Sunday, November 20, 2011

Baby, It's Cold Outside

Well, it's 29° F out there and I have packed up the telescope for the night. Tonight I viewed four double stars:
  • Beta Cephei
  • Struve 2816 (which is actually a triple)
  • Epsilon Pegasi
  • Xi Cephei
On a break to warm up, I edited the Wikipedia article for Xi Cephei to add some additional star catalog names. I've been using the telescopes GoTo computer to find the stars, so it helps to have references like the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) star catalog number.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Clear, Cold Skies

It's Day 4 with the new telescope, and I decided to take a look at a few double and variable stars from the Astronomical League's Urban Observing Club while waiting for the moon to rise. The club is an observing program designed for amateur astronomers who battle heavy light pollution. Tonight I saw three double stars: Eta Cassiopeia, Gamma Aries, and Gamma Andromeda (Almach), and the variable star Beta Pegasus (Algol). The club includes a number of deep sky objects, many of which are too big for my f/15 scope. I suppose I'd better switch to the Double Star Club and stick to the more compact objects.

By the time the moon was visible from our backyard, it was getting cold. I logged observations of some objects along the lunar terminator, including the craters Julius Caesar and Sacrabosco, and a rille called Rima Ariadaeus. I had planned to make a sketch of the crater Byrgius A which is currently at lunar midday--we call it that even though each "day" lasts for one of our months. Anyway, I couldn't get excited about sketching and shivering at a cool 28 degrees F, so I decided to pack up around 10:30.

Monday, September 19, 2011

My Review of Zhumell 20x80mm SuperGiant Astronomical Binoculars

Originally submitted at

High power low weight! Other high-power binoculars may have excellent optics but they can also be quite literally a pain in the neck. The Zhumell 20x80 SuperGiants though weigh in at just 4.4 pounds light enough to use comfortably in the field. Still they are equipped with an integrated tripod moun...

Got a good pair at a great price
By Karen from Denver, CO on 9/19/2011
4out of 5
Pros: Works Well With Glasses
Cons: Not Waterproof
Best Uses: Astronomy, Stargazing
Describe Yourself: Casual/ Recreational
Was this a gift?: No
I was lucky to receive a pair of Zhumells that appear to be in good collimation. A fellow astronomer sent back two pairs, then gave up and paid $60 to have them collimated at a local optics shop. I'm pleased to learn that Zhumell offers a lifetime warranty, and that others have had no trouble when the warranty was needed.