Questions tagged [amateur-observing]

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

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5 votes
2 answers
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How could I see Andromeda as large as in this picture?

In this question an image is shown (repeated below) which gives an idea of the "true" angular extent of the Andromeda galaxy in our sky. When I see Andromeda it is usually a bit of a smudge ...
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3 votes
2 answers
77 views

Focus Problems when using Barlow 3x or 4mm lens

So I just recently bought a Celestron Powerseeker 127EQ 12.7 cm f/7.87 Cassegrain telescope and I inserted a 20mm eyepiece and the telescope with the Moon. That eyepiece seems to work fine, but when I ...
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1 vote
0 answers
42 views

Why does my 10mm eyepiece produce blurry images?

I own a tabletop Sky-Watcher Heritage 130mm tabletop Dobsonian with a f/5 130mm aperture and 630mm focal length. 25mm wide-field eyepiece and a 10mm narrow-angle eyepiece. Last night I took it out to ...
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4 votes
2 answers
96 views

What stars am I seeing in the daytime?

I currently live in the United Kingdom, in an area where the overall elevation is high so while the hills are rolling rather than peaky, they are all well above sea-level. A few weeks ago I was on a ...
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  • 143
1 vote
0 answers
40 views

What settings should I use for my telescope-mounted smartphone to take night sky pictures?

Last night, I managed to take my first successful picture of a nebula--the Orion Nebula (see picture below). I'm incredibly ecstatic, as before I had been limited to taking images of the moon. I used ...
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3 votes
1 answer
80 views

Camera settings for Astrophotography

I own an Orion 10015 StarBlast 4.5 Astro Reflector Telescope and I recently bought a Lumix G7 camera then I bought the adapter needed to attach the camera to the telescope. I tested it today at ...
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2 votes
0 answers
50 views

Metric to estimate measuring accuracy

I need help/suggestions on which metric/approach to use. I am trying to estimate pointing precision by measuring the offset of the experimentally measured values from the real, theoretical values, ...
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23 votes
3 answers
3k views

How can I measure the angle between two stars?

This is a backyard astronomy question. My middle-school-aged son and I would like to measure the apparent angle between two easily-visible stars more precisely than measuring with our outstretched ...
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  • 343
4 votes
2 answers
251 views

Is there a way to find polar star after identifying Orion's belt?

Usually the polar star is identified based on Pointing stars in Big dipper(saucepan) shape.. Compared to big dipper, it is easier to identify Orion's belt. Would that help me to identify Polar star?
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  • 143
1 vote
1 answer
93 views

What is Canopus in this picture?

Picture is taken from 34.2N 126.6E Bogil-do, South Korea. I suppose the dot at up-right side is Rigel and the bright white dot is Sirius, and bright reddish dot at the bottom is light from some ...
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4 votes
1 answer
941 views

What have I encountered here?

Consider: I tried Google Lens to tell the answer, but it is not giving a true answer. I am using the Android app Stellarium.
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2 votes
1 answer
100 views

Where is my camera pointing

I operate a meteor camera from a fixed location with a known elevation, FOV, and I can work out its sidereal time. On a good night, it takes a large number of images of the sky (fits files). I can ...
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2 votes
1 answer
119 views

Camera adaptor won't focus [duplicate]

I'm trying to use my DSLR camera (Canon EOS-40D) with my kids' Celestron First Scope. I bought a 3x Celestron 1.25" barlow, Celestron 1.25" T-adaptor, and the Canon ring. These things all ...
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-2 votes
1 answer
100 views

I believe I saw a UFO, what else could it be? [closed]

When looking at the night sky some time ago I noticed a white dot. The amount of light coming from or being bounced on that object made it the same size of a average star. But differently from a star, ...
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7 votes
2 answers
176 views

How close are we to observing all of the sky all of the time?

I was musing on how amateur astronomy is still a heavy contributor to the overall field, and how on any given night there will be plenty of small telescopes pointing into the void and capturing the ...
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1 vote
0 answers
43 views

How to choose the right Barlow lens?

I have a OneSky AWB 130 (130 mm aperture) Newtonian telescope w/ 650 mm aperture. I previously asked a question on another account on what lens to get next--@AaronF suggested that I get the Orion Tri-...
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7 votes
2 answers
1k views

Will 3,600ft asteroid be visible at my location tonight?

According to NASA, a 1.1-kilometer asteroid called 7482 (1994 PC1) will be visible tonight at 5:50PM. How do I know if this asteroid will be visible at my location with the naked eye? When NASA says 5:...
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  • 401
2 votes
1 answer
67 views

Next eyepiece for my telescope; how do decide which one to get?

