Amateur Astronomy website.
Amateur astronomy is one of those hobbies in which I participated
avidly for the four years in the U.S. Air Force and for a couple
years after separating. During that time I observed as often as
time and atmospheric conditions permitted. While at Robins AFB,
in Warner Robins, Georgia, I belonged to the Macon Amateur Astronomy
club and spent quite a few Friday evenings operating the museum's/club's
8", 10" and 14" Celestron telescopes both for private observation
and for assisting the public after the planetarium show. The club
took a couple trips to the
Center in Atlanta and got to look through their 32" reflector,
which at the time (circa 1980) was the largest reflecting telescope
in the southeast. Today, of course, private 30" Dobsonians
are as affordable as motorcycles. A picture of me and my 8" Newtonian
reflector is given below. I ended up selling it after getting married
to help pay the mortgage (sold all the R/C stuff, too). Only naked-eye
(no longer anywhere near my former 20/15 vision) and my trusty binoculars
remain for observing over the past 20 years. Recently, have I begun
reacquiring some of my "toys" from yesteryear. I have not purchased
another telescope yet, but the good thing is that now the state
of the art is orders of magnitude better than where I left off.
This photo was made
with my Canon S1 2S Power Shot, mounted on a tripod.
15-second exposure. 11/6/2007, 11:00 pm est. Through
my 8x45 binoculars, comet Holmes appears as a very
prominent smudge. It is easily seen with the naked
eye as what looks like an extra star in Perseus.
photo of the full moon - Mars conjunction (≈3/8°), taken
December 23, 2007, captures the northernmost (highest in
the sky) full moon of the year. Earth will pass between
Mars and the sun tomorrow. Mars will not come this close
to Earth again until the year 2010.
is a photo of the largest full moon of 2010. It was taken
from the back yard of my pervious house in Erie, PA. I was
pretty much buried in trees there.
Palomar Telescope Pyrex Mirror Blank by Corning, in the May 29,
1948, edition of the Saturday Evening Post
"Like buried treasures, the outposts of the universe have beckoned
to the adventurous from immemorial times." - George Ellery Hale
I am (Kirt Blattenberger, webmaster) with my 8" Newtonian reflector,
circa 1982. It was purchased used from an astronomy shop in Baltimore,
MD. After struggling with dragging out the tripod and doing polar
alignments night after night, I finally got smart and built this
concrete block pier and ran 120 VAC to it for the clock drive. The
pier cap I custom cast out of concrete to mate the equatorial mount
to the blocks. Observation nights were greatly increased in number
after doing so. The finder is a piggybacked 2" Tasco refractor.
I made a remote focusing mount for the eyepiece using a servo from
one of my other hobbies -
and rockets. Soon, I will scan and post some of the photos I
took with it using my Minolta SLR. There were no digital cameras
in those days.
ahead nearly three decades, and here I am in my back yard in Erie,
Pennsylvania, "playing" with my newly acquired (in June) Celestron
NexStar 8SE telescope. City lights are fairly bright here to the
east and west, but farm land is to the south and Lake Erie begins
two miles to the north, so that limits the light pollution somewhat.
Erie is not that large of a city, so that also helps. Still, compared
to the truly dark skies in areas I have lived in Vermont and Colorado,
the seeing is noticeably bad. I haven't had a chance to try any
of the filters that came with the eyepiece and filter kit that came
with the scope.
the left is more recent image (2/9/2012) of Jupiter. I'm getting
a little better. The sky was exceptionally clear, winds nonexistent,
and the nearly full moon had not risen above the eastern horizon
was about 15° west of due south, high in the sky. My Celestron NexImage
was used with a 2x Barlow lens. The photo is a composite of about
500 short time exposure images recorded at 5 fps. This really helped
avoid atmospheric scintillation. If I had done a better job on the
focus, the detail might have been even better. RegiStax v2 software
To the right is my first ever image of Venus.
Amateur Astronomy Books
Amateur Astronomy Mfgs & Services
ADC for Amateur Astronomers
Greenbelt, MD Specializes in archiving and distributing collections
of data that have been published by professional astronomers. Most
of these data sets are in the form of computer-readable tables of
numbers, rather than images. Amateur astronomers can find these
data collections useful in looking up the properties and locations
of celestial objects. This can help amateurs plan for observing
sessions, and help them to better understand what they've observed.
