Starting with April’s VAC monthly edition, there are two big changes to the observation challenges that will help you get more from them. This video explains more, and there are details in the text below the video.
Each observation challenge will present a star field of the final view of the object in three different formats to reflect what you’ll actually see at your telescope.
- Upright View – This is what we see with the unaided eye and through a reflex finderscope (e.g. a Telrad) and a red-dot finder
- Upside-down View – You’ll see this when looking through a magnifying finderscope and through a reflector-style telescope, e.g. a Dobsonian or Newtonian. If you have a refractor or compound scope, this is the view you’ll get if you don’t use a star diagonal
- Mirrored View – Finally, if you use a star diagonal with your refractor or compound telescope, this is the view you’ll see
For each of the three views, there is a color and inverse monochrome version of the star chart. The inverse monochrome shows black stars on a white background and is easier to use at night by your telescope – and easier on printer ink!
The second big change happening from April onwards is you can now download each starmap as a printable PDF.
Beneath each star map on the observation challenge, you’ll see a code inside [square brackets], make a note of any you wish to print off.
At the bottom of the page, locate the code you need, click the download button and, within seconds, you’ll have a PDF version of the starmap which you can easily print out at home.
Where relevant, we’ve also included a field of view on the star map, such as a blue 6° circle to represent a typical magnifying finderscope and the red circles familiar to owners of a Telrad finder.
If you’re not yet a member of the Virtual Astronomy Club and want new, detailed observation challenges every month, plus an archive of 40 more observation targets, and crucial planetary data every month, with a Beginner’s Guide to Backyard Astronomy that has over 35 lessons in it… then click here to find out more.