My First Telescope And Other Important Life Events:

My first serious telescope:  A 4-1/4-inch f/10 Edmund Scientific Reflector.  In 1977, I now owned a new scope which came with a 25 mm eyepiece, and later an Edmund 12mm Kellner eyepiece, and a MAG 5 Star Atlas.  

Now, what else could I possibly need to be a serious amateur astronomer?  Or so I thought at that time.  

The following photo was taken in 1977, when I was renting an “old and very cold house” built in 1927.  Heating and air conditioning was difficult and very expensive.  I was really glad to find a better house that was affordable, but only after a couple years.  After all, I’d just accepted my first “real job” that paid a pretty decent salary.   

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My first observations were made during the mid-60’s at about twelve years old.  I used my older brother’s 60mm f/15 Sears (Jason) refractor with an equatorial mount.  He purchased the scope for about a $100, which at the time was a lot of money!  That would be about $900 in 2021. 

Unfortunate for me, he sold the scope after a few years which left me without a telescope until I could purchase my own. During this absence without a telescope, I somewhat lost interest in astronomy, until the mid-70’s. 

Events by year: 

During the late fall (about 1965) just after sunset, I would notice a small cluster of stars rising about the tree tops in the east.  It would take me a while, but I did learn that it was the “Pleiades” or M45.  My first deep-sky object. 

October 1967:  I gave an astronomy presentation to my 8th grade science class, again, using my brothers 60mm refractor.  The subject and title was:  “How To Use An Astronomical Telescope.”  

March 1977:  I purchased my first telescope, a 4 1/4-inch f/10 Edmund Scientific reflector on an equatorial mount.  Life was good!

I could hardly wait to get to Science Hobbies in Charlotte, on that Spring day.  The price for this 4 1/4-inch telescope was $159.99, which at that time was quite a bit of money.  I had been looking at this scope in the Edmund Scientific catalog for almost a year. 

Purchasing this “humble” little scope, my very own after all this time was indeed a happy day for me.  My preference was the Edmund Scientific 6-inch Super Space Conquerer, but just could not spring for the extra money at that time.  It seems that the price of the 6-inch was only about $100 more, however, at this point in my life, $300 for a telescope was far beyond my budget.  

However, It didn’t take long to realize that I needed a larger aperture scope, and soon sold the 4 1/4-inch reflector.  

February 1978:  I purchased a 6-inch Criterion RV-6 reflector, complete with an equatorial mount and a clock drive.  My astronomy program was about to take a big leap forward!  

Below:  The RV-6 on the left, and the Edmund 4-1/4 pictured on the right, with my oldest son in 1978.

Favorite Telescopes From The Past

I really liked my new Criterion RV-6,  but life got busy and my observing  had to take a back seat to a lot of other stuff.   I didn’t have any time to think about the stars, so I sold my the Criterion telescope….a big mistake, indeed.  

1985-86:  I become acquainted with some local amateur astronomers and became a founding member of the Cleveland County Astronomical Society along with my youngest son, who is now living in Nevada.

A goal to meet, not in astronomy, but cycling:  

Finally, after almost thirty years, on Saturday, October 11th 2008, I was able to achieve my lifelong goal of 100,000 miles on my bicycle. This had been my goal for quite a few years and was really excited to reach this milestone.  When I first started riding in 1979, never would I have thought I’d eventually log 100,000 miles.  It should be noted, I did not count my miles for the first year or so.  

My current “documented” miles is approximately 130,000 as of August 2021.

October 11th 2008:  My wife put together a celebration with cycling friends at a local coffee shop. 

100,000 Broad River Coffee Shop

I have two great hobbies: Amateur astronomy and cycling!

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October 2012:  All my grandkids together in South Carolina. 

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December 2011:  Driving my son’s tractor with granddaughter in Las Vegas.  

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I love hiking in the Mojave desert with my granddaughter (2011)

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My two sons…

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February 5th 1992:  I purchased a 10-inch f/4.5, equatorial reflector.  One of the first things I purchased after the telescope was an adjustable astro-chair, which I still use today.  It’s just not possible for me to observe, sketch and take notes while standing. 

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February 20th 1992,  my first night of serious observing:  I was amazed when observing faint galaxies, after all, this was a much larger scope than I was used to using.  Objects that were on the threshold of seeing, were now bright, and structure was visible.  It was truly a revelation as compared to the much smaller 4-inch scopes that I had mostly used.   I could see dark lanes in the bright open cluster M35, and the faint cluster NGC 2158 was almost glowing.  My favorite galaxies, M81-82 looked nothing like what I had seen on that night in the 70’s when I first saw them using my, then new,  4 1/4-inch Edmund reflector.  

I was smiling while observing the low-surface brightness galaxy, M101, and knew that my observing would never be the same.

My wife, pictured with the 102mm refractor:

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 As mentioned earlier, I was sorry for selling my RV-6.  So, a few years ago, I replaced it with a 6-inch f/6 TPO reflector.  And the last photo, was a birthday gift from my son.  An 80mm short focal ratio refractor.  

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