....The long February nights offer us the opportunity to admire the winter sky in its best moment. The most typical constellations of this epoch of the year, Orion and Gemini, are already high in the sky in the first hours of the night, showing us their precious treasures. A good telescope allows us to go deeper into their secrets, such as the Orion Nebula (M42), a wonderful star nursery located at about 1500 light-years from us, or the rich Gemini cluster, not far from the bright multiple-star system of Castor. On the other side of the sky, it is still possible to admire the Andromeda galaxy, a very big but blurry object due to the incredible distance of more than 2 million light-years from our Earth.

After sunset, the planets Mars and Venus shine bright to the West in the early hours, while Jupiter starts crossing the sky from the East after midnight.

The Moon is the big protagonist of the sky in the first part of February. We should not miss the opportunity to admire her with a number of magnifications: she will reveal her big seas with their islands, her long chains of mountains and her enormous and deep craters. In spite of the distance of some 250.000 miles, the Moon shows us incredible details of her surface through our telescopes.

Clear skies to everybody!   

Las largas noches de febrero nos ofrecen la ocasión de admirar el cielo del invierno en todo su esplendor. Las constelaciones más características de esta época, como Orión y Gémini, ya se encuentran muy altas en las primeras horas de la noche, enseñándonos sus preciados tesoros. Un buen telescopio nos permite escudriñar sus secretos, como la Nebulosa de Orión (M42), fantástico criadero de estrellas a unos 1500 años luz de nosotros, o el riquísimo cúmulo de Gémini(M35), no lejos de la brillante estrella múltiple Cástor. También al otro lado del cielo es posible admirar a la galaxia de Andrómeda (M31), que se nos presenta como un objeto magnífico pero débil y borroso, debido a la increíble distancia de más de 2 millones de años luz desde la Tierra.

Después del ocaso, los planetas Marte y Venus siguen resistiéndose a ponerse en el Oeste, mientras que en la parte opuesta del cielo Júpiter se levanta pasada la medianoche.

La Luna es la gran protagonista de la primera parte del cielo de febrero. No debemos perdernos la oportunidad de observarla con unos cuantos aumentos: nos desvelará los  misterios de sus mares y sus islas, sus cordilleras de montañas y sus enormes y profundos cráteres. A pesar de los 400.000 Km que nos separan, la Luna nunca deja de sorprendernos por la cantidad de detalles que podemos apreciar con nuestros telescopios.

¡Cielos despejados para todos!  



I had a great email conversation with photography enthusiast Andy Bailey the other week that i had to share his questions with our resident photographer Carly Higgins and here were our  answers: 


I sell a lot of full spectrum cameras to astrophotographers but I have never been able to use one here in the uk due to light pollution. 

1) would I need to use a full spectrum camera or would a unmodified one be ok?

2) where is the closest point to corralejo where I could capture the Milky Way.  Could I achieve this in a single image or would I need to stack several shots?

3) I understand that at around 28mm I could use a maximum exposure of around 30 seconds. Does that sound right?

Could you advise what settings you would use?

I have various compact, bridge and dslr camera to choose from but would like to carry something practical and as cheap as possible. 

Hi Andy

You don't have to use a full spectrum camera. Most of our photos are taken with dslr's. As a collective we own full frame Canon body's and 3/4sensor bodies. Our previous photographer and the founder are Nikon lovers. As you can see from our website: www.starsbynight.es and Instagram account: instagram.com/starsbynightfv/ you can still produce amazing photos with basic equipment. 

We are very lucky in Fuerteventura that you don't have to go too far out to see the milky way or to see stars at night. We do observations just 5mins away from the RIU hotel near the dunes which is about 10min drive from the centre of Corralejo. You won't really see the Milky way in April. From July onwards we have a good view but September/October are the best months to see it with with the naked eye. Yes, you can take a photo of this in a single image. 

As for your 28mm lens... well that depends if its a full frame, APSC or Micro4/3  camera, what fstop of your lens ( this will change the light qualities depending on what sensor size you have)? What iso? as a general rule and depending on what you are shooting - be it milky way or stars in general, or light/star trails  you would be looking at anything from minimum of 20sec-30secs for a night photo ( depending on what you are photographing). 

If you are specifically looking at taking night time photos i  would recommend bringing a dslr with the widest and brightest lens you have. If this is not what you have then a good start would be something with a lens that is f4 and/or brighter (f2.8, f2, f1.8, f1.2 - are nice to play with). Yet you can still take a good quality photo with even a standard 18-55 kit lens if its only milky way that you want to shoot. 



