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O/T: Ahha? Moments. Why telescopes are mostly at the Equator..

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  • O/T: Ahha? Moments. Why telescopes are mostly at the Equator..

    So I thought why most of the big scopes that point out (radio and everything else) are mostly around the ecauator.

    Duh, if you point one up from the North or South pole you will not see the milkyway. Great for all respects, those stations. Id rather be in Hawaii....

    I have had much more with machining and machine tools. That aha moment when I got it.. I was doing it all wrong!

    Haa. FYI. I love those moments. Its the preverbiable light bulb just lite. JR

  • #2
    Your link has obviously changed as there was nothing about telescopes there.

    Telescopes are located near the equator because they can see more stars from there. A scope at the North or South Pole can only see half the stars, the ones on that side of the equator. All the stars in the southern hemisphere would be completely blocked by the Earth itself to a scope at the North Pole and vice-versa for one at the South Pole.

    A scope on the equator can, in theory, see all the stars, but atmospheric effects would limit that somewhat. So perhaps 80 or 90 percent of the stars, of the sky can be seen from there. As you move north or south of the equator that percentage drops to the 50 percent point at the poles. As a practical matter, anywhere in the tropics is good and locations a bit further north or south can be OK. Several well known scopes are located in the US.

    I assume that was your ah-ha moment.

    Another big factor in locating a major telescope is light pollution. A large city, even 100 miles away, can be a big problem when taking exposures that can last all night long or even be continued over several nights. Electronic sensors helps this, but the basic problem is still there. Dim stars and other celestial objects just get lost in the dim glow in the atmosphere.
    Paul A.
    SE Texas

    And if you look REAL close at an analog signal,
    You will find that it has discrete steps.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Paul Alciatore View Post
      Your link has obviously changed as there was nothing about telescopes there.
      I dont think I ever posted a link, I rarly do, JR

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Paul Alciatore View Post
        Your link has obviously changed as there was nothing about telescopes there.

        Telescopes are located near the equator becauseI assume that was your ah-ha moment.
        Yes, I agree.

        And yes, my moment when I relised we are on a "disc" typ rotation for the Solar and other systems. You know, like the Galxy.

        Kidding. I get the Astometerers want the best light and and I never took in to the "slant" of the Galaey and where our position is..

        We our way ( out of our Galey. More than 4 of Billions of light years. ) By most observable stars. Just the way it is. JR

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        • #5
          Most important factor is altitude for optical telescopes, the less atmosphere above you the better. That is why orbital telescopes are better size for size.

          The downside of a telescope situated at the equator is that it is only suitable for viewing close to the plane of the ecliptic. Looking North and South means increased thickness of atmosphere interfering with viewing.
          Last edited by old mart; 07-22-2021, 04:49 AM.

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          • #6
            On a slightly related topic - when we see images of galaxies or constellations, we see them as they were thousands and millions and billions of years ago. And every star in those structures has been and still is moving in some direction, and often not in a straight line. Has anyone used the data we have to create an image of what these structures actually look like now, or at various times in the past, even in their pre-history and birth? Perhaps this is a moot point and even incorrect if we compensate for the speed of light, and such things as constellations are just stars grouped together as they appear to us on earth, even though the individual stars may vary greatly in distance and age. Time, distance, age, and appearance become complex concepts when considered over astronomical distances and time. But it might be interesting to calculate and show what our galaxy may look like from other galaxies.
            http://pauleschoen.com/pix/PM08_P76_P54.png
            Paul , P S Technology, Inc. and MrTibbs
            USA Maryland 21030

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            • #7
              Originally posted by old mart View Post

              The downside of a telescope situated at the equator is that it is only suitable for viewing close to the plane of the ecliptic.
              However the earth's axis is not perpendicular to the ecliptic being 23 degrees or so inclination. Viewing Polaris (the Pole Star) would be 20 degrees approx above the horizon. E&OE of course!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by The Artful Bodger View Post

                However the earth's axis is not perpendicular to the ecliptic being 23 degrees or so inclination. Viewing Polaris (the Pole Star) would be 20 degrees approx above the horizon. E&OE of course!
                Not ideal considering the ammount of atmosphere you would be looking through.

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                • #9
                  The aurora borealis could be a major detriment to observatories if they were built in the higher latitudes. I spent a year at Clinton Creek, Yukon (64.4014° N, 140.5986° W) and there were several times when the northern lights covered the whole sky and they were bright!
                  Location: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Arcane View Post
                    . I spent a year at Clinton Creek, Yukon (64.4014° N, 140.5986° W) and there were several times when the northern lights covered the whole sky and they were bright!
                    v

                    I have never seen the Southern or Northern lights.

                    Very nice!! JR

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                    • #11
                      I think a lot of observatories are built in Chile and other places due to the seeing afforded at those sites. Dark skies and a steady atmosphere are of primary importance. The seeing sucks here in NJ as the jetstream passes the Appalachian mountains and causes a lot of atmospheric turbulence.

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