Return of the ETX is the title of my telescope review, appearing in this issue’s S&T Test Report. Check out the ongoing saga of Meade’s venerable Go To pioneer.
In this issue's Binocular Highlights column, I look at some interesting deep-sky treasures around Antares, the brightest star in Scorpius.
Finally, this month's Telescope Workshop describes one of the niftiest telescope finders I’ve ever come across. Jerry Oltion’s novel “split-pupil” finder is a terrific unit-power sighting device that’s also easy to make.
Ever get the feeling that all the very best stuff is in the southern sky? It sure can seem that way. But one well-known southern treasure is actually visible for many living in the U.S. and even (barely) Canada. In this issue's Binocular Highlights column, I profile magnificent globular cluster Omega Centauri.
Dobsonian telescopes are remarkably effective instruments in spite of their inherent simplicity. And yet, some move like a dream, and others like a nightmare. For those with scopes more like the latter, this month's Telescope Workshop column describes a simple, hardware-store fix that might cure what ails your Dob.
Hydra sprawls across more celestial real estate than any other constellations, yet it’s rather barren when it comes to binocular treasures. Still, if you know where to look, there are a couple of nice targets, as this issue's Binocular Highlights column shows.
Being a binocular observer and a telescope maker, you can probably imagine how thrilled I was to encounter Bill Faatz’s home-built 5-inch binos. Dreams are made of such things. Bill’s nicely crafted bino-box is the subject of this month's Telescope Workshop column.
Considering that most of the Moon’s features are the product of a single process, the diversity of landforms you can see in even a modest telescope is remarkable. In my On The Moon column we look at one small sliver of the lunar surface near Mare Nectaris that offers a wide variety of fascinating formations from big craters to narrow little rilles and plenty in between.
For those of you unfamiliar with SkyNews, read on . . .
March is Messier marathon season — your best chance to see all 109 objects in a single night. In this issue's Binocular Highlights column I talk about the prospects for a running successful marathon with only your binoculars.
In this month's Telescope Workshop column I describe my Outback Travelscope — an airline portable 8-inch I built for last November’s solar-eclipse trip to Australia where I got to enjoy several nights of observing in the outback, near Uluru.
Camelopardalis is mostly a barren gap lying between the riches of Cassiopeia and Perseus, and the Big Dipper. But if you like binocular doubles, you’re in luck — the celestial Giraffe has several enjoyable pairs, several of which are included in this issue's Binocular Highlights column.
This month's Telescope Workshop department features Albert Highe, an ATM who has been an active proponent of making big, lightweight Dobs. But scopes as good as his 24-inch f/3.3 aren’t simply the product of skilled craftsmanship, they also depend on a disciplined, thoughtful approach that hinges on a few important principles.
Google the phrase “mountains of the moon” and you’ll encounter references to a mountain range in central Africa that holds the source of the Nile River. While real Moon mountains are named after their earthly counterparts, they’re the product of a dramatically different process. In my regular On The Moon column we look at how these impressive lunar formations came to be.
Here’s a fun cloudy night activity. Take a moment and draw up a list of your 10 favourite binocular sights. I’m willing to bet you’ll include the Double Cluster in Perseus, the subject of this issue's Binocular Highlights column.
John Dobson is justly famous for the simple-but-effective telescope that bears his name. An equally clever, but virtually unknown Dobson creation is his dedicated solar telescope. You just don’t see very many of them. To remedy that, in this month's Telescope Workshop column I profile Vancouver amateur David Dodge’s Dobsonian solar scope.
One of the best ways to dip a toe into the telescope-making waters is to modify an exiting instrument. Orion’s popular 4½-inch StarBlast reflector is a nearly ideal customization candidate — it’s simple, inexpensive, and easy to work with. This month's Telescope Workshop column profiles the mods made by several telescope makers.
In this issue's Binocular Highlights column we stay close to home (celestially speaking) and track down the solar system’s two best asteroids, Ceres and Vesta.
The Moon’s southern limb features plenty of big craters, but why aren’t they better known? To borrow a favourite phrase of real estate agents everywhere, it’s “location, location, location.” In my regular On The Moon column, I talk about a trio of very interesting craters that are rendered somewhat challenging to observe by virtue of being squished up against the lunar limb.
