Practical Astronomy

MAY 2010
Telescope Friction Drive Home Observatory Project Practical Time Travel

Practical Astronomy
In this month’s issue..
3 4 7 9 PRACTICAL TIME TRAVEL Looking into the past with astronomical observation TELESCOPE CONTROL - FRICTION DRIVE Developing a friction drive system for a large reflector ESSENTIAL KNOWLEDGE - METEORITES The different types, plus a historical perspective PRACTICAL CONSTELLATIONS Mythology and astronomy of Ursa Minor and Major A new look at the Moon Your astronomical images Building a Pulsar 2.2m dome (Part 2) Maps of the Night Sky - looking East, South, West, North Special observing sights not to miss this month

May 2010

First Light
Welcome to the May issue of Practical Astronomy This month, I get to show off the new cover design - by an Italian design studio, no less! Hope you like it and if you voted in the website survey, thank you again. But PA has substance, as well as style.. You’ll find a good variety of interesting articles in this issue, I think. And again, please welcome the new writers to the magazine. Perhaps leave a comment on the Feedback page to encourage all contributers? Clear skies and all the best, Kevin Brown

10 GLOBAL REVIEW 11 READERS’ IMAGE GALLERY 14 HOME OBSERVATORY PROJECT 16 SKY VIEW - MAY 20 OBSERVERS’ DELIGHTS

Find back issues and related resources in the Members’ Area (subscribe to get the password, if you’ve not done so yet)

Cover design: Pixeljuice snc Image: Dr J Dehghani (Sunspot 1057)

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Practical Astronomy May 2010 Editor: Kevin Brown FRAS editor@practicalastronomy.com Advertising: ads@practicalastronomy.com Website: www.PracticalAstronomy.com Publisher: Structure Ltd Telephone: +44 (0)1622 891151

Practical Astronomy magazine is published monthly online. ISSN 2042-2687 Views expressed are not necessarily those of the editor or publisher. May include errors and omissions. Trademarks are the property of their respective owners. The publisher is not responsible for the conduct of advertisers or external websites. Compensation disclosure: may contain advertising and affiliate hyperlinks, which may pay compensation to the publisher for purchases made. ©2010 All contents copyright. No reproduction without express permission.

Practical Astronomy May 2010

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planets. you seconds to centuries. Some More Examples Let’s assume that the lamp is 10m away from For example. since the speed we find that light of light in air is so from the Sun fast. minutes to reach us. and t is the time The nearest star to our Sun. remember that each time you the light needs to reach the Earth ranges from look upward and glance at the night sky. the light takes a astronomers.. Proxima Centauri. We are [Albert Einstein declared and it’s since been therefore looking back into the past. and our home planet. it seems takes 500. moments from the past.5 million light-years distant. nebulas and all the other celestial objects that twinkle in the night Wow! It’s really a spectacular idea. This absolute is denoted by the small letter c] Different celestial objects have different distances from Earth. This means that the Sun rises almost 8 minutes before we see it in the morning. or Astronomical Unit and it’s used by So when you turn on a lamp. Observational astronomy. human eye.5 million characteristics. of course. Earth. all at the same time! The speed of light is equal to 299. to confirmed. But equation again. So looking at Calculating Optical Delay the night sky. the time the light takes to reach you is is over 40 million million km (4 followed by 13 just 0. that is. so according to the formula v=d/t where. 150.3461 that the lamp seconds or lights 8. v is the speed of the light. media between the light source Using the above and you. light has a speed that changes Sun. from its name. light from planet Jupiter takes 45 you. Stars. is that of light in vacuum. is according to the medium it traverses. When you look at Proxima fraction of a second). Practical Astronomy May 2010 3 .000. means looking at different Let’s look at some numbers. so you see it as looked in this case. the Earth. so the light they send takes the sky is a multi-momental sphere. taken. Astronomical “Time Travel” (not to scale) immediately you to reach the switch it on.00000003335640951 second (the merest zeros) distant. And looking at our galactic center (center of the Astronomy And Time Travel Milky Way galaxy). as certain time to a distance traverse the measuring unit). d is the that time ago. distance from lamp to you.. you see it when it was 4.000 km (this distance is dubbed one AU.792.2 years It is obvious that this delay is negligible to the younger than the “real now”. to know that sky are distant.3333 minutes.Practical Time Travel: Astronomical Observations By Yassin Abboud Like everything else we know about in the The average distance between our star.018 years (or about 260 centuries) younger than the “real now”. means observing the night sky and studying the The Andromeda galaxy is the closest other motion and the physical and chemical galaxy to our own. It’s light takes 2. that the absolute ultimate speed of the moment the light left the Sun. galaxies. so it’s usually said to be 2. the universe. The time From now on. are gazing at different and separate moments from the history of the cosmos. of the different celestial objects. everything. time to reach our planet. means looking at a region What has this to do with astronomy? 26. the Earth. years to reach us. Centauri.458 m/s.

