We love our customers! And we love learning more about their passion for observing and astro-imaging! Periodically, we interview and profile individual customers and astronomy clubs so that the larger Orion community can enjoy and benefit from their excitement. We've collected all of our recent profiles here, and we invite you to read along with us and find out why these astronomers are so enthused about the hobby!
Over the past several years, many amateur astronomers have noticed a decline in the number of people participating in the hobby of stargazing. While this decline is not caused by a lack of interest in space, it is more of a general lack of understanding about how to get involved in amateur astronomy. With so many immediate-gratification entertainment options available to folks through their TV, computer, or hand-held device, it can easily be argued that the traditional approach of learning the night sky through observation is losing relevance among younger people. New creative approaches and a dedicated outreach effort are required in order to educate the next generation about space science. The Astronomy Outreach…
Orion customer Barry E. has been delighting the Orion staff recently with his gorgeous astro-images. Whenever we see a new astro-image submitted by Barry, we know our eyes are in for a treat. In fact, one of his beautiful astro-images was selected as our 3rd place winner in the Deep-Sky category of our 5th Annual StarShoot Photo Contest! Like so many of us, Barry has enjoyed a lifelong fascination with the night sky. We recently contacted Barry to ask how he first became interested in the hobby, and we'd like to share his comments with you.
Dean Regas is a man of vision. A forward-thinking young educator, he was determined to do something significant to honor the "International Year of Astronomy" and the 400th Anniversary of Galileo's scientific use of the telescope. As Outreach Astronomer at the Cincinnati Observatory "The Birthplace of American Astronomy," he felt a special responsibility to make a mark. After all, the Cincinnati Observatory was the first public observatory in the Western hemisphere and is home to the world's oldest professional telescope in nightly use by the general public.
As one of Orion's foremost customers, Doug H. of Temecula, CA, has configured a setup that most astro-imagers can only dream of. That's pretty amazing, considering Doug started imaging just 8 months ago. He began with planetary imaging but soon found he wanted to shoot deep-sky objects too. Doug's enthusiasm for astrophotography grew with the satisfaction that came from taking his own pictures. "Verifying objects in the sky with my own equipment is an excitement hard to describe. Some people don't understand it, but the self-satisfaction of knowing that "I" imaged an object is more rewarding than words can describe. By the way, it's great to share my astro-images with family and friends too!".
What began as a childhood passion for stargazing, has developed into a healthy obsession with astro-imaging. Just ask Jamie B. of Chesnee, South Carolina, who's been peering up at the night sky since he was about 12 years old. Now, some 22 years later, Jamie has put together an Orion imaging solution that has helped him capture one of his childhood dreams, not to mention some truly amazing astro-images.
Since Jamie started imaging in November 2007, he has come to appreciate that taking professional-quality astrophotos doesn't require years of experience or a bottomless bank account. "The new digital cameras have made that a …
Dedicated Orion customer Jeff W. has been enjoying views of the night sky and its many wonders since his days as a Cub Scout. Since then, Jeff has built his own telescope and eyepieces and has used a perpetually growing supply of Orion telescopes and accessories to enhance his observations. Jeff was kind enough to recently share a few words with us, including some sage advice for those just starting out:
How did you become interested in astronomy, and how long have you been actively observing?
I think I've always been interested in Astronomy, at least since I was quite young. Our Cub Scout troop had an outing to an amateur astronomer's home, where we all got to look at…
Since his first sight of Saturn through a telescope, Jimmy has amassed a collection of Orion gear he and his family use for observational astronomy and astro-imaging. In fact, Jimmy's talent for photography resulted in his beautiful image of the Sun getting onto our Summer 2012 catalog cover!
How did you become interested in astronomy, and how long have you been actively observing?
