by Theodore R. Frimet
to teet, or not to teet? that is the question
I had entered an order into eBay a few weeks ago. It was for a slide study on meiosis. The seller had access to slides, presumably all the same (the growing tip of some typical specious plant). The purveyor of the micro-slides circled the ostentatious breaks that visually were representative of each meiotic phase.
I put in a best offer. It was declined. I put in a better, best offer. It was declined, again. I put in a highest, best-offer, one cent below the ask price. It too was declined. I wrote into eBay describing my disenchantment, and offered a suggestion to the seller. That they get on-board. The result was that they increased their sales price. No meiosis slides for mr wordy.
Truth be told, even at the higher price, it appeared to be a bargain. In the interim, I completed a purchase order with a true, dyed-in-the wool, trusted seller, for a set of pathology slides. Happiness be thy name.
A short while later, I decided to place an order for a good used book on human histology. This arrived in the mail, just the other day. Unfortunately, the arrival coincided with my responsibility to be at Washington Crossing Park for our AAAP Observers Duty. So, no biology that evening.
The skies clouded out, and it rained. This was most unfortunate, as I had already promised to pick up our newly minted, and folded brochures, and to bring said folio to UACNJ the very next day. What to do? Forget about human histology, for awhile at least. And sleep thru the clouds and the rain – and make it a new day, on Saturday.
I picked up the brochures, and dutifully delivered them to the UACNJ site, where many associated astronomy clubs sport their menus for the taking. It was Astronomy Day, this Saturday, at Jenny Jump. And I was not to be disappointed.
What does this have to do with meiosis? Nothing at all, old sport. However, on Sunday, I did load up a cross section of Rabbit spinal cord, and by using Fiore’s Human Histology duly noted that horn cells, and some other similar structures simply are not to be found in rabbit pathology. Go figure. We are somehow very different, after-all.
I wonder if it is the same with the Cosmos? Probably not, as any sane physicist will tell you that all particular matter can be transformed into a structural relationship that establishes consciousness. And math could very well be used to describe your soul. Just as one would describe the apparent lack of particulates for wave-forms thru a solid, or liquid. Yet waves, and patterns that do not have a particle basis do exist in our reality. Ah souls do exist! Bring it on Max Tegmark, courtesy of a Ted Talks on YouTube.
I was sitting in the dark. Well, that is nothing do brag about, as all you amateur astronomers sit in the dark. Unless, that is, you are doing computational math and an analysis looking for clues in the puddle of data in front of you! Well, I had a red light. So, it wasn’t too dark. And the moon was half full, and the sky full of wispy clouds to refract the light of the night. Ok. I wasn’t sitting in the dark. If you weren’t such an accomplished amateur, and were new to the crowd, you’d bump your head, and say, “hey, it’s really very dark out here”!
People came and went, while looking thru a Baader and the sixteen inch, at the moon. Craters, basalt fields, terminator, oh my! It appeared to me that just about everyone that looked, had enjoyed their view. As for myself, I settled into a nice lawn chair, besides the scope, and chatted with a fellow amateur astronomer, and his daughter. The universe was very kind to me that evening. I had a great chat, with a long time amateur, and had the ear of budding new one!
“Should I get that ten inch telescope?”, she quipped. My two years of experience started to kick in. I felt the wheels turning. Molecular biology at its best. Histones were being unraveled in record time, while DNA, not being exposed to the lot of its nucleosome experience, became naked and exposed. Polymerase chain reactions were set into motion while DNA was being transcribed to vintage RNA – to be whisked away to many a tethered ribosome. Polypeptide chains were being made at the speed of a Ferrari. Well, maybe not. I think I drive like a snail and keep to the proverbial speed limit. My personal transcription best is probably at 45 mph. Proteins abounded and knocked sense out of my neural nets. And out, YES! – out came the whirlwind of amateur experience. Some correct, some not. You decide. Oh, pooh. “A ten inch”, you say?
