Spot Record-Breaking Lunar Impact
First Frontier Field Finds Thousands of Faraway Galaxies
Asteroid of 2014 Discovered
Science and Space Stories of 2013
the Destinations of 4 Interstellar Probes
Lander Captures First Panorama on the Moon
African Large Telescope (SALT) Will Inspire Science Boom
App Can Help Track, Identify Meteors Falling to Earth
Company Plans U.S.'s First Controlled Moon Landing in 40 Years
NASA Revived the Kepler Space Telescope
Vies for Space Presence with Mars Mission
of Blackbird': Plan for New Spy Plane
Radio Observatory 50th Anniversary Special Event Set
Driver Builds World's Largest Amateur Telescope
Snaps Spectacular Photo of Saturn's Rings
ISON's Blazing Green Tail Captured in Stunning Photo
Confirm Most Distant Galaxy Ever
Sun Spits 2 Million-MPH Tongues of Fire
Juno Spacecraft Restored to Full Working Conditions
Prepares to Awaken Comet Hunter from Deep-Space Sleep
and Radio Jove Conferences to be held in 2014
of Amateur Radio Astronomers Issues Call for Conference Papers
1 Becomes 1st Human-Made Object to Leave Solar System
Mirror Casting Event for the Giant Magellan Telescope
only took 32 years, but I finally have the telescope I have dreamed of having since I first
peered through an 8" Celestron telescope at a meeting of the Macon Astronomy Club of
Macon, Georgia, while stationed as a radar maintenance technician at Robins AFB, Georgia.
In September 2012, I made the decisions to purchase Celestron's high-end CPC 800 Deluxe
HD telescope. It is a fine piece of work. A year and a half ago I bought the Celestron NexStar
8SE telescope as my first scope in 20 years. At the time it did not seem prudent to spend
north of two thousand dollars on a telescope when I didn't know for sure whether the
enthusiasm would still be there after so long. The single arm of the NexStar 8SE mount gave
me pause, but after reading comments by many people on some of the astronomy forums, it
seemed to be good enough for casual observing and entry level....
receivers are absolutely essential in
radio astronomy work. The need has driven major advances in the state of the art of
cryogenically cooled front ends with noise temperatures near absolute zero. Antenna technology
has also benefitted from radio astronomy due to the need for precision steering and narrow
beam widths. Phased arrays for interstellar targets requires that element spacing being
large enough to require separate antennas as the elements, which creates a very large effective
aperture, hence greater angular resolution. Networks located continents apart are synchronized
with the use of atomic clocks to allow signal time of arrival and therefore phase to be
accurately measured. This story gives some of the early efforts.
have probably seen the news about asteroid "QE2"
(1.5 miles wide, like the one which eradicated the dinosaurs)
that will pass within 3.6 million miles of the Earth on May 31. That might seem like far,
but it is only 15x the distance between Earth and the moon. Anyway, this
Frank and Ernest
comic strip appeared on May 13th and I cut it out to remind me to post it today, on the
eve of QE2. QE2, BTW, is a nerd pun on the potential destruction to Earth that the government's
Quantitative Easing policy might cause.
is the official publication of the Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL), the world's oldest
and largest organization for Ham radio enthusiasts. Many amateur radio operators also have
an interest in astronomy and as such, occasionally articles appear covering topics on
amateur radio astronomy.
There are also quite a few articles dealing indirectly with aspects of astronomy such as
Earth-Moon-Earth (EME) communications where signals are bounced off the moon's surface
in order to facilitate transmission (although it is really more of a hobby achievement).
The October 2012 edition of QST had an article entitled, "Those Mysterious Signals*,"
which discusses galactic noise in the 10-meter band. Arch Doty (W7ACD) writes about the
low-level background noise that is persistent in the high frequency (HF) bands. At HF, Cygnus
A and Cassiopeia A are major sources of cosmic noise, for example. Low level signals come
reading as many reviews on dual stage focusers, I finally decided on the Feathertouch SCT
MicroFocuser for my newly acquired Celestron CPC 800 Deluxe HD telescope. I wanted a dual
stage focuser with a light touch instead of an electric focuser. The instructions were available
online and it looked like a cinch to install. In fact, it looked so easy that I decided
to make a video in front of a live audience (the camera) without a dry run. Being fairly
adept at such things, I figured that any departure from simplicity would be immediately
obvious. Without rushing, it took 6 minutes and 15 seconds from beginning to end. The video
is a little longer since I couldn't help editorializing for a couple minutes at the
controversy brews over the merits of breeding plants that glow like a lightning bug. Proponents
glowing trees could eventually replace electric street lights, thereby reducing pollution
created by generating stations. Opponents say messing around with tree genes is dangerous
and should be disallowed since it could lead to unanticipated environmental ramifications
on both plant and animal species. The unique aspect of this effort is that it is being pursued
primarily by genetic hobbyists rather than corporations - at least for now. There is bound
to be a huge financial potential for such a copyrighted line of plants. My opposition to
the concept is primarily a concern for light pollution projected skyward. Astronomers have
a difficult enough time with ever-encroaching sources of ambient light, but a planet overrun
by cross-bred and mutated glowing plants (and possibly animals), especially if they are
capable of emitting levels high enough to replace street lights, would effectively blind
billions of dollars of investments in telescopes....
