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Orion has made the difficult decision to close our warehouse facility in the Netherlands. With the continuing supply chain/logistics challenges and slowness in the economy we have found that it is not economically feasible to maintain operations in the UK and Europe.

We have therefore stopped taking orders on this website. We apologize for any inconvenience.

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Mid-winter Trifecta
Mid-winter Trifecta

I?ve always been interested in astronomy but had never looked through a telescope that had usable optics. The one or two times I had looked through a telescope were thoroughly uninspiring and totally disappointing. I guessed there really just wasn?t that much to see.

I was in Florida visiting my brother in Feb 04. He had a new telescope his wife to be had given him for his birthday and he wanted to show it to me. I was prepared to be disappointed again but moderately interested. It was a beautiful night in Southwest Florida. The sky was full of stars and the moon was a gold crescent hanging in the sky to the west. Two of the brighter objects above were planets, or so I was told.

The small telescope was setup, aligned using some sort of procedure, and then aimed towards the first planet. I put my face up to the eyepiece.

My jaw fell to my chest. I forgot to breathe. There was Jupiter, mysterious bands, 4 moons, just suspended there, simply amazing! The longer I looked, the more I began to see. I took in the view for several minutes as the scope motor hummed keeping pace with the moving sky. Now I was excited! Next stop was the "other planet". The scope hummed louder and moved to the west....Saturn!....and RINGS! Absolutely beautiful! It couldn?t be real. I looked up over the scope several times to convince myself I was really seeing this. It WAS real! I had seen, really seen, other worlds for the first time in my forty some odd years.

I felt the excitement of discovery that I hadn?t felt since I was a kid.

One of my first coherent thoughts was "I?ve got to get pictures of this". It was almost time to go but for the few remaining minutes I decided to look at something that was familiar. Again, the scope hummed louder and the old comfortable moon became the target... BUT WAIT!!

There are mountains on the moon!! I don?t know that place at all. How could it have been there all this time and I didn?t know there were mountains? I was astounded at how little I knew about things I saw all the time, but had never really seen.

Trees began to blot out the mountains on the moon as the sky moved.

I had to have one more quick look at the "planets" and then I had to go.

But, I?d hit the mid-winter trifecta and it?s been paying off ever since. I now have a hobby that includes taking those pictures I?d thought about and each time out I have a new discovery. At least new to me.

I?ll never be the same.

Date Taken: 06/14/2011
Author: Bill G
Category: Orion's Astronomy Essay Contest (2009)

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