The recent cold snap has forced me indoors to retreat and plan for better evenings ahead. This is a hobby and as such I am not required to participate in it when conditions are not favorable to my enjoyment of it. Some will endure cold weather and some have made reasonable steps to do so with observatories and heated clothing, but I am not there yet.
So taking stock, as this year of my return to the hobby comes to a close, I am proud of my accomplishments so far. I have acquired some decent gear including a pair of Garret Optical 15x70 LW binoculars on the very stable Far Sight binocular mount and Orion Paragon tripod back in early May. My drive for a telescope lead me to purchasing the LXD75 SN6 in late June. I added a few accessories to it in July, including a dew cap, a custom made accessory bracket for mounting cameras and a guidescope and a Meade LPI to image planetary and lunar shots. I spent some time paying for all of this, and went on to purchase an additional counterweight, and the Canon XS dslr camera in October. Recently in November I picked up an Orion ST80 and brackets to mount on the SN6 for use as a guidescope and a grab and go scope. I now have pretty much everything I need to at least attempt to do some visual astronomy and both wide and narrow field imaging, as well as begin to work outreach programs with kids.
In the coming months I would like to sell the Cave 10 inch f/5 and provide someone with a nice scope to use. I am very pleased with the SN6 and even though it lacks a bit of aperture, it's portability and views more than make up for it all. I'm at a stage in my hobby where I really know what I want and also know what I don't need. My simple plans include adding a few additional eyepieces, a Meade DSI for use as an autoguider, and a basic diagonal for the ST80, all low cost and affordable items. I plan to focus my efforts in astronomy on astrophotography and finally reach beyond a beginner stage with my imaging and to a point where I can begin my ultimate quest, and that is to image the entire Messier catalog. It is a simple plan, but in the process of doing so I will get to know them all in great depth.
My love for astronomy in general may wax and wane a little, but it never quite goes away, and the longer I sit on it, the more the desire grows to do it again.
I want to take a moment to thank everyone who reads this blog, from all over the world. I know that I have inspired some of you, and if nothing else shown you a little of what can be done when you set your minds to dream beyond this pale blue dot.