Observing


The nearest star to the Earth is easily observed during the day. It just happens to be called the Sun. The problem is, it’s quite close and this can make it very hard to observe safely without hurting yourself or hurting your eyes. The current speaker, Lee MacDonald, is discussing several simple rules for attaining good results for anyone who wants to observe the Sun. Basic Rules: Don’t buy cheap filters or off brand...

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One of the hardest things you can observationally do in astronomy is spectroscopy. You have to guide really well to keep the light on the slit. You have to calibrate the sensitivity across you chip (flat fielding like you do in imaging), the sensitivity as a function of wavelength (using a hot standard star as a continuum source), and how the wavelengths are spaced (diffracted) as a function of wavelength (this is done with a standard...

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AAVSO/BAA Day 1: Remote Observing


Posted By on Apr 11, 2008

So, if you’re like, you may not own a telescope (story later, because I know you’ll ask). Like me, you may love looking through telescopes, taking images through telescopes, and just being able to intellectually get your hands dirty doing observational astronomy. If you are like me, you just can’t quite afford the scope you want. My personal way of handling this empty space in my life that a telescope could fit into...

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AAVSO/BAA Day 1: Binary Adventures


Posted By on Apr 11, 2008

Variable stars come in many forms – there are happy little regular stars, widely separated and merrily circling ones dancing an eon long dance. Some white dwarfs – dead stars, cooling into stellar embers of stars – become vampires as they gravitationally suck mass from their companion and heat themselves back out of the stellar grave. There are stars with touching atmospheres that are merging, spiraling, reheating in...

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To Texas, and Home Again


Posted By on Mar 19, 2008

Let me just say, I’m always looking for a good reason to go to Texas and especially the Houston area. My entire trip last week was wonderful, and the dessert in San Antonio was a special treat. After going to see Lucy Friday, Saturday was spent lazing around San Antonio’s river walk and then attending a San Antonio Astronomical Association Star Party at the Scobee Planetarium, which is next to, and much smaller than, the...

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Want to get involved in taking data? Visiting with researchers? Getting others looking up? Here are some ways: The GLOBE at Night:  Starting Monday February 25, the GLOBE at Night program is asking everyone in the world (which would include you) to go out, look up, match how many stars they see in Orion with comparison charts available online, and then report their observations through their website.   This data will be...

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