Questions tagged [amateur-observing]

Questions about the observation of celestial objects by non-professional astronomers.

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Do Roche limits apply to Kerr ring black holes? [duplicate]

I was wondering if a smaller black hole orbiting a larger one could be torn apart by the Roche limit or tidal force or other, if the center of the blackhole was not a singularity but a Kerr ring of ...
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Can equatorial mounts be used at lower latitudes?

I wanted to order a Celestron 127EQ and I was going through the manual online and just noticed that the manual says that latitude is adjustable in about a 20-60° range. The PowerSeeker equatorial ...
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Eyepieces and accessories recommendations for a Starblast 4.5-inch scope in a city as well as darker suburbs, and kid friendly?

For the Starblast 4.5 Telescope I currently have an Orion 7-21mm Zoom eyepiece attached on top of a 2x Barlow lens. I like them because of the magnification they give stacked together and the zoom ...
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Please check my Mars photo

Hi built my own newtonian telescope for the first time. Up until that point I had never used a telescope. Can you please look at the photos attached and tell me if this is what Mars should look like ...
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1answer
224 views

Mars is dark, surrounding is bright, what am I doing wrong? [duplicate]

I just got a Celestron 8 and I'm a complete rookie: set up scope early so it would acclimate to the temperature. No difficulty locating Mars, but I see a dark planet with its circumference slightly ...
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Would alcohol wiping damage multi-coated eyepiece coating? How else can I take COVID precautions on the eyepiece?

My small group of friends will be wearing masks. But could COVID-19 be spread by eyes/eyelashes touching the eyepiece? If so, what precautions should I take? I have a small Starblast scope with an ...
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1answer
73 views

How to make a 65 cm lens with a 20 cm hole in it for a Hamiltonian telescope?

This answer to What (the heck) is a Hamiltonian telescope? Is this one? confirms that the telescope in the question linked there is indeed as described and that the first lens is a full 65 cm aperture ...
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128 views

What exactly is a Hamiltonian telescope? Is this one?

This comment on the current answer to Why is this telescope so short? How hard is it to make such a fast primary? says In this forum topic Borisov appears to call it an f/1.5 Hamiltonian. Wikipedia'...
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Are there for-profit observatories?

I'm making a new website for the folks at MIRA.org, and in a bit of curiosity I found myself wondering if there are observatories that are for-profit organizations. What would they even do?
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Is there a more permanent way to set up an Artificial Horizon?

For the last few months we have been constantly setting up an Artificial Horizon (Davis Instruments) using motor oil as the liquid. We discovered that it is very hard to take a reading off of it ...
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Why do in general stars twickle and planets don't? [duplicate]

I got an email update on what can be observed this week. Jupiter looks like a bright yellow-white star, almost as bright as Mars. Saturn is about 10 moon widths to the left and slightly above, and is ...
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Which is a better way to increase magnification - by choosing an eyepiece of lesser focal length or by choosing a telescope with higher focal length? [duplicate]

Magnification of a telescope = (focal length of telescope / focal length of the eyepiece being used) $$M=\frac{f_{objective}}{f_{eyepiece}}$$ If I want 75 X magnification and the following are the two ...
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Did the night sky ever change in recorded history?

I wonder whether there has ever been a major change of the firmament in recorded history, like changes in the positions of stars, changes in constellations, or stars disappearing after going supernova....
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TASCO 49060700 60x700mm Spacestation Refractor

So, my grandfather so graciously gave me his TASCO 49060700 60x700mm Spacestation Refractor Telescope, which is extremely wondrous. Any way, I found this answer to my 3x barlow lens, which I believe ...
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1answer
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Strange Sighting, Help Needed! [closed]

I live in Hyderabad. Around a week ago, I, with my mother went to observe the planets from my roof I had observed Jupiter and Saturn till they went down below the horizon and then I was ready to move ...
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Solar Analemma - but with a star instead

We (homeschool students and I) are trying to find the answer to this question. Does a star also create Solar Analemma figure 8 when photographed daily for a year? Has anyone published an experiment ...
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Is the Object in this Photo Mars?

