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15

The easiest way to determine the magnitude of a given star is probably to use the Pogson relation. The idea is to determine the magnitude of a star knowing the magnitude of a reference star; it is thus quite easy, using a well-known reference as Vega or Sirius. The Pogson relation is given by: $$m_1-m_2=-2.5\ log\ \left({\frac{E_1}{E_2}}\right)$$ where $...


11

Squinting works the same way as a pinhole camera. Ideally, light from a single point source entering your eye anywhere on your pupil will be focused on a single spot on your retina. But this works perfectly only if you have perfect vision; otherwise light entering near the top of your pupil may be directed to a slightly different spot on your retina than ...


11

...a very blurry, small view of Jupiter with the 4mm and Barlow... Be aware that a 4mm eyepiece and a 3x barlow at the same time will give you a very high magnification - too high! For regular Jupiter viewing I would suggest you stick to 100x or 200x at most, unless the air is exceptionally still. (After a few sessions you'll find out what "Still" air ...


11

This is a very common question, yet very hard to answer if you prefer a clear, concise, uncontroversial answer that applies to all situations. So I'm not going to do that. Instead, I'm going to describe your main options, and let you choose. Be aware that you'll make the choice while still not knowing much about optics. So, in a sense, it will be just the ...


7

As for projecting the Sun onto a screen at a low cost, I would recommend starting with a ~50-200$ sunspotter box, which is basically a lens mounted on a wooden box, that projects the sun onto a white piece of card. The advantage of using a telescope is that it can be programmed to track the Sun, so that if you want to trace sunspots, for instance, you can do ...


6

The Failures of High Magnification Higher magnification doesn't help you observe deep sky objects better. Deep sky objects unlike stars are extended objects. They subtend a finite solid angle on you. This ensures that the surface brightness(brightness per unit solid angle) of extended objects remains constant. Hence, a higher magnification would not make it ...


5

Several points need to be made. 1. Performance The performance of the whole optical stack is incredibly resilient w.r.t. small spots on the primary mirror. The mirror might look visually very, very dirty, but the performance of the whole instrument will remain essentially the same. Even if you chip the mirror at the edge, it shouldn't matter. Take a marker ...


5

The aperture of your 4.5" telescope is one thing, it's also important what focal length you have. Is it a f/5 or rather a f/8? The f/8 would be suitable for viewing the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn, maybe even Mars and Venus. You can also buy a good solar filter, attach it in the front of the optical tube assembly, and view the sun. But be careful with that, and ...


4

It depends. The Barlow is usually a cheap shortcut for avoiding to buy an expensive short focal length eyepiece. Also you need Barlows and high magnification usually only for small objects. For example the ring nebula (M57) is pretty tiny, and might benefit. Your telescope is still rather wide field, so getting high magnifications might be neccessary to ...


4

I would have added this as a comment (not enough rep yet, I'm afraid)... To elaborate on Andy's answer, the first reason is that the surface of the satellite dishes are too coarse to form any kind of image. Polished optical surfaces are smoothed to a polish (generally much smoother than one would achieve in polishing a car, though). Other problems come ...


3

It's not possible I'm afraid. Optical wavelengths (light) are typically of a wavelength under a micron, and an optical surface needs to be accurate to this level or better to be useful. Radio wavelengths are typically 10-20cm or longer, and an adequate reflector can be made with surfaces accurate to a few centimetres (at a guess as I don't know the exact ...


3

Go out in the daytime and practice lining up on the leaves of trees on a distant hill or some such. It's easier to find targets when they aren't against a nearly featureless black backdrop. If you have a finder scope, likewise align it to the scope's view using a distant daytime target. At night, look first for the moon to get a feel for how aligning works....


3

The objective lens of a telescope forms an real image of the night sky, the size of that image is in proportion to the focal length of the objective lens. The reason for this is simple geometry: If two stars are 1 arcminute apart, and the lens is forming an image of them, then the further the image is from the lens, the further apart the images of the two ...


2

The Raleigh criterion is the maximum theoretical limit that ignores the architecture, quality, and state of maintenance of optics. It basically says "assuming the optics in this instrument are PERFECT, this is the resolution you could get out of it". It's a calculation that looks only at the diameter and ignores everything else. In other words, no matter how ...


2

The resolution of a telescope is the resolution of the image created by the primary mirror at the focal plane. It provides the minimum separation between two equal brightness stars that appear separate in that image. Often, astronomers put a photographic plate or a CCD at the focal plane, create long exposure photos and these can then be examined at ...


1

First off - good job for paying attention to collimation. For a newtonian telescope, it is as important as changing the oil on your car. It would help to know a little bit more about the telescope. What make and model? What is the focal length? EDIT: Saw your comment below. It's an f/4 parabolic mirror, you're always going to have coma at the outer edge....


1

Sometimes this can be difficult to wrap your head around in Astronomy, as telescopes generally have a fixed aperture and focal distance, and simply use an eyepiece at the end to make a difference. If you, instead, look at a camera you can get the concept quite quickly. DSLR cameras have swappable lenses and many lenses include non-fixed focal distances (...


1

Jupiter is a very bright object, so maybe the best procedure is to use your filters, they might help with the glare. However, I think you have either a case of low resolution or distortion. Generally, the larger the diameter of the telescope, the better is the resolution (more details here). Resolution defines how much detail you are able to resolve with the ...


1

Try the moon first. If you see nothing but black, assuming that you don't have a lens cap on or something, then most likely, you are zoomed in on, well, relative blackness. The star you were viewing is probably off to the side now. Or, you may just be looking through the eye-piece at the wrong angle or something. The moon is too big a target to miss, and ...


1

You have to set your equatorial axis to tilt to match your latitude eg if you were at 5 degrees North then the axis needs to tilt to 5 degrees. Then you need to find an object of known RA and declination (at my latitude I always used Polaris as it didn't move) and then set the setting circles (the dials) to those, then direct the telescope to the RA and ...



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