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Wireless Telescope Control for Celestron (and Compatible) Scopes

May 28 2016 11:45 AM | tom_fowler in User Reviews

Wireless control of telescopes is quite handy as it frees the observer from being tethered to the scope mount by a wire. In fact it is clear that this is the wave of the future. Astronomy equipment tends to lag behind the technology curve—Celestron’s hand controllers are about 20 years out of date in terms of display, wireless capability, and other areas. (Vixen’s StarBook controllers are an example of a more modern design but they are not wireless). Fortunately it is possible to not only add wireless capability, but do so with equipment that most astronomers already have (smartphones, tablets) and that can handle observing lists, display planetarium views, give detailed information on objects observed, and even in some cases speak object descriptions. In this review I want to compare briefly the two major ways to implement wireless control of Celestron telescopes: (1) WiFi, using the Celestron SkyPortal (#93973) and (2) Bluetooth, using a serial Bluetooth adapter.

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An OFLI Chronicle: “Out There” Dark Sky Trips in 2014 and 2015

May 27 2016 12:48 PM | jrbarnett in Articles

In addition to more or less regular, weather permitting, observing sessions at Dan Parker’s Sonoma farm, and occasional public outreach, the club undertakes one or two dark sky camping trips a year.  In addition to dark skies and astronomy, these quests also feature daytime activities well outside the day-to-day for most of us. 

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May 2016 Skies

May 07 2016 08:58 AM | cookman in This Month

Highlights: Comet Journal, Martian Landers, Meteor Showers, Grand Traverse Astronomical Society, Planet Plotting, May Moon

Focus Constellations: Lynx, Ursa Major, Draco, Ursa Minor, Cepheus, Cassiopeia, Camelopardalis, Perseus, Auriga, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Coma Berenices, Virgo, Bootes, Hercules, Lyra

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A Review of Teeter STS18

May 04 2016 06:43 PM | Mr. Marbles in User Reviews

For the better part of four years, I have called STS18 my own. To reiterate, it is the most gratifying astronomy-based purchase I have made yet. In this hobby, each purchase calls for careful deliberation and is circumscribed by a different set of financial thresholds. Every night, after wrapping up an observing session at Landis Arboretum, as I wend my star-sated self home while the world sleeps, my toes invariably thawing, I reflect on the night and the views. Most poignantly, I reflect on the friends with whom I share the stars and the gear which has bound us together and furnished our friendships. While our hobby is not cheap, its most important parts could never be priced.

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Binocular Universe: The Wonderful Universe of Color

May 02 2016 09:31 AM | PhilH in Binocular Universe

One look at the beautiful astrophotos posted here on Cloudynights and it’s quite evident that we live in a vibrant and colorful universe. But when we swing our binoculars (and telescopes) skyward, most of what we see visually are varying shades of gray. What's up with that?

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April 2016 Skies

Apr 10 2016 08:03 PM | cookman in This Month

Highlights: Comet Journal, Martian Landers, Meteor Showers, Mother Goose and the Headlands, Planet Plotting, April Moon

Focus Constellations: Camelopardalis, Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Draco, Cepheus, Cassiopeia, Perseus, Auriga, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Lynx, Leo, Coma Berenices, Canes Venatici, Bootes, Hercules

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Binocular Universe: Into the Realm

Apr 01 2016 03:31 PM | PhilH in Binocular Universe

Bridging the constellations Coma Berenices and Virgo stands the Wild West for binocular astronomers, where only the brave trod. You may know it as the Coma-Virgo Realm of Galaxies. The Coma-Virgo galaxy cluster is the core of the Coma-Virgo supercluster, which embraces members far and wide. All of the galaxies within autumn’s Sculptor galaxy cluster, as well as our Milky Way as well as the rest of the Local Group of galaxies, are counted among the multitude.

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Mar 21 2016 08:25 AM | rekokich in Articles

Muons can be detected with cloud chambers, Geiger counters, and scintillator detectors, but can also be recorded with common digital camera CCD and CMOS chips which are sensitive to charged particles. Muon flux at the surface of the Earth averages approximately 1 particle per square centimeter per minute. The surface area of the APS-C camera sensor (22.3 x 14.9 mm) is 3.3 cm2, which means that we can expect on average 3 muon strikes on the sensor during a 1 minute exposure.

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MesuMount 200 Review

Mar 20 2016 07:53 PM | Laperuz in User Reviews

All these years the MesuMount200 served me very well. I’m yet to see any problem requiring a service. As a matter of fact I am yet to see a single frame that was lost due to the Mount. I think it nicely fits the niche of a midsize observatory or even a large field mount. It is priced very competitively. If you get one I’m sure you won’t regret making that decision.

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Carl Zeiss 300MM F5.6 S-Tessar RFT

Mar 10 2016 08:39 AM | Tom Duncan in Articles

I recently got a Carl Zeiss S-Tessar 300mm f5.6 barrel lens (no aperture nor shutter) that came out of an old copy machine or color comparator, not sure which. While only demanding $50-$100 on the used photographic market it was suggested it might make a good rich field telescope. So I made one.

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