Becky Coretti

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My first introduction to astronomy was in the early summer of 1999. I saw a photo in a magazine by the Hubble Space Telescope titled “Pillars of Creation”. A little reading revealed very little, and I decided to buy a telescope to see it for myself. Less than 2 weeks later, I walked into the Discovery Channel store and bought a very impressive-looking shiny white telescope. It was a Meade 4500 and it had a colorful tag showing very detailed pictures of Saturn and some other colorful cloud-looking object. I decided it was exactly what I needed. This telescope was on sale for $250 including the tripod (whew! I didn’t even think about that….). I walked out very happy, and I couldn’t wait to go outside and see Saturn and that beautiful cloud-looking thing. Well, my joy was short lived. Where was Saturn? Where was that cloud-looking thing? Why can’t I see anything?

With the help of a friend, I learned that not everything was up in the sky all the time just waiting for me to discover. The planets and stars rise and set just as the sun and moon. I learned that a Telrad is worth its weight in gold. I bought a star atlas and began to learn the sky.
I quickly discovered that east Ft Lauderdale is no place to observe and learned of a dark site in Big Cypress National Preserve; “Area 51”. This became the place I would do all of my observing. By December I was itching for a new telescope; something bigger.

My first star party was the Winter Star Party in 2000. There I met so many people and learned that astronomy is a rare hobby – so many people willing to do anything to help another along; to be successful. By this time, I knew I wanted another telescope, but I didn’t know what kind. I looked through many, many telescopes. But on one of those nights, I climbed a ladder and viewed Saturn through a 20” Obsession. I fell in love! I placed my order for a 15” Obsession and it came in October of that year. The only addition / modification I have made to my Obsession is a Compact Equatorial Platform built by Tom Osypowski. It has been the single best investment I made for my scope.

I do not have setting circles or “Go To”. If I want to see something, I need to find it. Personally, I enjoy the chase of finding an object. For me, the elusiveness of an object simply makes it more desirable. In some cases, I find other “jewels” along the way, and in some cases I end up very frustrated (M1 in a 4.5” reflector from Ft Lauderdale, for example). On occasion I have abandoned my search until I can fully research the object (perhaps the “Twin Lens Quasar” is beyond my reach…..), but in most of these cases, a deeper chart is all that is needed (Uranometria ROCKS!).