Visual Astronomy Buyer Guide – Introduction

Most newcomers to Astronomy start with the quintessential telescope.  These telescopes are widely available and offer an easy entry into the hobby. Notes:   Keep your expectation real.  No telescope is going to provide a view akin to a Hubble image.  Making visual observations require some patience and appreciating nuance. What to Avoid:  If you want to view deep sky objects, avoid telescopes with an aperture smaller than 6″.  A telescope is a light collector – and more light means faint…

Read More

Meeting Minutes 26 March 2021

Co-chairperson Ann Murphy hosted the online meeting using the Zoom platform 50 participants Indoor Meeting:  “Objects in the Heavens” by author Peter Birren. Business Treasury Report.  The reported by Treasurer Steve Izzo. Members should renew their memberships by March 31. After that, membership roles will be purged of overdue memberships. Membership – 365 total (245+2*60) 245 single memberships 60 family memberships Balances $772.15 in business checking $19,060.77 in savings $0.52 in special purpose checking  Meeting Format. By Co-chairperson Mike Keefe.…

Read More

Can RAC Help with My Telescope?

Can RAC Help with My Telescope? Short Answer, Yes! First, a shameless plug for the club:   If you’ve got your first telescope and need some help, you are a perfect candidate to become a club member.  With membership you get access to our club email list and can find a mentor to help get you started in the hobby.   Additionally, you gain membership into the Astronomical League, which through their observing challenges helps progress you in the hobby and keeps…

Read More

Donate a Telescope to RAC

How to Donate a Telescope to RAC If you have an old telescope laying around that you want to get rid of, but do not want to throw out, RAC may be able to accept it.  RAC owned telescopes are used as part of a pool of loaner telescopes for our members.  This gives our members the opportunity to try telescopes before investing in one. What Kinds of Telescopes does RAC Accept?  Telescopes must be in working order.  Other than…

Read More

Where to Stargaze Around Raleigh and Beyond

Local Places (and beyond) to Skywatch at Night RAC’s home area includes Raleigh, Apex, Cary, Garner, Holly Springs, Fayetteville and surrounding communities. Looking for a good observing site can be challenging.  The Raleigh area is beautiful during the day – lots of trees, great public parks, and convenient shopping centers.   However, at night parks close and light pollution obscures the night sky. What do you want to Observe To find an appropriate spot to skywatch, what you plan to observe…

Read More

Guide Scope Pixel Scale

When setting up a guide scope, the main consideration is the comparison of the pixel scale of your imaging rig compared to your guiding rig. Pixel ScaleThe pixel scale is just 206 * (pixel size) / (focal length). Assuming your 30 mm guide scope is f/4 that would be a focal length of 120mm.  Using a common guide camera such as the ASI120MM which has a pixel size of 3.8u, the pixel scale is 206 * 3.8 / 130 =…

Read More

How will you use your telescope? Visually, Camera Assisted, or for Astrophotography

More Info: Visual Astronomy EAA Astronomy Astrophotography Introduction: This guide is intended for beginners looking to buy a telescope.  We recognize there are a lot of choices out there and we focus on what works best for our club members considering the Raleigh, NC area.  When preparing to buy a telescope, one of the first  considerations is how you plan to use it.  Each section below will take you to specific information about that style of observational astronomy.  With big…

Read More

Recommended Dobsonian Telescopes

RAC receives a lot of questions about buying a telescope. The answer always depends on your goals in astronomy, but for many a dobsonian style telescope is the most cost effective option to own an amateur class telescope. Dobsonians are relatively inexpensive because their optical tube is the least complex and it is mounted on a very simple base. This makes them very rugged telescopes and very easy to set up and operate. And since Aperture is king when it…

Read More

Telescope Accessories

No telescope comes with all the accessories you need out of the box. Consider this list of accessories that many amateur astronomers buy over time. The exact accessory may depend on the telescope you buy. What not to Buy Generally you’ll get a 10mm and a 25mm plossl eyepiece that fits a 1.25″ focuser. Stick with those. They’re all you’re going to need for a while. Avoid buying color filters as they are virtually useless. Also avoid buying any 1.5x,…

Read More

Aperture is king

For visual astronomy (looking through the eyepiece at the telescope), aperture is the most important feature of a telescope. Telescopes are light concentrators, so a bigger aperture collects more light and dim objects are brighter. Magnification is not an important consideration for most first-time telescope buyers. For most newcomers to the hobby, it is recommended to start with at least 1200mm of focal length and at least a 6″ mirror. For every 2″ of aperture you add ~72% more light…

Read More

RAC Meeting Minutes 25 September 2020

Co-chairperson Ann Murphy hosted the online meeting using the Zoom platform  32 participants Indoor Meeting: “You Can Almost Touch the Stars” by Tom Field. Tom is the author of “RSpec” software and he is a contributor to Sky & Telescope magazine. Q&A followed the presentation. Business Treasury Report. The report was provided by Treasurer Steve Izzo. Membership – 279 total (183+2*48) 183 single memberships 48 family memberships Balances $524.30 in business checking $14,560.45 in savings $96.62 in special purpose checking…

Read More

Tips for Photographing the Comet

By: David KellerFor those of you that want to try your luck at photographing comet NeoWise, and are not experienced astro-imagers, here are some suggestions:   Equipment:    Tripod:  You absolutely require a tripod or an equivalent way to hold the camera still, and that’s because to get a decent photograph, you will need an exposure in the range of 2-6 seconds.  If you’re using a smartphone, many inexpensive camera holders are available on Amazon.  If you’ve a DSLR (or…

Read More

Comet NEOWISE Gallery

Cover photo credit: Joe PeditThis post contains images of Comet NEOWISE contributed by members of the Raleigh Astronomy Club.  Photo credits are on the images.  Please report errors to the author.  I will be adding to this page as necessary.  If you wish your image to be added to the gallery please send it to me.   I 

Read More

RAC is a non profit organization

Please send general inquiries to [email protected]

Member Login
Social Networks

Proud Member of

Astronomical League

Night Sky Network

We Support

Dark Skies