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Found 49 results

  1. Hello stargazers! I am a 14.5 year old boy currently exploring the hobby of astronomy! My first Telescope is the Celestron Firstscope! This post is going to contain mostly everything i do from now on! i will occasionally post some tips and tricks as well as some images(rarely) I am soon getting a 8" dob , but that doesnt mean i wont be using the Celestron firstscope. Hopefully, one day i can look back to this and remember the beggining of my journey as i am intrested in studying astrophysics/ astronomy in university . And if not, i will continue exploring this hobby. So Lets start! Astro Journal #0 So this is almost everything i ve done so far, i have had the telescope for almost 3 weeks now and have used it quite oftenly. The first time i used it was in relatively okay skies,i had no idea what focusing was and just looked at unfocused stars for that day.I cant believe i had such ignorance! After i tried finding why the stars were like that, i finally unsterstood the purpose of the focuser! The next day i used it on the cresent Moon, it took me 10 minutes to find with the 20MM eyepiece supplied with the telescope XD. ( even though it was righ infront of me) It was quite nice! I was able to see some craters on it and focusing was pretty good. Then i turned to the 4mm eyepiece.(75x) mag it almost covered the entire fov. For some reason the 4mm eyepiece isnt able to focus very well in general. And it was kind of blurry , but still enjoyable! Here are some pictures i took with it: i continued viewing the moon for a couple of days, then i decided to do some nebula viewing. I was despirately trying to find orion,as the orion nebula was and Is my FAVOURITE Nebula, it took me some time to realise that what i thought was pegasus was actually orion 's belt and sword . The night i first observed orion was a full moon night. It took me around 3 minutes to find the orion nebula in the scope. I just happened to notice it because of accidental adverted vision. I ve heard of adverted vision , but hadnt had the chance to use it , until then. I had reasonably high expectations for a 3" reflector, and wasnt sure if i was looking at it or not. It looked like a faint colourless fuzzy blob. After reporting what i saw to the forum they assured me that i had indeed saw the orion nebula.( this all from quite light polluted skies!) Even though i had high expectations i was pretty satisfied with my views. 3 days after, the moon wasnt very visible so i went out to observe. What i saw amazed me. It was considerably brigher than before ,using adverted vision. The idea of looking at the nebula itself in combination with the even better view, astounded me.(in the same skies) I loved it!!!!!!!!!!! After some though i was very suprised that such a cheap instrument(got it for 60euros , but you can usually get it for around 50) can show you that much! Yesterday i woke up to see the moon venus and jupiter( I wasnt able to view the jupiter-venus conjuction because of clouds, same with the Super Blood Moon. Guess i gotta wait another 19 years ). I was able to find venus before i left for school. it was okay with the 20mm eyepiece. I just didnt have the time to view it in the 4mm( i know the timing was very unfortunate , didnt want to miss the buss) Astro Journal #1 So here we are! Today! I used the telescope in my backyard(they skies are okay! i can make out around 50 stars in my fov (around 180 degrees) I took a view of the orion nebula! You know what they say! You ll never see less than you saw yesterday!(except if the seeing conditions are worse ) I was able to see quite more using adverted vision than the first time! { For those who dont know, adverted vision is when you dont look directly at the object you are observing ,as the areas in your eyes that focus on something arent as light sensitive as the areas who do not. So this way you achieve better brightness and clarity } Then i took a look at Taurus! i noticed some stars and then headed right for The Pleiades! The Pleiades , filled the entire Fov of my telescope . It had a pretty clear view. I did not however notice any colour or blue tint surrounding the stars. I wasnt expecting much to begin with so that was okay! I took some pictures of the Orion nebula! This pictures indicate what you will see with bad seeing full moon some light pollution and no adverted vision. However, the results with clear skies, adverted vision and no moon will be WAY better , i Promise. Dark skies will help you the most when looking at Deep Sky Objects Also FOR BETTER VIEWS Dont forget to DARK ADDAPT: DARK ADDAPTATION ALLOWS THE EYE TO SEE MUCH FAINTER LIGHT . TO ACHIEVE DARK ADDAPTATION TRY AND SPENDING AROUND 30-40 MINUTES IN DARKNESS ( AND NO CLOSING YOUR EYES FOR 40 MINUTES WONT WORK) And be careful. Even a look at your cell phone will take the dark addaptation effect away. So if you want to see somehow, use red flash torches,as red is the lowest wavelenght in power. The views you will get on the orion nebula will be amazing! Guranteed!
