Archive for the ‘Beginning’ Category

Up Close with the Moon

Finally, with the help of my wife, we managed to calibrate the telescope correctly so that the viewfinder was lined up almost perfectly with the telescope lens and pointed it at the moon.  The sky was clear so the moon showed up bright and crisp, with the craters showing in great detail.  It was an amazing view, but then is started going hazy due to the cold night.  We are hoping to catch it on a clear night again soon and use greater magnification to really see it in detail.

Earth’s Moon

Earth’s Moon (source: Science On A Sphere)

Time: 18:30 – 18:45, Longitude: 50.435423, Latitude: -4.093217, Viewing: North East

New Binoculars

I have bought a new pair of binoculars from Lidl as they were on sale and only £15.  They are made by Rocktrail and have 10x magnification.  I will put a photo of them on the ‘equipment’ page shortly so you can see exactly what they look like.  Ideally, I would have liked some with a better magnification but don’t have the money at the moment, so couldn’t turn down this offer of slightly upgraded binoculars!

Unfortunately, after I bought them the weather turned rubbish so couldn’t use them for looking at the night sky.

Will keep you posted about when I use them properly for the first time!

Pegasus, Jupiter and Polaris

I had to wait a whole week until the weather was good enough to go out and use the telescope again.  This time I went out to try and see the brightest star in the sky, but I still didn’t know fully how to use the telescope so it was a bit hit and miss.  I didn’t realise that I had to line up the viewfinder with the telescope beforehand, during daylight hours.  So when it came to trying it in the dark, it was very difficult to find the correct direction.  After several attempts, I finally locked on to the star but still couldn’t see it very well.

Having spent some time trying to view it through a telescope and binoculars, I decided to go and try and find out what it actually was.  After searching through several sites, my wife found that the star was actually Jupiter and during the month of October, it was the brightest it will be for a long time (see link in the right hand side column).  Whilst we were looking up about this, I learnt to find the ‘Square of Pegasus’ and where the North Star (Polaris) was in the sky.  This was useful as Jupiter is situated just below the ‘square’ which made it easy to find.  What made this extra relevant was that the ‘Square of Pegasus’ was right in front of us in the sky (North East) when we stood in our back yard.  This made it really easy to pinpoint other stars, planets and constellations, and we think we pinpointed Neptune further to the East.

(image taken from ‘The Sky X First Light Edition’)

Armed with this new information we went outside to have another look but, unfortunately, it had started to cloud over so we were unable to use the telescope anymore.  We did attempt to use the binoculars and thought we had zoomed straight in to Jupiter and saw a moon or two orbiting it, but we aren’t sure as the image kept changing.  We think the binoculars are a bit dodgy (they were only very cheap!) so we can’t be 100% sure of what we saw.   Will need to buy or borrow some binoculars to make sure.

So it wasn’t the best viewing but I did at least learn a lot of things about the Sky and its stars and constellations, and wherever I am now, I know how to find Jupiter as long as I can find the ‘Square of Pegasus’ first.

Time: 19:45 – 21:30, Longitude: 50.435423, Latitude: -4.093217, Viewing: North East

Telescope and First Viewing

For my 30th birthday (17th October 2010) my wife gave me a telescope, which was something I have been after for years and years, but never really been able to afford it.  (for more info on the telescope, have a look at the equipment page).  Even my little boy who is 2 years old wanted to get it out straight away, but we waited until the evening.  Luckily, it was a clearish night with the moon being very bright and right over head.

We managed to get it together but, with it being my first ever telescope, I didn’t really know what I was doing. I didn’t really have a clue about the lenses to use as there was a few that came with the telescope.  I obviously new the basics, but didn’t know about the combinations to use.  It was also too late to line up the view finder with the actual telescope, so I had to go by eye. Luckily, the moon was full, large and bright so it was pretty easy to find it.

I looked through the telescope and was amazed to see the clearness of the craters on the moon and how bright it was.  It was really great and whet my appetite for more! My wife and I stared at it for a good hour or so, so I was very pleased with my first attempt.

On each of my posts, I am going to put the date and time of the observation from my back garden, and will also give the longitude and latitude of my house, as a point of reference for any other nearby astonomers. You never know, this may come in handy for someone.

Time: 20:00 – 21:00, Longitude: 50.435423, Latitude: -4.093217, Viewing: North East