Happy New Year to all my readers.
My last blog post was back in April when I had used my XT10i telescope as a theodolite measuring levels for my new pond.
Blimey, after a whole years work on our new koi pond and patio I am only just getting back to doing some astronomy. My favourite hobby has been sorely neglected during the summer months, with us regularly not finishing work on building the pond until 9 or 10pm at night after cleaning and putting tools away. And then by the time we’ve had supper I’ve been just plain too knackered to start getting my telescopes out.
To celebrate we had a grand pond opening party to which all our family, friends and neighbours were invited, and about 60 people turned up. This had become a bit of a community project with regular visits from people interested to see how it was getting on. Some days we had 6 people helping, lugging bricks, blocks, cement or making tea!
Here are the kids trying out the stepping stones, the morning after the party in November. We had lots of booze, lots of fireworks, and quite a few hangovers the next morning.
My XT10i Telescope was also the centre of attention at the party later in the evening. Lots of people saw it in the conservatory and begged me to set it up for them to look through. They were amazed at the view of the moon, Jupiter, and Orion nebula which were nice easy, and pleasing objects for them to see, so I felt I did a little bit for 2009 Astronomy Year!
Here are the grand-children at the waterfall and filter end of the pond. Lara is standing on top of the lid which opens up to reveal the pump house and filters, to allow maintenance on the pond filters. Behind the wall is a 500 litre water tank which stores waste water from the pond for watering the garden.
Above: Brian and my wife Barb enjoying a coffee break in the sunshine, sitting on the newly created steps that lead up to the pagoda.
The picture above gives an idea of the depth of the pond, and the sturdy construction of the stepping stones. And below is the underground filter pit which houses the bio-filters, water pumps, air-pump, ultra violet clarifier, electronic blanket weed controller, sump-pump and water level float switches, and the various electrics to control it all.
So now that my koi and other fish are happy in their new bigger pond, I can hopefully get back to updating my XT10 website and tell you about some of the other things I’ve been doing related to astronomy.
For instance the improvements I made to my 20×80 binoculars to make them easier to use.
And the electronic dew controller I have built for my Celestron C6-SGT scope.
And applying the Steve Chambers long exposure mod to my SPC900NC webcam.
That’s it for now, but more details about these things very soon.