Saturday, February 21, 2004
Deep sky observing report 20-02-2004

Friday night I visited Sourbrot (Belgium), one of my favourite dark sky sites, together with 7 other observers from the local astronomy group. As I got out of the car, I immediately noticed that the sky was very transparent. The constellation of cancer was completely visible to the naked eye, with at its heart the big star cluster M 44. I got out my 7x50 binoculars and ........... follow this link to read the full story

Posted by Math on 02/21 at 06:09 AM | filed in: Deepsky log | Print
Wednesday, February 04, 2004
Star Clusters by Archinal and Hynes

Among my favorite deep sky objects are open clusters and asterisms. A few weeks ago I ordered a new book on open clusters, globular clusters and asterisms: Star Clusters by Brent A. Archinal and Steven J. Hynes. Last Saturday I received this magnificent book.

It covers, in just under 500 pages, everything an observer would like to know about these beautiful objects. It contains data on 5045 individual clusters, not only in our own milky way, but also in the Andromeda Galaxy, the Magellanic Cloud’s and the Fornax Dwarf Galaxy. Besides the catalog data like magnitude, size, distance, Ra, Dec, etc.  there are extended notes on hundreds of these objects.

You will also find chapters on the history and astrophysics of open and globular clusters. Finally there is a chapter devoted to the observation of these objects. This book, with the most up-to-date catalog of star clusters, is published by Willmann-Bell Inc. ISBN 0-943396-80-8. If you are an observer of open clusters, globular clusters or asterisms, this book should be part of your library!

For some sample pages, and the table of contents please follow this link to Star Clusters.


Book cover from “Star Clusters”
Credits and Copyright: Willmann-Bell Inc.

Posted by Math on 02/04 at 03:30 AM | filed in: Books and magazines | Print
Tuesday, February 03, 2004
Observing comets

If you are interested in comets or need some info on observing them be sure to visit these two links:

First of all go to Gary W. Kronk’s Here you will not only find info about comets that are visible at the moment, but also information on all periodic comets, sungrazers, links and many more interesting things on comets and their discoverers.

Another good site on comets is JPL’s comet observation home page., with recent news, images and observations, the ephemerides for current visually observable comets, and a lot of other information and links.


Posted by Math on 02/03 at 03:43 AM | filed in: Hot links! | Print
Friday, January 30, 2004
The Pickering seeing scale

When logging your deep sky observations, try to log the seeing, transparency and sky darkness of the night of observing. For the seeing you can use the Pickering seeing scale.  The scale is based on what a bright star looks like in a small telescope, using high magnification. It is a 1 to 10 scale, where 1 is very poor and 10 is excellent / perfect. As the scale is made using a 5-inch reflector, the results for other telescopes could be different. You probably have to modify the Pickering scale for your personal use. Visit Damien Peach’s website where you can find an animated version of the Pickering’s seeing scale. This will give you a very good idea of the different types of seeing you can expect.

Posted by Math on 01/30 at 07:05 AM | filed in: Hot links! | Print
Monday, January 26, 2004
Binocular astronomy using the Sky Window

I love to observe the night sky with binoculars. I use a 7x50 Bresser and a 15x80 Vixen together with the Sky Window, a binocular mirror mount. If you want to know why I like binocular observing, especially in combination with a binocular mirror mount, just go to Sky Window and Binoculars page. It has has been completely rewritten. A lot of images and useful links have been added as well. Enjoy!


Posted by Math on 01/26 at 08:01 AM | filed in: Equipment | Print
Thursday, January 22, 2004
Topsite on observing planetary nebulae (with downloadable data)

If you are interested in observing planetary nebula, be sure to visit the Planetary Nebulae Observer’s Home Page. You will find an introduction to planetary nebulae, over 200 images, more than 1200 observing reports, data on 1143 planetaries. There are also tips on observing planetaries, the use of nebula filters and some pages with Seasonal Best Planetaries, a page for each season with 25 planetaries for beginning but also for very experienced observers.

Last but not least there are some interesting files available for downloading (word or excel). One of them is an excel file containing data on 1143 planetaries, including the common name(s), catalogue number(s), RA, DEC, Size, magnitude, surface brightness, type, distance, magnitude of central star, constellation and more.

A very informative site! Be sure to check it out.

Posted by Math on 01/22 at 08:28 AM | filed in: Hot links! | Print
Friday, January 09, 2004
Exploring the Moon

As an observer, I like to get as much information as I can get on the objects I am observing. The moon is one of my favorite observing targets. There ar many great sites on the internet about earth’s satellite. Exploring the Moon is one of them.

On this site you will find a timeline of lunar exploration with photos and capsule histories of scientists, discoveries, publications and space missions, an online photographic lunar atlas, a comprehensive catalog of lunar craters, complete texts of critical early papers and other interesting lunar information.

Highly recommended for everyone with in interest in the Moon!

Posted by Math on 01/09 at 02:55 AM | filed in: Hot links! | Print
Saturday, January 03, 2004
Welcome to the Solar pages of my astronomy blog. To make things a little easier for you, I divided the lunar blog entries into four categories, Solar basics, Solar log and Solar scraps. In the Solar basics section, I will publish small articles about a few basic solar properties. In the Solar log I am filing my solar observing reports. Finally, in Solar scraps you will find various things that have to do with observing the Sun, short articles, images, books, links etc.

All sections are updated frequently, so hop in every now and again!

To go to one or more of the categories, please click on the link(s) below:

Solar basics

Solar log

Solar scraps

Posted by Math on 01/03 at 07:04 AM | (0) Comments | filed in: Sun | Print
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