Questions tagged [amateur-observing]

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

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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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3answers
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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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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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982 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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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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How do published papers in Astronomy end up in my google news feed? What determines which ones get there?

CNN's Element found in our teeth detected for the first time in galaxy 12 billion light-years away has a catchy title, reminiscent of the "we are star-stuff" concept often attributed to Carl ...
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1answer
85 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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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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1answer
85 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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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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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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109 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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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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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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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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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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185 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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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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1answer
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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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329 views

Brightest Stars (by its Apparent Magnitude) List beyond 300

I've been observing the stars and I have found some lists on internet that sort them by its apparent magnitude (m), so you end up with lists of brightest-stars like this one: https://www.star-facts....
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1answer
44 views

Nightsky observation : a light/star suddenly disappeared, why?

For starter, I'm a beginner/noob in astronomy so it might be an obvious answer but I keep asking it to myself I was watching the sky in the night looking for shooting stars, there was plenty of them, ...
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3answers
68 views

Binocular-friendly star map to find the Recurrent Nova RS Ophiuchi?

I'd like to find or generate a map that will be useful for someone with an 8° FOV pair of binoculars to locate the Recurrent Nova RS Ophiuchi. As linked in The Observatory Science alert's Epic Nova ...
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1answer
79 views

Tracking deep sky objects

I have a Celestron Astromaster 130Eq. I saw all the planets in our solar system and quite satisfied. Now I am in the hunt for DSOs, but living in a city is a disaster for tracking some good-for-...
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Why would someone choose a lower resolution grating over a higher one when performing spectroscopy?

The higher spectral resolution grating would reduce the spectral range. Besides that, would a higher resolution grating reduce the signal per pixel? I thought I heard someone mentioned this to me a ...
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1answer
52 views

Schmidt corrector plate on a Newtonian = Schmidt Cassegrain?

Went on with a wide range of telescopes and its mechanics. To my understanding, the only change in the optical function in Schmidt Cassegrain telescope is a Schmidt's corrector plate in front of an ...
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1answer
160 views

Not getting quality images in telescope

New to astronomy, I have a Newtonian telescope (Celestron 130 eq) with 5.2 inch (~132 mm) aperture with 650 mm focal length, Spherical mirror. And having 4mm, 10mm, 12.5mm, 20mm,20mm (erecting ...
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1answer
111 views

Which star has the faintest absolute magnitude (largest magnitude) yet is still visible with the naked eye from Earth (either hemisphere)?

I am thinking about the Bright Star Catalogue and how it is not a good representation of a typical population of stars. The Bright Star Catalogue includes all the visible stars from Earth when viewing ...
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4answers
5k views

What it the outer part of the sun, that we see with our eyes, called?

When we look at the sun with our eyes it seems much larger than it actually is. When we use a solar filter we are seeing what the sun actually is. So, what is the name of the thing the solar filter is ...
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1answer
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Would people on opposite sides of the earth see different details of the moon, if so are there actual photos demonstrating this?

I am aware of phases and the fact that opposite sides will see the moon flipped relative to the other but what I’m asking specifically is would the almost 8000 mile difference between the two ...
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1answer
85 views

Is there a complete guide on how to use telescopes?

tl;dr As said by @uhoh in the comments, is there A Big Book of Telescopes? i.e: Is there some kind of media that gives a complete treatment to telescopes? I am relatively new to Astronomy.SE. I wanted ...
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What is a "rare earthgrazer" and why might I see one during the Perseids "earlier in the night" moving slow, across the horizon?

I clicked on a Yahoo News link How to watch the Perseids — the best meteor shower of the year and saw the following sentence: The meteors are very fast and bright, regularly leaving long tails of ...
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What can I see with different apertures?

I'm looking to buy a telescope, and every mainstream website says that aperture is the most important factor, and buy the largest telescope your budget can afford. However, a website I found offering ...
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1answer
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How common are telescopes with the finder scope on the right side?

Are there telescopes where the finder scope is mounted on the (upper) right of the body? Are they common? If not, are there any ways around this (e.g. can I mount a lightweight telescope "...
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1answer
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Are these Jupiter's moons?

