Great Wall of China

Tales of The Lazy Star Gazer

Volume one, Number one
Page one, March 1, 2001

Star gazing vs astronomy
I am a Star Gazer, not an Amateur astronomer. I don't think you can be a professional star gazer, so there is no sense to being called an amateur star gazer. I still think of Jack Horkhiemer as the Star Hustler, even if it is not politically correct. I just love looking at the night sky. I Can't tell you the difference between a main sequence chephid variable and a brown dwarf, and I don't care, but I think the brown dwarf was wearing a fedora.

What does it take to be a lazy star gazer?
Sitting on deck of a sail boat watching the southern cross emerge from a warm Caribbean sea, That is being lazy Star Gazer! Laying in a lawn chair in your backyard on a warm summer night counting Perseid meteors. That is being a Lazy Star Gazer. Convincing a half dozen of your friends that a Solar eclipse is an awesome sight, so you can get them to help you drag cases of telescope equipment to some uncharted deserted island halfway around the world- That is being a Lazy Star Gazer! Packing up your camper with tons of equipment and supplies, driving up to some mountain top in Vermont, setting up all the equipment, staying up all night in the pouring rain swapping telescope stories with old friends, and then getting up before dawn to sell your old astronomy books and leftover telescope junk to the strangest (but nicest) group of people you ever want to meet. Well that is not being a lazy star gazer, that is just crazy. It is also called Stellafane.

What is being a Lazy Star Gazer. Enjoying the beauty of the night sky and of actually catching the light that traveled, millions if not billions of year to get to your eye.

What is not being a Lazy Star Gazer, is using a camera connected to your telescope or a CCD, because you don't get to catch the photons. CCD does get a few points though, as you don't have to do all of that darkroom work. Looking at pictures in books and magazines also won't get you into the club, nor will spending long hours surfing the web. That just makes you a frustrated New England Amateur Astronomer. As we don't get clear nights to view the heavens much anymore, especially during star parties.

My father told me when I was very young that in this life I could either work hard or think hard. I chose the latter path, even though I wish it were more down hill.

In future installments I will teach you some of my tricks of what it takes to become a Lazy Star Gazer. I could make a special patch for those that achieve the highest levels of being A Lazy Star Gazer, but I am too lazy, and besides Being a LSG (abbreviations are the lazy way) is it's own reward.

More Tales of the LSG

Lego-Scope. Why spend so much time sanding and painting your telescope tube, make it out of LEGO Bricks. Makes it easy to change focal length also.

Dyna-Pods. Light weight Carbon fiber tension leg tripods. Hey those heavy tripods are just too much trouble to drag up a mountain.

El El Siderastat, when standing up is just too much work, and besides it gets cold out sometimes.

Stellafane 2001, review and pictures.

The TeleVue Satellite Catcher User notes

Black Sun Expedition of 2/26/1998 to the Guadeloupe

Black Sun Expedition of 12/25/2000 To Home

Stellafane 2002 Pictures

Black Sun Expedition of 6/10/2002 to Alaska

Arunah Hill Day's July 11-14 2002

Advances in Amateur Telescope Baking, Yummy Vue Optic's Tonto Telescope

Lunar Eclipse Party November 8, 2003

Winter Star Party 2004

The Stump Pod. A pier to mount on a tree stump. Why carry your tripod at all when you can put in a low cost permanent pier out in the woods.

Egypt Libya Total Solar Eclipse, March 29, 2006
And Egypt Tour
Powerpoint intro to slide show
Slide Show of Expedition
Paul's Demo (quicktime 7meg)

Flash Astronomy Quick and easy observing. What could be lazier.

The Antikythera Mechanism and the Greek Odyssey 2009

The Spatzir Mobile, a Mobile, Miniuture, Magical Observatory

Transit of Venus, June 5, 2012

Talazim,2015. A Personal Turret Telescope scroll to botton for entry

The Any Track Unit, 1994 A universal micro computer controlled Clock drive for any type of telescope. Why should I have to work to keep an object centered in my eyepiece.

"Go To" motorized telescopes Hey, if the computer knows where to point the scope, I won't spend the energy to stop it.

The symbol of the LSG is the ultimate in laziness, the Great Wall of China.
The Chinese built almost 5,700 mile of wall, because they were too lazy to deal with the problem of the Mongol hoards.
Remember, just because your take the lazy path, that does not mean that it is going to be easy or all down hill.

Till the next time.
The Lazy Star Gazer.

The Lazy Star Gazer can be reached by email at
You can also read more about my adventures at my web site Rif's Place, at

I am the president of the Springfield Telescope and Reflector Society (STARS), Secretary of NERAL ( North East Region of the Astronomical League), a member of the Amherst Area Amateur Astronomers, the Arunah Hill Natural Science Center and a member of the Springfield Telescope Makers.

I am also known for my home made Seltzer, which I make because I am too lazy to take all those empty bottles back. If you meet me at an Astro event, just ask for a glass of it with a twist of lime.

Next time in the April 1, 2016 Issue of Tales of the Lazy Star Gazer

The Lazy way to quickly prepare a smooth, clean, concave remote observing site and use up some of that old Dynamite you have laying around the house.

Please, Don't try this at home

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Last updated Oct 12, 2015

All contents © 2000-2015 by Alan Rifkin. All Rights Reserved.