Enjoy The Beauty of the Night Sky with Regina!


Regina in her new inflatable kayak, near Ivins UT on 7/18/22

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BRAND NEW: Steve's Latest Entries [Reload this page to update links below]

JUST POSTED, Mid-July:  A new experiment/construction article, entitled "Can You Use a Smartphone/Sky Chart App as a Reliable Scope Finder?", completed the day after extensive sky-tests. We use Sky Safari Pro on an iPhone, which Regina enjoys pointing at the celestial vault to identify bright objects; so we wondered if it could be set up on a scope to replace an optical finder? (Read it...and weep: here.)

RECENT:  Extensive tests of three affordable 2" nebular filters: Svbony UHC & O-III, and Optolong UHC, using 80 mm f/5 refractor and 10" f/4.7 Dobsonian, just posted on 4/9/22 in our section on the design and use of nebular filters, here.

RECENT:  Faintfuzzies Observing Blog posts nos. 238, 239: 80mm Aperture Refractor Travelscope Setup-Part One and the concluding Part Two. Discussing the plans Regina and I have made for deeply-rural, high altitude dark sky observing here in Utah, and the equipment I have learned, from rueful experience, that will NOT overpower our vehicle and intrude on our convenience. This project revolves around my modified and improved ST-80 refractor (80 mm f/5 achromat) plus a custom-assembled mounting combination. Some 'pretty pictures' are also included to relieve the tension from my 'overkill' left-brained textual discourse.

RECENT: Special Observing Project Series for 2022 --

RECENT: Beginning a series of Faintfuzzies Observing Blog posts, on "Viewing Objects from the Index Catalogue". The first installment (starting with winter objects) covers observing the Orion nebula known as IC-434 (which, parenthetically, also 'contains' the superimposed Horsehead nebula.)

RECENT: Index Catalogue Installment #2: Observing Index Catalogue Items - #2 More Winter Objects (2/03-09/22): Blog Entry 235 features information, images, charts, and reports of the Local Group galaxy IC-10 in Cassiopeia; and the Auriga nebulae IC-410 plus nearby HII region IC-405, the "Flaming Star nebula".

RECENT: Index Catalogue Installment #3: Observing Index Catalogue Items - #3 More Winter Objects (2/24/22): Blog Entry 236, with two interesting IC open clusters: IC-361 and IC-166. In addition, just the "cluster aspect" of two more Index Catalogue objects that are also infused with lots of nebulosity: IC-1805 and 1848, popularly known as "The Heart and Soul".

RECENT: Index Catalogue Installment #4: Observing Index Catalogue Items - #4 More Winter Objects (3/9/22): Blog Entry 237, including the Cassiopeia nebulae IC 59 and 63; plus the pair of galaxies IC-412 and 413 (near Bellatrix in the Orion constellation), plus galaxies IC-356 and IC-342 (in Camelopardalis.) This has turned out to be one of the most labor-intensive blog articles I've ever done, requiring several sessions for the observations, and DAYS to write all of them up.

RECENT: Index Catalogue Installment #5: Observing Index Catalogue Items - #5: IC-418 (3/20/22): Blog Entry 240 is a long report, discussing just one important object: the planetary nebula of the constellation Lepus that is often nicknamed "The Spirograph" or "The Raspberry Nebula": because you may be able to detect COLOR in a decent-sized amateur scope.

RECENT: Index Catalogue Installment #6: Observing Index Catalogue Items - #6 Some Spring Objects (4/29/22): Blog Entry 242, including Gemini IC objects: IC-443 & IC-444; plus IC-466 & IC-447 of Monoceros: definite "challenge" objects that are either not seen at all, or just barely threshold items only slightly above "averted imagination", from my Ivins, Utah backyard; in addition, glances on the night of 4/25/22 of open clusters NGC-1883 and NGC-2266, and what I could (or rather, could not) barely make out of the 'questionable' alleged nebula, van den Bergh 30. And, finally, some experiments with different yellow filters, and some broadband types, in viewing the famous galaxy M-82.