Sorry for the huge picture), anyway, as you can see, there are 2 specks of light on either side of the upper planet which is likely Jupiter as the lower one is clearly Saturn-shaped. I was going ...
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1answer
657 views

Will Asteroid (2021 LD6) be visible to the naked eye?

There's a lot of hoopla online about asteroid 2021 LD6's close approach to Earth. Will be close enough and large enough to be seen with the naked eye? PS: More on the object: MPC or JPL
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1answer
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Meade 4000 'LP' designation

I have a Meade 4000 super Plossl 26mm eyepiece in front of me with an 'LP' mark on it. I am a fan of the Meade 4000 series, but this is the first time I see this variant. It looks like it stands for '...
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2answers
62 views

How do you determine whether a certain object can be detected by an observatory based on coordinates?

If I am given the latitude and longitude of an observatory or observation point, how can I determine whether a given object, based on its equatorial coordinates, is observable from that observatory?
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112 views

How can I find the distance of the tower while standing at my roof?

Whenever someone starts telling about finding distances in astronomy, it all starts with a parallax. The example they give is straightening your hand and see how your thumb changes its location while ...
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1answer
81 views

RSS feed for notable astronomical phenomena?

For a long time I have been searching for a weekly RSS feed similar to the German-speaking astronews.com which features a few astronomical phenomena one could observe with amateur equipment, and a few ...
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1answer
91 views

Why could I so easily see and photograph such a bright totally eclipsed Moon from a bright city road? (May 26, 2021 total lunar eclipse)

Due to scheduling and geometry I could only snap last night's lunar eclipse with an older model cell phone on a pedestrian overpass of a brightly lit city street, but surprisingly the Moon was quite ...
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1answer
80 views

Fusing and buring of Helium core/shell

In the book "Horizons_ exploring the universe-Cengage learning (2018)", p196, it states that The nuclear reactions in a main-sequence star’s core fuse hydrogen to produce helium. Because ...
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I saw a blinking light source, can someone explain it? [duplicate]

I was out watching the Perseids in the AM hours of August 11, 2018 from central Hungary. I brought my binoculars just in case I want to do regular stargazing. There was a blinking light directly ...
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4answers
3k views

Can you see something active in the sky apart from satellites? Can there be amateur time-domain astronomy?

What I mean is an event unfolding that is viewable by naked eye or telescopes, and doesn't take comparing days of footage to see moving pixels. Apart from satellites, is there something that moves or ...
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1answer
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I'm 8 hours from Greenwich, why is my sidereal time 10 minutes different from theirs?

In order to write and run the script in this answer I typed "Greenwich sidereal time right now?" into google (or at least tried to) and got two numbers. Greenwich sidereal time was 09:51:07 ...
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1answer
65 views

Where should I look at if I had a 25m parabolic radio reflector?

I am most interested in (exo)planets with atmospheres, see e.g. my question Requirements to resolve position of Jovian Whistlers up to magnitude of Red Spot with amateur radio equipment? So if I had ...
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1answer
79 views

How to reduce magnification and increase FOV of a camera attached to a telescope?

I am a beginner in astronomy. I have a Maksutov telescope (90mm/1250mm). Generally I do observation with a 25mm wide angle eyepiece, but sometimes due to light pollution I can't see many stars. So I ...
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2answers
1k views

Spotting the booster rocket of the Chinese space station?

SpaceWeather.com's newsletter states Sky watchers are reporting two new objects in the night sky: China's new space station and an out-of-control booster rocket that helped launch it. The tumbling ...
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2answers
2k views

What is that donut-shaped object I see in my telescope? [duplicate]

I was looking through my telescope for the first time and came across this weird star. I think its a celestial donut but im not sure.
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5answers
239 views

If our galaxy is mostly empty space then why does it look so solid?

This question has probably been asked quite a few times, but I'm having trouble finding anything due to the fact that this question is very specific in nature. So I'm asking again. We know that outer ...
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1answer
649 views

Is it possible to observe strong gravitational lensing with amateur telescopes?

Strong gravitational lens systems like the Cosmic Horseshoe have been imaged by scientific space telescopes, but have any amateur astronomers accomplished this? Or are amateur/small ground based ...

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