Astronomy RSS

July is bringing us some hot days, and a hot new target for amateur astronomers! Comet 2020 F3 NEOWISE is now a naked eye comet, presently visible in the pre-dawn sky! How to See It You'll need a clear North-Eastern horizon to make out the comet. By 4:AM, it's several degrees up, and with a good horizon, is clearly visible by the unaided eye. You'll note Venus shinning brightly off to the right, and the bright star Capella above the comet itself, providing a good location aid. The below chart reflects 4:30 AM on July 9th. The best window for...

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barlow, eyepiece, eyepieces, luminos, magnification, plossls, seeing -

When you’re selecting a new eyepiece, the first and most important consideration should be how it fits in with the eyepieces you already have – particularly, your magnification scheme.  To figure out the magnification of your eyepieces, you take the focal length of your telescope (1200mm for an f/6 8-inch dob) and divide it by the focal length of the eyepiece.  For example, if you have, say, 25mm and 10mm Plossls that came with your 8-inch dob, they’re giving you 48x and 120x respectively. So, the first analysis is to fill in magnification “gaps” you have – like a high-powered eyepiece,...

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It’s fall in Colorado, and that means more humidity in the air, and, if you aren’t mindful, dew on the telescope. This is particularly important for refractors and Cassegrain telescopes - SCTs and Maks, which have a large lens at the front that is highly susceptible to dew buildup. Here are some tips to prevent and in the worst case, remove that dew.  Passive Prevention Lens Hoods and Dew Shields Dew shields are the first line of defense. These work well when you keep your objective pointing far enough towards the horizon that the lens isn’t exposed to the dew coming down...

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Celestron last year introduced a fast f/2.2 11" RASA Astrograph, and this year follows that up with the new 8" f/2.0 RASA, a high performance Astrograph for $1699. (They are also making the larger 36mm / 14" RASA available to the public after filling initial institutional orders.) The 8" RASA is an exciting product for astro-imagers - basically a hyperstar system with a 22mm flat field imaging circle, expanding to 32mm. This means it will work for mirrorless APS-C cameras (adapters are available for Canon EOS-M and Sony Mirrorless cameras) but is optimized for astronomical cameras. (Full-frame imagers will want to step...

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Meade has had a gap in their product lineup the past few years of a portable and affordable computerized german equatorial mount. I'm happy to see the new LX85 not only fills in that gap, but includes some telescope options that finally provide an all-in-one astrophotography package! Meade has positioned the LX85 as a direct competitor to the Celestron Advanced VX. The LX85 mount by itself retails for $799 - $100 less than the similar Celestron Advanced VX mount. Comparing the specs of the two, it's easy to see the similarities. The LX85, being $100 cheaper, does make a few...

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