Amateur Astronomers Association of New York
New York, NY Provides lectures, classes and observing
sessions to better enjoy astronomy, whether intellectually, aesthetically,
Amateur Astronomers Association of Princeton
Princeton, NJ Promotes astronomy-related
activities for members and non-members, novice to expert. A wide
spectrum of astronomy interests are explored at the AAAP through
regular meetings, workshops, use of the two club observatories,
public outreach and regional star parties.
Amateur Astronomers' Inc (AAI)
908-276-2730 / Cranford, NJ Club info & links.
Amateur Astronomer's Notebook
Joint effort by two amateur astronomers, Joe Roberts and Peter Chapin,
includes information on a variety of topics that may be of interest
to both casual star watchers as well as experienced amateurs.
Amateur Astronomical Observatories
Large list of links to observatories & observatory vendors.
Amateur Astronomy Observers Log
This site lets amateur astronomers share their observations with
Amateur Astronomy & Space Website
UK Amateur astronomer's website.
Amateur CCD Astronomy
This webpage is devoted to showing examples of astrophotography
that this author, an amateur astrophotographer, has taken with the
CCD - Richard Jacobs, M.D.
The American Association of Amateur Astronomers
Dallas, TX Bringing Amateur Astronomy to the World.
Ames Area Amateur Astronomers
Ames, IA Club information & links.
Astronomes Amateurs du Luxembourg
Luxembourg Club information & links.
Resources & tutorials for amateur astronomers.
Links to planetarium and sky simulation software.
The Astronomy Store
859-225-7986 / Lexington, KY Astronomy books, telescopes, space
toys, calendars, posters, prints, etc.
Backyard Astronomy for Amateur Astronomers
The Netherlands Introduction to astronomy.
Cedar Amateur Astronomers, Inc
Cedar Rapids, IA Promotes the study and interest in astronomical
topics within the membership and among the public via dissemination
of knowledge and ideas through lectures, meetings, presentations,
displays, discussions, and outdoor activities, are a member society
of the Astronomical League & operates Palisades-Dows Observatory
in cooperation with the Linn County Conservation Department.
Charlotte Amateur Astronomers Club
Charlotte, NC Club news & astronomy information.
Cloudy Nights Telescope Reviews
Our goal at Cloudy Nights is to assist amateur astronomers in better
understanding the equipment that goes with the hobby. We strive
to accomplish this goal in three ways: by providing a forum for
reviews of telescopes and accessories, by providing a forum for
commentary articles on the many facets of the hobby that touch equipment,
by encouraging and sponsoring events and contests to get kids and
beginners interested in the hobby.
Delaware Valley Amateur Astronomers
Philadelphia, PA Club info & links.
Edward R. Zane Planetarium
Greensboro, NC 87-seat hall in Natural Science Center of Greensboro.
Estimating Limiting Magnitude
An easy method of determining how clear your sky is by Veikko
Hamilton Amateur Astronomers
Canada A group of individuals dedicated to the enjoyment and advancement
Ford Amateur Astronomy Club
Dearborn, MI Club info & links.
FotoSearch Astronomy Image Library
Waukesha, WI A massive collection of astronomy images from, galaxies
to planets to NASA images and much more. View world-class photography
and art free of charge. It is the digital, online equivalent of
a massive image library. Browsing through the library is free, and
there are no access charges, registration requirements, or usage
Grand Rapids Amateur Astronomical Association
616-897-7065 / Lowell, MI Participates in public education
activities, comet watches, meteor observing, as well as opening
the observatory to the public two nights per month. Besides the
public education programs, members involve themselves in many other
pursuits from observing programs to astrophotography and CCD imaging.
The Isle of Man Astronomical Society
Isle of Man Promotes amateur astronomy.
Kennedy Space Center
Florida Dedicated to
the Understanding and Knowledge of the Heavens God Made for Us to
Lehigh Valley Amateur Astronomical Society
610-797-3476 / Allentown PA The LVAAS is a public-oriented
nonprofit educational organization dedicated to serving the interests
of the community in astronomy and related fields. For both professionals
and amateurs alike, LVAAS has much to offer through our many programs
and observing facilities.
Images from the Digitized Sky Survey as posted on alt.binaries.pictures.astro
by Richard Bright.
NASA's World Wind Satellite Imagery
World Wind lets you zoom from satellite altitude into any place
on Earth. Leveraging Landsat satellite imagery and Shuttle Radar
Topography Mission data, World Wind lets you experience Earth terrain
in visually rich 3D, just as if you were really there. Virtually
visit any place in the world. Look across the Andes, into the Grand
Canyon, over the Alps, or along the African Sahara.
