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Found 9 results

  1. Hi - I'm a new member of this great forum and a complete beginner. I would be grateful for ideas or suggestions if you have time please. Last night at around 2230hrs i was laying on my back garden in the moist grass gazing up at the night sky. Clear skies North and South but cloudy in the East, Patchy West. No telescope, just my mug of tea and a blanket. I have always known where North is since a young lad. Find the Plough, top and last star of the saucepan and follow in a straight line for 6 thumbs and there is the North star. Great. Then, as i looked at it with my new eyes as a new budding novice, it suddenly dawned on me. Like most of us on this planet we all look at our night sky, think how beautiful it is, be humbled, thankful, in awe, spiritual, emotional and so on, then go about our business. But not now! Now I am looking up with deranged eyes and mind, thinking i have not a clue about any of this wonderous sight before me. I have no names, no vocabulary, no maps, no idea of where to start and no plan at all. So far i have been looking at equipment needed to get started, which in itself was overwhelming, but made a choice and picked out my telescope. And indeed some members here, have kindly said i made a decent choice to start with....... As it got gradually darker (and colder) the stars got brighter. So i picked out a line from the middle of the Plough and followed if by about 13 thumbs (sorry for the boyhood terms) and found a big bright star and below that, by half a thumb, a collection of faint stars which i could see better by averting my gaze. It dawned on me again. I cant be doing this all night without any clue of technical knowledge. Bewildered, I stood up and looked toward the South West and saw what i know to be Jupiter and i think Saturn (fainter). This again brought it home just how little i know and just how much learning is needed just to get going. I went inside and on my PC ( i dont have an i -phone or android tablet ) and found Stellarium. Looked at the online sample, stuck in my location and upcame a northerly view of what i had been looking at. I found the names to my delight and ran outside to try and match up what i had seen. But it took at least 10 minutes before my eyes got used to the dark again. Then identified said bright star as Arcturas and below that faint collection as Gaia. ( i think ) Cocker hoop, i ran back inside and looked again at the PC for more names. This went on for about an hour or so. I felt elated at finding the star called Dubhe which was my boyhood top of saucepan star and on to Polaris. Back to Ursa major across again to Arcturas and below that Gaia, carefully usig my thumb to get the right measure. I couldn't see capalla coz of cloud to the east. Back inside I thought just how do other people do this. Hence this message. I need to work out a plan, what are the right maps, is Stellarium good start or something similar. What hard copy maps and best beginners books? Is it a good idea to pick up a small bit of sky, and work outwards from that, then when comfortable, move on to other directions. Or do I pick out known objects, like the Moon and other near planets and go from there. Or do I do a bit of everything bit by bit.? What is the best way of logging my progress? And many more questions..... Sorry for length of this topic matter, if I have made mistakes with names and if the questions asked are basic. I would be grateful for your thoughts and advice - thanks a million. Garry
  2. The New Cosmos - David J Eicher: CUP ISBN 978-1-107-06885-8 I picked this book up at the Cambridge Univ Press book shop in Cambridge just before Christmas intending to read it over the holiday period. That did not happen. David Eicher writes for the Astronomy magazine in the US and this rather nice hardback tome is a series of 17 articles on the latest science with regards to many astronomical topics. It starts with an intro 'The awakening of astronomy' and then proceeds outwards from Earth, 'How the Sun will die', End of Life on earth', How the Moon formed' It covers both planetary and deep space. Excellent articles on the latest science of the Milky Way, how big is the Universe and then onto Dark Matter, Dark Energy and Black Holes. Each chapter is stand alone and the book can be picked up and put down, the chapters cover a short history of the subject and then introduce the latest science and thinking.. There are some beautiful illustrations and photos. There is just about something for everyone and I would give it a 9/10.
