Observing from a wheelchair
have an arthritic condition affecting my spine and
neck. Looking upwards with bins or looking through an eyepiece in the
dark gives me real problems. My balance is poor even in daylight so
night time things become hazardous!
I wonder if anyone else has a similar problem and, if so,
love to hear from you with your ways of coping with viewing the
At the moment, I use my birdwatching bins (8 x 40) and sit on
even patio with streetlights all around me. This is hopeless for all
except the moon.
I want to get a telescope but have no idea where to start. I
a wheelchair and was wondering if there are any devices that aid my
viewing sitting in the chair?
telescopes can be used without having to look upwards, because they
have star diagonals or, in the case of reflectors, eyepieces at right
angles to the tube. Even from your patio with streetlights you could
view the major planets and the brighter star clusters, and maybe the
odd bright galaxy or two. You would need to move around the telescope
as the eyepiece will always be in a slightly different position for
each object, and if you are wheechair-bound this could be a bit awkward
because of tripod legs getting in the way. However, the problem is
finding the objects in the first place.
telescopes generally require you to locate two or three bright stars
during the alignment process. You'd need to look along the barrel of
the scope to get it roughly in line with the star in each case.
However, the Celestron Skyalign scopes such as the 130 SLT allow you to
choose any three bright stars, so you could probably choose stars which
are accessible, rather than have the scope choose its own stars which
is usually the case.
Meade do have a new scope, the
ETX LS, which is claimed to align itself fully and automatically, but
these are rather costly and I can't guarantee that it would suit you.
They ae not yet available in the UK anyway (May 2009).
binocular observing, you can get mirror systems which allow you to
observe looking down onto the mirror rather than upwards. These both
support the binoculars and give a comfortable observing position. Such
a device would work if you could
rest the apparatus on the wheelchair. As with all mounted instruments,
you have to move round the apparatus rather than the apparatus moving
wih your eyes (which is where hand-held binoculars score).
But again there is the problem of finding objects, made worse because
everything is reversed. Dewing up of the mirror is an issue.
might find that powerful image-stabilised binoculars would suit you.
Trouble is, the ones with x 15 magnification are pretty costly -- much
more than a 130 SLT!
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