The telescope should be very stiff to allow fast motion commands and to resist wind loads. The worm can be spring loaded into mesh with the worm wheel. The secondary drive gearing is not as critical as the primary drive stage because the errors introduced by the secondary drive are divided by the primary drive ratio. to minimize backlash.Telescope Control: A Friction Drive System By Elvio Alanis and Graciela Romero. No lubrication is needed. because it reduces mechanical complexity. These are briefly described below. the stiffness is very high compared with other gearing system. Usually the motor shaft is coupled to a “secondary” drive stage which gives a few turn per minute output. can reduce the stiffness to zero for small motions. It is now possible to build a drive system which is seeing limited. it needs to be driven quickly.. The accuracy and smoothness depends upon the machining. it must driven at low velocity around the polar axis... caused by the play or clearance between the gears’ teeth mesh. The friction drive has zero backlash and because there are no teeth acting in bending. cost. Telescopes are often driven by electrically powered motors (AC synchronous motor. because there is significant averaging of the tooth to tooth machining errors.5m telescope. step by step motor. Their primary benefit is the large gear ratio. Salta. This clearance can be reduced to nearly zero in one direction. but the machining is very straight forward as only cylindrical surfaces are needed. There are some properties of a driven system that are very desirable. etc). In order to avoid slip between the roller and the drive disk. When external and inertial loads are applied to the telescope. the telescope structure and drives must resist these loads with very small deflections. by preloading the gearing. the diameter of the Right Ascension worm wheel (the large gear attached to the polar axle). but to track an object. Backlash (lost motion). A friction drive consists of a small diameter roller pressed against a large diameter disk. This advice is still valid for any of the 'gear' drives used today. The concentricity and roundness of the roller are very important. correspondingly. so the rotation of the axes appears to be a continuous movement at very slow speeds. stiffness and smoothness being the most relevant. there are two that outperform the rest. A 'gear' ratio of 20:1 is often used. To provide positioning. should be the same size or larger than the telescope primary mirror. A well made worm gear stage can be very accurate and smooth. Practical Astronomy May 2010 4 . for a Newtonian 0. the drive is very smooth and this drive is the stiffest form of gearing. The worm and gear can be lapped together to reduce the machining and concentricity errors. As a rule of thumb. possible in a single stage. A “primary” (or final) drive. the drive system also needs to have the necessary mechanical stiffness. The smoothness of a drive system is related to its ability to make very small incremental motions. Introduction Astronomical telescopes require that they are driven in rotation about their axes. the contact stresses must be fairly high at the contact surface. Among the various existing drive systems. for many minutes of tracking. Argentina This article discusses telescope drives in general and then describes the development of a $iction drive system. and the effect of errors in the secondary gearing. Worm Gear Drives and Friction Drives. Worm gear drives are the traditional means to provide the final gear stage for telescopes. Often a gear ratio of 360 to 1 (360:1) is used. A high numerical gear ratio at the primary stage is advantageous. Accurate machining is critical and the worm shaft axis of rotation must be very concentric with the tooth form. which must rotate at one turn per sidereal day. then links the secondary drive stage to the polar axis of the telescope.

