- FIELD TEST OF THE BAADER MAXBRIGHT® II BINOVIEWER
- My Experience using SkyWatch for the Alphea All Sky Camera from Alcor Systems
- Astroart 7 - A Review and "How To" (Part 1)
- My experience using two 80-millimeter long-focus refractors
- GSO 8-inch TRUE CASSEGRAIN
- Celestron Regal 65ED M2
- Review: The Vixen FL55ss
- PrimaLuceLab Eagle Review
- interstellarum Deep Sky Guide Desk Edition
- Chronicling the Golden Age of Astronomy: A History of Visual Observing from...
- Omegon Mini Track LX2 Review
- Review of the APM 152 ED serial number 245
- THE BURGESS 24MM MODIFIED ERFLE & 10MM ULTRAMONO
- APM 140mm DOUBLET APO REFRACTOR
- Comparison of the Boltwood II and Sky Alert Cloud Sensors
CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.
How to . . . Archives
Mar 17 2005 11:57 AM | Guest in How to . . .
Through good fortune, I was able to obtain all the materials I needed for my astro cases for a mere $10. This included four used Zero-Halliburton type cases and more than enough new foam. The cases had foam, but it was either cubed foam that was falling apart or solid foam that was customized for the cases' former contents.
Author name: Danny Cobb
Mar 12 2005 11:21 AM | JerryWise in How to . . .
Over many years of casual observing it seems getting comfortable while at the scope was impossible. You can get reasonably comfortable on a stool for awhile and then the object just keeps on moving until you fall off the stool. A telescope swings through a 360 degree circle and a 90 degree arc (180 if not balanced). Were it not for having to look through the small end, observing would be a lot easier. If you setup the tripod/pier to view objects near the zenith, objects near the horizon are difficult to view and the other way around. Finding a comfortable position for hours of viewing is quite difficult. Various chairs and stools are on the market and do quite a good job. However, I find a need to lean forward when observing and get much more relaxation if propped on something. After trying a number of different stools and
Author name: Jerry Wise
Oct 26 2006 06:48 AM | jrcrilly in How to . . .
Like most amateur astronomy organizations, your club probably publishes a newsletter. They are generally used to distribute useful information to the membership
Author name: John Crilly
Mar 17 2005 11:34 AM | Al Canarelli in How to . . .
"What's the best 35mm camera for astrophotography", is a question I've heard asked hundreds of times over the years. The answer is that almost any 35mm SLR camera can be adapted for use with a telescope. The best camera is the one which makes the job of astrophotography the easiest…the one which has the best combination of features for ease of use with a telescope. A combination of DESIRABLE FEATURES, AVAILABILITY, PRICE, SIZE/WEIGHT will determine the best camera.
Author name: Al Canarelli
Mar 19 2005 10:18 AM | Guest in How to . . .
You will get dozens of different opinions on what is best, but I will tell you that for any given type of scope configuration, be it Newtonian, Cassegrain or Refractor, there will be excellent, just acceptable and rather poor examples for each type. No one type can lay claim to being the absolute best. If you are looking for an outstanding planetary scope you should consider the following:
Author name: Roland Christen
Mar 17 2005 11:56 AM | Guest in How to . . .
Back in the summer of 1998, I had been back in the hobby for a year and was accumulating eyepieces, cool little tools, collimators, and "stuff" faster than I had places to put them. I quickly fashioned a home made case from an old Igloo cooler by using close-cell pillow foam with hand cut holes. It worked really well too... but, I soon had too many eyepieces, odds and ends to keep in it. Hmmmm, I needed something larger...
Author name: Chris Stein
Mar 22 2005 07:59 AM | StarStuff1 in How to . . .
