My Dad, my brother and the stars
November 17, 2016
Our Dad worked at Wright Patterson Air Force base in Dayton, Ohio and took us to the annual air show. He taught us to always look up and thrill in the exploration of the skies. As the bug took hold of both my brother and I we realized that we needed more so we looked into buying a telescope for our back yard. The cost of a telescope was too much for a couple of poor young boys, but the price of some components was not too bad.
With my brother, Nick as the lead, we spent many hours in the basement grinding a glass blank with finer and finer grit to make the mirror for our 6 inch reflector. Finally, with a roll of cardboard and some second hand optics we had our scope. But we needed a mount. The guy next door was an avid car mechanic and had access to welding equipment and lots of scrap metal. With a lot of help we had a mount that would have held the Mount Palomar scope but it worked great for our little tube. When Jupiter swam into view on our first cold night under the stars, and you could actually see 4 moons as the mighty planet's attendants, we were both so badly infected with space fever that 50+ years later we still have not recovered. And never will.
An asteroid or comet headed for Earth is the only large-scale natural disaster we can prevent. Working together to fund our Shoemaker NEO Grants for astronomers, we can help save the world.