"Have you ever tried using a Ricoh theta S fir astrophography"

No I have never tried 360 degree photography

"The Milky Way is the object that I wanted to try and capture. I have several apps on my phone to help track it. I guess planets and nebulas would potential need longer exposures and equatorial mount. " 

You can capture images of the planets (looking like stars) using only a DSLR and actually as some are very bright you don't need a long exposure, but If you are looking to take more deep space images yes you would need a very long exposure so an equatorial mount or tracker of some kind would be essential.

"This is the style of photo I'd like to achieve. Astroscape!  Is the following a series of images (foreground / background) or still just the one?"( see above picture for reference)

This is all one image in camera, where possible I prefer to do this and reduce processing time

"If it's easy to explain how would you achieve the above image? "

This image is just a single exposure of 15s at f/2.8 and ISO 2000 and would be very easy for even a beginner to take, its the kind of image we will learn to take on workshops. It was a beautiful clear night and the milky way was clearly visible to the naked eye. There is of course a little post processing in Photoshop

"Finally one last question, assuming there was a clear sky with no foreground subject like the windmill, how would you advise achieving the image of the Milky Way like it is in the image above (assuming I was using an APS C with kit lens)"

You would need to use your widest angle lens to get as much of the sky in as possible, if you have a kit lens I am guessing something like 18-55mm which on a crop sensor is equivalent to 27mm on full frame - not massive wide but definitely workable. You also want to use the lowest aperture possible f/2.8 or below if you have it. Using the 500 hundred rule (something else we teach on the workshop) you can workout how long an exposure (shutter speed) you can have without starting to get star trails. For 27mm I would recommend no more than 18 seconds. You will then need to adjust your ISO to get a properly exposed image balancing it against the other 2 elements of the exposure triangle Aperture and Shutter Speed. It would be really great to have you attend a workshop as I can demonstrate exactly how to capture and image like this and work with you to get exactly what you want.

To note: content has been edited slightly to remove places and dates. 




IMG_9119 crop.jpg

....Winter is the season when our Earth passes at the closest distance from the Sun, but curiously enough the temperatures are the lowest in the year. This is due to the inclination of the axis of our planet, that in the northern hemisphere makes our star appear to be lower on the horizon and the days are shorter. On the other hand, as the nights are longer and the ecliptic is higher, reaching quite the zenith in our latitudes, this is the best season for the observation of the night sky.

Also its precious constellations, as Gemini, Taurus and Auriga, together with the ones which remind us of the myth of the giant hunter – Orion, his dogs and animals - show us their fantastic treasures.

Winter is the epoch of the great star clusters, such as the Pleiades and the Hyades, visible with naked eyes, or the far open clusters hidden in Auriga, Gemini or the Big Dog, as M35, M36 and M41, beautiful targets for our telescopes.

In the first part of January we can enjoy the Moon, which can show us, with different magnifications her impressive craters, her abrupt mountains, her broad seas scattered by isolated peaks, such as Montes Tenerife, a tribute to the first observatory located on a high mountain on the island nearby us.

¡Clear skies to everybody!   ..


El invierno es la estación en la que la Tierra se encuentra más cerca del Sol, pero curiosamente las temperaturas son las más bajas del año. Esto se debe a la inclinación el eje terrestre, que hace que en el hemisferio norte nuestra estrella se levante menos sobre el horizonte y los días sean más cortos. En cambio, las noches más largas y la posición más elevada de la eclíptica, que en nuestras latitudes alcanza casi el cenit, hacen del invierno la estación más propicia para la observación del cielo nocturno.

También sus preciosas constelaciones, como Gémini, Tauro y Auriga, así como aquellas que están relacionadas con el mito del gigante cazador, es decir Orión, sus perros y sus animales, nos enseñan sus brillantes tesoros.

El invierno es la época de los grandes racimos estelares, como las Pléyades y las Híades, visibles a simple vista, así como los lejanos cúmulos abiertos escondidos en Auriga, Gémini o el Can Mayor, tales como M35, M36 o M41, fantásticos objetos al alcance de nuestros telescopios.

En la primera mitad del enero podremos admirar también a la Luna, que con unos cuantos aumentos nos desvela sus impresionantes cráteres, sus agudas montañas, sus amplios mares salpicados por islas remotas, como los Montes Tenerife, así bautizados en homenaje al primer observatorio de alta montaña de la historia, el que alberga nuestra vecina occidental.

¡Cielos despejados para todos!  


The star of Bethlehem and the Three Kings

The celebration of Christmas prompts many people to recount the biblical story of three wise men guided to the birthplace of Jesus Christ by a bright object in the sky. There have been numerous possible scientific explanations of what the Star of Bethlehem may have been. 

It must be remembered that the Chaldeans who occupied Mesopotamia 2,000 years ago were assiduous observers of the night sky and were very familiar with the motions of the sun, moon and planets. The three kings were religious scholars known as the Magi - revered Babylonian astronomers and astrologists. They studied the stars and planets, interpreting the meaning behind cosmic events. Anything very unusual was considered an omen, so the star must have been both rare and visually spectacular, and if something very rare took place in the sky, the ancient skywatchers would have noticed it immediately.