secondary and primary stages. The discs are loaded together by means of springs to generate enough friction. Argentina Development Of A Primary Friction Drive We now describe the primary stage of the friction drive system. as shown in Figure 1. as it’s considerably cheaper than a worm gear drive system. To enable the telescope to track objects in the sky. this system works correctly and has the advantage over a worm gear system.) By Elvio Alanis and Graciela Romero. so that small speed corrections may be made. Due to budgetary constraints. Description Of The Drive System Figure 1 is a photograph of the complete system (motor. secondary and primary stages) mounted on the telescope. Figure 2: Layout of the primary drive system. so that the movement is transmitted by friction. of a lack of backlash or play among its components. details of the device are shown. showing the motor. The motor incorporates a small gearbox (secondary drive stage) and the output shaft from this. a friction drive was chosen for this. the gearbox output shaft is coupled to a primary drive stage with a total gear ratio of approx 1 / 1440. In the following sections. Power is provided by a small 5W synchronous motor. The system consists of a train of discs in contact by lateral surfaces. Despite its simple construction. Numbers refer to Fig. while Figure 2 shows a layout of the primary drive system. 1. Practical Astronomy May 2010 5 .5 m Newtonian telescope. rotates at a speed of 1 rpm. that was designed and constructed for a 0. fed by a source that allows the frequency to be changed slightly. Salta. Figure 1: Photograph of the drive system mounted on the telescope.Telescope Control: A Friction Drive System (cont. To make the telescope turn at sidereal speed (1 revolution per sidereal day). a system clock was designed to move it at the sidereal rate.

This can be by friction. we must say that the telescope has an appreciable moment of inertia. Dia [mm] 1 d1 = 460 2 d2 = 60 3 d3 = 180 4 d4 = 35 5 d5 = 90 6 d6 = 29. Coupling The Drive System To The Polar Axis The coupling between the drive system and the polar axis of the telescope. N∫ref. it must allow positioning or guiding the telescope. which will be described later. which rotates at the sidereal rate. Closing It should be noted that both the telescope and the dome that serves as a shelter.e. Practical Astronomy May 2010 6 . are given in this table. 7 screw fixing hub to sha'. as in our case. The diameters of the discs and the corresponding gear ratios.05 12. were designed and built by amateur astronomers. Argentina Disc 1. 2.441 Table: Gear diameters of the primary drive system and corresponding gear ratio. or electromagnetic. must allow independent movement of both systems under certain loading conditions.0 1. without disturbing the progress of the clock. 4. hub. Finally. The coupling device (clutch) designed for our telescope is illustrated in Figure 3 (the drawing is not done to scale).5 7 Gear box TOTAL di /dj 7. i.66 5.Telescope Control: A Friction Drive System (cont. The numbers refer to Figure 1. 8 polar sha'. prisoners. to ensure that induced vibrations have small amplitude and are damped quickly. Figure 3: Drawing of the Clutch: 1. 9 clamping flange (sha' to mount). 5 spring to press the plate. The way to achieve this behavior is through a clutch device. 6 tension nut. Salta. pressure plate. the system described should have sufficient stiffness (and indeed it has). These facilities are part of the Observatory of the National University of Salta (Argentina). is concentric with the polar axis and coupled to it through a clutch.14 3. 3. which is maximum when the tube is perpendicular to the polar axis and minimum when is parallel.) By Elvio Alanis and Graciela Romero. Therefore. gear attached to polar sha'. devoted entirely to the spread of amateur astronomy in the educational community of the Province of Salta.

