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Astronomy

This document summarizes the result of my amateur astronomical research since 2004, including the software I have developed, my own photos of the sky at night and my book titled: Light Astronomy.

Astronomy Book (Ligth Astronomy)

Cover of the Book: Deep Sky Astronomy.

As a result of my experience as amateur sky watcher using light astronomy equipment, I have written a small astronomy book dedicated to other enthusiasts, describing the results of my observations as well as advice about equipment and observation techniques. The book is called Light Astronomy with Binoculars and Amateur Telescopes (ISBN: 978-1-300-67359-0).

The document includes an exhaustive catalog of astronomical objects that may be really being observed with binoculars and small telescopes in the handful of constellations I have already included in my observations (up to the eleventh magnitude). My goal is to continue with the observation process in order to include all the constellations of the northern hemisphere in future editions of this guide.

The electronic version of the book has been designed to be used in mobile devices able to read PDF documents, such as any kind of PDAs and some mobile phones. I suggest to configure your PDF reader to use reader using a red background in order to preserve your dark night vision.

Each astronomic object contained in the book includes a complete reference to its celestial coordinates (Right Ascension and Declination) in such a way that you can use this document in combination with my Astro Spreadsheet to obtain the object's hour angle (using telescopes) or its elevation and azimuth (using binoculars).

Next table describes the list of constellations included in the book:

List of constellations included in the book
Code Name English Name
CMa Canis Major Larger Dog
CMi Canis Minor Little Dog
Com Comae Berenices Berenice's Hair
Cyg Cygnus The Swan
Mon Monoceros The Unicorn
Gru Grus The Crane
Ori Orion Orion
Sex Sextans Sextan
Sge Sagitta Arrow
UMa Ursa Major Great Bear
UMi Ursa Minor Little Bear
Vul Vulpecula The Fox

How to get your free copy of the Book

The eBook is is available for free download from my Book Store at LULU .

Astro Spreadsheet

Excel Astronomy Observation Sheets running in my Pocket PC

I have programmed an spreadsheet to keep account of my astronomic observations in an easy way for hand held devices, even the oldest Pocket PCs. Programmed in Microsoft Excel, the sheet includes tons of updated astronomic data about the deep sky objects and stars that I'm currently observing. Data includes a full reference to the BSC (Bright Star Catalog) and SAO (Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory) catalogs. Of course, you may add your own objects as well.

Providing the Universal Time of the observation session along with your exact location, the sheet calculates the hour angle, elevation and azimuth for any object, so you can use this information to locate the object using your binoculars and telescope.

The sheet also include functions to calculate the magnification and field of view (FOV) for different combinations of telescope and eyepieces, as well as other very useful mathematical functions (such as for example, the dew point during your observation session).

You may download the Astro Spreadsheet for free:

Java Star Chart

Java Planisphere.

Based on the BSC (Bright Star Catalogue) I developed this Java application to show how to build a simple planisphere.

The application displays a simulation of the movement of the stars at different speeds, including several constellations, their names and boundaries. It is also possible to reduce or to increase the number of stars displayed (selecting different magnitude levels) and to turn the planisphere to the right or to the left (depending on the location of the observing site).

This prototype displays the stars included in a handful of constellations only (the bunch referenced inmy book) but new objects can be easily included in its configuration text files (BSCatalog.txt for the stars and ConstellationsCatalog.txt for the constellations).

Java's source code is included in this distribution package that you can download for free! Please, feel yourself free to improve it!

If you want to execute the application, you will need to install Sun's Java Virtual Machine in your computer or to execute it using Java Web Start. Once installed, just open the Star Map:

Gallery

The following photo albums show my first steps in astrophotography. Every picture includes detailed information about the technique and equipment used.

  • M42 (Orion Nebula).

    Deep Sky. Deep sky objects like nebulae, star clusters, etc.

  • Crepuscular Rays.

    The Sky.Pictures of sky phenomena and objects including satellites, star trails or the International Space Station ISS.

  • The Moon.

    Solar System. Photos of Solar System including objects like the Moon and Jupiter.

  • Instruments. My homemade astronomy instruments. It includes different versions of my Sundials.