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Investigation of telescope visual filters; (Part 1 Contrast).

Feb 01 2023 07:00 AM | Pointsoflight in Articles

My first set of filters came with the Celestron eyepiece kit I bought. The kit came with the traditional #23 red, #80a blue, #56green and #58green, #12 yellow #21 orange and neutral density filter #ND 0.9 that come standard with most kits these days. They didn’t overly excite me the first time I used them on Saturn and Jupiter all much too dark, although they all worked great on the moon for cutting that intense light back a notch. It was when I viewed Venus for the first time as that brightest of stars and thought to myself what if I try that #25 red. It was then that I really found filters useful, transforming stars into planets. I enjoyed watching Venus go through its shape change that first season.

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Measuring the Parallax of a Near Star with Modest Equipment and Modest Talent

Feb 01 2023 07:00 AM | Craig H in Articles

Is it possible to measure the distance to the nearest stars using by measuring their parallax with a set of affordable astrogear? In the summer of 2016 I set on a journey to find out. When I first considered the question, it seemed a very difficult if not impossible task. Parallax measurements of even the nearest stars are measured in milliarcseconds, whereas with my equipment my resolution was approximately 1 arcsecond/pixel. So therefore the challenge was to detect the shift in position of a star between measurements of, at the very best, a fraction of a pixel. I wasn’t sure if that was feasible. To make the issue even more challenging, I thought, was that the average seeing in my neck of the woods tends to be around 2 arcseconds. Would detecting so slight a shift in the apparent position of a nearby star be possible with equipment available to amateurs on a budget with all its inherent limitations? Or is the measurement of stellar parallax only the purview of professionals?

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How To Construct A True Newtonian Astrograph

Dec 01 2022 10:26 AM | Gork in Articles

I finally decided that I was going to build my own 10” astrograph incorporating as many characteristics that I was able to find. The project differed from what you would expect in a field so dependent on pre-planning. The project was really more of an evolution than a clearly documented plan. It is for this reason that my trek began with a collection of assorted hardware, and a scratch pad.

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Questar Standard: Tristand vs. Astropier

Nov 13 2022 10:46 AM | justfred in Articles

I have the Tristand for my ‘66 Questar Standard and have used it for several years. It’s great. Sturdy, easy to polar align, compact design with folding legs. I really like it - but I have always wondered about the Astropier: would I like it better?

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GSO 6” f/4 Newton

Oct 01 2022 05:00 AM | Gianluca67 in Articles

The GSO 6” f/4 Newton can become a real astrograph capable to deliver beautiful images of the night sky and to enable the observer to do science in the field of photometry and spectroscopy but it definitely needs some modifications as the mechanics of this scope is totally inadequate to boost its potential. All the modifications I have made turned a mediocre instrument into an amazing scope.

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Exploring the Universe - Size Matters But it's Always a Compromise

Jul 01 2022 05:00 AM | MarkMittlesteadt in Articles

Maybe 50 years ago, back when light pollution didn't rob us of the glorious views we no longer have access to, as a child of the 60's I used to lay on my back out in the yard at night and just look up and wonder what was "out there". I watched with hypnotic interest on our old black and white TV the first humans land and set foot on the Moon. I was hooked. I even had models of the Apollo rockets, orbiter and lunar landing module and of course toys of all kinds that were about pretending to be an astronaut. My imagination was consumed with what was "out there" in the Universe. It was more obsession than interest.

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Three Simple iOptron Improvements

May 01 2022 05:00 AM | Michael Covington in Articles

In what follows I want to tell you about three things I've done to improve my early-model iOptron GEM45 mount. With a bit of adapting, you can apply the same ideas to many other mounts, both iOptron and other brands.

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Unique Binary Globular Cluster Delivered By The Sagittarius Dwarf Spheroidal Galaxy, M53 and NGC5053

Feb 01 2022 02:14 PM | rekokich in Articles

It is irresistible to imagine the environment within a tightly organized globular cluster. The night sky would be sublime with a million visible stars, and a bird's-eye view of the entire Milky Way galaxy. How much earlier would astronomy and associated technology develop among an intelligent species living on a world graced with such inspiration? Unfortunately, complex life in globular clusters is extremely unlikely due to virtual absence of heavier elements. It is not even known if rocky planets can form in that environment. Therefore, such spectacles are probably unseen by intelligent eyes, and must remain confined to our imagination.

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Replacing a Damaged Dobsonian Mount

Dec 02 2021 10:39 AM | Oldskaterman in Articles

Considering the choices available for replacing my damaged Sky Watcher Dobsonian mount, I found the same size Apertura mount the easiest and most cost effective solution. In addition to the ease of modifying the Apertura mount, the superior construction and improved azimuth bearings noticeably improved overall satisfaction with this approach.

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Fairhavens II

Nov 01 2021 05:55 PM | Gork in Articles

My last article was an overview of Fairhavens, my first dedicated observatory, along with its untimely demise. It is now five years later and I am ready to try again. Being a rental home I could not build a permanent structure (I couldn’t afford one anyway). So, I started looking for a temporary structure that would protect my gear from the elements and still leave room to move about.

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