would have guessed that you need the blessing of the U.S. Department of State if you want
to make and sell spacesuits? Yep, spacesuits are classified as weapons since, by bureaucratic
logic (yeah, a non sequitur), if you have the capability
to attain a presence at an altitude that requires a spacesuit, you can be a strategic threat
to the nation. Here is a story about a startup company in Brooklyn, NY, that found out the
hard way about the
spacesuit-weapon requirement. There is a rapidly growing demand for functional-yet-stylish
spacesuits for safeguarding wealthy space tourists who will soon be blasting off to the
top of Earth's atmosphere where space officially begins
(at about 50 miles / 80 km). BTW, I tried finding
the official policy on spacesuit production the
Department of State website, but their
search engine keeps failing - must be busy deleting files on the
moons are invisible to the naked eye and therefore can have no influence on the earth, and
therefore would be useless, and therefore do not exist." -
Francisco Sizzi (Prof. of Astronomy), dismissing Galileo's sighting of the moons.
Now there is a prime example of reductio ad absurdum absurdity.
American has a nifty interactive graphic showing the relative positions and distances of
the 629 known exoplanets. According to a recent study, on average each sun owns 1.6 exoplanets.
11 astronaut Neil Armstrong died on August 25, 2012. As most Americans over the age of 30
know, Armstrong was the first human to step foot on the moon. On July 20, 1969, in fulfillment
of President Kennedy's 1961 challenge to put a man on the moon and return him home safely
by the end of the decade, Armstrong made a giant leap for mankind. That day in 1969 I launched
an model rocket as part of Estes' commemorative effort. Last night, in his memory, I
took this photo of the Tranquility Base region of the moon. Thank-you, and rest in peace,
is pretty cool. If I owned a good receiver, I would definitely give it a try. In 1970 when
this Popular Electronics article was written, a lot of Hams were still using tube receivers
so the recommendation to let the equipment warm up for several hours prior to making the
fine frequency adjustments was good advice. Nowadays the warm-up time and stability of receivers
should permit 30 minutes or so to suffice (even ovenized frequency references need time
to stabilize when first powered up). Unless I missed it, the author does not explicitly
state that the frequency change measured over time is due to
gravity acting on the mass of the crystal reference,, but I suspect that is his intention
since part of the experiment involves disconnecting the antenna and shielding the receiver
from outside interferers. Over a lunar month period (29.5 days) we experience a leap tide
and a neap tide which maximizes and minimizes, respectively, the vector sum of gravity and
therefore should result in the greatest excursions. Maybe with a super-stable source, a
larger scale phenomenon such as a planetary syzygy could be detected (but I doubt it).
Photography has an amazing collection of
still photos of the night sky. Shot from locations with very dark skies, these works
are awe-inspiring. Living in a city environment as I do, it is hard to imagine seeing so
My new CPC 800 Deluxe HD telescope has a loud squeal on the elevation axis when the clutch
is loosened enough to rotate the OTA easily, but not enough to allow it to rotate under
its own weight. Celestron claims this is normal. They graciously replaced my original telescope
with another new one and it has the exact same squeal. I know it is not the same telescope
that I returned because I had etched my initials on the bottom of the original.
I made a 35-second
video demonstration of the squeal, which the Celestron agent viewed and determined it
II really like this telescope otherwise, and maybe I expect too much. Has anyone else
noticed the squeal? Do you accept Celestron's claim that this is to be expected?
on page 545 of the Sears 1969 Christmas Wish Book is a selection of three refractor telescope
models. I can remember having an el cheapo (a little Spanish
lingo there) telescope as a kid living in Annapolis, Maryland, and being dumb enough
to screw the sun filter into the eyepiece to look at the sun during the total solar eclipse
of 1970 (12 years old at the time),, when the path
of totality ran just 50 miles or so south of my home. Telescopes usually don't include
solar filters that screw onto the eyepiece anymore for safety reasons.
on page 544 of the Sears 1969 Christmas Wish Book is a home planetarium setup. The 7"
diameter star projector had over 60 constellations. For an extra $19.99 you could buy a
plastic hemispherical dome that would actually make the star projector useful. According
to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' inflation calculator, the total cost of the
star projector and dome ($35.98 in 1969) would equal $224.61 in 2012 money.