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BASIC EXTRAGALACTIC ASTRONOMY Part 8: Central Supermassive Black Holes - Discovery and Properties

Apr 18 2021 10:00 AM | 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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Reopening of The WPF (When Pigs Fly) Observatory

Apr 14 2021 03:07 PM | Dupree in Articles

After quite a long time in limbo I recently began to rehabilitate my backyard observatory. It had lain fallow for a couple of years due to life distractions and the rationalization that I could go there any time I wanted. After shoveling out the POD from a recent mid-February snowstorm I went inside to inspect the mount, telescopes, and surroundings.

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The Skies of April, 2021

Apr 04 2021 11:08 AM | cookman in This Month

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

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Cosmic Challenge: Abell Galaxy Cluster (AGC) 1060

Apr 01 2021 05:00 AM | PhilH in Phil Harrington's Cosmic Challenge

Finding AGC 1060 is a simple task as long as you can spot 4.5-magnitude SAO 179041. This red giant sun overlaps the center of the cluster and lies 4¼° north of Alpha (α) Antliae. Of course, finding Alpha Antliae presents its own challenge, since it shines at only magnitude 4.2 and lies far from any handy reference stars.

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The Discoveries of Galileo – Part 4: Venus

Apr 01 2021 05:00 AM | E-Ray in Articles

Galileo’s discoveries of Jupiter, sunspots, and the Moon were covered in parts 1 through 3 of this series. This article will cover an important discovery that Galileo made in late 1610 of his observations of Venus.

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How to Make a Flat Frame Panel for Dark Sites (Cheap)

Mar 28 2021 11:15 AM | profdmt in Articles

Having recently dived into astrophotography, I have found that most problems I face have been faced before, and have a plethora of solutions. Typically, those fall into a couple of categories – expensive, and cheap do-it-yourself. But backyard astronomers being the type of people they are, they tend to share one endearing characteristic – heavily over-engineered for the problem at hand.

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The Skies of March, 2021

Mar 15 2021 08:50 AM | cookman in This Month

Highlights: Comet Journal, Martian Landers, Meteor Showers, Spring Equinox, Planet Plotting, March Moon Focus Constellations: Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Draco, Cepheus, Cassiopeia, Camelopardalis, Perseus, Auriga, Taurus, Orion, Monoceras, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Coma Berenices, Bootes

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Cosmic Challenge: Zeta (ζ) Cancri

Mar 01 2021 07:00 AM | PhilH in Phil Harrington's Cosmic Challenge

Although it is one of the faintest constellations along the zodiac, Cancer the Crab hosts a variety of targets to test our mettle during the early spring. Spotting M44, the Beehive Cluster, by eye alone may prove very challenging for suburban observers, while the Crab's underappreciated second open cluster, M67, may also reach naked-eye visibility from more rural environs. While the constellation boasts a variety of challenging galaxies, in the test here, we will try our luck with one of the constellation's prettiest binary stars, Zeta (ζ) Cancri.

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The Discoveries of Galileo – Part 3: The Moon

Mar 01 2021 07:00 AM | E-Ray in Articles

In the fall of 1609 Galileo began studying the Moon with his spyglass and he would sketch the features he saw. We need to understand that the magnification of his spyglass by this time was around 21x and it had a very narrow field of view such that he could only see about half the width of the Moon. His telescope was also rather long at about a meter (39.4”) so it must have been very difficult for Galileo to track the Moon with his makeshift tripod.

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The Skies of February, 2021

Feb 05 2021 04:55 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, Andromeda, Perseus, Auriga, Taurus, Orion, Monoceras, Gemini, Cancer, Leo

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