After countless reading of articles i’ve summarised a few to ponder over:

  • One of those proposed possibilities played out in the night sky this year on August the 27th; an exceedingly close encounter between the two brightest planets, Venus and Jupiter which appears to almost touch. Venus-Jupiter encounter is one of those rare events, and something similar appeared in the sky more than 20 centuries ago. A rare apparition. The biblical account of the story of the Star of Bethlehem calls for not one, but two "stars." One to be seen at the start of the Magi's journey, while the other appearing to them upon their arrival in Bethlehem.  Interestingly, in August of 3 B.C., Venus and Jupiter were prominent in the predawn eastern sky, and on Aug. 12 they came within just 9 arc minutes (0.15 degrees) of each other as seen from the Middle East. Incidentally, this sign would have been seen by men "in the east," explaining the phrase in the Book of Matthew.  Ten months later, Venus and Jupiter got together again for an even more spectacular encore on June 17, 2 B.C., when at sundown from Babylonia they were separated by just 4 arc minutes of each other, about 35 degrees above the western horizon. As the sky grew dark, the two brightest planets drew closer to each other until finally at 9:15 p.m. local time they drew to within 36 arc seconds (0.01 degree) equal to the mean apparent width of Jupiter as seen through a telescope, at an altitude of 15 degrees above the horizon. To most people, the two planets must have appeared to coalesce into a single "star" somewhat brighter than Venus alone. The fact that Jupiter and Venus had such a close conjunction at this time in history has led some people theorize that it could be an explanation for the Star of Bethlehem. 
  • The other theory is that the star of Bethlehem was probably not a star at all, and that it was more than one single event.  Astronomer-astrologers reported omens to the king; these were anything unusual - perhaps the moon moving in front of a planet, or a lunar eclipse. Their job was to interpret the meaning of these phenomena. There was also an elite class of diviners who created nativity charts. They recorded the positions of the planets, the Sun, the Moon and other astronomical data at the time of a child's birth, in order to make predictions about that person's life.  Some believe that the wise men from the East, or the "Magi" of the nativity, were astrologers from Mesopotamia, and that the star rising in the east was the horoscope that predicted the birth of a king. If so, they were reading a nativity chart in reverse; they had the prediction and sought to find the child who had been born at that precise moment.


  • Best explanation for this series of events is something known as a triple conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn - with the two planets coming close together in the sky three times over a short period. This happens when] you get an alignment between the Sun, the Earth, Jupiter and Saturn.  Tim O'Brien, associate director of Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire, suggests this would have looked striking. "It's remarkable how much your attention is drawn when two very bright objects come together in the sky," he explains.And once the planets lined up in their orbits, Earth would "overtake" the others, meaning that Jupiter and Saturn would appear to change direction in the night sky. "You would [only] get a triple conjunction like this about every 900 years," he says, so for astronomers in Babylon 2,000 years ago, it would have been a signal of something very significant."A triple conjunction of this kind ticks all the boxes."


  • Another explanation is a very bright comet.  While certainly spectacular and ethereal in appearance, comets are essentially "big, dirty snowballs" flying through space.  When they come close to the Sun, this ice melts - solar wind blows this material out into space, so you get a tail of matter coming off the comet,this tail, which points away from the Sun, is one of the things that has made the comet idea popular.  The most timely record was of a bright comet appearing in the constellation of Capricorn in 5BC, which was recorded by astronomers in China.


  • A less likely, but more famous candidate was Halley's comet, which was visible around 12BC.Those who favour this theory point out that the 5BC comet would have been in the southern sky as seen from Jerusalem, with the head of the comet close to the horizon and the tail is pointing vertically upward.


  • Another theory is that the star was light from the birth of a new star, or nova. There are records - again from astronomers in the Far East - of a new star in the small, northern constellation of Aquila in 4BC. People who like this theory say this new star would have been [positioned] directly over Jerusalem.  Dr Robert Cockcroft, manager of the McCallion Planetarium at McMaster University in Ontario says a nova is "a good candidate" for the star of Bethlehem.


From all us to you at StarsByNight, hope you have a fabulous holiday period!





Scale of the Universe

A fantastic interaction that shows you how small we are and how big out there is. Quick fun.  By moving the scroll bar across the bottom, you can explore, while clicking on different items will bring up the descriptive information. Created by Cary and Michael Huang. If you want to play with the interaction click on this link: http://scaleofuniverse.com/


.... At the beginning of November, the Milky Way is not as bright, but is still offering us a beautiful picture in the first hours of the night, towards the South-East. Planet Mars is easy to recognize after sunset due to its reddish colour, crossing the Zodiac between Sagittarius and Capricorn in the South.

