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How to . . . Archives

“Collimating” Binoculars

Mar 19 2005 10:33 AM | EdZ in How to . . .

Cloudy Nights has been my primary conduit for sharing astronomical information. I am pleased to be a member of the Cloudy Nights community in that they have encouraged and supported my endeavors to share my knowledge of astronomy with kids and the astronomical community at large. I encourage you all to join with Cloudy Nights in its various attempts to reach out to children and spread some astronomical knowledge. And if you intend to do it with binoculars, then by all means, read this article and get adjusted. Thank you. Clear skies, and if not, Cloudy Nights. EdZ.

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Author name: Ed Zarenski
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Making a Sturdy Wood Tripod

Dec 20 2005 03:44 AM | matt in How to . . .

Making a sturdy wood tripod out of a flimsy aluminium tripod.

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Author name: Chauveau Mathieu
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Pier Design Fundamentals

Dec 05 2005 08:43 AM | Guest in How to . . .

Telescope piers can be designed and built to meet predetermined specifications. This paper treats the specification of pier deflection

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Author name: Dennis Persyk
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Eyepiece Review Pitfalls

Mar 17 2005 12:03 PM | Guest in How to . . .

If you have been reading eyepiece reviews you may have noticed that different reviewers give different results for the same eyepiece. Reviewers contradict their own results. You may have purchased a popular eyepiece that has rave reviews and find that it doesn’t give you the same results. How can this be? Are some people wrong and others right; are they all wrong or all right? Read on.

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Author name: Bill Brady
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What is the Best Planetary Telescope

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:

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Author name: Roland Christen
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How-to Make a Hartmann Mask

Mar 21 2005 04:36 PM | Guest in How to . . .

In this article, I hope to explain how to make a very inexpensive Hartmann mask to aid you in focusing your telescope for imaging.

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Author name: Jason Hissong
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DIY GOTO

Oct 31 2006 05:08 AM | Guest in Amateur Telescope Making (ATM)

Most amateurs these days seem to want a goto scope, and those of us who are into ccd imaging all lust after the AP 1200’s and the Paramounts of the world

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Author name: Gary McKenzie
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Cleaning Eyepieces

Mar 21 2005 04:17 PM | Guest in How to . . .

Cleaning eyepieces is an easy and essential step to getting the most out of your viewing. Eyepieces, if dirty, will provide degraded images. While care should be excercised to prevent scratching the anti-reflection coatings, if such care is used, the eyepieces can be cleaned regularly for decades without harm. Most eyepieces, it seems, do not come with cleaning instructions. But as an eyepiece is essentially the same as a quality camera lens, the same cleaning techniques can be used. I have camera lenses and eyepieces that have recevied regular cleanings

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Author name: Rich Warp
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ATM: 12.5" Open-tubed Classical Cassegrain

Jul 26 2005 12:12 PM | Guest in Amateur Telescope Making (ATM)

The primary mirror refiguring was no different than a normal parabolic mirror, except that it had a hole in the center! The subdiameter lap that I made was made just large enough that it could be pressed

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Author name: Michael Lockwood
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Convert Any Flashlight to a Night Vision Ready Red

Dec 17 2009 11:56 AM | Guest in How to . . .

As many astronomy gazers might discover, dark adaption is the utmost priority in viewing the night sky. And, unless you're

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Author name: Jordan McCullough
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ATM: Building a 28" Dob

Jul 22 2005 03:26 AM | Guest in Amateur Telescope Making (ATM)

Ever wonder what it takes to build a 28" dob? ... The observing shade consists of three parts - the turntable, the backstop and the shade itself. The rotating turntable is made from a ring of Dibond and is held in place by four posts that are attached to the side of the focuser board.

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Author name: Howard Banich
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Building a Schiefspiegler

Sep 27 2007 02:15 AM | Bill Cheng in Amateur Telescope Making (ATM)

A Further Improved 4.25 Inch Unobstructed Oblique Reflector

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Author name: Bill Cheng
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Passive Tool Collimation and the Newtonian

Aug 25 2009 04:45 AM | Starman1 in How to . . .

Collimation is the alignment of the optical parts of a telescope. Though lining up the secondary under the focuser is essential for uniform illumination of the field of view, there are only two alignments in collimation: the focuser axis (done by adjusting the secondary mirror), and the Primary Axis (done by adjusting the primary mirror).

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Author name: Don Pensack
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How-to Make an Astonomical Eyepiece out of Microscope Eyepieces

Mar 17 2005 12:02 PM | Guest in How to . . .

