By OPT Telescopes
Space JunkJul 29, 2020
Complete Telescope Systems vs Assembling From Components - Which is Better?
Is it better to buy a complete amateur astronomy telescope system that includes optical tube, mount, drive, etc or can you get better quality by assembling your own from individual components. Dustin talks advantages and disadvantages to both.
Backyard Observatories: Tony is Finally Building His, Should You?
Tony is finally getting to a place where he can start construction on his backyard observatory for his 20 inch reflector. In this episode, we discuss the value of having a permanent place for your telescope and it doesn't have to be fancy!
The Search for Intelligence in the Universe w/ Beth Johnson from SETI Institute
We have a guest today! Beth Johnson from the SETI Institute kindly agreed to join us to talk about her role at the SETI Institute and what they are doing to help us find signs of intelligence in the universe.
How Autoguiders Can Help You Find the Meaning of Life
Tony's been thinking a lot out his life and the meaning it holds. Getting philosophical, Dustin helps Tony realize that autoguiders are the key to understanding.
Askar Astrographs // Degree for an Astronomy Job? // Becoming an Expert
Dustin has been using the new line of astrographs from Askar/Sharpstar and tells us a little about them. Astrographs are more ubiquitous now that imaging has become so mainstream.
Tony also talks a bit about whether you need a college degree these days to get a good job in astronomy.
New iOptron Mounts // The Growing Problem of LED Streetlighting
Dustin's been using some of the new iOptron mounts that have recently come out and he talks about his experiences with them. Tony wonders about the effects of the growing use of LED lighting in cities and towns across the world.
NASA's Artemis Mission: What is Tony's Problem?
We're Podchatting, did you know that? Tony ventures into the realm of saying what's on his mind. Dustin and Tony discuss the Artemis mission and Tony has thoughts. They also talk gear, astrophotography and lots more.
Space Junk Podcast is Back
OK so we decided to pick this back up again. Tony and Dustin are back talking astronomy and telescopes and we hope you'll join us! Please send us any input you have and you're always welcome to join our discussion if you're interested.
You can also join the Deep Astronomy discord server here:
The Search for the Perfect Telescope; Camera Resolution Wars - It's like magnification all over again
This episode was prompted by an email from Matt who wanted to sort out WHY different telescopes are better than others. In this episode, I'll break down all the different telescope types and try to answer the question of why you should want one.
Also, Dustin and I discuss camera resolution: why it matters, is more better and more.
Pro-Am Astronomy Collaboration; Celestron RASA and Other Wide Field Telescopes
More than any other aspect of amateur astronomy, using your equipment to get involved in professional astronomy is growing the fastest. In this episode, we explore ways you can use your stuff to do science! Also, Dustin and Tony talk about the advances in short-focal length telescope design and why they are amazing.
We have Little Chance of Hearing Other Civilizations; APO's vs Catadioptric Telescopes; Another Black Hole Question
We've been listening for signals from the galaxy hoping to detect another civilization out there. What are the actual chances we'll hear anything? Let's take a look at this paper and find out: https://arxiv.org/pdf/1007.0850.pdf
Dustin and Tony also talk about APO refractors and catadioptric telescope systems.
How Do We Know There are Other Planets in Our Galaxy?; Picking Your First Object to Image; Tony Gets an Email!
The study of planets around other stars, exoplanets, is a brand new field, one that closely tracks my career as a software engineer in professional astronomy. I've had the privilege to watch our knowledge about exoplanets explode: in just a few decades, we've gone from not being sure there were other planets around other stars, to knowing how many there are in our galaxy, their types and in some cases, we can guess as to whether life may be present on them.
Let's talk about this as well as Dustin and I discuss what you should think about when imaging your first night sky object.
Oh, and I got an email!
Black Holes - A Guided Tour; Telescope Autoguiders - What Good are They?; Update on JWST
In recent decades, our knowledge of what black holes are, how many and what types, has exploded. Coupled with the brand-new field of gravitational wave astronomy, we are poised to learn even more. Let's take a tour of what black holes are, the different kinds and how many of these enigmatic objects there are in our universe.