I have an Astronomers Without Borders telescope with 650 mm focal length and 130 mm aperture. To go with them, I have a 10 mm and wide eye relief 25 mm eyepiece. I tried to view Jupiter with the 10 mm,...
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1 vote
0 answers
51 views

Child-friendly freely available web-based tool to generate skymap

I am intending to develop a free web-based tool where kids can plot a 2D skymap based on terrestrial coordinates and local time. I am aware of the fact that multiple sites provide already accurate sky ...
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3 votes
1 answer
153 views

What are some astrophotography editing options and strategies for taking photos of galaxies with a telescope and a cell phone?

We purchased a phone adapter for my sons telescope and got some amazing pictures, BUT we believe that they can be clearer. What is the best, or a really good, image editing program for amateur ...
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  • 69
1 vote
1 answer
103 views

The most precise way to point the true north

Since all of my telescopes have equatorial mount and It needs to be placed with respect to North direction, what is the best way to point the North. Expecting answers that doesn't suggests methods ...
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3 votes
1 answer
79 views

Hoping to do some viewing and astrophotography with a large-ish Dobsonian and a DLSR, is this scheme workable?

I haven't put a camera behind a telescope since the lunar eclipse of 1975 except for a few experiments with a cell phone held behind a pair of binoculars. I want the occasional thrill of using a ...
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6 votes
2 answers
201 views

Identifying Constellations from Sky Maps

In Such sky maps How to identify constellation in those blocks?The just seems to me like Random figures. Please suggest some good sources where I can study this?
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3 votes
2 answers
173 views

How to compute a Flux through a filter using SYNPHOT in Python

I am in the process of building an exposure time calculator to help nail down the exposure times I need for different targets in my observatory. In amateur astronomy imaging, we use a filter called ...
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1 vote
1 answer
50 views

Can I use an achromatic focal reducer to reduce chromatic aberration?

I am using 75/1000 Plano convex lens to build telescope. Can I use an achromatic focal reducer to reduce chromatic aberration?
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3 votes
1 answer
63 views

Can I "see" nucleosynthesis in R Geminorum with a small telescope, a plastic diffraction grating and a cell phone? (famous technetium lines)

R Geminorum is a magnitude +6 to +11 variable star notable for the discovery of technetium spectral lines. As the longest lived isotope is only a few million years, this was direct evidence that ...
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  • 31.6k
0 votes
1 answer
57 views

What is going on with comet C/2021 A1 Leonard? Is it going to be bright this weekend or not?

I have to plan an excursion to try to find clear evening skies to try to see if we can spot comet C/2021 A1 Leonard about 10 to 15° above the ocean in the Southwest after sunset this weekend. I'm ...
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1 vote
0 answers
79 views

What observational data was there that comet Leonard C/2021 A1 might have been dimming and/or breaking up?

Space.com's Comet Leonard, the brightest of the year, is fading and acting strange seems to be full of inexact language, like "something's wrong" and "unhealthy" and "goner&...
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  • 31.6k
2 votes
0 answers
66 views

Formula for calculating if an object can cast a visible shadow on the ground or not

I know that we can see the shadow cast by the light of Venus on the ground. I also talk with one person who said they were able to see the shadow even from Jupiter. Recently I've read something like ...
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  • 216
1 vote
1 answer
49 views

What are the various ways we can quickly generate custom star charts to find moving asteroids or comets in binoculars and telescopes?

Where can I find the positions of the planets, stars, moons, artificial satellites, etc. and visualize them? is an amazing resource and @user21 has set it up with a community wiki answer for all of us ...
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  • 31.6k
2 votes
0 answers
137 views

Make a guide map to comet comet Leonard C/2021 A1 using Skyfield

Sky and Telescope's How Bright will Comet Leonard Get? includes the skymap and projected (possible) light curve for comet Leonard C/2021 A1 that will potentially reach +4 magnitude this month. It has ...
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  • 31.6k
-2 votes
2 answers
128 views

If the sky is the limit...where does the sky start? [closed]

Does the "sky" start anywhere that the land is not touching? Does it start after the troposphere? After the atmosphere?
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15 votes
3 answers
2k views

Was lunar libration first observed or first predicted? In either case, who was the responsible party?

