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October Skies

Oct 10 2019 03:01 PM | cookman in This Month

Highlights: Comet Journal, Martian Landers, Meteor Showers, Quiet Sun, Planet Plotting, October Moon Focus Constellations: Hercules, Lyra, Aquila, Cygnus, Pegasus, Pisces, Aries, Andromeda, Perseus, Taurus. Auriga, Camelopardalis, Ursa Major, Draco, Ursa Minor, Cepheus, Cassiopeia

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Cosmic Challenge: The Deer Lick Group

Oct 01 2019 05:03 AM | PhilH in Phil Harrington's Cosmic Challenge

The autumn sky abounds with little bundles of galaxies scattered throughout its stars. One of the best known is the group of 7 galaxies that surround the magnificent spiral NGC 7331 in Pegasus, the Flying Horse. An observer could easily spend an hour or more just soaking in all that this small patch of sky has to offer.

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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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Celestron Regam 65ED M2

Sep 27 2019 10:33 AM | Riccardo_italy in User Reviews

There is at the moment a heated discussion on Cloudynights about spotting scopes. I can only confirm my initial impressions: for a dual day&night scope, a good quality spotting scope is, IMHO, a very good choice. The scope performs nicely also for astronomy, and not only for daytime use. I do not agree with people that says a spotting scope cannot be used for astronomy.

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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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Review: The Vixen FL55ss

Sep 08 2019 11:27 AM | Hesiod in User Reviews

Overall judge the FL55ss a good product. As a wide field astrograph is very proficient and easy to use, so would suggest it wholeheartedly, even to beginners (usually at this stages apreture does not matter, while the clever Vixen mini-refractor is very user-friendly and, at 300mm, gives a more forgiving sampling than the popular 60-80mm rebranded models).

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September 2019 Skies

Sep 06 2019 07:36 AM | cookman in This Month

Highlights: Comet Journal, Martian Landers, Meteor Showers, Autumnal Equinox, Planet Plotting, September Moon Focus Constellations: Bootes, Corona Borealis, Ophiuchus, Hercules, Lyra, Aquila, Cygnus, Pegasus, Andromeda, Perseus, Camelopardalis, Ursa Major, Draco, Ursa Minor, Cepheus, Cassiopeia

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Cosmic Challenge: Emission Nebula Simeis 57

Sep 01 2019 10:16 AM | PhilH in Phil Harrington's Cosmic Challenge

Simeis 57 is one of the most intriguing emission nebulae in the late summer sky, yet it is almost unknown to visual observers. Photographers, however, know it as a pair of opposing arcs of reddish light, one extending to the north, the other to the south, that appear to be spinning symmetrically away from a common center. Its unusual appearance has led to its two nicknames: the Propeller Nebula or the Garden Sprinkler Nebula.

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August 2019 Skies

Aug 07 2019 02:37 PM | cookman in This Month

Highlights: Comet Journal, Martian Landers, Meteor Showers/Asteroid Surprises, Planet Plotting, August Moon Focus Constellations: Bootes, Corona Borealis, Ophiuchus, Hercules, Lyra, Aquila, Pegasus, Cygnus, Draco, Cepheus, Cassiopeia, Perseus, Camelopardalis, Ursa Minor, Ursa Major

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Cosmic Challenge: Planetary nebula IC 4732

Aug 01 2019 04:55 AM | PhilH in Phil Harrington's Cosmic Challenge

M22 is right in the thick of it, not far from the galactic center of the Milky Way. As such, it has lots of company. One particular planetary nebula proves a worthy adversary through 10- to 14-inch scopes: IC 4732. IC 4732 lies just 1.4° north-northwest of M22. Cataloged at magnitude 12.1, its tiny disk is difficult to pick out from the mob of field stars -- difficult, but not impossible.

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