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October 2018 Skies

Oct 06 2018 07:16 AM | cookman in This Month

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

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Cosmic Challenge: Einstein's Cross

Oct 01 2018 08:53 PM | PhilH in Phil Harrington's Cosmic Challenge

From an aesthetic perspective, the most perfect gravitational lens is Einstein's Cross, formed by the galaxy PGC 69457 (cross- cataloged as CGCG 378-15) and the quasar QSO 2237+0305 in Pegasus. PGC 69457 is also known informally as Huchra's Lens after its discoverer, John Huchra, professor of cosmology Harvard University. Current estimates place this small, otherwise unspectacular spiral galaxy at 400 million light years away. The quasar lurks far behind at an incredible distance of 8 billion light-years. Were it not for gravitational lensing, the quasar would remain hidden by the galaxy, as the two are nearly in-line as seen from Earth. But as it is, Huchra's lens fractures the ancient light from the quasar into four separate paths that slide around the galaxy just as water flows around a rock in a stream. The end result is not one, but four ghostly images of QSO 2237+0305 surrounding the nucleus of PGC 69457 in a practically perfect diamond pattern.

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Observer's Handbook - 2019 Updated Preview

Sep 23 2018 11:14 AM | Tom T in CN Reports

Tom Trusock and Denise Moser takes a look at the upcoming 2019 edition of the RASC Observer's Handbook.

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A Visit to See a Giant in Utah - 1.8 Meter Mike Clements

Sep 12 2018 08:26 PM | SiriusLooker in Articles

I first met Mike Clements (known to others as 1.8 meter Mike) in the early 90's. I had been delayed due to work at home for a trip to the Texas Star Party. By the time I arrived at the Texas ranch entrance, it was well after dark. As I was pulling in, I noticed a pickup truck on the right side of the road (outside of the ranch), and it had a large pole structure sticking up on the other side of it that my headlights caught briefly as I made my turn into the ranch. Unknown to me it was Mike, who had his 41 inch scope setup at the entrance of the ranch. In the early 90's it was very rare to see a 30 inch reflector, let alone over a 40 inch scope.

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RESOLVING THE FERMI PARADOX

Sep 10 2018 11:36 AM | rekokich in Articles

In 1975 astronomer Michael Hart proposed the Fermi Paradox, implying a contradiction between the lack of direct evidence for extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI) and the presumed probability that they exist in substantial numbers. Recently, Oxford researchers Sandberg, Drexler, and Ord applied the Monte Carlo simulation to the Drake equation, and concluded that there is up to 99.6% probability that we are alone in the Milky Way galaxy, and up to 85% probability that no other intelligent life exists in the entire observable universe.

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APM 140mm DOUBLET APO REFRACTOR

Sep 10 2018 08:35 AM | Larry Carlino in User Reviews

Some two dozen observing sessions and direct comparisons with instruments of known quality have convinced me that this APM 140ED is indeed an excellent telescope. It is well built, nicely finished, and it boasts very fine optical quality. In addition, its relatively light weight and short tube length allows the effective use of a mid-size equatorial or alt-azimuth mount. It has almost the punch of a 6-inch refractor in a package that is clearly more portable.

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Concise Beginners Guide with Links for Telescope Astronomy

Sep 06 2018 10:29 AM | Pbinder in Articles

Greeting to all who are interested in the universe! The following guide is for people such as me who have an interest in viewing the night sky, purchased a telescope and now are lost. I am only in my first months of observing, so my perspective and understanding are more attune to starters. It appears overwhelming at first. Fear not!

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September 2018 Skies

Sep 04 2018 08:03 AM | cookman in This Month

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

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Cosmic Challenge: North America Nebula (NGC 7000)

Sep 01 2018 05:07 PM | PhilH in Phil Harrington's Cosmic Challenge

The North America Nebula (NGC 7000) is a large expanse of glowing hydrogen gas mixed with opaque clouds of cosmic dust just 3° east of Deneb [Alpha (α) Cygni] and 1° to the west of 4th-magnitude Xi (ξ) Cygni. Famous as one of the most luminous blue supergiants visible in the night sky, Deneb marks the tail of Cygnus the Swan, or if you prefer, the top of the Northern Cross asterism.

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August 2018 Skies

Aug 04 2018 09:48 PM | cookman in This Month

Highlights: Comet Journal, Martian Landers, Meteor Showers, Planet Plotting, August Moon Focus Constellations: Coma Berenices, Bootes, Corona Borealis, Hercules, Ophiuchus, Aquila, Lyra, Cygnus, Cepheus, Draco, Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Cassiopeia, Andromeda, Pegasus

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