|First Light with The LX-850|
Throughout the summer, I experimented with the scope under my brightly-lit suburban skies. Believe me, this scope has its share of idiosyncrasies. Moreover, Polaris is not visible from my home observing site making polar alignment a challenge. Consequently, most of my observations from home included the well-placed planets Jupiter and Saturn and the Moon.
October began with me never having really used the new scope under a dark sky. At night I could almost hear the poor telescope bucking around the garage trying to get out from beneath the light dome above the Baltimore-Washington Metro Area.
Ironically, a high school friend also purchased a new telescope this summer. He lives in Orlando, and I was able to fly down for a night to meet him and his new scope in a State Park close to The Everglades. While he worked, with his new scope, I occupied myself with my camera and tripod grabbing some quick shots of The Summer Milky Way.. Although we had a great time, the brilliant glow of The Milky Way made me miss my scope. Shortly thereafter, we planned to meet “midway” between our two homes.
We settled on The Stephen C. Foster State Park ( http://gastateparks.org/StephenCFoster ) deep in The Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia. I am not sure how Southern Georgia qualifies as “midway” between Florida and Maryland. But, my friend had just returned from The Caribbean with an ample supply of sipping rum, so I asked no questions.
Last year, Stephen C. Foster State Park was designated a Dark Sky Park meaning we could look forward to dark skies. I secured six days off of work, packed my 300-lb. telescope into my tiny two-door Fiat and began the long drive south.