Tom Jonard's Astronomy Pages

Ever since I can remember I have been intrigued by the question of what is this place where we live.  It is fascinating to realize that when you go out on a clear night you can see more of the universe than you can on a brightly sun-lit day.  And not just a little bit more either but vast volumes of space and time beyond simple comprehension.  It is not difficult to turn your eyes to the night-time sky and with them capture light that has traveled unimpeded across a few million light-years of emptiness before reaching those eyes and stimulating awareness in our brains.

I became hooked on Astronomy when I was young and read a simple, accurate description of the size and distances of the planets when the Earth is modeled by a pea.  On that scale small stars like our sun are the size of basket balls and separated in mostly empty space by thousands of miles.  Galaxies are unimaginably larger collections of 100s of billions of such incandescent balls all equally remote.  It turns out we know nothing of this place -- our universe -- based on our everyday experience.  For overall this place is not comfortably warm and solid like the world we walk day in and day out but cold (only 3 degrees above absolute zero) and empty (the most nearly perfect vacuum).

Astronomy and its speculative cousin Cosmology have filled in the details for me and I have enjoyed following their story -- both history and discovery -- all my life.  Once as a teen I aspired to be an astronomer and entered the University of Virginia to pursue that dream.  I ended up taking another course not wholly unrelated -- philosophy.  I still enjoy capturing light from distant suns and showing it to other curious eyes and minds and explaining to them what we know.  I have a 4-1/4" f/4 newtonian reflector, a 4-1/4" f/10 newt. and a 6" f/8 newt. with which to do this.  The short 4" can be hand-held or used on a sturdy camera tripod.  The long 4" and 6" can either be used on a Polaris German Equatorial mount driven in R.A. and battery powered.  I am a member of the Columbus Astronomical Society of Columbus, OH and sometime volunteer at Perkins Observatory in Delaware, OH.

Since visual observing and public education is my main interest, light pollution and its impact on the visibility of the heavens is my main concern.

Here is my astrographic page.

Here is my ATM page.

Here are some links to other astronomical web sites.

Click for Columbus, Ohio Forecast

Columbus, OH Clear Sky Clock

Carpe Noctum!

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Created April 20, 2001, 
© 2001, Thomas A. Jonard