This weekend features moonfree evenings — perfect for enjoying some deep-sky treasures. Spring is best known for the rich galaxy fields found in Leo and Virgo, but in addition this is the season when M44 is well placed in the evening sky. Continue reading “Weekend Stargazer: April 29 – May 1”
This issue is my last as a contributor to S&T. It’s been a wonderful ride, but a new adventure beckons. As noted in Peter Tyson’s gracious editorial, I’m now editor of the excellent Canadian astronomy magazine, SkyNews Continue reading “In the May 2016 Sky & Telescope”
Over the years I’ve tested virtually every affordable image-stabilized binocular on the market for reviews appearing in Sky & Telescope magazine. Canon is the clear leader where astronomy is concerned. The company currently offers six models, each with something to interest the backyard stargazer. Some of these binoculars are among the very best available for astronomy, while some are more general purpose.
Continue reading “Review: Canon’s Image-Stabilized Binoculars”
This issue’s Binocular Highlights column looks at a pair of lovely open clusters in Puppis, M46 and M47. The two make for an interesting contrast — one is sparse and bright, the other dim but rich. Continue reading “In the April 2016 Sky & Telescope”
If you’re wondering what the biggest feature on the lunar near side is, look no further than Mare Imbrium. As I write in my regular On The Moon column, Imbrium spans some 1,300 kilometres — big enough that it takes four nights for the terminator to cross it. And you can bet with that much lunar real estate available, there are some fine telescopic sights.
For more about what’s in the current issue, visit SkyNews.ca
For optimum performance, precisely aligned optics are a must. Luckily, achieving this goal doesn’t have to be difficult.
Most telescope users know that the only way to get every last drop of performance from a reflector telescope is to ensure that the optics are in good collimation. Here’s a method that’s simple and doesn’t require tools or even a centre-dotted primary mirror.
Continue reading “No-Tools Telescope Collimation”
The Newtonian reflector is one of the most versatile optical configurations ever created. Whether homebuilt or commercially manufactured, a good Newtonian can rival the performance of any optical design.
Knowledge is power. The more you know about your Newtonian reflector’s potential and its pitfalls, the better equipped you’ll be to ensure it’s delivering peak performance.
Continue reading “Five Reflector Performance Killers”
Me, the Outback Travelscope, and a bloody big rock.
(Photo courtesy George Brandie)
When I was preparing to travel to Australia for a total solar eclipse and some dark-sky observing sessions in the Outback, I decided it was finally time to rebuild my 8-inch travelscope so that it could go into my suitcase and arrive safely at my destination.
Continue reading “Building the Outback Travelscope”
Binocular stargazing is full of surprises. Sometimes you stumble across a pretty cluster and wonder how you’d previously missed it. Other times, you hunt and hunt for a galaxy listed at 8th magnitude, only to come up empty handed. It’s enough to make you wonder — what makes one object a binocular standout and another difficult challenge? Compiled here are the five most important factors that determine whether or not a deep-sky wonder will turn out to be binocular trash or treasure.
Continue reading “Getting the Most From Astro Binoculars”
Requiring only a few parts, this simple and effective setup provides stable images for detailed views of the night sky.
“This is the best binocular mount I’ve ever used!”
Those were the first words out of my mouth as I came indoors from testing my just-completed binocular rig. It’s rare that I build something that actually works better than expected, but finally I’d come up with a binocular mount that provides steady views, is easy to use, very portable, and simple to build. It was a good night.
Continue reading “Build This Simple Binocular Mount”