Tuesday, April 2, 2013

One Year One Scope - Now in Australia

A Lot Can Happen in a Year

I posted my first entry here on August 5th, 2012, just about seven months ago.  This blog was started as a way to record and share my efforts to build My New Telescope and my plan was to do it in one year.  A few weeks before that first post I was at the Golden State Star Party (GSSP) and I decided that the next time I attended, presumably in 2013, I would have a new telescope.  In fact, I had grand dreams of attending several summer star parties; GSSP, the Oregon Star Party, Calstar, maybe even the Riverside Telescope Makers Conference in May if the telescope was done early enough.

For a while, I was completely on track.  I ordered a mirror that should have been done around February, bought a kit that was finished in November and started on research for all the remaining parts.  There is a good chance the scope might have been completed right around this time, actually.  However, all of that changed when my work asked me to go to Australia for a few months.

Australia is Great

Well, I've been in Melbourne, Australia for over four months now, and it's wonderful.  The city is great, I've joined a local club and I even got out for some observing recently.  Originally, I was going to be back in Los Angeles around the end of May.  It would have been tight, but I probably would have made the GSSP.  Then the movie I'm working on got pushed a bit, and more work came in, which is fantastic, so I agreed to stay through September.  Obviously, this doomed any hope of actually completing my telescope in one year.

Fortunately, in more ways than one, my work offered me the chance to move to Australia long term.  How long term is sort of up to me, but it's going to be at least several years, so it's pretty long term.  This is exciting for two main reasons; First, I really like Melbourne and it's exciting to think about settling into a new city half way around the world... Second, in a strange turn of events it means I might actually make my One Year deadline.... Just in Australia.

Wrap it up and Ship it Out

After deciding that I'm moving here for the duration I started putting together plans to ship some things out here.  Along with two of my co-workers, who are moving out here, I arranged a shipping container from LA to Melbourne.  It's going to be nice to be able to keep a lot of my furniture and there should be room for all my clothes and other miscellaneous things.

Of course, among those things will be all my astronomy accessories, including my telescope kit!  Dennis from DobStuff.com finished my kit late last year and has been holding on to it for me awaiting my return.  This week he was kind enough to ship it out to my apartment in LA so it can be included in the container.  I've also been accumulating other parts that I need to complete the scope.  I should be in good shape when everything arrives in six to eight weeks.

The one big piece missing is my primary mirror.  Shortly after I came here to work, Terry Osahowski contacted me with a status update on my mirror.  At that time I figured I would not be back for several months, so I told him to take his time and he shuffled some other work in front of mine.  I've contacted him recently about my relocation and the possibility of shipping the mirror to Australia.  If all goes well, it should arrive around the same time as my shipping container.

So Will I Make It?

Right now it seems like I might have everything in my hands at the start of June.  That gives me just about one month to put everything together and get that new scope under the stars.  This is probably just doable, as I think a few solid weekends of work will get me there.... but... One of the reasons I set the one year deadline was to make it to the GSSP with my new scope, which is almost certainly not going to happen.

What I will aim to do is make it to the Astronomical Society of Victoria dark sky sight on the same weekend as the GSSP, which is July 7th this year.  This is the date of the new moon in July and should be a great time to try out the new scope under new skies.  I just hope it's as portable as I think it will be as I'll be stuffing it into a rental car and driving 150km!

I'm really going to miss going to the GSSP, it's been the highlight of my astronomical year since my first visit.  There must be some big star party near Melbourne I can schedule in to fill the void.  Let me know if you are a local astronomer who can recommend a local event.

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