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  • Exploring the Universe - Size Matters But it's Always a Compromise

    Jun 29 2022 02:20 PM by MarkMittlesteadt

    Maybe 50 years ago, back when light pollution didn't rob us of the glorious views we no longer have access to, as a child of the 60's I used to lay on my back out in the yard at night and just look up and wonder what was "out there". I watched with hypnotic interest on our old black and white TV the first humans land and set foot on the Moon. I was hooked. I even had models of the Apollo rockets, orbiter and lunar landing module and of course toys of all kinds that were about pretending to be an astronaut. My imagination was consumed with what was "out there" in the Universe. It was more obsession than interest.

  • Three Simple iOptron Improvements

    Apr 30 2022 05:11 PM by covington

    In what follows I want to tell you about three things I've done to improve my early-model iOptron GEM45 mount. With a bit of adapting, you can apply the same ideas to many other mounts, both iOptron and other brands.

  • Unique Binary Globular Cluster Delivered By The Sagittarius Dwarf Spheroidal Galaxy, M53 and NGC5053

    Feb 01 2022 03:16 PM by rekokich

    It is irresistible to imagine the environment within a tightly organized globular cluster. The night sky would be sublime with a million visible stars, and a bird's-eye view of the entire Milky Way galaxy. How much earlier would astronomy and associated technology develop among an intelligent species living on a world graced with such inspiration? Unfortunately, complex life in globular clusters is extremely unlikely due to virtual absence of heavier elements. It is not even known if rocky planets can form in that environment. Therefore, such spectacles are probably unseen by intelligent eyes, and must remain confined to our imagination.

Cloudy Nights Announcements

Happy Labor Day!

04 Sep 2022
On behalf of the CN mod/admin team, I’m wishing all of my friends here a weekend free from labor, and plenty of time to enjoy astronomical or other pursuits and time with family and friends!  And for those of you that have to work on his holi... Full topic ›

Happy early Father’s Day!

12 Jun 2022
Since we wished the mothers on our site a happy day one week early, it’s only fair to let our fathers celebrate for an entire week too!  Happy Father’s Day to everyone here who either is a father or has a father! Full topic ›

User Reviews


    Jul 03 2022 03:48 PM by retroformat

    I encourage anyone with a minimum of technical facility to build their own vintage solar telescope, and join with me on the sunspot counting journey. Next to the study of Earth-grazing asteroids, I can think of no more important branch of astronomy. Aside its obvious ties to climate change science, solar astronomy is extremely important to our understanding of, and ability to predict flares and coronal mass ejections, which have the potential to devastate modern society (google "Carrington Event").

  • Hubble Optics 14 inch Dobsonian - Part 2: The SiTech GoTo system

    Feb 20 2022 12:47 PM by Chris Westland

    This is the second in the set of reviews about my Hubble Optics 14” Dobsonian, where I relate the performance of the installed GoTo system. I completed adding the Hubble Optics / SiTech GoTo system to my Hubble Optics 14” f/4.6 dob, but did encounter a bit of a learning curve on this, one which I’d like to share with anyone planning on upgrading any Dob to full GoTo.

  • iStar Optical’s Phantom FCL 140-6.5 review

    Dec 02 2021 10:03 AM by Psion

    From what I was able to see, I conclude that the optics belongs to a Super APO class, which is highly suitable for both visual observing and astrophotography. Unfortunately, I have to state that the TEC 140 lost in the direct side-by-side chromatic aberration comparison test, otherwise the TEC is practically perfect from the optical point of view. The Phantom FCL 140-6.5 is, therefore, a great all-round refractor, and the manufacturer has promised to remedy the minor mechanical issue with the amount of “grip” of the rotary lock. Therefore, iStar Optical can be congratulated on a very well made optical instrument.

  • Who’s Afraid of a Phantom: Istar Phantom 140mm F/6.5, that is?

    Oct 31 2021 10:43 AM by ABQJeff

    The Istar Phantom 140mm f/6.5 is a new entry in the large (5”+) triplet APO world. For the price to performance it is an excellent option. The vendor is already implementing upgrades (eg 80mm removable section from OTA tube) and recognizes need to make further improvements in its mechanics (eg 2” twist tight clamp). The optics are superb and are even better than the advertised 0.9 Strehl minimum guarantee. If you are interested in a super high performing 5+” triplet APO, that is much less than comparative peers, don’t be scared, I highly recommend you take a look at a Phantom!


    Oct 01 2021 06:30 AM by Larry Carlino

    The Sharpstar 94EDPH turns out to be a competent instrument and a good value for its $1495 asking price. It's a very good deep-sky telescope, is airline portable, and is, in all probability, a good choice for imagers, the 0.8 focal reducer yielding a fast optical system. As to the consistency of the optics and quality control, a sample of one has little statistical validity. My particular scope might be better than average (or worse), and the QC checklist from Sharpstar failed to catch the balky focuser and sagging dew cap.

  • My Losmandy G11T review

    Sep 26 2021 09:32 AM by jeffmarston

    In general I really like my G11T. It is well built, should last for decades from what other owners of Losmandy mounts say. It seems to work really well with auto guiding. It is very stable even with my C14. It is very different from my Celestron mounts and to be fair It took a while for me to learn how to use those mounts also.


    Oct 15 2021 10:14 AM by wapaolini

    After several weeks of field use of the NoH CT-20 mount for general astronomical observing with both my TSA-102 and APM-152 refractors, I found the operation and use of this mount to be highly intuitive in the field. The axis friction knobs are conveniently located and are tactile-distinctive from the saddle plate knobs that hold the telescope on the mount, so there was never any question in the dark as to which knob-type I was operating. Operation of the mount was also smooth and precise throughout the testing and general field observing sessions. At no time did I ever find that the CT-20 mount was anything but superlatively capable to handle even my large 6-inch f/8 refractor.

  • SkyTee-2 Alt/Az Mount Review

    Jul 27 2021 07:42 AM by ScrewLoose

    Overall, I think that this mount is good value for money and a good choice for my purposes. I'm confident that the mount will be more than adequate for my needs.

  • SharpStar Askar ACL200 200-mm f/4 astrographic telephoto lens

    Jun 29 2021 06:35 AM by covington

    I strongly recommend the ACL200 for wide-field astrophotography. It also has some uses for (fully manual) nature and landscape photography. The optical performance is exceptional, and the physical construction is unusually well suited for astronomical use.

  • A review of the Unistellar EVscope

    May 31 2021 11:48 AM by bmwscopeguy

    Well here is another product that has received a lot of hype and press, but without divulging much useful information about the telescope itself. Well needless to say, the hype worked on me….and I took delivery of my (used) Unistellar EVscope today.

  • Astrotrac 360 tracking platform – first impression

    Jan 31 2021 10:33 AM by Magnar W.

    After some waiting my Astrotrac 360 arrived, and the drive looks great straight out of the box. Beautifully machined, light weight, and compact. Just what I was asking for, after moving to a city, leaving my fully equipped small observatory behind me at the countryside.


    Jan 24 2021 11:12 AM by wapaolini

    This astronomical binoviewer is offered by Denis Levatić of Croatia (denis0007dl@gmail.com) as an after-market modification of new Zeiss binoviewer bodies. Mr. Levatić's value-added modifications to these Zeiss binoviewer bodies are then offered under the moniker of "The Carl Zeiss Apochromatic & Sharpest Binoviewer".

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