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    Hey! l recently made a few videos that were inspired by Carl Sagan & thought it would be really cool if you checked it out and gave me your thoughts & insights on them. I feel like they would be a great way to teach other students about astronomy/cosmology/the Universe. I put music in the videos from Daniel Hope's Spheres album, after I found out that he was inspired by Carl Sagan too. Hope you like them & hope to hear back from you!

    A Tribute to Carl Sagan:

    - Brittany

    Brittanymanning08@gmail.com

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    hi need help to operate my 700-76 telescope it was given to me as a present for my 83rd birthday I have assembled it but I am unsure with what I should see when I look through the aperture

  1. Universe_Astronomer
    Latest Entry

    A few weeks ago I saw Saturn for the very first time, it blew me away. The sight was just fantastic, its such a beautiful planet. I couldn't believe my eyes at how much detail I could see, the rings were so clear.

    I managed to take a photo through the lens with my iPhone.

    If you haven't already I really recommend buying a telescope, the views of the night sky never disappoint.

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    I was intrigued by a description of Jeff Lashley's "The Radio Sky" in Sky at Night magazine, particularly the practical experiments described and being a bit of a wannabe tinkerer, I bought a copy and in a fit of enthusiasm, devoured the first couple of chapters, until life got in the way and it has sat on the shelf ever since, occasionally being picked up and leafed through before being put back on the shelf. So, this year is the solar maximum, and being once again enthused by the photos of the first class-X CMEs, and in equal part frustrated by the weather putting paid to any more conventional optical astronomy, "The Radio Sky" has found itself once more on my bed side table. I thought, this time I would write this blog as both a record of my tinkerings and as motivation to actually finish what I started.

    The first experiment in the book is a VLF solar flare monitor consisting of a simple loop antenna connected to the audio input of a laptop, which seems like a reasonable challenge for the budding Radio Astronomer, therefore I am hoping my next entry will a bit more about the design and construction of the antenna.

    blogentry-26648-0-12177500-1369082772_th

    I have down loaded Spectrum Labs amateur radio software, which for a free download, seems to have quite a bit of functionality. So far I have only captured the noise from my laptop from the unconnected audio socket, but it displays the frequency spectrum and waterfall plots. I think the complicated bit is going to be separating the wheat from the chaff and identifying a true event.

    blogentry-26648-0-40342300-1369168385_th

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    Many years ago I visited an open evening at a local club where I saw Saturn and Jupiter up close for the very first time. I was totally in awe and never forgot the images I saw that night.

    Don't really know why it took me so long to get around to making a purchase but I guess I just didn't know what to get.....there's so much choice.

    I knew that I wanted to take photo's of the Moon etc. and hopefully link it up to the computer.

    Yesterday I visited the The International Astronomy Show at the Warwickshire Exhibition Show ground near Leamington Spa and frankly....there WAS so much choice.

    After a few hours wandering around from store to store speaking to most of store holders and wandering around some more I finally took the plunge and purchased my first ever telescope the sky-watcher skymax 127.

    Hopefully I made the right choice.

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    Because I currently can't afford school (and am on academic probation anyways), I'm building an open-sourced, social planetarium to help me learn as much as possible. It's called SKY @ Lab of Oz (where I'm building other mini-apps, for math, physics, and the sciences in general).

    The project will, when completed, have:

    • 2D, printable skycharts
    • 3D planetarium (like Stellarium)
    • Lunar calendar
    • Weather forecast
    • "To-View" lists
    • Calendars
    • Personal Catalogues
    • Friends/Groups
    • Social Astrophotography
      • Stack images
      • Flipping (for object finding/tracking)
      • Image generators (upload image and add date, scope, details etc to it for download)
      • Add your image to the 3D planetarium, which people can see when they zoom in to an object/section of the sky

      [*]Stitching module (stitch together multiple images)

    Because the highest level of math I've completed in school was Algebra, I'm using a book called "Astronomy for the Personal Computer" to help guide me in the right direction. And while the text gives examples in C++, I'm porting what I learn into Javascript. You can keep up to date by following/forking my Ephemerides Library on GitHub (not much there yet :p )

    The first demo I posted, today, is a simple conversion tool that will allow me to convert between decimal and degree angles. You can play around with it in SKY Lab.

