Observing with Medium-Sized Telescopes
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People have successfully measured the brightness of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto with medium-sized telescopes (telescopes with diameters between 0.1 and 0.25 m or 4–10 inches). Doug West and Frank Melillo have also measured the light spectrum of Uranus with a medium-sized telescope. In this chapter, we will describe the different kinds of observations that one can make of the outer planets with a medium-sized telescope. This chapter starts out with introductory information, which is followed by discussions on filters, photometers, and cameras. A detailed example of a photometric measurement is presented. The chapter ends with discussions on imaging Uranus’s light spectrum and making visual magnitude measurements of Pluto.
In most of this chapter, we will deal with making observations with equipment attached to the telescope. In many cases, this equipment may weigh several pounds. As a result, one should have a mount which will be able to hold the weight of the equipment and of any...