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Everything posted by magic612

  1. Hi there, Your scope has an equatorial - or "eq" - mount. An eq mount seems intimidating - lots of knobs and and such, and it does seems confusing at first. The primary thing to know is that what it does is, when aligned properly, is help you "track" objects with one slow motion control (or a motor drive) with your telescope across the sky as the Earth rotates. So first things first: Learn how to align the scope - one video of that was posted above; I also made on here which goes through the process step-by-step: The next thing that gets asked after aligning an eq mount is, "Okay, how do I USE the thing now!?!?!" Fair question! It's not like a camera tripod with it's "up/down" and "swivel around" motions. I made another video showing how to do that. Pay attention to how I manipulate the black telescope in this next video; yours is like that one, and you'll want to do similar motions and adjustments to use it well. And finally, it helps to understand telescopes, and how to know the sky well enough that you can find things in it. These series of videos may help you with additional information and understanding: http://eyesonthesky.com/Videos/StargazingBasics.aspx http://eyesonthesky.com/Videos/TelescopeBasics.aspx There's lots of people here (including me, when I find the time!) to help you out. But those resources should get you going and help you understand what you have and how to use it.
  2. For any given telescope, often the practical magnification limit is often 150x or so - and occasionally as little as 100x or 125x. That has more to do with the atmosphere over your head than the telescope next to your feet. That said, the atmosphere can - and sometimes does - cooperate more. When it does, the stars will not "twinkle" as much, and appear steady. On those nights, you can often push the magnification higher. For your scope (which appears to be a 650mm focal length instrument), the maximum practical magnification is about 250x. That's the best you're going to do on the very best nights, which might happen once or twice a year (well, at least near me). More often, you'll achieve somewhere in-between that 150x and 250x. For that, the barlowed 6mm at 2x is going to be okay. But again, on GOOD nights of seeing. The other problem is cooling - the atmosphere may be steady, but if your mirror is releasing heat into the tube because it was indoors and you go outside with it where the temp is much cooler, the image at the eyepiece will be less than perfect. Until your mirror finishes (or is closer to) contracting fully, it will also alter the image that can be focused. For practical viewing purposes, I think you would be well-served to have an 8mm eyepiece, and barlow it to achieve 150x on most nights. It will also give you medium power views un-barlowed at around 75x. Hope that helps.
  3. I've tried to keep my posts of these videos to a minimum here lately so as not to clutter up this section with them. But I have introduced a slightly new format and some changes to the video this week, and I thought I'd post it for those who have seen them to review, and of course for beginners to astronomy looking for objects to find and see with their telescopes. Hope you enjoy - constructive criticism welcomed and appreciated. Clear and dark skies!
  4. i know this thread is several days old, but I would recommend getting in contact with (and perhaps joining) the Calumet Astronomical Society. They have an observing site in Lowell IN, along with some members having sites that are in even darker areas not too much further away.
  5. Ummm... okay, what I see in the "preview" is not showing up in my posts for some reason (and I wish I could edit my previous posts to fix them). Anyway, hopefully one of THESE will work this time:
  6. See this: www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7HVDKAZ6eM
  7. Continuing the Herschel double stars theme from last week, Eyes on the Sky looks at a few more, this time in Andromeda - PLUS - how to find M31. And, what the Moon, Mars, Jupiter and Venus are up to this week.
  8. William Herschel had a significant impact on the world of astronomy. He discovered Uranus! (Cue bad jokes here.) No seriously, he did discover - well, sort of - the seventh planet in our solar system. And he observed a number of fun-to-see double stars that you can find and see easily in a small telescope. Check it out here:
  9. So the Moon is full phase, which means terrible viewing for astronomy, right? Not so: Look AT the Moon! Seriously, there's good stuff to see along the eastern limb that highlights craters and features often missed due to thin waxing crescents not being visible to us. Then by mid-week, North American observers get a great shot at seeing the shadow of Ganymede on the face of Jupiter while Io peeks out from behind not long after the shadow's first contact. And Europe will have a front-row view this weekend as Europa makes a long shadow transit as well.
  10. Joe / Tony / Paul / Greg - thank you. Greg, regarding the backgrounds, check the credits, as I am not sure which background you are thinking of (there are at least three I used in that video). In the credits, I list all the media I use but have not created myself (most of which I paid to use).
