I finished listening to Ep 7 and 33 and enjoyed them very much. I just earned A's in Astronomy and its corresponding lab in the Spring Semester 2008 at a local city college here in Los Angeles and it awakened a long-dormant astronomer in me. I've always been into astronomy and physics, but astronomy was expensive so until I started making a little more money it has been a hobby waiting for when I could afford a decent telescope.
As a first telescope, I picked the Celestron Astromaster 130EQ. It arrived last week. It's a 5" newtonian on an equatorial mount. It cost less than $200 and was excited when it came. The Meade LX200 in my class spoiled me so much that the mickey mouse equatorial mount that came with it compelled me to return it. If the mount is going to be wobbly, why torture yourself with an equatorial? So I'm returning it.
As soon as gee-dubbya's money comes, I'm getting the Celestron Omni 127 XLT. I've joined the Los Angeles Astronomical Society and am booked for weekend star parties back to back for the next couple of weeks. The good thing with the Astromaster, though, I saw Saturn and Mars very clearly.
AstronomyCast is a fantastic show! Thank you. And Dr Pamela Gay sounds hotter than the sun on the radio -- G-r-r-o-o-w-l.
As a final thing, the suggestion on binoculars was great. In fact, I'm using little 10x20 binoculars and can see the beehive, orion nebula, Pleiades, and the open cluster at the foot of the Gemini Twins. I don't remember their Messier designations, but you know what I'm talking about. And I got to see the Andromeda Galaxy through our 8" LX200 over light-polluted Hollywood skies and it was still a spectacular thing to see.