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....AUGUST 2018 NIGHT SKY.. AUGUSTO 2018 CIELO NOCTURNO....

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….August is the month most expected by everyone who loves the shooting stars. The Perseids, called locally Tears of Saint Lawrence, are back and around the 12th of the month they are filling our island's skies with their brilliant lights. This year too, the absence of the Moon and the presence of the 4 major planets will make this event even more special, if possible. As a long time tradition, the Antigua's municipality organizes a public and free observation in the Prehispanic village of La Atalayita (information in 928 549653), but you can admire them from all the dark places of the island.

And back to the planets, in the Firmament it's easy to find Venus to the West in the first hours after sunset, while Jupiter shines very high during most of the night. A telescope reveals his dark atmospheric bands and his 4 major satellites, bright dots dancing restlessly around the giant. From the East, Saturn will leave you incredulous when admiring his famous rings, and sometimes also a few of his more than 60 satellites. Mars, the Red Planet, destination of so many exploring missions, is also reaching this area following his apparent retrograde movement.

The Moon accompanies us in the second part of the month. Her mountains, her seas and her craters are all a surprise due to their sharpness and closeness through the telescope, leaving us fascinated every time we admire them.

Clear skies to everybody! ..

Agosto es el mes más esperado por todos los amantes de las estrellas fugaces. Vuelven las Perseidas, las Lágrimas de San Lorenzo, que alrededor del 12 de este mes llenan los cielos de nuestra isla con sus brillantes destellos. Este año, la ausencia de Luna y la presencia de los 4 planetas mayores en el cielo nocturno hará de este evento algo aún más especial. Como ya es tradición, el Ayuntamiento de Antigua organiza una observación pública y gratuita en el Poblado Prehispánico de la Atalayita (información en el 928 549653), pero el espectáculo podrá admirarse desde todos los sitios oscuros de la isla.

Y volviendo a los planetas, en el Firmamento destaca Venus, que se pone bastante pronto en el Oeste, así como Júpiter, que brilla muy alto en el cielo ya a la caída de la noche. El telescopio nos revelará sus bandas atmosféricas oscuras y sus 4 satélites mayores, unos puntos brillantes que danzan incansablemente a su alrededor. Cada vez más alto en el Este, Saturno deja a todo el mundo admirado al contemplar sus anillos, con frecuencia también acompañados por algunos de sus más de 60 satélites. También Marte, el Planeta Rojo destino de tantos programas de exploración, va acercándose a esta zona en su aparente movimiento retrógrado.

La Luna nos acompaña en la segunda mitad del mes. Sus montañas, sus mares y su cráteres nos sorprenden por su nitidez y su aparente cercanía a través del telescopio, dejándonos fascinados cada vez que los admiramos.

¡Cielos despejados para todos! ….

....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!....

....MARCH 2018 NIGHT SKY.. MARZO 2018 CIELO NOCTURNO....

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....March takes us back to Spring time: the days are now longer and the temperature is higher, inviting us to enjoy the firmament. The Winter constellations are still very high in the evening sky; this is the case of Orion and the Great Dog towards the South, while in the zodiacal region Gemini and Taurus dominate the zenith. From the East, Leo is now rising and announcing the great season of the galaxies that we shall enjoy over the next months. Among the most interesting telescopic objects of the month, besides the wonderful nebula M42 in Orion, is an amazing star nursery located in the sword of the mythical sky hunter, a special protagonism is acquired by the many open clusters, as M35 in Gemini and M41 in the Great Dog.

Whilst still awaiting the return of the big planets, the most admired object of the night sky, the Moon, will not miss the date. This month starts with the Full phase, which will come back also by the end of the month. The most favorable moment to admire her craters, her seas and her mountains, with a telescope, reaching us from hundreds of thousands of kilometers away, is the Crescent phase, which in March takes place in the last weeks.

Clear skies to everybody!  ..

Marzo es el mes que nos trae de vuelta a la primavera: los días se hacen más largos y la temperatura es menos rígida, invitando a la contemplación del Firmamento. Las constelaciones del inverno siguen muy altas en el cielo vespertino, destacando Orión y el Can Mayor hacia el Sur, mientras que en la zona zodiacal Gémini y Tauro siguen dominando el cielo del cenit. Ya desde el Este se asoma Leo, anunciando la llegada de la gran temporada de las galaxias que nos espera en los meses venideros. Entre los objetos más interesantes para la observación con telescopio, además de la preciosa Nebulosa M42 en Orión, fulgurante criadero de estrellas localizado en la espada del mítico cazador celeste, hay que destacar lo múltiples cúmulos abiertos, como M35 en Gémini o M41 en el Can Mayor.
Para admirar los grandes planetas habrá que esperar todavía un tiempo, pero no va a faltar a la cita el objeto más admirado de todos: la Luna. El mes empieza con la fase de plenitud, que vuelve también en la última semana. El momento más favorable para disfrutar de sus cráteres, sus mares y sus montañas, que el telescopio nos permite alcanzar desde cientos de miles de kilómetros, es la fase creciente, que en marzo se da en la última decena.

