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MAS Frequently Asked Questions


MAS Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions about astronomy (see also MAS Beginners page)

This page answers many commonly asked questions about astronomy. If you have a question on a subject any not covered here, please help support this page by using our on-line enquiry form (requires Java Script to be enabled).

Much of the material here has been taken from topics presented at out monthly meetings. If any member has subject they would like to present for 15-20 miniutes as a 'second half' topic, please contact the Meetings Secretary (to contribute directly to this page, please contact the Webmaster

(-) 0001 How do I find a local Astronomical Society ?

The simplest way may well be via Google = search for  "(your nearest town) Astronomical Society" and see what comes up. Many Societies are 'affiliated' to the Federation of Astronomical Societies and are listed on the FAS site (although their site 'search' function - found on their Home page - does not 'hit' on Society names, most web browsers will allow you to Search the page). The Society of Popular Astronomy (SPA) is an 'on-line' Society that also holds a regular meeting every three months on a Saturday afternoon in London, with occasional extra dates in other cities. The joining fee is modest (< £20 p.a.) and they have a really good Forum where second-hand kit is occasionally advertised. Advice: Most local societies are happy for you to attend one or two meetings before they expect you to join. Here at MAS we hold a number of well publicised public observing sessions during the year and whilst our new monthly observing sessions are aimed at encouraging members to 'get out and observe' there is nothing to prevent you coming along and taking part (you don't need a telescope = most members are only too happy to show off their equipment to anyone who shows an interest). All our observing sessions are free, however we do ask you to contribute £2 toward the hall hire cost if you attend one of our monthly meetings. By all means 'check out' all Societies within easy driving distance to find one that suits you best. Most Societies only meet once a month - which makes the membership fees quite affordable - so if you are really keen, why not join more than one ?
This note last modified: 11th Jun 2019 10:58.


(+) 0002 How is Star brightness measured ?

(+) 0003 What are the Constellations ?

(+) 0004 What is the shape of the Earth ?

(+) 0005 What equipment do I need to start astronomy ?

(+) 0007 What telescope should I buy ?

(+) 0008 How much Magnification can I get ?

(+) 0013 What are Equatorial and Alt Az mounts ?

(+) 0100 How do I use my first telescope ?

(+) 0109 What is a finder ?

(+) 0110 What is an eyepiece ?

(+) 0111 What is a Barlow ?

(+) 0112 What is a focal reducer ?

(+) 0114 What are Nebular filters ?

(+) 0116 How do I use Setting Circles ?

(+) 0120 What is collimation ?

(+) 0125 How can I safely observe the Sun ?

(+) 1030 How can I take photos of the stars ?

(+) 1033 How to take photos of the Aurora ? - (Northern Lights)

(+) 1035 How to calculate FOV for prime focus ?

(+) 1036 How do I calculate FOV for Eyepiece projection ?

(+) 1037 How do I use a Raspberry Pi camera for astrophotography ?

(+) 1038 What is Star trailing ?

(+) 1039 How can I take photos of Meteors ?

(+) 2100 What is Universal Time (UTC) ?

(+) 2114 What are AUs Parsecs and Light Years ?

(+) 2115 What is Bodes Law ?

(+) 3010 When was Neptune discovered ?

(+) 4000 How do I update Stellarium with new Comet data ?

(+) 5000 How To build the MAS (Raspberry Pi) photoframe ?