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Cosmic Challenge: NGC 1360

Dec 01 2020 01:01 PM | PhilH in Phil Harrington's Cosmic Challenge

Many stargazers consider Fornax, the Furnace, to be a constellation of the deep south, and therefore, invisible from mid-northern latitudes. While it is true that Fornax scrapes the southern horizon on early winter evenings, it does so at much the same altitude as Scorpius does during the summer. If you can see Scorpius from your observing site in July, you can see Fornax tonight. Assuming it's clear, of course!

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A Backyard Observatory For Under $500?

Nov 15 2020 01:30 PM | Gork in Articles

Back in my days as a Quality/Reliability Engineer, we had a motto by which we lived; “Good, cheap, easy……Pick any two”. For this project I chose cheap and easy. I would keep my computer, cameras, and accessories in my den when not in use, and the mount and telescope could stay, semi-permanently situated outside. The search began. Who in the world makes a portable or temporary structure large enough to provide security for a 10” f/4 newtonian riding on a Celestron CGX mount?

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Musings over Mars

Nov 15 2020 01:17 PM | TimVerst in Articles

Braved the first frosty forecast of the season Tuesday evening GMT for a couple of hours at the eyepiece under clear South London skies to have a go at sketching the Red Planet before the distance becomes too great.

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Photoelectric Photometry of Variable Stars - Past and Present

Nov 14 2020 02:15 PM | Rustler46 in Articles

Someone on the Classic Telescopes forum asked me (see reply #3750) to share what I called "another story" of my experience with photoelectric photometry (PEP) of variable stars. I hope this article will encourage others to make such contributions to scientific studies of variable stars. So what follows will largely be what I remember about my experience as a photoelectric photometrist back 1985-90. Many of the concepts and techniques are still valid today. You'll find technology has improved greatly since 1990.

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A Word About Eyepieces

Nov 12 2020 05:04 PM | ed_turco in Articles

I can only conclude that prospective buyers can get a good set of eyepieces at great savings. Statements about cheap low quality eyepieces made in China are not necessarily true! And remember that just about anybody’s eyepieces come from China these days! Finally, in this COVID era, there is more good news -- a beginning ATM or amateur astronomer with limited resources can get this eyepiece set and begin his hobby better equipped than he would think. I think it is better to have a set of eyepieces than a single high-priced eyepiece. Isn’t having only one magnification a little boring?

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The Skies of November, 2020

Nov 12 2020 12:25 PM | cookman in This Month

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

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Cosmic Challenge: The Eye of Mars

Nov 01 2020 05:00 AM | PhilH in Phil Harrington's Cosmic Challenge

With Mars just having passed opposition on October 13, I thought it might be fun to challenge you to see a specific surface feature on the Red Planet before it slips too far away.

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BASIC EXTRAGALACTIC ASTRONOMY - Part 7: Galaxies - Morphological Diversity

Oct 07 2020 12:26 PM | rekokich in Articles

The only primary evidence available to an astronomer about a very remote object consists of photometric measurements, a spectrogram, and an image which is in many cases no more than a pinpoint of light. In this article we present basic cosmological concepts and simplified mathematical methods which allow an amateur to derive from this meager data a surprising number of physical properties of distant extragalactic objects with a precision of several percent within professional results.

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The Skies of October, 2020

Oct 06 2020 07:26 PM | cookman in This Month

Highlights: Comet Journal, Martian Landers, Meteor Showers, Planet Plotting, October Moon Focus Constellations: Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Draco, Hercules, Lyra, Cygnus, Aquila, Pegasus, Andromeda, Cepheus, Cassiopeia, Perseus, Camelopardalis

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Cosmic Challenge: Spotting Uranus

Oct 01 2020 05:00 AM | PhilH in Phil Harrington's Cosmic Challenge

On March 12, 1781, the solar system was a simple, very well-behaved place that was best summed up with the phrase "what you see is what you get." There were the Sun, the Moon, and the five planets: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. Apart from a handful of moons orbiting some of the planets and the occasional faint comet that required a telescope to be seen, the entire contents of the solar system was naked-eye territory.

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