I have had an interest in astronomy since childhood, but it wasn't until about seven years ago that I became actively involved in observing and learning the sky. A coworker…
The Grand Prize winner of our How Much Astronomy Gear Can You Fit in Your Car Contest, Joe L. of Illinois, was able to pack an astonishing amount of observing equipment, accessories, and other goodies into his car. Not only did Joe pack a LOT of gear, but he and his wife Mary took this beautiful picture of everything ready for action, complete with star trails overhead. Now, Joe has another piece of equipment to pack up, his Grand Prize XX12i Truss Tube Intelli-Scope Dob ($1299.95 value)! Luckily, the Truss Tube design conveniently breaks down for easy transport!
Joe sent in the photo above of himself, Mary, and their prize XX12i…
Michael only had a small telescope, but it was enough to help his friend understand the dark sky – and confront his fears. Congratulations, Michael. Have fun scanning the skies with your new SkyQuest XX12i Truss Tube IntelliScope Dobsonian Telescope!
Here is Michael's essay:
"Dee often looked up, and he loved the sky, but he had stopped asking questions in the fourth grade. That was a long time ago, and now he was a business owner with daily concerns. Still, in the night…"
Five year old Jace has his eyes on the sky. With aspirations to become an astronaut, Jace and his father Michael have been spending some quality time with the night sky and their Orion SkyQuest XT8 Classic Dob. Michael wrote us about his first night out with Jace in the backyard with their new telescope.
We were inspired by their story, so we'd like to share it…
"I have been an astronomy fan for a long time. As a child I watched Carl Sagan's Cosmos, all the Nova and PBS…
Like many holiday stories, this one begins with a jolly man in a red suit with an inclination to give gifts. Well, half a red suit anyway. While on the way to a holiday event, New Hampshire Astronomical Society public observing coordinator Marc Stowbridge visited a local store while wearing the bottom half of a Santa costume. Marc engaged in a conversation with the store owner about a dream of having a quality telescope available in every town for the community to use so they could enjoy the many wonders of the night sky. After a little bit of time, and a lot of effort on the part of the store, its customers and NHAS members, the NHAS Library Telescope Program was born…
Roger Ivester has been observing the deep sky for 47 years. A visual observer in North Carolina, he has compiled over 1,000 pencil sketches and thousands of notes on the objects he has observed.
Astronomy writer Fred Rayworth says: ?Roger is an extremely accomplished visual observer and astronomical artist. Not only does he eke out visual details others miss, he draws those objects as they are actually seen in the eyepiece, not some artistic rendering inspired by Hubble Images. A dedicated visual observer, he is unequaled in his dedication and accomplishments.?
With literally hundreds of astronomy clubs across the United States alone, the
fascinating hobby of stargazing continues to thrive and inspire young and old alike to explore the starry heavens. Such clubs provide an excellent resource for individuals to observe, learn about and discover astronomical wonders. Nowhere is this truth more evident than with the Seattle Astronomical Society. Recently, we caught up with longtime member Mike L., who agreed to share his insights regarding the club and astronomy in the Seattle area.
The Seattle Astronomical Society (SAS) has been in existence for over 60 years. One member can recall attending SAS meetings at Broadway High School in 1948…
When Orion introduced its revolutionary new XX12i Truss Tube Dobsonian last Fall, it wasn't long before Dr. Steven B. of Newton, Iowa, had one delivered to his home. You see, the doctor admittedly suffers from a serious case of 'aperture fever'. It all started some 12 years ago, when he helped his youngest granddaughter write a small book about the planets, for a school project. Since then, Steven's interest in astronomy and stargazing has grown to epic proportions. Recently, we caught up with Dr. B. to see how he's been enjoying his new telescope.
Where do you do most of your observing, and how do you decide what to observe?…
When it comes to the challenge of portability in large-aperture telescopes, Terri W.k of Sherwood, Wisconsin is the perfect case in point. For this petite 5' 4" avid stargazer, weight and bulk are critical factors in deciding which telescope to use and transport on a regular basis. We were pleased to learn about Terri's excitement when she discovered our new XX12i Truss Tube Dobsonian with IntelliScope technology. Recently, we asked Terri a few questions about her passion for stargazing and the newest addition to her "light-gathering" family…
How did you become interested in astronomy, and how long have you been actively observing?…