This is the annual observer’s guide published by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.
What I Liked
One of the most obvious challenges for an Observer’s Guide of this kind is balancing the needs of newbies and moderate amateurs with the needs of advanced astronomers, photographers, and outright astro-physicists. However, I’m on the newer end of the spectrum, and I found the typical wealth of information such as using the handbook for teaching purposes and resources (p 17); observable satellites (p 25); filters (p 64); deep-sky observing hints (p 85); the sky month by month; and overviews on planets, dwarf planets, satellites, the sun, and various star options before getting to the deep-sky lists (which could benefit from better presentation). However, I think my favourite section was on the Moon. The entire handbook is “made” just having the info from Bruce McCurdy on lunar observing starting on page 158 as it is perfect for me. » Read the rest
Despite the fact that I bought my telescope five years ago, I consider myself relatively new to astronomy. Mainly because of the myriad of alignment challenges that I’ve had over the last five years, I feel like I’m starting fresh, albeit with more knowledge than most enter the hobby. I’ve done some basic starhopping, attended numerous RASC meetings, gone to star parties, done some outreach. You know, got my feet wet.
As a RASC member, I also get the annual RASC Observers Handbook. Yet for the last five years, it’s been hit or miss with me whether it was useful. In 2015, I dove deep, and did a review (A newbie’s guide to the RASC Observer’s Handbook 2015) based on being a complete noob and how I found the contents. 2016 was okay, flipped through. In 2017, I didn’t even open the plastic wrap around it until a few weeks back when I got the alignment issues solved. » Read the rest
This past weekend, skies were looking promising and so I planned to do two star parties back to back. Friday night was the first one in Carp, the last RASC star party of the year. I’m not only a member, but I’m also actually serving as the acting star party coordinator. We have marshals though to cover if I’m not actually there, so mainly my job is to send out the notification emails in advance as reminders, and then make the call for the day before or day of the event.
I was a bit later arriving there than I had hoped, not getting there until about 6:30 p.m., so had to set up in the dusk. Long past the sun dropping below the horizon and taking the moon and three or four planets with it. I was wondering if I would be able to see Mars, Jupiter or Venus if I was using my solar filter as they are really close to the sun, but I wasn’t overly hopeful. » Read the rest
Astronomy: Fixed battery supplies + 1 viewing…I want to attend the RASC annual meeting, do at least 1 viewing at Star Party+Luskville+cottage, but I’ll start with 1 viewing. And work on reading the new RASC guidebook for the year.
and under my yellow goals I had:
Astrophotography: One decent shot…Sure, I would like to do more. Level 2 would likely be a complete set of moon phases (1/4, 1/2, 3/4, full). Level 3 and beyond could be constellations, planets, figuring out the laptop thingy, filters, etc. But I’ll start with the moon. And somewhere in there I have to sort my existing astro photos.
Since my new 50by50 goals kind of overtake the regular 2017 ones, I wanted to keep something in my new goals related to astronomy and I wanted to be realistic. » Read the rest
I have a Celestron NexStar 8SE telescope…for those not in the know, that’s an 8″ optical tube on a simple tripod. They call them one-armed bandits (like the slot machines) because there is a single arm that goes from the tripod mount that it rests on up to the tube. Simple, easy to work, but it isn’t very stable, at least not in astronomical viewing terms. It doesn’t allow for much in the way of astro photography due to its limited ability to track the sky over time, thus limiting the photography options of long-exposures. However, there is one feature where the 8SE shines — it’s ease of use.
This was a key ingredient for me in buying a scope, based on knowledge of who I am and the patience I have. If a scope takes 30 minutes to setup, I’m not likely to use it. I need something relatively simple, and the 8SE requires you to basically setup the tripod, attach the scope to the arm, add some power and eyepieces, and you’re good to go. » Read the rest