Amateur Astronomy Images and Resources
In mid-August 2003, not entirely due to Mars mania (but mostly
so), I decided to fulfill a lifelong yearning to get more involved
in amateur astronomy. I visited Boston
Telescope with a vague plan to either repair my crippled Celestron
FirstScope 114 (Hale-Bopp mania...) or upgrade to something more
interesting. I had no idea how evolved modern amateur telescopes
have become, and walked out of there with a Meade
LX200GPS 8" and a grin on my face from ear to ear. My ten-year-old
son, Ray, who had accompanied me on the trip, was giving me some
really funny looks...
While I try to learn the constellations and figure out how to observe,
I also dabble a bit in astrophotography. Right now I'm using a Philips
ToUCam Pro webcam and Registax
1.1 for image selection and stacking.
Images are listed in reverse-chronological order. Some useful resources
[For a great explanation of sunspots, see this.]
October 30: Sunspot groups 486
October 25: Sunspot groups 484
October 20: Sunspot
October 6: Moon
September 24: Mars
Amateur Astronomy Resources
[More to come. This is just a start.]
Shore Amateur Astronomy Club - My local club. Very friendly
(and tolerant!) group (after all, they tolerate me as the
newsletter editor and web site maintainer...)
Freeware image processing utility
Pinkham's page: Freeware LX200 remote-control utilities
took me a while, but I finally found a RAM Disk utility for XP Home
that runs reliably and allows a large (~256M or more) device size.
A RAM Disk can speed up Registax processing by around 30%. The version
downloadable on this page is limited to 64M, but you can email the
author and request the version that allows larger sizes. There is
a suggested donation of $10 or so, but the software is fully functional
whether or not you pay it (he says there's a nag screen, but I've
never seen it)
Engineering: Great, useful mod kits for the LX200
and Using a Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope by Rod Mollise: If
I'd read this before running out to buy doodads for my LX200, I
would've saved myself some money and lots of grief. Reading this
book feels like having my own personal amateur telescope expert
guardian angel to put me on track...
Probably the best "first" book on astronomy there is.
Richly detailed, plenty of useful (but not intimidating) star charts,
fun to read.
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