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Found 15 results

  1. I'm working on a project to make a 6" f/8 Dobsonian telescope. This is a Newtonian reflector on a Dobsonian alt-azimuth mount. I've chosen to grind my own mirror for the telescope. While making my own mirror at this size saves zero money and my beginner skills won't result in a better mirror than a mass-produced one, there is a certain satisfaction in making the mirror myself. I am using a 1968 Edmund Scientific mirror kit, which has a nice Pyrex blank. I will be posting more detailed updates on the astronomy forum Cloudy Nights (my username is the same except for no underscores) if you really want to read the technical stuff. Grinding of the mirror is now finished, with the final focal length being about 39", making this an f/6.5. I measured the mirror's radius of curvature with my Ronchi/Foucault tester and got 94", which means that the focal length of the mirror is 47", making this basically f/8. Polishing is almost done. I had to destroy the original lap to unstick it from the mirror, and the pitch I was using was horrible. I ordered better pitch and some cerium oxide polishing agent, and have gotten quite a bit of polishing done. The mirror should be polished out soon, but the high temperatures here in New England have prevented me from getting much work done (I work in my garage). Initial Ronchi test readings show that the mirror is an oblate spheroid. It might return to a sphere once I finish polishing, or it might not. I can fix it easily, so I'm not worried. This is likely the first of many mirrors that I will make for myself, and, eventually, for customers. I am now planning on making a larger scope, a 10" f/6 or slower "planet killer". Work on that will begin after I finish the 6". I also have a large box of supplies and mirror blanks coming in a few weeks, the exact contents of which are unknown. I might make some other stuff with that.
  2. This is a thread for astro-photographers to talk about astro-imaging and share their photographs. Here are some of my best astronomy photos as of September 18th, 2016: Mars only a few weeks after opposition. M106 and a few other galaxies. Jupiter and Io in Feb. 2015. A star field in the constellation Cygnus, taken in August 2016. My best image of Saturn yet, with the Cassini Division! A fantastic view of craters near Mare Fecunditatis.
  3. IRVEES Imaging and Radial Velocity Exoplanet/Exomoon Search WHAT IS IRVEES? IRVEES is an exoplanet hunting club that uses different imaging techniques and the radial velocity method to search for exoplanets and detect the signs of exomoons around imaged planets. HOW DOES IRVEES FIND PLANETS? IRVEES will use the Transit, Direct Imaging, and Radial Velocity methods to find planets. The Transit Method is the tactic mainly and currently being used. Here's a run-down of how these methods will work in the program: TRANSITS: A patch of sky, selected by one of the leaders, is focused on by a tracking telescope. Either a deep-sky CCD camera or DSLR camera is hooked up to the telescope. If things are working, the entire 0.15x0.15 degree patch of sky should be visible through the camera. Next, a set of photographs are taken over a 1-5 hour period. For the initial study of the sky patch, I recommend one 0.1/0.6-second exposure every 60 seconds. The next day, the light data for each star must be studied to find the sign of a full transit, or a transit that was partially captured. Use a program like AIP4WIN or AIJ. Each dimming star must be studied on multiple occasions to find a reacurring, identical transit. Do 2-5 hours of 0.2/0.6 second exposures every 50 seconds. If the IDENTICAL TRANSIT is seen 3 times, you have a planet! DIRECT IMAGING: This method should only be used on telescopes with an aperture of at least 16". You will also need a coronagraph, small enough to reveal areas closer to the star, but big enough to blot out the star. Take about 10-15 images of the star. The images will have these things called Speckles, but multiple images stacked together into a mini-movie will cause the speckles to movie. Planets will not. The dot that isn't moving might be a planet. Check for a radial velocity signature, or check for background stars. If everything checks out, you have a planet! RADIAL VELOCITY: Another method to be used with larger scopes. This method will need a spectrometer. They can be hard to find and probably very expensive, but well worth it. Some local observatories may have some on their scopes. For this method, take the light data of a star a few hours for several nights. Plot the redshift and bueshift data on a scatterplot. If you have a planet, the "wave" in the scatterplot will be consistent, and never get higher or lower than before. Its timing will also be consistent. If you find starspots or flares, the period will be random and the light