    Anyways, the blog posts I'll be posting here on SGL will be far less code-oriented and more focused on the astronomy.

    Thanks for reading! This was the "introductory/about" post, so the next one will be more interesting :p

  2. Have the Friday booked off from work, so it's a late night one for me. Lots of coffee to keep me warm and alert! A very enjoyable few hours in the garden. Managed to catchable glimpse of the following:

    M11

    M14

    M26

    M29

    M39

    M40

    M52

    M91

    M99

    M100

    M103

    M109

    really need a dark sky and a low horizon to get the remainder of my Messiers. Hartland Point perhaps?.

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    Recent Entries

    Liam Watters
    Latest Entry

    blog-0333472001367447178.jpgHi all,

    This is my first time blog and first time on stargazers lounge. Every time I have had a question relating to astronomy my google search always pointed me to this website. It is the best place for reviews of pretty much every scope on the market and it was the place I came to which ultimately led me to buying my first ever scope, a skywatcher skymax 127 synscan. I couldn't afford the high end scopes but I know that it would be pretty redundant buying a cheap scope because a background in Forensics taught me too well that cheap optics in any system are just pointless. I have a need for detail, what else can I say!!!

    First of all, THANK YOU people of stargazers lounge, you helped me out in choosing my scope and I thought for my first blog I may as well review my scope, which I hope will be usefull for other beginers because we are all in the same position and probably know as little or as much as me when it comes to a first scope. So here is my opinion on my new scope;

    When the scope arrived I couldnt wait to get it out of the box and set up! Everything was nicely boxed up and labelled. the set-up manual was excellent and easy to understand. I had done many weeks research prior to purchasing my scope to shop around for the best deal and scope for my budget, which was around £400-£450 tops.

    The mount was easy to set up and is rather robust and sturdy. Unfortunately the scope does not come with a mains adapter but I found a Celestron model for £20 on ebay which is designed with go-to scopes in mind as it supplies enough amps to the scope whilst slewing and has a surge protector in to stop and power surges frying the scope which is a very expensive setback. Other adaptors will fit the scope but often don't have a high enough amp count or protection. The other alternative of course it the battery pack which takes 8 AA batteries, but i think the mains power supply is better in the long run.

    To say I had never set up a scope before, the AZ mount and dove-tail bracket meant that the scope was up and running in ten minutes tops. I was extremely pleased with the ease of the set-up. Unfortunately, living in the north, I had to wait over a month before I had even remotely good seeing!

    My first trail run of the scope came on a cold February evening with jupiter overhead. This was my first target. I was a little rushed for time and clouds were drawing in so alignment was out of the question, I literally ran out on my driveway with the scope and an extention cable and manually slewed until Jupiter was in my finder scope, which I aligned earlier during the day first with the 25mm eyepiece and then again with the 10mm super plossl. The scope took no real time at all to cool down to reasonable viewing conditions and Jupiter was a fantastic sight to christen my scope with. I swithed to the 10mm eyepiece that came with the scope and got an okay view but I knew this would most likely be the first eyepiece to upgrade.

    A whole month later I tried my first alignment and made the rooky mistake of not leveling the tripod so the alignment was a little out every time. Once I had sorted this however, after a few trail and errors and minor height adjustments I got a satisfactory alignment and found every target I searched for was withing the FOV or at least near the centre of my crosshairs in the finder scope. Once again I was very pleased.

    I have had the stellarium software for years and purchased a 232 serial port converter that fits the cable supplied with the scope and after a bit of fiddling managed to utilise the telescope control function. This is by far the coolest feature of the scope. Assuming you have aligned the scope correctly, simply plug in, connect the scope and their are over 100,000 objects on the stellarium database that are just a click away.

