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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 Big Scope Anyone Can Build & Use

    Jul 29 2018 11:16 AM by Augustus

    This isn’t a “how to” article – most of you whom are more competent woodworkers than I am could at the very least sand and stain your scope more evenly, let alone improve upon the design. However, if you’re new to telescope making or just looking at this article, I hope it encourages you that building a telescope of this size is within your grasp.

  • Ancient Star J0815+4729 Reveals Evolution of the Early Universe

    Jun 09 2018 07:26 AM by rekokich

    I took images of this region on 12 Dec 2017 searching for HIP 40492 (HD 68790) which is listed in SIMBAD as a high proper motion star. However, comparing the frame to DSS2 images on Aladin, I could find no prominent shift in the position of the star at this scale. The region came to my attention again when a team of Spanish astronomers searching the SDSS9 survey recently announced the discovery of the oldest known star, J0815+4729, in the constellation of Lynx: https://arxiv.org/abs/1712.06487 This chemically primitive dwarf star, whose full identifier is SDSS J081554.26+472947.5, is located in the halo of the Milky Way at the distance of 7,500 LY (2,300 PC) from Earth, and 33,000 LY from the galactic center. The star is estimated to have 70% of the solar mass, and surface temperature of 6215 K. SIMBAD lists its (J2000) coordinates as 08h 15m 54.268s +47d 29' 47.573'', and its green apparent magnitude as 17.1.

  • Comparison of the Boltwood II and Sky Alert Cloud Sensors

    Jun 09 2018 06:42 AM by theastroimager

    This review is a side-by-side comparison of the Boltwood II Cloud Sensor from Diffraction Limited/Cynagon , and the SkyAlert Cloud Sensor from Interactive Astronomy. Both units were purchased new by the author. The sellers were not made aware that I would be doing a review of their products, so no temptation was held to send me anything other than a typical unit.



This Month


Imaging/Sketching Contest


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User Reviews

  • Comparison of the Boltwood II and Sky Alert Cloud Sensors

    Jun 09 2018 06:42 AM by theastroimager

    This review is a side-by-side comparison of the Boltwood II Cloud Sensor from Diffraction Limited/Cynagon , and the SkyAlert Cloud Sensor from Interactive Astronomy. Both units were purchased new by the author. The sellers were not made aware that I would be doing a review of their products, so no temptation was held to send me anything other than a typical unit.

  • Chile Dilly!

    May 05 2018 10:14 AM by astrodoc71

    I would highly recommend this site for anyone who wants to image targets that can only be seen or optimally seen in the Southern Hemisphere. The cost is not prohibitive and the fast optical system makes it possible to obtain enough quality data in a reasonable time frame. The seeing at this site in Chile is excellent, and the resolution and image quality obtained make it well worth the expense, not to mention the excitement of seeing these amazing objects which we cannot see from Northern lattitudes! The user interface is very simple and customer service is superb. While you will have to throw out some subs like we all do at times, these will not come at additional cost. Best of all…they add 20% to your initial deposit if you are a CN member!

  • MONO & BINO VIEWING WITH THE BAADER MORPHEUS 17.5MM EYEPIECE

    Mar 22 2018 11:24 AM by wapaolini

    Baader markets their Morpheus line as “high-end” 76° apparent field of view (AFOV) eyepieces designed for visual / photo / video functions that can exploit the capabilities of the finest telescope optics. The eyepieces have a optical design that utilizes 8 lenses in 3 groups and includes the use of 3 low dispersion ED elements and 1 Lanthanum element. With the introduction of the 17.5mm, there are now six eyepieces in the line including 14mm, 12mm, 9mm, 6.5mm, and 4.5mm. All eyepieces can be used in either 1.25” or 2” focusers without adapters. The Morpheus line touts a rather long list of features and comes packaged with multiple accessories.

  • 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.




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