If you own a reflecting telescope it most likely has a spider and diagonal mirror hanging in the light path. You have probably considered making an off-axis aperture mask to aid in observing the Moon and planets on those nights of less than perfect seeing. You would be wasting your time according to Sky and Telescope's editor of the Telescope Techniques column, Gary Seronik. Seronik's principle scope is a 12.5-in f/5 newtonian reflector. Several years ago he made a 5-in off-axis mask and used it frequently to check the myth that large scopes are more adversely affected by seeing than small ones. In the February 2002 issue of S&T Seronik reported that he never did find a situation in which the off-axis view showed greater detail than the full-aperture view. When seeing was unsteady, he said the mask produced a visually pleasant view that was more steady than without the mask. However, he could not see any greater detail with the mask on than with it off. This makes sense to me. Five inches of aperture can never show as much planetary detail as 12.5 inches of aperture. So, an aperture mask is pretty much a useless device, right? Not according to the makers
Author name: Terry Alford
Mar 22 2005 07:57 AM | David Knisely in How to . . .
Useful for finding objects and for observing ones of large angular size like open clusters, large faint nebulae, or some larger galaxies. For lunar work, it is generally somewhat on the low side, but can show the crescent moon with background starfields well. This is also the range where Nebula filters tend to perform the best.
Author name: David Knisely
Mar 22 2005 08:19 AM | Denis Grey in How to . . .
For owners of Great Polaris and similar CG-5 and EQ-4 mounts there is a key economic decision that must be made. Do you buy the cheap Chinese motor drives or do you buy the expensive (but better) Vixen equivalents? Here is a rundown on the differences between the basic Dual-Axis systems:
Author name: Denis Grey
Mar 24 2007 01:52 AM | JerryWise in How to . . .
I've always liked the look and feel of Carbon Fiber OTAs.
Author name: Jerry Wise
Feb 22 2007 03:16 AM | Guest in Amateur Telescope Making (ATM)
Update on My 16" UltraCompact/Ultra-Light Dob
Author name: Craig Combes
Mar 18 2005 11:33 AM | bob midiri in How to . . .
Most amateur astronomers seem to fall in one of the four following categories The satisfied amateur who has purchased commercially made optics. They are either quite satisfied with the performance, or solely has confidence in the reputation of the manufacturer.
Author name: Bob Midiri
Mar 22 2005 11:00 AM | Guest in How to . . .
These words bring sighs to the romantic but, to the astronomer, they can mean a lost night of useful work. Contrary to popular belief, crisp, clear Winter nights, with the stars twinkling like Christmas lights, are the worst possible for serious observing.
Author name: Jack Schmidling
Oct 19 2005 05:00 AM | Guest in How to . . .
Dew frustrates me! Growing up on a tobacco farm, harvesting was an early morning event with dew as heavy as a mild rainstorm. This brings us to dew shields and thermal equipment used to keep my telescope above and away from that elusive “breakpoint where temperature and vapor fail to sustain equilibrium.
Author name: Mark Estes
Mar 22 2005 10:43 AM | CN_Admin in How to . . .
I have an advantage, I admit it. I work with kids in my job. I am the Director of Technology for a public school system. I have been doing astronomy for more than few years now, and the two jobs occasionally merge. When you work with their children, it seems that most adults in the community know a surprising amount about you. All of this has led to me doing astronomy talks for the girl scouts, teaching a summer outreach class, being a guest speaker for Jr. High and High school classes, and even working with really young children on several occasions. Outside of this, I have had the usual observing occurrences. Most of you know what I mean. Those times when you are out with your scope and one of the neighbors comes by. I am in a pretty isolated section of Michigan and unfortunately, the closest astronomy groups/clubs are over an hour away. Outside of the internet, I really don’t have a lot of day to day contact with other avid amateurs. All in all, I have worked with far more people who aren’t as enthuastic as I am about astronomy than who are.
Author name: Tom Trusock
Mar 18 2005 11:27 AM | Guest in How to . . .
From the perspective of one who is betrothed to an astronomy aficionado, here's my advice on keeping the seas of your relationship calmer than Tranquilitatis.
Author name: Meredith Fane
Feb 28 2006 01:41 PM | darkskyfarm in How to . . .
Look anywhere at a star party and there it is, in myriad renditions, that trove containing our beloved optical gems - the eyepiece box!
Author name: John Mills
Mar 17 2005 11:44 AM | Guest in How to . . .
As many other amateur astronomers, I have searched in vain for a good value in dewshields. Most of the manufacturer's shields seem to be disproportionately expensive with regards to their function and cosmetic appeal. In addition, I had a problem to solve.
