Category Archives: Uncategorized

STEM

As an online academy, the Online Astronomy Society Academy does everything it can to participate in local STEM. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. The four main subjects where it is deemed the nation as a whole needs talent and expertise. In line with this we attend events and offer advice to schools and Home Educators.

Astronomy, though not itself a curriculum subject alongside Physics, Chemistry, and Biology, nevertheless is so important. Astronomy utilises skills from each of these sciences. The list is is extensive and include

Maths

Troubleshooting skills

Chemistry of stars and planets

Astrobiology (new emerging field)

Astrophysics

Photo processing skills

Planning

Time management

Social Skills

Observation and reporting skills

Setup skills

 

These are just some, an amateur astronomer has to be so many things before setting out to observe the night sky. They need to be aware of

Weather and atmospheric conditions

Setting up of equipment, which has to be done in the day

Calibration of kit (aligning the finder, ensuring everything all works!

Planning, what are we going to do.

Time management, ensuring we get to each task!

 

Shortly i will add some images for school kids to have a play with, along with guidance for the teacher/ educator

 

OASA and Astronomy Educators

As an academy we are well aware of the pressures of teaching, after all tutoring students (remotely!) is what we do. But did you also know we strive to support teachers too. How do we do this?

We have our Astronomy Educators program, which is essentially our GCSE Astronomy with all the formal exam and assessment bits taken out. Teachers still follow the material and earn their certificate at the end. The certificate which carries 40 CPD credits. Although we are hoping to increase these soon!

In addition we have a new singing and dancing classroom where we have made the specs and other documents relating to the GCSE Astronomy program available at no extra charge. Access to resources and above all expertise to assist.

We offer this completely FREE to schools who sign up with us for their pupils to do GCSE Astronomy.

More words on the AstroMount Pillar

I have not had much chance to test thing in anger since i picked it up from Matthew Armitage of Astromount.

I also purchased a tent observatory so its kind of a double whammy. Obviously i wheeled the pillar into the tent before assembly it would not have been easily possible to put it in otherwise owning to the weight.

Once in, it became clear to protect the ground sheet from the wheels and indeed the levelling bolts we needed something for the floor. So in came some spare tiles we’ve has in the garden, but cushioned on cardboard

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I had to use the bolt as well to get the mount level. This is one issue, we need  a pad at the end of the bolt (like you have on the end of the bolt in a vice).

I think too the user should get this as aligned to North as despite the pillar being mobile it would be hard i think to have to re level the pillar if its moved especially on uneven ground.

As you can see in the picture though i think we’re all set. Note the controller i have hung to the pillar. Something that simple has been on my wishlist for a while. I have also taped the power supply to the mount on the side of the pillar.

It all seems stable enough, there are a good few kilos of weight on it now!

Below is a pic of the overall setup.

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How will it go? Time will tell.

Here is the video i made on the pillar with my initial thoughts

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ft7_1OJcLBs

70mm Celestron TravelScope

We are please to announce that Celestron have very kindly made a donation of one of the TravelScopes. Ideal for children, very portable and comes with its own back pack!

Watch out for the competition where we will be giving this away!, coming VERY soon!

Mobile Pillar

Background

For some years, i have enjoyed imaging using my Skywatcher NEQ6 and Meade Lx10 mounted on tripod. However a number of things were becoming clear.

The sharp end of the legs start to sink into the group upsetting levelling. Also there were times i would like to move the setup to another part of the garden to capture something else in the night sky. In walked Matthew Armitage.

Matthew has for sometime been pondering on a mobile pillar. For those who dont know, pillars are the more traditional setup for use in observatories. Usually permanent and concreted in. We rent so this is never going to happen.

After sometime, and Matthew was very thorough in asking for measurements and other specs to ensure the build was spot on (he makes these bespoke!).

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Delivery

This was collected from the International Astronomy Show as we were both exhibiting there. It managed to fit in the boot of my Peugeot 307.

After re affixing the wheels* you can see now it sits proudly in the back garden with my NEQ6 mounted. I will say, you will need to use the bolt he supplies with this as i believe the original Skywatcher one is too small.

Another plus with this, if you are ever so slightly off for polar alignment at least (in theory) the whole thing can be moved  little to compensate, fortunately the only swivel wheel is North facing, so massive bonus there.

Caution

1. On this model only one wheel is swivel, the others are fixed, that said i think it is better that way, but something to bear in mind if you want to move it.

2. *Once home though, we did have the problem where it would neither fit down our side entrance or through the house. This might have been a show stopper but the wheels do come off. On this model at least they are fitted on with allen bolts and nuts. (defo consult with Matthew with this in mind if its to go through the house into the back garden.

Benefits of this setup.

Those who have purchased this are those who operate out of garages and need to wheel the setup out. Amazing thing to be able to wheel it about as needed. For me though, this will remain outside. BUT i have something else which may help to keep it dry!

Personally i am VERY optimistic by this new setup. I am not going to get rid of my tripod just yet though as i can see it will have uses if i go to a star party.

Can i also at this point recommend Neil Ross’s covers, he makes these bespoke and i think would compliment this setup nicely!

I am also excited about the levelling bolts on each leg, although it might have been a slight improvement to the setup if a pad had been fitted to the ends of these otherwise they will just dig in when in use. Easy to work around though.

Now all i need are some clear days to properly try this! Can’t wait!