I got my first telescope when I was in grade 5 or 6. It was given to me by my classmate and grade school best friend, John Silva. The scope was a Gilbert 3 inch Newtonian reflector mounted in a black cardboard tube with a plastic focuser and Ramsden eyepiece. At the time, it was more than I could ever happily dream of or hope to own. It came in a cardboard box that boasted 80x power and had enticing illustrations of Saturn and other heavenly bodies that a young observer could view. The scope was given to me used and with quite a few parts missing. I never-the-less spent countless hours happily tinkering with it and discovering my first lessons in optics. The view through the Gilbert scope brought distant objects unbelievably closer and became a source of endless delight even if the views were disorientingly upside down and mirror images of whatever was being observed. The little scope fired my imagination and fueled my early interest in astronomy.
Fifty years later, I am still a dabbling astronomer and now have a considerably larger home-built 16 inch Newtonian telescope. It is essentially a blown-up version of my first Gilbert scope. This seven hour exposure of the “Foxfur Nebula” NGC 2264 was taken through the 16 inch scope and a specialized CCD camera cooled to -15 degrees C. It is a strikingly beautiful hydrogen rich region in the constellation Orion where new stars are born. It is my way of saying hello and thank you to John Silva, my grade school classmate and best friend.
Date Imaged :
February 1, 2013
Astrodon HaGB 240:100:80 minutes
Stardust Observatory, Baguio