Questions tagged [amateur-observing]

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

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
30
votes
2answers
3k views

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?
24
votes
2answers
134k views

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. ...
25
votes
4answers
3k views

Are there any double stars that I can actually see orbit each other?

If I had a nice amateur telescopeā€ , are there any multiple star systems that I could observe over a few years or a few decades and actually see the movement of one or both of them over time? My short ...
15
votes
2answers
621 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
64 views

Binocular highlights from Tasmania next few weeks?

My friends are visiting southern Australia and Tasmania for the next few weeks. I am lobbying them to bring my Nikon 8x42 binoculars so they can appreciate the Milky Way and possibly see a few other ...
3
votes
2answers
14k views

why does venus flicker?

I was watching Venus with the naked eye yesterday at about 7 pm and I noticed that it was flickering, almost like a star. I have always learned that planets don't flicker to the naked eye, only stars ...
3
votes
1answer
358 views

Why don't we use amateur astronomers' telescopes to create a huge interferometer?

Some telescopes in space have been proposed to function as an interferometer. Being placed several hundreds or thousands of kilometers apart they could actual image exoplanets directly. To my ...
10
votes
1answer
2k views

Apparent size of M31

I am trying to understand something I read on wikipedia about M31. Wikipedia says that M31 appears more than six times as wide as the full Moon. But I remember that when I watched it naked eye it ...
6
votes
1answer
250 views

Does this amateur observation hold a record even including robotic searches for supernovae?

The new paper in Nature A surge of light at the birth of a supernova (doi:10.1038/nature25151) describes the fortuitous capture of a supernova "Shock Breakout" - the earliest rise in brightness of a ...
6
votes
1answer
334 views

Watching the Mercury transit with improvised devices

I have learned that it is not possible to watch the upcoming Mercury transit with the plain eye (using special filter glasses). Is it possible to watch the transit with improvised devices (like a ...
5
votes
1answer
248 views

How big will Apophis appear?

How big will Apophis appear in the sky at its closest point of approach in 2029? Will it compare to the moon? How long will it linger as it passes?
4
votes
3answers
233 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
69 views

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 ...
3
votes
0answers
47 views

Unknown moving light in sky [duplicate]

On July 13, 2018, while camping in Southwest Oregon, a bright light appeared in the sky at sunset. It was much brighter than Jupiter, also visible. It was moving slowly, west to east. I estimate it ...
2
votes
1answer
852 views

How to calculate B-V colour index value percentage difference

I need to calculate a percentage difference of a B-V colour index between its estimated and actual value. So I tried doing this by difference between values/actual value x 100. However as B-V values ...
18
votes
4answers
6k views

Jupiter FM - What are practical and inexpensive ways for the amateur detection of signals from Jupiter, especially of the transit of her moons?

What modifications to a standard AM/FM or shortwave radio are needed in order to be able to detect radio-wave signals emitted from Jupiter? Would it be possible to detect the transit of the major ...
23
votes
4answers
3k views

How would the night sky look from inside a globular cluster?

When the weather is clear, we can look at the stars. And we normally would see several thousands of them, they all being more than a $\textrm{pc}$ away from us. Now, there are globular clusters, ...
34
votes
2answers
1k views

How do I calculate the inclination of an object with an amateur telescope?

Suppose I would like to calculate the inclination of a satellite from the ecliptic. Would it be possible to do this with an amateur telescope? How would I go about doing so? Note: A good answer ...
25
votes
4answers
7k views

What would happen if someone had a telescope and watched Betelgeuse when it goes supernova?

Would that person go blind? Neutrino detectors and the abundance of Neutrinos would detect the upcoming visible show about 3 hours before any visible signs, so there would be time to point certain ...
21
votes
1answer
483 views

I live in an area with a lot of light pollution, how can I view the stars without building an observatory?

I live in an urban area with a lot of light pollution and very little garden space. On a clear night I can see most of the sky and the brighter stars are visible. I can't build an observatory - I don'...
17
votes
1answer
241 views

How can an amateur astronomer verify the position of near Earth objects?

Sometimes, hobby-astronomers use rather professional means to observe the big voids of space. Every now and then (think in months, not days) even I can locate an NEO (near Earth object). Now, I'm ...
7
votes
1answer
611 views

What kind of telescope do I need to see most of the Jupiter's moons?

I have a simple Newtonian reflector telescope. Using it, I am able to see the Galilean moons of Jupiter. However, Jupiter has much more moons than that (Wikipedia says 67 have been discovered this far)...
3
votes
1answer
535 views

Please Guide me to buy my first Telescope [duplicate]

I am a beginner and I've planned to buy a telescope(Newtonian reflector)for viewing planets and deep sky objects. As far as I know the most important factor to get a brighter view is that the ...
14
votes
2answers
3k views

Is the Milky Way Visible from Nebraska?

Is the Milky Way Visible from Nebraska? If so, where is the best place to view it, and also what would be the best time of night to see it? I know this is probably a very novice question, just ...
6
votes
1answer
471 views

Stars in the sky

Are the stars we can see with the naked eye in the night sky only from our Milky Way galaxy or can we see stars from Andromeda? I am aware we can see other celestial objects like nebulas and the ...
6
votes
2answers
621 views

Amateur radioastronomy: dish suggestions

What kind of amateur radioastronomy can any interested citized do with: a) A 2 m dish antenna. b) A 2,5 m antenna. c) A 3 m antenna. d) A 5 m antenna. e) A >5 m <10 m antenna (likely I can not ...
6
votes
1answer
5k views

How to measure the altitude and azimuth of a star?

