On the 23rd, the “ice giant” Uranus will be visible all night, as it rises when the sun sets (hence it is opposite the sun). It will also be at its largest for the year: a diminutive 3.73″ of arc. Due to its distance and close-to-circular orbit, Uranus doesn’t vary that much in brightness over time. It will reach magnitude 5.7 from mid-October through early November before slightly fading to magnitude 5.9 in late March 2019. This makes it a naked-eye target in dark skies and easy to locate in a binocular or finderscope.
We’ve noticed a proliferation of close-up plane images on Instagram made using Tele Vue Powermate™ image amplifiers. What is amazing about these images? They are taken from the ground with the plane at jet-aircraft cruising altitude. This is the imaging side of the hobby of “plane spotting.” It is sort of like bird watching — but the “bird” is much bigger and potentially much further away: in the stratosphere!
While imaging a bird can be serendipitous, the modern plane spotter has the advantage of free online flight-tracking software, such as FlightRadar 24 and FlightAware, to predict what aircraft are approaching their location. Aircraft identification, route, speed, altitude, and heading are just a click away. This software has also made its way to the ubiquitous smartphone. Thus, unlike birding, plane spotters can anticipate targets to observe in advance. This gives the spotter time to prepare for encounters with common and rare aircraft — like the Antonov An-225.
Autumn Starfest Review
Last SaturNday, Al Nagler began his talk at the Amateur Astronomers Association (AAA) of New York’s Autumn Starfest in Central Park by reminding the audience he “grew up in this area” and saying it was “magical to be here.” Standing next to a 133” diagonal screen, he proceeded to explain how a city kid developed a love for astronomy that began at the old Hayden Planetarium – located just a 15-minute walk from where he was speaking. That passion for astronomy led to a job creating optical systems for the Apollo’s lunar landing simulator, which ultimately served as the inspiration to develop optical products for amateur astronomers.
Afterwards, Al had a Tele Vue-NP101is on a Gibraltar HD4 mount setup for people to view through using various Ethos, DeLite, and Nagler eyepieces. Due to the clouds, deep-space objects were hit and miss. When the clouds were dense enough to obscure the Moon and the bright planets, views of the surrounding buildings were shown instead. Said Al afterwards:
Tele Vue Founder and CEO Al Nagler will be the lead-off speaker, Saturday evening, at this year’s Autumn Starfest in Central Park, New York. This free, annual event, hosted by the Amateur Astronomers Association (AAA) of New York, will feature speakers (with a 133” diagonal screen for people in the field), telescope viewing courtesy of the AAA members, free raffles, and gift bags for the first 250 entrants. Views through the telescopes will include “Jupiter, dwarf planet Ceres, Saturn, asteroid Vesta, Mars, and nearly Full Moon. Beyond the solar system, bright globular clusters, open clusters, and multiple stars can be observed”.
We noticed some unique images on AstroBin.com employing our Tele Vue-NP127is and Tele Vue-85 scopes to simultaneously image the same target. The images from the two scopes were combined to create the final image — with fantastic results! All the image locations are given as “Tom’s Driveway” in Terre Haute, IN. Intrigued, we contacted the imager (“Astrovetteman”) to learn how he settled on this technique for many of his images. So we turn over our blog this week to astrophotographer Tom Peter and his dual-scope driveway setup.
With the moon a waning crescent, it is a good time to pick out some faint objects in the sky.
On Friday, September 7th, Neptune rises opposite the sun and is closest to earth. Being in the sky all-night, and at it’s brightest, presents a good opportunity to sight this rarely-seen telescopic planet. Unlike the naked eye planets, you’ll have to crank-up the power to make sure you’ve really found it. Even at 100x it just looks like a magnitude 7.8 star. So don’t expect to see a Voyager 2 quality image through your eyepiece.
Tele Vue-60: Compact Travel Scope with Imaging Capability
We can fix any current production eyepiece and many oldies as well. How many eyepiece manufactures can say that? Continue reading “August Skies and Smashed Eyepieces!”