On the other side of the Milky Way, Perseus, Cassiopeia and Andromeda appear higher and higher every night from the North-Eastern horizon, telling us their troubled but happy-ended history. A telescope discovers in this area beautiful and fascinating objects, such as the Andromeda galaxy, the Double Cluster of Perseus, ET the extraterrestrial or the binary star Almach.

The Moon will not miss her date with her admirers, being the best days to watch her from the 5th to the 12th, just before its Full phase of the 14th. Don't miss the opportunity to observe her craters and mountains with a good telescope and under the guide of an expert: nobody will remain indifferent when looking at this incredible view.

Clear skies to everybody! 


En el mes de noviembre, la Vía Láctea pierde protagonismo, aunque nos ofrece todavía un interesante espectáculo a primeras horas de la noche hacia el suroeste. El planeta Marte sigue siendo fácil de reconocer después del ocaso debido a su color rojizo, mientras va cruzando la zona zodiacal entre Sagitario y Capricornio cerca del horizonte Sur. Al lado opuesto de la Vía Láctea, Perseo, Cassiopea y Andrómeda se levantan cada vez más desde el Noreste, contándonos su atormentada historia con final feliz. El telescopio nos descubre en esta zona objetos tan bonitos y fascinantes como la galaxia de Andrómeda, el Cúmulo Doble de Perseo, ET el extraterrestre o la estrella binaria Almach.

Y la Luna tampoco faltará a la cita este mes, siendo los días mejores para admirarlas entre el 5 y el 12, antes del plenilunio del 14. No se pierdan la oportunidad de observarla y descubrir sus cráteres y sus montañas con la ayuda de un experto y de un buen telescopio: nadie se quedará indiferente antes este espectáculo.

¡Cielos despejados para todos!  


....STAR STRUCK CHATTING WITH OUR STAR GUIDE. 5 minute interview with Iñaki .. STAR STRUCK! CHARLA CON EL GUÍA STAR. Entrevista de 5 minutos con Iñaki....

.... Iñaki is the latest member of the team at StarsbyNight. Inaki's storytelling, knowledge and charisma capture the  audience as he enlightens the night with his  light shows and unusual locations to tell us all about the night sky. Come and join him in Spanish on Sunday nights, or in English on Tueday nights.

Tell me, what is the difference between an Astronomer and a Star Guide?

An astronomer is a person who is dedicated to the science and physics of his profession. Imagine! This is not me! I have a basic knowledge of Astronomy and recognise the different places in the night sky. Simply, I enjoy sharing my knowledge with people, in a friendly and fun way. My passion is my job and I love it! 

What started your interest in the night sky?

From a young age I liked to stop and observe the stars, but the first time I began to understand the constellations and how to orientate myself by the stars was whilst I was on a survival course in the wild.

Where are you from?

I was born in Benicasim, a small village on the east coast of Spain, just above Valencia.

What attracted you to Fuerteventura?

I was in Nicaragua, when a friend told me that Fuerteventura had good waves for surf and good wind for kiting. I checked online and discovered that the island is also a Starlight Reserve!! In a few days I had bought my plane ticket and I am here!

What can you see in Fuerteventura in the sky?

The great thing about Fuerteventura is the clear skies and if you move away from the urbans centres where there is little light pollution than you can enjoy the starry skies that are not easy to find anymore! 

Where else/other countries have you been teaching people about the night?

I created my own way of communicating to the people about the stars above in Andalusia, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Honduras.

Have you gone anywhere unusual?

I have visited some 30 countries till now; Asia, Africa, Europe and the Caribbean, different islands in the Indian Ocean and Central and North America….many beautiful places, always travelling with my rucksac, but unusual? My travels are quite normal for a person who is accustomed to travel, we are all on planet Earth. I would like one day to see planet Earth from Space. hahaha. 

What are constellations?

The sky is divided into 88 parts and each of these parts forms a group of stars that we call constellations. The oldest civilsations named these constealltions after an animal or person (some need more imagination than others), to make it easier for the people to remember them. They are also a great point of reference for astrnomers of all epcos, even today.  

Imagine that I ask you where is Madrid. Well, the answer will be in Europe, and in Spain more specifically.

Now, if the question is where is the Galaxy M31, also known as Andromeda. Well you must look to the part of the sky where you will find the Adromeda constealtion and M31 is specifically situated close to the star Andromeda. Like this all astrnomers know the place in the sky that they are looking for.

How many constellations are there?