  2. Hi there, our Astro group were booked into our normal dark skies venue for an observing weekend in February. Unfortunately, the accommodations are now going to be undergoing renovation and will be closed for the first 3 months of the year. We are looking at a couple of alternative venues. These are field study centres, one at Blancathra near Keswick and the other Malham Tarn in the Yorkshire Dales national park. Wondering if anybody has any observing experience of the skies in these areas. Kind Regards Paul.
  3. Hi. Was up at dawn observing Mercury rising in the southeast and slowly swept my binoculars left. I was able to vaguely see a small triangle formed by Upsilon Ophiuchi, HR 6128 and HR 6137. That was the limit of view as sunlight was washing out anything else to the left of that. But I clicked on the adjacent HR6144 star in my Sky Guide app and it lists as being 6,900 light years away. When I checked the Ski Safari app, the same star is listed as 1,900 light years. I went online and found little info but, “In the Sky” web page it’s HR 6144 at 9 kilo years / 9,000 light years. Does anyone have any info as to why the huge discrepancies? https://in-the-sky.org/data/object.php?id=TYC5627-1490-1 Thanks in advance for your help.
  4. I am considering buying a Skywatcher al/az+eq mount to use in alt az mode for lunar CCD photography. I currently have a celestron 11 CDC and a celestron 8 on a nexstar evo mount. I can use both these telescopes with the celestron 'solar system align' and sharp cap for short (~10 sec 300-500 frame) captures. I want to replace the nexstar evo mount for the C8 with a sturdier Skywatcher AZ-EQ 5GT mount BUT - 1) the altz/az option is supposed to be 'for visual use'. Does this mean its tracking in lunar rate/alt-az mode is very poor ? 2) I am confused about 'alignment' (is this only necessary to accurately access the database of interesting object positions?) The skywatcher mount does not have solar system align - but it does have lunar rate tracking in alt-az mode. If I align on any random stars in lunar rate+alt-az mode with the moon centred in the telscope will the mount then track the moon? If not ,is there another way to track the moon ?
  5. POLAR ALIGNMENT IF THE POLE STAR IS OBSTRUCTED (e.g. OBSERVING ON A S-FACING BALCONY!!!) Set up your scope on the floor (assuming it's reasonably level) in equatorial mode, with a rough guess at North. Put the tube into whatever 'home' position the instructions specify, or that you have chosen. Now choose an easily recognisable bright star at mid altitude. Pretend you HAVE polar aligned, and tell the scope to go to this star. When the slewing stops lift the scope very gently and turn the mount round till the star is in the centre of the field of view and you should have a fairly good polar alignment. If you are for example videoing planets and can also autoguide, this alignment may be all you need. But you can now refine it by the drift method if you need to - see https://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-resources/accurate-polar-alignment/ This method should be quite useful for Southern hemisphere observing, where the 'south pole star' - Sigma Octantis - is difficult to find especially in light polluted skies. And of course my advice here applies if you have a North-facing balcony!
