Hi all.

Just a note of introduction. I work as an aquatic macroinvertebrate taxonomic consultant. I spend most of my days staring down a microscope or at a computer screen. And now, it appears many evenings will be spent staring down a telescope.

About 18 months ago my wife and I purchased 240 acres of bush, wetlands and unused agricultural land. We put a small cabin on it and use it as a weekend and holiday retreat from the city. On over night stays when the skies were clear we have be dazzled by the brilliance of the milky way stretching across the sky, the moon, meteors and occasional wisps of northern lights that we can see. There is essentially zero light pollution other than a yard light from a farmyard 3 miles away and a slight glow on the horizon from a small town 15 miles away. It was inevitable that we purchase a telescope.

After searching the web I decided a good compromise of cost, mirror size, “lugability” and transportability would be an 8 inch dob. If we found stargazing was just a passing fad the $$$ would not be too significant. I settled on an 8 inch Starwatcher from All-Star Telescopes, Disbury AB. (By coincidence a camera adapter I bought for the telescope to take snaps with my DSLR of the moon turned out to also fit my Zeiss microscope thus saving me over $400CDN and essentially making the telescope a freebee.)

So far it has been very rewarding scanning the night skies, watching Jupiter, tracking down Uranus, the moon phases, and slowly compiling a list of M’s, C’s and NGC’s. Our stargazing at the cabin is regularly augmented with choruses of coyotes howling nearby, deer, elk and moose crashing through the bush around the yard and the ever-present chance of meeting a skunk ambling through the yard.

Since the telescope has already “paid” for itself I have been adding accessories, a 2x barlow, a Telrad and an Astro-Fix (on order) to aid in viewing and finding objects. And if our enthusiasm continues I suspect we will be looking at a larger telescope in the near future.

I am looking forward to “meeting” like-minded people on the forum and learning what I can and maybe down the road assisting other people.