Please Note: Weather here in Ivins has been very frustrating for deep-sky observing in May and June; day after day CLEAR; night after night CLOUDY. And both Reg and I have had some health issues to deal with; so there are (as of early July) no new extensive observing blog entries about deep-sky objects. But, I've just put up a brief article that chronicles the frustrations of the past two months, here, dated 7 July 2022.

JUST POSTED: Index Catalogue Installment #7: Summer Objects, July & August (7/19/22): Blog Entry 244, including Cepheus IC object IC-1396. I am now assembling this report, which will deal with a few IC objects that are best viewed during summer, starting with IC-1396, a fantastic, huge nebula and encompassing a bright star cluster. This article will be compiled from my older "Faint Fuzzies" and observing blog reports from past years, since the monsoon weather has made Ivins skies VERY cloudy and unreliable, recently. Other items include planetary nebula IC-1295; plus galaxies IC-1296 and IC-200, the last being a "challenge" object for observers with large scopes and dark skies.

RECENT: A new Jottings Commentary in my random, occasional series of "Brain-Droppings" about amateur astronomy, touching on the latest agonies in coping with Windoze; and the apparent the demise of a famous astronomy club; and a federal move to end the twice-yearly annoyance of Daylight Savings Time changes: read my blather, here.

RECENT: I have completed and uploaded on 13 February an accounting of a disastrous reflector telescope accessory: an "Image Rectifier" that I have analyzed (and added to my article of Defective or Returned Products), as a public service to my fellow amateur astronomers.

RECENT: Our entry No. 234 in the Faint Fuzzies Blog series covers tests of two newly-acquired products: a (rather disappointing and flawed) Rigel Systems QuickFinder; and a TMB 7.5 mm 'Planetary' Eyepiece, which are covered here, first uploaded 30 January.

Also: earlier I finished writing up and posting a collaborative project in which Regina has been of great assistance: recounting my experimental alteration of my old 2005 Celestron NexStar GOTO scope system into 'polar aligned mode' with an equatorial mounting conversion that I constructed, largely from spare parts onhand. I give the details, and some of the unexpectedly disappointing results along the way, in an effort that took many weeks of time to accomplish. And, on Tuesday 9 Nov. I did a complete revision and reorganization of my very long article on the telescope accessories, including eyepieces, that Regina and I use, also adding some new items: available here.

My subsequent recent upload to our site is the sad saga of a failed experiment to try to salvage an unsatisfactory purchase of a sort of "sham telescope sight" that in reality was designed for a rifle; read it, and weep.

At the end of November 2021, in a blissful mood with visions of butterflies, fairies, puppies, kittens, and will o'the wisps floating through my happy and untroubled brain, I constructed this tiny essay called "Astro-Computing with PC and Scope: A Point of View". (Do you perhaps perceive a trace of irony in the tone of this introduction?) And -- update! -- Sky & Telescope, in its brand-new, just released April '22 edition, now takes up the issue about GOTO scope pointing inaccuracies, nearly quoting my EXACT words in articles I've written and posts I've made, in agreement with me!

In the first week of December 2021, I've expanded a bit on the general topic in the previously-mentioned essay, and have added to my Jottings column a report that I have titled "The AGONY and ECSTASY of GOTO", not entirely a merely negative rant, as I do offer some hope to the patient, tireless tinkerer who won't give in to defeat from recalcitrant, underdesigned gear that lacks proper user-documentation. I explain my progress after decades of OLD FASHIONED MANUAL OBSERVING struggles, leading to a NEW set of of struggles with computers, software, and electronics in scope mounts: that seem finally to reveal "a light at the end of the tunnel" and a hope for improved levels of observing accomplishment. - srw, 12/4/21 to 2/4/22

Master Object Report List

Master List of all our primary logged observations of deep sky and solar system objects, covering our celestial adventures from 2005 to the present time, arranged by catalogue or common name. Also, see the Object Type-Sorted list.


Faint Fuzzies Observing Blog

Our observing blog, with reports covering the last 15+ years to the present (augmented by numerous adventures and reviews concerning software and astronomical optics and hardware that we utilize in deep-sky observing.)