Achondrites make up approx. other planets and even other moons. caused by Comet SwiftTuttle. Chondrites are the oldest and make up approx. The word Chondrites comes from the word “chondrules” which relates to the Ancient Greek word for “grains”. A prime example of this is the Perseid Meteor Shower every August. These meteorites contain grains of non-volatile silicate-rich elements such as olivine and pyroxene. meteorites were considered mysterious objects. 8% of all known meteorites and have been shown to originate from asteroids. Each time the comet passes near Earth. are thought to come from comets. the American President Thomas Jefferson once said. I would rather believe that two Yankee professors would lie than believe that stones fall from heaven”. The majority of them originate from the early days of the formation of the solar system. it heats up and dust & ice spew out leaving the signature trail we normally associate with these celestial objects. Others however. the Native Americans recognised these rocks as something special and often treated them as ceremonial objects during the burial of their tribal leaders.. 85% of all known meteorites. They are stony meteorites that have not been modified since the early days of the formation of the solar system. 4-5 billion years ago. when the origins of meteorites was thought to come from space. Four Types Of Meteorites There are four main classifications of meteorites: Chondrites. Earth can bump into the comet tail resulting in a sudden burst of shooting stars which we call meteor showers. While the Inuit people in the vicinity of the Cape York meteorite in Greenland used bits of the meteorite for tools. Occasionally. lying dormant in the cold distant reaches of our solar system.Essential Knowledge: Meteorites By Michael O’Conne( For centuries. They are generally formed at the core of asteroids which later became shattered from impact with other asteroids. which orbits the Earth every 130 years. This can result in pieces breaking off from the impact and spinning off into space on a new trajectory. the asteroid belt might look like a band of densely packed objects. they get pulled towards the inner solar system due to the gravity of the Sun and Jupiter. Where Do They Come From? We now know of course that meteorites originate in space and fall to earth through our atmosphere. Irons and Stony Irons. asteroids have bumped off each other. Occasionally. While on a map. When this happens. asteroids are in fact separated by great distances. these pieces can work their way to Earth and enter our atmosphere. asteroids. 90% of the mass of Practical Astronomy May 2010 7 . As the comet is pulled closer to the Sun. However. They comprise about 5% of all known falls but make up approx. Comets on the other hand are generally located in the outer reaches of the solar system. Some comets have an orbit which pass close to Earth. Irons are metal meteorites which are made up of iron and nickel. as we rewind the clock backwards over thousands and millions of years. Even in more recent times. “Gentlemen. the Moon and Mars. The asteroid belt is located between Mars and Jupiter. They are normally made up of ice and rock. Achondrites on the other hand do not contain chondrules. Achondrites. They play an important part in our understanding of the early solar system. They are much younger rocks and are formed from the reprocessing of material in objects such as asteroids. it replenishes the dust trail leaving us with many more years of meteor showers.

Parnon.) By Michael O’Conne( meteorites found to date. the main site of the Star Party. They are formed in asteroids near the boundary between the iron core and the stony outer shell. under which camping tents will be set up.gr/english. FORTHCOMING EVENT 4th National Annual Star Party of Greek Amateur Astronomers Mt. these can be some of the most beautiful meteorites to look as they show the shiny metal surrounding chunks of colourful minerals. the Moon and our nearest rocky planets. in Pelloponese. In 300 meters distance is the George Pierce Mountain Refuge of the Spartan Alpine Club. Parnon. They are much more likely to survive passage through the atmosphere. at the end of a picturesque driving route through mountainous forests. A flat field. Studying meteorites provides a great deal of information about the formation of the solar system. It is surrounded by forests of tall pine and fir trees. 2. http://www. Practical Astronomy May 2010 8 . Just send details to editor@practicalastronomy. 2% of meteorites found thus far.Essential Knowledge: Meteorites (cont. There are a few reasons for this: 1. Your event details will go out to our readers worldwide.com. Stony-Irons are a mixture of iron and stone and form approx. When sliced in thin sections. Greece July 9th .html Please use this magazine for free publicity for your astronomy events. The driving time to get there by car is 1 hr from Tripolis city and 3 hrs from Athens.astroexormisi2010. They are much less inclined to weather 3. southern Greece. They are easy to recognise. lays at altitude 1420m. the only building in the region.11th 2010 The Star Party will take place at Mt.

