Tim TrottTim TrottA journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step


Observational Astronomy looks at the the more practical aspects of astronomy, including the basics of astronomical telescopes and instruments, observation tips, photography and imaging, how to guides and tutorials and a guide to the nights sky. You will also find information and news about the various space telescopes such as Hubble and Spitzer.

Converting Microsoft LifeCam for Astrophotography
28/09/2013How-To Guides
Guide for modifying the Microsoft LifeCam series of webcams for use with astronomy which should fit snugly into a standard 1.25" focuser.
Your First Night With Your First Telescope
14/09/2013How-To Guides
How to get the most out of your first night observing with a telescope, including what to observe, when to observe, how to find things and which eyepieces to use.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single stepChinese Proverb
Light Pollution
03/05/2013Observation Tips
Light pollution is defined as any source of artificial light that shines outside the area it is intended to illuminate. It has become a growing problem for the past couple of decades and is a particular problem for astronomers as they are quite literally blinded by the light.
Getting used to the Dark – Eye Adaption
02/05/2013How-To Guides
In order to gaze successfully around the starry skies you need to take into account a very important factor to do with your eyes. This is called dark adaptation.
Newtonian Telescope Collimation
02/05/2013How-To Guides
This guide shows you how to perform an optical alignment your Newtonian telescopes mirrors and get the most from your reflector telescope. It will look at using a homemade Cheshire eyepiece as well as using a laser collimator for accurate results.
What are the Symbols used to Represent the Planets?
20/04/2013Observation Tips
When astronomy was closely linked to astrology, astronomical symbols were used to represent various celestial objects, theoretical constructs and observational events in astronomy.
How do I take Long Exposures with my Canon DSLR?
20/04/2013How-To Guides
What you need to know in order to take long exposures greater than 30 seconds with a Canon DSLR and "bulb" mode.
A Visual Guide to the Meteor Showers
15/06/2012Observation Tips
Each year the Earth moves through a number of meteoroid streams, producing meteor showers at roughly the same time each year. This handy chart shows you when the most active showers occur throughout the year, along with their Zenithal Hourly Rate (ZHR).
Polar Alignment of an Equatorial Telescope Mount
02/05/2012How-To Guides
This article will show you a few methods for polar alignment of an equatorial (EQ) mount, how to use the drift method for alignment without Polaris and how to use setting circles. The article was written using a Skywatcher HEQ5 mount, but the technique should be the same for all equatorial mounts.
Binocular Astronomy
03/06/2010Observation Tips
Binoculars play a big part in astronomy for beginners and experienced amateurs alike. They are generally cheaper and much easier to use than telescopes and offer a broad range of what's on offer in the nights sky.