Seasons Greetings {!firstname},

Many of us in the hobby of astronomy are fair weather astronomers.
When the nights are cold, the incentive to bundle up and step outside to check out the night
sky may not be appealing as watching another episode of the Amazing Race.

This is especially true if you own a large telescope. It can be a lot of effort and work
to lug it out, set it up and use it for a few hours.

I found a solution to this problem, and that is to have  a portable "grab and go"|
telescope. One that is lightweight, assembled and ready to use immediately.
That way, if it's clear, I can get an astronomy "fix", even if its for a short period of time.

I have an sturdy alt-azimuth tripod, with slow motion controls, and prefer to star hop.

My personal favourite is a William Optics 80mm apo refractor, but a compact SCT telescope or newtonian reflector
on a lightweight mount might be your cup of tea.

You could use a lightweight computerized scope as well. The Meade ETX 80AT (refractor) t is a good
choice, or the Meade 4.5 computerized reflector.

Even a pair of binoculars such as an 8 x 56
Celestron or a Vixen  10 x 50 Wide angle  make an ideal choice. Both give you good contrast
and optical performance at a reasonable price. You can't go wrong with the Nikon 10 x 50 either!

For daytime astronomy, and observing the activity on the Sun, I use a Coronado Personal Solar Telescope
or PST as it is more commonly known. I use this on a motorized lightweight alt-azimuth mount made
by Meade Instruments, and it works like charm.

You will find that even getting out for a very short observing session, can be quite refreshing, and you
don't feel like you are missing out.

The Winter skies can be some of the very best!  Bundle up, take a thermos mug of cocoa or hot chocolate
and enjoy the peace and beauty of a Winter night Sky ,[[firstname]]!

Clear Skies,

Ray Khan

PS If you have any tips that make Winter observing easier, please drop me a line,
so I can pass them on.

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