Sunday, May 2, 2010

Historical Telescopes


Astronomy has always interested me. When I was a kid, I would take my little Golden Guide to the Stars and my flashlight to the back yard and gaze up at the constellations. Winter or summer, and winter in New England is pretty cold, on most clear nights I would go outside and look at the stars. Back then, I didn’t have a telescope, or even binoculars. When I was in college I received a small telescope as a gift. I still have it buried in the basement, but I haven't used it in years.

Maybe my childhood interest in the stars had something to do with the astronomy theme in Lady of the Stars, my Regency time travel novella. I'm still not sure how the idea came about.

Anyway, the telescope the hero, Richard, owns is a real one. I looked up antique telescopes on the web and found this Pallant: http://www.antiquetelescopes.org/19thc.html

This telescope is ideal for my story. It's a real, early 19th century English telescope, perfect for Richard to own. The telescope is also small, less than a foot long, so Richard or Caroline, the heroine, could easily carry it to an observation position. It figures in Caroline’s and Richard’s courtship, as well as providing a link between past and present.

I rarely look at the stars now. Too many lights and too many trees obscure my view. I still remember most of the constellations’ names, and I always stay up and watch any lunar eclipses that are visible in my area. But, as Lady of the Stars shows, I haven’t completely forgotten my childhood interest. Maybe art does imitate life.

Thank you all,
Linda

6 comments:

Celia Yeary said...

LINDA--I love anything antique--not to buy, just to know about--and this is the first old telescope I've seen. It appears quite modern to be so old, but when you think about it, telescopes are generally simply made. I live in a dark area, almost rural, no street lights, and far enough away from town to be really dark. The stars are fantastic on a clear night. thanks for the history lesson, and I wish you many sales for you book. Celia

Mary Ricksen said...

I have a real problem. For some reason with glasses I have a hard time using my telescope. It's not any huge thing, but I can't see out of it. It makes me sad because I used to dream about looking at the stars. Is there a special type? Did you buy the antique one?
Cause your story was fantastic! I never saw an antique one before either. I live in a rural area and we cannot see the stars. Darn.

Linda Banche said...

Thanks, Celia. My telescope, bought new, looks similar to this antique one. Some designs are so good, they never change.

I live in a suburb, and although the streetlights are minimal, the light still obscures the view. I've seen the stars from the countryside, and they're wonderful. Go outside as often as you can and enjoy.

Mary, sometimes, you can set the telescope's magnification up high enough so you can see through it without your glasses. I suggest you go a store that sells telescopes and ask. They may have a magnifier you can attach to yours.

No, I didn't buy this one. I can't afford antiques.

And thanks for your kind words about my story.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Linda,
I am like Celia, I love antiques (only wish I could afford to buy more), but I didn't think about historical telescopes. Nice blog.

Regards
Margaret

Linda Banche said...

Thanks, Margaret. I guess there are antique everything. You just have to look for what you like!

L M Gonzalez said...

Linda, sorry I didn't comment earlier. Loved your blog. And your story sounds wonderful. I love time travels.