Archive | Amateur Astronomy

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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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The Milky Way and Sagittarius Constellation. Credit: Terrence Dickinson.

Ep. 239: Astrophotography, Part 1: The Gear

No matter how good your telescope is, you’re never going to see the same detail and colours as the photographs. To take amateur astronomy to the next level, you really need to attach a camera to your telescope. Welcome to the hobby of astrophotography. Fair warning, this hobby could bankrupt you. (more…)

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Celestial Sphere

Ep. 211: Celestial Navigation

Before there was GPS, navigators had to rely on the Sun and the stars to find their way around the Earth. It’s easier than it sounds, if you’ve got the right instruments, clear skies, and a really accurate clock. Let’s examine the history of celestial navigation, learn about the different methods, and then give you […]

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Full moon

Ep. 193: Astronomy with the Unaided Eye

We talk a lot about telescopes here on Astronomy Cast, but you really don’t need any special equipment to appreciate what the night sky has to offer. Just head outside with some sky charts, maybe a planisphere, some friends and hot chocolate, and you’re good to go. Let’s talk about what kinds of things you […]

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Artist's impression of the OWL Telescope concept

Ep. 188: The Future of Astronomy

We spent 5 episodes telling the story of astronomy so far, how we got from the work of the Babylonians to the modern discoveries made in the last decade. But now we want to look forward, studying the current space missions and experiments to uncover the mysteries that astronomers hope to solve. (more…)

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Aurora Seen from ISS

Ep. 163: Auroras

When the Sun’s solar winds crash into the Earth’s magnetosphere, we get to enjoy an incredible light show called auroras, or the Northern and Southern Lights. Let’s learn about what causes these incredible phenomena, and the best times and places that you can see them with your own eyes. (more…)

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Earth at night

Ep. 153: Dark Skies

If you live in a city, it’s possible that you’ve never seen the Milky Way with your own eyes. To really appreciate everything the night skies have to offer, you’ve got to get out of the city, away from the lights, where the skies are really dark. But those places are getting harder and harder […]

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