Questions tagged [amateur-observing]

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

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24 views

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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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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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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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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2answers
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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
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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
221 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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1answer
126 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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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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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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118 views

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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60 second exposure photo with phone at eyepiece with an app produced giant ball of light, what next?

Last night I tried my first long exposure photo of M44 (the beehive cluster). While my exposure time was 60 seconds, my photos came out with a giant ball of light in the center of the photo. Could ...
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1answer
37 views

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
84 views

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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550 views

Can someone in a deep well see the stars in daytime?

I am wondering whether it is possible for a guy in a deep well to see the stars in the daytime. Now the background is dark. So might the stars be visible?
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2answers
145 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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2answers
784 views

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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3answers
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Why haven't I seen the Moon?

It has been some time since I've seen the Moon. What are the conditions that might affect whether or not the Moon is visible within a 24-hour period? Please take into consideration any notable ...
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1answer
72 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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How much magnification is needed to see the planets of solar system?

I have a 3inch Newtonian reflector telescope with 300 mm focal length. I can use highest magnification of 75x using a 4mm eyepiece. But in 75x I can't see the details of Jupiter what was expected. ...
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3answers
227 views

Can someone help me to identify this section of the night sky?

I have this image from a treasure hunt, I'm fairily certain it's a real piece of the sky, but I've been unable to identify it, can anyone help?
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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
158 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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2answers
99 views

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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1answer
125 views

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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1answer
174 views

How to chose a comfortable 2 inch eyepiece for a Skywatcher Dobsonian 150 mm f/8 reflector?

Totally newbie here. I got the Skywatcher Dobsonian 6 inch (150 mm) f/8 Newtonian reflector. I had a brief chance to test it yesterday when the skies here in Melbourne cleared a little bit. I was able ...
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23 views

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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2answers
147 views

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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120 views

Where can I still find solar film?

I, like many others, am excited to see the eclipse. I want to view the eclipse through my telescope, however, I don't have any solar safety equipment for solar viewing and I cannot find any online ...
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2answers
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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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0answers
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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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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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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2answers
625 views

How will Starlink affect observational astronomy?

I have recently found that people around the world have been posting observations of a line of moving objects in the sky which is very likely to be a part of Starlink satellite constellation, such ...
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1answer
73 views

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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5answers
1k views

How to find RA 0

I am standing in an open area and can see the sky for a full 360 degrees. I have the coordinates of an object (RA and DEC). Where do I look to find RA 0?
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Where can I find the positions of the planets, stars, moons, artificial satellites, etc. and visualize them?

What resources are available to find the positions of planets, stars, moons, artificial satellites, asteroids, and other heavenly bodies?
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2answers
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When would we detect a tiny meter size natural satellite in a geostationary orbits?

A natural, tiny (meters-size, maybe 10.000kg mass) natural satellite could be trapped in a geostationary orbit. I wondered for quite some time: When and how are we able to detect these satellites? I ...
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1answer
139 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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3answers
263 views

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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4answers
2k views

Is it difficult to see DSO in your eyepiece?

I want to know if bringing the image of a DSO in eyepiece generally represents a problem for beginners in astronomy.
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1answer
90 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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1answer
258 views

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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2answers
3k views

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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0answers
70 views

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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