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Questions tagged [amateur-observing]

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

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5
votes
1answer
133 views

What is the minimum meteor size to see a falling star?

When a meteor is going through our atmosphere you will see a light beam made by the gas the meteor compressed. But what is the minimum size to see a 'falling star'? Is a 1 mm3 meteor visible?
3
votes
1answer
239 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
120 views

Filters for solar eclipse and solar feature viewing

I have a Vixen ED100SF ED refracting telescope and 10x50 6.5 Bushnell Legend Porro Prism binoculars and would like to outfit both with filters for solar eclipse viewing. I gather the basic setup ...
0
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1answer
137 views

Identifying Celestial Bodies vs Drones

A neighbor called me to ask about drones flying around. I managed to take several pictures and they don't look like any star, planet or other celestial body I have ever seen, but they seem too steady ...
2
votes
1answer
236 views

How to know when the moon is visible on a particular night?

I am looking for beginners information on how I can know when the Moon is going to be visible on a particular night ? Google-fu says to look for moonrise information about my city from websites such ...
0
votes
1answer
111 views

Direction of Meteors [duplicate]

Do meteors always streak in the same direction? While I know it's not likely to be exactly the same direction, but generally speaking. Would one say meteors always travel, for example, east to west?
0
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1answer
131 views

What constellation would the Sun be in from an exoplanet?

Where would it be in the sky from Proxima B (planet near Proxima Centauri) for example?
2
votes
1answer
60 views

Auroras: is there any bump in frequency at certain times of night, or times of year?

I'm trying to find out if there is a range of times at night, and/or days during the year, in which the probability of seeing an aurora is higher than average. The aurora section of the British ...
8
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
206 views

What would we see if all stars disappeared simultaneously?

If all the stars disappeared simultaneously (from the earth's reference frame), how long would it take for the night sky to go completely dark to our unaided eyes? Would we still be able to see ...
2
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0answers
60 views

Amateur astronomy plan for GCSE students

I'm designing an amateur astronomy observational plan for GCSE Astronomy students here in the UK. I would like some advise to the suitability of what I have selected as the content. For the beginner ...
5
votes
1answer
162 views

Why are the stars in my image so green (false color image, HSO palette)?

This is my first try in false color imaging. The target was IC5070 - the pelican nebula. I took around 3 hours of data (around 1h for Ha, SII and OIII). Then after stacking did an LRGB combination in ...
1
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4answers
1k views

Can satellites travel in clusters?

Last night we saw a large cluster of what looked like exceptionally bright stars that moved, as a group, across the night sky in Lancaster, PA. It was about 9:15 pm, and they moved roughly from SW to ...
1
vote
1answer
300 views

What solar features would I see at 10x magnification?

I have a pair of binoculars with 10x magnification, 50mm objective diameter, and 6.5 degree (real) angular field of view. I'm looking into buying solar filters for it (something like these) so I can ...
5
votes
3answers
13k views

Can you still see Polaris even if you are in the south pole?

I haven't been to south pole but can the Polaris still be viewed if the viewer is in the south pole? Or this question makes no sense at all?
4
votes
1answer
7k views

Which lens and magnification is best to see planets?

I just bought a Celestron Travel Scope 70 and it comes with a 20mm and a 10mm eyepiece. I get a good view of the Moon but I am not able to see Jupiter, Saturn or Mars as expected. I read about the ...
1
vote
1answer
48 views

Eyepiece projection photography [closed]

Nothing is showing up in the viewfinder of camera when I try to do eyepiece projection photography.could I have something set up wrong?
1
vote
1answer
103 views

What kinds of stars would it be possible to observe in M31 with a small amateur telescope?

I was wondering what kinds of stars would be visible in M31 and other nearby galaxies using a moderate (~8") telescope and a CCD camera. This would be a limiting magnitude of around 17. I have heard ...
2
votes
1answer
90 views

Does the summit of a small mountain offer better seeing?

I have a small amateur telescope, and would like to defeat the atmospheric seeing conditions as much as is possible. Fortuitously, I happen to live fairly close to this lovely patch of bare elevated ...
2
votes
2answers
217 views

Was the radiant of the Perseid meteor shower ever near Vega thousands of years ago?

The ancient Chinese story of the Weaver Girl (Altair) and the Cowherd (Vega) tell of starcrossed lovers who are only allowed to meet once a year on the 7th day of the 7th (Chinese) lunar month, ...
9
votes
7answers
6k views

How do I prevent or reduce shake when observing with binoculars?

I have some 16 x 50 binoculars that my parents bought me years ago. Recently I have tried to do some basic lunar and planetary observations with them but I am seriously struggling with shaking. This ...
0
votes
1answer
114 views

Does weight influence Earth's spin? [closed]

If put enough weight on a particular point on Earth's surface disturbing the balance between hemispheres, is it possible that the Earth's spin could change like an unbalanced spinning top?
0
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1answer
129 views

When was the nearest star discovered? [closed]

When historically did we realize that the Sun is a star, like all the others? An answer was posted, then the question was put on hold. I would like to answer: If indeed someone asserted that the Sun ...
0
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3answers
2k views

What is the first recorded reference to the Moon being a satellite of the Earth?

