First quarter moon… Telescope time.
I find myself reliably rising early, often around 4am, something that seemed to have begun during the pandemic. Those who knew me in my younger years may find this a bit unbeliveable, I used to hate mornings, but now?
The other factoid about island mornings. It is almost always clear. The afternoon and evening clouds have dissipated and clear skies are the rule.
Combine these bits with a love of the sky and the result is morning observing sessions, often half a dozen mornings will be spent out with a telescope in those couple weeks the Moon is absent from the morning sky.
Get up, shrug on some ratty old clothes, and wheel the telescope out of the garage. The ‘scope of choice is almost always the old Astrola, even with larger and more sophisticated telescopes available there is just something about using that old manual ‘scope that I find satisfying.
Perhaps the lack of computer or digital setting circles means it is my own skill enabling my path among the stars. The Astrola does have manual setting circles, but I rarely use those. A star chart, a finder, and starhopping allow me to wander through rather than jump about… I just see more, often stumbling across unexpected bits of beauty.
I have upgraded the Astrola a bit lately, adding a larger finder ‘scope with a wide field eyepiece. It is a 50mm 3D printed finder of my own design allowing me to see more sky at once with fainter stars.
There are a few more days until the bright Moon crosses into the morning sky, a few more mornings you will likely find me out with the ‘scope.