they both had to stay around the north celestial pole. or alpha Ursae Minoris. to reach Jupiter in 2016). Syria Last time. and most importantly. He changed Arcas into a little bear and placed him and his mother in the sky. with an angular separation of 18 arc seconds. Juno was sure the father was Jupiter and wanted to take revenge. so that Jupiter was no longer attracted to her. he grabbed both by their short tails and swung them up to the heavens. This story also tells us about the origin of other important names in modern astronomy. As a practical astronomer. Second.. you need to know three main things about Polaris.. Fortunately. She went to Neptune (the brother of Jupiter and god of the sea) and asked him to prevent Callisto and Arcas from bathing in the water of the oceans and streams. recent observations have revealed that Polaris is in fact a triple star! Spectroscopic observations found that Polaris itself has a very close companion and Hubble imaged it in 2006.Practical Constellations: Ursa Minor (And Major) By Dr Firas Safadi. and Juno was his very jealous wife. the North Star is a double star. but the Roman myth is the most interesting of all. which makes the North Star really a distinct one! Practical Astronomy May 2010 9 . Callisto later gave birth to a son called Arcas. so they could live peacefully among the stars. it’s the nearest bright star to the north celestial pole and is used as a direction reference. she rushed to him. Jupiter was not pleased and decided to protect Callisto and her son from Juno. without being able to touch the water on the horizon! So in the most popular myth. But what about Arcas? Juno left him living in the forest. Callisto is the farthest Galilean moon from Jupiter and the third largest moon in the solar system. Callisto lived in the forest and Jupiter was not able to change her back into a human. It is only 430 light years away from us. it’s a story that all practical astronomers should know and involves both Ursa Major and Ursa Minor. Reality: Three Things About Polaris Let us go back to reality. Ursa Minor is Arcas. When Callisto saw her son Arcas. However Juno was not satisfied and she wanted to punish Callisto and her son... So she changed Callisto into a bear. Jupiter arrived just in time to stop the arrow killing Callisto. we continue with more mythology and astronomy about this conste(ation and also Ursa Major.99. Jupiter's son. All you need is a clear dark sky and a telescope with aperture of 3 inches or more to glimpse the tiny 9th magnitude companion. which made him think a bear was attacking! Arcas defended himself by shooting an arrow at Callisto. which made their tails elongated as we see them in the sky. More interestingly. Jupiter was the king of gods in Roman mythology. Have a look at Polaris: the North Star. and Juno (Jupiter's wife) will be the next mission to study Jupiter and its satellites (scheduled for launch in August 2011. First (of course). so it can also be used as a reference to judge all other second magnitude stars... we started our discussions on Ursa Minor and here. The Myth There are many stories concerning the mythology of Ursa Minor. Jupiter (the king of gods) is the largest planet in the solar system. Polaris has a magnitude of 1. To do this. Third. this is Polaris B. Once upon a time a charming maiden called Callisto was in the forest when Jupiter saw her and was attracted by her beauty.

but soon realised the Moon globe. I have a particular The globe penchant for the comes supplied Moon and what with its own with the 40th Perspex base anniversary of which it just sits Apollo 11 The Moon Globe with David Scanlan. UK I think everyone is always struck with a little wonder and awe. reason behind the base. The Moon globe truly is an interesting extra to have amongst your astronomical collection and would look at home in your study. has instantly picked it up and looked at the lunar south pole and also the far side. I decided first I thought to take the this base was a plunge and spend the required £50. they always draw a lot of interest. bedroom or observatory. I think the globe would be awash with names and that would detract from the overall quality of the product.Global Review: A New Look At The Moon By David Scanlan. and at globe and showing its unusual base place. Practical Astronomy May 2010 10 . plain and recently taking simple. measures 12” in diameter and 14” in height and has a scale of 180 miles per inch. glass and so on. My own little Moon sitting on my study desk. if they included everything. with only the smaller crater names being omitted from the globe. front room. when they look at globes of the Earth. i(ustrating the dimensions of the on. Even though we know full well they are just lumps of plastic.00 for the little bit of a cheap option. it allows people to pick up the globe nice and easily and examine it in closer detail. The surface is amazingly well detailed.. A very worthwhile purchase. wood. or even on public outreach events A sma( portion of the detail The globe is officially endorsed by NASA and is made by an American company called Replogle. Everyone I have shown the globe to so far.. Recently I decided to purchase a Moon globe. with what’s basically an atlas marked upon their surface. Then again. metal.

All I can say is I’m glad I’m learning this hobby after the advent of digital photography. riding piggyback on a Celestron 8iSE mounted on a DIY wooden wedge.” Practical Astronomy May 2010 11 . Exposures: 20x1. 15 bias frames.Readers Image Gallery (1) We welcome your images for publication. 15 flats and 15 dark flats Lynn comments. “I recently bought a Meade DSI pro 2 mono camera.5 min + 10x3min at ISO 800 + 15 darks. with colour filters and had a chance to do a few images of the Moon in mono.  I can’t imagine doing it with a filmbased camera. advanced or expert. black points. and hit it with a smidge of sharpening. Beginner.”  Moon Image by Robert Slack Captured from Nottingham UK on 22nd March 2010 Robert wrote. which I thought I would share with you all.. cropped a little. just send to: editor@practicalastronomy.  But I did take the final result and adjusted the white.. “Essentially I just fed them all into DSS [Deep Sky Stacker].com Mars in the Behive cluster (M44) by Lynn Francis Equipment: Canon 300D with 60mm lens.

