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Posts Made By: Herbert Kraus

October 27, 2008 08:07 AM Forum: Eyepieces

What Eyepieces Best Detect Colors of Stars?

Posted By Herbert Kraus

A question for you experts about eyepieces and optics: What type of eyepieces would do the best job of bringing out the subtle color contrasts of double stars and the redness of carbon stars in visual observing? (In my experience the more costly and highly touted eyepieces are not the best performers in this department. Used on the same night in the same telescope, some eyepieces with a more modest reputation seem to bring out star colors more effectively.)

February 7, 2010 02:26 PM Forum: Solar System Observing

February 7 Sunspot Activity

Posted By Herbert Kraus

One of my club colleagues advised us of sunspot activity today, and I viewed it with a small solar projection device (marketed under the name "Sunspotter"). I'm attaching a picture of my view, taken at about 2:00 pm PST on February 7 (2200 Universal Time).

September 22, 2010 08:04 AM Forum: Beginning Astronomy?

Re: 2" visual back for C8

Posted By Herbert Kraus

Kenneth Taylor said:I was told IF I go to a 2" Visual back and start using some 2" eyepieces I will get more out of observing Deep space object.
Your photo shows that yours is a fork-mounted alt-azimuth telescope. You may find that the additional length required to accommodate 2" instead 1-¼" eyepieces will result in the eyepieces smashing against the base and prevent you from viewing objects near the zenith or anywhere more than a limited number of degrees above the horizon.

December 1, 2010 08:47 AM Forum: LUNATICS

Lunar "X" on Monday, December 13

Posted By Herbert Kraus

I believe the lunar "X" will be visible on December 13, starting at 08:41 UT and peaking around 09:30 UT. For us on the Pacific coast, that would be from 12:41 a.m PST to 1:30 a.m. PST. For those in the more easterly time zones it would occur in the wee hours of the morning, but the folks in Hawaii might get a view of it at a more comfortable hour on Sunday evening.

April 1, 2012 08:50 AM Forum: LUNATICS

The Lunar X in March 2012

Posted By Herbert Kraus

An apparition of the lunar or Werner "X" photographed at 8:42 p.m. PDT on Thursday, March 29, 2012 (UT 0342 3/30/12).

August 5, 2012 08:17 PM Forum: Celestron

Celestron's "Sky Align" system

Posted By Herbert Kraus

I have and use a Celestron NexStar 8i computerized SCT telesope. I usually align by use of Celestron's "Sky Align" system which effectively models the sky on the basis of 3 bright objects (stars or planets) after the precise geographical location and local time of the viewing site have been entered into its computer. Sometimes, at "public outreach" star parties, before the sky is dark enough for anything except the moon, I use that moon and the somewhat less precise "solar alignment" system; and later, when it's darker, I turn off the scope and realign with the "Sky Align" system.
Question: Is there a way to turn off the telescope's tracking motor while keeping its clock running, so that I don't need to turn the power off for the second alignment, but simply tell the telescope's computer that I now want to realign with another alignment system and use the saved location and current date/time for it?

January 5, 2013 08:37 AM Forum: LUNATICS

Lunar X this month?

Posted By Herbert Kraus

I have ascertained that on January 19 at 0200 UT the colongitude of the terminator will be at precisely 358.0º, the perfect position for viewing the Werner (or lunar) "X" at 6:00 p.m PST on the evening of Friday, January 18. However, I understand that another condition for this is that the altitude of the rising sun at the crater Werner should be about 1.5º. Can anyone advise how and where I can find information indicating the altitude of the sun at 0200 UT on January 19, 2013 at colongitude 358º?

September 4, 2003 11:54 AM Forum: Deep Sky Observing

Did we inherit good galactic genes?

Posted By Herbert Kraus

It seems to me our galactic genes are just fine. We are in what appears to be a spiral galaxy, in an area fairly distant from the galactic center with a rather sparse population of nearby stars. Wouldn't it be worse for us deep-sky observers if we were:
1. In one of the billions of elliptical galaxies?
2. Closer to our galactic center?
3. In a part of our galaxy surrounded by obscuring dust clouds (such as we see in M104, etc.)?
4. In a solar system within a globular cluster?
5. In a young solar system still surrounded by the hydrogen clouds from which it formed (this may not be a problem, as I believe there are very few atoms of this gas per cubic centimeter within these nebulae)?
Anyhow, your question makes us think. Thanks. Herbert Kraus.

September 18, 2003 10:13 AM Forum: Solar System Observing

RA tracking?

Posted By Herbert Kraus

You might try this method which I've used for a little 3.5 Questar I've had for years. Maybe it would work for a bigger scope:
1. Start your clock drive
2. Ascertain the right ascension of your meridian of longitude at the current time (I use an old device called AccuStar, but there may be a more computerized method to do it), and set your right ascension circle to show that number at the zenith position.
3. Then use the setting circles to point your telescope to the right ascension and declination of a visible bright star, such as Vega or Altair.
4. Without further changing its settings, move the telescope(i.e., both the polar axis and the r.a. axis) until the star you've selected is centered in the eyepiece.
This brings my little Questar close enough to polar alignment to allow me to view Mars (or other objects I may use the setting circles to point to) for long minutes with very little drift (obviously not suitable for photography).

September 28, 2003 11:18 AM Forum: Celestron


Posted By Herbert Kraus

My problem with the GPS was in its leveling capability, but there is a catch-22: you cannot use the leveling utilities program until you have aligned the scope, and alignment is unsatisfactory if the scope's computer contains an inaccurate zero altitude position. My solution: When setting up your equipment, make sure your tripod head is as level as possible, and when you start your observing session, BEFORE alignment, use the compass utilities program to point the scope to true north (this program CAN be run before alignment). Then align the scope using Auto Align, NOT GPS Align; the GPS unit will determine your location and time in either case, the only difference being that Auto Align will ask you to find north and level; and since you have already pointed your scope to true north, you need merely line up the two index markers to the level position and can then proceed with the usual two-star alignment process. I find that this approach will bring the objects I select during the observing session within less than 30 arcminutes of the eyepiece's center (and perhaps closer if great precision is used to center the alignment stars).