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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


    Today, 12:51 PM by Ray Taylor

    Last August, I contacted Matt McBee in Tennessee about doing an H-a filter comparison with our Mod 3C Night Vision Devices (NVDs). Matt had purchased an Astrodon 5nm H-a filter and wondered how it would compare to a 7nm filter in his scope and under his suburban light pollution. I had purchased an Optolong 7nm H-a filter and wondered how it would compare to a 5nm from both my suburban light polluted home and from a semi-dark site that requires a 45 minute drive. So in September, we agreed to exchange filters. In the meantime, I purchased an Astrodon 5nm. I sent Matt my 7nm filter because I would be traveling for a month.

  • Wireless Control of an Astro-Video Camera’s On-Screen Display (OSD) Options and Video

    Dec 07 2017 06:02 PM by astrodude2

    Astrovideography has been around for a number of years now. The video cameras used cover a wide range of manufacturers and price points. Some are designed specifically for the astronomy community, while others are high resolution security cameras that have been adapted for use. There are already a number of articles online detailing the use of these cameras, so I won’t go into that. Most of the cameras have buttons on their back panels that are pressed to make adjustments using their OSD (On Screen Display), options. This, of course, requires the user to physically touch the device multiple times once it has been aligned to a desired target, so is not ideal! If you know what you’re doing, you can very carefully add a multi-wire cable to the camera, soldering connections to the internal switching. After running said cable to a homemade switch box, you can then adjust the settings without touching the camera; however, you now have a 12 volt cable to the mount, another one to the camera, a video cable from the camera to the monitor and another cable running to the homemade control box. I wanted to simplify this issue!

  • Pop-Up Canopy Observatory

    Nov 24 2017 11:09 AM by drgenovese

    Having been born with a “Tinker Gene” it occurred to me some time ago that rather than just cover the adjunct scope equipment with a pop up canopy to prevent the inevitable dew we have here in the South that an inexpensive canopy could be easily modified to make a portable observatory. I built this one last year and I have been very pleased with the result at night and additionally I found it was hugely helpful providing shade for Solar observing and I thought I would share it.

This Month

Imaging/Sketching Contest

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User Reviews

  • The Eye of the Flak (Das Auge der Flak)

    Dec 07 2017 02:46 PM by Micah

    It is a rare and wondrous thing when your hobby and passion leads you to a place where you find yourself driven to pursue discover ever deepening levels of historical and technical detail of a subject and it leads to newer discoveries. It's even more satisfying sometimes when you even uncover information once thought to be lost forever to the ravages of time and a world war. A new publication, "The Eye of the Flak" by Dr. Peter DeLaet and Francis Vermeire, is just that.

  • COMPARING THE MASUYAMA 25MM 52°, 25MM 65°, AND 26MM 85°

    Nov 24 2017 09:39 AM by wapaolini

    The modern incarnation of the Masuyama eyepieces seems to have carried forward their excellent reputation for providing high apparent contrast views. Indeed, for the globulars and nebula observed the Masuyama 85° quickly became my favorite during the testing, showing them brightly, richer in details than the other eyepieces, and with the largest contextual TFOV.

  • BRESSER 4 Inch f 4.5 AR 102XS Refractor visual observers’ REVIEW

    Nov 24 2017 09:41 AM by TimVerst

    For me, the 102SX is a solid, wide/rich-field travel scope. I’ll pimp up the finder-scope and dew shield, making this one a keeper.

  • New Moon Telescopes 16”f/4

    Nov 24 2017 09:44 AM by kreegan99

    After purchasing my New Moon Telescopes 16” Dob, the amount of observing hours I logged doubled easily. The scope performance is superb, but making it easy to setup, roll out, collimate, etc really makes the big difference in my very busy life.

  • The Ages of Astrophotography 1839-2015

    May 06 2017 07:51 AM by RefractorPhill

    The author, Stefan Hughes, is a historian/ astronomer with a passion for astrophotography and genealogy (family tree research). His interest for ancestral research and the lineage of families gave rise to his first book "Catchers of the Light - The Forgotten Lives of the Men and Women who First Photographed the Heavens" in which he focuses on the background of the first astro photographers and astronomers 19th and 20th centuries. The second book, "The Ages of Astrophotography" is a must-read sequel which fits well on every astronomer's book shelf!

  • Stardust Gallery LED Lightbox and Metallic Print Review

    Feb 25 2017 11:47 AM by ctron

    The owner of Stardust Gallery, Craig, was looking for volunteers to review an LED backlit lightbox containing either a Hubble image or an image of user choice. Since I had what I felt were fairly decent Milky Way images acquired from a session at a dark sky site late last Fall, I thought one of the somewhat processed images might be a good candidate to display inside one of the Stardust Gallery backlit lightboxes, and eagerly forwarded the image to the website.

  • Rayox Saddle Review

    Feb 25 2017 10:49 AM by dawong

    The Rayox dovetail saddle (regular price $449 with adapter through Woodland Hills Telescope, with an initial discount for Cloud Nights members) is a breakthrough product that has significant advantages compared to existing systems, especially when working with heavy equipment. If this system had been available earlier, I could have avoided some potentially dangerous situations…

  • MoonLite NiteCrawler Focuser

    Feb 25 2017 05:31 PM by Kattzx3

    I have been using telescopes for film and limited CCD use for well over 20 years, and because of extensive business travel coupled with a spouse who cannot access the observatory due to disability, I needed a product that would be solid, reliable, allow for remote precise FOV rotation, temperature compensation, no requirement to find a zero-point and reinitialize the position of the drive motors, and easily adaptable to various optical tubes. As an engineer and former aircraft mechanic, I demand a great deal out of the build quality of anything that I own as well.

  • Celestron Cometron 7x50s Review

    Feb 25 2017 09:07 AM by Augustus

    This review describes the Celestron Cometron 7x50s including my initial impressions along with examination during actual use for around 1 month. I live in a suburb in New England under Bortle 6-7 skies. I have 3 telescopes, the oldest of which I have had for one year.

  • Astro-Devices (of Ukraine) Parallelogram Standard II Pro

    Feb 23 2017 04:09 PM by Dhellis59

    This will not be a comprehensive, or even scientific review. I will just share what I would have wanted to know if considering purchasing one of these parallelograms.

  • Review: Explore Scientific 16”, Europe edition, late 2016

    Nov 12 2016 12:36 PM by brebisson

    I have been considering buying or making a 16 incher for a while now. Mirrors only (if you wanted to make your own scope) cost at least 1200€ to 1400€ (Hubble optics or GSO, not counting import duties and shipping cost). So, when I learned that Explore Scientific had a European sales on their Ultra Light series, placing the 16” at 1698€, I jumped on it!

  • VITE 2X Barlow Lens Review

    Nov 12 2016 12:25 AM by jfriz

    This review describes the VITE 2x Barlow lens including my initial impressions of build and optical quality. I observe from a suburb in the southeast U.S. I have one telescope, an 8-inch Dobsonian, and have had it for approximately five years. The photos included in this review represent my first crack at astro-imaging. I wanted to try prime focus photography with my DSLR but my focuser does not have enough in-travel to do so. I used the Barlow to achieve focus with my telescope/focuser/camera combination.

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