I feel that I owe an apology to anyone who has been following this blog. I have posted on topics far from the original subject even though it is not structured to make reading topics separately very convenient. The “Categories” headings are the best tool available to deal with this so I hope folks will try to make use of those. The primary topic is still the LX850 mount and now that I have an OTA available for testing that will be come the secondary subject and I will add an appropriate category for the OTA and add existing OTA posts to that. There is also a relatively unrelated category of Astronomy Outreach which be used less frequently but will give me an opportunity to post on other astro topics. This post, for example, will be there as well as in a new “Announcements” category to be created. I hope that with a little organizational effort on my part I can make this site a little friendlier and perhaps more useful.
My other regret is that there are occasional extended “dark” periods here. Due to weather, health, or other distractions I sometimes don’t get into the observatory for months at a time (for example, right now). When that happens there frequently isn’t much to say here.I hope that folks don’t lose interest or give up on the site. I expect to become more active as weather improves and will be doing further long exposure mount testing, DSO imaging with the 12″ F/8 OTA, and some planetary imaging with the Meade OTA and a Nexstar 5. If that latter part goes really well I’ll be upgrading the camera for more serious planet work.
Now to the “Transitions” topic. Many who see this site were directed here by Cloudy Nights ( www.cloudynights.com ), arguably the premier astronomy discussion site (and the ONLY site in which I have mentioned this blog). I first joined in April 2003 so I’ve been around to see it grow and become the popular site it is. I’ve posted over 32,000 comments there, mostly in gear discussions. Users will, no doubt, have noticed that it went dark this morning. This was planned, and was announced as widely as practical but inevitably some will have missed the announcement. What is happening is that the site has outgrown the archaic software framework in which it was born and a new structure has been purchased and is being implemented. All existing discussion board structure and content is being transferred as I type this, and the new Cloudy Nights site will go active as soon as possible; perhaps even tomorrow. It will look different and have new functions and some (including myself) will at first be uncomfortable with the changes. I remember how much traffic the Astromart discussion boards lost when they restructured a few years ago. I intend to go ahead and use the new site until it becomes familiar and comfortable, and I urge other users to give it a chance as well. The decision wasn’t lightly made, and it will substantially increase operating costs for our sponsor (Astronomics). It was done because it became necessary. The site had simply outgrown the existing structure and a replacement was required.