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A Big Scope Anyone Can Build & Use

Jul 29 2018 11:09 AM | Augustus in Articles

This isn’t a “how to” article – most of you whom are more competent woodworkers than I am could at the very least sand and stain your scope more evenly, let alone improve upon the design. However, if you’re new to telescope making or just looking at this article, I hope it encourages you that building a telescope of this size is within your grasp.

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Ancient Star J0815+4729 Reveals Evolution of the Early Universe

Jun 09 2018 07:14 AM | rekokich in Articles

I took images of this region on 12 Dec 2017 searching for HIP 40492 (HD 68790) which is listed in SIMBAD as a high proper motion star. However, comparing the frame to DSS2 images on Aladin, I could find no prominent shift in the position of the star at this scale. The region came to my attention again when a team of Spanish astronomers searching the SDSS9 survey recently announced the discovery of the oldest known star, J0815+4729, in the constellation of Lynx: https://arxiv.org/abs/1712.06487 This chemically primitive dwarf star, whose full identifier is SDSS J081554.26+472947.5, is located in the halo of the Milky Way at the distance of 7,500 LY (2,300 PC) from Earth, and 33,000 LY from the galactic center. The star is estimated to have 70% of the solar mass, and surface temperature of 6215 K. SIMBAD lists its (J2000) coordinates as 08h 15m 54.268s +47d 29' 47.573'', and its green apparent magnitude as 17.1.

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Jun 02 2018 05:04 PM | GeezerGazer in Articles

During the past 12 months, more and more photos of deep space objects have been appearing in online forums dedicated to EAA (Electronic Assisted Astronomy).  The amazing thing is that these photos are taken with the camera in smartphones, and more importantly, from heavily light polluted regions of the world, where nearly any scope cannot see these objects.  This is possible because Night Vision Devices (NVD’s) multiply the light gathered by the telescope effectively doubling the aperture or more.  Night Vision (NV) was developed years ago for use by the military and for a long time, hunters have used it for night time excursions.

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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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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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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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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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Wireless Control of an Astro-Video Camera’s On-Screen Display (OSD) Options and Video

Dec 07 2017 12:41 PM | F Wegener in Articles

Astrovideography has been around for a number of years now. The video cameras used cover a wide range of manufacturers and price points. Some are designed specifically for the astronomy community, while others are high resolution security cameras that have been adapted for use. There are already a number of articles online detailing the use of these cameras, so I won’t go into that. Most of the cameras have buttons on their back panels that are pressed to make adjustments using their OSD (On Screen Display), options. This, of course, requires the user to physically touch the device multiple times once it has been aligned to a desired target, so is not ideal! If you know what you’re doing, you can very carefully add a multi-wire cable to the camera, soldering connections to the internal switching. After running said cable to a homemade switch box, you can then adjust the settings without touching the camera; however, you now have a 12 volt cable to the mount, another one to the camera, a video cable from the camera to the monitor and another cable running to the homemade control box. I wanted to simplify this issue!

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Pop-Up Canopy Observatory

Nov 24 2017 10:06 AM | charles genovese in Articles

Having been born with a “Tinker Gene” it occurred to me some time ago that rather than just cover the adjunct scope equipment with a pop up canopy to prevent the inevitable dew we have here in the South that an inexpensive canopy could be easily modified to make a portable observatory. I built this one last year and I have been very pleased with the result at night and additionally I found it was hugely helpful providing shade for Solar observing and I thought I would share it.

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