The Kit

 

The Telescopes:

Most of our telescopes are Newtonian design ….

No telescope type is perfect, but the Newtonian is a simple, very effective & well proven design with more worldwide viewing hours under its belt than several other types put together !.  Newtonian telescopes are also very tolerant of temperature change and dew formation on chilly nights – a real issue for some other design types.    Although relatively simple, the Newtonian is nothing less than a design masterpiece !


GOTO:  A motorised telescope mount “head”, with dedicated integral computer that controls the telescope position to locate objects. The dedicated “on board” computer has a database of over 40,000 objects in the night sky.

Light gathering: A telescopes’ ability to capture light. Expressed as a “number of times more” than the human eye.  For example our 200mm Newtonian with 850 X light gathering can capture 850 times the amount of light than is possible by eye alone.

 

The camera and tv monitor:

Mallincam camera jpgA specialist camera by video astronomy imaging leader Mallincam  feeds real time video to a tv monitor.
The camera is many times more sensitive than our eye, and that, together with the light gathering capability of the telescope enables us to see things very deep in space, otherwise completely invisible !.   It has a tiny sensor, optimized for telescope imaging, with relatively large pixel sizes, able to grab huge amounts of light and performs 1 to 3 second long exposures to capture a full colour image   The tv monitor is an old school CRT rather than modern flat screen, as it provides a better black background, and much wider viewing angle without the image becoming washed out.

Video viewing has two main advantages.

1) Groups of people can observe at the same time without waiting their turn for an all too short experience at the eyepiece.

2) Things like the Andromeda galaxy at 2 million light years away, are barely visible by eye in the sky conditions we are likely to encounter.

In fact Cassiopeia (the constellation shaped like a big W) often used to help find Andromeda, is generally quite faint itself. The camera however sees straight through the murky blackness and shows this and other fascinating objects very, very deep in space, and in colour !

Here’s a comparison of the same section of sky, viewed:

  1.  By Naked eye,
  2.  Through the telescope …  and …
  3.  Using the Camera !!

 

The “mount” :

Synscan controll handsetThe mount is the bit that holds and aims the telescope itself.  In the case of the deep sky video telescope it’s a tripod with a computer controlled motor driven GOTO head.  Once set up with initial time/date/location data, the mount automatically slews the telescope to a chosen target.  Once it’s done that, it “tracks” the target, very slowly moving the telescope  to overcome the Earths rotation, and keep the target in view for far longer than a fixed telescope could ever manage.  Overcoming the Earth’s rotation (remember we’re doing about 650 miles an hour !) is vital for small or very distant object viewing, without which our chosen target would fly through the field of view in a matter of seconds.  The mount’s handset contains the dedicated computer that works out where targets are in the sky, relative to our location on Earth.  It contains a database of over 40,000 celestial objects and can automatically aim the telescope at any one, at the touch of a button.

That’s how we able to view deep sky objects we can’t even see by eye …

 

 

The weather

Cloud

By far the biggest issue, is cloud on the day (or night), but unfortunately none of us are in control of that !

Another major factor in viewing “quality” is light pollution – thankfully here in rural France, a good majority of homes are far enough from “big city lights”.

However, for example, 2 villages on opposite sides of & about the same distance from Le Blanc (36), have entirely different levels of “blackness” to the sky.  One being positively lighter and greyer in colour than the other – which in comparison is pretty close to “black”.

That’s not to say that stargazing isn’t possible anywhere, but both cloud and pollution are limiting factors. Far more so than any optical limitations of the telescope itself !

See The Dark Sky Map …

The View

Star cluster “M22”: by us and Hubble

M22 cluster jpg

 

 

Our video camera system at, one millionth, two hundred thousandths the cost of Hubble (0.0001% the cost of Hubble !!) produces images from deep in space: anything between 10’s to 1000’s of light years away, from the comfort of your own “back yard” well and truly tethered to our own planet Earth …

Like this >>>

 

 

 

M22 by Hubble png

 

 

 

While, the Hubble telescope, with the distinct advantage of being in space itself and having had 2.5 Billion US dollars lavished on it (over six times it’s original budget !), produces images ….

Like this

We think our less cluttered more colour rich view is generally more striking for casual observing.

 

Something different – The Dawn Raid

 

Sometimes, just sometimes, really interesting things happen in the predawn sky.  In 2016 a rare planetary alignment and a very close and bright fly past of the International Space Station have both been predawn events.  We are very happy to do “predawn” – we’ll bring the telescope, you supply breakfast !

 

Crazy statistic

Andromeda

The light we see from the galaxy Andromeda, started it’s journey to us at the time of our stone age !!!.  And, it’s distance from us, in miles, is around 1 and a quarter with 19 zero’s on the end.  That’s 1.20000000000000000000 miles !!!

It’s remarkable we see anything at all …