This page provides a more structured list of Astronomy related links and resources which I find useful.
I found the following websites particularly useful for learning and helping me come to decisions on what telescope I should go for.
- Starter Telescopes - Info on Choosing a First Astronomical Telescope
- Ed Ting’s Telescope Review Web Site - excellent learning resource
- Astronomics - How to pick a telescope
- User Reviews on Cloudy Nights Forum
- Exelcis Ratings/Reviews - Telescope Reviews - An excellent unbiased review site with descriptions and user comments on hundreds of different makes and types of telescopes.
- The Heretic’s Guide to Choosing and Buying Your First Telescope
- ScopeTest.com - Ade Ashford’s site provides reviews for telescopes, accessories, mounts, webcam, classic scopes and includes a Scope and Webcam Calculator.
- The Firmament - Jan B. Timmermans website is a constant source of inspiration and useful information that I keep returning to.
- SkyInspector.co.uk - Martin Lewis constructed his own 18inch f/4.5 dobsonian mounted reflector telescope called Fossil Light. It took him 3 years to build, but it is a fantastic piece of engineering, and I recommend you check out the construction details PDF in the Equipment section of his site.
Orion Skyquest related sites:
- http://www.Orion-XT10.com - My site dedicated to the Orion Skyquest XT10i.
- http://www.telescope.com - Orion Telescopes, manufacturers of the Orion Skyquest range.
- The Intelliscope System by Mark De Smet
- Maintaining and Modifying your Orion SkyQuest Dobsonian’s Bearings by S. Waldee
- Review of Orion Skyquest Intelliscope XT8
- Tomhole.com - for Orion XT4.5 and XT10 mods and ideas
- Astronomy XT10 Hacks - Craig Colvin’s site details some mods to his classic XT10, with a novel Laptop Mounting Arm, and a Telescope Observing Chair.
- SkyInspector.co.uk - Martin Lewis constructed his own 18″ f4.5 Dobsonian mounted reflector telescope called Fossil Light. It is a wonderful example of fine engineering. See the construction PDF in the Equipment section of his site.
Astronomy Observatories and Societys:
- http://www.ccastronomy.org/ - CENTRAL COAST ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY Sharing the night sky above San Luis Obispo County, California, since 1979
- Stargazer’s Lounge forum.
- AstronomyForum.net forum.
- NRAO Very Large Array - The National Radio Astronomy Observatory - Very Large Array
- ESO, the European Southern Observatory, builds and operates a suite of the world’s most advanced ground-based astronomical telescopes.
- The Faulkes Telescope Project
- ORION OBSERVATORY - The observatory of Russ M Genet, Santa Margarita CA. Dr. Russell Genet, an astronomer, is the author or editor of over a dozen books on astronomy, cosmic evolution, and robotics. His pioneering development of robotic telescopes was featured in the PBS documentary, The Perfect Stargazer. Russ was the 51st President of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.
- Peterborough Astronomical Society - PAS meets at the Cedar Centre in Castor, Cambridgeshire.
- Norwich Astronomical Society - Set in rural Norfolk, UK, the home of the NAS; the Seething observatory, enjoys the tranquility of the countryside along with stunning dark skies.
- South Lincolnshire Astronomical and Geophysical Society was founded in 1976 with the purpose of promoting and encouraging a forum for discussion in astronomy, space, geophysics and related areas.
- Newton’s Astronomical Society, Grantham, Lincs, UK
- North Lincolnshire Astronomical Society are based at Bonby in North Lincs, UK.
- An article on Guide to Career Education which focuses on providing Astronomy students and professionals with the best astronomy career resources on the internet,
Guide to Career Education - Astronomy Careers
Photographic Image and Video Collections:
- Using Fans with Newtonian Telescopes by Bryan Greer
- How does a Secondary vane and mirror affect telescope diffraction?
- Curved secondary mounts
- Replacing straight vane spiders with curved vane spiders
- AstronomyCast.com regular astronomy podcast by Fraser Cain and Dr. Pamela Gay
- SCS Astro (the only UK supplier I could find of the Orion USA Skyquest XT range)
- StayFocused.eu - For all your astronomical and CCD needs, Stay Focused delivers to the UK, Ireland and the EU.
- Lazy Susan Swivel Bearing product from Isaac Lord
- Scopestuff EbonyStar Laminate Round Bearing Kits
- UK Astronomy Buy & Sell - Uk’s largest astro-classified website.
- Orion Shorty-Plus 3 Element 2x Barlow
- ModernAstronomy.com - Supplies a pre-modified Mono version of the SPC900NC which is purported to be 3 times more sensitive than the Colour version of the webcam, and is re-flashed to allow RAW mode output, enhanced settings, and the white LED is disabled. This link also shows some photos taken using the webcam with other telescopes (see the What Can Be Achieved link).
- Scopes-n-Skies - nice easy web site, and good Astronomy specialist supplier at reasonable prices (UK). I use these people regularly.
- David Hinds UK - another good Astronomy supplier that I have used
- Sherwoods UK
- UK Telescopes from Evergreen Optics
- First Light Optics UK - I’ve ordered several goods from this site, including my Celestron C6-SGT XLT SCT and found them to be quick, helpful and very reasonably priced. First Light Optics also sponsor the Stargazer’s Lounge forum.
