Observing


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?

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Ep. 337: Photometry


Posted on Mar 17, 2014 in Astronomy, Observing, Observing

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, extra-solar planets, minor planets, supernovae, and much more.

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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 amateur space telescopes has arrived.

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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. 319: The Zodiac


Posted on Nov 4, 2013 in Astronomy, Observing, Observing, Stars

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 way-points?

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