Closer to space

So I’ve always been a fan of stargazing and anything space stuff. But now to the next level. I have some savings now and I’m thinking of going to the sky to see things closer via Kansas City helicopter tours I’m thinking I’ll bring telescope or whichever fits the helicopter. What date do you think I should go? I want it to be when there’s something like phenomenal

A helicopter tour of a city or natural landscape is one thing. It is expensive, but the views may be worth it to you. It is also the total opposite of green tourism.

For astronomical observations, one must remember helicopters have a lot of vibration and a lot of lights when operating at night, neither of which contribute to good observation quality. (I note precision optics on moving platforms are gyro stabilized, which means you likely do not have the right optical equipment.) The field of view is greatly restricted, especially toward vertical. There are several jet transport aircraft modified for this role, maybe you can charter one of these, but of course they cost more than a city tour charter. You can also download images from extremely expensive telescopes for the effort of some time and the cost of internet access.

In the TV series Airwolf from many years ago, I believe there were some peeping Tom scenes. although they likely did not involve peeping on naked people. I presume one can do better with a good telescope and a well located hotel room, although I do not know from experience.


As the first comment said, a helicopter would be a bad place for trying to observe with a telescope. The tiny field of view of a telescope will magnify any type of vibration. You also won’t be any closer in any measurable sense. It’s like saying my nose is closer to the North Pole if I’m facing north. While technically true, it’s not much of a difference. You want a dark site and, if possible, a high and dry site. In your neighborhood, the University of Missouri-Kansas City astronomy dept. has observing sessions every (clear) Friday night up until October 31st. It won’t be the darkest of sites, but it’s FREE. Happy star-gazing!

You might find some folks with similar interests at this site:

I know a couple of guys who’ve launched at least five high altitude balloons with tracking and recording devices. Their gear was off the shelf and while it cost more than a helicopter ride it wasn’t astronomical either (pardon the pun). With a camera programmed to snap pictures every minute and a simple balloon they got amazing photos from the 100,000 foot range. Maybe you can find people near you doing the same or start your own group.

You can read some of my friends experiences and details about their equipment Welcome to the Tennessee Balloon Group Web Page

Launch video, very old by today’s video standards:

Their still shots were done horizontally and showed the blackness of space and curvature of the Earth. Maybe you can find them linked somewhere.