There are 88 different constellations between the northern and southern hemisphere.  In the northern hemisphere, the most common visible are the Ursa Major and Ursa Minor. These constealtions are visible throughout the whole year. The Ursa Major is very easy to recognize as it’s stars are very bright, compared to Ursa Minor that has less bright stars, however, it does have our main star, Polaris, the polar star that always shows the north. 

Do you need a telescope to see the night sky?

No, the only thing necessary is that we learn and enjoy the night sky with our eyes. Other tools, like telescopes and binoculars help us to observe deeper space objects that we find further away or less bright. But to start with this view is more than sufficient.

Any funny stories that you can tell us?

I remember when travelling with my equipment that I have created to share astronomical information, a briefcase with strange lights. I would always cause a stir at the airports, with security thinking I had some kind of bomb. It always ended well with a little display of how my materials work capturing the interest of everyone around.  In the Dominican Republic I even bumped in to one such “observer”.  It was my briefcase that he remembered! We  become good friends. 

Thanks Iñaki


Iñaki es el último miembro del equipo de StarsbyNight. Iñaki de la narración, el conocimiento y carisma capturar a la audiencia mientras se ilumina la noche con sus espectáculos de luz y lugares inusuales para contarnos todo sobre el cielo nocturno.  Venir y unirse a él en español domingos por la noche o en Inglés martes por la noche.  

¿Dime cuál es la diferencia entre una guía de astronomía estrella?

Un astrónomo es una persona que se dedica a la ciencia o física de forma profesional…imagino! Yo no soy nada de eso,tengo conocimientos básicos sobre astronomía y reconozco los diferentes lugares en el cielo nocturno. Simplemente disfruto compartiendo mis conocimientos con la gente común de una forma agradable y divertida así que mi pasión se ha convertido en mi trabajo, y me encanta!

¿Lo que comenzó su interés en el cielo nocturno?

Desde pequeño me ha gustado pararme a observar las estrellas pero la primera vez que comencé a entender sobre las constelaciones fue durante un curso de supervivencia en la naturaleza, ahí nos enseñaron a orientarnos por las estrellas. 

¿De donde eres?

He nacido en Benicasim, un pequeño pueblo en la costa este de España, justo por encima de Valencia.

¿Lo que atrajo a Fuertenventura?

Estaba en Nicaragua y un chico al que conocí me dijo que en Fuerteventura había buenas olas para surfear y buen viento para hacer kite, luego miré en internet y vi que era una reserva Starlight. En pocos días compré el billete de avión y aquí estoy. 

Qué se puede ver en Fuerteventura en el cielo?

Lo bueno que tiene Fuerteventura son sus cielos despejados y si te alejas un poco de los centros urbanos la poca contaminación lumínica te deja disfrutas de unos cielos estrellados que no es fácil de encontrarlos.

¿En qué otro / otros países lleva enseñando a la gente acerca de la noche?

He realizado actividades de observación de estrellas en Andalucía, República Dominicana, Nicaragua y Honduras. 

¿Ha ido a cualquier lugar inusual?

He visitado unos 30 países hasta ahora. He visitado Asia, Africa, Europa, el Caribe, diferentes islas en el océano Índico, Centro américa y norte america…muchos lugares bonitos, siempre viajando con mi mochila pero…inusual? Bastante usuales para una persona que está acostumbrada a viajar, eso sí, todos ellos dentro del planeta tierra, me encantaría un día poder ver la tierra desde el espacio, jajaja. 

 ¿Cuáles son las constelaciones?

El cielo está dividido en 88 partes y cada una de esas partes la forma una agrupación de estrellas a la que llamamos constelación. Las antiguas civilizaciones les han dado la forma de algún objeto o persona, (eso sí, con mucha imaginación) característica así es más fácil para la gente de recordarla. Y sirve a los astrónomos para saber dónde mirar en el cielo. 

Imaginen que os pregunto donde está Madrid. Pues la respuesta sería en el continente Europeo y en España más concretamente. 

Ahora si os pregunto dónde está la galaxia M 31 (también conocida como galaxia de Andrómeda). Pues debéis mirar al lado del cielo donde se encuentra la constelación de Andrómeda y más concretamente cerca de la estrella μ Andromedae. Así los astrónomos saben a que lugar del cielo deben observar para encontrar el objeto en concreto.

¿Cuántas constelaciones?

En el cielo existen 88 constelaciones diferentes entre el hemisferio norte y el hemisferio sur.  En el hemisferio norte es posible que la más común sea la de la Osa Mayor y la Osa Menor. Son constelaciones que podemos ver a lo largo de todo el año. La Osa Mayor es muy fácil de reconocer ya que todas sus estrellas son muy brillantes y las estrellas de la Osa Menor son menos brillantes pero su estrella principal es Polaris, la estrella polar, que siempre nos señalará el norte. 

¿Necesita un telescopio para ver el cielo nocturno?