One of the best eyepieces I have in my collection for astronomical use is a Zeiss E-PL 10x/25 highpoint microscope eyepiece ( Zeiss # 44 42 36 ). This eyepiece provides a razor sharp, high contrast image when used with my 80mm f6.5 Brandon APO refractor. The apparent field of view seems to be between 55 and 60 degrees with an eye relief of about 20mm and a focal length of 25mm. I would match this eyepiece in quality with any astronomical eyepiece I have ever used.

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Author name: Dane Courney
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How-to Collimate a Laser Collimator

Mar 21 2005 04:42 PM | hughbartlett in How to . . .

The best images come from the best optics, and the most effective way of improving ones optics is to get them aligned properly. The most significant advance in recent years in collimation devices is the Laser collimator. Not only is it more precise, it is simpler to move a laser dot than it is to align double images of cross hairs and dots seen in a Cheshire eyepiece. It can also be done in the dark! Furthermore, through the use of a 45 degree window, such as those in the EZCollimators (available from EZTelescope.com), one person can collimate the primary mirror from the back of the telescope without getting up and down to look through the top of the scope to see what that last adjustment did to the alignment.

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Author name: Hugh Bartlett
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How-to Make an Alt-az Pipe Mount

Feb 20 2009 06:29 AM | mathteacher in How to . . .

Why make an alt-az pipe mount?

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Author name: Ging-Li Wang
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Building a Cheap Effective Light Shield

Mar 22 2005 08:31 AM | Guest in How to . . .

Like many amateur astronomers, I suffer from a light polluted neighborhood environment. We have a street lamp to the southeast, all night spots on houses to the south, southwest, and northwest. My house blocks all light from the north and east. When I can get fully dark adapted, I can see magnitude 5.2 stars from this site so the sky can be seen reasonably

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Author name: John R. Duchek
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The Atmosphere and Observing - A guide to Astronomical seeing.

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?.

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Author name: Damian Peach
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Flocking a Newtonian

Mar 27 2005 11:48 AM | ingles in How to . . .

Flocking a Newtonian ReflectorLet me begin by saying that I'm pretty much a newbie to Astronomy, having started with a 60mm department store scope in march of 2003, and having upgraded to my first "real" scope - an 8" f/5 Skywatcher dob - in August of 2003. The 8" dob is a great all round scope, giving great views of both DSO's and Planets, and for the price (around 450 euros) you can hardly go wrong with it as a good beginners scope. However, I found out almost immediately that there are a number of acessories that you have to buy to get the most out of your scope, and there are also a number of modifications that you can carry out to truly improve the quality of your equipment and make observing better and much more convenient!

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Author name: Carlos Andrade
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Useful Magnification Ranges for Visual Observimg

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.

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Author name: David Knisely
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Mars HOW-TO

Oct 03 2005 07:32 PM | Ron B[ee] in How to . . .

The compilation of on-line resources by my Light Cup on things you want to know about observing the Red Planet, Mars.

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Author name: Ron B[ee]
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How to Ship Items Safely

Sep 15 2006 06:06 AM | dave b in How to . . .

In a past life, I used to design shipping packaging for electronic testing equipment.

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Author name: Dave Bonandrini
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A Homemade Dew Shield For the 10

Mar 17 2005 11:40 AM | Guest in How to . . .

I have been an amateur astronomer for the last 5 years or so. I owned a Celestron 9.25" as my first SCT, and made a "flexible dew shield" for it. I was never satisfied with it since it would sag a bit while on the telescope, and block a little of the image. I also purchased a heating tape for the 9.25" and was never satisfied with it because the Velcro would peel off the rubber at the most awkward moments especially when it was cold out. Having to carry batteries for it was also a problem..

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Author name: John R. Duchek
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How To Write a Product Review

Mar 22 2005 11:39 AM | David Knisely in How to . . .

One of the best ways a person can get information about an astronomical product they are interested in is via a well-written review by someone who actually owns that product and has used it over some time. However, to be truly useful, a review must not just be a long version of "I loved it", or "I think its a pile of junk!". It must be a *fair* well thought out in-depth discriptive discussion of what the product is, its intended uses, and how well it works on the tasks it was designed for. One fairly good way to learn how to write reviews is to just write them for a while in your local Astronomy club newsletter (or even on sci.astro.amateur), and take note of any feedback you get. The basic rule in writing is: the more you write, the better you get at it, and this goes for reviews as well. After writing reviews for a number of years, I have found a few helpful ways

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Author name: David Knisely
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How to Construct a Portable Power Supply

Jan 07 2006 03:33 PM | Sidney in How to . . .

More Power Scotty!

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Author name: Bob Kerner
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