I suppose I should start with a simple intro as to who I am and what the direction of this blog is all about. I am not an astrophysicist or a professional astronomer. I am simple person working in the IT field who has a desperate and deep passion and love for everything space. I believe that we as humans have only 2 real options in the long term: become a space faring species or go extinct. Those are our only options. I say that because, barring a extinction level event in the interim, our sun will eventually exhaust its fuel and swell to a red giant swallowing the orbits of Mercury, Venus, and likely Earth. Even if the sun doesn’t swell swallow earth the amount and intensity of radiation that the surface will experience will strip the earth of its atmosphere and kill every living thing on the planet. We still have time, at least on a galactic time scale. This won’t happen for around 4.5 billion years so there isn’t a major rush on that front to propel us into the stars, but it will be one day. I think our greatest reasons to move out of our planet are more socio-economical and practical, as are our threats of extinction.
However I am an optimist and have studied a decent amount of our history as a species and the history of scientific development. This leads me to honestly believe that science will improve our lives and get us to the stars one day. There are many hurdles to cross but we have crossed hurdles before and survived. Science, and specifically space exploration, gives us hope and target to aim for and that, probably more than anything else, is the greatest gift that science has given us. When we achieve interstellar travel I wonder what we will find and who. I don’t think we will be the same species that first stepped on the moon. We will be very similar to those humans in the same way we are not now the same humans that tamed fire, domesticated dogs, and began building communities, but we are similar to them.
I love space. I love the romanticism of it and the wonder it inspires. This was fostered in me as a young child with a Polaris telescope and watching my first lunar eclipse. I now hope to inspire that same passion and love in my own child. I took her to see the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse in Nashville, TN. She won’t remember it but I remember the expressions of awe and surprise in her voice as the moon covered the sun and we experienced the beauty of it. It was my first one too. I had longed to see a total solar eclipse for as long as I could remember. The last one in my area of the USA happened right before I was born so I never got to see it. I remember in 2017 taking one picture of the sun at totality and then putting my phone down to enjoy seeing it with my own eyes. in the hours leading up to the eclipse I had a small telescope set up to project the image of the sun on to a white sheet of paper so we could watch the moon slowly cover our star. I’ll never forget it and at this moment I am already preparing for the April 8, 2024 total solar eclipse.
I do have a few details to add here about my own equipment and my own experience star gazing and planet viewing. I recently (almost a year ago now) bought a Celestron NexStar 6SE telescope to enhance my viewing of the stars. I saved up for it and I wanted something that was simple, relatively inexpensive, portable, and motorized. I wanted motorized to remove myself and my own movements from causing errors in viewing. Next I purchased a set of different lenses for my telescope so that I could get different views through the scope. Then I bought a solar filter for the telescope for the previously mentioned upcoming solar eclipse. My most recent purchase has been a NexImage Monochrome camera for the telescope. I am still learning how to use it and the programs that stack pictures to make clear wonderful astrophotography images. I have managed do far to capture a great picture of Jupiter and Io as well as wonderfully detailed images of the moon. I am still learning all the ins and outs of my equipment and how best to utilize it to get the best results, but I do love it.
That’s not all that I will be sharing here. I also plan to use this blog to share space related news and my own thoughts and wonderings on different space related topics. I’ll also share pictures as I get them and quotes from famous astronomers like William Herschel, Carl Sagan, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Edwin Hubble, and many more. I look forward to this place to share my thoughts. I hope you will come with me and join me on this journey. Please feel free to contact me with suggestions, questions, or ideas.