My tools of the trade

I am not a professional astronomer, but I sure love stargazing – and I learn something new every time!  Beside my naked eye I don’t have a lot of tools, but those I do have I’m pretty proud of.  Which tools do you have?

When my Dobsonian telescope arrived

When my Dobsonian telescope arrived

Me with my Dob

Me with my Dob

I have the Orion XT10 Classic Dobsonian telescope.  The 10″ aperture lets in a nice amount of light.  I have never owned a computerized alignment system, but I love the way my manual Dob teaches me to navigate the sky and find things myself (with the help of a red laser finder and a good old-fashioned sky map.)

I love using a variable filter to admire the moon’s craters on a full moon-ish night.  When the skies are darker, I like to hunt for deep space objects.  Since I live in a big city, my boyfriend gave me a Narrowband filter last Christmas to cut out light pollution.

And when the scope is too big to pack around, I pull these out of my car trunk – a pair of binoculars from my Dad!

My binoculars

My binoculars

What would be on my wish list for the future?  Here are some items I’d love to have!

  • Solar filters for sun viewing
  • Color filters for enhanced planet viewing
  • An astro camera for solar system and deep space
  • An awesome lawn chair for binocular time





  1. Nice telescope! Gotta love big aperture dobsonians! Personally, I use a 102mm maksutov (Orion) because I haul it with me everywhere I go. A larger telescope would be difficult to haul around, although I’m thinking of getting a 180mm maksutov. What is the focal length of your telescope?

    Watch out for those red dot reflex sights: they have a tendency to burn out or the battery may die.


  2. I have a 10″ too (a Newtonian), and if I’d been a member of a smarter gender I might have had it delivered like you did (my back has never been the same since). Also I’m delighted to hear that there still seem to be a few people like me out there who choose to shun the computerization of telescopes.


  3. Very nice! A 10 incher will bring in the photons. You can probably spend a lot of time with that scope before you outgrow it.

    I highly recommend Stellarium, it is a free dl, and is a great way to plan your nights before you setup. It can also be taken with you on a laptop, although even in night mode it is a little bright. I have an Orion Deep Map 600 that I laminated, it is my goto field chart and has kept me busy for years.

    If you don’t already have one, get a dolly. It will save your back and make setting up a breeze. I dolly my 12.5 out of the house, down the steps, and across the yard with so much simplicity it should be illegal. I custom built a strap to keep the tube secure, and just carry the base out by hand.

    I am almost a bit jealous of the new scope thrill, I envy you just a little 🙂 Have much fun with your new time machine. Be sure and post a first light report.


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