  6. Stupid question time! My 2" Altair dielectric diagonal has a thread on the tube end that inserts into my Skywatcher ST120 telescope, so if I buy a new 2" filter to use I assume that I can screw the 2" inch filter in here OK so I can then use either my 2" EP I have, or with my 1.25" adapter inserted into the diagonal also with all my 1.25" EPs to right? None my other 1.25" diagonals has a thread at that end of it, so can't test any of my 1.25" filters like this with any of my current equipment line-up,
  7. My regular news-sheet for binocular observers, the Binocular Sky Newsletter for August 2012, is now available: http://binocularsky.com/newsletter/201208.pdf There is also a printer-friendly version: http://binocularsky.com/newsletter/201208p.pdf
  8. Hello, The link below is a round up of the southern sky in January from the point of view of Wellington in New Zealand. We’ve tried to capture a bit of a cultural flavour too with some of the night sky descriptions that are relevant to Māori. So if anyone is heading down to the Southern Hemisphere in January then be sure to have a look at some of the objects - if you’re already in the Southern Hemisphere, you might find it useful too. Here it is :The January 2018 Night Sky. Sam
  9. The summer equinox has passed and people are looking forward to Star Parties. I have never been to one, don't know what to expect, have never met the participants. As a solitary observer tucked away in my small North West garden I have been happy to gaze the night skies alone (Mrs Polar Bear often pops out for high mag views of the Moon and Planets) but otherwise I enjoy my own company and get along very well with myself. So I have taken the plunge and committed to attend CSP9 oop North in Cumbria. Watching the CSP9 thread develop I noticed comforting words such as friendly, whisky, bacon butties, and with a host called delilahtwinkle what could go wrong? Being a tent snob, and loving Glamping my 'usual' nights out are spent in a Cabanon that is the size of a Jovian Moon and takes 2 people an hour to set up. Not ideal, so ebay to the rescue and luckily a smaller Cabanon (think Europa vs Ganymede comparison) was found just up the road from me. Sleeping will be the usual twin air bed and duvets, a single burner will suffice for snacks, unsure as to whether to take the BBQ and the fold away hanging wardrobes ! So camping equipment sorted, onto the scope. Easy decision as I only own one (this week) so the C8 will be coming. Do you put the scopes away each day? unsure, so I found a new moped cover on the local car boot for £3.00 that will do the trick of protecting it. Red light etiquette is an unknown to me, I always observe at home amongst the fairy lights strewn around the garden. As a smoker I worry about lighters, do they affect dark adapted vision? Can I open my car door or do I need to shield the interior lights if I do? So much to learn regarding Star Party etiquette. I am really looking forward to it, and to meeting up with like minded individuals (whisky drinkers) :wink:
  10. So, I’ve set the scope out in the garage to cool but now I’m trying to weigh up the pros and cons of observing tonight. Pro - It’s the last clear spell forecast here for a week so I might regret not taking the chance. Con - Its -3 already and only going down from here. Pro - The seeing was great last night. Spent a couple of hours on the moon at over 450x! Very stable and detailed so it decided to max out by barlowing my 3.2mm BST to give over 700 for a test and although that was less detailed it was still acceptable, so wouldn’t want to miss conditions like that again. Con - Moon is very full now so perhaps a little less to interest me. Pro - I’d have managed 11 nights this month which ties with my best for a February. Con - Work again tomorrow and I’ve been a little tired all day from last night. So a bit of a tie so far. Anyone else in a quandary tonight?
  11. Hi, After using Stellarium on my tablet for helping me find stuff with binoculars. I was wondering on the PC version is it possible to see the FOV through a certain telescope? Have been using something similar https://astronomy.tools/ but was wondering if it’s possible in stellarium . I know there is a telescope tab but not sure how it works, I was wondering if there are any other programs like this that you recommend . Any help will be appreciated PS Sorry if I e posted this in the wrong section.
  12. After wanting to start a good log book for astronomy of any interesting observations etc that I make, and wanting also to start to sketch some of the things I see through my scopes, I looked for a astronomer's notebook to help me do this. I found this from Amazon by Paul Abel, however as I really didn't know what the contents was actually like, I got a new copy from another seller listed on Amazon for just £3.78 which included the price of postage too. It arrived this morning in good condition, with just a small imprint on the cover where something has pressed into it, but this is a small niggle as you can only see it close up really. If I had paid the full price wanted by Amazon I would have requested a replacement no doubt, but as it is I can live with it. I'v added a few images of the contents and the report pages for anyone who might be interested in one too.
