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York County Star Party

Sep 27 2019 11:20 AM | gwfbmd in Articles

The York County Star Party exceeded my expectations – by about 1,000%! I don’t normally post online, but I let Phil know I would be speaking out about this. More astronomers need to know about this event. It is located conveniently close to home for many in the Baltimore-DC-Philly megaplex and it’s a “Winner.” I hope to see more of you there next year.

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New approach for Polar Alignment

Sep 27 2019 09:45 AM | antariksha in Articles

The topic of Polar Alignment is not at all new. Lot of approaches, automation tools are available. Yet, some aspects in all the current approaches drove me towards doing some more work. The key aspects of this approach are as follows. - Ability to do the Polar alignment without polaris sited - Relatively less complexity than drift alignment - Ability to address to a good extent the atmospheric refraction to finally locate correct NCP / SCP position - A good starting point for amateurs who wish to graduate towards sophisticated tools and techniques - Ability to quickly verify if the polar alignment is intact after one object photographed or viewed, and the equipment is being pointed to another object. This point is mentioned in light of the fact that sometimes the polar alignment gets disturbed and the next object photographed shows star trails. This is especially true if payload is tweaked for next photo.

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My Other Telescope is an 8.4 Meter - Part III: Polishing

May 08 2019 11:16 AM | Gork in Articles

I've started writing about this aspect of fabricating the world's largest monolithic mirrors a number of times. Each time I get to about ten pages before I realize how truly complex this phase of fabrication is. So, I am going to assume, for the sake of this account, that everything works as planned and there are no side tracks. That won't be true, but if I tell the real story, I'll never get done.

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Filter Comparison For Imaging Broad Spectrum Objects In Light Pollution Areas

May 07 2019 11:33 AM | JTYoder2017 in Articles

The primary purpose of imaging with a filter in the city is to mitigate light pollution and help suppress the noise so that the signal of the target object becomes easier to identify. This is rather easily achieved for nebula type objects that emit at very specific wavelengths but much more challenging to accomplish for full-spectrum sources such as galaxies and globular clusters. Cutting down on city glare is becoming even more challenging as city lighting transitions from Mercury type lighting that emits at defined wavelengths to LED lighting that generally emits broad spectrum lighting.

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My Other Telescope is an 8.4 Meter: Part II - Casting

Apr 14 2019 12:46 PM | Gork in Articles

How do you create the world's largest monolithic optical mirror? As the saying goes, “One bite at a time.” It is a unique process in that it is entirely linear. No aspect of the process can be done in parallel since each step is entirely dependent upon the preceding step.

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My Other Telescope is an 8.4 Meter

Apr 07 2019 09:06 AM | Gork in Articles

Upon my retirement from the Army I did the typical Law Enforcement track. It only took a year with the Sheriff's Department to realize that I just didn't want to carry a gun anymore. While looking around for a challenging alternative I ran across an ad for a “Mechanition” (Read Gofor) at the Steward Observatory Mirror Lab. I was intrigued and applied for the position.

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A Bigger, Better Scope Anyone Can Build & Use

Feb 03 2019 12:24 PM | Augustus in Articles

Sometimes life’s greatest treasures are the unexpected. That’s how I feel writing this article. It was relatively recently that I embarked on building my 20”, and it’s been only six months since I penned the article on my 16”. Since that article, I’ve grown not only as an ATM, but also as a person and as a writer. I thought I’d share that growth here. ‘Tis the season of giving, after all!

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The binocular summation factor

Feb 03 2019 12:08 PM | PeterDob in Articles

A lot of ink has already been spent on this subject since many astronomy enthusiasts are wondering what the actual gain is observing with both eyes instead of only one. Let me begin by saying that this whole discussion is fairly pointless because observing with both eyes is a completely different experience than observing with only one. The feeling of total immersion that not even a 150° eyepiece can ever offer, the strange 3D-effect, the joy and relaxation of using both eyes… Personally, even if there were no light gathering gain at all I’d opt for a binoscope, regardless the expense. On the other hand there are people who’re having difficulties observing with both eyes. And finally there’s the big unknown factor: the human brain, which is both unpredictable and personal. So what’s the use of me writing this article? Because we astronomy enthusiasts have the unstoppable need to quantify everything. How much more can you see with a 14” telescope compared to a 10”? How does a refractor compare to a Newtonian (please, no, not again…)? Or… how much more can you see with both eyes? So here I go… explaining my 2 cents on this, for what they’re worth.

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Some thoughts on Springfield mounts.

Feb 03 2019 11:52 AM | bmwscopeguy in Articles

What if you could set up once, and after that, simply sit in your seat and observe? And if this telescope mount was GOTO, then even better. Even if you had to set up only once per observing session, it would be beguiling, but if you had an observatory, where everything was as you left it last session, it would be nirvana…

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Dec 24 2018 11:29 AM | BillP in Articles

In 1992 the face of our cosmos changed. What had been hoped for, dreamed of, was finally confirmed. Our solar system was indeed not unique in the galaxy and there were other planets orbiting distant stars!

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