If you built a telescope in the pre-Dobsonian era, chances are you used it on a mount you made from steel plumbing parts. “Pipe mounts” typically suffered from sloppy bearings, but in this month's Telescope Workshop column, we present David Groski’s ingenious solution to that problem. After you see Dave’s scope, you might want to give this classic design another look.
In this issue's Binocular Highlights column it’s time to pay a visit to one of the most historically important stars in the entire sky, 51 Pegasi.
Binoculars are wonderfully portable and useful instruments for backyard astronomy. And they’re often more capable than the average deep-sky observer suspects. In my feature article, The Messier Catalog: A Binocular Odyssey, I describe using binos to track down all 109 Messier objects as a fun way to sharpen your observing skills and enhance your enjoyment.
Is a fan really the only way to cool your telescope’s mirror? Among those who wondered this is ATM James Stilburn, who performed some careful experiments to discover if a heat sink might be another solution. The results of Jim’s efforts are described in my Telescope Workshop column.
If you want to see what extreme depth of field looks like, train your binoculars on NGC 6939 and 6946, situated near the Cepheus/Cygnus border. This galaxy and cluster duo is the subject of October's Binocular Highlights column.
The Moon’s largest near-side feature is the magnificent Imbrium impact basin, home to Mare Imbrium. But there's so much more to Imbrium than a vast ocean of solidified lava. In my regular On The Moon column this issue we take a telescopic tour of Imbrium’s main rim and the impressive assortment of features that adorn it.
I’ve been building and using telescopes for more than three decades and I’ll share a secret with you: collimating a Newtonian reflector is easy. The trick is to stay tightly focused on your goal and not get distracted by side issues. In place of my usual Telescope Workshop column, this month we have an expanded feature article, Easy Reflector Collimation, in which I show how to align your Newtonian's optics for optimal performance.
In spite of its size, Scutum is a binocular wonderland rich with intriguing Milky Way fields and home to a pair of Messier objects. In this issue's Binocular Highlights column, we take a look at the open clusters M26 and M11.
In this issue's Binocular Highlights column it’s time to sweep up a pair of neglected-but-nice Sagittarius open clusters. So rich are the Milky Way fields found in this region that M23 and M25 rarely get the attention they deserve.
Based on my years of building and using telescopes I’ve come up with a list of the five biggest Newtonian reflector performance killers. In this month's Telescope Workshop I describe how you can overcome them and get the very best performance from your scope..
Ever wanted to take the plunge and shoot the Moon? No matter what camera you have, it’s possible to capture some kind of lunar keepsake. In my feature article, How to Photograph the Moon, I walk you through the basics.
And as if that isn’t enough Moon for a single issue, my regular On The Moon column takes us on a magical history tour of the lunar surface with “Our Past and Present Moon.”
In this issue's Binocular Highlights column it’s time to root out M101 in Ursa Major. Although the face-on galaxy’s numbers look good, actually seeing it will depend a great deal on your sky conditions.
Imagine your ultimate binocular-observing rig. What would it look like? How about big binos mounted on a comfortable chair with motor-driven Go To capability? If that sounds like a dream-come-true to you, check out Norman Butler’s setup in my Telescope Workshop column this month.
Of all the various types of deep-sky objects, it seems globular clusters routinely give beginning binocular observers the most unexpected difficulty. A good way to start is with one of the biggest and brightest examples, M5 in Serpens Caput, the subject of this issue's Binocular Highlights column.
With the upcoming transit of Venus and the annular eclipse, you might be looking for a safe and affordable way to view the Sun. In this month's Telescope Workshop column I show you how to build a nifty Sun Funnel to make solar viewing risk-free and easy.
In July 1994, backyard astronomers aimed their telescopes skyward and watched in stupefied wonder as the “string-of-pearls” comet, Shoemaker-Levy 9, plummeted piece by piece into Jupiter. But what if the same thing happened on the Moon? In my On The Moon column this issue I describe a lunar feature that may well be the impact signature of a fractured comet, like the one that collided with Jupiter.
What Hydra lacks in distinctiveness it more than makes up for in size. In this issue's Binocular Highlights column, we explore the constellation’s eastern expanse and take in M68 and M83.
Next to collimation, the #1 barrier to optimum performance in Newtonian reflectors is poor thermal management. And like collimation, thermals is a topic that invites debate and needless confusion. In this month's Telescope Workshop column I strip the subject down to the essential basics. If you’re wondering what the fuss is all about, this article is for you.