    The handset control is fairly straight forward to use and a manual is supplied to help get to grips with the different features. The identify function and full catalogues are useful, but obviously if you are using stellarium, the FOV is displayed virtually on screen and in most instances you will know what you are looking at because you have the info on your laptop screen.

    For any folk out there looking to get into astronomy with a similar budget, I would highly reccomend this scope. I must say it is a great scope for planetary viewing and observing the lunar surface. For the money it is a great scope to start with and is also good enough to keep as a planetary scope if you are thinking of upgrading at a later date. If i were to buy a more expensive scope for deep sky observatoins, I would still hold onto this scope because it also has the benefit of being light weight and compact, which is great if you live further north when you may only get an hour of viewing before the clouds roll in. There is literally no messing. carry out, plug in, get viewing.

    Thanks to anyone who has took the time to read this post, It was a first attempt at a blog and I aim to refine them as I get used to the format, but I look forward to being part of the online community and sharing the enjoyment of star gazing.

    THANKS!!!!

    Liam :grin:

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    nameunknown
    Latest Entry

    No, don't drool over the title, they are just s shop in "Leather Lane", London (number 57), with a mad collection of add-ons for the Dremel and other tools.

    I could spend hours in such a place....

    P

  3. blog-0113609001364735018.jpgWell hope tonight is the night ,as last night was spent messing,with the sct 9.25 try in jupiter but shes over the house now and the thermals wee on the wobble ,even with the ir 740 pass filt not much luck.

    so back to tonight set the 127mm EDT cf up with the 80mm guide scope will include a few images ,

    it sits on a cgem head on a astrotec pier

    just have to stick the qhy5 and modded dslr 600d on tonight fore the laptop up phd/ back yard eos and away we go will post my results as and when going to get around 3 hours of data. On some small galaxy

    pat

    blogentry-9980-0-30536500-1364734942_thublogentry-9980-0-18852400-1364734983_thu

  4. Ttyttt

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  5. furrysocks
    Latest Entry

    Folks,

    If you've been reading this blog, I hope you've enjoyed at least some of it. I'm going to stop, now. I should be completing and painting the dobs mount later tonight and expecting first light at some point over the weekend. I'll post a first light report and some field photos on the forum, instead.

    It's been both frustrating and fun, and I accept that it may not be perfect first time - balance, vibration, etc... - but it should at least hold together! ;) Like many DIY scopes, it may never be finished.

    I had a jumble of ideas to begin with, most of the tools and half the skills required. I changed my mind many times and rushed a lot of it. Too many late nights, too much effort. A lot of money spent, too. But it's got me out the house and back in the workshop, using old tools, new materials, thinking, planning, etc... and I get a scope out of it at the end. :D

    Clear skies,

    Matt.

  6. Drove home with the hope of a clear sunset to see PANSTARRS but a blizzard soon put paid to that.....

    However, a beautiful clear evening developed and I got set for an hour and a half from 9pm. I had struggled to star hop last time out but had read an excellent article by EntropyStar showing how to use Stellarium to its full capacity.

    Started with Orion and could actually make out a very faint nebulosity with averted vision which was fantastic to see. Next up was a hop to M31 which I had failed to find last time but did so easily with my new method - just a pity some cloud came in just at that point!!

    Next was Jupiter and 3 moons clearly visible - Ganymede at 10.30; Europa and Callista at 4.30. Will I ever get to see all four at once with my bins I wonder?

    I had previously struggled with the double cluster (NGC 869 & 884) but again easily tracked them down but could not resolve many individual stars.

    Auriga was next up and the 3 Messier open clusters (M36, M37 & M38). First M36 which was just visible direct but better averted, then M38 which was very faint with averted but definitely there and finally M37 which was faint with averted but I definitely found all three - amazing!!

