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I was twelve when I first peered though a friend’s telescope. I was “hooked” at my first glance at the moon looking back at me. By the age of fourteen, I constructed my own telescope. It was not very sophisticated by today’s standards, but it was mine and I could not have been more proud.

By my fourteenth birthday, the magazine Sky and Telescope graced my shelves. I waited with anticipation of what the next issue had to offer. As soon as the magazine was in my mailbox, I had it in my hand, running to my room, thumbing through the pages with each step.

I purchased my home in Red Bluff, California in 1986. Soon after, I built an observatory in my back yard. It housed my Dobsonian mounted 20 inch Newtonian f/5 telescope along with computerized equipment to view the dark skies above. The dark skies lasted for about ten years. Several large companies moved into the area and began destroying the night skies.

Tired of my complaining, my wife Laura came up with a unique idea. Initially I planned on purchasing land in the Mt. Shasta area of California to build my new observatory. Laura expressed concern with this proposal due to my busy work schedule and difficulty finding the time to commute to the new observatory. I challenged her to come up with a better idea, and she did just that. She saw an advertisement for a GMC XUV Envoy with a retractable roof. She suggested that I could purchase this type of vehicle and place a telescope within the cargo bay. With this unique vehicle I could use my scope at any location that I desired. It was at that moment the idea of our mobile observatory was born.

For the next six months, I worked in my garage coming up with a lift that would be able to elevate my telescope out of my new Envoy. We purchased a 14-inch Meade Telescope and had a computer designed specifically for our mobile observatory. A year later, my wife and I traveled to Big Bear Lake California, for the 2006 RMTC Astronomy Expo. We were so pleased with the excitement and disbelief of not only the general public, but with the Vendors and telescope makers. The expressions that were heard, such as “This is awesome!”, “I am looking at my fantasy!”, “This is the coolest thing that I have ever seen!” were heard for the following two days. Laura and I are very proud of our new mobile observatory idea and look forward to sharing it with you.


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