Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Big Bertha & A Mighty Wind

I've mentioned Big Bertha before--my 17.5" reflector. (There's a picture at that link of it.) I've had it sitting in the back yard the last several months, since it is only portable if you can pick up 250 pounds by yourself. It has been adequately protected from the weather by an enormous tarp. After several attempts at getting it to lie flat, and not have the winds pull the tarp off of it, my wife suggested that I aim Big Bertha skyward, and then drape the tarp over Big Bertha rather in the manner of a condom--which, until now, has worked quite well.

Anyway, this evening we had very heavy rain--and a remarkably heavy wind to go with it. It didn't topple Big Bertha. It appears to have lifted it right off the eight or nine inch long pivot pin that allows it rotate in azimuth. Nothing was damaged (except, perhaps, the grass where it landed), but this solved the question of whether to bring it into the garage or not.

I've been planning for some weeks to move Big Bertha up to the new house. Partly, the new house (once the skies clear) will have much darker skies than we have here in Boise. Partly, Big Bertha creates a pretty substantial dead patch on the lawn. Moving it now gives the grass a chance to regrow before summer, when we will put this house on the market. The third reason for moving Big Bertha into the garage is that I am planning to put casters under its base so that I can roll it in and out of the garage at the new house.

There's nothing quite like carrying a massive telescope into the house during a rain and wind storm. Everyone should do it once.

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