April 24, 2009

Basic Toolkit for Exogazing

Exogazing ToolkitBehold an Exogazer's basic toolkit: Binoculars, Planisphere, and Star Finder Chart.
My Binoculars is a Canon 15x50 Image-Stabilized (IS), 4.5° FOV. It provides a great experience for panning across the sky when star-hopping. The image-stabilization feature prevents jittering to help avoid dizziness, and it's great for following a comet, a satellite, a meteor, or an iridium flash across a backdrop of stars.

The Planisphere is a very handy tool for knowing which constellations will be visible to you at a given date and time. In the background are the printed Kepler Star Wheel. It is a customized planisphere that also show the stars with known exoplanets.

Finally, the star finder charts provide some more detailed information about the host star, such as it's magnitude. And it gives more details about the vicinity around the target star. It helps navigate the star field when the view is zoomed in by the binoculars.
Note: The IYA2009 sticker and pin on the binoculars was given to me by @LunarMark when I visited the LVAAS during one of their star parties (Feb 2009). There was a wonderful presentation about exoplanets at that time. And a planetarium session.

What is Exogazing?
Exogazing is gazing at the stars and "spotting" which stars have known exoplanets orbiting around it. It's just like stargazing but you have an added goal: locating which stars have known exoplanets.
More info about exogazing can be found here.