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My New Book May 2018My previous e-book



My Telescopes

My Main Telescope - C14 and Paramount ME

My new Paramount MyT and 8-inch Ritchey-Chretien Telescope

MyT Hand Controller

My Meade 12 inch SCT on a CGEM (Classic) Mount

My 4 inch Meade Refractor with Sky Watcher Guidescope and ZWO camera on a CGEM (Classic) Mount

Skywatcher Star Adventurer Mount with Canon 40D


My Solar setup using a DSLR and Mylar Filter on my ETX90

DSLR attached to ETX90. LiveView image of 2015 partial eclipse on Canon 40D

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About the Site

 I try to log my observing and related activities in a regular blog - sometimes there will be a delay but I usually catch up. An index of all my blogs is on the main menu at the top of the page with daily, weekly or monthly views. My Twitter feed is below. I am also interested in photograping wildlife when I can and there is a menu option above to look at some of my images. I try to keep the news feeds from relevant astronomical sources up to date and you will need to scroll down to find these.

The Celestron 14 is mounted on a Paramount ME that I have been using for about 10 years now - you can see that it is mounted on a tripod so is a portable set up. I still manage to transport it on my own and set it all up even though I have just turned 70! It will run for hours centering galaxies in the 12 minute field even when tripod mounted.


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A look at Burnham's Celestial Handbook and Lowell Observatory.

 To set the scene these are Burnham's comments on amateur astronomers from the book


The front cover of Volume 1 of 3


 A brief video about the Celestial Handboo



The reasoning behind the creation of the book - courtesy of the New York Village voice

This is Robert Burnham Jnr.

The first page

This explains how Burnham obtained the images for the book from the plate collection,and no doubt much of the reference information - from the Lowell Observatory Library in Arizona. I visited the observatory on the same road trip that I happened to come across the books for sale in Colorado. When Burnham had to leave Lowell at the end of the project he was working on - he was offered the job of janitor - which he turned down.

Many of the images in the book were taken with the 13 inch Pluto discovery telescope. It is an "astrograph" - specifically designed for photography with images being captured on a sensitised glass plate which is 17 inches by 14 inches - the telescope itself consisting of three 13 inch lenses. Exposure time was about 60 minutes per image.

Courtesy of Lowell Observatory

Whereas I use software to blink between two images of the same field of view on two different exposures Lowell Observatory has a mechanical blink comparator to do the same thing with two glass plates. I remember trying to get a decent photograph of this comparator in the observatory museum and failing - but I do have the efforts stored somewhere.

Blink Comparator

The contents from Volume 1


 This is a typical image from the book (NGC 4565) taken with the 13 inch telescope.

He also incudes an image of the same galaxy taken with the Mt Palomar 200 inch telescope

This is my own image of the same galaxy using my C14 - remarkably similar to the Mt Palomar image.

 At the end of Volume three Burnham lists the Messier objects with page references to their description in the book - a very useful reference! Here is part of it.