  13. Well, miracles do happen, just spent an evening with the bins under my first half decent local clear skies of 2017. Bagged the following objects in two stints M81, M82, M92, M13, M3, M42, M45, M31, then later on between 23:00 and 00:30, Jupiter, M44, M51, Leo triplet (very faint with averted vision), M53, NGC5053 and a whole host of very faint unidentifiable smudges in the coma and Virgo regions. Most pleased about M51 and the Leo triplet, first time I've managed to see these with the 15x85 binoculars
  14. Had a superb night last night / this morning at Seething. From about 00:30 to about 02:30 (just before the clouds and rain hit). Milky Way was superb, could easily see constellations that I struggle to see from home such as Sagitta. Andromeda and Double Cluster visible naked eye too. Haven't had many nights like that for some time. Used the "precise GoTo" function on my 5SE mount to see Uranus and Neptune - at about 02:18 the ISS made a very very bright pass too - awesome. Think that the massive thunderstorms and torrential rain we had during the afternoon must have "cleaned" the air. More nights like this please. Chris
  15. I saw a pretty clear sky on Monday 8th Febuary. I decided to set up the new ( new to me!! ) 300 mm Skywatcher truss tube dobsonian in the back garden and get some practice collimating and give some of my new ep's a workout. I love the fact that I can be set up in just a few minutes with this scope - for me that is a big plus. After purchasing a new SUV ( not entirely unrelated to the purchase of aforementioned new scope ) I will be heading out as soon as I can to the resevoir my astronomy group use which has darker skies than my back garden can ever hope to provide. Despite my record set up time the clouds had rolled in. Never mind - I shall get to collimating. With my old 6" and 8" reflectors it was an easy task as even after a night out in the wild they held collimation brilliantly. The larger aperture of the 12" means a lot more movement of the primary mirror while handling it. For this task I have a cheap laser collimator I purchased from E-bay. It seems to work well enough for visual astronomy and certainly provides crisp and clear views. This was also done very quickly and for my perseverance the cloud gods rewarded me with an hour and a half of relatively clear sky which was a nice surprise, especially in Edinburgh, Scotland. Indeed to see anything but clouds this season is a real win. I've pretty much only got a South-Western view ( besides the zenith ) which is great at this time of year as one of my favourite winter objects is in full view - M42. Zeroed in my Telrad and wee RACI finder and aquired it with my SW 28mm Nirvana ( Thanks Lorne ) and it was great to see pin sharp stars and some nebulosity at 53x magnification. Changed up to my ES 100 degree 20mm and the view was really stunning at 75x. Next in I used both SW Nirvana 16mm and 7mm. The 7mm gave me 214x and although a lot of people ( quite rightly ) think that is too much on a nebula I would have to disagree - the effect was almost like being in that cloud of dust and gas and I could see the trapezium stars like never before. After that I chucked on my new 4.5mm TV Delos at 333x and although this was far too much power for the atmospheric conditions in the seconds of clear seeing the dark gas was really visible against background. It was fair zipping across the fov but a worthwhile observation nevertheless. My girlfriend Jahmila has been getting more interested since popping up to the resevoir at the end of last year and looking through one of the guys telescope at some star clusters and double stars. She had asked if we could have a look at m45 so back out came the 28mm Nirvana. Now, some of these eps weigh a fair bit so after some advice from you guys I purchased magnetic taxi plate holders - 2 of them weigh just over 500 grams and this seems to be enough to balance out the scope even with the 28mm monster which weighs in at a mighty 1000 grams. We had a look through and the massive 82 degree afov ( which provides 1.53 degrees of actual sky ) and really let us see a lot of the open cluster and also gives you that "spacewalk" feeling I keep hearing about. That ep and the Explore Scientific 20mm at 100 degrees afov ( or 1.3 degrees tfov ) really give you the impression of being in space as the fov is so wide you don't notice the edges at all. That was enough cold for Jah though so I began using M45 to look for any coma which is the reason I wanted to upgrade my ep's having purchased a big, fast scope which can be very unforgiving on some eyepieces. Skywatcher Nirvanas have 72 degree afov and are really crisp and clear almost right out