Sidewalk astronomy in Gilroy

by Jamie Dillon

...with attached equipment review. Switched finderscopes from a Celestron 7x50 straight-thru to one of the new Orion 8x50 right-angle erect-view scopes. The loaner from SJAA I'd started out with, ole number 31, had a rt-angle finder upside-down sideways view, drove me to distraction. With the erecting prism, the work is amazingly intuitive. I'd peeked thru Albert's and Blanchard's and was getting sold.

The Orion has a 5 deg FOV and is nice and clear, shows plenty of sharp stars. It has a small base, so on my Dobs it really needed a backing plate. Jim Everitt, master machinist, kindly offered his expertise and sheetmetal. Took a few minutes and that sucker is solid. Just with casual observing, the difference to neck and back are dramatic.

This was Sunday late afternoon and we had fun looking at a very steady Moon. Kids next door came over and got excited. After Pinocchio's pizza (good as ever), we had told the kids we'd set up again and sure enough they were watching out for us. Eddie, Alex and Jose their Dad had a big time looking at gaudies. Most impressed I think was Jose, who was awestruck at Jupiter. He said more than once, "Now when I look over there every time I'll be remembering what it looks like close up."

So sidewalk astro this weekend covered quite a region.