Nada de eso, lo único que necesitamos para aprender y disfrutar el cielo nocturno son nuestros ojos. Otras herramientas como telescopios o prismáticos nos ayudarán a ver objetos que se encuentran más lejos o son menos brillantes. Pero para comenzar con nuestra vista es más que suficiente.

¿Alguna historia divertida que nos pueden decir?

Pues recuerdo que cuando viajaba con mi material para divulgar información sobre astronomía tenía un maletín con unas luces un poco peculiar. Y en los aeropuertos siempre me paraban pensando que era una bomba o algo raro, siempre tenía que hacerles una pequeña exposición sobre la actividad y la gente de aduana terminaban muy interesados. Incluso una vez, en República Dominicana, coincidí en un restaurante dos meses después de pasar por el aeropuerto con un hombre que me reconoció tras verme en el aeropuerto haciendo la exposición en la aduana. El hombre me dijo, ¿tu viajas con un maletín muy raro verdad? Nos hicimos buenos amigos. 

Gracias Iñaki.



I wrote this article in 2012 when StarsbyNight was just a passionate project that Karen (founder of SBN) would brainstorm with me on how to make her passion into a reality. We were both uber excited and it was a massive learning curve, even in buying equipment. After the years have passed we know a lot more and technology and equipment and brands  are evolving but the theory and idea behind buying your first telescope still apply. 

I just want to add , just like buying a new camera lens, that the most important characteristic of a telescope is its aperture — the diameter of its light-gathering lens or mirror, often called the objective. Look for the telescope's specifications near its focuser, at the front of the tube, or on the box. The aperture's diameter (D) will be expressed either in millimeters.  Your telescope should have at least 2.8 inches (70 mm) aperture — and preferably more.

The little bit I know about buying a telescope - 21/12/2012

Let me start by saying I am no expert. My experience in the past is selling and using photographic equipment in a professional capacity. I wanted to buy a telescope. After doing a lot of research I found its really similar to buying a camera. My colleagues are in the process of buying a high end telescope for our clients to view the night sky here in Fuerteventura, but I would like one so I can learn at home in the meantime. Sure I can use the fancy one they will buy, but I’m occasional user, I have more of an amateur interest rather than a professional one.

Questions I used to always ask my customers in photography. ‘What is the main purpose for?’ ‘In what conditions?” ‘How often would you use it? ‘Is it for you? ” ‘what previous experience do you/or other person have?”  “What do you really want to do with a it?” ‘how much money do you want to spend?”

I’ve done a lot of research. What I used to find often with cameras is people have too much money, buy the latest thing that has all the bells and whistles and never use it to its full capacity and it sits in the corner of the room gathering dust and just looking pretty. It appears its the same with telescopes. I also asked an ex colleague who worked for a company who specialized in astronomy gear and he said the same. He said. “ If someone wanted to spend under £200 I would probably recommend a good pair of binoculars that last a lifetime. Often what happens is the  kind of telescope people think they want and what they really need are two different things.”

I was told do not even consider a telescope that advertises it power on the box (300x, 500x,650x, 725x).  Avoid telescopes that are advertised by their magnification — especially implausibly high powers like 600×. For most purposes, a telescope's maximum useful magnification is 50 times its aperture in inches (or twice its aperture in millimeters).  Even the best telescopes are limited to about 50x-75x per inch (25.4mm) of aperture. The big number with a ‘x’ after it, I was told  is actually a  marketing ploy and high-powered scopes tend to have fixed eyepieces. What you want is a removable eyepiece. Also even though these type of telescopes appear attractive advertised with a high number, all this means is the high magnification the light is gathered and spread over a larger area making it fuzzy and faint.  You should look for the magnification in the eyepiece. You calculate a telescope's maximum useful magnification by multiplying the size of the lens or mirror in inches by 50.  I was also told that alower power/magnification in the telescope tends to provide a better viewing experience.

Start with binoculars. If you don’t have much money and don’t want to spend over the £200 mark you may be happier with a very good pair of binos. Even for travel its actually quite a good idea to have a back up anyways of about 10x50, 7x50 for a more general use or an 8x56 or a 9x63 for something a bit more ‘astro’ and its less heavier, but can be slightly expensive. Buy something you can use, not something you will get frustrated with . If it rattles when you shake it, try a different pair of binos. Good telescopes will be expensive regardless of the type. Cheap binoculars are much, much more useful than cheap telescopes and  good binoculars can last you forever.

What you can see with a pair of binoculars look at this link: http://www.lightandmatter.com/binosky/binosky.html

binocular basics: http://www.chuckhawks.com/binocular_basics.htm

Should I get a refractor or a reflector telescope?

