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- Review: davejlec's Paralellogram Mount
- Annals of the Deep Sky, Volumes One and Two
- Discovery 17.5” Split Tube Dobsonian Telescope
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CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.
This spring’s favorable placement of three major planets got me to thinking about how to put my scope on wheels. I was getting tired of lifting that awkward monster a few inches off the pavement and going umph-unk-umph-unk all the way up the driveway, hoping I wouldn’t snag a tripod foot between a pair of paving bricks (there is no such thing as flat ground in my suburb, par for the course around Denver).
Highlights: Comet Journal, Martian Landers, Meteor Showers, Planet Plotting, July Moon
Focus Constellations: Camelopardalis, Cassiopeia, Cepheus, Draco, Ursa Minor, Ursa Major, Bootes, Hercules, Lyra, Cygnus, Aquila, Ophiuchus, Libra, Virgo, Coma Berenices
If you're like me, you have probably seen Jupiter, Saturn, the Orion Nebula, and all of the sky's showpiece objects more times than you can count. And while they are truly spectacular and well worth revisiting, you may be looking for something new, something challenging to observe.
Here I describe a 160mm apochromatic binocular telescope complemented by a mount and tripod aiming at a well-balanced compromise between optical performance, size and weight. I started the project already several years ago, the first version is described here at Cloudy Nights. Meanwhile a new, lighter and stiffer mount and tripod are finished and I think it is the right moment for describing the whole instrument.
Highlights: Comet Journal, Martian Landers, Meteor Showers, Summer Solstice, Planet Plotting, June Moon
Focus Constellations: Lynx, Camelopardalis, Cassiopeia, Cepheus, Draco, Ursa Minor, Ursa Major, Bootes, Hercules, Lyra, Cygnus, Aquila, Ophiuchus, Libra, Virgo, Coma Berenices, Leo, Cancer
First its claws rise above our southeastern horizon. Then comes its brilliant red heart. Finally the hook-shaped tail makes an appearance. Scorpius, the Scorpion, is one of the most recognizable constellations in the entire sky. Within its borders is a bountiful selection of beautiful deep-sky objects strewn across some of the finest heavenly star fields. One of my favorite ways to spend a warm, clear summer evening is to simply sit back and casually scan the Scorpion's crooked body from head to toe. Along the way are many elegant asterisms, clusters and nebulae which provide hours of fascinating sky watching.
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.
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.
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
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.