Questions tagged [amateur-observing]

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

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2answers
3k views

What's that very bright star (south-oriented, appearing at 5 p.m.)?

From my home I can see a very bright star (or a planet ?), appearing before 5pm local time, when I look toward South. It's really much more brighter than any other star, it's very often the only one ...
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3answers
93 views

Could space time curve from the vantage point of earth and out into the universe, and would d = 1 / P in that case give false estimates?

The seventeenth century saw a revolution in astronomy. The invention of the telescope and the acknowledgement of the heliocentric system triggered a race amongst astronomers to measure the parallax of ...
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1answer
5k views

Is it possible to tell the time of day by shadows on the photo

I have a photo where objects and their shadows (e.g. trees, people) are visible, the Sun is not visible directly, but it is clearly neither dusk nor dawn. Let's assume that coordinates of this place ...
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1answer
71 views

Does the ratio of daylight change from year to year?

Over a year, the ratio of daylight changes, e.g. in Montreal there is more daylight in the summer than in the winter. I want to know if, given a bad data sample, e.g. five years, one might notice a ...
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1answer
204 views

Buying a telescope for the first time. How important is the focal ratio and is a computerised telescope worth it?

I'm wanting to purchase a telescope for the first time. I've narrowed it down to 2 options based on what I've discovered from researching and my price range. I mainly want do planetary observations ...
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0answers
58 views

Visible Light Ground-Based Solar Observatory Data Archives?

I'm mainly searching for the best(or good/significant/important) solar data archives via ground-based telescopes. If I'm not being very straightforward... Say if I wanted high quality/resolution ...
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1answer
139 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?
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1answer
310 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 ...
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2answers
121 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 ...
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1answer
148 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 ...
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1answer
312 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 ...
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1answer
117 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?
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147 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?
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1answer
61 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 ...
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2answers
6k 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 ...
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3answers
303 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 ...
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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 ...
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1answer
179 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 ...
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4answers
3k 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 ...
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1answer
321 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 ...
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3answers
16k 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?
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1answer
13k 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 ...
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1answer
50 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?
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1answer
110 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 ...
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1answer
91 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 ...
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2answers
224 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, ...
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7answers
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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 ...
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1answer
118 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?
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1answer
132 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 ...
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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 ...
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3answers
214 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? ...
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1answer
242 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?
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1answer
602 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 ...
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1answer
72 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 ...
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1answer
332 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 ...
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1answer
2k 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 ...
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1answer
158 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 ...
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2answers
389 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 ...
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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)?
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1answer
130 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 ...
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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 ...
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2answers
975 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 ...
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2answers
790 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 ...
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1answer
814 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 ...
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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 ...
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2answers
252 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 ...
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1answer
103 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 ...
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2answers
12k 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 ...
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2answers
280 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 ...
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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?

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