Saturday, March 24, 2007

Star Atlas

Hey there, sorry for the very long silence. I have been very busy at work, trying to deliver and close a project with near impossible deadlines. Anyway, the main phase of project is almost done and now I have some room to get back to where I left off.

So back to the topic - Maps has always fascinated me. It’s a bird’s eye view of things and it gives me a sense of where I am and where I am heading. I had the map of the world on my room wall ever since I was 12 years old. My brother and I used to memorize names of cities and weird islands - like Disco Island off the coast of Greenland. (Bet you didn’t know that!) Naturally, we didn't have any problems with our geography. Besides scrutinizing at them, I'd love drawing maps and my drawings used to be the showcase for the entire class.

By the time I was 16, I was deep into astronomy already. So naturally, a star atlas was one of the first thing I went looking for. I checked out the school library, the national library as well as the local bookstore but could not find any – you have to remember that it was the mid 1980’s! The pre-Internet era.

Then one day I “discovered” a star atlas at the British Council library. The pages and colors were beautiful. But the atlas was classified as reference material and cannot be removed from the library and I desparately need one to navigate the skies. Then I noticed that there is a photocopier that can handle A3 size paper for only 20 cents a copy, there were 14 pages so that worked out to be RM2.80. Although it was black and white but it was worth having it! So I made a copy of it and had it bound.

Twenty three years later, I still have it. Check it out.

The cover of my very first star atlas.

The first 2 pages. List of objects on the left and the map (folded) on the right.

The right page unfolded. It didn't have lines to mark the constellations, so it's a bit diffifult to read and navigate.

No color? No problem, just add your own! A close up of Orion.

And of course, my journey did not end there. It was just the beginning. More coming ...

Friday, March 9, 2007

Meade Starfinder 826 with LXD-75

Thanks for the emails and since some of you guys requested a close up of the modified pier and here it is ....
This is the side view of the mount.

The bottom, inside view of the mount.

Bottom view with the Vixen pier removed.

The tube of the pier - the smaller holes closer to the top was for the old mount. There are 3 new holes drilled for the new mount.

Thursday, March 1, 2007


I have not the time to make any new post for the past 2 weeks. Work has really caught up with me and since the project deadline is looming, the whole team has been working late. We have gone up to 4 days with very little sleep and needless to say, I have absolutely no time to haul out my telescope to do some serious observing.

I look forward to the Lunar eclipse this March 4 but I seriously doubt that I have the time. The same goes for the Astronomy Convention 2007 on 9 March in USM, Penang. That will be a 4.5 hours drive from Kuala Lumpur, tough luck. So if anyone of you out there who will be attending, tell me all about it OK?

In the meantime, if you are looking for a good astro community to join, check out Cloudy, a wonderful community about telescopes and telescope making, lot of great information and helpful people there.