just send to: editor@practicalastronomy. Iran Description of what appears in the photo: Winter stars rising over scenic Sohrein preserve.Readers Image Gallery (2) We welcome your images for publication.com Zanjan Sky by Amir Ali Nasiri Taken on 14th March 2010 Location: Sohrein.5 on EQ 6 pro mount Camera: modified 6 megapixel Nikon D50 Exposure total: 3 hour and 4 min at ISO 800 Stacked in Deep Sky Stacker and processed in Photoshop Practical Astronomy May 2010 12 . 350 kilometers northwest of Tehran M 100 by John Theil Pedersen M100 is a grand spiral galaxy in Coma Berenices and part of the Virgo cluster of galaxies Image captured from Denmark on 13th April 2010 Scope: Equinox 120 at f7. Zanjan. advanced or expert. Beginner.

” Sunspot 1054 by Dr J Dehghani Scope: 120mm ED Skywatcher Mount: EQ6 Camera: Sony alpha 200 DSLR Orion solar filter Details: 120 images stacked together by means of Registax 5 Practical Astronomy May 2010 13 . 2008 as my friend and I made our way home from bird watching..Readers Image Gallery (3) We welcome your images for publication. .I had with me just a Canon PowerShot S3 IS.. I was expecting Venus. “I'm sending a series of photos I took on December 1.com Jupiter.. I did not expect that it would be as striking as this.. just send to: editor@practicalastronomy. Jupiter and the Moon to cluster in a triangular formation days earlier because I checked my Skyglobe program to see what was in store for the coming week. Beginner.. However. Venus and Moon by Jun Obille (Philippines) Jun wrote. advanced or expert.

The one I bought. Subsequently the inside of the observatory is “bone dry” and the small amount of heat produced by the dehumidifier. No vibrations to speak Quite we( camouflaged in this weather! What. However. although this lessened once the butyl rubber flooring was in place. Using fairly substantial metal tent pegs. into the cement joints of the paving slabs. leveled and roughly polar-aligned. Dealing With Damp Condensation in the observatory was very evident. into the shed. I then sealed around.Home Observatory: Pulsar Dome Assembly Part 2 By Mitch Fry Mitch continues his DIY observatory story (see February issue for Part 1) Since assembling my Pulsar 2. partly because of the cost. Cables run through a small hatch. with plenty left over after sealing the observatory panels). where I can sit with my laptop to control operations [the scope is a WO FLT 132mm.2m observatory pre-Christmas. It might well be that the butyl rubber will also help dampen vibrations in the scope? Cables from the scope run under the rubber so they are “out of the way”. The next job was to seal the floor inside the observatory. is a welcome byproduct. Even so. this won`t stop the base lifting vertically but it will certainly prevent any rotation. but also since a house move might be imminent in the not so distant future. I`m using the continuous drainage option. on its original tripod. and one often recommended. which I cut out of the panel side. sitting on a Celestron CGE equatorial mount]. pieces of rubber left over were laid around the perimeter of the floor to provide extra protection for when walking around inside. Is It Weathertight? So how has the observatory stood up so far. between the base and paving floor. and cut it to shape to cover the inside and overlap the panel base flange. we have had torrential rain. heavy snow and sub-zero temperatures! Not too much chance to do any real observing then. to the elements? Very well! No water leaks at all from the dome or walls. the first thing I did was to peg it down. with the observatory to do this (two tubes were provided. I didn`t want to commit to a pier at present. or indeed under the floor. apparently it costs around £5 a month in running costs. I decided to buy myself a dehumidifier unit. To do this I purchased a 3 x 3m black butyl rubber pond liner. gales. Fixing Down And Sealing The observatory is sitting on a paving slab patio area. is the DD122FWMK4 dehumidifier. The telescope tripod sits on this. Dehumidifier unit I have this running continuously at present. I drove these through four equidistant drilled holes in the base flange. but plenty of opportunity to check out the observatory and its operation. there is a reasonable amount of room to move around the scope inside the observatory. No Pier? I have the telescope set up. I used the silicon seal supplied Practical Astronomy May 2010 14 . the tube from which also runs to the outside through the hatch.

