Vacation time! - we need a travel scope!
Finally summer school break is here and we are eager to start our first trip to the U.S. When I asked my little one, which camera to take with us - either the small, light, waterproof, or, the big, heavy one but with best quality pictures, she immediately replied: "The best you've got, of course!" - who gave that to her?
During detailled route planning, I just realized that we will have many way points with direct relationship to astronomy but more importantly, we will be in one of the darkest areas in the U.S. just at new moon: in Death Valley National Park.
Ever since I found out, I am constantly thinking: really "only" with my best camera, or do we need a travel scope? Should we take one with us, or buy in the U.S. and take that back with us to Germany? Or buy it in the U.S., use it and at the end of our tour, donate it to an astronomical society for outreach?
All those questions were on my mind and I started studying the availability of travel Dobsonians - I also could re-use this scope during star parties in Germany, as long as it doesn't eat up too much of space in my tiny tunk.
But I had to learn: really small and lightweight but still sturdy is none of the available Dobsonians, even if they employ a truss construction or are labelled as "travel dob". And if they are quite good at small and lightweight, they lack in their sturdiness. But a few days ago, I came across this site: http://reise-teleskop.de
And guess what: Not only it is Made in Germany, but it is even very close, in Reutlingen, where I am twice a week.
So I immediately sent a request for an 8" or 10" Dobsonian, with focus on the question whether or not it is even reasonable to hope that it will be available within the next two weeks - I would accept an open box or used scope aswell. The answer I received was even better than expected: 8" Travel Dobsonian, built to order with 8kg of weight (Airline cabin baggage) would be available within these two weeks.
Today I was there and looked at the bigger brother 10". Looks very good, well built, sturdy, lightweight, hand made, custom built - so I ordered! And even better: If everything works out as planned, I will receive this beauty on Saturday of next week, right in time for the City Star Party in Stuttgart! http://www.teleskoptreffen.info/details/city-star-party/
NOW THAN would be a perfect first participation at that start party, with my new mobile telescope! So if everything works out fine, I will meet Reinhard Schulten from Reise-Teleskop at the star party, get my new scope and also an introduction how to asseble the dobsonian out of its box. I am already totally excitied - hopefully we will have clear skies in Stuttgart on August, 13th!