Thursday, 30 April 2009
Wednesday, 22 April 2009
Monday, 20 April 2009
Sunday, 19 April 2009
Saturday, 18 April 2009
With Saturn still very visible in the night sky at the moment, I thought a few facts, ten in fact would be appropriate.
- Saturn is the second largest planet in the solar system. It is so big Earth could fit into it 755 times
- Saturn is a slightly smaller version of Jupiter, with similar, but not so distinctive surface patterns. It's only main difference is those completely stunning rings
- Saturn's rings could well be particles of an moon that used to orbit the planet, that was drawn in by Saturn and obliterated
- Saturn's rings orbit the planet at different tilts, sometimes they can be very visible from our viewpoint on Earth other times they appear edge on, this edge on view occurs about every 14 3/4 years on Saturn's orbit around the sun, and as the rings are only approx one mile thick our 800 million mile away view makes the rings seem to disappear for a while
- Some astronomers believe that one day the rings will disappear altogether, They will either disperse into space or get sucked into Saturn by it's gravitational pull, this could happen in around 50 million years, so don't worry about it at the moment
- Despite it's similarities to Jupiter, there is no great spot on Saturn, (Jupiter has an area called the Great Spot, which is a storm that has raged for many many years) but Saturn does have stormy weather
- Saturn is twice as far away from the sun as Jupiter is
- Saturn's largest moon, Titan, is the only moon in the solar system to possess an atmosphere
- Saturn has such a low density that if we had an ocean big enough here on Earth, it would float around on it - in comparison Earth and Mercury would sink the fastest
- One year on Saturn would take almost thirty years on Earth, but a day on Saturn only lasts about ten and a half hours
Friday, 17 April 2009
Thursday, 16 April 2009
Bright spokes emerge from behind the shadow of the planet and into sunlight in this view from the Cassini spacecraft.
Saturn's long shadow covers the left side of the image. This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 22 degrees below the ringplane.
The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Feb. 26, 2009. The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 821,000 kilometers (510,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 150 degrees. Image scale is 46 kilometers (29 miles) per pixel.
With thanks to NASA for wording and image
- Steer away from zoom binos, there has not been a decent zoom made EVER (yet)
- Steer away from Red or amber coatings
- Give them a bloody good shake, if they rattle, don't buy them
- Check the focussing through its entire range, reject any with loose spots or that bind whilst focussing
- Do the same check with the focussing for the right eyepiece adjustment
- and check the hinge is also smooth
- If you re going to use your new binoculars with spectacles then make sure you can see properly through them with the eyecups folded down and the binocular at spectacle distance, so about 25mm
- If you have a big nose make sure it fits between the binoculars
- Check what prism you are buying, remember Bak-4 are best in my opinion
Wednesday, 15 April 2009
So you've seen a shiny new telescope in a shop, borrowed a set of binoculars and looked at the moon, and now you think that you're ready to take the plunge and get that scope. Well firstly STOP!!!!!! my advice is to truly understand what it is that you are about to undertake, and stick with the binoculars for a bit, Space Jockey uses a set of 25 x 100's and is able to view just as much as a lot of people with a scope, why? because he knows how to use them and what to look for, he sees nebula as well as star formations, check out his blog here.
You can also follow Starmunchers on Twitter, my name on Twitter is craiggold I don't use the Starmunchers name as I reserve that just for here, and using my name is a bit more personal, drop me an @ and say hello.
For those that took part in the Spring Moonwatch I have enclosed my favourite picture from my efforts during the fabulously clear weather that seems to accompany the lunar transit. I hope you all took time to get outside and take a look at the moon and try to spot it's features. Even a cheap pair of binoculars will show you some detail, try it for yourself, go outside and look up.