The Madscientist Observes the Heavens
There are a lot of great astronomy sites on the web. Here are a few:
is a loosely
coupled organization of "amateur" astronomers.
astronomy web site
is a pretty interesting read.
A good planetary introduction
has blogs, blog software, and more.
The Navy has a helpful phases of
The Hubble Telescope web site
Trips I'm planning
It seems lots of folks travel to Montebello
It's likely I'll travel up there for a while. It's cold, so bring
I'll be going to Shingletown
for a great
Trips I've taken
Several of us went up to Fremont Peak
Sept. 20th for an overnight star viewing. Here's
the trip report
I'm just a beginner, but it looks like a lot of fun! I've enjoyed my
evenings up in the mountains looking at the sky. A friend loaned me
an 8" Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope and I'm enjoying looking at the sky
Here are some links for beginners:
page for beginners seems very helpful.
San Jose Astronomical Association's
Observers.org's version of the same
Sky and Telescope
great guide for
Essentially, it's quite easy:
- Warm clothes, hat, scarf, extra jacket, warm socks.
- A red-filtered flash light (the mini-mag is a great size, larger isn't very helpful).
- Patience, your eyes may take a while to adjust to the light.
- Kindness, ask before you peer into someone elses telescope
Come on out and have a great time with us!
Things I've seen and learned so far
I've seen the Great Nebulae in Andromeda (M31), which was cool.
Actually, that's quite visible through binoculars. I highly recommend
them for star gazing. They have a much greater field of view.
To calculate the power of an eye piece, one needs the focal length
of the telescope and the focal length of the eye piece. Then, it's simply:
Telescope Focal Length
---------------------- = Magnification
Eye Piece Focal Length
One can calculate the effective field of fiew of an eye piece. First
you need to know the manufacturer's stated field of view of the eye
piece and you need to have calculated the magnification, above. Then
Manufacturer's Stated Field of View
----------------------------------- = True Field of View
With the true field of view, you now know how much of the sky is
I purchased a 2" eye piece with a 50mm focal length. Given the 2000mm
focal length of the telescope I'm borrowing, I'm expecting the eye
piece has about a 40x magnification. Then, it has a stated field of
view of 45 degrees. So I should get about 45/40 = 1.1 degrees of sky in the
eye piece. That's my hope.
Articles & Books
Nasa's article, "Solar
Flares on Steroids
" is interesting.
I'm currently reading David
's book on basic astronomy, David
Levy's Guide to the Night Sky
. I'm enjoying it.