Astronomy - Stargazing General Thread

#1

Watch hot ‘stars’ shower … again. It’s Perseid meteor showtime

Prettier than normal with a little help from friendly gas giant.

The Perseid meteor shower is expected to peak - with up to 200 meteors an hour - during late night Thursday and early morning Friday (August 11 - 12).

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Take the time to look up…

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#2

This is me. At least when it comes to the sky.

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#3

As of right now, the weather for overnight Thursday is iffy. If I knew it was going to be nice, I’d take Friday off, and stay out late Thursday night.

I have an observatory tour Friday night, at least, so I’ll almost certainly get a chance to check it out then, as it starts to wane.

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#4

Damn, completely overcast here. SO not this year either…

#5

Yeah me too on the side of a Welsh Valley.

#6

They’re forecasting fog here tonight. It’s not looking good :frowning:

#7

Yep, cloudy then fog forecast for my skies.

#8

It’s the middle of monsoon here, soo…

#9

There is literally a 2000km long rain cloud passing overhead tonight. And tomorrow. And Sunday…

Sigh.

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#10

Perseid Meteors ‘Rain’ Over California | Time-Lapse Video

Perseid meteor streaks along the Summer Milky Way

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#11

Mars, Saturn and Antares to Line Up in Night Sky This Week: How to See It

Saturn, Mars and the red star Antares will appear in a line the nights of Aug. 23 and Aug. 24, 2016.
Credit: Sky & Telescope diagram

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#12

Photographer Captures Rare Blue Aurora Shimmering Over Lake Superior

Astrophotographer Shawn Malone captured this image of rare blue northern lights over Lake Superior in Marquette, Michigan on Mar. 17, 2015.
Credit: Shawn Malone

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#13

Why Did It Take So Long to Find Proxima b? - space.com

Composite image showing a diagram of the stars Proxima Centauri, Alpha Centauri A and Alpha Centauri B with the Milky Way and ESO’s 3.6-meter telescope at La Silla Observatory in Chile.

Credit: ESO/Pale Red Dot

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#14

Huge fan of astronomy, in fact I am debating on purchasing my first adult telescope. Been shopping for a while, but came to settle on this:

I’ve been a huge fan of watching and studying the aurora borealis. Planning on going to Iceland, Finland, or Alaska this coming winter to see them.

This is one of the more powerful visuals of the aurora borealis, when an X-class solar flare and coronal mass ejection hit our atmosphere.

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#15

I highly recommend a dobsonian as your first telescope, but suggest getting a smaller one for your first telescope. The first reason for this is the cost. I understand you may love it now, but a year from now your fire may not be burning so hot to look at the stars. You can buy a nice 8" for 400 or 500 and while there is a difference, it’s not that huge. My advice is to buy an 8", save the 1500$ and spend it on a dslr and practice astrophotography at the same time as practicing astronomy. Although in that case, a dobsonian may not be the best choice of telescope.

For reference, here are 2 seperate pictures of the moon. One from an 8" dobsonian, the other from a 14" autotracking scope(can’t remember which brand)

Honestly thought we had more of the 14" but it’s been 3 years and I can’t find more…

14"

and an album from the 8"

Please note that the difference in magnification is more from the lens used, rather than the difference in diameters. The difference in diameter would only give you more resolution so with the more magnification it will be less blurry.

Also note that the shit quality is due to the use of the stock raspberry pi webcam from 3 years ago. We were experimenting with using it for astrophotography.

Edit: Looking at our poster we definitely had more from the 14" but they aren’t easily accessible for me.

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#16

That’s an excellent recommendation and I will consider it! A lot of the reason I was gunning for that telescope in particular was that it’s collapsible, meaning I can take it with me on camping trips, out in the Joshua Tree desert, or out in the cliffs that are not on the deck for the star gazing. I go star gazing often and in many different places so having something I can pack in my car and just go sounds great. Bringing it with me to Alaska would be one of those things.

I’m also into the magnification, I figured that the 12" space would be great for more than just star gazing and astrophotography. I guess I just figured if I bothered to purchase one with how much I do it, I wanted the best.

Do you have any suggestions that would be like what you described, but travel friendly?

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#17

I have to be brief because I’m leaving soon. Dobsonians are great because they are easy to use, easy to learn with, and easy to setup. They pack up nicely but are a bit bulky(if you don’t get one of those expandable ones which I didn’t know existed). I honestly don’t have much experience outside of dobsonians, so I shouldn’t comment. I just know that dobsonians are considered the best beginner telescope due to their simplicity of use and low cost. In short, you don’t buy a large dobsonian because you have money to spend. You’re better off buying a smaller automated telescope in my opinion. Once you have a tracking scope you can begin to take long exposures more than a few seconds. All it takes is 5 seconds or so and you’ll see the beginning of the star trails with a manual mount.

I guess it’s really up to what your endgoals are. Do you want to take beautiful pictures? Or are you just trying to get the most out of a viewing session with others. There are probably other considerations that aren’t coming to mind at the moment and I bet @Kichae has better advice than me.

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#18

The size of the primary mirror won’t have any effect on magnification. That’s a function of focal length and your eye pieces. A larger mirror makes seeing fainter objects easier.

Dobsonians have never been my favourite telescopes. I’ve always personally found them a bit unwieldy, but I think I’m in the minority. I’d probably get a deep sky telescope myself. Either way, I wouldn’t pay for a go-to telescope right out of the gate. The bulk of the expense of the one you’re looking at is in the go-to functionality. You can probably get a collapsing Dob without the motorized base for a fraction of the cost.

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#19

Look up!

Black Moon 2016: What It Is (and Why You Can’t See It) - space.com

September 2016 is host to a somewhat unusual lunar event: a second new moon in a single month, an event some people call a “Black Moon.”

While a full moon refers to the moment when the moon’s Earth-facing side is fully illuminated by sunlight, a new moon refers to the moment when the moon’s Earth-facing side is fully in shadow. (Unfortunately, that means the Black Moon will be more or less invisible, even if the moon is high in the sky).

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#21

China’s colossal radio telescope begins testing - BBC

China’s radio telescope measures 500m across

Image: NATIONAL ASTRONOMICAL OBSERVATORIES/ CAS

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