So I’m writing a review for what I hope will become my bicycle-transportable telescope. It’s a three-pole dobsonian design made by Dennis Steele of dobstuff.com and designed to be lightweight and easily broken down into components for a more compact travel profile. Dennis offers complete telescopes, rebuilds from existing components, and kits for semi-DIYers like me. I went for a kit, and I brought some of my own ideas to the table (well, ideas from other amateur telescope makers…there’s a lot of really innovative and inspirational work out there). I’ll go into the design and construction of the telescope in an upcoming review for Astronomy Technology Today magazine.
I wanted to give readers a sense of what set up and use was like with this scope, and I’ve been meaning to do a bit more with time lapse photography for a while. A simple $30 timer that plugs into my DSLR and a tripod were really all I needed to get started. So I headed down to a punk show at the theater space I co-manage with a buddy of mine, and set up my scope outside on the sidewalk. It wasn’t a good night for observing! It was clear at first but Geneva’s downtown is terribly light polluted. Then, when easily-recognizable Saturn came into view over the buildings, clouds rolled in! But I had fun talking to people and I showed a few people Saturn. Anyway, the time lapse is useful for getting a sense of how the telescope comes together and how it moves. It’s obvious, for example, that the scope, which is about 50 inches tall, is really for seated observing.