to the edge with maybe a little coma in the last 5 percent. To be fair I just do visual and had never noticed coma before as I tend to keep things quite well centred. The same with the ES 100 degree - Fantastic views and great contrast with a little coma present in stars at the very edge of the field. The Televue Delos has a 72 degree apparent field of view ( 0.21 degrees tfov ) with zero coma present. I noticed that it makes the background very dark compared to the others which makes for a nice contrasty view but I would need to use this ep on the moon and planets more to see how it performs on the objects it's meant to be used on. I am delighted to add these 4 gems to my collection as it will really help me bring out more detail in some of the DSO's which I will be looking for over the next month or so. I purchased everything in my collection, including my 80mm travel refractor and 305mm dob, second hand from Astro Buy and Sell, Secondhand Astronomy Equiptment on Facebook and from the classifieds here on SGL. It's always worth having a browse through these sites because you never know what you will find. Astronomy doesn't always need to break the bank if you are patient. For any of you that know me, you realize that I am in no way an expert in anything astronomy related - I am only in my 2nd season ( and what a terrible season it has been so far ) but I wanted to post regarding these ep's on a fast scope as I know it can catch some people out, especially when you are starting to upgrade your kit. I was caught out with some Hyperion ep's which work well on my wee travel frac but were just terrible on my 8" newt and not exactly cheap either. I am selling through some other, now, unused ep's to fund a light shroud and some other accessories ( tables, ground and insulating sheets, dew shields and observing chairs ) which will make observing sessions more comfortable in the future so I will be sure to keep you posted on how useful they turn out to be. Keep looking up All the best Andy
  16. Aside from Mizar and Alcor are there and good and bright doubles near the Plough? I'm using an ST80 and I have city skies...
  17. Hi all, not sure where else to post this, but I've managed to secure access to a handful of pretty good observing sites over the years I've been at this, and wondered if anyone in the Dorset area is interested in sharing them or perhaps arranging meet-ups/stargazing sessions. I don't want to post the locales publicly, as a couple are on farms to which I've been granted access. I kinda wish there was a Dorset community sub-forum, but I don't think the mods are too keen on expanding that section of the site. Anyway, let me know if you're interested. Kev
  18. Hello! My friend and I are trying to make a DIY refractor based telescope which will be used only for solar projection as our personal monsoon project. We don't have any specific plan yet but roughly this is the idea : suppose an 80mm achromat f/10 (or similar) with a zoom eyepiece attached to a Sun funnel. (Or similar) My major concern is the heat build up in the scope. I use my 90mm f/10 refractor for solar projection and within 15 min I can sense the heat built up inside. Any ideas or suggestions on this? Are there any specific coatings which can work for heat reduction? Any thoughts are welcome! P.S. I am from Mumbai region and summer temperature does rise up to 40+ degree Celsius. Also,I don't want to have a telescope smaller than 70-80mm aperture.
  19. I recently posted about my first successful collimation experience (an SCT). I'm sure we all have our stories, of those moments when we perceived optical clarity. Come on everyone tell us of those collimation 'eureka' moments and your experience of your first observing session immediately following. Paul.
  20. perseus2

    IAAC

    Does anyone know where the IAAC (internet amateur astronomers catalog) disappeared to? The thousands of reports were all at least 10 years old, but it was a useful data base. Andrew
  21. Ok guys, So I was reading an article in Astronomy magazine about finding and viewing Pluto. According to them, Pluto can be viewed with an 8" scope and great conditions coming up next week to mid July....supposedly. It will be transiting nearly in front of a star (I'll have to find the SAO #, don't have the magazine with me at the moment) making it a little easier to find I'm guessing? I haven't seen any posts about the little fella (didn't look very hard). So who has seen it? I'm imagining a dark shadow about the size of a grain of sand. I have an 8se and I plan driving a little ways to get to high ground and better my chances if future skies cooperate. But not gonna try if it wouldn't be worth it.
