I mentioned previously that it helps me to blog about NF books as I read them — kind of like transcribing my notes into something more coherent that my brain can recognize. Chapter 2 on Astronomy Basics in the NexStar User’s Guide II is a similar outcome. Here are some thoughts:
P.12 — Constellations…There are 88 constellations that divide the sky…I always assumed there were WAY more than that.
It was getting late in the evening, almost 1:00 a.m., in my backyard on June 6th and I was ready to call it a night. But Saturn was peeking out from behind some houses, and I thought, “I already have all my filters set out, why not try them?”.
As I mentioned in the previous log about Jupiter, the seeing conditions sucked, with lots of haze in the sky.… Read the rest
I was set up in my backyard on June 6th, trying out various things, and started observing Jupiter around 11:00 p.m. I think. I’m still getting going with my new eyepieces and layouts, so observed with my 36mm Hyperion 2″ lens, a 25mm super plossl, a 17.3 mm Delos, and a 15mm plossl.… Read the rest
This is the second annual survey of RASC Centres about their public observing events and pertains to events held in 2018. The survey has been streamlined from last year to more clearly focus on public observing events rather than outreach in general or members-only observing, but still retaining links to both.… Read the rest
In my role as the RASC Ottawa Public Star Party Coordinator for 2017 and 2018, I sent out client feedback surveys to members and this year to the public too. For this year’s survey, looking at events held in 2018, I received 46 responses, a slight uptick from the 40 received last year.… Read the rest
I’ve posted a few times about my experience with smartphone astrophotography. A person who is active online in this area, Kevin Francis, shared with me a copy of an infographic he did based on his experiences.
There is a rule that photographers use to figure out how long of an exposure you can do on a camera before you’ll start to see star trails. This assumes, of course, that you’re not TRYING to get star trails. Instead, you want those lovely little pinpoint stars. The classic rule says you take a set number of 600 and divide it by the effective focal length of the camera lens.… Read the rest
So I posted earlier that my astronomy season has kicked off, and I’m good to go. With the news that Jupiter was in opposition this week (the closest it will come to Earth all year, hence LOOK NOW for your best view), I thought, “Well, yeah, I want to set up”.… Read the rest
For those not active in astronomy circles, there is a website called Cloudy Nights for all things astro related i.e. where astronomers can go to talk about astronomy when there are “cloudy nights”. Each month, they publish the detailed Celestial Calendar (by Dave Mitsky). Here are some of the highlights for May (times converted to Ottawa time):
May 4/5th — The peak of the Eta Aquarid meteor shower (20 per hour for northern hemisphere observers) occurs at 03h00 (May 5); the Moon, Mars, and Pluto lie within a circle of diameter 4.81 degrees at 19h00 (May 5)
May 7: Last Quarter Moon occurs at 22h09 (7th);
May 8: Jupiter is opposition (angular size 44.8”, magnitude -2.5) at 20h00
May 15: New Moon occurs at 07:48; the Moon is 8.7 degrees south-southeast of the bright open cluster M45 (the Pleiades or Subaru) in Taurus at 18:00; Venus is at perihelion (0.7184 astronomical units from the Sun) at 19:00
May 21: First Quarter Moon occurs at 23h49;
May 29: Full Moon, known as the Milk or Planting Moon, occurs at 10h19; the Moon is 8.8 degrees north of Antares at 15h00
May 29/30: Mercury is 4.5 degrees south-southeast of M45 at 03h00 (30th)
For the planets:
During May, Venus shines prominently in the evening sky.
Saturday, April 21 was International Astronomy Day, and while I held out a bit of hope I would make it to one of the daytime / solar star parties in Gloucester, I didn’t actually get going until after supper, just in time to head to the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum where RASC Ottawa was hosting a night-time star party.… Read the rest
I joined the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada – Ottawa Centre a little over 5 years ago. I had a telescope when I was a kid, one of the cheap handheld ones, and predictably, I saw almost nothing with it. Fast-forward 30 years, and I bought a Celestron NexStar 8SE telescope with some inheritance money.… Read the rest
As the RASC Star Party Coordinator for the Ottawa Centre, I asked members for information on two surveys for our approach in 2018. I don’t intend to be a simple slave to the survey (Mike M warned me that way could lead to madness!), but I did want some input on various elements to help guide my thinking.… Read the rest
I’m frequently on the lookout for tips and tricks for astrophotography, although my ambitions are a bit basic to start with — smartphone use at the telescope eyepiece for now, maybe graduating to DSLR and webcam stuff later. And some of the easiest of the early photos are for moon shots.… Read the rest
So I’ve put together a draft observing log, curious if people have any other suggestions. I feel like I’ve gone way overboard on the data and details, not enough room for the notes. And I’m not sure I’ll ever get into drawing, but it’s there for now.
A new owner of an older 8SE asked me what I thought were the priority accessories to get to go with the stock package (mount, OTA, and 25 mm Plossl). I thought it would be an easy answer, and then realized it is almost as difficult to answer as what scope would be best for someone.… Read the rest
I had one of those handheld telescopes when I was a kid, and I tried to look at the stars, but well, that went about as well as you think it might have gone. I couldn’t see diddly except for the moon. And even then, I never saw ridges. Then five years ago, I bought a real telescope (Celestron NexStar 8SE below) and attempted to embrace my new hobby without a lot of success.… Read the rest