  3. I'm off to Kelling Heath Star Party again in a few weeks and I'm having a sort out of stuff to sell at the event. I'll be on pitch 167 (the new area behind the loos on the yellow field) from Wednesday 20th September. Amongst possibly a few other things, I'm planning to have the following items for sale Astrotrac (Mk1) with custom polar scope and battery pack. This has given me years of faithful service, but I've realised that, taking only 5 minutes subs with a 50mm lens, I just don't need the accuracy this lovely bit of kit can deliver. I've downgraded to a secondhand iOptron Skytracker which can be mounted on my existing birdwatching/camera tripod and hence take up less room when we go away. This is the early Mk1 version of the Astrotrac. I works really well and comes with a custom-made polar scope consisting of a EQ5 polar scope mounted in a custom adaptor. It also comes with a plastic box for housing 10 x 1.2v rechargeable AA batteries and the original power lead. The latest version of the Astrotrac costs >£400 + >£100 for the polar scope. I'm asking £295. Books Lunar and planetary webcam user guide - Martin Mobberley - £4 Norton Star Atlas (18th Edition) - Ian Ridpath - £4 Magazines A selection of Sky at Night and Astronomy Now magazines from the last two years - FREE to a good home
  4. If you haven't already done so, I thoroughly recommend you read this book... Longitude by Dava Sobel With a big hint of astronomy and some key historical names mentioned, this book is (quote) the dramatic story of an epic scientific quest! Whilst we all take for granted the easy identification of where we are on the planet these days, this was not always the case! The quest to solve the recording of longitude was so difficult in the past that it gave rise to many governments offering huge sums of money as prizes for the answer to the question. If you want a book to browes through on ya sunbed or deck chair at night whilst waiting for the clouds to clear, this is a good one.. It reads like a whose who in the world of astronomy - see if you get get hold of this book. I would pass it on but my partner is going to delve into it when she's completed her latest crime thriller... Although when she's finished it I may be able to let it go (although technically it is hers)
  5. I have some astronomy / astrophotography / space flight books for sale. All are brand new and unread. Details are as follows: Patrick Moore's Data Book Of Astronomy, (hardback edition). £25.00 posted in the UK. Turn Left At Orion, (2013 edition, spiral bound). £22.00 posted in the UK. Digital SLR Astrophotography, (by Michael A. Covington). £22.00 posted in the UK. The Space Shuttle - Celebrating 30 Years of NASA's First Space Plane, (hardback edition by Piers Bizony). £20.00 posted in the UK. A Question and Answer Guide to Astronomy, (by Pierre-Yves Bely). £12.00 posted in the UK. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, and thanks for looking.
  6. Buying second hand copies of old astronomy books online is great fun, and what surprises me is how often they have been autographed by the author seemingly unknown to the retailer. Patrick Moore seems to have signed thousands, but I also have got books by other authors who have left their mark; Clyde Tombaugh, David Levy etc. One arrived in the post yesterday which I'd picked up for £2.81 and was signed by Fred Hoyle - it's just lovely to think he once held this copy of my book. James
  7. 'The NexStar User's Guide' Michael W Swanson published by Springer ISBN 1-85233-714-1 I bough my copy via Amazon UK and it arrived today, been leafing through it , so this is an initial review. It covers quite a lot of the Celestron NexStar range but not the later SE series. However do not let that put you off. Plenty of background and information on the Celestron SCT's, also on maintenance and collimation. Good tables and charts regarding apetures, lenses and best magnifications. Lots of tips in general on owning a Celestron and what it can do. But it is not a Haynes type guide. The section of software is somewhat dated as the book was reprinted in 2005, so much has happened since then. What let's the book down is the poor quality photographs used of the equipment. They tend to be grainy and in B&W only with poor contrast, surely in this age of digital publishing better images could have been used. If I had had a chance to see the book in a bookshop I might have thought twice, but it will still be useful as a reference. Rating 6.5/10
  8. If anyone out there is interested in an amazing read, an adventure spanning a century, and an archeological find that changes our understanding of technological history then this book is a must, Many have surely heard of the Antikythera Mechanism, no longer is it a mystery ripe with whimsical Alien visitation theories, but a verified and accepted game changer when it comes to understanding our technological evolution through observations of the heavens. The latest efforts, to crack its secrets, involved scholars at the top of their fields from around the world, and an intrepid company from Britain at the forefront of X-ray technology. the mystery has been largely cracked and results surrounding this astonishing discovery have been published in the worlds most prestigious publications. This book is an amazing journey, chronicling it’s discovery, and the century afterwards where many have tried to unlock its true purpose, it reads like an adventure because it is. Rarely do I ready 170 pages in one sitting, I received this 300 page book on Friday and was done Sunday, It not only tells the story of the effort to crack the mechanisms mysteries, but also does a phenomenal job of explaining how ancient civilizations observed and kept records of happenings in the night sky. It’s a journey through Babylon, Ancient Greece, Roman Empire to name a few. Every amateur astronomer would love this book I guarantee, and no, I didn’t write it lol or benefit from sales (wish I did), I’m just passionate about what stirs me, and love to share my experiences.
  9. Over the last year I have become increasingly interest in Solar observing and have acquired a Herschel Wedge, a PST and a 50mm Lunt. I saw this book recently at the Norwich Astronomical Society where a talk was being given on Solar observing, it seemed to cover what I wanted to learn more about so bought it via Amazon, £21.99 Technically this book is excellent, it covers the usual subjects of what the Sun is, how it works etc. Then it goes onto the more interesting subjects such as white light observing, how to classify and record solar activity. There are chapters on chromospheric and Ha observing as well as photography. All dealt with in an easy reading manner. So 5/5 for content. This is a book published by Springer and their prices are not cheap and true to Springer form the quality of print is vary variable. Some pages the print is nice and black, umbra like, others more penumbral and grayer and more difficult to read. Springer : Don't you have anyone checking quality? So 2/5 for print quality v price.
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