Now I had to get some help to explain this from another website as I couldn’t think of the any other way to explain it but share someone else’s informationhttp://www.astronomyforbeginners.com/equipment/telescope.php:


Reflectors have one open end and a curved mirror at the back. Light is reflected and focused by this mirror onto a secondary mirror, which reflects it up into the eyepiece. Refractors are generally cheaper per inch of aperture and are in general better for the beginner on a budget, but aren't very good for ground observing, as the image is upside-down.



A refractor has a lens at the front which refracts light from the stars and focuses it at the eyepiece (often by means of a 45° mirror-in which case the image is reversed left-to-right). The image is the right way up meaning that these are better suited if you want to do ground observing as well. If the optics are good, then refractors can form better images, but are usually more expensive per inch of aperture.

Reflector telescopes have one optical surface (less mirrors) and tend to be cheaper and have no chormatic abberration. The mirror in this type of telescope may need recoating after years of use but if you are a beginner like me and will not use it outside on a rough surface (and tend to use it on your balcony like me) and not have much money then these type are a quick fix to look at the sky.

Refracting telescopes the light bends from one medium to another. A refractor uses two lenses. At one end, is the larger lens is called the objective. On the other end is the lens you look through, called the ocular or eyepiece. Also an advantage of a refractor is that by default they have a totally clear aperture and are low maintenance. A disadvantage is that some telescope lens/glass pieces will give off  chormatic aberrations. The only way I can describe it with my experience is light fringing around a subject like you get where you take a photo with a cheap lens on a sunny day sometimes the object has a faint fuzz around it, also kind of like a lens flare.  Inexpensive refractors have problems with false color, but they are often more compact and therefore better for traveling. Also, refractors tend to give more pleasing views when used in the daylight. Most reflectors tend to be very large by comparison, but will have better light gathering capability.  I was also told that whether buying either telescope look out for2.4 inch (60mm) and 3.1 inch(80mm) refractors and 4.5 inch and 6 inch reflectors are popular for most amateurs. Your new scope should have at least 1 eyepiece, and often 2 or 3. An eyepiece is rated by millimeters (mm), with smaller numbers indicating higher magnification. A 25mm eyepiece is common and appropriate for most beginners.While a higher magnification eyepiece may provide more details, it may be harder to keep an object in view, unless you are using a motorized mount. They also require the scope to gather more light to provide a clearer image.

A lower power eyepiece makes it easier to find objects and keep them in view. Lower magnification eyepieces require less light, so viewing dimmer objects is easier.

Remember the view through a telescope with not be exact to what you see in astrophotography on the internet or magazines. Planets will be tinier and some not in fantastic colours .

I started getting lost looking at all the brands. It seemed for over the £200 mark, the Meade does a introductory good telescope for anything over the £350 you are looking at more advanced Meade, Newtonians, Dobinsonians and Stellarvuemodels.  Lower cost options can include Maksutov-Cassegrains and “long” achromatic refractors.  Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescopes (SCT) can also offer pleasing views of the planets.

I recommend trying before buying. Observe through as many telescopes as you can, and ask as many questions as you can think of. Ask about setup time, maintenance and accessories.

This is a great list of things to help you set up your basic kit: http://www.astronomy.com/Equipment/How-To.aspx

To me it really is buying an extension of my camera equipment. Learning about glass wear, apertures and brands from various websites, magazines and asking professionals has helped me. Hopefully it won't just sit in the corner of my room.

Disclaimer: I am not a professional but someone who is interested. Within our team we have a professional astronomer but I write this article out of pure interest and passion for a subject am learning about.





Listen to the master.jpg

....Entering October, the Milky Way in Sagittarius appears more and more vertical, till it is swallowed by the southern horizon. At the same time, another arm of our galaxy, the Perseus's, shines more and more in the North-East, introducing the most typical constellations of the Autumn, as Cassiopeia, Andromeda and Perseus himself. This area is very rich in Deep-Sky objects, such as Andromeda's galaxy, the Double Cluster or the E.T. cluster; a good telescope will help us in discovering them quite easily.

Among the planets, both Mars and Saturn are setting down early, saying good-by till the next year. On the other hand, the Moon accompanies us during the first part of the month. The view she offers through a telescope is by far the most amazing we can see of a celestial body: in spite of the 400.000 Km of distance which separate us, her craters and mountains, her seas and their accidents emerge and offer us an unforgettable view.

Clear skies to everybody!  


Con la llegada de octubre, la Vía Láctea de Sagitario va poniéndose cada vez más vertical, hasta hundirse poco a poco tragada por el horizonte sur. En cambio, otro brazo de nuestra galaxia, él de Perseo, va adquiriendo cada vez más protagonismo, arrastrando las constelaciones más típicas de otoño, como Cassiopea, Pégaso y el mismo Perseo. Esta zona es muy rica en objetos de Cielo Profundo, como la galaxia de Andrómeda, el Cúmulo Doble o el cúmulo de ET, que un buen telescopio nos puede descubrir con facilidad.

