If you find yourself in Tucson on a Friday or Saturday evening with time on your hands and thinking you would like to take in some stars of the celestial type, where else would you want to go than Starizona, the only astronomy-themed store I know that has regular hours at night! They've cut back a few years ago from 4 nights a week to just weekends, but it is a great place to go to sneak a peak at the moon or planet that might be out. Located adjacent to one of the busiest streets in Tucson, Oracle road serves as testament you don't need perfect skies to do a little observing. And while deep sky objects are a little beyond the limit there, the real purpose for the evening hours are for customers. For those who want some experience with their scope or new camera or new attachment they've purchased, there is no need to go at it alone. Just set up your equipment in the Starizona parking lot and Dean Koenig or one of his able staff will be glad to take you through the details of setting up the scope, showing you how to use it, and how to tweak the performance of your new gear. In these pictures Dean, in the dark shirt, is demonstrating the adjustment and using of a Hyperstar attachment, what the red camera is attached to on the front of the telescope. Most any time photos are being taken there (amazing enough given the cars and skies), a crowd soon follows. There were a good 4 or 5 telescopes of different types set up, at least 3 of which were being used by new owners.
The ulterior motive for our visit last night was that our friends Dick and Nancy had arranged having a new telescope set up from Lunt Solar Systems, a local manufacturer of solar scopes. They have partnered with another company to offer stellar telescopes and binoculars in their product line, and Dick, a local optical designer, was interested in a new 6" doublet refractor model.
If you know Dick, he always has a camera at the ready, and he was out taking flash pictures - at a star party! Who does that!? Anyway, in my single use of flash at left, I shot from the hip and got a pic of Dick behind his camera as he took a group shot. At right, his S.O. Nancy is at left, and Dean Koenig's wife Donna joined Melinda to catch up on news and gossip, illuminated by the gentle lights of the store with the 2 second exposure.
As a result of Dean's customer service, he gets nearly all of my astronomical business, down to the DSLR cameras I use, ordered through him. Even with his vital local status, as a loyal customer, he usually cuts me a discount, as if I need a reason to go anywhere else... I know my buddies up in Phoenix come the 250 mile round-trip to see him, and just knowing that he is there to help his customers get started, I've never hesitated in sending someone to him when they ask where they should get a telescope. Normally I tell folks to join the astronomy club to use different scopes to see what they like best, then go to Starizona to see Dean for sales and service and talking shop under the stars. We should all have a local business like his for our needs!
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