Choosing Binoculars for Observing the Night Sky

Binoculars are a valuable tool for observing the night sky. While there are many merits to their use, you may find yourself disappointed with a binocular view of the sky if you don’t know what kind of binoculars are best suited for this use, and how to properly use them.

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Women’s Role in Astronomical Discovery

These women represent only a small portion of those who contributed to expanding women’s role in astronomical discovery. When given opportunities, they’ve added significantly to our understanding of the cosmos that surrounds us.   Maria Mitchell (1818 – 1889) Maria (Ma-RYE-uh) was fortunate that she grew up in an educated

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A Favorite Summer Constellation

A regular feature of our Nightly Observing Program (NOP) at the Kitt Peak Visitor Center is the use of planispheres and binoculars to introduce guests to the night sky.  When using the planispheres, guest learn to identify bright stars, bright deep-sky objects, and of course constellations.  When I help guests

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Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

“Twinkle, twinkle, little star,” is a lullaby many of us remember from our childhood. Twinkling stars may be a fanciful subject for a child’s lullaby or entrancing to look at, but astronomers despise them. It seriously affects the quality of their observations. What Causes Twinkling Stars? Twinkling stars occur because

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It’s the People Who Inspire Me

I’m a docent at Kitt Peak Visitor Center, and I give tours of telescopes to visitors from all over the world.  I’m not an astronomer, but that’s okay because I’ve asked most of the questions you’re too shy to ask, and I know why you’re asking them. I’ve learned a

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A Tour of the McMath-Pierce Solar Telescope

Standing 100’ high on the south-east ridge of Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO) is the McMath-Pierce Solar Telescope.  Construction started in 1959, and once completed in 1962, it was the largest solar telescope in the world, a title it held until January 2020 when the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope

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A Favorite Moment in the Nightly Observing Program

As a guide in our Nightly Observing Program at the Kitt Peak Visitor Center, I find enjoyment in many aspects of our programs.  The programs do, after all, involve astronomy, which is both my hobby and my livelihood.  Our guests have new experiences at the observatory and learn much about

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Getting Started in Astrophotography

Would you like to get started in astrophotography?  If so, you’ll be pleased to know that it is easier and less expensive than you might think.  Here are two types of astrophotography that require only common photographic equipment that you may already own.  Try them both to see how easy

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Open Star Clusters

A fellow stargazer once mentioned in a meeting of our local astronomy club that she avoided observing open star clusters because they were just, well – stars. But that is exactly why I enjoy them and why, as a nighttime guide at the Kitt Peak Visitor Center, I like showing

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View the Milky Way

Can You View the Milky Way?

It came as a shock to me when I learned that 80% of Americans can no longer view the Milky Way from their own backyard due to light pollution. I grew up in a modest sized Midwest town back in the 1960’s, and spent most of my life in rural

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