Main Introduction to "Faint Fuzzies"

Techniques (and some perhaps off-beat secrets) of effective deep sky observing, from a 40+ year veteran amateur astronomer. An adjunct is our article Deep Sky Observing Suggestions, collating pertinent advice and details of our California mountaintop and dark sky observing sites, utilized from 1975 to 2015.


Start of "Faint Fuzzies" Reports

In-depth articles on more than 150 challenging objects the authors have viewed -- a majority from merely 15 miles outside the city limits of a giant metropolitan area -- made possibly only by using modern, cutting-edge techniques. Included are references to both other amateur reports, and scholarly professional study.


"The Horsehead Project"

Our multi-year project studying the exact, conclusive history of the discovery and early research of the Horsehead nebula; results of many single and multiple observer visual tests; and references for further perusal. See the earliest photos from the 19th and 20th centuries! And learn the super-efficient visual techniques for seeing the Horsehead by live eye in an amateur scope. We also continue to introduce new updates, and information on cutting-edge technologies.


Discovery of the 4 Cygni Nebula

Visual discovery of a likely reflection-type nebula associated with the star 4 Cygni (HD 183056) by Stephen Waldee, with 10" scope, in 2007 (likely the only live-eye VISUAL discovery of such an object in over a century); and the 2010 confirmation by our colleague, imager Al Howard; techniques of seeking faint nebulae by eye, and analyzing photos; plus the opinions of expert amateur and professional astronomers, who have corroborated and vetted our discovery & study.


Using Nebular Filters for the Deep Sky

From our professional 1990s research on nebular filters, and thoroughly revised with the latest information, this article has been continuously updated and improved perhaps more than any other on our site, in order to give a comprehensive overview (from basic to esoteric issues) covering these CRUCIAL tools that have enhanced our observing. Included are hundreds of reports of nebulae, and numerous informative web links and images. Numerous new subjects have been added, covering contemporary developments.

Deep-Sky Observing, Telescope Suggestions, by Steve

Here is a helpful collation of our many articles and commentaries related to the techniques for successful deep-sky observing; choosing and properly using appropriate gear; several product reviews and evaluations; details about currently available and popular star chart software; how we built a home observatory; and a sampling of some of our celestial articles that may be instructive.


"Full Moon Essays" Menu Page

A selection of our old essays related to amateur astronomy, ranging from serious to humorous writings, posted over the years by Stephen.

Jottings - Astronomical Essays

Essays by Stephen, touching (for example) on observing techniques, public amateur astronomy, and the web (excellent resources, infuriating forums!)

Beginners Basics, by Regina & Stephen

Taken from our free (but elderly) "Eyepiece" program and greatly expanded, with new recommendations and links: articles to assist novices with telescopes and astronomical observing. We discuss techniques and valuable resources (from beginning through intermediate and even some advanced levels), including books, sky maps, and software programs for PCs, tablets, or smartphones. Target audience: high school age to adult.


Free "Eyepiece" Calculation Software

'Telescope Simulator': free (but old) computer program (DOS/Windows) we formerly sold -- now adapted to run in Win 7/10 -- teaching the proper uses of scopes, eyepieces, and filters; large database of deep sky objects and multiple stars included. Program features our proprietary "Image Visibility Calculation" (developed by Steve Waldee, and the founder of Lumicon, Dr. Jack Marling) related to scope selected for analysis.


About the authors Regina & Stephen

Regina's Old San Jose Piano Teaching Website

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This website has been composed using, primarly, HTML 4.01 Transitional mode; pages are tested before uploading with modern Windows versions of Vivaldi and Opera browsers; Firefox for Linux on Ubuntu; and with Firefox and Opera contemporary browsers for Android to try to insure compatibility of HTML code. 99+% of the webpages do not rely on style sheets or scripts. [Please note: our long-standing website was removed in late 2020, out of our control. To get it back online again, certain commentaries and sections had to be removed; the now-dead links are often still in place on various pages in case, someday, we can restore them. Thanks for your patience.-RR]

Date this page was last modified: Wednesday 20 July 2022 at 8:28 pm.