Home Star Party Tips Deep Sky Tips Precision Polar Alignment Aligning Finder Scopes 1X Finder Scopes Ask Astro-Tom Adding Lunar Phases Creating 3D Mars Images Dewing Cleaning Optics Ten Commandments Astro Humor


Star Party Tips
Deep Sky Tips
Precision Polar Alignment
Aligning Finder Scopes
1X Finder Scopes
Ask Astro-Tom
Adding Lunar Phases
Creating 3D Mars Images
Cleaning Optics
Ten Commandments
Astro Humor

I wanted to title this area, "I wish someone had been there to fill me in on this when I was starting out in Amateur Astronomy!"

You may want to read one amateur astronomer's opinions of common gear that could be useful.  I accept no sponsors, nor direction to add something specifically.  But if something is good enough to make me want to sit down to review it and write about it, I already think highly of the product.  This section grows as I come across "can't live without" items.

Exact Polar Alignment is required for astrophotography.  Here's the best method for polar alignment.  I have also included sections on doing a very easy rough polar alignment and the star drift method.  A compilation of several articles on the subject.

Dewing of optics was more of a problem when I lived in the South, but occasionally even out in the Mojave Desert we get conditions that can really frustrate the observer.

If you don't already own one, you should go buy a 1X finder scope.  I have a Telrad and a Celestron Star Finder - they're great.

I get asked the same questions at every public star party.  Here are some answers I've found satisfy, but don't tie you up all evening with a single person explaining what you meant to say.

Very little in amateur astronomy is as dangerous for your precious optics as when you are trying to clean them.  Here's how to do it carefully and correctly.

The big observing event for the year is our annual Messier Marathon, so I assembled helpful spreadsheets, tips, and info to help you find them all!  Check out the freebies!


Would you like to have all of the Lunar Phase information on your Microsoft Outlook calendar automatically?  Would you like to have this info transferred onto your PDA too?  Just try the following:

Follow these installation instructions to populate a Microsoft Outlook calendar with moon phase information (and thus know when full and new moons occur):

1. Download the moon events file
2. Start Outlook
3. Select File / Import and Export
4. Choose "Import an iCalendar or vCalendar file (.vcs)"
5. Find the MoonEvents.vcs file that you saved; highlight it and click "OK" 

Next time you re-synch your PDA the data will be transferred in to your calendar.


Do you have a PocketPC?



Pocket Stars

(Reviewed in Sky And Telescope Magazine - August, 2004)

Free Trial Version Available

by Jay Alan Borsch


Fast, easy to use, great lunar phase calendar.



The Sky Pocket Edition

Free Trial Version Available




Introduction to the Night Sky - Part IV

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