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April 2018 Skies

Apr 14 2018 08:00 AM | cookman in This Month

Highlights: Comet Journal, Martian Landers, Meteor Showers, Planet Plotting, April Moon, Easter, April Fool's Day, Friday the 13th Focus Constellations: Leo, Çancer, Gemini, Taurus, Auriga, Lynx, Camelopardalis, Cassiopeia, Cepheus, Ursa Minor, Draco, Ursa Major, Coma Berenices, Bootes

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New Astronomer Quick Start Guide

Apr 01 2018 12:45 PM | aeajr in Articles

Welcome to the wonderful hobby of astronomy. The purpose of this guide is to help you become successful quickly as you master some basic skills, start to learn the sky and enjoy what it has to offer. While you can try this on your own I highly encourage you to work with a more experienced person so that your early attempts can be successful and you can advance quickly. Find a local astronomy club if you can. Besides, astronomy is more fun with friends, at least I think it is.

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Why new up and coming amateur and professional astronomers around the world should endeavour to g...

Apr 01 2018 11:19 AM | James52 in Articles

I have felt compelled and driven to write a small article about the all American Vernonscope Brandon Orthoscopic eyepieces. This is simply because I fell in love with these oculars over a good number of years, and I have come to the sad realization from a present day UK perspective, that so little seems to be known about them on a world scale - certainly in light of new up and coming professional and amateur astronomers alike.

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Cosmic Challenge: Leo II

Mar 31 2018 09:54 AM | PhilH in Phil Harrington's Cosmic Challenge

Last April, this column profile the dwarf spheroidal galaxy Leo I, discovered by chance in 1950 by astronomers Robert Harrington (still no relation!) and A.G. Wilson as they were scanning the Palomar Sky Survey. I ended that column saying that "Using the right eyepiece and knowing the field will help you add this dwarf spheroidal to your list of conquered challenges with comparative ease. But don't get too cocky. Spotting its sibling, Leo II is an even greater challenge. But we will leave that for a future column." Well, that future is now.

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MONO & BINO VIEWING WITH THE BAADER MORPHEUS 17.5MM EYEPIECE

Mar 22 2018 11:22 AM | BillP in User Reviews

Baader markets their Morpheus line as “high-end” 76° apparent field of view (AFOV) eyepieces designed for visual / photo / video functions that can exploit the capabilities of the finest telescope optics. The eyepieces have a optical design that utilizes 8 lenses in 3 groups and includes the use of 3 low dispersion ED elements and 1 Lanthanum element. With the introduction of the 17.5mm, there are now six eyepieces in the line including 14mm, 12mm, 9mm, 6.5mm, and 4.5mm. All eyepieces can be used in either 1.25” or 2” focusers without adapters. The Morpheus line touts a rather long list of features and comes packaged with multiple accessories.

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Rehab Partner

Mar 22 2018 10:09 AM | justfred in Articles

Back in November I mentioned to our family doctor that I was having to take an extra break while cutting the grass. I smiled and told her I guessed I was just getting old. She frowned and ordered some tests. Three weeks later I was coming out of recovery after a quadruple bi-pass. I’m doing great and the prognosis is for a long and healthy life… but for the next few months I am limited to lifting no more than 10 pounds. Now I have a real problem – how am I going to observe?

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TRANSIENT OPTICAL SIGNAL IN CLOSE PROXIMITY TO M74 X-1 ULX CXOU J013651.1+15454

Mar 21 2018 09:37 AM | rekokich in Articles

Using a small TSAPO65Q astrograph, on 19 Dec 2017 we accidentally recorded a transient optical signal (TOS) of apparent magnitude around 17.4 in close proximity to the ultra-luminous x-ray source (ULX) in the nearby spiral galaxy M74. Since its discovery in 2005 by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory space telescope, evidence is mounting that this strong x-ray source is generated by an intermediate-mass black hole of approximately 10,000 solar masses. It seems counterintuitive that a telescope of such modest aperture could reveal an optical signal from a black hole in another galaxy 32 million LY distant. But, preliminary calculations show that energy requirements for the detected signal are five hundred times lower than those of a type Ia supernova, and that mass requirements for the generation of that energy involve only a minute fraction of a small planet.

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A SUBJECTIVE COMPARISON OF 5NM AND 7NM H-a FILTERS for NIGHT VISION ASTRONOMY

Mar 17 2018 11:48 AM | GeezerGazer in Articles

Last August, I contacted Matt McBee in Tennessee about doing an H-a filter comparison with our Mod 3C Night Vision Devices (NVDs). Matt had purchased an Astrodon 5nm H-a filter and wondered how it would compare to a 7nm filter in his scope and under his suburban light pollution. I had purchased an Optolong 7nm H-a filter and wondered how it would compare to a 5nm from both my suburban light polluted home and from a semi-dark site that requires a 45 minute drive. So in September, we agreed to exchange filters. In the meantime, I purchased an Astrodon 5nm. I sent Matt my 7nm filter because I would be traveling for a month.

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March 2018 Skies

Mar 04 2018 09:03 AM | cookman in This Month

Highlights: Comet Journal, Martian Landers, Meteor Showers/Vernal Equinox, Planet Plotting, March Moon Focus Constellations: Leo, Çancer, Gemini, Orion, Taurus, Auriga, Perseus, Cassiopeia, Cepheus, Ursa Minor, Draco, Bootes, Ursa Major, Lynx, Camelopardalis

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Cosmic Challenge: NGC 2419

Mar 04 2018 08:21 AM | PhilH in Phil Harrington's Cosmic Challenge

Probably known better by its nickname the "Intergalactic Tramp" bestowed by Harlow Shapley in 1944, NGC 2419 is unusual among winter's deep-sky objects for many reasons.

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