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January 2018 Skies

Jan 06 2018 11:37 AM | cookman in This Month

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

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Cosmic Challenge: Alphabet Soup

Jan 02 2018 08:36 AM | PhilH in Phil Harrington's Cosmic Challenge

The Moon's terminator is a fascinating sight through all telescopes. Here, along the lunar sunset/sunrise line, lighting can strike familiar lunar features in very unusual ways, transforming them in ways that go unsuspected when the Sun rides high overhead.

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December 2017 Skies

Dec 09 2017 07:16 AM | cookman in This Month

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

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The Eye of the Flak (Das Auge der Flak)

Dec 07 2017 02:34 PM | Micah in Books & Software

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.

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

Dec 07 2017 12:41 PM | F Wegener in Articles

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!

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Cosmic Challenge: Abell Galaxy Cluster 426

Dec 07 2017 06:02 AM | PhilH in Phil Harrington's Cosmic Challenge

Not long after I got my first "good" telescope, my 8-inch Criterion RV-8 Dynascope Newtonian reflector, as my Christmas gift in 1971, I became fascinated with the Perseus Galaxy Cluster. One reason I am so fond of this collection of more than 500 galaxies is that the cluster grows as the telescope's aperture increases. Small backyard scopes will show the two big kids on the block, NGC 1272 and NGC 1275, but even the largest amateur instruments fail to show all of the "little guys."

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Pop-Up Canopy Observatory

Nov 24 2017 10:06 AM | charles genovese in Articles

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.

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

Nov 24 2017 09:33 AM | BillP in User Reviews

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.

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

Nov 23 2017 04:12 PM | TimVerst in User Reviews

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.

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New Moon Telescopes 16”f/4

Nov 23 2017 03:31 PM | kreegan99 in User Reviews

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.

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