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Can a 4” APO ‘beat’ an 8” SCT? (yes and no)

May 05 2023 12:57 PM | gstrumol in Articles

This article is derived from a talk I gave my local astronomy club many years ago. This competition, and variations of it using different types and sizes of telescopes, seems to be a perennial question. Our goal in writing it was not to disparage any type of scope; all have their use and, like beauty, their value to an individual is in the eye of the beholder.

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Converting a GEM to an Alt-Az – and more!

Apr 01 2023 05:00 AM | gstrumol in Articles

Recently, I decided (after lying on the ground to view Jupiter in my Tal) to see ‘what many rave about’ in using an Alt-Az mount. I didn’t want to give up my slow motion controls, and I also wanted to be able to locate any object in the sky quickly and manually, and with reasonable accuracy (meaning it should be somewhere in the FOV at the end of my targeting). Not wanting to spend hundreds of dollars on another mount just to see if I’d like it, I thought of converting the smaller of my GEMs into an Alt-Az, effectively making the transition illustrated here

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What Became of That Big Astrograph?

Apr 01 2023 05:00 AM | Gork in Articles

In short, it fell victim to my age and physical condition! But first it got to go outside and play some. This story will tell the tale of the ultimate fate of the astrograph.

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NV Phonetography: Part II

Mar 01 2023 07:00 AM | GeezerGazer in Articles

n 2018, CNers Gavster, Moshen and I wrote about our efforts to take smartphone photos of the images produced by our telescopes using a Night Vision Device (NVD). Moshen has moved on to a dedicated AP camera, but Gavin and I are still using our smartphones to take NV astro photos and we continue to collaborate. We thought it was time for an update to the original article because of changes we’ve made for improved results.

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Amateur Cameras Revealing Airy Patterns

Mar 01 2023 07:00 AM | StevenBellavia in Articles

It’s nice to read about Point Spread Functions (Airy patterns) and see images and simulations of them. But to be able to see them, at least the second maxima, numerically, using modest amateur equipment is very exciting.

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Collimating a Maksutov-Newtonian with a Howie Glatter Laser Collimator

Mar 01 2023 07:00 AM | iluxo in Articles

This procedure describes how to collimate a maksutov-newtonian telescope such as those from Skywatcher, Explore-Scientific, APM, Intes or Intes-Micro. The same procedure applies to conventional Newtonians as well, apart from the corrector plate.

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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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