Summer stargazing

The Summer has finally arrived and despite it also being a traditional time for amateur astronomers to take a break whilst the night time skies are lighter - it doesn't have to be the case. There's plenty you can do; cleaning and checking your equipment, tidying up an observatory, checking out the summer sights and always on the lookout for noctilucent clouds.

However, with the right filter, you can do daytime astronomy too by exploring what our nearest star is up to either in white light or with an increasingly popular Hydrogen Alpha (Ha) telescope. The latter have certainly come down in price over the last few years and it is stunning to see and image the complexities of the Sun’s surface.

But would you think to use an autoguider on the sun? Probably not, yet Pete Lawrence got to play and test out the Astro Hutech Hinode Solar Guider for our August issue and was impressed with its tracking and guiding abilities. This is great for public outreach events where you can set it up and confidentially know it will keep the solar disc either in the eyepiece or on your screen whilst you explain what's going on. I love that sort of technology!

It's also good to see small telescopes still being designed and produced as I found with the Sky-Watcher Heritage 100P tabletop Dobsonian. If a telescope is easy to use and set up it will always get more use and really makes an ideal first telescope for young and not so young alike. Finally for visual observation then we all need an eyepiece and another entry into the 100 degree field of view category is the Altair Lightwave Hyperwide. Steve Richards got to grips with it and enjoyed the expansive views.


 

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