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April 2019 Skies

Apr 06 2019 02:34 PM | cookman in This Month

Highlights: Comet Journal, Martian Landers, Meteor Showers, Planet Plotting, Spring Skies, April Moon Focus Constellations: Auriga, Taurus, Gemini. Cancer, Leo, Leo Minor, Coma Berenices, Bootes, Corona Borealis, Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Draco, Cepheus, Cassiopeia, Camelopardalis, Lynx

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Cosmic Challenge: Leo III

Mar 30 2019 09:54 AM | PhilH in Phil Harrington's Cosmic Challenge

A springtime rite of passage started here two years ago. It started in the April 2017 edition of this e-column, when I challenged readers to find the dwarf galaxy Leo I. Leo I is one of many dim dwarf galaxies gravitationally bound to the Milky Way. The fact that its surface brightness rates only 15th magnitude, coupled with its position just 20' north of Regulus makes Leo I a tough challenge to land.

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Cosmic Challenge: NGC 2363 and NGC 2366

Feb 28 2019 04:59 PM | PhilH in Phil Harrington's Cosmic Challenge

Will the real NGC 2363 please stand up? For years, there has been an ongoing debate over the true identity of the 2,363rd entry in the New General Catalog.

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February 2019 Skies

Feb 04 2019 08:22 AM | cookman in This Month

Highlights: Comet Journal, Mars Landers, Meteor Showers, Planet Plotting, Who let the Groundhog out?, February Moon Focus Constellations: Perseus, Auriga, Taurus, Orion, Canis Major, Canis Minor, Gemini. Cancer, Leo, Leo Minor, Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Draco, Cepheus, Cassiopeia, Camelopardalis, Lynx

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interstellarum Deep Sky Guide Desk Edition

Feb 03 2019 01:08 PM | Ray Cash in User Reviews

I’ve long preferred to have images—and/or drawings--of deep sky objects near my atlas, observing list, and, of course, my telescope. David J. Eicher’s The Universe from Your Backyard (1988) was an early, well-loved companion of mine, as was Burnham’s Celestial Handbook. So was the self-published 1994 John C. Vickers’ Deep Space CCD Atlas: North (and South). Vickers’ CCD atlases are images only, and rather primitive ones by today’s standards; but the atlases were not meant to be a compilation of ‘pretty pictures’; but rather a source of black and white images of interesting deep-sky objects that amateurs might want to hunt down with their warm, moist eyes, or sub-ambient-temperature imaging equipment. Enter the above masterpiece!

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A Bigger, Better Scope Anyone Can Build & Use

Feb 03 2019 12:24 PM | Augustus in Articles

Sometimes life’s greatest treasures are the unexpected. That’s how I feel writing this article. It was relatively recently that I embarked on building my 20”, and it’s been only six months since I penned the article on my 16”. Since that article, I’ve grown not only as an ATM, but also as a person and as a writer. I thought I’d share that growth here. ‘Tis the season of giving, after all!

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The binocular summation factor

Feb 03 2019 12:08 PM | PeterDob in Articles

A lot of ink has already been spent on this subject since many astronomy enthusiasts are wondering what the actual gain is observing with both eyes instead of only one. Let me begin by saying that this whole discussion is fairly pointless because observing with both eyes is a completely different experience than observing with only one. The feeling of total immersion that not even a 150° eyepiece can ever offer, the strange 3D-effect, the joy and relaxation of using both eyes… Personally, even if there were no light gathering gain at all I’d opt for a binoscope, regardless the expense. On the other hand there are people who’re having difficulties observing with both eyes. And finally there’s the big unknown factor: the human brain, which is both unpredictable and personal. So what’s the use of me writing this article? Because we astronomy enthusiasts have the unstoppable need to quantify everything. How much more can you see with a 14” telescope compared to a 10”? How does a refractor compare to a Newtonian (please, no, not again…)? Or… how much more can you see with both eyes? So here I go… explaining my 2 cents on this, for what they’re worth.

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Some thoughts on Springfield mounts.

Feb 03 2019 11:52 AM | bmwscopeguy in Articles

What if you could set up once, and after that, simply sit in your seat and observe? And if this telescope mount was GOTO, then even better. Even if you had to set up only once per observing session, it would be beguiling, but if you had an observatory, where everything was as you left it last session, it would be nirvana…

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Chronicling the Golden Age of Astronomy: A History of Visual Observing from Harriot to Moore by...

Feb 03 2019 09:44 AM | Otto Piechowski in User Reviews

Chronicling the Golden Age of Astronomy: A History of Visual Observing from Harriot to Moore is a good-read for “we stargazers” and telescopists of a mellowed age. As winter approaches, I can imagine myself re-reading the hard cover version of this book, sitting in my soft recliner, snuggled into a warm throw with my dog on my lap and a steaming cup of hot chocolate or tea on the lamp stand alongside, as the snow drifts down or as the bright stars of the winter constellatory asterism appear outside my window.

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Omegon Mini Track LX2 Review

Feb 03 2019 09:28 AM | project nightflight in User Reviews

The Mini Track LX2 is a small camera tracker that provides 60 minutes of tracking time. It was developed by Italian astrophotographer Christian Fattinnanzi and is distributed by Omegon. The device stands out among the other available sky trackers, since it is driven by a mechanical clock that needs no electrical power source. Besides that, it brings another innovation: To compensate for the camera weight, it features a spring mechanism that helps to stabilize the tracking rate.

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