Sunday, August 21, 2011

Five useful websites for amateur astronomers

1. This is a great site which offers monthly updates of planets, meteor showers, comets  and other celestial events.
2.  This is a great resource for those who want to buy a telescope. The reviews by Ed Ting are detailed and sincere.  You can find reviews of almost all types of telescopes.
3. you can download a magnificent star chart here. It is in pdf format. They update the chart every month. Right click on the star chart link and then click ‘save link as’  to download.
4. It’s a  pleasure to watch these youtube videos! They are very informative too.  It’s like sitting in your backyard and observing the starry sky. All who likes astronomy must watch these videos.
5.  a complete catalogue of constellations, messier objects, and other astronomical objects.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Lunar eclipse

15/06/2011. This century’s longest lunar eclipse was going to take place. I didn’t want to miss that one.  I wanted to watch that event through my telescope and take some pictures. The moon was not visible from my balcony. So I took my telescope  to an open ground near my house. It was around 10 pm. The eclipse was just beginning. Earth’s shadow was just creeping across the moon’s surface. I set up my telescope on the ground. I used my26mm plossol eyepiece. The view was crisp. The full moon was well inside the field of view.  It was quite amazing.  I wanted to take a picture of that.  I had no astrophotography kit or equipment. So I just inserted my canon ixus camera to the eyepiece of the telescope and clicked and got the above picture. Pretty good isn’t it? The view is similar to that of crescent moon but the shadows are missing. Most people think that moon is best viewed   when it is full. It is a misconception. You can’t see the beauty of the shadows on the full moon. But on the crescent moon you can perceive the depth of the surface features by the shadows created. Anyway, it was thrilling to watch our own earth’s shadow casting on the moon. The eclipse continued. The color of the moon changed a little. I took as many photos as possible. Some were blurred but some were of good quality. Slowly the shadow vanished and the full moon appeared in its full glory. So that was the end of this century’s biggest lunar eclipse and I enjoyed it very much.