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Another New Toy

Entry 563, on 2007-06-28 at 20:44:11 (Rating 1, Activities)

For many months (or perhaps years) now I have been trying to buy a telescope at a good price. I have bid at various places: especially TradeMe and eBay, but finally got one at AstroMart. I wanted a reasonable aperture but the scope still had to be easy to transport so I ended up getting a Celestron 8 inch Schmidt Cassegrain.

For the last few years I have been using a scope I borrowed off a friend. It was a large 13 inch Dobsonian which would fit in the back of our station wagon - but only if you didn't want to take too much else! A while back I stayed overnight in a small, inland resort town called Hanmer Springs and the night sky was just superb! It was so dark and still that I really wished I had a scope to have a look around. So that's why I changed to a smaller, more sophisticated design I could take away on holiday with me.

The scope has some nice features. Its very light because it has a carbon fibre tube. It has Starbright coatings and it has good optics. And it has a useful feature called Fastar which allows connecting a camera to the front where the secondary mirror goes and becomes a very fast photography system. Currently I'm getting a mount built for it. Initially I will just use a simple tripod, but I would like to get a proper driven mount at some time in the future when some more spare cash is available.

So tonight is the first time it will be used for serious observing. There is an occultation of the star Antares and the sky looks like it will be clear so this will be my first opportunity to do some astronomy since my extensive photography of Comet McNaught at the start of the year. Mid winter day was a few days back so it will be nice and cool, but that's just one of the joys of astronomy in New Zealand in winter!

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Comment 1 (719) by Tamy on 2007-07-18 at 16:57:21:

Indeed, "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handywork." Must be beautiful through a telescope!

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Comment 2 (721) by OJB on 2007-07-18 at 18:18:55:

Yes, well I wouldn't go with the religious reference since I'm an atheist, but I know what you are saying and agree in a slightly different way - just remove the reference to god!

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Comment 3 (726) by Tamy on 2007-07-20 at 08:45:11:

This universe runs like a very fine clock... It is astounding to observe it! I cannot remove the creator from what was created, any more than I can deny Michealangelo credit for his beautiful works.

Yet I respect your decision to call yourself atheist.

May I point out that there is a difference between religion and relationship with God?

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Comment 4 (727) by OJB on 2007-07-20 at 09:20:48:

Well, it doesn't really. There are a lot of chaotic events which occur under the control of some basic laws. Invoking a creator is neither necessary nor sensible. If you require a creator to explain the amazing complexity, beauty, etc of the Universe how do you explain the even greater beauty, complexity, etc of the creator? Surely that would also require a creator, and so the argument would go on indefinitely. This has always seemed to be a big weakness in the religious creation myths.

I don't think there is a real "difference between religion and relationship with God". If you ask people if they are religious they will usually say no. Everyone thinks their belief is a relationship with god and other beliefs are religions. The Christians think they are right and the Muslims are wrong and vv for the Muslims. In reality they are all wrong and just deluded by a slightly different belief system which requires them to think its the one "true" belief.

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