My first go-to statement was a repeat of a very wise professional astronomer, Bill. “Dark skies trumps aperture”. I briefly explained that in years gone by, when the world was dark, and music wasn’t classical yet, that a 3 inch aperture was used to chart the night sky. And that a ten inch, although a fine instrument, to be sure, would not be necessary if she had access to dark skies (our budding amateur, did, by the way).
My second go-to statement was that it is the telescope that you use, the most, is the one you want. Too heavy and it stays in the closet. Never to come down a flight of stairs. I described my 12 inch Dob and the conditions by which it would fly to the netherlands of my backyard. Better be pretty good seeing for me to bring out the lazy susan, and a 60 pound accessory! The answer from said future scientist, “I could pick up the 10 inch, easily”. Good news, all around.
We had spoken a tad about the moon, and the use of a 16 inch telescope. Which of course was overkill. In fact it is a promoter of a deleterious visual cacophony of aberrations that are induced by seeing alone. Cells. And many cells fit into the behemoth diameter of a 16 inch scope.
I had briefed her on the cover I employ with my 12 inch Dob. And that it had a knock out of about 2 inches. And how it limited the cell archetype to one, instead of four, or five. Less, in the case of lunar observation, is best. Perhaps the same can be said of a good planetary view. Well, not Jupiter. And I always got unrivaled views of Saturn, this past year, with a full aperture. I was too giddy to test out a constriction on the old light bucket. Maybe this year?
That led to a discussion on Cherry Springs. Bring Dad, and yourself to Cherry Springs, during a warmer clime, and enjoy a star party. There will be many that will share the view with their scopes. And therein lay the rub. Here you will get your chance to get a view, of a spiral galaxy, with an 8 inch, and then with a 10 inch. Soon you will be able to tell me if the 2 inch aperture difference has sufficient gain, to merit the investment in time, money, and weight. And then it hit me. While you are at the star party, take note of the eyepieces. Dad, now nodding his head in agreement, silently conspired with me, as I suggested that you take note of the eyepieces employed.
You had a great view with that LX200 with the Baader, in an 8 inch, and for some reason, the view appears so similar in the 10 inch version, with an Explore Scientific? Get it? Yup. She did. And that led to our attempt to forge out a plan for the pursuit of eyepieces.
There is no doubt that the best in brand will yield a best in view. And command top dollar. So, if price is not an object, perhaps the level of skill is the limiting factor, therein. I explained that as I raised a young drummer, to do four-way playing – I was not going to throw an expensive, and complete drum set his way. We would start with a snare drum. Then add a high-hat. A cymbal, and a few weeks later, some Toms. A bass drum would follow. And a musician would emerge. And a full complement of the best drums would come his way. I said to our future daughter of the stars, to decide if it were to be best to add an eyepiece, one at a time, as needed. Or to jump to the chase, and purchase an entire set outright? Money was no object, remember? I think we all know what decision was made, that evening.
The 10 inch telescope remained, somewhere in the nether-lands at a discounted 20%. at NEAF. Or was it 10%? I dunno. However, I did manage to bring up the last charge in my arsenal of astronomical refusniks:
The scope you are planning on purchasing is mass manufactured. And although the company may give you its “high-five” that all is well – the mirrors that are so crucial to an aberration free view, well, may not be aberration free. Dad, being clued in, at this point, juxtaposed his club position and many good friends that would be able to test, test, and retest to satisfaction. Having said, let the company know that you expect nothing but the best, for your purchase dollars.
However, many a company that I have had the pleasure of giving that challenge to, has backed down. So where did that leave us to venture? I am name impaired. And it would have taken me at least 20 minutes, or more to remember the best of the best. So I cheated the moon-light, and lit up my smart phone. And keyed in a request. And out popped the name of names. The best of the best. Wait a minute. I forgot, and don’t want you to wait another 20 minutes for me to remember. Just a moment, let me get my smart phone…
Just as I reached for said beasty, the name popped into existence. TEETERS. See? Ferrari, after all. Zoom-Zoom.