Paul Money's blog

Refined taste

BBC Sky at Night Magazine's Reviews Editor, Paul Money, discusses the latest astro equipment news

 

It always amazes me how often manufacturers are refining, tweaking and improving their astro equipment.  

466 equipment reviews and counting!

Sky at Night Magazine's Reviews Editor, Paul Money, discusses the latest astro equipment news

 

This September, BBC Sky at Night magazine reaches a major milestone, our 100th issue. Since June 2005 when the first issue hit the newsstand the reviews section has played a major part in the magazine’s success.

Solar sleuths

Sky at Night Magazine's Reviews Editor, Paul Money, discusses the latest astro equipment news

 

After what seems like an eternity we've been having some great weather here in the UK. Of course, the light summer nights don't help if you are a deep-sky explorer, but astronomy doesn’t have to be limited to after dark. At long last the Sun is out so now’s the perfect time to take a look at it.

Accessible accessories

Sky at Night Magazine's Reviews Editor, Paul Money, discusses the latest astro equipment news

No matter what astronomy kit you buy, there’s a good chance that there’ll be something you can add to it to enhance its usefulness and performance. Many manufacturers and suppliers offer equipment and associated accessories as packages, but what constitutes a package is largely up to them. Fortunately, most packages have been put together using common sense.

A Universe of possibilities

Paul Money discusses the latest astro equipment news

You can enjoy practicing astronomy in many different ways, from simple visual observations with the naked eye, to viewing with veritable light buckets like the big Dobsonians. Then there’s astrophotography, which ranges from simply pointing a camera up at the sky to delving deeper with autoguiding systems and capturing far-flung galaxies or even pushing the planetary limit with the latest webcams.

Tried and Tested

Paul Money discusses the latest astro equipment news

With new telescopes and mounts being announced on a regular basis, we’re certainly kept busy here in the reviews department of Sky at Night Magazine. But over the years, both optical tube assemblies and mounts do seem to have stuck around variations of just a few basic and fundamental designs.

Under instruction

Paul Money discusses the latest astro equipment news

Instruction manuals, you can't live with them, you can't live without them (or so the saying goes). They accompany most, but it has to be said, not all equipment and it’s usually in their absence that you find you need them. A starter telescope for example does require a well written and thought out instruction manual otherwise a beginner could quickly become unstuck. This is especially true if references are made to specific parts of the telescope that it is assumed the reader already has some technical knowledge of.

Collimation conundrum

Paul Money discusses the latest astro equipment news

In many cases, when buying a reflecting telescope you’ll quickly discover that the mirrors are out of alignment. It's called being out of collimation and causes the view to be distorted, which is of course a very undesirable effect.

Out in the cold

Paul Money discusses the latest astro equipment news

With poor weather blighting 2012, let's hope that our winter nights stay crisp and clear as we move into February. But don’t forget, it can be extremely cold when you are out for long periods under the winter stars. Of course, if you are able to set up an observatory or adapt a garden shed you can give yourself a little protection from the elements. Some even go as far as operating their telescopes remotely – from indoors!

Starting small

Paul Money discusses the latest astro equipment news

The night sky has countless wonders to discover. So it is only fitting following the sad news of the passing of the UK’s greatest astronomical icon, Sir Patrick Moore, to cover his views on equipment for beginners.

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