Is Earth's Magnetic Field Flipping?; Smart Telescopes; Orion The Hunter
The magnetic field of the Earth is undergoing some changes. Scientists measuring the strength and direction have noticed a weakening of the magnetic field along with movement. Is this something to worry about?
Dustin Gibson and Tony also discuss smart telescopes along with computers designed to run imaging equipement.
Winter is a great time to see Orion the Hunter, let's talk about that.
Terraforming the Moon; Building a Beginner Astrophotography Rig; Amateur Astronomer Discovers Hot Jupiter
Can we terraform the Moon? It's a better idea than terraforming Mars believe it or not. Dustin and Tony discuss putting together an astrophotography rig for beginners and some space news.
Narrow Band Filters: What You Need to Know
Imaging with filters can dramatically improve the signal to your camera allowing for much higher quality images. The question of which filter to use on what object can be daunting. Dustin and Tony dive into the topic of filters, specifically narrow band filters to give you insight on what they are, what you can get from using them and what to look for in a good filter.
Thoughts on The James Webb Space Telescope
At long last, the launch of the next big NASA flagship telescopes: JWST is ready for launch, sitting atop its rocket and awaiting good weather. This telescope marks the pinnacle of ambition for NASA as it is doing something that has never been done before. Launching a telescope of this size is a first for the human race and promises to bring us insights about our place in the universe like nothing that has come before.
Humanity will look farther into the universe than ever and JWST, the most technically advanced and capable telescope ever built, will collect light from a time when the very first stars and galaxies were born.
In this episode, Dustin and Tony talk about this amazing telescope, and we answer a listener question about getting Stellina or eVscope for an astronomy club.
All About Astronomy Filters
Using filters in amateur astronomy can be confusing, but once you get through some of the basics, they can really enhance your sessions under the stars - either visually or photographically. In this episode, Tony and Dustin go through filter basics, what they can do for you visually and when imaging, as well as offer advice on which ones to get and why.
We also go over filter wheel options and strategies for using all of this amazing optical gear.
Getting Started in Astronomy Imaging
Taking images through your telescope has never been easier. What used to be complicated, time-consuming and expensive is now accessible to people who've never used a telescope before. Getting started in taking pictures of the night sky is orders of magnitude simpler than it was decades ago when film reigned supreme.
Now, with modest equipment budding astrophotographers can achieve amazing results right out of the gate, but navigating all that gear can be overwhelming. In this episode of Space Junk Podcast, we'll explore strategies and gear to get you off to a roaring start taking images that will please your family, friends and all your social media followers.
Building a Backyard Observatory: What You Should Know
Building your own observatory is a great way to enhance your enjoyment of getting out under the stars. Whether it's a simple cover for your tripod-mounted telescope, an easy to build roll off roof on a shed, or a beautiful clam-shell dome with all the bells and whistles, having an observatory can increase the amount of time using your equipment while decreasing your stress level.
In this episode Dustin and Tony discuss all options for creating a personal observatory to house your equipment and offer advice and tips for making your observatory easily and with minimal mistakes.
Beginner Astronomy: Where to Go and What to Bring
It's good to be back! To get things started again, we are talking about the beginning - the beginning of getting started in the hobby of amateur astronomy. We've also brought some gear to check out. The links are here:
Faster Than Light Phenomena and the Story of APOD w/ Robert Nemiroff
There are things we can see, supported by mathematics, that appear superluminal. In a new book by Robert Nemiroff, we explore some of these and since the author also happens to be the co-founder of the Astronomy Picture of the Day website, well, we talk about that too!
JWST Sees More Delays; NASA Going to Venus; Jeff Bezos Tries to Win Billionaire Space Race - Astronomy News from SJP
It's no surprise, but JWST will be delayed again. Now we're looking at a November (at the earliest) 2021 launch thanks to problems with the Ariane 5 rocket. NASA has selected two missions to go to Venus and Jeff Bezos will get into his own rocket.
Advice for Getting Your Astronomy Images Published
Have you ever wondered what it takes to get your astrophotos into major distribution outlets? What makes a high-quality astronomy image? In this episode, Dustin and Tony talk with some of the best astro imagers in the world: Rogelio Bernal Andreo, Bray Falls and Chuck Ayoub and get their advice. Listen to their stories and learn from the best.
