Joined Sep 28 2010
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45 years old
between bev and driff
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Brough Astronomy [BLAS]

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Reply Flamencopaul
8:48 PM on October 12, 2010 
Some thoughts on investing in binoculars...You should be looking for a set of 10 x 50 binos (10x magnification 50mm diameter lenses), any more magnification and you'll need a tripod too. You don't necessarily need to spend a lot of money. My 10 x 50 binos cost me about 10 from a charity shop and they work great!. The important thing is to check the optics. At least one of the eyepieces should be independently focusable to allow for slight differences in your eyes. The optics should be well collimated (each side is aligned correctly), a quick way to check this is to take a pair outside of the shop, focus on something at least a few hundred metres away (not the sun though!), make sure both eyes are in focus, then alternately open and close each eye. As you do this, the image should stay in the same place - if it seems to jump from side to side as you open and close each eye, then the optics aren't properly aligned and astro use will be difficult.
Hope this info is useful to you,

Reply Flamencopaul
8:47 AM on October 5, 2010 
As an introduction to general observing, the best thing you can do is buy a cheap pocket guide to the night sky - Phillips publish one, but there are others - and a pair of binoculars. This will allow you to quickly learn your way around the constellations as well as developing your ability to find galaxies and nebulae etc, in advance of investing in a telescope. There is also excellent planetarium software available on the internet. Stellarium is free, and probably the easiest to use. You can download it from http://www.stellarium.org/

The BRT is an excellent resource, but takes a bit of getting used to - the Jupiter image you mentioned illustrates a common problem in astro-imaging, that of objects with large differences in brightness. An image which shows the Jovian moons will overexpose Jupiter itself - an image which shows Jupiter well won't capture the moons. The solution is to take 2 images, one for the planet and another for the moons then combine them in photoshop, however image processing is a huge subject and it takes a while to get your head around some of the tricks of the trade. Next time you use the BRT, try taking 3 different images of the same object using different exposure times and compare the results - alternatively, have a look through the BRT gallery and see what settings other people have used and take that as a guide.

For a general introduction to astronomy and telescopes, there are 3 local societies that you may want to consider. All three societies are open to guests/visitors and you would be most welcome at any of them.

The Hull and East Rising Astronomical Society (HERAS) is a lecture based society offering a program of visiting guest speakers ( http://www.heras.org.uk/index.php ) and meets on the 2nd monday of each month at Hull University.

More local to you are East Riding Astronomers, ( http://www.astrogen.karoo.net/era_index.html ). ERA are an observing society and meet at the Friends Meeting House, Quaker Lane, Beverley, on the 3rd monday of each month. On clear nights they observe through a variety of telescopes, so you would quickly get an idea of what you can expect to see using different equipment.

BLAS combines observing and talks given by members, as well as specialising in astrophotography. BLAS also has a commitment to sharing the delights of astronomy with the wider public and organises regular open observatory nights. We are currently planning something for the weekend of 13th/14th of November which will include solar observing during the daytime and more traditional astronomy in the evenings. Although the BLAS club meeting night is the 4th monday of the month, there is a hard core of observers/imagers who are there most clear nights.

If you would like to arrange a visit to the BLAS observatory, contact me either by email, paul@laxey,karoo.co.uk or by phone on 01482 448060.

There are no 'daft' questions in astronomy, a famous quote, I think by Einstein, sums it up nicely "...not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine..."!

It is from the daftest qustions that we sometimes gain the most profound insights.

Hope you find this info helpful.
Reply Flamencopaul
4:54 PM on October 1, 2010 
Hi Jin,

Welcome to the BLAS site.

Living between Beverley and Driffield you must have dark skies. Are you a telescope observer?