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6
votes
2answers
2k views

How can I determine if my telescope mirror is parabolic?

This week I purchased the “Skywatcher Explorer 130P Newtonian Reflector Telescope”, specifically as it has the parabolic mirror. I do not have the outer packaging for sundry reasons. Therefore, after ...
6
votes
2answers
225 views

What's the best way to start out with astrophotography on a tight budget?

I'm new to astronomy and I don't have a great deal of cash to spend. I currently have a 3" reflector telescope which I've had great fun with. I also have a Pentax DSLR which I've been using to take ...
3
votes
1answer
426 views

Sky-Watcher Skymax-127 (AZ) 127mm (5") f/1500 SynScan GO-TO Maksutov-Cassegrain Telescope

I have not purchased the above item yet but was wondering whether or not I should? Can I hook this scope up to a monitor or laptop so I can see what my scope is seeing? Is this scope is any good at ...
4
votes
2answers
400 views

How to adjust feather touch focuser for collimation?

I have a Starlight Instruments feather touch focuser for my Dobsonian telescope. While trying to collimate the secondary mirror with the focus all the way in, I noticed that my Howie Glatter laser ...
6
votes
4answers
136 views

Automated telescope system

I am living up north in Norway, 300 km above the Arctic Circle, which gives me six months per year of darkness and cold. I used to have a starter telescope when I was living in Spain, but I gave it ...
8
votes
4answers
2k views

How can I stabilize an unstable telescope?

I have an 80 mm refractor telescope on a tripod, but it shakes on every touch. It's very hard to see via 6 mm (x120) ocular. Even a little wind causes the image to become too unsteady. How ...
6
votes
1answer
712 views

What telescope would I need to observe Mars's polar caps?

What telescope refractor aperture size would I need to observe Mars's polar caps? I have a Levenuhk Strike NG 80mm, and I can see red disk of planet but cannot see any details on the surface.
4
votes
3answers
709 views

Sky-Watcher Skyhawk 1145P SynScan AZ GOTO

What is the experience using the Sky-Watcher Skyhawk 1145P SynScan AZ GOTO telescope and can it be recommended for a new astronomer? Is it any good?
3
votes
2answers
835 views

Hartmann mask based collimation

Is there a detailed description for a Hartmann mask based collimation process? I've been told by a friend that is possible to collimate an SCT by placing a three round holes Hartmann mask at the ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Issues with Celestron 130 SLT and shaking

I have a Celestron 130 SLT reflector. I am having some issues with it and I hoped you all could help me. I'm looking for some low tech and inexpensive solutions. My telescope shakes like crazy. I ...
3
votes
3answers
696 views

How to locate the Orion Nebula?

I was trying to see Orion Nebula for few days now and I simply can't spot it. I'm using Celestron PowerSeeker 127EQ ( 5" , Newtonian , 1000m ). I'm pretty sure I have the right spot as I saw many ...
3
votes
3answers
109 views

Quality loss when adding more components to a telescope?

I would think this would be inherently true, but I'm curious: (Assuming the highest quality amateur instruments are used.) Is quality lost when, say, adding a T-mount adapter, diagonal or any other ...
4
votes
1answer
69 views

Should I be concerned about spot corrosion on a telescope's primary mirror?

I am considering buying a telescope with a large primary mirror that is about seven years old - it has a small spot of corrosion on the mirror, that the owner says is stable. Should I be concerned ...
5
votes
1answer
97 views

How to care for a Dobsonian around the ocean?

I live near the ocean where all the metal fasteners on a house quickly rust and am considering getting a large Dobsonian telescope but am concerned about the mirrors. Would keeping the dob inside a ...
2
votes
5answers
1k views

Recommended first accessories for starblast 4.5

My son got an orion starblast 4.5 for Christmas. It comes with orion explorer II 17mm and 6mm eyepieces. We are looking at some additional accessories and wondering what you would recommend as "first ...
4
votes
2answers
636 views

Novice interested in buying a used telescope. What questions should I ask? [closed]

I've noticed quite a few decent telescopes for great prices on craigslist, but I am a complete novice and don't know the first thing about them. I thought I would be able to pick up what I needed from ...
3
votes
2answers
208 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
655 views

Why is this radio telescope's reflector spherical and not parabolic?

This is the Arecibo Observatory in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. Its reflector is spherical, measuring 1,001 ft. in diameter. It is considered the most sensitive radio telescope on Earth, but the fact that ...
-2
votes
2answers
101 views

Telescope “blue book” [closed]

I have a telescope that I may be in the market to sell in the near future and am wondering if there is a good source to find its value in the used market. Although it's never been out of the box, it ...
8
votes
1answer
114 views

Where can I find information for how to create amateur radio telescope?

Where can I find good source of information for how to create amateur radio telescope. Particularly interested in creating Fresnel Zone Plate Antennas (aka flat dish). design, diagrams, ...
4
votes
3answers
385 views

Pleiades through a 15x 76 mm telescope

How clearly can the stars of the Pleiades cluster be seen through a 15x telescope (for example, FunScope)?
7
votes
1answer
1k views

What are the minimum telescope requirements to view a nice spiral galaxy?

I would like to view some spiral galaxy. However, I would prefer not to spend lots of $$$. What are the minimum specs a telescope must have to resolve detail in a spiral galaxy?
14
votes
5answers
3k views

Telescope for 6 year old and dad new to astronomy

What's a good telescope for my 6 year old? We're both brand new to telescopes in general, but love space, stars, planets, cosmology, etc. Happy to spend up to $200 to start. Maybe more for a good ...
4
votes
1answer
24 views

What demonstrations for a five-hour optical and radio astronomy workshop? [closed]

I volunteer at a group that has restored the oldest German radio telescope. We are now at a point where we want to invite interested amateur astronomers and school children to workshops. I'm currently ...
5
votes
3answers
399 views

What is the minimum magnification needed for an instrument to see all the Messier objects?