A little bit of context: I dabble in amateur astronomy, however only very lightly. I originally wanted to make some observations of Mars because I know it is supposed to be very close these days but ...
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1answer
86 views

How to view the surface of Mars with a 130 mm Newtonian?

I bought a Celestron AstroMaster 130EQ telescope, but I am not able to see the surface of Mars through using the 10 mm eyepiece. Instead I only see a glowing dot. What should I do to view the mars ...
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2answers
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Astromaster Celestron 130 EQ

I brought a new Astromaster 130 EQ and collimated it using a laser. However, whenever I try to observe moon I get a perfect picture but with other planets I see only a bright glowing ball which ...
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1answer
193 views

Which eyepiece should I use to view planets with a Slokey Skyways 50080 telescope?

I am new to Astronomy. My husband bought a Skyways 50080 for me for my birthday. It's an f=500mm refractor made by Slokey. The 80mm aperture makes it a fast f/6.25. It came with three eyepieces; 25, ...
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When did telescopes become available?

The History of Science and Mathematics stack exchange has a question "When Did Telescopes become Affordable?" asking when telescopes became available to members of the general public instead ...
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How can Mercury's sodium tail be imaged?

I recently learned that Mercury has a sodium tail. Can this sodium tail be imaged with a ground based telescope? Is so, what is the minimum setup required to be able to take a picture of it? Do you ...
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1answer
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I saw a weird thing around Venus

I pointed my telescope (50mm aperture, 500mm focal length, 4mm eyepiece, image taken through a window) at Venus and saw this: What is it? I don't think this is Uranus or Neptune as my telescope is ...
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How can I see planets with my telescope? [duplicate]

I have bought a Celestron Astromaster 130 telescope and I am relatively new to astronomy, when I tried to view Jupiter a few months ago I could not make out any details. It was just a white orb. Any ...
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Why does this large Newtonian telescope's front cover have two or three holes in it?

The Michael Bernardo video How to use an Equatorial Mount for Beginners shows a large Newtonian telescope on an equatorial mount. The cover of the telescope's large aperture shows what looks like ...
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German equatorial mount

I have a Celestron Astromaster 130 EQ. After aligning my telescope's polar axis with Polaris, in order to track stars I need information about the coordinates in terms of right ascension (RA) and ...
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48 views

What could have this blue “bouncing” trail been? [closed]

Last night at around 8:45 PM (UK Time), I saw something I've never seen before. It was a cloudy night and I saw a flash in the sky. When I looked towards it, I saw something that looked like a ...
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Apparent magnitude of a spherical body with specular, rather than diffuse reflectivity? How bright were Sputnik 1 and Vanguard 2?

How bright are geostationary satellites due to reflected sunlight? and Did Sputnik 1 tell us more than “beep”? What science was improved by information gained from its orbiting the Earth? now have me ...
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A simple echelle spectrograph for viewing solar spectrum

On the Astrosurf website here, someone has designed a deceptively simple echelle spectrograph for viewing solar spectrum. Briefly, light from an optical fiber falls on an echelle grating and which is ...
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Problem with making telescope

I am using a convex lens with $f=5$ cm and $5$ cm aperture, a concavo-convex lens with $f=100$ cm and $5.5$ cm aperture. I am trying to make telescope and it should have magnification of 20 x. But the ...
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1answer
140 views

Can an average person see stars from the bottom of a well or through cardboard tubes? Definitive answer required!

A debate about seeing stars or planet during the day below this answer to the Aviation SE question At what altitude might a pilot be able to see at least the brightest stars during the day? seems ...
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What is it about the layout of the three gratings in a Bahtinov mask that makes its indicate focus in this way?

The question Lucky imaging with Celestron 14 - is this result reasonable? includes a beautiful example of a focus test using a Bahtinov mask and the image below from Deep Sky Watch's Home Made ...
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1answer
91 views

How to see Mars and Venus in color?

My telescope is Arsenal - Synta 70/700 AZ2 (refractor model). 140x max zoom (10 mm with Barlow). I could clearly see Jupiter and Saturn in color. I even saw brown stripes on Jupiter. Yet, when I tried ...
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How much does the sky change in a few thousand years?

