Porsches and planets

Howard Ritter


As owner of a William Optics FLT91 (not quite Stowaway territory, but nice), onetime serial 911 owner, past attendee of TSP, past visitor to Big Bend NP, once briefly a Texan, brother to a Dallasite, and father of a Philip, I enjoyed your account of a dark-sky pilgrimage to deepest darkest Texas on multiple levels. My best dark-sky experiences were at TSP ’94 and a stay in our RV at BBNP in 2014 (which I wrote about in Sky & Telescope’s Focal Point column in Feb ’15).

I recently took my FLT91 along on a short trip to a state park near my hometown, which is in darker skies than where we now live. Because I have my 155EDF at home, I’d never viewed planets with the smaller refractor. I did on this trip, and I have to agree, the view through a small aperture can be remarkably good. The smallness seems to enhance contrast, sharpness and detail and to make poor seeing less obvious. With a 3.5mm Nagler at 150x, I could see Jupiter’s GRS and Saturn’s Cassini division as well as multiple satellites. It took me back to when I had my first glimpses of both as a boy with an Edmund Scientific 3” Newtonian.

Clear, dark and steady!