Electronically-assisted astronomy (EAA) is a relatively new and often misunderstood pastime, one that lies somewhere in the continuum between strictly visual observing and hard-core astrophotography. Simply put, EAA allows you to see what would otherwise not be possible to see using an eyepiece alone. It’s an ideal way to complement purely visual observing, and it’s perfect for stargazers who don’t have the visual acuity or patience to look through an eyepiece [Read more…] about The Basics of Electronically-Assisted AstronomyShare This:
Telescopes, binoculars, and accessories for amateur astronomy.
While Galileo’s profound discoveries with his first telescope in 1609 are rightly celebrated in the annals of science, the optical design of his first telescope is not. Based on a simple convex objective lens and a concave eyepiece, Galileo’s early telescopes gave drinking-straw-narrow fields of view and and image brightness that dropped off drastically at the edge. His design was quickly replaced by the so-called Keplerian telescope which we all use today. So imagine my surprise when I discovered a relatively new set of binoculars from Vixen Optics that are based on a modern version of Galileo’s original telescope design. These Vixen SG 2.1×42 binoculars, which magnify just 2.1 times and have objective lenses 42 mm diameter, give extraordinary wide-field views of entire constellations, and some say that observing with these binoculars is like having ‘super vision’ [Read more…] about Vixen’s Astonishing SG 2.1×42 Wide-Field BinocularsShare This:
When you look through a telescope, you look at a very small slice of sky. That makes it almost impossible to point your telescope directly at your target. Sometimes, it’s even hard to find the Moon directly with the main tube of a telescope, even at lowest magnification. That’s why most telescopes come with a finder, a small telescope or range finder to help you easily locate objects in the night sky. There are two main types of finders: magnifying finders and non-magnifying finders [Read more…] about Finder ScopesShare This:
Even the most expensive and carefully crafted telescope isn’t worth much if it’s not on a solid and stable mount that lets you accurately point it anywhere in the sky. A good telescope mount is as important as the optics of a telescope, and it must be sufficiently solid and stable such that if you give the telescope tube a good tap on the side, the mount should damp down vibrations in less than 5 seconds (max), and faster if you’re planning on astrophotography. Most telescopes, especially scopes aimed at beginners, include a mount when you buy them. Smaller telescopes, especially high-end refractors, may just have mounting rings or plates which allows them to be attached to a mount which you buy separately. And if you are contemplating astrophotography, a solid mount is a must-have.
All telescope mounts can be classified as one of two types: alt-azimuth or equatorial. Let’s have look at each [Read more…] about A Primer on Telescope MountsShare This:
Small Maksutov-Cassegrain telescopes are a godsend for urban observers who need a compact scope with good optics. And “Maks” are back in style, so there’s a good selection on the market. But Maks aren’t for everyone. Here’s how to tell if a Mak is right for you [Read more…] about Maksutov-Cassegrain TelescopesShare This: