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March 31, 2007

Hey, I feel like one of those milk bottles in a carnival!

You know when they stand the milk bottles up and guys come along to show off to their girls and throw baseballs at the milk bottles? Watching this little movie makes me feel like someone is tossing baseballs at us!...
Posted by Greg Stone at 05:09 AM
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March 30, 2007

It's a full moon! Should you get out there with the werewolves?

The full moon bothers a lot of amateur astronomers and I used to just plain hate it. First, I read too many horror comic books while sitting in the barbershop as a kid, so werewolves do bother me – but...
Posted by Greg Stone at 10:26 AM
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March 28, 2007

Zooms: Cheap is OK, but wider is better

Does a cheap Celestron zoom eyepiece compare well with one that gets good reviews and sells for two or three times the price? Yes. but a new, wider zooms appeals t me as well. But before going into that, let...
Posted by Greg Stone at 08:28 AM
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Seeing through clouds? Nope. But clouds don’t stop crowds.

I wrote earlier about seeing through clouds with the video camera. Perhaps that post created some misimpressions. Last night I found myself part of a small group trying of ASSNE members to share a slice of the universe with about...
Posted by Greg Stone at 04:08 AM
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March 25, 2007

What's newest?

Here's a quick look at this week's posts. The first couple may be of general interest - the rest are more to the interest of other amateur astronomers. I'm planning items in the near future on astronomy for the blind...
Posted by Greg Stone at 08:18 AM
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Seeing (something much different) with two eyes

For years I have squinted through a telescope with one eye open, one eye closed. This never felt right to me. Now I'm discovering how to observeastronomical objects with one eye working with an entirely different image than the other...
Posted by Greg Stone at 05:32 AM
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March 24, 2007

Weather lessons, electronic eyepieces and finding stuff

Preface: A Messier Marathon is an event held near the end of March, the one time of the year when you can actually see all the Messier objects in a single night. There are 110 Messier objects and a...
Posted by Greg Stone at 12:31 PM
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March 23, 2007

Cubs, the moon, M42, Video, Saturn - parents. . . it all adds up

Had a delightful time observing with three Cub Scouts and their mothers the other night. This is a group that began their four-session observing program last fall and is just now finishing up. It's amazing how cloudy nights, holidays, bitter...
Posted by Greg Stone at 03:28 AM
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Speeding, iron-tipped bullets of Orion!

My friend Dom in Australia sent along this wonderful story - and picture - of " cosmic "bullets", bigger than our solar system, far faster than the speed of sound and filled with enough iron to satisfy China's needs for...
Posted by Greg Stone at 12:44 AM
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March 21, 2007

Imagination plus zoom eyepiece equals awesome observing

I've added the final piece to my ideal star-gazing equipment, a Vixen 8mm-24mm zoom eyepiece - and in the process come across a wonderful piece by Chet Raymo that sums up what I think observing should be. But more...
Posted by Greg Stone at 05:39 AM
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March 20, 2007

Update - bargain scope, a bargain, but only. . .

OK, I reviewed this little 70mm F5 Mead refractor earlier. I gave it a fresh try today in daylight as a birding scope. Nope. The optics are simply too poor. Lot of stray light. I won't sell it, however. I'll...
Posted by Greg Stone at 04:41 PM
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March 19, 2007

80 ED vs 102 F5 - And the winner is . . .

. .. the Orion 80mm ED Apochromatic Refractor - but does it matter?. Just as Clay called it in his comments on my earlier post, the 80mm ED outperforms the larger 102mm Celestron. Bottom line: Quality counts. But . ....
Posted by Greg Stone at 05:33 AM
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March 18, 2007

Small, cheap and fast and . . .?

Let me get to the bottom line - I was testing a Celestron 102mm F5 against an Orion ShortTube 80mm F5 for brightness and quality and while I would give the edge - in brightness - to the 102mm, the...
Posted by Greg Stone at 06:27 AM
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March 14, 2007

Seeing through clouds? Ya gotta be kidding!

OK, if I didn't have an excellent witness sitting beside me, I would not have believed it myself, but yes, I can now see through solid cloud cover with telescope and video camera! Maybe this is old hat to some,...
Posted by Greg Stone at 03:21 AM
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March 12, 2007

Notes on looking up . . .

