Kilometers cycled: 101
Our first day out of Basel was the first day on the Rhine River. It's a straight line, it's a downhill slope, it's a sunny day, this is the bike tour we were looking for. And the next three weeks promise the same kind of cycling!
In Muttersholtz, a rural French town on the way to Strasbourg, we meet our host for the evening. She says her daughters have a telescope that they don't know how to use. That's our specialty.
After some vegetable stew, we set up our TeleVue-76 right next to an Omegon 700 mm refractor. Hey! We just used an Omegon telescope back in Munich! Shout out to our friends at Astroshop!
Astronomy is a hobby filled with high end equipment. You need to grind the optics and perfection, and then mount them so that they can be pointed at objects that are millions of light years away - crazy to think that you can do it from your backyard.
Sometimes, I like to remember that Galileo didn't have galaxy hunting equipment in his hands. His telescope magnified 20X. The field of view was so small that, when he made his moon sketches, he couldn't see the entire moon all at once! Our Omegon refractor easily outperforms his instrument.
So, you can learn something about astronomy with any telescope at all. We replace the battery in their finder and teach them how to point using the red dot. Then, we invent some clever tricks to make the Omegon easier to aim. In no time at all, our host has the hang of it, and by the time her husband comes home, she is teaching him how to use it!
Of course, we also give them a view through our TV-76, and shocked them with the views through our Nagler 6 eyepiece. Next, we do something that may shock some readers. We take the Nagler 6 eyepiece, and place it into the Omegon refractor. It was fun to compare the differences! The stray light is different, the blurriness is different. Even more fun is to take a basic eyepiece and place it into the TV-76!
Astronomy is always about pushing the limit of the technology, and stretching out further into space. But the moon is our closest neighbor and actually quite easy to see. John Dobson made his telescopes out of cardboard. Using a 25 cent eyepiece with a top-of-the-line refractor may not impress you, but it may surprise you. After all, it still works. I think it's an important reminder that anyone can make a discovery whether or not they're using the best equipment. Galileo did. And now our hosts can share views of the moon with their daughters - with a telescope they told us was broken.