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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 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 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 Discoveries of Galileo – Part 2: Sunspots and Their Movements

Jan 24 2021 12:53 PM | E-Ray in Articles

Last month I wrote in Part 1 about Galileo’s discovery that the wandering star, Jupiter, was a planet that had four moons. Recall that my motivation was reading the book Discoveries and Opinions of Galileo published in 1957 by Stillman Drake, a Canadian historian and authority on the complete works on Galileo. This article will cover Galileo’s observations of sunspots which got him into hot water with the Roman Catholic Church in 1616.

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WarpTune my Advanced VX?

Jan 24 2021 12:31 PM | Gork in Articles

This question eventually surfaces on just about every mount found in the low to medium range. If you pay $6,000 for a mount it has probably been tuned during manufacturing. For a mount like the AVX what you get is an assembled piece of machinery that is simply bolted, snapped, or screwed together and never really tested or adjusted for fine operation. That is why your mount is usually stiff or tight. I recently bought a new Advanced VX mount as a part of my down-sizing program.

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Beginner's Astrophotography: Can I use my unmodified DSLR?

Jan 01 2021 07:00 AM | the Elf in Articles

It is often recommended to modify DSLR's for deep sky photography. It may be one of the first topics a beginner comes across and sometimes the recommendation sounds like modding is an absolute necessity. There are good reasons not to do it, for example the camera is used for daytime photography as well or the budget does not allow either to have an existing camera modified or get a modified one. I don't want to go deeper into it. I'm also not opposed to modified cameras. I just would like to show what can be done with an unmodded relatively low priced DSLR if modding is not an option.

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The Discoveries of Galileo – Part 1: Jupiter

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

We amateur astronomers should all be familiar with who Galileo di Vincenzo Bonaulti de Galilei aka Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) was. He has been called the father of observational astronomy.

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A Backyard Observatory For Under $500?

Nov 15 2020 01:30 PM | Gork in Articles

Back in my days as a Quality/Reliability Engineer, we had a motto by which we lived; “Good, cheap, easy……Pick any two”. For this project I chose cheap and easy. I would keep my computer, cameras, and accessories in my den when not in use, and the mount and telescope could stay, semi-permanently situated outside. The search began. Who in the world makes a portable or temporary structure large enough to provide security for a 10” f/4 newtonian riding on a Celestron CGX mount?

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Musings over Mars

Nov 15 2020 01:17 PM | TimVerst in Articles

Braved the first frosty forecast of the season Tuesday evening GMT for a couple of hours at the eyepiece under clear South London skies to have a go at sketching the Red Planet before the distance becomes too great.

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