The methods and techniques for gathering astronomical data, as well as the limitations thereof.

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How “big” objects can WISE and NEOWISE detect?

I mean WISE is monitoring near-Earth objects, but cannot see the latest Russian meteor and others. Why can it not detect small objects? What is the limit of it's infrared detectors?
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3answers
492 views

What made us think that Earth moves around the Sun?

Trying to observe the night sky for a few weeks, the motion of the Sun and the stars pretty much fits into the Geocentric Theory i.e. All of them move around the Earth. What then, which particular ...
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112 views

How can we determine during a lunar eclipse whether the earth moves faster or the moon

How can we determine during a lunar eclipse whether the earth moves faster or the moon using minimum instruments?
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57 views

Confusing description of Orions belt, could someone clarify?

The Wikipedia article about Orion's belt contains this confusing sentence: They also mark the northern night sky when the sun is at its lowest point, and were a clear marker for ancient ...
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1answer
58 views

Best observing techniques for a Total Lunar Eclipse?

Is there any good tricks to observing a total lunar eclipse that I should be aware of? Just wanting to know what to do to be prepared for the upcoming one, but please post in general for future ...
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2answers
344 views

How is the Hanbury-Brown and Twiss effect used to measure the size of stars?

I understand what an Hanbury Brown and Twiss (HBT) interferometer does, but how can this be used to measure the apparent angular diameter of some object? What is the mathematical explaination?
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160 views

The Bahtinov focusing mask

I'm looking for a webpage or a book or reference that might give me a better (and hopefully more scientific) understanding of how the Bahtinov mask works (which I understand to be the same as ...
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3answers
110 views

Did I see two Milky Ways next to each other?

I am from the northern hemisphere and as far as I remember, the Milky Way was "single lane", just one stripe. At least, this is what I recall the Milky Way to look like when seeing it from near ...
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88 views

How long would it take to scan the visible universe for unique signals?

The article Amazing rays as star succumbs to dark side talks about a very large black hole swallowing up a star. The report goes on to say that the only reason it was discovered was because it shot ...
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44 views

How do I use this 'Horizon Observatory'?

Just around the corner, we have one of these: It's at the Halde Hoheward (article in the German wikipedia), and it's called a 'Horizon Observatory' by the people who built it. How does it work ...
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6answers
154 views

What possible science could we do during the 2012 Venus transit? [closed]

I had previously asked about how useful everyday solar physics data is to other astronomers ... But about a year from now, we will have another Venus transit, where Venus will pass between the sun and ...
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822 views

For observing planets what kind of telescope offers the best view?

I've heard that using a refractor is better than a reflector when it comes to planets to best reproduce their colors. But perhaps other factors can weight in too? For example, do you want a slow or ...
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347 views

How far are constellations recognizable?

A novel of the 'Foundation' series mentioned that the universe being 3-D the shape of a constellation is recognizable only in the near vicinity of a given planet. In other words move out from the ...
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27 views

Are solar physics images of use to the night-time community?

I'm actually interested in cases of cross-discipline data re-use. I know that the SOHO/LASCO coronographs are used for comet finding, that solar telescopes were used to get information about Venus's ...
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1k views

Observing Jupiter's non-Galilean moons

What strength of telescope is required to observe some of the non-Galilean moons of Jupiter? My current telescope at 50 magnification resolves the Galilean moons well, but I'm guessing it's far ...
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6answers
844 views

Can any telescope be used for solar observing?

Can any telescope, such as a 8" reflector, that is normally used at night to look at planets be used or adapted for solar observing? What kind of adapters or filters are required or is it better to ...
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61 views

Particular targets of high angular resolution infrared telescopes

I work in the field of infrared interferometry, specifically instrumentation. As such, I need to be aware of the science goals of such an instrument. Is there a quick list of important and ...
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76 views

What is the format for “local catalog” files used by JSkyCat?

I am trying to use JSkyCat to mark a set of coordinates on a FITS image, and have found the dialog for choosing a catalog file to load. However, I am having trouble finding any documentation on what ...
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2answers
179 views

If you focus in on one image, is combining two telescopes really equivalent to a larger mirror?

Have a look at this example: In addition, the Keck I and Keck II telescopes can work together as the Keck Interferometer. The 85-metre (279 ft) separation between the two telescopes gives them the ...
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1answer
184 views

Error analysis of flux from telescope-CCD setup (photometric calibration)

I am doing photometric calibration of a telescope and am trying to work out the errors on the flux that I measure. I have attempted to work out the errors due to the process of removing bias, dark ...
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1answer
161 views

Why is the Hubble Space telescope able to see farthest in the universe?

What determines how far a telescope can see in the universe? How does recording data for a very long time (~10 years) help? If we could build a telescope which work at microwave region, will it be a ...
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39 views

Missing radio source coordinates in G/T measurement technique ITU-R S.733.2

Section 3 ‘Suitable radio stars’ of this recommendation lists the different stars/nebula and their corresponding flux-densities that can be used in the G/T measurement. There is no reference to the ...
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1answer
47 views

Transit of Mercury: how did he see it?

On November 7, 1631 Pierre Gassendi saw the transit of Mercury across the face of the Sun. How did he see it? I mean what instrument was used to reduce the apparent brightness of the Sun?
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104 views
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819 views

What are the differences in using an eyepiece with a barlow instead of a shorter eyepiece?

I intend to start making visual observations, and I want to know more about the difference between using barlow lenses and one or two eyepieces and using a complete kit of eyepieces, both for ...
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317 views

Light pollution calculation using camera

Is it possible to calculate light pollution values using camera (analyzing camera feed) integrated in new smartphones (8 Mpx camera) but with pretty decent accuracy? Or that is only possible with ...