In year of isolation, this $3,000 telescope may have changed citizen astronomy forever

In year of isolation, this $3,000 telescope may have changed citizen astronomy forever

After a couple hours of sleep, Rachel Knight woke to an alarm set for 2 a.m. Two alarms, actually. Her phone and Amazon Echo clamored in tandem to make sure she didn’t sleep through the night.

It was her turn to head out to the backyard and monitor the telescope.

The Unistellar eVscope was pointed at the relatively clear sky over suburbs north of Los Angeles. It was mid-August, five months into the COVID-19 pandemic. Knight and her husband were tracking an asteroid, 787 Moskva, which orbits the sun between our neighbor Mars and its distant neighbor Jupiter.

With a traditional telescope, they would have needed to look at star maps to calculate the position of the asteroid depending on the time of day and their location, and then adjust as the Earth rotated and the object moved. Read more…

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