong answer McFly!!!
11" Teeter? Injured reserve.
APM 120 Binos? Not looking for a bunter here - need at least SOME power.
And then the solution became dumbfoundedly obvious - it was time for Manny Mota, baseball's greatest pinch-hitter of all time, to come to the plate. He could enter the game quickly, get on base, and exit just as quickly before any rain delay.
In the span of 3 minutes I had my Q3.5 out of the case, legs on, and pointing towards the Moon with a 16mm Brandon. There, in incredibly sharp detail, lay Lunar X and, farther along the Terminator, Lunar V, in amazing splendor. A flick of the toggle and a single became a double. In went the 12mm Brandon, and a triple and home run were next. It was amazing what my pinch hitter could do...just as it had done when I chose it to travel with me up to Madras, Oregon for the total Solar Eclipse in 2017.
And just as quickly as the clouds had parted, they pushed in, obliterating the Moon and its partial alphabet. With such an easy time of packing the Q3.5 back up, there was no worry of being caught in a rain delay.
It is safe to say that my Q3.5 is one pinch hitter that will forever be on my team and ready to perform flawlessly at a moment's notice!
Edited by Codbear, 12 February 2019 - 02:39 AM.