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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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Photoelectric Photometry of Variable Stars - Past and Present

Nov 14 2020 02:15 PM | Rustler46 in Articles

Someone on the Classic Telescopes forum asked me (see reply #3750) to share what I called "another story" of my experience with photoelectric photometry (PEP) of variable stars. I hope this article will encourage others to make such contributions to scientific studies of variable stars. So what follows will largely be what I remember about my experience as a photoelectric photometrist back 1985-90. Many of the concepts and techniques are still valid today. You'll find technology has improved greatly since 1990.

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A Word About Eyepieces

Nov 12 2020 05:04 PM | ed_turco in Articles

I can only conclude that prospective buyers can get a good set of eyepieces at great savings. Statements about cheap low quality eyepieces made in China are not necessarily true! And remember that just about anybody’s eyepieces come from China these days! Finally, in this COVID era, there is more good news -- a beginning ATM or amateur astronomer with limited resources can get this eyepiece set and begin his hobby better equipped than he would think. I think it is better to have a set of eyepieces than a single high-priced eyepiece. Isn’t having only one magnification a little boring?

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BASIC EXTRAGALACTIC ASTRONOMY - Part 7: Galaxies - Morphological Diversity

Oct 07 2020 12:26 PM | 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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Sep 29 2020 11:57 AM | BillP in Articles

For the vast majority of my astronomical observing life, over 50 years, I have never used filters of any kind for planets or otherwise. But after half a century of reading the extraordinary claims by manufacturers and observing organizations alike about the many benefits of the various color filters on planets, I finally decided to give them a try myself to determine if what is written about them is more fact or is more fiction and hyperbole handed down over time.

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Observing Mars

Sep 27 2020 11:50 AM | Richard Bell in Articles

Here you go - Your guide to observing Mars during the Fall of 2020. A global dust storm spoiled the 2018 opposition, so let’s hope the Martian skies remain clear this Fall. Take advantage now. Do not wait until 2035! May your skies be steady and clear.

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How Good Are ED-APO Telescopes for Imaging?

Aug 16 2020 10:08 AM | tom_fowler in Articles

I decided to compare three telescopes to determine how they image two stars: Vega (type A0) and Albireo (types K3 and B9). Albireo turns out to be the difficult test because of the color contrast of its two components. The fainter component, Albireo B, is coincidentally a B-type star, which accounts for its readily observed blue color. The brighter star, Albireo A, is a K type star, with a yellowish-orange color typical of such cooler stars. Vega, as a type A star, is not as hot and not as blue as Albireo B. This turned out to be apparent in course of the tests that I did.

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Intergalactic Supernovae

Jul 11 2020 11:04 AM | JoeR in Articles

Whether with an eyepiece or a camera, observing intergalactic supernovae connects you to the awesome power of creation from destruction. When we observe a supernova we are witnessing the final moment in the life story of massive star and a cataclysmic event beyond all human experience- one that makes its fury known across half the Universe. Yet, we are also seeing the unmistakable hints of our own origins. Life as we know it could not exist without the elements forged in the nuclear furnace of a high mass star long ago. That star ripped itself to shreds in a violent death so it could deliver the building blocks of life when our solar system was born.

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Color-correcting a flat panel

Jul 11 2020 10:57 AM | Michael Covington in Articles

It all started with a red galaxy. I took a picture of M61 with my DSLR and calibrated it with PixInsight. It puzzled me that the corrected, calibrated image came out strongly red...

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