shifts will change. If your signal is not from solar activity, then you have a companion for the star! These measurements will also give you the minimum mass of the object. Anything below 13 Jupiter masses is a planet, but anything above it is either a brown dwarf or a low-mass star. If anyone needs clarification, here are two links: HOW WILL THESE OBJECTS BE NAMED? Stars will get a name from the IRVEES Star Catalog (ISC). The number that follows is a date. For example, May 10th, 2016 becomes 51016. If a single star with a transit in the field of view, it will be named after the date of its discovery. This also goes for stars with a wobble and a large object around them captured by direct imaging. But, if multiple transiting stars are present, they will be named by the day when follow-up observations are made (remember: Investigate each star one by one). The stars will keep their ISC names even after a planet is found. Any discovered planet will get an official IRVEES name, such as IRVEES-1b. The star will get that IRVEES name as a secondary or backup designation. The number in the IRVEES name is determined by either order in discovery or order of its star's detection. The rest is regular exoplanet naming conventions. However, if a signal of a moon is found, then the Possibly Lunar Object (PLO) will be named something like IRVEES-5c-m. WHAT THINGS ARE NEEDED? A telescope with an aperture of 4-30" for Transits, and 10+" for all other methods. Make sure it can track stars! Either a DSLR or deep-sky CCD camera. A spectrometer for Radial Velocity. A camera-to-lens adapter, depending on what camera you have. A laptop. An astro-imaging program like Fire Capture. A program to analyse the light from a star (AIP4WIN or AIJ). A coronagraph that's large enough to block out the star but small enough to reveal planets closer to the star. Lots of patience! IRVEES DETECTION RANGES IRVEES Detection Ranges (IDR's) are specially selected, small patches of sky far away from Kepler's viewing fields. Each IRD is 0.15 by 0.15 degrees, and will be near a relatively bright star. The chosen star must be below magnitude 6, perferably magnitudes 8 through 10. That way the star is bright enough to be seen, but dim enough so it doesn't blot out other stars. This IDR Guide Star will have a specific location in your field of view. Remember, post a photograph of the IDR through your scope so I can make sure you have the right position. Also use a program like GIMP or Google Drawings to circle stars with detected dips in brightness. IDR-1 The first IDR will take place in the area around the star AC 54 1646-56. This is an M2V dwarf star of magnitude 10.17 in the constellation of Ursa Major. It has a Right Ascension of [16h 25m 24.62333s] and a Declination of [54* 18' 14.7733"]. It will also go under the IRVEES Star Catalog designation of ISC 541814. The goal of this IDR is to try to find a transiting exoplanet around either ISC 541814 or around the other stars in that field of view. This star can be kept at the center of the telescope's field of view. I may be searching for planets here on July 12th. IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE TO DO? Members of IRVEES don't have to just be gathering data or hunting for the planets. If someone isn't able to find exoplanets, they can help analyse the data collected from each observation. Data analysis is pretty easy. For the transit method, look for dips in a star's light curve that dim the light of the star by less than 3%. Me and other planet hunters in IRVEES will provide the light curves of stars in the ISC catalog. For the radial velocity method, report the consecutive wave-like pattern in the data from a star. Once again, that data will be provided by the planet hunters. Anybody who finds the signature of an exoplanet in any type of data will be named the co-discoverer of that world, after the member who got the data. OTHER PROJECTS Project Lalande Transiting Exoplanet Moons Search (TEMS) FOUND PLANETS none ATM PLANET CANDIDATES none ATM SCHEDULE: October: Return of IRVEES observations and imaging! PRACTICE SYSTEMS: LEVEL 1: WASP-14 and TrES-2 LEVEL 2: Gliese 1214 and Gliese 436 LEVEL 3: Kepler-42 and TRAPPIST-1 LEVEL 4: Kepler-9, CoRoT-7, and Kepler-33 LEVEL 5: HD 80606, Kepler-62, Kepler-90 MEMBERS/COLLABORATORS @ProtoJeb21 (me) @Galacticvoyager @Kronos1174 @kunok @Panel @Mr. Quark @adamgerd SUPPORTERS/HELPERS/POSSIBLE MEMBERS @Spaceception @YNM @KAL 9000 @_PRATTER_ @Atlas2342 @RocketSquid @electricpants @Rdivine @cryogen @Andem @Emperor of the Titan Squid @_Augustus_ SEE ALSO: IRVEES Scientific Achievements IRVEES Exoplanets My Systems Found with Planet Hunters ______________________________________________________________________________________________ IF ANYONE WOULD LIKE TO PARTICIPATE IN FINDING PLANETS IN THE IRD, PLEASE LET ME KNOW. A PRIVATE MESSAGE IS NOT NEEDED.
