Tim Vasquez's Astronomy
A bit about me...
I am located in south Austin, Texas.
I own a 10" Discovery DHQ Dobsonian telescope, and
am a member of the
Austin Astronomical Society.
I enjoy starhopping and searching out interesting deep sky objects,
as well as sketching.
I have not been involved in observing activities in late 2003
and early 2004, though, due to the arrival of our baby son...
that has a way of soaking up all available time.
However I will be getting involved in observing again
My main hobby of course is meteorology and storm chasing,
but I also enjoy beer brewing, strategy computer games such
as Tropico and SimCity, and Mystery Science Theater 3000.
NEW! I am experimenting with
eta cloud forecasts,
which are manually updated as time permits.
If you like the concept, send an E-mail to
Televue Overviews -- a very nice review site on Televue eyepieces and
-- our very own astronomy mail order shop in Norman, Oklahoma.
Barbara there is very nice, and checked their shop to see if they
had an old Sky & Telescope issue they could sell me.
-- one of the best makers of large quality telescopes that don't
break the bank.
Oceanside Photo & Telescope (OPT)
-- large distributor for Discovery Telescopes. It may be worth weighing
whether to buy from the factory or from OPT, since OPT orders lots of
scopes in advance (no wait on some models). But of course they also
have lots of other good scopes and accessories. The manager, Mike Fowler,
was very quick and helpful to an E-mail question I sent them.
Tectron Collimation Tools
-- suggested to supplement the laser collimator. They're pretty clear that
it might take awhile for them to get their E-mails.
Cookbook CCD Homepage --
allows CCD imaging on a budget. Build your own from a kit!
Astronomy Stock Photography
-- excellent news on "what's going on out there" tonight.
Sky & Telescope Magazine
-- by far the best observational amateur astronomy publication available.
Aurora Activity Maps
Association of Lunar & Planetary
Observers (ALPO) -- one of the best places to see what's happening in
the solar system right now (see the newsletters).
-- nice all-around astronomy resource.
IR Image for Oklahoma
-- what's happening with cloud cover.
International Supernovae Network
-- latest news, events, and statistics. Excellent links.
Also worth checking out is the
Supernova Early Warning System (not sure
if it's operational.
public domain Messier images
DISCUSSIONS & COMMUNITY
-- Usenet group
Discovery Dob Users -- (373 members) - perhaps the best forum for
Discovery telescope users. Excellent, generous users and lots of good
Discovery Telescopes -- (165 members) - a smaller group that's less
active. Not sure how redundant it is with the group above.
-- for Nexstar scopes.
International Dark Sky Association --
seeking environment-friendly and energy-conscious use of lighting.
AstroMart -- sort of an eBay
and BBS for amateur astronomers.
COOL AMATEUR PAGES
Bill Ferris' Cosmic Voyage
-- absolutely astounding notes, sketches, and comments about
various deep sky objects. A must see!
David Haworth's Amateur
Observing Page -- lots of good links worth checking out.
40 Inch Scope --
geez, this thing is a monster! A 15 foot fruit-picker's ladder and 12" finder scope!
Also check out the monster
TIPS & TECHNIQUES
-- excellent for Newtonian scopes.
Alan MacRobert, Sky & Telescope. Good hints for the cold winter months.
techniques -- an interesting paper I stumbled across showing some
equations related to limiting magnitude.
Flocking a Newtonian
with black velvet -- looks pretty labor intensive but worth checking out.
Other great information
Tim's Deep Sky Object List|
I made a list of some of the best Messier and NGC objects in the sky,
a catalog of sorts I am using to pick good objects to view. Lots of
good info, including factoids and the object location within or relative
to the Milky Way Galaxy.
Tim's Deep Sky Object List
(Not quite finished!)
Flocking a Newtonian|
snipped from a post on Discovery Dobs group
flocking - self sticking protostar paper -- someone had nightmare with detachment
"I'll second Bob's recommendations.
I did the top end of my 8-inch with Edmunds paper, using Elmers glue to hold it.
I cut the paper into 4 strips, wide enough to go between the vanes of the
secondary spider. Be sure to remember to cut holes (or X cuts) where the
finder & focusser mounting screws project into the tube.
I also cut a ring of flocking paper to make a flange for the focusser that
projects into the tube (but not into the light path). Terriffic difference,
increased contrast all around."
Ideas for improving a Newtonian telescope|
Use flock/flocking paper from
to line the inside of the telescope. It reduces reflection of light
in the tube. The area around the secondary mirror is most important.
Spray paint the DHQ base black. This reduces faint glare that
might be seen while viewing.
Add handles to the base of a DHQ. Makes it easier to carry.
Baffle the tube (at least behind the mirror). Reduces light
entering the tube from the bottom. Ideas are in
"Thermal Management In Newtonian Reflectors" on page 132 of Sky & Telescope.
Use an eyepiece or dark cloth to view in (velvet or felt?).
A good way to screen out any remaining light.
When you store you scope always leave it at an angle, never
pointing at zenith. Keeps debris from rolling down into the primary mirror.
Some telescope facts and figures|
A 10" scope has 1792 times the light gathering power of a 6 mm pupil
(i.e. an 8.1 mag difference)
The typical magnitude limit on a 10" scope is 14.5-15.5
Typical Limiting magnitudes
This is a rough compilation of estimates by various individuals on
sci.astro.amateur, showing the faintest apparent magnitude that can
usually be seen in various environments.
|Near Manchester UK Airport (RB) ||2.0|
|Los Angeles city (CP) ||2.3|
|Suburban area of large city (CP) ||3.4|
|Mid City District of LA (BT) ||3.5|
|Good night in Cheshire UK (RB) ||3.5|
|Small village in England (CM) ||3.5|
|Best nights in Tampa along bay (CP) ||4.3|
|Suburban area near city (BT) ||4.5|
|Rural area adjacent to city (CP) ||4.5|
|15 miles from Tampa in rural (CP) ||4.8|
|Santa Monica CA (BT) ||4.8|
|Glendale CA near LA (EP) ||5.0|
|Edge of OKC in Midwest City (MD) ||5.0|
|Red Rock Farm ||5.8|
|Rural area near city (BT) ||6.0|
|Isolated rural area (CP) ||6.2|
|Sand Hills of Nebraska (DK) ||6.8|
|Suspected naked eye limit (RM) ||7.0|
|Isolated mountain top (CP) ||7.5|
|Extreme naked eye limit (DK) ||8.0|
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