Entre los planetas, tanto Marte como Saturno desaparecen cada día más pronto en el horizonte oeste, saludándonos ya hasta el año que viene. En cambio, la Luna nos acompaña durante la primera parte del mes. El espectáculo que nos ofrece por medio de un buen telescopio es el más detallado que podemos admirar en otro cuerpo celeste: a pesar de los 400.000 kilómetros de distancia que nos separan, los cráteres y las montañas, los mares y los accidentes de su superficie sobresalen delante de nuestros ojos y no dejan indiferente a ningún observador.

¡Cielos despejados para todos!



We love this. Fantastic idea!

Called 100,000 stars  this is a fully-immersive 3D plot of (in fact) 119,617 stars. This is an interactive visualization of the stellar neighborhood created for the Google Chrome web browser/App. It shows the real location of nearby stars. Zooming in reveals 87 individually identified stars and our solar system. The galaxy view is an artist's rendition.

According to Aaron Koblin's blog posting to announce the project, "Visualizing the exact location of every star in the galaxy is a problem of, well, galactic proportions. With over 200 billion stars, capturing every detail of the Milky Way currently defies scientists and laptops alike. However, using imagery and data from a range of sources, including NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA), we were recently able to take one small step in that direction by plotting the location of the stars closest to our sun.

"The result is a new Chrome Experiment called 100,000 Stars that visualizes the stellar neighborhood. Using your mouse or trackpad, you can zoom in and out to explore our galaxy. Zooming in reveals the names of the most prominent stars close to our sun - click each name to learn more about it and see a digital rendition."

Koblin concludes, "As you explore this experiment, we hope you share our wonder for how large the galaxy really is. It's incredible to think that this mist of 100,000 measurable stars is a tiny fraction of the sextillions of stars in the broader universe." Author: Google Data Arts Team Sources: Programmed by some space enthusiasts at Google. Galaxy images provided by Wikipedia and ESO/IDA/Danish 1.5m/R.Gendler and A. Hornstrup. Star renderings derived from Wikipedia Sun images courtesy of NASA/SDO and the AIA, EVE, and HMI science teams. Star data provided by: HYG Database, by Astronomy Nexus Gliese/Jahreiß Catalog, by Dr. Wilhelm Gliese and Dr. Hartmut Jahreiss Bright Star Catalog (5th edition), by Dr. E. Dorrit Hoffleit and Dr. Wayne H. Warren Jr, and the Department of Astronomy at Yale University HIPPARCOS Catalog (3rd Edition) by the European Space Agency.

Click on this link and you can play with the real thing:





....In this September, the great protagonist of the night sky is once more the Milky Way, which shows us all its beauty from the darkest places of the island in the nights without the Moon. Its most brilliant arm, the Sagittarius's, appears day by day more vertical towards the South, before being swallowed by the horizon: a wonderful picture our cameras should not miss.

In the same area, and more precisely in the constellation of Scorpius, rich of beautiful targets for a telescope, two guest 'stars' are now present, which are actually the planets Saturn and Mars, dancing in this epoch in the claws of the big animal, due to the phenomenon called “retrogradation”.

We should not lose the last opportunities for this year to admire the “Lord of the Rings” with its satellites and the “Red Planet” in its best moment.

If you are interested in discovering the Moon's secrets, your best chances are in the first part of the month. The direct view through a telescope of its craters, its seas, its mountains and its planes is really unforgettable.

¡Clear skies to everybody!..

En este mes de septiembre, la gran protagonista del cielo nocturno sigue siendo la Vía Láctea, que se nos presenta en todo su esplendor desde las zonas más oscuras de la isla en las noches sin Luna. Su tramo más brillante, el brazo de Sagitario, se nos muestra cada vez más vertical hacia el sur, antes de hundirse tragado por el horizonte: una estampa imperdible para nuestras cámaras de fotos.

En la misma zona, más precisamente en la constelación del Escorpión, llena de interesantes objetos a descubrir con el telescopio, lucen dos 'estrellas' huéspedes muy brillantes: se trata de los planetas Marte y Saturno, que,debido al fenómeno de la retrogradación, en esta época danzan en la zona de las 'pinzas' del animal.

No debemos perdernos las últimas oportunidades de admirar al “Señor de los Anillos” y a sus satélites, así como al “Planeta Rojo” en su mejor momento. 

Para los que les apasiona descubrir los secretos de la Luna, las noches más propicias se dan en la primera mitad del mes. La visión en directo de sus cráteres, sus mares, sus montañas y sus llanuras no deja indiferente a nadie.

¡Cielos despejados para todos!