Gazing at the night sky has always filled me with awe and wonder. With the exception of Orion and The Big Dipper, I never learned the names or locations of constellations/asterisms or saw the need to remember details about the planets in our solar system. I never had a telescope as a kid nor do I remember ever wanting one.

All that changed when I learned there were three observatories within a hours drive. Peering through the old telescope at the Ladd Observatory one night I saw Saturn and its rings for the first time with my own eyes. It was amazing.

Since that night, I’ve visited Frosty Drew Observatory and Seagrave Memorial Observatory. Each time I made it a point to talk with the amateur guys setup outside with their scopes. They were all different but all shared the same enthusiasm that I was starting to develop.

Moving north to New Hampshire I’ve gone from Class 7-9 skies to Class 4, a dramatic difference in the darkness of the sky. Naturally, I started looking at the night sky more often. I also joined a few astronomy forums looking for recommendations on where to get started. Many posts recommended starting with binoculars, so I did. I have a nice pair of Nikon 7430 Monarch 8x42mm All-Terrain Binoculars but they are more suited to bird watching than star gazing.

Recently I’ve acquired an Apertura AD8 Dobsonian Reflector Telescope and will be using this site to track my experiences with it and document my observations.