Hi and welcome to my astronomy resources Page!
I have listed below links to a number of astronomy resources you may find both helpful and interesting. I will be constantly updating.
Some of the links on this page may be affiliate links where I make a small amount of money from any purchases you may make after clicking one of those links. You won’t be paying any extra for any purchases you make as the prices all stay the same. This is only to earn a few pennies to help go towards the fees to keep this site up and running.
Telescope Making Plans
Some great plans to build a Dobsonian Telescope.
Telescope building books
I can’t recommend this book enough, it’s a great resource if you want to build a telescope, I used this for reference when I designed and built my own.
Telescope Making Materials
Obviously there are materials like the Plywood which would need to come from your local timber yard. More specialist items like the mirrors, the focusers, the eye pieces, the Teflon pads etc would need to come from a specialist supplier. I have listed out various places both in the UK and US where you can obtain such items.
Galvoptics are a company in Basildon (Essex) you have been around for a long time, they supply all manor of optical lenses including Astronomical optics. They also have a mirror re coating service.
The below are examples of cardboard tube resources which would normally have minimum order qty’s, but if you ring them up and explain what you are making, in my experience they will see this as a novel idea and want to help you out with any odd stocks they may have lying around. There are similar companies all around the world giving the same service. Do a search and there’s bound to be one not too far from you.
Telescope making websites
Stellarium is the sky map software I have used for years. It’s a great free program that can be downloaded from this link in no time. I highly recommend it!
Newt – Web is a great piece of free software that just runs on your browser. This is used for working out the dimensions required for homemade telescopes and is a great tool for the designing process.
Registax is a brilliant free download for webcam imaging.
Deep Sky Stacker is the must have free download for stacking multiple images when deep sky imaging.
PHD Guiding is for when you are using a guide camera for deep sky imaging. This bit of free software integrates the guide camera to the mount in order to make auto corrections, works a treat and is what I use myself.
New Astronomy CCD Calculator is a really helpful free tool to enable you to preview an object before you image it. Once you put all the parameters in e.g. scope focal length, objective size, imaging camera spec etc. It will put a box around the image so you can see how it will fit using your imaging set up!
APT is a great bit off software which manages your imaging session. You can do so much stuff with this from scheduling the imaging periods, amount of frames, image framing etc. The free version is time unlimited and is the one I’ve been using and it’s not too complicated either. It connects to any camera, I love it!
Polar FinderScope is a nifty bit of free software that shows you the exact position of the NCP. As you may or may not be aware, the true North Celestial Pole is nearly a whole degree away from the pole star. So when you are polar aligning your scope to the north star, it’s still miles away from being well aligned! The use of FinderScope will show you where to offset your alignment to. Take a look at my blog describing how to polar align a scope using a Telrad. Only of any use for you northern hemisphere folks though.
Used Astronomy Gear
Use these sites at your own risk though as they are mostly private sellers and you must be careful just as you would need to be with other similar online services. In my opinion the risk is low, I have used the UK one a few times without any issues and have purchased some great bargains! Just thought I should mention it anyway.
Astronomy Related Places I Like
Stargazers lounge is a great forum where Astronomers chat about all things Astronomy, help each other out with problems, share experiences, photo’s etc. The Astronomy community is a very friendly and helpful bunch, always wanting to pass on their knowledge to others!
Heavens Above is an interesting site giving all kinds of info Space related. It’s mainly a satellite tracker, but also has constellation and sky maps, a forum and other interesting stuff.
My local Astronomy club of which I’m a member.
Tim Duke who designed and built all the electronics on my home made equatorial mount has just launched his own website. He has designed ad developed a great dew controller which you can now purchase (I already have a couple and they work really well!). You can also purchase a wide range of heater tapes to go with them, plus there are a number of other interesting bits of kit, including a blue tooth interface for the EQ5 and EQ6 mounts!
Friends of astronomyblogger
Astronomycast is a fantastic podcast that kept me listening in for hours on my way back and forth on my daily commute of 54 miles each way in the car for a few years!
SGU is also a great Science podcast and more, there’s a lot of Astronomy but mostly about critical thinking. One of my favorites!
Passage weather is a great tool to get up to the minute sky conditions. Ideal for those nights where before you take all that time setting your gear up and arranging everything around your chosen observing night, you want a pretty good idea of what the clouds will be doing. Just keep clicking the square of your area on the globe until it’s zoomed right in, then click the visibility and precipitation tab and scroll down to the cloud cover image, then you can animate the image to see how the clouds are moving over your area!