¡Cielos despejados para todos! ....

....JANUARY 2018 NIGHT SKY.. ENERO 2018 CIELO NOCTURNO....

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....The New Year starts with the Full Moon, a wonderful opportunity to enjoy a night walk along the beach during the Christmas holidays. However, in order to enjoy the Winter sky in all its beauty, we have to wait a few days more, when the most typical constellations of the epoch will acquire all their protagonism. 

The mythical hunter Orion, with his fantastic star nursery M42, is no doubt the most popular and easy-to-recognize, but we should not forget to admire the 2 animals accompanying him: the Great Dog and his very brilliant star Sirius, and the Small Dog with his aster Procyon.

In the Eastern Zodiacal zone, it's easy to locate the big triangle of Taurus, high in the night sky, with its yellowish star Aldebaran marking the eye of the bull, as well as Gemini with their twin stars Castor and Pollux, reminding us of the adventures of  these mythical twins. Not far from there, we can find the interesting constellation of Auriga, crossed by the Milky Way and rich in wonderful open clusters, among the most fantastic of the season.

Clear skies and .. Happy New Year to everybody!  ..

Este año 2018 empieza con la Luna llena, una magnifica ocasión para disfrutar de un paseo nocturno por la playa en estos días navideños. Pero, para apreciar al cielo invernal en todo su esplendor, habrá que esperar unos días, cuando las constelaciones más típicas de la temporada adquieran el protagonismo.

El mítico cazador Orión, con su fantástico criadero de estrellas M42, es sin duda la más llamativa y popular, pero no olvidemos de admirar a los perros que le acompañan: el Can Mayor y su brillantísima estrella Sirio, y el Can Menor con su astro Proción. 

En la zona zodiacal del Este, destaca el gran triángulo de Tauro, ya bien alto en el cielo nocturno, con la amarillenta Aldebarán marcando el ojo del toro, así como Gémini con sus brillantes astros 'gemelos' Castor y Pólux, que nos recuerdan las hazañas de estos mitológicos mellizos. No muy lejos está el llamativo pentágono de constelación de Auriga, atravesado por la Vía Láctea y rico en cúmulos abiertos de gran belleza, entre los más bonitos de esta época.

¡Cielos despejados y .. Próspero Año Nuevo para todos! ....

....NOVEMBER 2017 NIGHT SKY.. NOVEMBRE 2017 CIELO NOCTURNO....

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Being already over the Daylight Saving time, November allows us to enjoy the night sky without  sacrificing our sleeping hours. In the first week of this month, the Moon is the protagonist with her full phase on the 4th day. Even with the naked eyes, we can distinguish darker areas (the 'seas') surrounded by clearer and whiter ones. A telescope can reveal ranges of mountains crossing her surface, craters of all sizes, islands in the middle of the seas and many other details that leave us astonished. A wonderful sight that nobody should miss!

As the big planets are not visible in this epoch, in the Autumn sky the beautiful constellations raising from the East draw our attention, being preceded by the bright cluster of the Pleyades. The Greek mythology tells us these seven sisters asked to be transformed into stars in order to escape from the giant Orion. In the Milky Way area nearby, Auriga (the 'big-driver') proposes his far but bright open cluster, as well as Taurus showing us his treasures, such as the Hyades, surrounding the brilliant yellowish star Aldebaran, marking the bull's eye.

Clear skies to everybody!  ..

Con la vuelta al horario de invierno, el mes de noviembre nos permite disfrutar  del cielo nocturno sin renunciar al sueño. En las primera semana del mes, la protagonista es la la Luna, que alcanza la fase de plenitud el día 4. Ya a simple vista se nota que en su superficie hay zonas más oscuras (los 'mares') y otras más claras y brillantes. El telescopio nos revela las cadenas de montañas que la surcan, así como cráteres de todos los tamaños, islas en el medio de los mares y un sinfín de detalles que nos dejan boquiabiertos. Un espectáculo que nadie debería perderse.

Ante la ausencia de los grandes planetas, en el cielo del otoño llaman la atención las bonitas constelaciones que están apareciendo en el horizonte Este, anunciadas por el brillante cúmulo de la Pléiades. La mitología griega cuenta que estas siete hermanas pidieron ser transformadas en estrellas para escapar al gigante Orión. En la cercana zona de la Vía Láctea, Auriga (el 'Cochero') nos trae sus bonitos y lejanos cúmulos abiertos, así como Tauro, que no quiere ser menos, nos propone tesoros como las Híades, que hacen de corona a la inconfundible estrella amarillenta Aldebaran, que marca el ojo del Toro.