I know someone that wants to buy a 60cm (1.5 inch) refractor and I thought about recommending what to look at the Messier objects. And I was wondering, can he see all these objects with that refractor ...
4
votes
3answers
176 views

Fall/Winter Viewing

I live in Seattle and am thinking of purchasing a telescope. Is fall/winter a decent time of year for viewing (aside from summer)? Are there any major viewings/events during that this of year? I know ...
-1
votes
2answers
3k views

Celestron NexStar 6 SE vs. Orion XT8 [closed]

I'm interested in purchasing a new telescope and have narrowed it down to the NexStar 6 SE vs. the Orion XT8. I'd like to be able to get into astrophotography and read that having the Go-To ...
5
votes
3answers
82 views

How to get started in Astronomy (UK based) [closed]

I have always been interested in space and astronomy (in my youth - I wanted to be an astronaut). However for various reasons, I never quite got started. I now want to get started - small but ...
10
votes
4answers
4k views

Is building your own reflector telescope worth it?

I have always fancied building my own reflector telescope. I am wondering - For a certain budget, can you get better results with a home made rig? Or is this a folly, and really it would be better to ...
3
votes
2answers
65 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
38 views

What equipment is needed for equatorial drift scanning/TDI with a Dobsonian?

It should be possible to do a "parked scan" along the celestial equator ("stripe 82" and "stripe 10") with a Dobsonian telescope, as no tracking is required. I can foresee two issues, though: first, ...
4
votes
3answers
57 views

Are our telescopes capable of taking actual images of brown dwarfs?

One nice result from NASA's WISE infrared survey of the sky is the discovery of particularly cool (as in 'not very warm') stars, now called 'Y dwarfs'. This was reported, for example, in NASA's ...
4
votes
5answers
1k views

Are telescopes with a concave lens useful for astronomy?

Are telescopes with a concave lens (instead of convex ones) ever useful for astronomy? And if so, where are they used? Do they ever affect resolving power?
6
votes
2answers
251 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
20 views

What was the most distant supernova spotted by a amateur astronomer until today?

What type of commercial amateur telescope and what method (difference imaging,...) did he use for identifying the supernova?
5
votes
2answers
73 views

Could many widely separated space telescopes be combined for VLBI on IR/visible wavelengths?

I have read about ground-based Very Long Baseline Interferometry telescope arrays able to achieve huge resolution at IR/visible wavelengths. There are also space-ground VLBI configurations in ...
5
votes
5answers
61 views

Which current big Earth-based telescopes are equipped with adaptive optics?

I know only that the VLT is equipped with adaptive optics (AO) to bypass atmospheric distortion. Is it the only one, or have other telescopes been build with AO in the optical and infrared spectrum?
6
votes
4answers
79 views

Does the current light pollution set a fundamental limit for the range of Earth-based telescopes?

As far as I know, all deep-sky pictures are captured with the Hubble Space Telescope. If there would be no atmospheric distortion, could we make deeper pictures in the optical spectrum with ...
4
votes
4answers
518 views

Can the Hubble telescope bring any star into focus?

Lets say I am talking about a view like this supernova - 13 billions light year away. In short can Hubble bring any star into focus in the entire universe? And if so, to what definition? I also ...
8
votes
5answers
105 views

Exoplanet detection via space-based parasol

I remember from watching Cosmos years ago, Carl Sagan suggested an interesting hypothetical method for directly seeing exoplanets. He proposed that in the 'future' we could launch a satellite designed ...
3
votes
8answers
3k views

Seeking Recommendation for Celestron Firstscope Eyepiece Upgrade

I have a Celestron Firstscope telescope and like it overall for my location and the amount of observing I do. I am disappointed in my view of the planets with the scope. What would be a good eye piece ...
6
votes
3answers
631 views

Is it possible to make a hydrogen-alpha solar scope?

Is the construction of an etalon / Fabry-Pérot interferometer within the reach of amateur telescope makers? Are there any resources pointing to such projects?
17
votes
5answers
355 views

Why don't we have a better telescope than the Hubble Space Telescope?

The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) was launched in 1990, more than 20 years ago, but I know that it was supposed to be launched in 1986, 24 years ago. Since it only took 66 years from the fist plane to ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

How could I translate a field of view value into a magnification value?

When I zoom in with Stellarium, it indicates a field of view (FOV) value in degrees, but most binoculars and telescopes are advertised with value like "nX magnification power." How could I translate ...
4
votes
3answers
104 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
45 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
182 views

Mixing and matching across eyepiece designs / manufacturers?

Right now, I am considering moving from 1.25" eyepieces to 2". While I'm convinced of the quality of the premium eyepieces, it would take me years to afford a complete set and, if I go that route, I ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

How do you clean a dusty lens?

The lenses of my telescope and binoculars are dusty. What is the best way to clean them without damaging the optic coating?
8
votes
2answers
554 views

Smaller free remote control telescopes?

There are several online services that let you control a large telescope (eg, lightbuckets.com and slooh.com), even some that are free (eg, telescope.org). Unfortunately, the pay services are ...
9
votes
1answer
775 views

Why is the Ritchey–Chrétien telescope preferred in professional astronomy?

Hubble, as well as numerous other professional telescopes, use the Ritchey–Chrétien design. What optical and instrumental advantages does this kind of telescope have for professional astronomy?