Questions tagged [amateur-observing]

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

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24
votes
2answers
2k views

Where can I find/visualize planets/stars/moons/etc positions?

What resources are available to find the positions of planets, stars, moons, artifical satellites, asteroids, and other heavenly bodies?
20
votes
2answers
120k views

How much magnification is needed to see 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. ...
24
votes
4answers
3k views

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

If I had a nice amateur telescope†, 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
9k 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
242 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
1k 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
310 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
215 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?
3
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0answers
46 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 ...
15
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4answers
5k 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 ...
22
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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, ...
31
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 ...
6
votes
1answer
557 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)...
2
votes
1answer
501 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
1answer
203 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
2k 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
2answers
432 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
457 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
6k 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
145 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
111 views

When would we detect a tiny meter size natural satellit 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? ...
2
votes
2answers
89 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
747 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
870 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)?
6
votes
1answer
160 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
661 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
199 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
1answer
59 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
208 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
103 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
685 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
167 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
172 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
54 views

Did Edmund Scientific 4¼ inch Newtonians have 90° prisms as secondary mirrors in the 1970's?

I mentioned my old telescope's secondary mirror in this answer (stiffness) but I'm not certain I am remembering correctly. My first telescope was a Edmund Scientific 4¼ inch Newtonian reflector. This ...
1
vote
2answers
162 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
71 views

Does anybody recognize this kind of prism?

Supplemental to this answer to Did Edmund Scientific 4¼ inch Newtonians have 90° prisms as secondary mirrors in the 1970's? I was poking around a bit further and ran across this "1960's Edmund ...
0
votes
2answers
113 views

Knowing the RA/DEC of a star how do I locate a star from ground?

Standing in Melbourne at 4 am in the morning on 14th April 2019, Sirus RA = 06h 45m 08.9s, Dec = -16° 42' 58"..How do I Locate this. Standing facing east I turn myself towards south approx 90 Deg and ...