  11. Thank you Dirk. Hope others did too, and weren't doing this: (Blending the science of astronomy and comedy/theatrical performances ain't easy.)
  12. Would you like to know about some really colorful orange and red stars in Pegasus? Do you like Halloween season? You're in luck! Because... here's both, all wrapped up into one:
  13. And as always, thank YOU for the kind compliments! Anyone have any luck tracking down the comet? I saw it on Monday night with a 6" reflector - small and dim, but with direct vision. And anyone looking around in Aquarius should definitely have a look for M2 - it's quite a nice globular.
  14. Provided the clouds cooperate, this week should feature dark skies due to the Moon heading towards new. That makes it a great week for attempting some challenges, like Messiers in Aquarius, or a recently-brightened comet in Pegasus. If those prove a bit too much for your skies, Jupiter awaits in Taurus and Venus lights up the morning sky. And this week on my homepage there is a detailed finder chart for Comet Hergenrother, with stars down to 12th magnitude to help you spot the dim 10th magnitude comet.
  15. "Eyes on the Sky" kicks off the Halloween season with the Demon Star - Algol in Perseus, which 'winks' at Earth by dimming and brightening every few days. It represents the eye of Medusa, and therefore seems a fitting way to start the month of October. Jupiter is high enough, early enough to be a worthwhile evening object again (finally!) and in addition to sporting the usual Great Red Spot and shuttling moons, has another feature lately that is worth pointing a small scope in that direction to see.
  16. Yes, they are visible in binoculars, but as others have said, just dots. But it shouldn't be too hard to identify which dot they are. I recently made videos on how to find each of these planets. Neptune is here, and Uranus here. This week I also have the finder charts for each on my site's homepage. I try to walk through finding each one step-by-step, because sometimes finding dimmer objects is challenging. The key is to really look at the patterns of stars and get familiar with them before viewing. Hope that helps.
  17. HI James, Here's a link to the story: http://www.thisisbristol.co.uk/Burglars-afraid-dark-Crime-falls-Bristol-street/story-13952633-detail/story.html Apparently is was earlier in 2011. Even if they have been switched back on (based on obviously unfounded fears), the point is still valid: Crime is less with more darkness. The problem we are going to run into as amateur astronomers here is a human primal fear of the dark. We are programmed to be afraid if we cannot see well or when it is dark. But we can use this kind of factual information as evidence to, at the very least, argue for smarter lighting practices. Here in the U.S. I've seen evidence of larger companies using sharp cut-off lights that don't allow light to go even horizontally. Parking lots use fewer lights, and are still well-lit. Clearly it saves money and still provides safety. The problem is that homeowners and some other business "didn't get the memo," and keep putting up more and more lights - ALWAYS ON! - that just blast light everywhere, including up. We still have an uphill battle, but we all need to get involved and start talking to our local politicians, friends and neighbors about these issues. I include these "dark sky facts" in every video so that viewers can be armed with helpful information to rebut the silly objections that most people offer up as a "defense" of nighttime lighting. The more we speak up, the more lights we'll have aimed down.
  18. No telescope? No problem! This week's Eyes on the Sky takes a tour through the constellations and brighter stars of autumn, along with pointing out the naked eye and telescopic planets' locations too.
  19. Matthew and Paul, thanks for the responses. Assuming clear skies, you'll both have a better view of the "Lunar X" than I will, as it will be under blue skies for me - so I hope it is clear for you to see it. Paul, any luck in locating Uranus in the sky yet?
  20. Ever seen the Lunar X? Eastern North America and Western Europe will get a shot at it this week, and even if you're outside that area, you can learn how to find it for future First Quarter opportunities. Further out in our solar system, the seventh planet Uranus is in an area of sky which makes it challenging to find, but Eyes on the Sky details just how to locate it.
  21. Me? A 'ham'? NEVER! (Okay, I admit it - I am. ) Thanks again everyone; it is very heartwarming to know that you enjoy these.
  22. Thanks for the generous compliments everyone. Indeed I am. And sometimes, probably having a little TOO much fun with it. And don't forget about the Moon / Venus / M44 grouping tomorrow morning, if you happen to be up that early. Should make for a pretty trio in the eastern sky.
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