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Cosmic Challenge: NGC 1 and NGC 2

Dec 01 2019 07:00 AM | PhilH in Phil Harrington's Cosmic Challenge

As 2019 draws to an end, let's talk about a first. I am always interested in seeing the first of anything, whether it's the first day of a new year, the opening day of baseball season, the first robin of spring, the first snowflake of winter, or the first object in a particular deep-sky catalog. In the case of the latter, NGC 1, along with NGC 2, create our final challenge of the year.

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November 2019 Skies

Nov 12 2019 10:28 AM | cookman in This Month

Highlights: Comet Journal, Martian Landers, Meteor Showers, Asteroid Surprises, The Transit of Mercury, Planet Plotting, November Moon Focus Constellations: Lyra, Aquila, Cygnus, Pegasus, Aquarius, Pisces, Aries, Andromeda, Perseus, Taurus. Auriga, Camelopardalis, Ursa Major, Draco, Ursa Minor, Cepheus, Cassiopeia

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Cosmic Challenge: Satellites of Uranus

Nov 01 2019 05:00 AM | PhilH in Phil Harrington's Cosmic Challenge

Of the 27 known satellites in the Uranian family, four stand out, just as the four Galilean satellites do among the Jovian clan. William Herschel discovered the first two Uranian moons on January 11, 1787, six years after he had discovered the planet itself. The next two remained undetected until the British astronomer William Lassell (1799-1880) spotted them on October 24, 1851. It is these four that we hope to catch through our own telescopes.

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October Skies

Oct 10 2019 03:01 PM | cookman in This Month

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

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Cosmic Challenge: The Deer Lick Group

Oct 01 2019 05:03 AM | PhilH in Phil Harrington's Cosmic Challenge

The autumn sky abounds with little bundles of galaxies scattered throughout its stars. One of the best known is the group of 7 galaxies that surround the magnificent spiral NGC 7331 in Pegasus, the Flying Horse. An observer could easily spend an hour or more just soaking in all that this small patch of sky has to offer.

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York County Star Party

Sep 27 2019 11:20 AM | gwfbmd in Articles

The York County Star Party exceeded my expectations – by about 1,000%! I don’t normally post online, but I let Phil know I would be speaking out about this. More astronomers need to know about this event. It is located conveniently close to home for many in the Baltimore-DC-Philly megaplex and it’s a “Winner.” I hope to see more of you there next year.

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Celestron Regal 65ED M2

Sep 27 2019 10:33 AM | Riccardo_italy in User Reviews

There is at the moment a heated discussion on Cloudynights about spotting scopes. I can only confirm my initial impressions: for a dual day&night scope, a good quality spotting scope is, IMHO, a very good choice. The scope performs nicely also for astronomy, and not only for daytime use. I do not agree with people that says a spotting scope cannot be used for astronomy.

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New approach for Polar Alignment

Sep 27 2019 09:45 AM | antariksha in Articles

The topic of Polar Alignment is not at all new. Lot of approaches, automation tools are available. Yet, some aspects in all the current approaches drove me towards doing some more work. The key aspects of this approach are as follows. - Ability to do the Polar alignment without polaris sited - Relatively less complexity than drift alignment - Ability to address to a good extent the atmospheric refraction to finally locate correct NCP / SCP position - A good starting point for amateurs who wish to graduate towards sophisticated tools and techniques - Ability to quickly verify if the polar alignment is intact after one object photographed or viewed, and the equipment is being pointed to another object. This point is mentioned in light of the fact that sometimes the polar alignment gets disturbed and the next object photographed shows star trails. This is especially true if payload is tweaked for next photo.

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Review: The Vixen FL55ss

Sep 08 2019 11:27 AM | Hesiod in User Reviews

Overall judge the FL55ss a good product. As a wide field astrograph is very proficient and easy to use, so would suggest it wholeheartedly, even to beginners (usually at this stages apreture does not matter, while the clever Vixen mini-refractor is very user-friendly and, at 300mm, gives a more forgiving sampling than the popular 60-80mm rebranded models).

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September 2019 Skies

Sep 06 2019 07:36 AM | cookman in This Month

Highlights: Comet Journal, Martian Landers, Meteor Showers, Autumnal Equinox, Planet Plotting, September Moon Focus Constellations: Bootes, Corona Borealis, Ophiuchus, Hercules, Lyra, Aquila, Cygnus, Pegasus, Andromeda, Perseus, Camelopardalis, Ursa Major, Draco, Ursa Minor, Cepheus, Cassiopeia

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