Category : Astronomy News

Skywatcher New Quattro Telescopes

Skywatcher Quattro f4 Newtonian TelescopeThere seems to be an array of new Skywatcher telescopes coming out soon. They range from the Quattro f4 Newtonian telescopes which are coming out both in Steel and Carbon Fibre.

Why offer both, it just adds more confusion, as I can’t make up my mind whether to buy a Carbon Fibre version or the steel, or whether to go for the 8″ or the 10″ version.

The 8″ non-CF is going for £399, 8″ CF for £599, 10″ non-CF £520 and 10″ carbon fibre for £799. There is even details of a 12″ version but that will just be in steel at the moment.

Does carbon fibre really make that much difference? I am thinking of only using the scope for some planetary imaging and perhaps some deep sky targets that require the extra light gathering capability.

It’s not just the carbon fibre or steel versions I have to think about, but if I go for a 10″ version, then I will also need to purchase an A3 EL light panel to go with it, otherwise if I buy the 8″ model, I only need an A4 light panel, but the difference in price of these is small, about £30.

As this would be my first newtonian for a while, I would also need a collimation tool and let’s no forget probably a dew shield or dew strap, and a Bahtinov mask. The cost is starting to rise!

I also saw that Skywatcher are planning some 5 element 120ED and 150ED refractors, which look really good. But who knows the prices on these. I expect we need to think about £2,000-3,000 for the 150mm and probably £1,500-2,500 for the 120mm?

We may have to wait for these scopes though, probably until October 2011, is it worth the wait, will they just be too expensive for most of us, and I will have to resort to getting a 120mm ED DS Pro Black Diamond instead at around £1,000.

Cheap Astro Stuff at AstroBoot

Just found the AstroBoot page on ScopesNSkies site last night, after seeing someone mention a cheap webcam in a forum.

Who knows what cheap astro goodies have already been snapped up. I did manage to spend about £25 on bits and bobs, then went back this morning and spent another £10.

The funny thing is I only live a few miles away from ScopesNSkies, but am too lazy to venture out, plus the petrol costs would be about the same as the £1.50 P&P, even though I made sure I bought at least 3 items to get free p&p.

Venture over to AstroBoot now!

Pluto Turns Red

Pluto turning Red

Images taken from Hubble have shown Pluto changing colour.

Nasa says the dwarf planet on the edge of our solar system is becoming increasingly red.

Its illuminated northern hemisphere is also getting brighter.

Nasa’s scientists believe these are seasonal changes – as the planet heads into a new phase of its 248-year-long seasonal cycle.

“These changes are most likely consequences of surface ice melting on the sunlit pole and then re-freezing on the other pole,” Nasa’s Space Telescope Science Institute said in a statement.

The overall colour is probably a result of ultraviolet radiation from the distant Sun breaking up methane on Pluto’s surface. This, scientists say, would leave behind a red carbon-rich residue.

Nasa said: “The Hubble pictures underscore that Pluto is not simply a ball of ice and rock but a dynamic world that undergoes dramatic atmospheric changes.”

SPA Convention 2009 Lecture Tickets

I received my ticket to the Sir Patrick Moore lecture at the 2009 SPA Convention today. Sir Patrick Moore is not the one speaking but Dr Katie Joy is. The talk is entitled “The Past, Present and Future of Lunar Exploration”, a talk I am looking forward to.

I just really wanted to thank the SPA for doing such a great job of getting the ticket to me in the post together with a full agenda for the Society for Popular Astronomy Convention day at the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge on 7th March 2009, as all I did was send them an email!

So if you are interested in any of these talks:

  • Introduction to Moon Dust and Meteorites
  • Epic Moon: A History of Lunar Observation
  • An Impact Cratering Tour of the Solar System
  • Meteorites: Unravelling Cosmic Mysteries

as well as astronomy trade stands, tours of the on-site telescopes, then head along, as it’s all free.

Satellites Collide over Siberia

Just to put everyone in the picture, 2 satellites have collided 500 miles up over Siberia.

The collision involved an Iridium US commercial satellite, which was launched in 1997, and a Russian satellite launched in 1993 which was believed to be nonfunctioning and out of control.

The Iridium craft weighed 1,235 pounds, and the Russian craft nearly a ton.

“There have been four other cases in which space objects have collided accidentally in orbit”, NASA said. But those were considered minor and involved parts of spent rockets or small satellites. NASA also said “It was just a matter of time before a larger collision occured”.

I know a lot of people are looking for images of the actual collision between the two satellites on the internet, but I am sure there are none on the internet at the moment, please tell me if I’m wrong.

Although if we can locate and see the lost NASA toolbag in the sky, then I’m sure we may be able to track ad see parts of the two satellites if the pieces are large enough.

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