Adventures in Amateur Astronomy-Part I

I had many reasons not to get a telescope, from lack of storage space, to the lack of a safe, dimly-lit place to stargaze. So, naturally, when asked what I wanted for my birthday this year, I’d already chosen the model of telescope I wanted.

I chose the Orion 4.5 starblast based on several recommendations;  the telescope has a reputation of being good for beginners. I ordered a model with an equatorial mount because it was not recommended for beginners. If I’m going to learn astronomy, I figured, I should learn astronomy. Once I get used to finding and tracking objects on my own, I’ll look into computerized object locators and motorized tracking.

I felt giddy with anticipation as my birthday drew near, but I managed to wait until midnight on my birthday to open it. I wasn’t able to do a very thorough examination of the box’s contents, due to an unexpected illness in the family, and I spent the next day in the doctor’s office.

The day after my birthday, however, I was able to begin setting up my telescope.



I was halfway through the assembly before I realized that one of the mounting rings, which is necessary to attach the telescope to the mount, was missing. I called the Orion company’s customer service line, and they told me that, since the telescope had been purchased through amazon, I would need to e-mail them a copy of the invoice.

I sent Orion an e-mail with a note stating that the second mounting ring was missing, and I attached the invoice. Orion sent an e-mail in reply stating that they would soon send me another e-mail. Finally- progress!

When I received the second e-mail, the representative expressed confusion regarding which item I was missing. I’d told them, twice now, that a tube mounting ring was missing, but the representative thought that perhaps I didn’t mean the entire mounting ring, but rather a small black washer that screwed into the top.


In order to avoid any further confusion, I called the customer service line directly, armed with my case number. When I was finally transferred to the right person, I explained that yes- in fact- the whole tube mounting ring was missing, and yes, I had checked all of the boxes.

“That’s weird- the telescope should have come with two tube mounting rings.”

“I know, right?”

After confirming that I’d really ordered the telescope, I was really missing a mounting ring, and I wasn’t some random person trying to scam them so I could run a black market for telescope mounting rings, Orion was nice enough to send me the missing part, and I was able to assemble the telescope.


If you’ll notice, the black washer was missing from the top of my new mounting ring, but at this point, I really didn’t care.

In all honesty, the representatives from Orion were friendly and helpful, and so far, I really enjoy my telescope.


Next time- collimating the mirror, using the finder “scope,” and being an astronomer who is afraid of the dark.


One thought on “Adventures in Amateur Astronomy-Part I

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s