Mix up Your Observing; Father's Day Tribute

Close up of the sunset from the West Desert of Utah. 

Actual view of the sunset from the West Desert of Utah. 

Well, the last two nights have been wonderful . . . well kinda of.  Last week I had a root canal done on tooth 26, my lower right lateral incisor and the pain from the tooth is gone, kinda of.  Last night though I noticed that I was biting on that tooth or even while speaking hitting that tooth with its upper companion before I hit any other; in other words my bite is off.  After two and a half hours of observing last night, I started to get intense, and I mean intense pain.  I had this happen once before and I believe when my dentist did the build up on the tooth, it wasn't adjusted so I am aggravating the ligament that holds the tooth to the jaw.  Man, it hurts and I can't wait to see my dentist on Monday morning to fix this. Besides later posting the observing details and sketches, I got a new eyepiece, the 20mm Explore Scientific 68 degree.  I used it the last two nights as my finder eyepiece and to observe with and I'll later post a review on that eyepiece later.

On to the heart of the post.  I will state that last two nights have been truly wonderful.  I have to admit that I have felt in a "funk" lately with observing.  I then realized why.  I have been chasing lists now for five plus years as a way to organize and improve myself as an observer.  For me, it has really worked and helped.  However, I have a tendency to get fixated when I do something like this, which isn't bad, but it can lead to me getting bored.  So I changed up the last two nights how I have been observing.  This has brought a refreshment of enjoyment and a flood of ideas to me.  It's nothing magical, but it worked.  I picked two constellations that I haven't been too in several years, and really began to work them.  They were Canes Venatici and Cygnus.  I have spent most of my time in Canes Venatici and working the galaxies there from 11:00pm MDT to around 2:00pm MDT.  Cygnus will come this week after I get my tooth and jaw fixed.

I won't post all the details as I have to photograph and then post my sketches and write up the observation, but I had a blast. I felt no pressure to rush through objects, I took my time observing the objects and sketching them and feel I've did some really good jobs in sketching. I realized that besides varying the amount of pastel that I use, I need to slow my sketching down.  The quality of the sketch really improves as I take my time, again something I know but needed to realize again.  I saw arms, mottling and other such objects.  The good news is that all of the objects I observed also are on either the H400 II, the 2500 or the NGC so I covered my lists without even thinking about it.  So, if your in an observing funk, then mix up what your doing since change is the only constant in life, and see if you can make it fun again for yourself!  So, this week my two adult children (Kendra and Nathan who are 19 and 18) are getting their wisdom teeth removed tomorrow, and I have to get my own tooth fixed.  So I won't be heading out on Monday.  I'm planning on Tuesday, Wednesday and possibly Thursday (if I'm not burned out) heading out to my favorite dark site, camping if my tooth will allow it, and finishing up Canes Venatici and then working in Cygnus and Hercules.  One evening I am going to chase only planetary nebula, my favorite objects and sketching them.  Man I am excited and feel like a kid at Christmas.

On another note.  Today is Father's Day and as I drove home last night, I thought of my own father.  On June 22nd, it will have been 30 years since my father passed away.  Wow, that just blows me away.  Time is so fleeting as I realized with my kids being out of high school, watching the spring constellations fade, then the summer constellations rise and then they faded as fall and a couple of winter stars appeared before morning last night.  Time really does pass by so quickly. My father's passing brought a very dark time to my life and the life of my family, times I don't honestly like to reflect on or think about, let alone discuss outside of my family.  Yet, with age comes the beginning of wisdom I guess and as I reflect on the short 17 years that my father was in my life, I marked how much of an influence he has had on me. My father, like myself and all of us, was not a perfect man. He had some things he did that just drove me nuts, and other things that were amazing to me. He gave me a love of music, exposing me to all types of genres of music, something I am very grateful for. My father instilled in me a love of learning, of history and of reading and using my imagination. My father disciplined sternly and then followed up lovingly not to change the consequences, but to know that the consequence met he loved me, and though he may not like the choice I had made, that he still loved me, something important to a boy who was sensitive. My father taught me to drive and gave me the freedom that came with driving and to work on cars.  His perfectionist approach to everything in life marked me with a similar approach, yet different in the sense that I need to push myself, to grow and to do my best.

As a father now for 19 and 18 years of two kids, I realize how hard it is to be a parent. I know that either Kendra or Nathan could share my own imperfections, my own annoying habits, my own quirkiness with you.  I also hope that above all they know that I love them, and that I have tried to do my best.  I guess my point is though and here is the astronomy tie in, father's have a life long impact on their children, more than they ever will know.  I have posted here, and still have the little zoom telescope that my father used and let me use to look at the moon and the planets. That little gesture on his part sparked a deep and lasting enjoyment in amateur astronomy.  My father sparked an interest that came out as an adult and that gives me pleasure and relaxation.  My father, though being gone for 30 years, continues to impact my life in a positive way and thus, has impacted my family, my kids and will continue to do so, as long as they or I am alive.  Yes, tell your father's you love them, think of their impact on you, and if they are not here, raise a toast to them in your heart or by a glass of your favorite drink in their memory. Thanks Dad, for everything.  If your a dad, Happy Father's Day to you.