  4. Welcome everyone! This thread is a continuation of @Endersmens Stargazing thread! This thread has been dedicated to stargazing and telescopes to those fellow stargazers among us. feel free to show people your telescopes, and so on (*feel free to do other stuff as well!*) I have a Celestron 6 inch telescope that is a bit expensive, but works great! (*sorry no other telescope details because I'm on holiday. Also I'm not able to take pics yet*) Edit: wait, I have a Celestron Nexstar 6SE Schmidt-Cassegrain
  5. There is a ton of intersting mods for ksp that add telescopes and cameras, but we dont use them. So i ve got an idea for your ksp activity . You launch your telescope into orbit and observe different planets from long distance , take some cool screenshots of planets and send it into the coments . (Dont forget to quickscope the planet! )
  6. Greetings All, The winners are here: None of my favourites made it so I thought I would post them anyway: Aurora Bird – Jan R Olsen (Norway) Jan R Olsen / The National Maritime Museum / Royal Observatory Greenwich’s Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2016 competition Between the Rocks – Rick Whitacre (USA) RICK WHITACRE / THE NATIONAL MARITIME MUSEUM / ROYAL OBSERVATORY GREENWICH’S ASTRONOMY PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR 2016 COMPETITION The Diamond Ring – Melanie Thorne (UK) Melanie Thorne / The National Maritime Museum / Royal Observatory Greenwich’s Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2016 competition Alone – Lee Cook (UK) Lee Cook / The National Maritime Museum / Royal Observatory Greenwich’s Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2016 competition
  7. This is a thread where people can chat about their astronomy studies, observations, careers, or other stuff. Users can post observation logs (well, typed versions anyways), photos of what they were observing, or things like stellar light curves, spectroscopic data, and information collected from observations. I'll be posting stuff too, as well as adding my astronomy photos to this post. Here are some now: JUPITER: SATURN: NEPTUNE: VENUS: INTERSTELLAR OBJECTS:
  8. The time has come! Mars has been in obscurity since April of 2014, but now it is shining at magnitude -1.9/-2.1. This is the brightest Mars has been since 2005 and it's time to take advantage of that. Mars' opposition is May 22nd and it will appear very nice for the next 5-10 days. So, if anyone has the right equipment, observe Mars! OTHER THINGS TO OBSERVE Mars is near Saturn, the Moon, and Antares, giving anybody a nice selection of beautiful astronomical objects to choose from. The nearby constellations of Scorpius and Ophiuchus have over a dozen clusters and nebulae combined and provide deep-sky observers a wide range of things to see. Farther away in the night sky is Jupiter. All of its moons are out, and Jupiter is also passing very close to some background stars. FINAL NOTES Anybody can post photographs of any objects they observe these nights. It is highly encouraged to post something about your observations, and to try and find surface features on Mars. I'll also be doing a bunch of observations, especially since I've missed every other Martian opposition. PICTURES If anybody wants to, they can have their pictures of Mars put up on this main page. Here are some of my best Mars pictures from my observations on May 20th: Happy Observing!
  9. Sunset is fairly late here at this time of year. I was walking around outside at around 8:20 PM local time and it was still quite bright out; the sun had sunk just below the treeline to the west but the sky hadn't yet started to go gray at all...still pale blue. To my surprise, I was able to see Jupiter just southeast of the zenith, quite clear. It could have been imagination, but it seemed to have both angular size and a faint golden tinge. I have seen planets just after sunset, but never so high or when the sky is still so bright. What's the highest magnitude a planet can get, and is Jupiter's angular size ever visible with the naked eye? Was the gold tint just my eyes playing tricks on me, or was it perhaps Rayleigh scattering?