    After that a quick wander passed Pleiades - ever beautiful - and thought I would have a look at Polaris. It seemed to be a double but not sure if that was just me at the end of an exciting session seeing more than I think?

    Have to say at this point that the temptation of a scope is almost becoming painful. The thought of tracking down these clusters with something more powerful is, well, rather powerful...!!

  7. ian_d
    Latest Entry

    Well hooray! Managed to get a look at Comet PanSTARRS this evening, with 10x50 binoculars, at about 6.45pm - just before the clouds got in the way. Very nice it was too - looked great against the twilight background, with the tail clearly visible and a pretty bright coma.

    Glad I caught it this evening, because the weather prospects look rubbish for the next few days.

    That's the first comet I've seen since 17P/Holmes a few years ago, and the only naked eye one since Hale-Bopp. It's no HB mind - but pretty awesome all the same.

    :laugh:

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    perks2008
    Latest Entry

    Hi its perks again , just seen my very first nebulae the greatOrion nebulae happy days , could really see it well with the 25ep thats my first messier ov many I hope 8) loving astronomy with my 200p

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    Planetary Geologist
    Latest Entry

    Hi all,

    Using the 150pl the Moon's detail was very crisp. With just the 25mm the craters were sharp, but with the 2X barlow the peaks with in the impact crater were seen with clarity. A lovely sight!

    Hoping for clear skies,

    PG.

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    Well today I finally ordered my 200p. However there is no stock until the end of the week! :(

    Looks like I won't have it until this time next week earliest now. Oh well, the forecast spells clouds for the next few days so i'm not missing much...

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    Yesterday was alright weather-wise, threat of clouds and mist not far away. Today it has been the clearest sunshine I've seen for what seems like many months. 2012 was just wall to wall cloud and rain, the start of 2013 has not been much better, but hopefully the weather patterns are now changing for spring now that it's mid-February.

    I had a few hours outside with the Lunt LS60 today, enjoyed using my telescope and seeing the sun, even if there was a bit of a thin cloud streak (probably from multiple high-altitude vapor trails) obscuring it. The view through the eyepiece on the Lunt LS60 showed the sun surrounded by a dim red glow, but with a bit of tuning and focusing the prominences and filaments were all there to see, and quite clear too so the seeing must be good.

    There were two main prominences on the top part (as seen through the eyepiece), one seemed to be the tail end of something that was just lingering in space, the other was quite a beefy looking blast with plenty of matter visible. Both of these didn't appear to change much at all over the period of about two hours as I observed on and off while pottering around in the sunshine.

    A very large, long filament stretched from around the centre towards the upper limb.

    Just as a side note regarding glasses, I have recently got reactions fitted to my main pair and soon realised that these and solar observing don't mix very well (sitting outdoors when the sun is out tends to turn them dark!), I thought I would be able to use my old glasses which are still close enough to my current prescription, but discovered it's actually much better to just go without glasses at all and focus to my eye. My sight is not too bad without glasses anyway, I only need them for distance, so this works well. I suspect this works much better than for night time observing as it's a different type of image I'm viewing, but I will have to try it out again the next time I'm out on a clear night.

    A good session all-round which makes me feel like I'm getting the most out of my investment.

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    At last the heavens have opened and the stars are burning bright in their lofty domains. I am unprepared so I will use my trusty little ETX70 and head out to the back garden. I will report my experience later....

    blogentry-28823-0-91101400-1361065237_th

  8. Well, last night turned out to be a nice little outing with the scope. I was hoping to see Asteroid 2012 DA14 but this, as for many people, was not to be. However, I did get to see a few of the objects that I've looked at on my last 3 outings.