The Nine Planets
Tour of the Solar System: describes the history, mythology and current
scientific knowledge of each of the planets and moons and other
objects in our solar system. In addition to the usual pictures,
there are also sounds, an occasional movie and many links to other
net resources. The text is written for a general audience not necessarily
knowledgeable in astronomy; technical terms are linked to an extensive
glossary by Bill Arnett.
NGC Images Archive
From the Grove Creek Observatory.
North Shore Amateur Astronomy Club
Massachusetts Two of the principal goals of the NSAAC are to promote
a wider appreciation of astronomy and to help people choose the
most appropriate telescope or binocular for their interest and budget.
Various astronomy links.
Piedmont Amateur Astronomers
Statesville, NC A group of individuals who meet to share an interest
in astronomy and to promote astronomy education.
Prairie Astronomy Club
Lincoln, NE Dedicated to encouraging the study of Astronomy and
related subjects for the benefit of its members and the general
Bill Arnett's backyard observatory.
Ptolemy's Supper Club
A group of avid amateur astronomers.
Shoreline Amateur Astronomical Association
Holland, MI A not-for-profit organization created
for the purpose of furthering the enjoyment of amateur astronomy.
South Florida Amateur Astronomers Association
Sunrise, FL A registered non-profit educational amateur
Spitzer Space Telescope
818-354-4200 / Pasadena, CA
The Spitzer Space Telescope (formerly
SIRTF, the Space Infrared Telescope Facility) was launched into
space by a Delta rocket from Cape Canaveral on 25 August 2003. Spitzer
will obtain images and spectra by detecting the infrared energy,
or heat, radiated by objects in space between wavelengths of 3 and
180 microns (1 micron is one-millionth of a meter). Consisting of
a 0.85-meter telescope and three cryogenically-cooled science instruments,
Spitzer is the largest infrared telescope ever launched into space.
Finder Design Plans is a design plan that shows how to build the
Ecliptic Finder. This simple instrument is a variation on the sundial.
AstroCalculator© is a calculator program for general time and astronomical
calculations, conversions and corrections and much more. OptiCalculator©
is an optics and imaging calculator. This just released tool is
a full featured function set for astrophotography, whether using
CCDs or Film. It also covers basic optics for telescopes and more.
Featured in "Sky and Telescope" February 2005. Binocular Mount Design
Plans is a design plan booklet to help you build your own for $60
to $120 instead of the purchase prices ranging from $200-$300. Easy
to build and use. Fully articulated and balanced arm for all position
viewing. Sundial Calculator© is based on AstroCalculator but is
focused on just the sundial calculation, time and solar system calculations
at a lower cost for the dialist community.
Sydney Institute for Astronomy (SIfA)
A leading centre for astrophysical research in Australia, at The
University of Sydney.
Transit of Venus
A brief report on our viewing of the 2004 transit of Venus from
Tri-Valley Stargazers (TVS) is a registered non-profit astronomy
club serving the areas in and around Livermore, Pleasanton, Dublin,
Fremont, and Tracy, California. Public outreach and astronomy education
are promoted collectively by the club and individually by members
who present public programs and monthly meetings. Membership is
open to anyone with an interest in astronomy. Amateurs and professionals
are equally welcome.
Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association
Tucson, AZ A resource for anyone interested in Astronomy. Our mission
is to nurture a person's natural curiosity about the night sky.
By giving people a knowledge and understanding of Astronomy, we
enhance their enjoyment of the solar system beyond. Through
our public activities and school evening observing sessions, we
bring Astronomy to persons of all ages. Our regular meetings and
observing sessions offer members a forum to meet others with similar
interests and experiences and to learn from one another.
Twin City Amateur Astronomers
309-438-2496 / Normal, IL Club info & links.
The Web Nebulae
Pictures and a bit of explanation of a couple dozen of the more
spectacular nebulae in the night sky.
A full report on a trip to the
1998 solar eclipse in the Caribbean.
A not-for-profit organization open to people of all ages with the
desire to learn more about astronomy and who share an interest in
viewing the universe. We range from enthusiastic amateurs and educators
to casual stargazers and families.
Wollongong Amateur Astronomy Club
Australia Club info & links.
World's Largest Optical Telescopes
Lists all the major optical observatories in the world today.