  10. Required materials for Astro-physics: Mathematics Physics (Quantum,Mechanical) Is these are the first requirement?
  11. Here lately, there have been a lot of new discoveries that have come out that have shaped our understanding of space. So, in the spirit of discovery, it simply seemed that a single thread could be used as a repository where links could be shared. So, in the spirit of what the intent of this thread is, I will share an interesting article that I found this morning in my news feed. The summary is nothing more than a cut and paste of the first part of the article that basically introduces the new find. I do ask that if you share an article, you'd follow this example so we can have some sort of continuity. ---- Exoplanet has both molten and solid rock - Summary of the article: NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope to produce a precision temperature (exo-)map of 55 Cancri e scientists were able to find that one hemisphere is almost completely molten rock, while the other half is almost completely solid. 55 Cancri e is approximately 40 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Cancer. According to report from Discovery, this is the first time such a map has been produced of such a small rocky world around 8-times the mass of Earth.
  12. So I was pretty disapointed that I missed the SpaceX landing and I've looked across the web for upcoming events, though I couldn't find a lot about spaceflight (like the spaceX landing)/ astronomy events. Could anyone give some things to look forward to in 2016?
  13. The article is pretty self-descriptive, though I am not convinced about the certainty of what they say. How in fact do they know that they are right, its not like you can go to a star 10000 ly away and measure the mass of a star.
  14. I've been imagining a fictional species(three, actually) for writing a story/game(whichever comes first), and a key point for them is that they reside in a world that is on risk of being destroyed by one of three risks - if a risk doesn't end up killing it, the other one(s) will - but are too stubborn to leave it behind. However, I want those to be as realistic as possible, and i'm not sure if I made them to work correctly - I was never that good in physics or chemistry - so, I'd like to discuss whether those disastrous outcomes would actually occur when in the right situation. • The main risk, and arguably the one who set everything moving foward, is when the planet's star, previously a red dwarf, suddently swelled into a red giant, consuming the inner worlds and causing the surviving ones to be burned into a crisp. The homeworld survived, but its temperature was far higher than normal, its plants have been withering away under the heat, the seas and lakes were drying up, and the ozone layer was being destroyed. In order to stop the chaos from happening, they created a force field to serve both as a makeshift ozone layer, and to hold up against the increased heat. This force field later ends up struggling a lot as the red giant continues to grow bigger. • Also in a bid to prevent the previous risk, they made artificial plant life to replace the previous one. Made to be far more resistant to the current climate *and* to filter hot air into cold air, they were spread across the entire planet to rebuild. Alas, even though it was a noble attempt, it did little to stop both the next risk and to calm down the population, which agreed that their homeworld was lost and that it'd be better off to just leave. This ends up being the risk that destroys the world, as one of the leaders - there being six in total, due to the government being a technocracy - grows rabid and too attached to his homeworld, and takes control of the plants to "assimilate" those who don't agree with him - at this point being everyone. • The final risk, while not exactly related to the star, was almost certainly caused by it. By mixing the tidal forces of the star with that of the homeworld's biggest moon, the result wound up being far, far more potent tidal forces storming against the homeworld, causing numerous cracks to open on its surface, releasing both molten lava and abominations which resided deep underground - and as they were primarily adapted to survive in such hostile conditions, the overground was easy prey for them, and became essentially an invasive species, taking over large swatches of land at alarming rates. The ravines also continued to crack open due to the relentless tidal forces, eventually taking down entire cities in the process. The planet was basically becomming swiss cheese. This all sounds pretty macabre, but my abilities to make characters suffer is not the key point in here - and most of the plot would not take in that world, anyway. Would those apocalyptic scenarios actually work in real life, presented in appropriate circumstances, or they ultimately end up being fantastic and unrealistic?
  15. I had a thought the other day. What would science be like if we were blind? Could we develop astronomy, and space travel? Would we even know there were other bodies? It's certainly possible to be an astronomer today, and blind - due to accident or from birth. But imagine a species just like ours, on a planet with a moon and sun just like ours, but that had never developed eyes (or lost them before the advent of civilization). What would it be like then?