Studying Dark Energy: Astronomers Now Have 230 Million Galaxies
The Dark Energy Survey has released it's latest catalog of over 200 million galaxies to help study dark energy. How do they do it? What equipment is involved?
JWST Gets Ready For Launch - Astronomy News from Space Junk Podcast
Welcome to our first segment of Astronomy News from Space Junk Podcast. The successor to Hubble is finally getting ready for launch. This month the mission team at Northrop Grumman are putting the final touches on the telescope and testing is almost complete. Soon, the telescope will be placed on a ship to French Guyana where it will hopefully launch in October.
AAPOD2: Showcasing Amazing Images in Amateur Astronomy
We've all heard of the Astronomy Picture of the Day from NASA, but there is another website showcasing amazing photos from the amateur community: The Amateur Astronomy Picture of the Day. Our guests Charles Lillo and Jason Matter tell us the story of how they got AAPOD going and what you can win if you submit your images for consideration!
Telescope and Observatory Automation: What You Need to Know
Automating an observing run is one of the most efficient uses of your equipment. You can plan the night's observing, then let your equipment do the work! But what do you need to make this possible? What can you expect for results?
Visualizing Space w/ NASA's Brian Day
NASA has always excelled at helping us visualize the Cosmos. Brian Day works at the Solar System Exploration Research Institute, one of the premier groups at NASA that use data from a variety of space probes, telescopes and observatories from around the world to enable us to explore solar system objects like the Moon, Titan, Mercury and more.
Streaming the Skies with TagBackTV
TagBackTV is a popular gaming streamer on YouTube who has incorporated his love of astrophotography into his streams, introducing a new audience to amateur astronomy
The Growing Problem of Light Pollution w/ Kelly Beatty
What better way to commemorate International Dark Sky Week than by talking with Kelly Beatty, a former editor of Sky and Telescope Magazine and light pollution activist. He tells us how big an issue our disappearing dark skies are, his thoughts on the new Starlink constellation of satellites from SpaceX and what we can all do to help combat the lightening of our night.
Alcohol in Space and Going to Mars w/ Chris Carberry
We have limited information about the effects of alcohol in space, but there's no doubt that it is a very important cultural feature for many of us. Chris Carberry, the CEO of Explore Mars and author of "Alcohol in Space" joins us to talk about the role alcohol can play, if not in space survivability, then at least in coping with space travel.
We also discuss the latest efforts to get to Mars and whether we can get there by the 2030's.
Shooting the Moon w/ Lunar Expert Robert Reeves
Taking high quality images of our nearest celestial neighbor is harder than you think. Luckily we've brought Robert Reeves back to our podcast to help you take the best possible images of the moon. He's also shared a lot of high quality images of his own in the link below:
Backyard Professional Astronomy w/ Asteroid Hunters
One of the most important activities that professional astronomers are engaged in is looking for objects out there that might hit the Earth and in THAT task, they can use all the help they can get. With today's amateur equipment it is now possible to engage in professional-level sky searches for asteroids that help keep tabs on all the big rocks out in the solar system, some of which are potentially hazardous to us. Mike Forslund, aka Asteroid Hunters has set up an automated system in his driveway that assists astronomers in locating and tracking asteroids. In this episode, Mike updates us on what's changed for him (turns out it's a lot!) since our last time together.
Meet the Next Generation of Amateur Astronomers
Arelius Mitty and Griffin Haisman are two young amateurs just getting started in our exciting hobby. Both have worked closely with Dustin to produce some of the most amazing images we've ever seen. In this episode we dive into what got them interested in the hobby as well as some insights into what barriers they faced. We also look into the future of these two talented young imagers.
Don Pettit: The Adventures of an American Astronaut & Amateur Astronomer
Don Pettit is a chemical engineer from Silverton, Oregon who also happens to be an astronaut! An avid amateur astronomer, he is a veteran of three flights into space: once on a space shuttle flight, and two more aboard the ISS where he logged more than six months in space. Don brings his expertise and interest in amateur astronomy to everything he does, including conducting some observations from orbit and as the oldest active NASA astronaut, has a lot of wisdom and experience to share.
