Do you have OHD?

How to diagnose and treat Obsessive Hobby Disorder.

If you can check off just one of the symptoms on the list below, you probably have OHD.

  • Do you check the clear sky chart before planning date-night with your significant other?
  • Do you find family time sidetracked by staring at a computer screen monitoring your mount’s tracking?
  • Do you wake up in the middle of the night, and instead of going right back to sleep, look outside to see if the sky is clear?
  • Have you ever called in sick to work because you were up all night imaging?
  • Do you START drinking coffee at 8PM because the sky is clear?
  • Do you disassemble, re-grease and test your mount because, Saturday?
  • Do you plan out the next 6 months of imaging wile you’re at work?
  • Is your bank account’s primary purpose to fund your next piece of astrophotography gear?
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Trip to Dark Skies

Last week, my family and I took a trip out to Galena, IL – about 3 hours West of Chicago. My wife and I frequent the area, but this was the first time we were taking the kids along. I took a video a couple days before we left, talking about my plans to shoot 2+ hours of the Eastern Veil Nebula in Chicago and then 2+ hours of the same object from Bortle 3 skies in Galena. I knew there would be a huge difference and I’d need to find a way to get to dark skies more often.

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Buying Your First Astrophotography Setup? Start Here… kind of

I often wonder if anybody in astronomy forums has had to struggle to figure out how to pay kids’ school fees and the mortgage in the same month, or forgo that pizza order to put gas in the car.

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Summer Opportunities for Everyone

June has arrived and the treasures of the Southern Milky Way are coming into a viewable window for me by about 11:30PM. Great objects like M51 and M101 are still perched high in the sky after dusk, but if I’m being honest, they don’t pique my interest as much as the brightness of the Lagoon Nebula, the colors of the Trifid or the majesty of the Eagle. Just like I wait for Andromeda and the Triangulum galaxies to rise up in August and dominate the fall, and Orion to take center stage in November to dominate the Winter. The Sagittarius arm of the Milky Way can contain a Summer full of imaging in itself.

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Milky Way Treasures

I haven’t been out under the stars much at all lately due to weather and busy schedules, but I found myself staring up last night at a clear sky. It was too windy, and too late to bring out the whole rig. I dragged out the mount and my daughter’s 70mm f10 toy scope to show her Jupiter. It was windy and seeing was terrible as a cold front had just come through in the afternoon. We had our ten minutes of fun looking at a fuzzy Jupiter and I brought in the scope, Leaving the mount out as there was no chance of rain.

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We Have a Scope, Now Where Do We Look?

You got your child their first telescope. It may be one of the ones I mentioned in my recommendations, or maybe you already had that department store telescope. What now? Where do you point? With a motorized GoTo telescope, you’ll start at Polaris (the North Star), select an object from the keypad, and off you go. The motorized mount will keep the object in the eyepiece for you. With a manual mount, you can just point and go, but you’ll have to continually track objects in the sky with manual adjustment knobs. With either scope you’ll want to have a planetariun app for your phone, tablet or computer to help you locate objects.

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So Your Child Wants a Telescope

At some point, if they haven’t already, your child may have an instant interest in space and you’ll want to help them along with a telescope. As with all kid’s interests, it may be fleeting, or it may be more persistent. Buying the cheapest telescope you can find is sure to make it a very temporary experience. Telescopes and mounts range from $30 to more than most houses. The $30 scope will be a useless toy, and the higher end scope would most likely sit in a permanent observatory. You don’t have to spend thousands for an enjoyable experience, but you’re best off spending a few hundred dollars (US) to avoid a lot of pitfalls common with beginners.

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