#OptUp Inspiring Astronomy RSS

It’s fall in Colorado, and that means more humidity in the air, and, if you aren’t mindful, dew on the telescope. This is particularly important for refractors and Cassegrain telescopes - SCTs and Maks, which have a large lens at the front that is highly susceptible to dew buildup. Here are some tips to prevent and in the worst case, remove that dew.  Passive Prevention Lens Hoods and Dew Shields Dew shields are the first line of defense. These work well when you keep your objective pointing far enough towards the horizon that the lens isn’t exposed to the dew coming down...

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You've probably seen a very bright yellow-orange star rising from the East as the sun sets. That's Mars! July 27th is the Mars opposition - the best and brightest Mars will be for the next 17 years. Don't worry if you can't get out to see Mars on the 27th though - it will still be extremely bright and brilliant for the next several weeks through Mid-August, when it will begin gradually dimming as the planet moves further away again in its orbit.  If you DO get out on the 27th, you'll see Mars right next to the full Moon! How...

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Family, How To, Kids, Telescopes -

I see too many very well intending parents buy the toy store telescope (often with an included microscope), only to find the whole experience of trying to setup and use their child's new prize to be a frustrating, rather than amazing, experience for them and their child. 

A Little Story about a Too-little Telescope

A few weeks ago at an astronomical club open house, some kids and their dad brought in a little telescope he'd gotten them. This was one of those $20 toy store items. It had a shaky little tripod that you would sit on a table (the legs didn't extend), a very small aperture lens (about 30mm) and a couple of very cheap plastic eyepieces. The family was frustrated because they weren't able to see anything through this little telescope, and even had trouble getting it pointed at the Moon...

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Mars, Planets -

This summer will be the perfect time to observe the planets in the evening sky. Mars will be particularly bright and bold, reaching opposition on July 27th (the chart below highlights the evening of July 27th at 11:PM). Mars won't be this big and bright again until 2035! Jupiter and Saturn will also be extremely prominent, and don't forget Venus just after sunset! This will all make for a wonderful summer of planetary observing, what we are calling The Summer Parade of Planets!  The Mars Opposition will be July 27. Just four days later, the closest approach of Mars to Earth...

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One of our core beliefs at Mile High Astronomy, is that what we do is accessible to everyone. We are all under the same night sky, with opportunities to explore the universe laid out above our heads each and every night! (Well, at least the clear nights!) #OptUp is our way of encouraging you – yes, YOU – to step outside on those clear nights, and turn your gaze skyward. It doesn't matter if you have a telescope, binoculars, or just your eyes, there are amazing wonders up there waiting for you to discover them. We created the hashtag #OptUp...

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