The "fixed stars" are not actually fixed, the earth's tilt changes over time etc., but all that happens slowly on human timescales. Imagine a Babylonian astronomer (or astrologist?) ...
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1answer
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What are the Mathematical Algorithms/Formulas behind hindu Sunrise and Sunset Calculations?

There are differences between Astronomical Sunrise/Sunset calculation and Hindu calendar Sunrise/Sunset calculations. The astronomical algorithms to calculate the sunrise/sunset can be found over the ...
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Was this an astronomical phenomenon observed in 1689?

In a Swedish church record from 1689 a phenomenon in the sky is described. With my very limited understanding it could be a meteorological or an astronomical phenomenon, so here I ask if it could have ...
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Deformable optics for consumer telescopes

I am aware that there are adaptive imaging techniques for amateur astronomers. But these methods correct an image on a screen. This is nice, but to me the real lure of amateur astronomy is the act of ...
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What effect do aircraft have on night-time visibility?

I have something of an interest in astronomy. I also have a 5" reflector telescope, plus of course binoculars. With the recent coronavirus emergency, a large number of commercial aircraft were ...
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1answer
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Stargazing (Tenerife) - different quality today and yesterday

I'm on the Tenerife island and (in the mountains above the clouds - 2300) the day before yesterday, I could clearly see the Milky Way and stars (1 am). So I went to the same place yesterday and the ...
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How long can the comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) will observed with the naked eye or small optics?

In the answer to the question Where should I be looking to see Neowise in southern Sweden? there is a picture with the comet positions till 30 July. In other sources I saw similar pictures also with ...
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1answer
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Why are Delta Aquariids “for the southern hemisphere” while the Perseids are “for the north”?

In the video How to spot Comet NEOWISE, plus the largest 3D map of the Universe | Night Sky News July 20 after 05:28 Dr. Becky (Smethurst, Oxford astrophysicist) ...
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2answers
147 views

Two luminous points disappearing in the sky

I saw a few days ago two luminous points in the sky, which were quite close (about 1-2 degree of separation between them) and not apparently moving (or to slow to be noticed with the naked eye). The ...
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1answer
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Where should I be looking to see Neowise in southern Sweden?

I'm in the south of Sweden and just spent over an hour trying to find Neowise, but didn't see it. I live in a rural area, there are no lights nearby and there is a small hill with clear visibility ...
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1answer
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Is Neowise viewable from my position?

I have had an impossible time trying to locate this comet. My lat/long is 38.3/-82.4. My elevation is 705ft. The application that I'm using shows me exactly where Neowise is supposed to be (North East,...
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1answer
36 views

How imperceptible will the 4-July-2020 penumbral lunar eclipse be?

Wikipedia's July 2020 lunar eclipse; Visibility says: It will be visible from some parts of North America during moonrise, South and North America, the extreme part of Namaqua Land in South Africa ...
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Retrograde Motion: Stars in the background

I was reading about the retrograde motion of Mars. All explanations give reference to the stars in the background. But I do not understand why this is necessary. I say this since stars themselves also ...
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2answers
338 views

My local night sky is so bright that I can only see the Moon, so would a low-cost telescope be any use?

Light pollution is so bad near our home that we can't see anything other the Moon in the night sky. For instance there is a street light on all night right in our lane and there are many other housing ...
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1answer
107 views

How can I improve the Field of View of my home-made telescope?

I made my telescope, with two convex lens of focal length 1000mm and eyepiece (plano-convex) with 25mm focal length. But I can see only a very small field of view, with inverted image. Do I need to ...
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1answer
103 views

Effect of black coating on the inside of a hobby telescope's tube?

I was watching this (rather old) episode of "The Making, where they show how a telescope is built in a factory. At 7:34, the cylindrical body of the telescope is shown to have a dark coating on ...
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90 views

What are the things, the hobby astronomers observe? [closed]

I was thinking: What are the things, that hobby astronomers observe? (Things, that are in the domain of astronomy and hobby.) I tried some googling, and I found just what do professional ...

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