o my adopted daughter’s kids loved looking through my scope in a backyard observing session a year back. Turns out my sister found an old, reliable (sorta) Meade, just a lightweight scope with simple knobs and a dodgy spotter scope. She got it for $20 at Goodwill (and if there is something the poor need, it’s access to clear night skies).
Anyway, it was in pretty bad shape. Tonight I spent the evening cleaning it up, tightening the tracks (it’s still a bit loose for my tastes) and trying to get the spotter to line up (never did). But with Jupiter back in the neighborhood and rising in the early evening, it gave me a perfect item to sight on.
So I looked for a while. Without the spotter, the smaller 9mm is a bit tricky to lock onto things – I had to manually sight down the barrel and do some fiddling to bring it into play (also, the scope still wanders). But Jupiter is such that even the weaker scope gives an eyeball a good run for the money. Even better, the Meade is lighter – I can carry it one-handed (unlike that Orion with the brick of a counter-weight – a two-handed puff-a-thon). Anyway, I think this should be a good scope for the three kids.
It might be a gateway scope to bigger things. They can thank me in twenty years when they’re swatting mosquitos and dropping lens caps in dark fields.