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Moon Phase



Sunspot activity
via SOHO website
Astronomical League



Most Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What kind of things will we be able to see? Planets of our Solar System and our very own Moon are usually the highlights of the night. On any given night there could be anywhere from 1 to 4 planets visible at a time. It could happen, but rarely are none visible. There are many deep sky objects that are visible from urban areas including, double star and binary star systems, open star clusters, globular clusters, some nebula, and even some galaxies. Occasionally there are Comets that become bright enough to be seen. Depending on the time, there are some Earth orbiting satellites that are easily visible including the International Space Station, the Hubble Space Telescope and, during some missions, the Space Shuttle can be seen moving overhead. Some satellites cause brief flares that become extremely bright for a few seconds. These are called Iridium flares and are definitely a very cool thing to see.
  2. What will things look like through the telescope? First of all, don’t expect to see brilliant color images like the pictures that you see from the Hubble Space Telescope. These images are captured using long exposure cameras with several different filters. When your eye looks at an astronomical object it can only take about a 1 second exposure so you won’t see a lot of color and detail. It will have shape, the brighter objects will have some structure and detail, and it will mostly appear white in color. Some brighter objects like M57, the Ring Nebula, and M42, the Orion Nebula will have some color. All of the planets, which are brighter objects, will have some color and detail that is easily visible. The beauty of looking at these is understanding just how far away some of these objects are.
  3. What kind of equipment do you use? We use Meade LX200 telescopes, which are computer controlled with thousands of objects in an onboard database. With these scopes we need only enter in what we want to see and the telescope will slew to the object automatically. We have two scopes, a 10”LX200, which is equipped with a solar filter for safely viewing the Sun. We also use this scope for viewing sessions that have large crowds. This cuts down on the waiting time keeping the night fun for all. The other scope is our 12”LX200, which is our main scope that we use for seeing into deep space.
  4. I have 2 small children ages 2 and 3, will they count as part of the group size? No, they will not count. Only 5 years and older count towards the size of your group.
  5. The weather doesn’t look so good, can the event still happen as scheduled? The Florida weather is famous for being unpredictable and it isn’t unusual for changes to happen rather quickly. This works both for good weather turning bad, and for bad weather turning good. We monitor the weather patterns intensely to make a determination as to whether an event can happen. In some cases we are wrong, but we try the best that we can. An event can happen if the cloud cover is about 50-50. See our policy on cancellations and refunds if weather has an impact on your event.
  6. Our back yard is inaccessible to vehicles. Will you be able to set up in the back if you cannot drive there? In most cases the answer is yes. We have a furniture dolly that we can use to move the equipment around. So setting up in the back is fine as long as we can get through the house. The other option is having somebody there that can help us carry equipment to the set up spot because it is a two-person job without a vehicle or a dolly.
  7. Many of my residents are older and may not be able to climb a step stool or look into an eyepiece. Can they still participate? Absolutely, we use an electronic eyepiece, which will allow a monitor to show exactly what the telescope is seeing. We also use this feature for younger children that have trouble seeing into an eyepiece.

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