Here’s the www.cleardarksky.com forecast for Kansas City. Click the image for more detail.
I’ve been interested in stars, planets, and astronomy in general for as long as I can remember. When I was young my father and I would walk around our neighborhood looking up at the night sky and he would point out the bright stars and some of the constellations and asterisms to me. I remember being able to see the milky way from my neighborhood when I was growing up in the 1960s. I doubt it’s visible from there now.
Although I had a small telescope at the time, I didn’t know much about using it and made all the beginning mistakes (using high magnification while trying to find things, not aligning the finder with the scope) and did not unlearn them with that scope. The scope also had an unusable mount. This scope was damaged in the early 1970s and for the next almost 30 years I hardly ever looked at the night sky.
Sometime in 1999 Orion Telescopes and Binoculars began sending me catalogs, and in the summer of 2001 I decided to buy a telescope. I bought their 6-inch Skyview Deluxe, which is an F/5 Newtonian reflector on a German equatorial mount.
I have fun star hopping with the Orion and I really like equatorial mounts, but I had aperture fever and I don’t really like the Dobsonian mount. I investigated the various manufacturers of bigger scopes and decided to go with Celestron, and to get some nice TeleVue eyepieces to go with it.
So I recently acquired a Celestron NexStar 11 GPS, which is an F/10 Schmidt-Cassegrain catadioptric reflector on a fork mount.
I also own two pairs of binoculars, a 7×50 and a 10×50, along with a binocular stand and parallelogram.
Since I don’t have a high quality camera, you won’t see many images from my telescope on this site. Though I intend to get a CCD camera someday. I do have a digital camcorder and I’ve captured some images by holding it up to the eyepiece with the exposure set fairly high.
For the future, I’d like to get into CCD imaging and I’d like a high quality rich field refractor, maybe a Televue TV-NP 101 or 127. But that’s a lot of money to spend, and I’m having so much fun with what I have.