Your First Total Solar Eclipse

If this is your first total solar eclipse, make sure you soak in the whole thing. Many people who are witnessing their first eclipse focus too much on trying to capture the event with a camera. Getting really good photos of eclipses is really a highly specialized field of photography. Because of the changing lighting … Read more

What is a solar eclipse?

If this is your first time viewing a total solar eclipse, you are in for a treat. Imagine the astronomical coincidence that places the sun about 400 times more distant from the Earth than the moon, and at the same time, the sun is about 400 times the moon’s diameter. This set of circumstances makes … Read more

What are the Types of Telescope Mounts?

There are several types of telescope mounts in use today. They are variations of the two main types: equatorial mounts and altazimuth mounts. Either type can be computerized to point to and track an object, but they do it differently. Equatorial Mounts For astrophotography, the only real choice is the equatorial mount. This is because … Read more

How are Stars Named?

star cluster

The naming of stars has evolved historically. Several early civilizations were very aware and interested in celestial objects, phenomena, and events. The Greeks, Romans, and early Arabs were prolific “namers” of stars. For example, Betelgeuse (pronounced like “beetle juice”), a bright star in the constellation Orion, gets its name from the Arabic word for “shoulder … Read more

The Value of Dark Sky Sites

Milky Way Galaxy

Astrophotography is a very rewarding hobby. Many really good images are being taken all around the world from less-than-ideal night skies, in or near major cities by taking advantage of today’s technology. But there really is no substitute for a pristine, dark night sky for getting the absolute best photos or for just taking in … Read more

Solar Eclipse 2024 – Get Ready Now

Total Solar Eclipse, solar eclipse

   A rare treat is in store for the three major countries of North America on April 8, 2024, when a total solar eclipse follows a path making landfall starting near Mazatlán, Mexico, traveling through the south-central part of the U.S. and tracking northeast until it leaves the U.S. near Caribou, Maine. Many people in … Read more

Dealing with Dew on a Humid Night

dew heater, dew controller, dew zapper

Summer in much of the world brings warm temperatures and often times brings nighttime dew. Dew accumulation can ruin a night of astrophotography by decreasing and diffusing the light that reaches the eyepiece or camera sensor. To fight dew on a telescope, you can employ several methods and tools to minimize or eliminate its impact … Read more

Cloudy Nights? No Problem!

Cloudy Night

Our weather in Southern California has been persistently cloudy and gloomy. Typically, this time of year we get cloudy nights that clear to sunny days. But for months now the sky has not cleared during the day, and the nights have remained cloudy and sometimes drizzly. Weather naturally contributes to our ability to enjoy the … Read more

Astronomy Equipment Adapters and Threads

The M42 thread, also known as the T-thread, is a standard thread size widely used in astrophotography and camera lens connections. It is named after its metric size, which is M42x0.75. The “M” stands for metric, indicating the thread is measured in millimeters, while “42” represents the major diameter of the thread in millimeters. The … Read more

Why do astronomers use red lights at night?

red light flashlight

Why do astronomers use red lights at night? It is because of the complexity of the human eye. Unlike a digital camera which has pixels of relatively equal light sensitivity, the human eye is composed of two types of light sensitive cells, rods and cones. Cones allow us to see color in bright light. Rods … Read more