Author name: John Ford
Mar 18 2005 11:48 AM | gnowellsct in How to . . .
While observing with a dob-owning friend recently both of us were somewhat surprised to note that my C14 SCT (schmidt-cassegrain) often had a wider field of view than his 12.5" dobsonian. It is commonly known that for photographic purposes the Celestron "faststar" SCTs offer the widest field of view currently available in the amateur market. However, for visual use most people including, myself, would give the edge to the "fast newtonian," or dobson design.
Author name: Greg Nowell
Mar 22 2005 11:54 AM | Guest in How to . . .
I have always loved viewing the night sky through binoculars and I wanted to use them with a full motion chair that did not require a second home mortgage, or hand holding the binos. In addition, I wanted something portable enough to toss in the back seat of my car. Just recently, I have found a product from a fellow in Houston, Texas called the Couch Potato Telescope. It's not really a telescope at all, but rather a full motion, fully adjustable binocular viewing chair. With this product, you can mount your binos to the crossbar, relax in a beach chair, and have full altitude and azimuth control without ever getting up from your comfortable seated position. For the total couch potato experience, you could mount a drink holder to the arm of the chair, which I plan on doing very soon. The creator, Sim Picheloup, sells this viewing chair in various states of completion, from mere plans with detailed instructions, to a fully assembled unit.
Author name: Vincent Bert
Mar 22 2005 08:29 AM | dpeach in How to . . .
An observer, be they at a mountain top observatory, or in their own back yard must, at all times contend with the Earth’s atmosphere. It is a notoriously unpredictable and limiting factor in obtaining fine views of the Planets, and close binary stars. Many often comment, especially here in the UK that seeing is all too often mediocre on most nights, but what are the factors that contribute to this?. Are there ways and signs, which indicate whether the atmosphere, will be stable or turbulent on a given night?.
Author name: Damian Peach
Mar 22 2005 10:40 AM | Guest in How to . . .
We all know that various errors are likely to be present in mass-produced telescopes from Synta, Meade, and Celestron. Higher end scope makers do not have as many problems. The good APOs and some of the better SCTs, MAKs, and DOBs have good quality control. They test their optics, and only very slight errors are allowed in production (less than 1/8 wave and most of the time 1/10 wave or better). Don't think that a $10,000 scope is perfect. No scope is perfect because the nature of light will not allow for perfection. There are many variables, and when one part is made perfect the cost is at the loss of another part. It's give and take. You gain here but lose there. But we can get very close with exotic materials and complex design, at a high cost in man-hours and materials. Wonder why those good APOs cost so much? Now you know.
Author name: PJ Violin
Mar 22 2005 08:22 AM | Wing Eng in How to . . .
My 1 ¼ inch Tele Vue eyepiece collection was recently upgraded as I visited Scope City in San Francisco's Marina District. I was warmly greeted by Sam, the store manager, who enthusiastically welcomed me to try out several different types of Tele Vue Eyepieces in his very customer-friendly shop. Since I already owned Tele Vue's 19mm Panoptic Eyepiece and Tele Vue's 12mm Radian Eyepiece, which are parfocal to each other requiring virtually no refocusing when switching from one eyepiece to the other, my attention turned to several shorter focal length 1 ¼ inch Tele Vue eyepieces. I was
Author name: Wing Eng
Mar 22 2005 11:31 AM | Guest in How to . . .
Cloudy Nights ask me to explain what the spherical aberrations undercorrected and overcorrected mean and how to tell what you have as you almost always have at least one. Even high end APOs have this condition most of the time but to what degree and over or under makes a big difference.
Author name: PJ Violin
Mar 22 2005 11:32 AM | Lapidesfamily in How to . . .
In searching for the perfectly stable light-weight altaz mount, I had just about given up. I previously owned a Takahashi TeeGull but sold it because it was so shakey. This fix that I came up with effectively solved the vibration problem with the TeeGull, so that this mount is now very stable. I now use this mount frequently because it is so easy to pick up and carry outside with the telescope attached in just one trip. I use it with my 92 mm Astro-Physics Stowaway telescope, but I think that this would work equally well with any smaller refracter up to about 4 inches.
Author name: Richard A. Lapides