    The Moon - Only my second go at The Moon and even more successful than my first attempt. The disk was a little more illuminated than it was the previous time and also a little higher in the sky. The terminator displayed some dramatic chiaroscuro, with the craters appearing beautifully three dimensional. I managed to view at 60x 150x and 300x magnification. The most satisfactory results were with the 10mm eyepiece (150x mag.). The poor quality of the Barlow really showed up at the higher magnifications, although I did manage to achieve acceptable focus. I really must take a copy of the Lunar 100 out with me next time, this will give me something to do rather than just scanning the surface.

    Jupiter - Pretty much the same as last time I viewed. Managed to make out the bands clearly with the 10mm eyepiece. When pushed to 300x with the Barlow, the view softened somewhat, but I was able to make out a small back dot which I assume was the shadow of one of its moons.

    M42 - I still can't seem to resolve much more than the core on this one. I didn't think my skies were massively light polluted (they're certainly not of rural quality though) but what I did mange to do was make out the trapezium very clearly and it was one of those real Aha! moments, when you go from a slight uncertainty as to whether you're looking at the right things to thinking "How on Earth did I miss that?!".

    M45 - This is a binocular one for me. Really beautiful, if a little unsteady in my novice grip.

    Other than that, I'm continuing to add to the number of constellations I can name without the help of a sky chart. I've got Orion, Gemini, Cassiopeia, Auriga (which I can always spot because of the "rocketship" blasting off from it), Ursa Major and Leo. I've almost worked out Perseus (at least I know where it is), Taurus always seems too faint for me to pick it out, as does Ursa Minor. I'll keep looking and figuring them out. The recognition of the night sky is a really lovely feeling.

    I think going forward, I need to start planning ahead a little more and setting myself some goals. It's nice getting more and more familiar with the same objects, but equally it would be nice to extend my range a little.

    All in all an enjoyable couple of hours out and fingers crossed for some more clear skies tonight.

    James

  9. Length Contraction

    Just as in the previous post where we found out that time is dependent on the relative speed of an observer it is also true for length.

    Consider the experiment in post 2 where you are on a space station and a space ship flies past. Now have the experiment on the ship carried out in a way so that the flash of light sent out is in the direction of motion of the passing space ship. So now we have a flash of light sent out and reflected back to the source by a mirror.

    Let’s define some events

    The light travels from the source to the mirror a total distance of (L) which we can write as ( C ) the speed of light times the time taken. (CT)

    On the space station we measure the light travelled a distance of L plus the distance the ship has travelled which is the time taken for the light to reach the mirror times the speed of the spaceship so the distance is (L)+(U)(T), where (U) is the speed of the ship and (T) is the time taken.

    So we now have (L)+(U)(T)= (CT) with a little bit of maths this can be expressed as (T)= (L)/( C )-(U) (just re-arraging equation)

    Working out for the return trip of the flash of light in the same way we get (T2) = (L)/( C )+(U)

    Now the total time taken would be (T) time of light to the mirror plus (T2) the return journey, which is (L)/( C )-(U) plus (L)/( C )+(U) = total time = (2L)/( C )(1-(U2)/( C2 ))

    If you look closely this looks familiar to 1/square root (1-(U2)/( C2 ) , what we defined to be gamma. So if we multiply both sides we get the change in time divided by gamma = (2L)/( C )

    Some more maths of combining previous equations we get an expression for length contraction

    Where length measured from the reference frame of an observer on the space station is the proper length divided by gamma.

    Example

    Superman is a handsome 2 meters tall and towers over me by only 1 inch (that 1 inch makes all the difference). As I am setting my telescope up for a good night viewing I see superman fly past at 0.99( C ). Using the equation from above for length contraction

    Gamma = 1/square root (1-(0.99C)/( C )) = 7.1

    Height of superman 2 meters divided by gamma 7.1 we get 0.282 meters (Hmmm not so big now are we)

    Summary

    We have found that time and length are both dependent on the relative speed of the inertial reference frame but are there any quantities that are independent of the reference frame. The answer is yes the speed of light is independent it is constant in every reference frame.

