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The Skies of May, 2021

May 07 2021 10:07 AM | cookman in This Month

Highlights: Comet Journal, Martian Landers, Meteor Showers, Planet Plotting, May Moon Focus Constellations: Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Draco, Cepheus, Cassiopeia, Camelopardalis, Lynx, Leo, Virgo, Coma Berenices, Bootes, Corona Borealis, Hercules, Lyra

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The Discoveries of Galileo – Part 5: The Milky Way, Orion, and Asterisms

May 01 2021 05:01 AM | E-Ray in Articles

This is the final article on the Discoveries of Galileo from 1609 to 1612. His discoveries of Jupiter, sunspots, the Moon, and Venus were covered in parts one through four of this series. This article will cover Galileo’s observations of the Milky Way, the constellation Orion and star clusters or what we term today as asterisms.

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Switching to iOptron: What I learned from my new GEM45

May 01 2021 05:00 AM | Michael Covington in Articles

These are short notes on things I learned about using my new iOptron GEM45 equatorial mount, moving from Celestron mounts (AVX and CGEM). The CEM40 is very similar to the GEM45, and other iOptron mounts are also rather similar. I assume you have the instruction manual for your (actual or planned) iOptron mount; manuals are available on line.

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Cosmic Challenge: Markarian's Chain

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

Aim your telescope anywhere in the large, seemingly empty gap between the stars Denebola [Beta (β) Leonis] and Vindemiatrix [Epsilon (ε) Virginis] and, given sharp eyes and a dark sky, you are bound to see one or more faint splotches of light somewhere in the eyepiece's field of view. You've entered the Coma-Virgo Realm of Galaxies, a collection of upwards

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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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