Visual Astronomy

Visual  = Live = Analogue = Retina Busting What is the most impressive place you have ever visited? Maybe a waterfall or a monument? Do you remember everyone around you glued to their phones, taking lots of pictures? I am guessing most of those photos were viewed once and then forgotten. But you still remember…

Visual Astronomy Skills

Essential Visual Skills The naked eye is the best bit of hardware you will ever own so always start with that Get to know the night sky. Find and learn to recognise the shapes (asterisms) and constellations (saucepan = Plough, cross =  Cygnus, bow-tie = Orion, w = Cassiopeia, backward question mark = Leo )…

Solar Filter

A solar filter made using a sheet of Baader AstroSolar Safety Film. Important – Do not point a telescope or finder at the sun as this will result in permanent eye damage. When using the filter ensure caps are on the finder. The film comes with instructions for making a solar filter which I modified slightly.…

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What do I look at?

Like many observers, I enjoy a combination of things to look at but I am happy to limit myself to just a couple of objects in one session. “Turn Left at Orion” is an essential guide for the visual observer. It suggests good targets and explains how to find them. It also shows you what…

Essential Accessories

This is my essential list of accessories when observing. The aim is to maximise comfort with the minimum amount of carrying. I am assuming that you already have a copy of “Turn Left at Orion”. Eyepatch – worn half an hour before observing to ensure my eyes are acclimatised to the dark. Denver chair –…

Denver Chair

I find a height adjustable chair an essential accessory when observing. The home-made Denver chair folds flat and doesn’t take up a lot of room when not in use. It is comfortable and sturdy but as a consequence quite heavy. Dave Trott’s Instructions for making a Denver chair Charles Carlson’s version

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Finder safety harness

The findersope bracket and mount on the Skywatcher 200P has been (presumably) designed so that if the OTA is lifted using it, there is no danger of the finder and bracket becoming detached. The problem is that unless the knurled screw is very tight, there is a danger that in the vertical position, the finder and bracket may…

The Zoom Eyepiece

The “stock” eyepieces that came with my 8″ 200P Dobsonian were great for me to get started. A new owner should definitely get used to them before considering any “upgrade”. For me, the stock 25mm produced good results but the 10mm was dim and I was disappointed with the clarity of what I was seeing.…

Telrad Dew Reduction

The glass of the Telrad is rather a dew magnet. To reduce this I have used these anti-fog wipes and built a dew shield made from an A4 sheet of black foam and some velcro cut into small squares. It is very easy to make and the details for doing this are below. More details

Skywatcher 200P impressions

This was my first telescope since the toy 2″ refractor I owned as a child in the late 1960’s. Since then I’ve just been a naked eye and binocular observer. Why did I choose the Skywatcher 200P Dobsonian? It was ordered at the end of October 2020 from First Light Optics and it arrived four…

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SkEye – A push to finder app

SkEye is an app that like the excellent Stellarium allows you to find objects in the sky. It dispenses with ‘bells and whistles’ so there are no pretty constellation images but that functionality suits me fine. With a phone attached to the tube of my telescope, it also has the advantage of what is termed…

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Using a new telescope

First, check your telescope indoors. Make sure you can adjust the vertical and horizontal position, that you know how the focuser works and how to change and secure the eyepiece. Take the telescope outside in the daytime and fit the lowest power eyepiece. This will be the one with the highest focal length written in mm…

Top 500 double stars

A file of over 500 double stars selected and recommended as targets because they are a sight to behold. Download The data file is in a spreadsheet for ease of sorting and modifying in Excel, Google Sheets, Libre Office etc. The fields include object name(s), location information and star data – magnitudes, separation and position…

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