    After thought

    Time dilation and length contraction both use the fact that the speed of light is 299 792 458 m / s, that nothing can travel faster than light and that the speed of light is the same in all inertial reference frames. I have only being told these facts so I was wondering if anybody knows of any experiments that have been carried out or observations to validate these claims.

  10. Feels like an age since I last went out for a proper look (not just out of the window). After recent snow, thaw, and now very strong winds and rain today, I wasn't expecting to be going out tonight but as the skies cleared just as the sun was setting I had a feeling it might be worth my while, and it was.

    I went out with the binoculars and SkyScout as there was still a breeze and a few gusts. Very cold, and the wind, although not bitterly cold, just made it that bit colder.

    I went through Tonight's Highlights on the SkyScout, listening to the audio descriptions as I went, with binoculars to hand for a closer look.

    Orion and the Orion nebula were very clear and nice to see, Betelguise too was looking bright and very red, I managed to find the Andromeda Galaxy, not much more than a faint smudge in the west right now, Castor and Pollux, Taurus, and Sirius too (which I mistook for Saturn to begin with). Jupiter and moons were high up in the sky, close to the Pleiades.

    To finish off the evening I wandered up the garden a bit to get a glimpse of the rising moon between some trees, a very nice sight - rather yellow looking and on its side (compared to the usual view, which would be much higher up in the sky).

    With the moon rising and the temperature dropping, I declared it a fun evening and time to come inside to get warmed up!

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    hey guys i've had a Nexstar 4se for a little while now and I have a few questions. ok. so i was an idiot a couple years ago (mind you i'm only 14) and i made some pretty bad purchases. before i knew a telescopes magnification was determined by DIVIDING the telescope focal length by the eyepiece focal length, I thought eyepieces with larger focal lengths would give me more magnification. so, as one can imagine, I convinced my dad to get me a 40mm plossl eyepiece thinking it would offer almost twice the magnification. so now 3 years later, I have some extra christmas money, and I was thinking about getting some new accessories. luckily I am no longer an idiot, and this time i did a great thing called research. I found the sweet spot for my scope is around 12mm. I belong to an astronomy club, and the guys there also told me i could push my scope to a 12mm. so my question is, for my my type of viewing (no astrophotography) does it matter what type of 12mm eyepiece i get? I usually like sticking to celestron, (nostalgia, i guess) and the question is whether to get a 12mm omni (23 dollars) or a 12mm X-cel LX (72 dollars). i have 150 dollars, so price is not an issue. any suggestions? Also, after reading about how planetary filters are total Rubbish, I started getting interested in solar filters. Celestron also sells a solar telescope for 70 dollars, but after looking on amazon, i found a few solar filters (good internet reviews of course) for 4 inch scopes such as mine. look, I know i'm a little late for the venus transit, but still, i think it would be interesting to observe our home star for a change, especially during its activity peak. anyways, the question is whether to simply buy a safe filter (another question: are they 100% safe?...) off amazon or ebay, or just go ahead and buy a whole new scope. suggestions would be appreciated. my final question is about barlow lenses. look. I know barlows are all about preference, so you don't have to preach to me about how its my decision entirely. in fact, one of my idiotic purchases a few years ago was a barlow lens. I know a barlow will give me a huge image of m42, but is that at the cost of horrible resolution? in other words, barlow lenses will give you a larger image, but is the cost of that larger image a more blurry view?

    Thanks a lot, papak

    p.s. please do not comment with "i think's" and "i'm pretty sure's", and most definitely use proper grammar. I want descriptive information from people who are at least literate, and know what they are talking about.

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    blog-0393391001358947592.jpghi guys how would i go about setting up a web cam 2 my skyliner 2oop dob would i just av 2 hold it 2 the ep or bye a conecter or somthing thanks
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    blog-0192740001358946855.jpghi there ive got a skyliner 200p dob ,at the moment im just getting the 3 bands of jupiter would it be possible 2 get more detail ,an of the red spot with this scope if i upgrade my ep's thanks peeps.
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