Archive | Observing

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Ep. 368: Searching for the Aether Wind: the Michelson–Morley Experiment

Waves move through a medium, like water or air. So it seemed logical to search for a medium that light waves move through. The Michelson-Morley Experiment attempted to search for this medium, known as the “luminiferous aether”. The experiment gave a negative result, and helped set the stage for the theory of General Relativity. Download […]

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Ep. 351: Asteroid Adventures

Astronomy Cast’s 2014/15 season begins! With Rosetta’s arrival at Comet 67/P, we’re about to see a comet up close and personal. What will it take to explore, exploit and enjoy the asteroids and comets hurtling around our Solar System. And how does science fiction have it all wrong?? (more…)

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Ep. 337: Photometry

There’s a lot you can learn by just staring at an object, watching how it changes in brightness. This is the technique of photometry, and it has helped astronomers discover variable stars, extrasolar planets, minor planets, supernovae, and much more. Download the show [MP3] | Jump to Shownotes | Jump to Transcript (more…)

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Hubble Space Telescope

Ep. 329: Telescope Making, Part 3: Space Telescopes

As we’ve said before, all telescopes really want to be in space. In part 3 of our series on amateur telescope making, we bring you up to speed on the final frontier: amateurs building space telescopes. The hardware and software is available off the shelf, and launches have never been more affordable. The era of […]

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Ep. 328: Telescope Making, Part 2: Serious Gear

Some astronomers are control freaks. It’s not enough to buy a telescope, they want to craft every part of the experience with their own hands. If you’re ready, and willing to get your hands dirty (and covered in glass dust), you can join thousands of amateur telescope makers and build your own telescope from scratch. […]

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Ep. 327: Telescope Making, Part 1: Toys and Kits

Why pick up a low quality, wobbly telescope from the department store when you can craft your own – just like Galileo, and all the great astronomers from history. For a minor investment, you can build a worthy telescope out of spare parts and high quality kits. (more…)

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Ep. 319: The Zodiac

Although the Zodiac is best known for astrology nonsense, it has a purpose in astronomy too. The constellations of the Zodiac define the plane of the ecliptic: the region where the Sun, Moon and planets appear to travel through the sky. What are the constellations of the Zodiac, and how do astronomers use them as […]

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FITS Liberator

Ep. 241: Astrophotography, Part 3: Image Processing

Time for part 3 of our tour through the hobby of astrophotography. You’ve set up your gear, taken some clear images. Now we’re going to help you turn that raw data into the kind of amazing photographs you see in books and on the web. (more…)

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Hubble practicing his technique.

Ep. 240: Astrophotography, Part 2: Techniques

In the first episode, we talked about the gear you’ll need for your expensive astrophotography hobby. This week we continue our discussion, and talk about the techniques you’ll use to get those amazing photographs. Bring a hot drink, and get ready for some cold nights. But trust us, it’ll all be worth it. (more…)

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