- Pentax Optio L30
- Poor Meadow Dyke Observatory - The official site of Steve Chambers, famed for pioneering the use and modification of cheap, readily available, sensitive CCD webcams for use in astrophotography. Many people have followed his suggestions for making the Long Exposure mod to enable webcams (which normally just take very short exposure movie footage at frame speeds of 5 to 60 frames per second) to take exposures anything from 1 second to 1 hour!! This Guide page in particular is very interesting as it describes how the webcam sensor gathers more light the longer the exposure is, with diagrams showing how photons are collected and converted into electrons, and hence how the modification to the webcam works. For a list of webcams suitable for astronomy purposes refer to this page in his site.
- Robert Reeves Celestial Photography - this website provides additional photos and information for the SPC900NC webcam. In particular check out his page How to remove the lens from a Philips SPC900NC webcam
- M.M.Meijer’s Astronomy Pages - This site provides even more technical information on the Philips SPC900NC and also provides exact detail on making the Long Exposure mod for the SPC900NC.
- Astronomical Cameras: A Guide to Astrophotography - This page at CCTV Camera Pros was suggested as a useful resource by young Annie from Beth Pawlicki’s group at the Pathway to Empowerment Youth Groups as part of the research she was doing for an astronomy event to celebrate Red Planet Day which commemorates the launch of the Spacecraft Mariner 4 on November 28,1964. The 228 day mission of Mariner 4 brought the spacecraft within 6,118 miles of Mars on July 14, 1965, and gave us the first close-up images of the surface of the planet. This Guide to Astrophotography provides many useful resources on the History, Equipment, Methods, Picture Sites and other general astrophotography links. This is an excellent find - Well done Annie !
- The Right Way To Clean Eyepieces - Televue Optical website
- Andy’s Shot Glass - Collimation Videos - Excellent, well presented website by Andy Raiford providing information for hobbyists on a budget. This link goes to his Collimation videos for Newtonian Reflectors.
- Observations on Newtonian telescope collimation - Newtonian collimation with lasers and using barlows in the Barlowed Laser Technique.
- Kendrick Astro Instruments - Laser Collimators - While this is a sales page for Kendrick Astro, it displays several types of Laser Collimators, and the Q&A section at the bottom of the page provides some very useful information.
- Skywatcher Telescope Star Testing Techniques - This page provides excellent graphics showing what a star test should look like, including errors such as poor collimation, abberation, coma, atmospheric turbulence, tube currents, pinched optics, astigmatism, zonal errors and surface roughness!
- Carte du Ciel [free]
- The Sky 6
- ASCOM driver - Astronomy Common Object Model
- Stellarium - excellent free software, highly recommended!
- Starry Night Pro
- K3CCDTools - This software allows you to take better control over your webcam to capture movie footage or still shots to your computer for later enhancement by K3CCDTools, or another software such as Registax. It is reasonably priced and has many advanced features that give special control over exposure and gain that your standard Webcam software may not provide. K3CCDTools is particularly of interest because it includes settings that hook into a “long exposure modified” webcam (Note that long exposures are useless without proper equatorial tracking).
- K3CCDTools Deep Sky Processing Tutorial - a good article summarising how to use K3CCDTools (which can be tricky to learn) for DSO photography image enhancement.
- Virtual Moon Atlas - this is an excellent piece of software for learning about the various craters, mountains, valleys, mares and rilles that make up the surface of the moon. It will calculate and show the current phase of the moon, showing the position of the terminator (shadow of the sun) and will indicate interesting features along the terminator. For each object you look at it will explain its age, how it was formed and various other interesting facts. And its Free!
- Telescope Simulator from www.scopesim.com - great little software, reasonably priced to help you visualize what stars and planets will actually look like through the eyepiece, for beginners this really helps you understand the relationships between telescope focal length/aperture, and eyepiece focal length/aperture, apparent and true field of view, the effect a Barlow will have, and displays the resulting magnification, focal ratio, exit pupil, effective focal length and field stop. Ideal for helping you make choices as to what eyepiece you should buy next.
- Astronomy Software List - This list by Dan Bruton must be the most extensive and complete list of astronomy related software I have come across. My personal list above pales into comparison, so if you’re looking for something specific I suggest you try this list first!
- Carsten Arnholms Astronomy Software List - another very useful list of software.
- Orion XT Intelliscope Instruction Manual (PDF) The manual is well written and has clear photos and instructions.
- The original Skyquest XT Instruction Manual (pre-2003 for comparison to todays XT scopes) (PDF)
- Orion SkyQuest IntelliScope Computerised Object Locator Manual (PDF)
- The Pickering Seeing Scale by Damian Peach
- Predicting Astronomical Seeing in the UK (PDF format) by Damian Peach in the Journal of the British Astronomical Association
- Exit Pupil
- Stellar Magnitude
- CCD -this page explains Charge Coupled Devices. This page also provides details of sensor sizes which you may need to read to understand the type of CCD in your webcam. Some software requires the dimensions of the CCD chip to be entered and you will need to translate the “Type” to the relevant Width, Height, Diagonal or Area.
Binocular Astro Lounge Chairs:
- The EZ Gazer - Star Gazing Chair - Binocular Viewing Mount
- STARGEEZER PRODUCTS PRESENTS The Couch - Potato Telescope
- Redneck Astronomy Bino Chair (RAC 1000)
- Gary’s Motorized Big Binocular Chair - by Gary Honis
- The Making Of Voyager - Wayne Schmidt’s Motorized Binocular Chair - you gotta see this!
That’s the list, I hope you enjoy them!Print This Page