Given that the star is crossing the local meridian line in a certain location, I've tried calculating the altitude of a star by finding the difference between the declination of the star and the ...
5
votes
1answer
276 views

How bright is the Crab Pulsar's 30 Hz modulation in visible light? What color is it?

This answer to Has great eyesight been necessary for astronomers? mentions Astronomer Jocelyn Bell Burnell's recounting of a likely first visual observation of a pulsar. This can be found for example ...
5
votes
3answers
216 views

Pinhole Projector: Can I use a specific solar optical eye piece to focus the Transit of Mercury?

The title pretty much explains this one. Can I use a specific solar optical eye piece, or other optical device, in conjunction with the pinhole projector method to focus the Transit of Mercury? ...
3
votes
2answers
142 views

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 ...
3
votes
2answers
7k views

How to calculate Longitude from Right Ascension?

Considering that a star of certain declination is crossing the local meridian at the observer's zenith at an unknown location on the earth. Here, the declination of the star is equal to the observer's ...
3
votes
0answers
161 views

Viewing “Diamond Fuji”

Diamond Fuji is a phenomenon in which the (typically) setting sun is positioned directly atop Mt Fuji. Some relatively detailed predictions for viewing times at a nearby park are available here. I ...
3
votes
2answers
787 views

Why are distant galaxies not visible in the observable Universe?

Assuming that the Universe is and has been expanding ever since its creation (Big Bang theory), the galaxies that are now at the 'edge' (not visible theoretically) must have been (at some point in ...
2
votes
2answers
129 views

Options for first time astrophotography w/ 80/900 refractor?

Recently I bought a telescope and I started to take pictures of my observations. The most basic solution, I'm using a smartphone adapter and my Xiaomi Mi 6 camera to do that but the images (except for ...
11
votes
3answers
525 views

Perceiving movement of stars

Are there any stars visible to the naked eye whose position, over a normal human lifetime, can be seen to have changed (relative to other stars in the vicinity)?
10
votes
3answers
904 views

Should this photo of the sun's surface actually be white?

If I'm told correctly (eg. What Color is the Sun?) that the sun is actually white, should the photo on that page actually be white too? Is it just doctored to meet peoples expectations?: Likewise for ...
9
votes
3answers
8k views

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 ...
7
votes
3answers
904 views

Calculate the shadow on earth of a large orbital disk

How to calculate the shadow on earth of a large orbital disk (low orbit)?
5
votes
1answer
702 views

How to see Saturn's rings through a pair of binoculars?

I have a pair of 15x70 binoculars. I would not say what manufacturer to avoid being the subject of 'hold'. The current angular diameter is 15.5 arcseconds. I am wondering if that condition is enough ...
3
votes
1answer
74 views

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 ...
3
votes
3answers
58 views

Can we see asteroid 1998 OR2 with unaided eye?

Will I be able to see the asteroid 1998 OR2 with the naked eye on April 29? If so, where can I find more information on when and where I'll be able to see it?
3
votes
1answer
69 views

Moon's path as seen from Earth

As observed from the surface of Earth: Will the moon ever repeat the same path (trajectory)? If yes, what is the period of repetition? And also will the moon cover the night sky with its path ...
3
votes
1answer
238 views

What would this moving point of light be?

Tonight (10:00 PM EST Middlesex County, Mass.) when looking at a mostly clear sky I observed what I at first believed was a meteor. This point of light was moving east to northeast, and that would be ...
2
votes
1answer
53 views

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) ...
2
votes
0answers
180 views

Which Barlow lens should I choose, 2x or 3x?

I recently bought a 6-inch reflector, 750 mm focal length and I want to get a Barlow lens to get better observations. I have 2 eyepieces, one 9mm and one 25mm. My question is: Should I go for a ...
2
votes
1answer
255 views

Why is this telescope so short? How hard is it to make such a fast primary?

The recently discovered object C/2019 Q4 (Borisov) is in the news because it might have an eccentricity greater than one, which means it might be from outside the solar system, though not necessarily. ...
2
votes
2answers
188 views

Am I seeing the constellation Orion?

I am on the west coast of the U.S. and for several weeks I have seen two large, twinkling objects in the eastern sky at night with the naked eye. In between them there are 3 smaller ones that are ...
2
votes
2answers
431 views

How to calculate exact angle to the moon?

I am building some device as a gift for my girlfriend. For this device to work, I need to be able to calculate the angle to which I should look towards (3D angle), in order to see the moon. This ...
2
votes
1answer
292 views

Under what situations can an aperture mask improve the resolution of a small/medium amateur telescope? Is this demonstrable mathematically?

@antlersoft's answer describes some of the challenges to seeing any details in the small disk of Mars in small amateur telescopes. In the case of reflecting telescopes, it mentions the use of either ...
1
vote
1answer
46 views

How is Comet SWAN C/2020 F8 doing? Will it become easily visible by eye?

The New York Times article How to See Comet SWAN in Night Skies says: Astronomers have their fingers crossed that the comet will keep brightening in the coming weeks as it heads north, passing 52 ...