I saw a list recently of the moons of the various planets and the discoverer(s) and date of discovery. Earth's Moon was listed as Unknown. I know you don't 'discover' a huge disc in the sky. But ...
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? ...
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?
2
votes
1answer
585 views

Pinhole projector for the Transit of Mercury

Very quick and simple one today. What would be the best/optimal pinhole size for a pinhole projector to observe the transit of Mercury on May 9th? I want to get the optimum between resolution and ...
0
votes
1answer
66 views

A good place to start? [duplicate]

I am a high school student (going into 11th grade next year), who will be taking an introduction to astronomy and astrophysics as part of my core curriculum. As such, I would like to get a head start ...
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
1k views

Can you see city lights on the Moon from Earth?

This is the opposite of another question. That question is about whether you could see cities on Earth if you were standing on the Moon. Let's there are cities on the Moon and you're standing on the ...
1
vote
1answer
150 views

Jupiter appearing odd through a 6" reflector

Recently I have been trying to get a good look at Jupiter through my 6" Orion reflector, but the image seems to always come out as an oblong white streak. I've tried changing the lenses I'm using, but ...
1
vote
2answers
379 views

What is the fifth moon-like object I saw around jupiter through my telescope?

Tonight while observing Jupiter I was able to see a five (what looked like) moons. I have observed Jupiter often before and only been able to make out the four galilean moons. It's my understanding ...
1
vote
2answers
3k views

How can apparent magnitude be negative?

What is the reason for that scale? Is it because otherwise defining an maximum would be too hard(?). Why do objects that are (apparently) brighter get assigned a smaller number (and down to negative)?
0
votes
1answer
119 views

Can you see the stars when it is trickling?

I am writing a book with the following scene in one chapter: It is trickling and my protagonists are outside looking into the night sky, looking to the stars. Reviewing the scene I am wondering: Is ...
33
votes
3answers
7k views

Did I see another planet?

A couple days ago, I zoomed in with my 30x optical zoom camera, and after some exposure adjustments, a bright star in the night sky turned into this: Are those other planets or other stars? Or is ...
2
votes
2answers
827 views

Why aren't planet orbits circular? [duplicate]

Please forgive the simplicity of my question. I have only had basic science courses. Common sense seems to indicate that planetary orbits should be very close to circular, any perturbations having ...
4
votes
2answers
763 views

Which of Jupiter's moons did I most likely see?

I was gazing through my binoculars at Jupiter last night and noticed 3 (maybe 4) tiny dots in line with it. A first I thought they might have been background stars but quickly realised their colour ...
0
votes
1answer
667 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

Dish antenna as parabolic mirror for OPTICAL telescope?

Can I use a chrome painted dish TV antenna as a parabolic reflector for my optical telescope? Given that glass mirrors are quite expensive, I am thinking of using a Dish TV antenna and coating its ...
2
votes
2answers
228 views

How useful are filters for spotting nebulae?

Recently I've been trying to spot a couple of nebulae, IC59 and IC1318. The skies at the site are modestly dark (4.5 on the Bortle scale), I'm using an 8" scope, and I've slowly scanned around the ...
0
votes
1answer
96 views

SDSS. Google Sky and DeCaLs

(1) Please go through following image Possible Super Red Giant? However sdss shows it as galaxy! Am I missing something. (2) Google Sky shows object in latitude and logitude format like this. Is ...
3
votes
2answers
8k views

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a 2-inch eyepiece versus a 1.25-inch eyepiece?

I'm considering picking up some new eyepieces for my telescope and am interested in comparing 2-inch and 1.25-inch eyepieces. Are there any disadvantages to 2-inch eyepieces? Are 2-inch eyepieces only ...
3
votes
2answers
258 views

What Are Some Good Southern Hemisphere 7x50 Binocular Targets?

I've been interested in astronomy for a while but only recently purchased my first set of binoculars (7x50). I've been learning various constellations as well as spotting some other objects with the ...
23
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?
9
votes
3answers
745 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
2answers
519 views

How many stars are in the constellation Canis Minor?

I've read Wikipedia and found a list of stars in Canis Minor, and counted the number of stars in the list. I came up with 56 stars, a surprising number. I did some more research and found that Canis ...
4
votes
1answer
561 views

What is an “arc” spectrum ?

I sometimes hear about astronomers using an arc spectrum to calibrate observations. For example a "He-Ar arc spectrum". What is an "arc" in this context? I assume it's nothing got to do with angles (...
6
votes
1answer
331 views

How were the orbits of planets first mapped out?

I'd like to know how the orbits of planets were first 'mapped out' and to understand the maths behind it. e.g. How do we know what position in space a planet will be at certain time so that spacecraft ...
5
votes
1answer
158 views

Diameter of Astronomical Object Using Magnification

I took a picture of Jupiter through my telescope, using an iPhone. I know the magnification of the telescope lens I used, and can Google to get the magnification of the iPhone lens (the magnification ...
2
votes
3answers
102 views

Orion Constellation request

This isn't a question so much as a request. I'm looking for an image of the Orion constalletion I could use, but I would like to have a very high resolution HD image, whereby a lot of the deep sky ...