Views $om the hatch Hatch access arrangements I mentioned in the first article. At present. but a good application of WD40 is necessary to improve its operation.Home Observatory: Pulsar Dome Assembly Part 2 By Mitch Fry (cont) of in the wind and even with the observing hatch open. to being “fit for purpose”. Once the temperatures improve a little. which is not a problem. it is very sheltered inside. to view that celestial target. it`s great to be able to “park” the scope in any position. especially in the present temperatures! So What’s The Overall Verdict? All in all. I really have no criticisms at all. The head height inside is ample. I mentioned previously that the top of the door collects water. I might be investing in a pulley system for the hatch. I was looking at Jupiter the other night without any difficulty (quite low down for me. near Sheffield). From the straightforward assembly. even with a couple of inches of snow on it. I`m also retiring this year. so bring it on. The hatch opening allows viewing almost to the horizon. I`m using a small child’s chair to give me the extra height needed to open and close the hatch. I have recently purchased T-point to use in conjunction with The Sky. and clear skies (except to the West!) Happy observing to you all. It is very easy to swivel the dome around from the inside. I am very happy with my purchase. which will fall inside when you open the door (it also freezes. I am going to place a silicon beading along the top of the door to prevent water ingress. to “stick” the door).. Looking good The hatch opens easily. Well done Pulsar! Once the weather improves and I have some time. so I`m looking forward to getting that set up and achieving some very accurate pointing and imaging. The door lock seems reasonable. Practical Astronomy May 2010 15 . I need to calibrate the mount and its Go To settings.

51N) Looking East These maps show the sky view looking in different directions at 21.00 GMT in mid-May.Sky View Mid-May 21:00 GMT (lat. for an observer at latitude 51 degrees North. Practical Astronomy May 2010 16 . Local time zone not GMT? The view should be much the same at 8pm in your local time (9pm with Daylight Saving). but patterns are the same. Further South? (but still in the northern hemisphere) Objects are higher above your local southern horizon.

51N) Looking South These maps show the sky view looking in different directions at 21. Further South? (but still in the northern hemisphere) Objects are higher above your local southern horizon.00 GMT in mid-May. Local time zone not GMT? The view should be much the same at 8pm in your local time (9pm with Daylight Saving). Practical Astronomy May 2010 17 . but patterns are the same. for an observer at latitude 51 degrees North.Sky View Mid-May 21:00 GMT (lat.

but patterns are the same. for an observer at latitude 51 degrees North. Local time zone not GMT? The view should be much the same at 8pm in your local time (9pm with Daylight Saving).00 GMT in mid-May. Further South? (but still in the northern hemisphere) Objects are higher above your local southern horizon. Practical Astronomy May 2010 18 .Sky View Mid-May 21:00 GMT (lat. 51N) Looking West These maps show the sky view looking in different directions at 21.

Practical Astronomy May 2010 19 . Further South? (but still in the northern hemisphere) Objects are higher above your local southern horizon.00 GMT in mid-May. Local time zone not GMT? The view should be much the same at 8pm in your local time (9pm with Daylight Saving). 51N) Looking North These maps show the sky view looking in different directions at 21. but patterns are the same.Sky View Mid-May 21:00 GMT (lat. for an observer at latitude 51 degrees North.

peak around 6th (but effectively.10th. but moving west into the twilight DEEP SKY “WINDOW” Starts ~ 8th May Ends ~ 20th May Make the most of it! Enjoy BACK ISSUES and BONUSES.Observers’ Delights MOON Full 28th April New 14th May May 2010 Full 27th May METEOR SHOWER eta Aquarids.near Uranus from late May SATURN Still favourable and high in the south..com/subscribe Simply visit our website and subscribe. May 3rd .PracticalAstronomy.. Southern Hemisphere only) VENUS Improving in the western evening sky MARS Moving from west to east into Leo . You’ll be sent the current password for the Members’ Area. Practical Astronomy May 2010 20 . Become A Member www.now rather small to observe JUPITER Rising in the morning sky before the Sun . You’ll also get priority notification when the next issue of Practical Astronomy is ready to download.

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