¡Cielos despejados para todo! ....

 

....OCTOBER 2017 NIGHT SKY..OCTOBRE 2017 CIELO NOCTURNO....

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....With the arrival of October, Autumn is already in progress, bringing longer nights and usually very low winds, all good news for the lover of the night sky. As happened most times this year, this month too starts with the Moon close to the full phase, a good moment to observe her surface with incredible detail  through a good telescope. At the same time, towards the south, a brilliant yellowish dot in the constellation of Ophiuchus reminds us that we are still in time to admire one of the highlights of our Solar System, the fabulous planet Saturn, whose rings are now in the best position in years.

Moreover, the Milky Way is still dominating the sky, in the nights without the Moon, more and more vertical in Sagittarius, revealing us some of her most hidden joys, as the Lagoon Nebula, a wonderful star nursery, whose light shines faint due to the enormous distance, or the brilliant Butterfly Cluster, much closer to our Blue Planet.

Clear skies to everybody!  ..

Con la llegada de octubre, el otoño ya ha empezado, trayendo noches más larga y a menudo sin viento, y estas son sin duda buenas noticias para los apasionados del cielo nocturno. Como de costumbre, el mes empieza con la Luna cerca de la fase de plenitud, un buen momento para observar los increíbles  detalles de su superficie con un buen telescopio. Mientras, hacia el sur, el brillante punto amarillento en la constelación del Serpentario nos recuerda que todavía estamos a tiempo de admirar una de las maravillas del Sistema Solar, el fabuloso planeta Saturno, cuyo anillos se encuentran en la mejor posición de observación de la década.

Por su parte, la Vía Láctea seguirá dominando el cielo en las noches sin Luna, cada vez más vertical en Sagitario, revelándonos a través del telescopio algunas de sus hoyas más escondidas, como la nebulosa Laguna, fantástico criadero de estrellas, cuya luz nos parece muy débil por la distancia, o bien el más brillante cúmulo de la Mariposa, más cercano a nuestro planeta azul..

¡Cielos despejados para todo! ....

....MAY 2017 NIGHT SKY.. MAYO 2017 CIELO NOCTURNO ....

....With the arrival of May, we are in the heart of Spring, with kinder temperatures, that invite us to enjoy the beauty of the night sky. Many constellations, which accompanied us in the last half of the year, are now saying goodbye till the next Winter, while from the East the ones which mark the new season are appearing: the faint and weak crab Cancer, the powerful Lion and the terrible monster Hydra, witnesses of the challenges of the mythical hero Hercules, as well as the beautiful Virgin, related to the calendar of the agricultural activities.

In this area, a brilliant yellow object draws strongly our attention: it is the planet Jupiter, the mighty King of the Ecliptic, the giant of the Solar System, whose atmospheric bands, actual storms of incredible size, such as his 4 main satellites, can be admired through a small telescope.

As in the previous months, the Moon is the protagonist of the first part of the month. Nobody remains indifferent when looking at her mountains, craters, seas or highlands. It is difficult to believe we are able to distinguish so many details of her surface, in spite of the enormous distance which separates her from our Earth.

Clear skies to everybody!  ..

Con el mes de mayo, ya ha llegado el corazón de la primavera, trayéndonos  temperaturas más suaves que invitan a disfrutar del cielo nocturno. Mientras vamos despidiendo  las constelaciones que nos acompañaron en el invierno, desde el Este se levantan las que marcan la nueva estación: el pequeño y débil cangrejo Cáncer, el majestuoso León y el terrible monstruo Hydra, testigos de las empresas del mítico héroe Hércules, así como la bonita Virgo, protagonista del calendario de  las actividades agrícolas.

En esta zona, nos llama prepotentemente la atención un objeto amarillento muy brillante: es el planeta Júpiter, el majestuoso Rey de la Eclíptica, el gigante del Sistema Solar, cuyas bandas atmosféricas, autenticas tormentas de dimensiones descomunales, así como sus 4 satélites principales, pueden ser admirados por medio de un pequeño telescopio.

Como en los meses anteriores, la Luna es la protagonista de la primera parte del mes. Nadie permanece indiferente a la visión de sus montañas y sus cráteres, sus mares y sus Tierras Altas. Resulta difícil de creer como lleguemos a ver tantos detalles de su superficie, a pesar de la enorme distancia que nos separa.

¡Cielos despejados para todo!

....

 

.... JANUARY 2017 NIGHT SKY.. El año 2017 DE ENERO DE CIELO NOCTURNO....

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....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!  

....

.... 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.

 

 


  

....SEPTEMBER 2016 NIGHT SKY.. El año 2016 DE SEPTIEMBRE DE CIELO NOCTURNO....

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....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!

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