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Observer's Handbook 2016

By Tom Trusock


Tom Trusock takes a look at the 2016 edition of the RASC Observer's Handbook.


Recent Additions

  • A Review of Teeter STS18

    May 04 2016 06:45 PM by marbles

    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.

  • CAPTURING COSMIC RAYS WITH A DIGITAL CAMERA

    Mar 22 2016 10:12 AM by rekokich

    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.

  • MesuMount 200 Review

    Mar 20 2016 07:57 PM by Laperuz

    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.

  • Carl Zeiss 300MM F5.6 S-Tessar RFT

    Mar 10 2016 08:48 AM by oddog

    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.



This Month



Imaging/Sketching Contest


User Reviews

  • A Review of Teeter STS18

    May 04 2016 06:45 PM by marbles

    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.

  • MesuMount 200 Review

    Mar 20 2016 07:57 PM by Laperuz

    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.

  • First Light with the Prototype 8x42 Space WalkerTM 3D Binoculars

    Mar 06 2016 07:38 PM by wapaolini

    The Space Walker 3D Binoculars were a complete joy to use and as effortless as any binocular. There was no adjusting needed for the 3D effects as it is built into the product with no adjustment capability for the user. As a result, these 3D binoculars were intuitive and effortless, providing bright, sharp, and nicely contrasted astronomical views with very pronounced levels of depth.

  • INTERSTELLARUM DEEP-SKY ATLAS (FIELD EDITION) REVIEW

    Feb 16 2016 09:06 AM by KidOrion

    Stoyan and Schurig have produced an atlas that, while not perfect, may be the most user-friendly field atlas available to amateur astronomers with moderate-sized telescopes—an atlas that might stand as the apotheosis of the printed atlas in a day and age dominated by astronomy apps and planetarium programs.

  • THE BAADER BBHS-SITALL SILVER DIAGONAL

    Feb 15 2016 04:23 PM by wapaolini

    The Baader BBHS dielectric protected silver diagonal distinguished itself by pulling in fainter stars, showing minimal scatter, and presenting colorful stars and planetary features more richly colored, with its silver technology besting the defacto standard for high performance dielectric diagonals. Its Clicklock mechanism provided a level of ergonomic ease far surpassing other locking technologies I have used. It clearly demonstrated low levels of perceived scatter, the ability to bring into view the dimmer of stars in clusters than the other diagonals, the ability to make more authoritative double star splits, and the ability to show the faintest extents of nebula. All these attributes were highly welcomed and they clearly enhanced my observations. Most surprising however, was how brightly and vividly the BBHS technology portrayed the colors of stars and of planetary features, showing colors more richly saturated and more beautifully bright than even the best dielectric technology diagonal could muster. The views through the BBHS of brightly colored stars accentuated in familiar clusters, and of a richly colored GRS coursing its way across Jupiter were nothing less than truly memorable.

  • Explore Scientific AR 102

    Feb 09 2016 10:10 AM by phxbird

    My overall impression is outstanding! It is a great deal for the money, even at the non-sale price of $399. At the current sale price of $299 it is almost a steal! The optics are very good, the fit and finish are outstanding and it is light and portable. Overall, it is a real bargain.

  • Review: davejlec's Paralellogram Mount

    Feb 08 2016 11:26 AM by tlriedel

    CN member davejlec designed and built an excellent product. His price was extremely reasonable (especially compared to the commercially available options for 10lb. capacity parallelograms), and he went above and beyond to support me – the buyer.

  • Annals of the Deep Sky, Volumes One and Two

    Feb 08 2016 10:03 AM by twatson

    This past summer (2015) saw the release of the first two volumes of an ambitious new astronomy series written by Jeff Kanipe and Dennis Webb, the authors of the well-received book, The Arp Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies: A Chronicle and Observer's Guide. The series carries the lofty title of Annals of the Deep Sky, and has already been compared favorably to the much-loved Burnham’s Celestial Handbook.

  • Discovery 17.5” Split Tube Dobsonian Telescope

    Feb 07 2016 09:20 AM by clay1022

    I love this scope, I knew it was what I wanted the moment I saw it. Not a bunch of poles to put together, collimation holds, no stray light in the optical path, dew is not an issue, and it is just a base and two pieces, 3 minutes and I'm together, another 2 minutes tops and Im collimated.

  • REVIEW OF SUMERIAN OPTICS ALKAID 16” TRAVEL SCOPE

    Nov 26 2015 05:38 AM by alexvh

    If you want a high quality scope that is also transportable then this is about as good as it gets. Honestly I have owned several high quality scopes and this is one of the most refined ones available. I am overall very happy with this scope, and it is now my most used instrument.

  • Astrotrac TP3065 Pier Review

    Nov 20 2015 08:03 AM by James Waters

    I purchased the Astrotrac TP3065 pier because of its carrying capacity and design. The pier performs well, is stable, well made and has a padded shoulder carrying bag. It can also carry a heavy load.

  • Apo-tmosphere: Gutekunst ADC Review

    Sep 23 2015 11:18 AM by pbsastro

    Having apo-optics is not enough if we have achro-atmosphere. That is why I called this review Apo-tmosphere, because that is what this ADC brings to us.

  • Optolong LRGB Filter Testing and Comparison with Baader LRGB Filters

    Sep 22 2015 01:41 PM by turbo399

    I was recently contacted by Optolong, a filter manufacture in China who asked me to test their filters. They sent me a set of 36mm un mounted LRGB and a set of 36mm Narrowband Filters, H-Alpha 7nm, OIII and SII 12nm. I was impressed when they arrived, nice packaging and presentation in a similar plastic case to the Baader.

  • First Light Review: Teeter Custom TT Planet Killer 16" f/5.4

    Sep 04 2015 12:57 PM by Zellmer

    About a year ago I decided to get back into astronomy after a 7 year hiatus. I live in the Portland OR metro area, where the weather can be astronomically gloomy for long stretches of time. Previously I had concentrated primarily on Astrophotography (published in Sky & Tel and Astronomy magazines), and have owned a wide variety of scopes and mounts

  • The Baader Planetarium Morpheus

    Aug 20 2015 10:45 AM by wapaolini

    Morpheus, in Greek mythology known as the god of dreams, and now the new Baader Planetarium entry in the field of high-performance wide fields.  In field tests, Morpheus eyepieces proved themselves to be a very sizable step up in both performance and ergonomics compared to the older Hyperion line.

  • Book Review: Astro-Imaging Projects for Amateur Astronomers by Jim Chung

    Aug 15 2015 10:08 PM by Kenny2004

    Anyone who reads Jim Chung’s book will want to have a look at their existing astronomy gear and wonder what they can do to make their hobby better. The book shows how any amateur astronomer can modify or make astronomy gear from readily available parts, or by recycling parts while being mindful of costs. The broad spectrum of subject matter is written well and detailed, and balances nicely with the right amount of material and illustrations.




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