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....MAY 2018 NIGHT SKY.. MAYO 2018 CIELO NOCTURNO....

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....From the first hours of the night, the May sky is dominated by 2 brilliant objects: the planet Venus toward the West and the planet Jupiter towards the East. For the lovers of the telescopic observation, the second one, the giant of the Solar System who crosses the constellation of Libra, is more interesting, with his 4 satellites visible as brilliant dots rapidly moving around his equator. If the night is clear, it is not difficult to distinguish also the dark bands of the outer atmosphere of the planet, which hide storms of incredible size, bigger that our Earth. More to the South, the beautiful constellations of Centaurus and Southern Cross are peeping out of the horizon of Fuerteventura: we should not miss the opportunity to admire our neighbor star Alfa Centauri nor the fantastic cluster called Omega Centauri, both visible with naked eyes, but revealing their secrets only through a telescope.

May starts with the Moon just after the full phase, which will be present back by the end of the month. In order to enjoy the observation in her best days, we recommend to wait for the waxing phase, after day 20th in this month.

Clear skies to everybody!  ..

Desde las primeras horas de la noche, el cielo de Mayo está dominado por dos brillantes luceros: el planeta Venus hacia el Oeste y el planeta Júpiter hacia el Este. Para los apasionados de la observación telescópica, es más interesante este segundo objeto, el gigante del Sistema Solar que cruza la constelación de Libra, con sus 4 satélites visibles como puntitos luminosos en rápido movimiento alrededor de su ecuador. Si la noche es clara, no es difícil tampoco distinguir las bandas oscuras de la atmósfera superior del planeta, que esconden tormentas de tamaño colosal, más grandes que nuestra Tierra.  Mirando en el cielo más al Sur, las bonitas constelaciones de la Cruz del Sur y del Centauro se asoman al horizonte de Fuerteventura: no debemos perder la oportunidad de admirar nuestra estrella vecina Alfa Centauri ni el maravilloso cúmulo llamado Omega Centauri, ambos visibles a simple vista, pero cuyos secretos sólo están al alcance de un telescopio.

La Luna empieza Mayo justo después de la fase de plenitud, que vuelve también en la última semana. Para disfrutar mejor de su observación, es recomendable esperar a la fase creciente, que este mes se da pasado el día 20.

¡Cielos despejados para todos!....

....APRIL 2018 NIGHT SKY.. ABRIL 2018 CIELO NOCTURNO....

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....In April, Spring is back in plentitude: the daylight saving is now in progress and the days are longer, as well as the sweeter temperatures that invite us to enjoy the night sky. The great constellations of the winter, such as Orion and Taurus, are still high in the night sky, but they set down earlier and earlier towards the West, leaving the protagonism in the South to the big ship Argo, which carried the hero Jason and his crew in the known Greek myth. This huge constellation of ancient origin, now divided into 4 parts, is marked by the brilliant star Canopus, the second brightest of the sky, not visible from continental Europe. 

In the zodiacal zone, together with Leo high in the East, the nice Virgo brings back the myths related to Spring and the goddess Ceres, ancient patron of agriculture. In the following constellation, Libra, we find the king of the planets, Jupiter, who is finally back and fascinates us with his satellites and dark bands that a good telescope is able to reveal.

And, of course, the Moon is faithfully shining in the first days of April in her full phase, which will repeat by the end of the month. But if you love her, we recommend to observe her around the First Quarter, at the beginning of the last week. 

Clear skies to everybody!  ..

En Abril ya estamos de lleno en la primavera: ya ha entrado el horario de verano y los días se alargan, al mismo tiempo que las temperaturas más suaves invitan a disfrutar del cielo nocturno. Las grandes constelaciones de la estación invernal, como Orión o Tauro, siguen altas en el cielo, pero se ponen cada día más pronto en el Oeste, dejando el protagonismo en el Sur al navío Argo, que transportó el héroe Jasón y a sus compañeros en el famoso mito griego. Esta gran constelación de orígenes muy antiguos, ahora dividida en 4 partes, alberga a la brillante estrella Canopo, la segunda más luminosa del cielo, no visible desde la Europa continental.

En la zona zodiacal, con el León ya alto en el Este, la hermosa Virgo nos trae de vuelta los mitos griegos relacionados con la primavera y la diosa Ceres, antigua patrona de la agricultura. 

En la constelación que la sigue, Libra, ya se asoma el rey de los planetas, Júpiter, que nos fascina con sus satélites y sus bandas, que un buen telescopio pone a nuestro alcance.

Y la Luna no falta a su cita mensual, empezando abril con la fase de plenitud, que vuelve también en la última semana. Pero para observarla con más detalles, es recomendable la fase creciente, que este mes corresponde a la última semana.

¡Cielos despejados para todos!....

....SEPTEMBER 2017 NIGHT SKY.. SEPTEMBRE 2017 CIELO NOCTURNO ....

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....The last Summer month presents a night sky dominated more and more by the Milky Way, towards the South, between the wonderful constellations of Sagittarius and Scorpius. The most brilliant area, corresponding to the kernel of our galaxy, is located in Sagittarius arm, which seems to come out from the ominous constellation and is possibly the most important of all, extending itself to the North till the constellation of the Eagle. In the zenith, crossing the Swan and Cassiopeia, another brilliant arm, Perseus arm, completes the milky arch crossing the whole summer sky.

In the constellation of Ophiuchus, the Snake master, Saturn is drawing our attention with his yellowish light. His rings are in the best position for the observation from our Earth, a memorable view that only a telescope can reveal to us.

The Moon is in the full phase on day 6th, so the first decade of September is not apt for the observation of Deep Sky objects, but is the best moment to visit her craters, seas and peaks, which, in spite of the big distance, a telescope shows us with plenty of detail: an enchanting view which leaves people of all ages astonished!

Clear skies to everybody!  ..

 

El último mes del verano nos presenta un cielo nocturno dominado cada vez más por la Vía Láctea hacia el Sur, entre las magníficas constelaciones de Sagitario y Escorpio. Su zona más brillante, correspondiente al núcleo de nuestra galaxia, se encuentra en el brazo de Sagitario, que parece salir de la homónima constelación y es posiblemente el más importante de todos, prologándose hacia el Norte hasta la constelación del Águila. En el cenit, cruzando el Cisne y Cassiopea, otro brazo brillante, el de Perseo, completa el arco lechoso que cruza todo el cielo del verano.

En la constelación del Serpentario, Saturno atrae la atención con su brillo amarillento. Sus anillos están en la mejor posición para su observación desde la Tierra, un espectáculo memorable que sólo un telescopio nos permite apreciar.

La Luna presenta la fase de plenitud el día 6, así que la primera decena del mes no es adecuada para la observación del Cielo Profundo, pero sí a visitar los cráteres, los mares y los picos de nuestro satélite, que a pesar de la distancia, nos revela con un telescopio infinidad de detalles de su superficie, un espectáculo que no deja de asombrar a los observadores de todas las edades.

¡Cielos despejados para todo! ....

 

....FEBRAURY 2017 NIGHT SKY..FEBRERO 2017 CIELO NOCTURNO....

....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!  

....

.... NOVEMBER 2016 NIGHT SKY.. El año 2016 DE NOVIEMBRE DE CIELO NOCTURNO....

.... 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!  

  ....

BUYING A TELESCOPE

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:

Reflector

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.

Refractor

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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.

 

 


  

.... OCTOBER 2016 NIGHT SKY.. El año 2016 DE OCTUBRE DE CIELO NOCTURNO ....

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....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!

....