Hi. My name is Geoff Goins and I have been obsessed with the sky at night since I was 5 years old. I remember my Grandfather trying to show me the Big Dipper one night from the dark skies in the mountains in North Bend Washington.
I had no idea what he was talking about…
I remember him telling me to, “Look for one of those things you use to get water from a well”. I was looking for a bucket. I had no clue what a dipper was.
I’ve learned a lot more about the sky since then. I now know what the dipper in Ursa Major looks like, as well as the other constellations. I have been studying the night sky and reading everything I could get my hands on about the sky since I could read. I remember while all the other boys were in the library reading sports books and the girls were reading horse books, I was reading science books. The 900 reference section is where I belonged.
I bought my first telescope with paper route money in 5th grade, and with it saw the Moon, and the moons of Jupiter, the rings of Saturn, and looked through many neighbor’s windows (ah come on, I was a 5th grader!). I even joined the Tacoma Astronomical Society. But beyond these few objects, my little $35.00 Gilbert 3 inch telescope didn’t show much. The optics weren’t very good and the mount was just plain terrible. I still
remember the blood blister I got on my finger when folding it up. It had all these knobs to turn and tighten, which I did, and for some reason it never worked quite right after that. I eventually sold it at a garage sale.
But I didn’t lose my interest in the night sky. Between the 6th and 7th grade I spent every night from May to September “sleeping” outside. I was actually learning the night sky. I saw the passing of satellites, learned the constellations and learned about the Earth’s orbit around the Sun. I saw the movement of the Moon across the sky and its changing phases. Venus as the morning and evening “star”, and the other planets move across the stars as the summer went along. I was hooked.
I also learned about light pollution. I had to prop up our picnic table on its side to block a neighbor’s “insecurity” light.
Still a voracious reader through junior high and high school, I subscribed to science and astronomy magazines read, and still read many books, but other wonders of the world like cars (17 Volvo’s and counting) and, how unusual, girls, caught my attention. I put aside the night sky for a little while.
A news story on local television got me thinking about the night sky again, and I built my first telescope in 1991 and started Night Sky Adventures™ in 1992. Since then I have upgraded several times to larger and larger scopes until the 24″ monster I have now.
I work as a National Park Service “Dark” Ranger, I taught astronomy at UNM Taos campus for 10 years, I providing public interpretive night sky programs, as well as having read dozens of books, hundreds of magazines and spent thousands of hours under the stars with my eyes, friends old and new, and telescopes. I travel all around the country sharing my love of astronomy with anyone who has an interest in what’s “out there”.
I hope through Night Sky Adventures™ you experience the night sky like I do.