Moon up above


February 18, 2024

A few weeks ago, Michelle and I decided on the spur of the moment to head northwest toward Erie to see the total eclipse.

I’d been slowly inching my way back into amateur astronomy over the past few months, joining the hospitable folks with the Central Pennsylvania Observers for their monthly meetings. The old binoculars got a dust-off and a bit of use, stabilized by a new monopod. And like many, I’ve been thinking about splurging on a SeeStar S50. By the time I decided to buy one, they were out of stock in several places. But I found that Agena Astro had a good supply, so I ordered one.

This is Pennsylvania, and while our winter skies are less hazy than summer, it ain’t Colorado or Arizona. So, it took a lot of patience and many sessions with the excellent Astrospheric app to find a moment to put the S50 “in the sky.”

I’m delighted at how easy it was. It serves the precise purpose I’d hoped: There’s a clear sky, and I have a free moment, so let’s observe something.

Mare Tranquilitatis, the landing site of Apollo 11, is the middle plain in the upper part of the image. Since I got up early in the morning on my 6th birthday to watch Neil Armstrong make that one small step, this image seems like a perfect way to get back to one of my first scientific passions.