How old is the idea of the far side of the Moon? got me thinking that as soon as we see the moon librate we have to come to terms with there being even more of it we can't see. The Moon's libration is ...
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  • 31.6k
5 votes
2 answers
154 views

Why can't Level replace Horizon when using a Sextant

The title says it all. Why can't I use a projected level mark on a sextant and bring down the Sun/Star/Etc. to the level mark instead of a horizon? Assume that somehow I have figured out a way to ...
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  • 1,519
6 votes
1 answer
1k views

Betelgeuse appears in a rainbow of colors through a Newtonian telescope

My husband and I are complete amateurs. Tonight was only our second night using our new Orion XT6 Dobsonian telescope. Betelgeuse looked very clear, bright red. However, when we pointed the telescope ...
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0 votes
0 answers
46 views

Weird object seen moving through space binoculars (irregular pattern) [duplicate]

I was looking up to the western sky with some very high powered binoculars. I am just grooming the sky looking at things I cannot see with my naked eye. I then run into this box like constellation ...
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3 votes
1 answer
102 views

Why does light pollution make the night sky completely black without stars?

I have seens pics of the night sky in areas that naturally have little population like deserts, cold regions and forests and the night sky is slighly bright and colored by shades of blue, red, purple ...
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0 votes
0 answers
32 views

What was the erratically jumping star like object [duplicate]

Oct 31st'21 around 11.15 pm. we saw a bright star like object, jumping erratically in all directions, constantly twinkling,occasionally looking coloured. All other stars were still. We were Looking ...
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1 vote
1 answer
89 views

Star cluster next to Venus

Recently Observed Venus with my 6.3 inch Telescope with 401x magnification and got super crisp images, but just beside the Venus I found a relatively dim and somewhat large star Cluster (couldn't tell ...
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1 vote
0 answers
60 views

How has the price of an amateur telescope 8-inch, f/8 finished, aluminized mirror varied over the last fifty years?

During a discussion in The Observatory I was remembering that an 8-inch telescope mirror, polished and aluminized, cost something like \$100 to \$200 US in the mid 1970's. Just now I've seen an add in ...
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2 votes
1 answer
184 views

How does eyepiece exit pupil diameter affect image clarity and viewing experience?

This answer to Not Able to View Objects with Barlow Lens includes a calculation of exit pupil diameter as a way to address the limits of useful magnification when observing planets with a small ...
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  • 31.6k
1 vote
2 answers
132 views

I'm considering buying a telescope, which type should I choose?

I am considering buying a telescope for amateur viewing. I am planning to view the stars from my backyard, which is in an area with reasonable light pollution (most of Orion's primary stars are ...
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9 votes
1 answer
2k views

Can you tell me which star this is?

Back-story: My daughter, age 2, looked up in the Ohio sky (we have very poor star-viewing compared to Arizona) and pointed at a light. She said "what is that". I said "that is a star, ...
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3 votes
2 answers
161 views

Satellite?? Star?? I am puzzled over what I just saw

I was just outside between 6:10 - 6:12 a.m. this morning (Sep.11/2021) and between this time saw the strangest anomaly in the sky. It was still completely dark outside, the stars were extremely clear ...
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4 votes
3 answers
94 views

Fixed star-like light appears for a second or two - is there a way to find out what it was?

I saw what I can only describe as a fixed point of light, as bright as a shooting star, near Alpheratz for a second or two before disappearing. I am positive it wasn't a satellite nor a plane. There ...
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  • 143
1 vote
1 answer
101 views

Choosing an eyepiece for planet viewing

I have a Celestron Astromaster 130EQ which came with a 10mm and 20mm lens. I can not see mars, Jupiter, or Saturn as expected, I only see white dots. What lens should I buy to view these planets.
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4 votes
0 answers
96 views

Comparing Observing Techniques to Quantify the Effects of Starlink Satellites on Astronomical Observations

To take pictures of satellites I think I could use these methods listed below (are there more?) Method 1 The satellites are tracked and their positions predicted. By utilising software tools and code ...
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0 votes
1 answer
211 views

What is the bright star that never seems to move and sometimes the only star in sky?

I have very little astronomy background; so apologies in advance with elementary terminology with this question. I am located in Northeast Pennsylvania and no matter what time of night 7pm, 1am, 5am ...
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14 votes
3 answers
3k views

Why are fewer stars seen next to the horizon?

I was in the desert the other day, in an area that was free of light pollution. While it was easy to see the stars above us, I noticed that near the horizon, even when there is no distance light, we ...
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  • 375
4 votes
1 answer
68 views

How much time do I have left to easily spot the recently brightened Recurrent Nova RS Ophiuchi with binoculars and mild light pollution?

Excellent answers to Binocular-friendly star map to find the Recurrent Nova RS Ophiuchi? provide some helpful maps for circa 8° FOV binoculars, but due to spatial and potential meteorological ...
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