This page is about my on again, off again hobby of amateur astronomy. Most normal people just *do* their hobby and don't post about it. But these are pandemic times and most of the time I am not actually "doing" astronomy so this is my busy-wait. I can't imagine anyone would find this link accidentally so you probably know me and I told you about it. So hey... let's grab a beer after all this!
I have lost track of when I bought my first telescope. It was probably around 2007 and it was the Orion SkyQuest XT8, a classic DOB. At the time, I lived in Manalapan NJ. It is New Jersey with high light pollution so I couldn't see much. Maybe a bigger scope would fix that! The next scope was an Orion XT10 with Intelliscope! It was a monster: I needed a handcart to take it out to the backyard. I used that for a couple years. Then, I stopped and sold everything a few years later. Fast forward to 2017. My nerdiness told me I *had* to have a telescope. This time I opted for the small Orion ST120. It turned out to be too small and I didn't use it much, but I was officially into astronomy again.
In 2020, we moved to Edison NJ. (Ironically, this was so that my partner could be closer to her workplace but with the Covid-19 pandemic, we will both be working from home!) I had complained about the light pollution in Manalapan but I had no idea that I was actually fortunate there. I went from a decent sky there down to a Bortle 8 (one level from the worst) here. You cannot see anything in the skies! On a clear night, the faintest stars I see is about mag 3. Astronomy for me was done.
Or was it? I stumbled across material that indicated one can do astrophotography even in Bortle 8 skies: it just takes a LOT more total exposure time (I read 13x times somewhere) and then some image post-processing. That sounded interesting. I have a telescope. I have a DSLR. I have spare time. All I need is a tracking mount. How hard could it be? (Yes, a little foreshadowing.) And so it started...
Thanks for reading and cheers for now,