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The Skies of February, 2023

Feb 06 2023 01:30 PM | cookman in This Month

Highlights: Comet Journal, Martian Landers, Meteor Showers, Planet Plotting, February Moon Focus Constellations: Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Draco, Cepheus, Cassiopeia, Camelopardalis, Perseus, Auriga, Taurus, Orion, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Lynx, Leo Minor

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Cosmic Challenge: Palomar 2

Feb 01 2023 07:02 AM | PhilH in Phil Harrington's Cosmic Challenge

Most globular clusters associated with the Milky Way are positioned around the galactic nucleus, and so are referred to as "inner-halo globulars." There is a second family, however, whose members lie far beyond the Galaxy's center and so are known as "outer-halo globulars." Of all the outer-halo globulars known, Palomar 2 is the most extreme, located almost directly opposite the Galactic center in Sagittarius, separated by 85,400 light years.

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Review of Explore Scientific First Light 8

Feb 01 2023 07:00 AM | Red Brick in User Reviews

I don’t have words to describe my first view other than wow. The views from light polluted suburbia was beyond comprehension. In a 25mm Plossl included Jupiter was crisp edge to edge I discerned color in its banding amazed at the realization that the universe was in color and not shades of grey as in my four-inch scope. I spent the night scanning the skies and the review of once patches of fuzz in the sky with my smaller scope are now defined by galaxies and nebulas. I now had a better understanding of the word zillions. I can only imagine the viewing away from city lights.

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Investigation of telescope visual filters; (Part 1 Contrast).

Feb 01 2023 07:00 AM | Pointsoflight in Articles

My first set of filters came with the Celestron eyepiece kit I bought. The kit came with the traditional #23 red, #80a blue, #56green and #58green, #12 yellow #21 orange and neutral density filter #ND 0.9 that come standard with most kits these days. They didn’t overly excite me the first time I used them on Saturn and Jupiter all much too dark, although they all worked great on the moon for cutting that intense light back a notch. It was when I viewed Venus for the first time as that brightest of stars and thought to myself what if I try that #25 red. It was then that I really found filters useful, transforming stars into planets. I enjoyed watching Venus go through its shape change that first season.

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Measuring the Parallax of a Near Star with Modest Equipment and Modest Talent

Feb 01 2023 07:00 AM | Craig H in Articles

Is it possible to measure the distance to the nearest stars using by measuring their parallax with a set of affordable astrogear? In the summer of 2016 I set on a journey to find out. When I first considered the question, it seemed a very difficult if not impossible task. Parallax measurements of even the nearest stars are measured in milliarcseconds, whereas with my equipment my resolution was approximately 1 arcsecond/pixel. So therefore the challenge was to detect the shift in position of a star between measurements of, at the very best, a fraction of a pixel. I wasn’t sure if that was feasible. To make the issue even more challenging, I thought, was that the average seeing in my neck of the woods tends to be around 2 arcseconds. Would detecting so slight a shift in the apparent position of a nearby star be possible with equipment available to amateurs on a budget with all its inherent limitations? Or is the measurement of stellar parallax only the purview of professionals?

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The Skies of January, 2023

Jan 12 2023 08:48 AM | cookman in This Month

Highlights: Comet Journal, Martian Landers, Meteor Showers, Planet Plotting, January Moon Focus Constellations: Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Draco, Cepheus, Cassiopeia, Camelopardalis, Perseus, Auriga, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Leo Minor, Lynx

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Cosmic Challenge: IC 418

Jan 01 2023 07:00 AM | PhilH in Phil Harrington's Cosmic Challenge

If you have ever glanced at a compendium of images taken with the Hubble Space Telescope, then chances are you have seen this next challenge. You may not know it by its catalog number, IC 418, but instead may recognize it by its nickname, the Spirograph Nebula. That nickname came about because the Hubble images show an amazingly complex cloud of entangled filaments that create a strange, oval cloud that looks like it could have been drawn using a child's Spirograph toy. Remember those? You would trace intertwining arcs by rolling a color pen in a circle along the inside or outside of another circle.

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How To Construct A True Newtonian Astrograph

Dec 01 2022 10:26 AM | Gork in Articles

I finally decided that I was going to build my own 10” astrograph incorporating as many characteristics that I was able to find. The project differed from what you would expect in a field so dependent on pre-planning. The project was really more of an evolution than a clearly documented plan. It is for this reason that my trek began with a collection of assorted hardware, and a scratch pad.

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The Skies of December, 2022

Dec 01 2022 10:00 AM | cookman in This Month

Highlights: Comet Journal, Martian Landers, Meteor Showers, Planet Plotting, December Moon Focus Constellations: Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Draco, Cepheus, Cassiopeia, Perseus, Camelopardalis, Auriga, Gemini, Taurus, Aries, Pisces, Andromeda, Pegasus, Cygnus

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Cosmic Challenge: WLM and WLM-1

Dec 01 2022 07:00 AM | PhilH in Phil Harrington's Cosmic Challenge

If you thought last month's challenge, IC 1613, was just too easy, try your luck with another member of the Local Group that is also within Cetus.

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