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Archive for the 'Public Viewing' Category

Public Observing at DHO Tonight

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

Clouds postponed Friday’s Public Observing. We will try again tonight.

Public Star Party Friday July 25, 2014

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

Public Star Party at Darling Hill Observatory

Friday July 25, 2014 at 8 PM (Rain Date Saturday July 26)

Darling Hill Observatory Will NOT Open Tonight (Friday, September 7) For Observing

Friday, September 7th, 2012

Greetings fellow astrophiles,

The consensus among our weather sources is that tonight will either be mostly cloudy with bad transparency or partly cloudy with bad transparency, in both cases featuring the potential for storms before sunset. Worse still, tomorrow night looks even worse. We hope for better conditions for next month, when Jupiter will return to our pre-midnight skies!

Darling Hill Observatory Will OPEN Tonight (August 11) For The Perseids – But Keep Track Of Local Conditions

Saturday, August 11th, 2012

Greetings fellow astrophiles,

There are mixed reports as to the amount of cloud cover tonight, but all agree that the chance of precipitation is low. Coupled with the fact that the Perseids will not wait for our conditions to improve, we’ll be opening the observatory in hopes of having clear-enough skies for catching the peak of the meteor shower late tonight. The winds are predicted to be higher than ideal for telescope observing, so we might not have lots of equipment set up (but will try regardless).

If you plan on attending, consider something to place on the ground between it and yourself. The best show will radiate from the North-East but will be right above us, so consider your neck!

And for those already looking up, we’re getting three ISS fly-bys tonight (courtesy the predictive tools at heavens-above.com)!

Date Brightness Start Highest point End
(mag) Time Alt. Az. Time Alt. Az. Time Alt. Az.
11 Aug -2.4 20:42:11 10° WSW 20:45:00 54° WNW 20:48:37 10° NE
11 Aug -0.7 22:19:48 10° WNW 22:22:18 20° N 22:24:48 10° NE
11 Aug 0.0 23:57:03 10° NW 23:57:43 13° NNW 23:57:43 13° NNW

Astronomical Chronicle For August 2012 Is Up, Plans Pending For The Perseids Tonight At Darling Hill

Saturday, August 11th, 2012

Greetings fellow astrophiles!

1. Perseid Opening – As of 11:00 a.m., conditions look right for opening Darling Hill for the Perseid Meteor Shower. Please keep track of this website around 5:00 p.m. today for the final decision and possible decision about opening tomorrow night instead.

2. The latest edition of the SAS newsletter is available for download below:

DOWNLOAD HERE

This edition features a lengthy article by the SAS’s Rick Kellogg on an Electronic Polar Alignment Scope, available for download at 2012_August_R_Kellogg_Electronic_Polar_Alignment_Scope.pdf. Rick’s summary is below:

A traditional polar scope can be used to align an equatorial mount in a few minutes. However, the alignment achieved is typically not that accurate due to misalignment of the polar scope axis with the mount axis, or the polar scope reticle not being centered. I typically can only get to within 0.1 degree of the celestial pole with my Losmandy polar scope.

Extending the ideal of using a polar scope for aligning to an electronic scope – I use an SBIG STV with a 75 mm lens as an electronic finder. This combination provides a 3.7 by 2.7 degree field of view (FOV).

Setting the DEC to 90 degrees, Polaris and UMI lambda are in the field of view – regardless of the RA setting. By taking 2 pictures with different RA (differing by 4-6 hours or 60-90 degrees),

1) the pixel location of the mount’s RA axis can be determined, and

2) the pixel location of the Celestial pole can be determined (knowing the current epoch
coordinates of Polaris and UMI Lambda).

Then the offset from the mount’s RA axis to the Celestial pole is added to the location of Polaris (or UMI Lambda) to act as a target to move the scope via azimuth or altitude controls.

I have automated the process using the SBIG utility that comes with the STV (STV Remote), and a MATLAB script that I wrote to make the computations.

The typical polar alignment process can be easily completed in 15 minutes.