Weekend stars and soldering irons.

May 4th, 2008 1 Comment »
Twas a really good weekend.
Its really great to do some really different things……..
Saturday we did not drive up to LA. Our friends, Jason and Brittany, drove down, we just hung out and talked about all sorts of stuff. It was really good and very helpful for all of us.
Saturday night we drove an hour up into Palomar mountain, and at 5000 feet we had a star party!!!!
It was really great, the stars were fantastic, I had no idea of what I was looking at, the guys were really patient and pointed out star names and constellations, they slewed their scopes all over the place to give Terry and I a really good look, it was just a great site, with a great range of scopes under clear skies.
The girls bailed back to the car after about 20 min (it was really cold and none of us were really dressed for it), Terry lasted about an hour, he got his first look at a whole bunch of objects from galaxies to clusters. I was pumped, I could have gone for hours, it was the first ever real star party I have ever been to and to have it on the front door step of the Hale telescope was just amazing for me. (Just between you and me, I took a wrong turn and ended up looking right at the dome, and it was open! It really freaked me out to see it by star light!)

We got home at about 12:30am, puke boy managed to keep the contents of his stomach off the car floor (and paint work), so it was a great night, and I believe they do it once a month on the Saturday night of the new moon, so we will be back from time to time.

Sunday morning after the family slept in (Im still not sleeping well) we drove about 50 minutes down to the telescope shop in San Diego. Its amazing how cheap telescopes are here. I did not go down for a scope, despite how I felt after the night before. We drove down to get a tripod for my camera. I left mine in Australia, there just was no room to take it. I ended up taking about an hour to pick a base and head. There is so much to chose from. It was great to have a hands on experience and try my camera on all of them. I ended up with a really good base and a great head that will do me for years to come.
I also went to look at tracking mounts. I thought I would buy a mount soon and it would take my astro photos to another level. In fact,we found out it a little harder than that. The manufactures have really priced it well, its like about 500 bucks cheaper to get a mount and scope as one than to buy each. Thats real money, so we left it and am going to think about things (and look at the 2nd hand market).

After the telescope shop, we drove down to Frys Electronics.
Odd how every time I go there I think of Gary. One of these days I am going to get the courage to take some photos inside the joint……
It would be about 1/2 as big again as Bunnings in Sebas, ie super mega huge. And, to top it off, its just electronics. Nothing else. It has a mini ‘restaurant’ in the middle, thats to refuel the body to cover the other half of the shop. There are about 40 check outs, its huge.
I went there to get a soldering iron, battery charger, keyboard and mouse (well, trackball)…..and that I got, and nothing more!!!! The photo (in case you don’t get a chance to look at it) is me out the front pretending to hand my credit card over to Freddy before we walk in.
Seriously, at this stage its not hard for me, we don’t have the space for stuff and we just don’t know how much spending money we have, I have got my first pay check, but I don’t know what the living expenses here are yet, we have not had a full round of bills yet….anyway, point is, at this stage its no problem me spending to much, Gary on the other hand…..? Well, we will leave that one for now…….. There is a whole isle of about 20 meters of cameras and stuff…..you have any idea how many different cameras you can fit in 20 meters!!!!!?????

It was a great weekend of friends, stars and soldering irons.