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Uncle Rod's Astro Blog Archives

The Cost of a Good Eyepiece Redux

Apr 24 2009 08:56 AM | rmollise in Uncle Rod's Astro Blog

Me? I wouldn’t call myself an Ethos-a-holic, not yet, though I have two and am thinkin’ about a third. I still use other eyepieces. Once in a while. Yes, I’ve made a few posts on various forums defending the Es, but I do recognize they are not for

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Rod’s Resolutions

Jan 06 2009 04:49 AM | rmollise in Uncle Rod's Astro Blog

New Year’s Day and Oh My Achin’ Head Time. Again. Your Old Uncle Rod was fairly sensible this year; at least he didn’t run amok or say anything acutely embarrassin’ to anybody. I think, or at least hope, them years is over.

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The Silicon Sky Part 2: Planners

Nov 24 2008 05:25 AM | rmollise in Uncle Rod's Astro Blog

If you’ll recall, we talked about astronomy computer programs a couple of weeks back, specifically amateur astronomy software for observers. Even more specifically, planetarium programs.

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SCTs: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Nov 17 2008 04:43 AM | rmollise in Uncle Rod's Astro Blog

This ain’t got nothin’ to do with Sergio Leone’s urpic spaghetti westerns, but his title seems apt to describe the SCTs us amateurs have been

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The 8-mm Ethos Faces Dark Skies

Nov 07 2008 04:09 AM | rmollise in Uncle Rod's Astro Blog

"Astronomy is a game for the patient." How well ol’ Unk knows the truth of that little maxim. After 43 years in this glorious avocation, I know all too well that when the brass ring finally seems in reach is when you sometimes get plumb skunked

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The Silicon Sky Part I: Planetariums for PCs

Nov 17 2008 04:40 AM | rmollise in Uncle Rod's Astro Blog

Your ol Unk Rod ain’t gonna pretend he’s the most computer-savvy dude out there. What exactly goes on inside them mysterious boxes that set on the desktop is still

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The Laser and Laptop Wars: Star Party Etiquette...

Oct 20 2008 07:49 AM | rmollise in Uncle Rod's Astro Blog

Until just a little while ago, formulatin’ and enforcing light rules at the average star party was a pretty easy thing to do. You made sure everybody understood and adhered to a simple stricture: no white light

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The Celestron SkyScout: Uncle Rod was Wrong

Oct 20 2008 07:47 AM | rmollise in Uncle Rod's Astro Blog

Yeah, despite what you might think (or more likely what I might tell you), it happens. Unk is wrong, wrong, wrong. Now, some folks might say that that is not exactly an uncommon experience. I dunno about that, but one thing I will say is

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Old 37 Under the Stars with a DSLR

Oct 20 2008 07:45 AM | rmollise in Uncle Rod's Astro Blog

How do you get down to these short(er) f/ls with a Meade or Celestron? You use a focal reducer. Which I do almost always—both f/6.3s and f/3.3s as appropriate. Tain’t no such thing as a free lunch though. The reducers work pretty well for me. But I ain’t aimin to

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Ethos Mania and the Cost of a Good Eyepiece

Oct 02 2008 05:38 AM | rmollise in Uncle Rod's Astro Blog

I can’t believe how much cryin’, whinin’, and downright bad-mouthin’ has resulted from TeleVue’s release (in batches) of their new Ethos 100 degree apparent field of view eyepieces

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Amateur Radio and Amateur Astronomy: A Cautiona...

Sep 25 2008 10:19 AM | rmollise in Uncle Rod's Astro Blog

I’m guessing most of y’all amateur astronomers know at least a little bit about amateur ("ham") radio. There’s always been a lot of overlap between these two "scientific hobbies"

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The 37-Year-Old Telescope

Sep 16 2008 06:23 AM | rmollise in Uncle Rod's Astro Blog

Some Amateur Telescope Making projects are like fine wine. Set them aside for a while, let them mature, and they become sweet. Others? More like Boone’s Farm

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The Guiding Game

Sep 09 2008 07:08 AM | rmollise in Uncle Rod's Astro Blog

How can I adequately describe the pain we used to go through in order to get a fuzzy Kodacolor drugstore print showin’ a smudge that might look a little like M13?

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The Nights Everything Goes Wrong

Sep 03 2008 06:45 AM | rmollise in Uncle Rod's Astro Blog

In any pursuit, from turnip farming to teaching third grade, there are those times when everything goes to pot.

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Those Other Astro Rags

Aug 26 2008 11:45 AM | rmollise in Uncle Rod's Astro Blog

I received quite a bit of comment about and even took a wee bit of heat over a blog entry I did recently, "The Trouble with the Magazines", Sky and Telescope and Astronomy by name.

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SCT Mythology

Aug 21 2008 10:43 AM | rmollise in Uncle Rod's Astro Blog

There sure are a lotta tall tales floatin’ around about Unk’s favorite telescope design. Some patently ridiculous, some containing at least a grain or two of truth

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Old Go-Tos Made New Again

Aug 21 2008 10:41 AM | rmollise in Uncle Rod's Astro Blog

What’s troubling you, Binky? Your once cutting-edge go-to telescope is yesterday’s news? That formerly artful and elegant LX200

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How to Make Your Star Party Almost Heaven

Aug 06 2008 06:36 AM | rmollise in Uncle Rod's Astro Blog

Puttin’ few decades of partying under my (ever expanding) belt, however, has taught me a thing or two about the star party game. Dark skies are good, yeah

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Uncle Rod, I Want to Take Pictures

Jul 29 2008 07:04 AM | rmollise in Uncle Rod's Astro Blog

Sure you do. You think you do anyway. Despite its very real rewards, astrophotography is still the most frustratin’ way for a beginner—or anybody else--to spend time under the stars

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The Astronomer Looks at 55

Jul 22 2008 07:56 AM | rmollise in Uncle Rod's Astro Blog

There is little doubt in my formerly military mind that amateur astronomy may have skewed a little younger back in ‘65. Why do I think that? The Space Race

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The Good Tasco

Jul 14 2008 07:11 AM | rmollise in Uncle Rod's Astro Blog

The good Tasco? Ain’t that what the bright boys call an "oxymoron?" Wouldn’t you need to be a moron o’ some kind to call one o’ them stinkin’ Tasco, TRASHCO Department Store telescopes "good?"

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Telescope Anxiety

Jul 10 2008 06:27 AM | rmollise in Uncle Rod's Astro Blog

Brothers and sisters, telescope anxiety is abroad in our land. Telescope company anxiety, that is, and us Schmidt Cassegrain fanciers, us bubbas and bubbettes who rely on

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The Trouble with the Magazines

Jun 30 2008 10:14 AM | rmollise in Uncle Rod's Astro Blog

If you’re an American amateur astronomer, you won’t have to ask what I am talkin’ about when I say "the magazines." You know I mean

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Is There Cheap and Good?

Jun 23 2008 07:29 AM | rmollise in Uncle Rod's Astro Blog

What is a good eyepiece? I could go on and on all day jawboning that—within the limits of my paltry optical knowledge.

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To Set Sail on a Wine–Dark Starry Sea…

Jun 19 2008 06:52 AM | rmollise in Uncle Rod's Astro Blog

You gotta have sails and a rudder. You need stuff, astro stuff. Telescopes, eyepieces, atlases, filters, computer programs—all that wonderful gear you and me drool and obsess over. If’n you’re readin’ this, I’m guessin’ you are probably to the point where you’ve got what you more or less need

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