Astronomy Hacks

book cover
Astronomy Hacks
By Robert Bruce Thompson, Barbara Fritchman Thompson
Publisher: O'Reilly
Pub Date: June 2005
ISBN: 0-596-10060-4
Pages: 416

Table of Contents  | Index

Do you relish viewing and identifying celestial objects? Whether you're a first timer or an advanced hobbyist, you will find Astronomy Hacks makes a brilliant cosmic companion. Why use the traditional approach in admiring and studying the stars when you can turn computers, handheld devices, and telescopes into star gazing tools for an out-of-this-world experience?

This handy field guide covers the basics of observing, and what you need to know about tweaking, tuning, adjusting, and tricking out a 'scope. Expect priceless tips and tools for using a Dobsonian Telescope, the large-aperture telescope you can inexpensively build in your garage. Get advice on protocols involved with using electronics including in dark places without ruining the party.

Astronomy Hacks begins the space exploration by getting you set up with the right equipment for observing and admiring the stars in an urban setting. Along for the trip are first rate tips for making most of observations. The hacks show you how to:

  • Dark-Adapt Your Notebook Computer

  • Choose the Best Binocular

  • Clean Your Eyepieces and Lenses Safely

  • Upgrade Your Optical Finder

  • Photograph the Stars with Basic Equipment

The O'Reilly Hacks series has reclaimed the term "hacking" to mean innovating, unearthing, and creating shortcuts, gizmos, and gears. With these hacks, you don't dream it-you do it--and Astronomy Hacks brings space dreams to life. The book is essential for anyone who wants to get the most out of an evening under the stars and have memorable celestial adventures.

book cover
Astronomy Hacks
By Robert Bruce Thompson, Barbara Fritchman Thompson
Publisher: O'Reilly
Pub Date: June 2005
ISBN: 0-596-10060-4
Pages: 416

Table of Contents  | Index

      About the Authors
      Why Astronomy Hacks?
      How This Book Is Organized
      How to Contact Us
      Got a Hack?
    Chapter 1.  Getting Started
      Section 1.1.  Hacks 110
      Hack 1.  Don't Give Up
      Hack 2.  Join an Astronomy Club
      Hack 3.  Safety First
      Hack 4.  Stay Warm
      Hack 5.  Don't Violate Observing Site Etiquette
      Hack 6.  Be Prepared
      Hack 7.  Measure Your Entrance Pupil Size
      Hack 8.  Choose the Best Binocular
      Hack 9.  Choose the Best General-Purpose Telescope
      Hack 10.  Equip Yourself for Urban Observing
    Chapter 2.  Observing Hacks
      Section 2.1.  Hacks 1132
      Hack 11.  See in the Dark
      Hack 12.  Protect Your Night Vision from Local Lights
      Hack 13.  Describe the Brightness of an Object
      Hack 14.  Identify Stars by Name
      Hack 15.  Identify Stars by Catalog Designations
      Hack 16.  Know Your Constellations
      Hack 17.  Understand Celestial Coordinate Systems
      Hack 18.  Print Custom Charts
      Hack 19.  Keep Your Charts at the Eyepiece
      Hack 20.  Locate Objects Geometrically
      Hack 21.  Learn to Star Hop
      Hack 22.  Learn to See DSOs
      Hack 23.  Observe Shallow-Space Objects
      Hack 24.  Slow Down, You Move Too Fast, You've Got to Make the Evening Last
      Hack 25.  Learn Urban Observing Skills
      Hack 26.  Sweep Constellations
      Hack 27.  Maintain an Observing Notebook
      Hack 28.  Develop an Organized Logging System
      Hack 29.  Plan and Prepare for a Messier Marathon
      Hack 30.  Run a Messier Marathon
      Hack 31.  Photograph the Stars with Basic Equipment
      Hack 32.  Discover and Name a New Planet
    Chapter 3.  Scope Hacks
      Section 3.1.  Hacks 3343
      Hack 33.  Center-Spot Your Mirror
      Hack 34.  Clean Your Primary Mirror
      Hack 35.  Eliminate Astigmatism
      Hack 36.  Eliminate Diffraction Spikes and Increase Contrast
      Hack 37.  Build a Film Can Collimating Tool
      Hack 38.  Tune Your Newtonian Reflector for Maximum Performance
      Hack 39.  Collimate Your Primary Mirror Quickly and Accurately
      Hack 40.  Star-Collimate Your Scope
      Hack 41.  Counterweight a Dobsonian Scope
      Hack 42.  Improve Dobsonian Motions with Milk Jug Washers
      Hack 43.  Upgrade Your Dobsonian Bearings
    Chapter 4.  Accessory Hacks
      Section 4.1.  Hacks 4465
      Hack 44.  Dark Adapt Your Notebook Computer
      Hack 45.  Dark Adapt Your Vehicle
      Hack 46.  Use a Barlow
      Hack 47.  Determine Actual Barlow Magnification
      Hack 48.  See More of the Sky
      Hack 49.  Optimize Your Eyepiece Collection
      Hack 50.  Chart Your Eyepiece Characteristics
      Hack 51.  View Dim Objects in the Same Field as a Very Bright Object
      Hack 52.  Clean Your Eyepieces and Lenses Safely
      Hack 53.  Install a Unit-Power Finder
      Hack 54.  Upgrade Your Optical Finder
      Hack 55.  Align Your Finder
      Hack 56.  Determine Your Optical Finder's Field of View
      Hack 57.  Determine Your True Field of View
      Hack 58.  Enhance Lunar and Planetary Contrast and Detail
      Hack 59.  Enhance Nebular Contrast and Detail
      Hack 60.  Please Be Seated
      Hack 61.  Stash Your Gear in a Photographer's Vest or Fanny Pack
      Hack 62.  Use a Voice Recorder for Logging
      Hack 63.  Build or Buy an Equatorial Platform
      Hack 64.  Make Your Computer Work for You
      Hack 65.  Astronomy Software in the Palm of Your Hand