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About mikemarotta

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    Aside from astronomy, the rubrics above my daily log page would include History, Philosophy, Languages, and Numismatics. I also devote a lot of time, thought and energy to writing. I typically publish ten or 12 articles a year.
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    Austin, Texas, USA

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  1. 13 January 2021 2314 hours Messier 41 Following the star maps from Sky & Telescope, I found M41 below Sirius. ES-102 mm refractor. Started with 14mm and 2X Barlow and then used 32mm X2 and 25 mmX2 and then 12x50 binoculars. Could not find it naked eye. (Bortle 6-7 sky.) Identified: Orange-yellow star in the middle of the visual field. About 25 stars easy to see and maybe another 25 fainter also in the field. FOV = 50/77.5 = 0.66 degrees = 38.6 minutes. 14 Jan 1100 hrs. I put all the equipment away and checked the write-ups online about M-41 and found that my observations align
  2. First of all, please post the link where you found that because right now (12 Jan 1800 UT) it says: And, note that your truncated quote ended in a semi-colon. That older page used to go on to say local club, or other similar organization. Moreover, the Astronomical League also has no restrictions and has international members. The tie-in is that for many local clubs, your membership dues automatically include AL membership. But in any case AL affiliation is not the requirement but one of several ways to meet the requirement.
  3. I wrote this and sent it to the six AAS amateurs who formed the first core group to discuss our status as Affiliates within the Society. I have received no replies. The Amateur’s Credo My love of astronomy is its own justification. I am motivated to practice the science of astronomy by my enjoyment of the activity. I choose my own research projects. I can change (or abandon) my research programs, goals, and methods. My funding and my spending are my own. I schedule my own time. I choose my own instruments and equipment. I schedule my own instruments and equipmen
  4. (continuing...) But to return to the first point: There is no "here" here. For the early to mid-19th century the primary place to publish was Astronomische Nachrichten, whether or not you were from somewhere in "Germany" which was not even nation-state back then, and whether or not your report was in German. To draw a parallel between astronomy and numismatics again, I read festschrifts and other anthologies that are in multiple languages, regardless of who publishes them. Moreover, while it was true for some time that if you lived in the UK you were more likely to attend a BAA confer
  5. I posted this here because it is interesting on its own merits as news. I do not speak for the AAS and I have no "tentacles" to extend. Having started the topic, allow me to respond as possible or necessary to as much as was posted in reply. Zeroeth, however, I did "heart" everything because I believe in dialog and discussion as a means of supporting the community of which I am a member. The viewpoint of the AAS is that amateurs chose to not join. The AAS also underscores the fact that technical hardware often separated us from them. Now, that has changed. Over the years, amateurs alw
  6. Christmas morning at 3:30 AM, I was out looking at Leo and the Bears. I already posted my views of zeta Ursa Majoris (Alcor-Mizar) and Polaris to a discussion about Polaris. So, I will not repost those here. I read in Parallax by Alan Hirshfeld, that it was 200 years after Galileo that William Herschel became convinced that binary stars are just that: gravitationally locked. It had been assumed that the stars were like our sun, solitary. Astronomers attempted to find a bright star and a dim star together on the theory that the brighter one was closer and could be used
  7. Albireo was first, of course. I read the story in Turn Left at Orion and at a star party, one of the docents put it in his telescope for me. Back in September, I found it for myself and viewed it often before it set for the season. On another board, one of the moderators suggested epsilon Lyrae. It took a new (larger objective) telescope to achieve that. I found a few more by reading tables and lists to look for, eta Cassiopeia, for example. I accidentally found eta Piscium one night when lining up Mars. It just looked like a binary. So, I noted the time and approximate location and looked it
  8. Here is my sketch of Polaris. I had been using an architect's stencil for the nice little circles, but I lost it in the grass, so the stars are irregular by my handiwork. Just for one thing about your concerns: how to you align your eyepiece and prism to assure that you are squared up with the sky? If you are little off, or you turn it to be comfortable, you change the apparent angles, right? I draw circles that are proportional to my field of view. I also view with two eyes so that I can hold a millimeter ruler at a convenient distance. I also speak out loud what I see.
  9. Final works. The night of maximum (or, minimum, actually) was cloudy here. My telescope pierced the haze enough to let me see bright spots. Saturn was an oval. That was it. The sky was clouded until the 24th. Here is what I had. Left-Right inversion in the refractor. Saturn is to the west.
  10. Welcome aboard! You should take all opinions with a grain of salt but we are all here to help each other and, ultimately, we are all beginners one way or another. Myself, because you have the Barlows, I would go with the 7mm because it has a better field of view and eye relief. Most seeing is done with the brain. The eye - and its instrumentation - just provide raw data. The well-known case of the Full Moon on the Horizon should be proof enough of that. To me, it is not so much what the telescope reveals - though that is important - as how much time I actually spend looking into it, stud
  11. My life is not that stressful, I confess. However, when I have found my targets for the night I will tilt back in the lawn chair and just look up for long time. I consider myself a rational-empiricist. And I write for a living. But I have no words for the experience. It just feels good. MEM
  12. A new initiative to include amateurs in the professional organization is being launched at the American Astronomical Society's 237th Meeting, 10-13 January 2021. In 2016, Amateur status was added to the membership categories. Now, the AAS is extending its initiatives for inclusion by actively seeking engagement at the conferences. Ahead of that, an ad hoc committee of correspondence was launched by several AAS members. We held our first meeting online on 16 December. Speaking to the group, AAS publicist Rick Fienberg underscored the fact that when the AAS was founded in 1899 a significan
  13. I found Atlas Coeli II by Antonín Bečvář at ABE Books. The price was reasonable (USD 50 with S&H & tax). It is worn but it was used well by the astronomer whose personal library bookplate is inside. I found Harry Grimsley listed, for example in early issues of The Walking Astronomer magazine of the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers (ALPO). I bought the atlas because it gives orbital elements for some binaries. The example here of 26 Aurigae is not a target that I will pursue but is just to show the tables.
  14. I live in a major metropolitan area, 2 km from a major shopping mall. I have viewed Saturn and its rings many, many times. It is a common target. The same with the moons of Jupiter and the phases of Venus. All that and more can be seen from the city. Do not just take all the advice given here. These people mean well. But they are in love with their own choices which they developed over many years. The lens and filter kit is very typical. Many companies sell the same thing. They all come from the same factory in China. I bought mine for my first scope because I met people at star partie
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