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Astronomy and Telescopes
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Topic: Astronomy and Telescopes

  1. #1
    Established Member 4051's Avatar
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    Default Astronomy and Telescopes

    Here's a website that many might find interesting:

    www.nightskiesnetwork.com

    (commonly called NSN if you want to Google Night Skies Network)

    This is where I hang out when the sun goes down. The backyard astronomers have the ability now to put a video camera on their telescopes and "broadcast" their live image to the internet for others to watch.

    You (as a guest) can log in and click to choose whose telescope you'd like to look through. There are usually anywhere from 1 to 5 broadcasters on at a given time, usually shortly after sunset. Several of these guys are professional and lecture on the image being watched. (Yes, they have sound and a text screen for your comments too.)

    I used to belong to the local astronomy club years ago and only a few of us even had clock drives on our scopes. We'd stand for hours in the cold and the dark with red-lens flashlights looking at the Messier's star catalogs and then try to find celestial objects by 'star hopping'. It was an accomplishment worth celebrating when you actually found the cluster you were looking for.

    On one cold night there were three of us out trying to find the ring nebula in the constellation Lyra. (No easy task in those times) We searched the skies trying to coordinate the time with the viewing angle and had several hours of frustration - although we DID see some other interesting heavenly bodies. Finally we discovered what we'd been looking for and we were elated!

    After we'd all gazed at our target, Frank called out to his wife.

    "Hey Honey? Come out here. You gotta see this. We've found it!"

    So his wife took a quick look through the eyepiece and asked,

    "Oh, yeah. I see it. How much longer you guys gonna be out here?"

    (Oh well... )

    Today the scopes are driven (right ascension / declination) by motors controlled by computer programs. You sit in the comfort of your home and tell the computer what you want the scope to look at and it goes there while you watch on your indoor monitor. And all the people who have logged in can watch too while they discuss their respective interests.

    Instead of roughing it outside with cold fingers, now you can sit in the comfort of your living room and gaze to your heart's content

    If you're an astronomy buff, you gotta go there and see this. (Great for the kids in your circle too)

  2. #2
    Administrator Sponsor Space Invaders Champion Dale's Avatar
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    Default Re: Astronomy and Telescopes

    Thanks for the tip! I can't wait to try it out tonight. I visited it today, but there were only a couple of telescopes on the other side of the earth, so I'll come back tonight. I feeling our family won't be able to leave the computer for awhile tonight.
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Astronomy and Telescopes

    Dale, if you're anything like me, you'll be mesmerized. A few evenings ago I logged into a solar scope that was set up in Oregon. (The sun was still up over there) We watched a major solar flare occur as it was happening.

    I asked the fellow who was broadcasting the image about his scope and he told me it was a higly specialized instrument specifically designed for solar observation - and not particularly effective for night sky viewing.

    So anyway we got a chance to look through a very unique (and expensive) instrument without committing our own money. That's one of the things nice about NSN... before you buy a scope of your own, you can try them all out online and see their capabilities and shortcomings. Usually directly proportional to the price. LOL

    I'll probably be in there too although we may be logged in to different instruments. You might be looking at M-37 while I'm taking in a lecture on the moon. It's a cheap way to have a lot of interesting fun. Be sure to turn on your speakers because the broadcaster will be commenting on the image and asking questions. Neat stuff.

  4. #4
    Administrator Sponsor Space Invaders Champion Dale's Avatar
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    Default Re: Astronomy and Telescopes

    I still haven't been about to see anything. I've tried in the morning before the sun comes up, and a couple of evenings around dusk. Is there a time that is best to try this?
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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Astronomy and Telescopes

    Granted, with the warming of springtime there isn't as much activity as during winter. I guess the guys are busy mowing grass, going out with family affairs, etc. a lot more now.

    This is Thursday... it's just getting dark and there's one astronomer broadcasting an image of a tree against the darkening sky. He's in process of getting his scope and camera set up so he'll be showing us some interesting video shortly. (I texted on the screen that I have a chainsaw I'd be willing to loan him... LOL)

    Also, as it continues to get darker (later tonight) there'll probably be more folks setting up. Just hang in there. Great stuff.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Astronomy and Telescopes

    Dale, I see you're online tonight. Sneak over to Nightskiesnetwork and take a look. There are presently 4 guys broadcasting video through their telescopes... Neat stuff

  7. #7
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    Default The Venus Transit

    Venus will pass between the earth and the sun on the late afternoon of June 5th. If you miss it, you'll get another chance in 2117. (That's 105 years from now)

    http://www.transitofvenus.org/


    Click image for larger version. 

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    You have a week to get ready. If you don't have a solar telescope you can look through the instruments of amateur astronomers at:

    http://www.nightskiesnetwork.com/

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Astronomy and Telescopes

    Forrest Hamilton is a professional astronomer, a graduate of IU who is working out of Johns-Hopkins in Baltimore but his home and work is in Indiana.

    http://kokomotribune.com/local/x514655536/Looking-up-to-the-stars

    Another example of "local boy makes good" that should be an encouragement for all of the young amateur astronomers.

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