There’s nothing like getting a new telescope! The anticipation of the delivery and then once it does arrive the pure excitement of unboxing your new instrument. Yes, it’s like Christmas and your birthday all wrapped into one. After the boxes have been cast aside and a rough assembly takes place we turn our attention to the instruction manual for all the “hmm, I wonder where this fits?” or maybe “I know this is the thing that goes on here but why is it not staying on?” We’ve all been there at some point. Time to consult the manual. My Dad always used to say “If all else fails, read the directions!”
I myself enjoy instruction manuals for all things electronic and of course that means telescopes to. You know you’re a nerd when you actually look forward to kicking back with a nice cup coffee and reading through the entire instruction manual page by page whether it be a hard copy or online in PDF form.
It’s no surprise when the same information that is contained in many of these manuals surfaces such as polar alignment or directions for adjusting the counter weights to get the balance just right but nevertheless it’s still fun to read through the manual and know all the ins and outs, features and new tricks you can do with your new toy.
So I understand when folks browse my site and look through my telescopes section for either the pictures, the specifications or even for my meager reviews and comments about them but many times people are also searching for the instruction manuals as well.
Over the past few days I have slowly collected all the instruction manuals for the telescopes that I own except for one. There is one that is proving hard to locate but I did find a manual to a very similar model made by the same manufacturer (Meade) and so I’ve offered that one up in it’s place. But I’m getting ahead of myself a little bit. So with all the manuals gathered up I have uploaded them to this site and made them available for download on each of their corresponding pages. So now, for instance, when you visit the site’s page for the 10″ Meade LXD55 you’ll also find a link at the bottom of that page which can be accessed for that scope’s instruction or user manual. Simply click the link to display the manual and download it to your machine if you need a copy of it. This also holds true for all the scopes on this site now. Easy enough and hopefully helpful to those seeking the original instruction manuals.
I’ve been busy working on the blog site and have added a number of things that should be useful to visitors. Here’s the run down.
After having been removed several months ago due to issues it had with the WordPress site theme, the Events Calendar makes its return. You can now check on specific dates for astronomical events, star parties and much more on the calendar or give a glance at the “upcoming events” in the right-hand column on the home page. The calendar still needs to have events added but April and May are done.
Next up is both a link in the main menu and social media icons to both the Scott’s Astronomy Page Facebook Group page and Twitter accounts. The Twitter account has been featured on the site now for some time but not the Facebook Group page. I recently made the Facebook page public in order to allow for visitors of the blog site to access, join and follow the site. I have to admit the Facebook Group site does get updated more frequently than the blog. So Join, Follow and Share!
Next up is the Astronomy News page. I added this content a few months ago but didn’t really advertise the fact that I had done so. Through the miracle or RSS (Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication) I’ve pulled in content (specifically astronomy and space related news and podcasts) into one page making it easy to access. I still plan more tweaks for the page as I’m not entirely in love with the look.
Then there is the new Astro Data Sets page which provides a great deal of information for folks in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. On this page you’ll find a Moon phase chart which also includes morning and evening twilight, moon rise and set and sun rise and set times all in tabular form and predicted out for the next 10 days.
Also on the Astro Data Sets page is the Planetary Data table which shows each planet and gives its rise and set times, the time the planet crosses the meridian as well as the constellation the planet is in and a visibility prediction. And if that is not enough the same page has a 10 day International Space Station prediction grid and visible iridium flares table showing those flares that can be seen in the next seven days. Again, all of this is specific to the DFW area.
Last but not least there is now a Current Sky Map page which displays the sky for the DFW area as it exists the moment you load the page. The link for the sky map is in the menu under the Astro Data Sets listing. This can be a helpful guide for you to pull up and then head outside to pin point an object in the sky.
Not in the DFW area are you? No worries. There is also a link on this page for those not in the DFW area to go to and pull up a map for their neck of the woods. This map is provided by Astro Viewer.
I enjoyed adding all this new content and welcome your feedback. Thanks for checking out the blog! Shoot me a comment and let me know what you think.
I’m often asked about what astronomy related apps I like to use on my cell phone and tablet. So I’ve included a list of apps in no particular order that I have either used at one time and found to be helpful and/or continue to use on a regular basis. I own Android devices (both cell phone and tablet) but most of these apps are available both on Google Play and via the App Store or iTunes. Additionally, most of the apps listed are free to download and install or have free versions available but some do have to be purchased. I hope they pique your interest regarding what is available and that you enjoy them as much as have.
I recently added a new “Online Resources” tab and dedicated page on this web site to specifically highlight astronomy related information, documentation, charts, data sets, educational materials, lecture series and more. This information, as you might suspect, is geared to the novice or budding amateur astronomer and serves as a kind of repository for interesting but functional resources that I find myself returning to. Others are simply resources that I feel could be useful to those with a hunger to learn about and explore all things astronomy.
After spending a couple of months transferring my domain to a new provider (ipage) I also realized that a freshening up was over due for the site too. I have decided to use WordPress to publish the site and doing so should also make postings much simpler and less time consuming for me. During the transition I have added new content under the Astrophotography and Telescope links with new images or scope and the addition of some new photo categories. I hope you enjoy the new look and feel. This is a work in progress so please check back often.