  22. Hello, last night was the second clear night in a row. Quite rare here in Ireland! I took my telescope out side to set it up when I noticed something amazing! I inserted my 25mm eyepiece into my LCM to focus it ( I haven't even moved the tube yet ) when I noticed I placed my telescope bang on in the direction of the Orion Nebula! It was only a couple of arc seconds of the center. I was amazed but since I was looking at the Orion nebula I figured I should start my two star align with a star in Orion, so the two stars I aligned were Rigel and Deneb since they are nearly polar opposites at the moment. Also, when I was trying to center Rigel in my finder scope, a dazzling meteor fell through the atmosphere passing through Orion's belt, followed by another passing near Betelgeuse and another near Gemini. For the hour and a half I was outside I seen about 10 meteorites, very cool! I started my session by continuing to look for Messier objects I can see to add to my list.The objects I observed last night were Messier 35 in Gemini, 36 and 37 in Auriga, 50 in Monoceros and 67 in Cancer. All beautiful open star clusters. I then observed some regular stars such as Sirius, Meissa, Procyon, and Beta Canis Minor. Sadly even though it was clear and I live atop a hill, I was aware of a huge fog devouring my quaint, quiet town. And by 12:35 AM this fog reached me and the only thing I could see was my telescope and my hands. I could barely see the neighbors house it was that thick! But I enjoyed my night and I hope you enjoyed reading. Clear skies Adam
  23. Hello! So I need little bit help to make my solar outreach events better. Usually most of my solarsolevents events have been for schools and little bit for general public But now I am going more towards college students and arranging events specific for solar observation. (It used to be more like complimentary with night sky observations) Since I am not a science student (learning physics by myself only), I don't have exact idea about what topics should I cover in theory. (Also what should I learn as well) Usually I take a projected image of the sun using my 90mm refractor and do H-alpha observation using my Lunt 50mm telescope. As for theory, I cover little bit about nuclear fusion, sun as a magnet, little bit about solar spectrum. If time allows then I refer Sun's images like magnetogram and all to have a better idea. Any suggestions would be helpful! Because it looks like I am still the only one here taking H-alpha observationsobservation. P.s. I will be putting up this question in solarchat as well. But more help will be better! Thanks! EDIT : currently I am thinking about adding a small radio telescope. Also, looking out for something to make so that I can see the solar spectrum much better.
  24. Not much chance of any actual observing in the coming days, so instead I've been thinking of targets to look for when the weather finally improves. I was browsing around on SkySafari on the iPad and noticed that there's a globular cluster in Cygnus - M56. I realised I'd never seen it, and I sort of wondered how I'd missed the fact that there's a glob so well-placed at this time of year. So, that's top of the list. I'm also keen to have a go at M33 through my 4" refractor - I've only ever seen it in binoculars before, and a few months ago I failed miserably to see it at all in my 10" Dob at 50x. I suspect it's just too large and diffuse to show up against the skyglow with that setup, so I'm wondering if the 4" at 20x will be a better bet. There are a few others I'm keen to see, mainly drawn from the Moore Winter Marathon which I'm about halfway through at the moment. Hopefully I'll be able to report some success at some point soon...
  25. As the weather is bad, I thought that I would count up the number of nights out observing that I have to done over the last 4 years (from my notes). To keep it fair I just counted the first 9 months of the year for comparison. Here are my results... 2017 (Jan 1 - Oct 1) = 44 nights 2016 (Jan 1 - Oct 1) = 30 nights 2015 (Jan 1 - Oct 1) = 22 nights (moved house which affected count) 2014 (Jan 1 - Oct 1) = 63 nights 1. I knew last year was bad but you can see just how bad it was 2. 2014 was a great year for clear nights. 3. This year is not as bad as I thought . In fact 50% better than last year - Hurrah! Hope this clears you all up a bit! Alan
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