AstroBin w/ Salvatore Iovene: A New Website Dedicated to Astrophotography
Astrobin was created as a labor of love with the goal of providing context to astro images that astrophotographers could appreciate and use. Salvatore Lovene, the founder and creator of this resource joins us to talk about why he started the project and how it will serve the astrophotography community.
Using Passion for the Stars to Improve Science Literacy w/ Rachel Freed
Passion for anything is a powerful motivator, our guest today channels our innate passion for our place in the universe as a driver to improve science education and literacy. Rachel Freed is an avid amateur astronomer, professional scientist and educator who is dedicating herself to improving education using astronomy.
The Language of Astronomy w/ Brian Fulda
I can't tell you how many times I get called out calling The Big Dipper a constellation. "It's not a constellation, it's an ASTERISM!" OK, fine. So, what's the difference? Listen to this podcast to find out!
What's It Like to Work In Professional Astronomy?
Josh Walawender is a staff astronomer at Keck Observatory and joins Dustin and Tony to give us some insights into working at a leading astronomical facility. Josh is also involved in Project Panoptes, a citizen science initiative that makes the hunt for planets around other stars accessible to amateur astronomers.
Beginners Guide to Your New Telescope
Did you get some new gear for the holidays? Are you just starting out in this great hobby? Then this episode is for you. Dustin and Tony are joined by Brian Fulda, an instructor at OPT University, to discuss how to get started with your new scope and how to overcome some common hurdles that beginners sometimes face.
The End of 2020!
As I post this episode, we are two hours away from midnight Eastern Time. I for one, will be glad to see this year go. In this episode, Dustin and Tony talk about the year just past and what's ahead for 2021 in our wonderful hobby.
Scanning the Skies with Molly Wakeling
Molly Wakeling, aka AstronoMolly has only been imaging for five years and in that short time has made a name for herself in the astro-imaging world. In addition to her studies as a graduate student in physics, she is also actively involved in science communication.
Primaluce's Tom Bramwell: The Astronomer Next Door
Tom Bramwell is the Director of Operations in the U.S. for Prima Luce Lab and joins us to talk about his journey into amateur astronomy and his move from Apple to Prima Luce Labs. We streamed this recording live and have included some of your questions and comments.
The Great Binocular Episode
Binoculars are a great way to get introduced into the hobby of amateur astronomy. In addition to being useful for other activities like bird watching, sporting events and any outdoor activity, they are also amazing tools for looking up into the night sky. Dustin and Tony discuss using binoculars to get acquainted with our amazing hobby and we'll teach you about many of the particulars of binocular characteristics.
All About Telescope Mounts
Tripods, fork arms, equatorial, polar aligning... what does all this mean and what do you need to know when buying a telescope? Telescope mounts are a critical component and Dustin and Tony de-mystify all of this for you.
All About the Radian Raptor 61 APO Refractor w/ Astrobackyard
Radian Telescopes is releasing a new APO refractor designed for imaging that will change the way astrophotography is done. Small, lightweight and with high quality optics, the Radian Raptor 61 is poised to make a real difference in your wide field imaging.
In this episode, Dustin and Trevor go through the design concepts and testing to make this telescope easy to use and enable you to get good results on your first night out astro imaging.
Observing Solar Max w/ Lunt Solar Telescopes
Observing the Sun through proper solar filters has never been better - or cheaper. Amateurs have within their grasp solar filters and telescopes that allow us to see detail and activity on the Sun previously available only to professionals. In this episode, Dustin and Tony discuss getting into solar observations and imaging with Fay Roman, Ben Lombard and Brian Stephens - the team at Lunt Solar Systems that bring high quality solar gear to you.
Wide Field Telescopes w/ David Rowe
David Rowe's optical designs are in some of the best telescopes available to amateur astronomers today. He designed the Corrected Dall-Kirkham (CDK), a telescope that allows unprecedented wide-field images; he is also the 'R' in the RASA telesccope from Celestron. Listen to Dave's story in today's episode!
Ultimate Astro-Camera Episode Pt 2
In this episode, Dustin and Tony continue their discussion of astro-imaging cameras, specifically, which ones are best for different types of imaging. Whether you want to take wide-field space scapes, high magnification planetary images, or deep sky objects, we'll cover all of that and more.