François' Blog

The new parking building in Tende is scandalously over-illuminated.

And also the Musée des Merveilles...

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Since october 2016, the Vanoise Express cable car between Peisey and Montchavin (French Alps) is equipped with an extremely strong light that pollutes the whole valley and prevents from enjoying the night.

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New finder scope (MiniBorg 50mm)


Filter drawer - open position


Filter drawer - with filter in place

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Testing the table for the Nuit des Etoiles.

It worked fine, allowing continuous viewing for the public, at least 15 minutes without readjusting the view.

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The table is finished. I added two struts and made a light varnish.

First tests tonight with the binoculars, before I try the Dobson.

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I started this equatorial table, taking as a model the excellent articles by Reiner Vogel and Ed Jones. Here are the steps:

With two pieces of ash, I make a mortise and a tenon

I cut a circle segment..

.. which is routed with an angle of 43 degrees (my latitude)

.. the resulting piece is cut lengthwise at an angle (difficult to determine - I used trial and error)

then assembled with a biscuit jointer.

The mobile part is ready to glue up.

Starting to assemble the fixed part. I bought the DC motor, regulating circuit and reducing gear from conrad.fr

Detail of the drive cylinder, made of wood covered with heat-shrink tubing for traction

The south pivot uses a window hinge

The north-east bearing

First trials

The table is almost finished, with its electronic box and leveling screws.

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19 Jun 2015

Sky Map

astronomy

This is a view of the night sky, with planets (in red) at their current place computed from Jean Meeus' "Astronomical Algorithms"

You can zoom and scroll the globe, and click on stars to show their name.

Credits: d3 library: Mike Bostock / Jason Davies ("Rotate the World" example)

Ephemeris: Peter Hayes

The star database comes from the astronomy nexus

The constellation lines and boundaries come from the PP3 program

The next steps are to add deep-sky objects, and to show the sky in proper azimuthal projection, using the browser's location services to find the user's place on the earth.

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16 Jun 2015

Telescopes

astronomy

After my renewed interest in astronomy last year I joined a club, (SPICA in Cagnes sur Mer), which gives access to the 40cm Newton Amateur Telescope of the Côte d'Azur observatory in Calern, above Grasse.

40cm Newton Amateur Telescope

I also purchased, first a 6 inch Vixen Newton on GP2 mount, then a 30cm made by Pierre Desvaux / Dobson Factory) with a mirror from John Nichol.
Then of course a few eyepieces: a 24mm Panoptic, an 11mm Nagler and a 5mm Takahashi LE.

The wooden Dobson design has the advantage of being easy to customize. Here is my setup for finding objects: a Rigel Quickfinder and Takahashi 6x30 optical finder. This combination works fine for me. No GOTO, no digital setting circles! just Erich Karkoschka's Sky Observer's Handbook, the 12inch mirror and a dark night.

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