Sep 12, 2008

Parenting: Doing things together and having fun.


Very recently and so suddenly, I got interested on picking up a new hobby that I can share and do together with my family on weeknights. I remembered my son asking me to buy a telescope so he can see the stars closely and his incessant interest never stopped asking me questions about the sky and planets. This has somewhat gave me an idea to have astronomy as my new hobby, after all; space fascinates me as well ever since I was a small kid just like what my son is now.

And so the search for a good telescope began. My criteria for a good startup telescope must be of a high-quality and not over $US1,000.00. In the process of searching and filtering for the good ones, I got overwhelmed with the choices because there are simply a lot of really good ones you can buy on the internet. Some even have computer-based directional system!

I was also looking for an astronomy club here in Cebu and wasn't successful on that either. However, I stumbled on a website of one bigtime astrographer (Mr. Christopher Go) here in Cebu and started to amaze on the photos of the planets he took. I was somewhat envious also on the battery of scopes he has which must have cost fortunes to acquire one. I contacted the guy and asked for advice on how, as a beginning hobbyist, should start and what I would need. This was what he advised me in his email:

Hi Dan,

I would recommend that you purchase a star map and binoculars to start with.  Familiarize the stars, planets, constellations and some deep sky objects.  After this you can move up to telescopes.  Don't buy junk telescopes normally sold is department stores or sports shop.  These are difficult and frustrating to use.  When you are ready to invest to a good telescope, you have hundreds of choices all of which depends on what you want to do and your budget.  A telescope can range from US$300 to US$30,000.


I was very thankful for his very practical advice and I'd say, that is how we (my son and I) should start. So there I have it. I should only be buying first, a good pair of binoculars and a star map.

Again, the objective here is not to get any of you readers to jump intro astronomy right away. You can pick-up any activity which your kids and your wife can share on weeknights. The fun part here is when you share and do things together as a family.

Have fun!

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