Another hour or so beneath the Orion 80 ED on a p-mount has given me more insights into this business of straight through viewing - looking up to see the stars. (See earlier post.) What's more, I just did a...
Posted by Greg Stone at 04:28 AM
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March 11, 2007

Living the American (star-gazers) Dream

Remember the era before light pollution? Neither do I. But recently I rediscovered "Starlight Nights," the wonderful autobiography of Leslie C. Peltier, 1900-1980, and learned about the moon, the stars, and from whence came the expression “slick as a whistle.”...
Posted by Greg Stone at 08:15 AM
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March 10, 2007

Stargazing by looking up - what a strange idea ;-)

Did you ever lie on your back in the warm grass of summer, or perhaps on the face of a dune, or maybe on the rock slab of a mountain, and look at the stars in wonder and amazement? Were...
Posted by Greg Stone at 09:56 AM
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Update - 70mm bargain?

In my report on the 70mm F5 "cheapy" Meade yesterday, I concluded: My general impression of the optics were they were low contrast and it was difficult to achieve really sharp focus. My general impression was accurate - low contrast...
Posted by Greg Stone at 04:24 AM
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March 09, 2007

That little bargain scope? Maybe . . .

A 70mm F5 Meade refractor, two "super Plossl" eyepieces, a 2X barlow, tripod and very functional soft carrying case that holds everything – all for $119? You gotta be kidding. Nope. So I bought it. And now I've tried it....
Posted by Greg Stone at 10:02 AM
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March 08, 2007

Deep sky video with NexStar SE 5

The little Celestron 5-inch (BexStar 5 SE) can deliver a very impressive and colorful view through the Color Hyper MallinCam – but it took me two freezing nights, plus experimentation in daylight in a warm house to get it right....
Posted by Greg Stone at 09:37 PM
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March 05, 2007

So what happened last Saturday night?

I know - some sharp person is going to tell me there was an eclipse of the Moon, Saturday,March 3, 2007 - and they would be right. I know, because I watched it. But what exactly was happening? I put...
Posted by Greg Stone at 05:19 AM
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March 03, 2007

Simple scopes, simple joys - and Nova Scorpii too

Nova Scorpii - I put it at about 6.8 this morning - but I was using familiar comparison stars that weren't that good for this purpose. All I'm sure of is that it has dropped significantly from my previous observation...
Posted by Greg Stone at 05:32 AM
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March 02, 2007

Enrolling now - new, year-long observing program

On April 3, 2007 a new , year-long observing program begins. I'll accept up to eight adults into this program which will meet twice a month and include a mix of lessons, reading, discussions and hands-on/ eyes-on observing. If interested, contact me ASAP at gstone@umassd.edu. If you know someone else who might be interested, please send this to them.
Posted by Greg Stone at 04:36 AM
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March 01, 2007

Nova Scorpii - dropping, but that's fun too!

Popped out about 4:45 am this morning to get a look at Nova Scorpii 2007 #1 and a look for Nova Scorpii 2007 #2. I would put the first one now at about magnitude 6.0 and the second at -...
Posted by Greg Stone at 06:07 AM
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Live, from the moon. . .

. . . we bring you Gassendi! A French theologian, mathematician, and astronomer - got to love that combination - he's been dead for about 350 years, but a magnificient crater bearing his name lives on. I like the nickname...
Posted by Greg Stone at 03:58 AM
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What's newest in Rapt in Awe (The 10 most recent entries)

  • Hey, I feel like one of those milk bottles in a carnival!

  • It's a full moon! Should you get out there with the werewolves?

  • Zooms: Cheap is OK, but wider is better

  • Seeing through clouds? Nope. But clouds don’t stop crowds.

  • What's newest?

  • Seeing (something much different) with two eyes

  • Weather lessons, electronic eyepieces and finding stuff

  • Cubs, the moon, M42, Video, Saturn - parents. . . it all adds up

  • Speeding, iron-tipped bullets of Orion!

  • Imagination plus zoom eyepiece equals awesome observing
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