One of my favorite things about visiting Yosemite is walking around at night, and just looking up into that sea of stars. It's blissfully overwhelming. I can pick out the Big Dipper. Orion's Belt. And...ok, that's about it. Which is why we go on official night hikes with people who have much more of a clue than I do about all of those stunning planets and stars and nebulas and what not.
People who know (or can make up) stories about what's where and why. I love looking at photos of Saturn's Rings (how cool are those?) and thinking about Jupiter having multiple planets just hanging around circling. So you'd think that having lived here for years, I would have discovered Orion's Telescopes and Binoculars years ago. It's been here 30 years. I've been driving past it more than half of that time. But have I ever stopped in to explore? No. I finally told myself that today's the day, and I'm so glad I did. I'll be back!
Ken Sablinksy, the store manager, gave me a friendly greeting while helping someone with a round tube taller than I am. Turns out that's some kind of telescope. You wouldn't believe what all Orion has in stock. Beautiful telescopes, for tables and floors, and camera equipment. Microscopes, including some that are handheld that my nephews would love to go exploring with. Books and charts and Christmas ornaments. An Astrophysics Gallery, with photos by local photographers.
I even saw something that holds an iPod, and adapts to a tripod, so you can have 'hands-free use of dynamic start chart applications.' Now that sounds like something I can actually use, enjoy, and learn from, and it's priced right for a holiday gift!
Ken had ideas about where I could go for more information about local astronomy, too. The latest issue of the Peninsula Astronomical Society's newsletter was available on the counter, and a list of local amateur astronomy clubs and organizations provided more contacts. Ken knew about local observatories and places to get away from the city lights to really see the sky.
I had fun exploring this little business, and am glad that in my little town, the sky's the limit!
Orion Telescopes & Binoculars
10555 S. De Anza Blvd.
Cupertino, CA 95014