The MicroObservatory Online Telescope Network is operated by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, with funding from NSF and NASA. In honor of Global Astronomy Month 2011, MicroObservatory held an Astrophotography Contest. Participants used the Observing with NASA portal and MicroObservatoryImage software to create RGB Composite images and Astrocreative images. Kevin Manning won the Astrocreative category for his various interpretations of the Orion Nebula. The word for cloud in the Greek is nebula, so the great Orion Nebula is a diffuse cloud of gas and dust in space 1,500 light years from earth, literally our nearest stellar nursery where new stars are being born. So the title chosen for this work is "A Star is Born." This international award-winning work of art is available as a canvas print.
I've written a book on how to build a telescope just like the one I did so anyone can do it. Every step and every piece is covered in great detail so you can actually build a powerful telescope much more powerful than the one's typically found in department stores. The optics are larger with greater light-gathering power and resolution, enabling you to observe fainter stars, nebulae, and galaxies, and to see finer detail on planets. The high magnifications advertised with department store telescopes are actually useable with this telescope. The eyepieces are larger with a bigger window for the eye to look into, not something you must squint and strain to see anything. The mounting is very rigid and stable, not like the flimsy tripods that move and vibrate to the point you have to move your head around trying to keep up with the bouncing image. The simple design makes the instrument able to be set up in seconds anywhere you bring it. If you follow the instructions in the order given it's almost impossible to fail. The large optics gather 500 times more light than the unaided eye, permitting stunning views of the universe. Amaze your family and friends with the achievement of making a powerful telescope that will yield a lifetime of beautiful views of the heavens. This would make a great parent-child project that would prove very rewarding. Be prepared for sighting celestial objects like you've never seen them before with this truly powerful 8-inch reflecting telescope.
Astronomy is the most exciting and fun topic in the universe. Of course, I am a bit biased, but don't you agree? Using a telescope to see the invisible and look far back in time, exploring the universe to learn about meteors, the Moon, comets, asteroids, star clusters, nebulae and galaxies, and trying to understand the role of black holes, dark matter, and dark energy, are all covered in this enjoyable text.