Local Man Found TOA


Roland Culberson - April 10, 2004


It has been confirmed that local Lake Worth resident Jim Kimball, secretary of the Astronomical Society of the Palm Beaches was found at his residence on Friday night, succumbed to TOA.

Yup, a TOA 130…

A call was made to observing buddy Roland Culberson, with a request to appear at the residence late Friday afternoon to inspect the said "something." One comment being about having to make a trip to Home Depot, so I figured he must be building a bed in his trailer. Wrong.

Upon arrival, I noted Papa John had fled the scene, leaving his pizza sitting on the table, and an alien looking stranger was standing in the middle of the floor in the room next to the kitchen. He was a white and green fella with a noticeably red, stripe type marking across the forehead (perhaps a Martian tattoo), with mahogany colored legs and a light green head.

As we investigated the pizza for fingerprints quite thoroughly, discussion was over the arrival and origin of the alien beast. It seems to have originated in Japan, but more recently had been located in Texas somewhere by Land, Sea and Sky(?), perhaps coming by way of Area 51. You never know with these green guys!

It seems that Mr. Kimball had acquired a bout of aperture fever of the refractor type. He had been noticed recently with the appearance of some drool out of the side of his mouth after looking through a certain TMB 152, walking away muttering something about light grasp, contrast, and some other words regarding the finer points of apochromatic function. When he was asked about this condition at that time, he stated that felt fine, that his meager Tak 102 was taking good care of him and that there was no cause for alarm.

I checked back with him several times over the course of the last couple of weeks and found the obvious signs of the advance of the fever. The most obvious was the night we spoke and he mentioned having put himself on the list for a certain Astro Physics offering, a model 155. This definitely confirmed that a severe bout had been encountered, and the remedy had been partially sought, but remained elusive and distant. It is known to take years for the arrival of that model 155 cure.

Apparently over the last week, things went from a fever to severe bouts with the "hi-perf-glass-o-phobia" that can be cured partially by instant gratification. One only needs to acquire an intermediate step upward in aperture to hold the major onslaught off for a period of time. Only when that distant and elusive call from AP comes stating that your name has come up for the next planned production run of the "155 Fix," and they want confirmation that you are still battling this horrific situation and seek the final cure, will it began to subside. The disease will then turn to angst and anticipation until such time as photons can be absorbed through the most pristine of glass types, hand figured to meet the highest standards in the industry. At that time, no further bouts may be expected until such time as this new increased level of photon feeding has become taken for granted. The next step beyond that is not for the faint of heart. (Like this one was???)

Ok, enough useless, mind numbing drivel.

On Saturday evening, Jim brought the new resident to JD State Park for its first light. While being the careful person he is normally, he began the assembly of this optical wonder by putting the Temma 2 GOTO mount together. (Authors note: I now know why they paint these mounts the green color that they are. It makes it hard to see the "green with envy" people standing near them, they kind of "blend right in.")

This mount is quite a sight, with its nicely finished mahogany legs and little white tripod tray that clicks into position with no tools or knobs to attach it. The head itself is neat in the fact that the counterweight shaft does a disappearing trick up into the head for fast and safe storage. Jim was not pleased with the attaching method for the scope plate/rings setup. He had already made a couple of remarks about this while we were talking at his house on Friday, and seeing the amount of labor involved to attach the plate and rings, I now fully understand the simplicity of a good dovetail system!