Astronomy and Astrophotography

Jeffrey Owen Katz, Ph.D.

Observatory Director, Custer Institute

New Astronomical Product from Scientific Consultants Services

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Research at Custer Institute

Custer has begun a program aimed at investigating known exoplanets and discovering new ones. Currently, work is progressing on everything from automating the roll-off roofs in the shed that houses the imaging telescopes, setting up remote internet control and access to these telescopes, and debugging related software and hardware. Grants have been obtained from the Fund for Astrophysical Research (FAR) and from Brookhaven National Laboratories for the purchase of equipment. The Santa Barbara Instrument Group has donated a high-end camera for use in the effort. In addition, a 25" newtonian telescope will soon grace our main dome. It is a really exciting time at Custer, and more will be posted here in the future.

Websites of Custer Members and Local Astronomy Groups

Celestial Navigation and the Problem of Longitude

Unlike latitude, which is easily determined from the position of the pole star or the noonday sun, longitude requires a comparison of local time (as determined from the positions of visible stars) with some form of universal time, for example, Greenwich Mean Time. Before the days of radio, those at sea had no way of accurately knowing the time in Greenwich against which local time could be compared in order to calculate longitude. Hence many ways to measure time--from clocks to the eclipses of Jupiter's moons--were explored. The problem with clocks was that they did not keep time accurately on long sea voyages. Given the difficulty estimating universal time, it is easy to see why longitude played center stage in the history of navigation.

Recommended Books

More books on astronomy can be found in the astronomy and astroimaging section of Jeffrey's books page

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Revised - 2005.09.11
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