Monday, March 18, 2013

My Precious

My parents will tell you that a long LONG time ago, before I was dumb enough to want to be a doctor, my original ambition was to be an astronaut.
Yes, an astronaut.
It all started with two books my dad bought for me when we were up in KL for something-or-the-other. I remember being captivated by some books I saw in a bookstore and made a hell of a fuss over it. Spaceflight and Astronomy. Dad relented and got the the books, and I was hooked. I remember lovingly wrapping the books in plastic wrap.
I devoured them, and then reread them over and over again. And read whatever I could on space, astronomy, even UFOs. I was fascinated by all things related to the cosmo (I still am, but practicality prevails).
I remember the ecstasy when my dad's ex-boss gave me his old 50x zoom refractor telescope. I spent countless hours moon and stargazing. I learnt to pick out the constellations, and could name spacecrafts. Learnt how to rig the telescope into projection the image of the sun and sunspots (NEVER look directly at the sun, if ever you're dumb enough to think about it).
When I was older, I eventually founded the astronomy club in highschool (but sadly left for college before they eventually purchased their first telescope).
Oh the dreams I had.
But sadly, that was before the time Malaysia had a pseudo-space program and there was no such thing as buying a seat for yourself on the next rocket to orbit.
And so this silly boy went into his other calling instead.
But after a long lapse, my wife talked me into taking up this hobby again. Perhaps it was her way of getting me to rid our garage of junk.
"You can buy your telescope if you get rid of your tires. Maybe this is something you and the kids can do..."

So, I finally sold my 5-year old hardly-used winter tires. After all, since that first year I haven't driven the Porsche in the snow.
And with the extra change I got, I bought a telescope.
Nothing too fancy, but a Nexstar 4SE 4" Maksutov-Cassegrain reflector telescope. As tempted as I was to consider the 5" or even 6", I couldn't bring myself to blow $800 on a hobby I haven't pursued in over 15 years. Who knows, maybe I'd get bored after 5 mins. So I don't expect this to be hardcore, and probably isn't going to be too helpful for deep-space observation or photography, but it's a start. And I got a 8-24mm eyepiece to go with it.
It's on transit now, and I expect to get it this week. But admittedly, like a boy anxiously waiting for Santa on Christmas eve, I've been looking out for the UPS truck every night.
Except, this is a boy with a Visa and astronomy gear is not cheap and he's going to have to show a lot of restraint.
Will let you know how things pan out. But I'm excited. And maybe something I can change my job!


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