Category: Technology

How to Observe the Moon for Beginners

While the Moon might appear to be serene and peaceful, this was not always the case. The Moon bears the scars of a violent bombardment of the inner solar system by meteors, comets, and other large pieces of rock that ended about 3.8 billion years or so ago, but the good news is that the presence of these scars offers novice star gazers an excellent opportunity to learn how beginners can use an astronomical telescope to best effect. Here is how to get the best views of the Moon.

Manage magnification

Image credit:

Image credit:

The image above shows the Moon magnified by ±50 times, which is good for getting the “big picture”, but to see smaller details like individual craters, you need to increase the magnification considerably. However, magnification is probably the single biggest problem novice star gazers have to learn to master, since high magnifications are not always better.

It must be remembered that telescopes do not magnify images. Telescopes only gather light, on the principle that the bigger the mirror or objective lens is, the more light the instrument gathers. Magnification takes place in the eyepiece, with the focal length of the eyepiece determining the degree of magnification, but high magnifications reduce the field of view, which means that at excessive magnifications, an object, or feature on the Moon can break down and become invisible.

Clearly then, there must be a happy middle ground, or magnification at which an object becomes visible, without either getting distorted, or the field of view becomes so small that not all of the object fits inside the field of view. Moreover, as the field of view becomes smaller as magnification rises, all movements of the telescope are magnified as well. For instance, if the telescope’s tripod is not steady and prone to transmitting vibrations to the tube, these vibrations can be magnified to the point where the image becomes so unstable that no detail can be made out.

Nonetheless, the Moon is able to “tolerate” high magnifications better than any other celestial object, which means that magnifications of up to about 200× times can be used to pick out smaller objects and features, such as the central peaks in major craters.

Observe the Moon at the right time

Image credit:

Image credit:

The problem with the Moon is that it can be so bright that an image can be washed out because the telescope gathers too much light. The image above is a perfect example of what happens when the Moon is fully illuminated by the Sun. Because sunlight strikes the Moon straight on, much of the light is reflected straight back at the observer, which does not make for an enjoyable viewing experience.

Therefore, the trick in observing the Moon lies in looking at those parts of the Moon that are not fully illuminated, such as the area around the terminator, which is the area on the Moon where light transitions into darkness. In this area, sunlight strikes the Moon obliquely, and the resulting shadows have the effect of accentuating details that would otherwise be drowned out in the Sun’s glare.

Consider the image above that clearly shows the terminator, along which details of craters are clearly visible at a relatively low magnification. Nothing can be seen to either side of the “grey zone”, but with some practice, the same level of detail can be seen as the instrument is made to track the progression of the terminator.

However, because the Moon “wobbles” in its orbit (that is inclined with respect to the both the ecliptic and the earth’s equator) around the Earth, sunlight strikes the Moon at different angles at different times, meaning that in practice, an object that was visible close to the terminator today might not be visible a few days later.

More tips and tricks

As a general rule of thumb, the best time to view the Moon is during the two “quarters”, which is when only about 25% of the Moon’s disc is illuminated, but even then, there are many factors that can influence an observing session- and not always in a good way. Therefore, to prevent disappointment, here are some tips and tricks to keep in mind to enhance you viewing experience.

Mask off your telescope

If you are using a big telescope, say, a 10-, or 12-inch reflector, limit the instruments’ light gathering ability by masking off some of the aperture, even during times when the Moon is not fully illuminated. Simply cut a hole of about 5-6 inches in diameter in a piece of cardboard, and tape the mask over the telescopes’ open end. However, leave enough room for some light to pass around the secondary mirror- if the hole is too small you won’t see anything, so experiment with masks until you find a configuration that offers the best views.

Orient your view

Image credit: Philippe Tosi

Image credit: Philippe Tosi

Can you spot what’s wrong with the image of the Moon as shown above? In this case, the crater Tycho, the bright spot at the top of the globe with the bright ray patter emanating from it, is in the “wrong” place. Some telescopes invert images, so if you have never seen the Moon through a telescope before, your first view might not be what you expected to see: depending on the number of optical elements (mirrors and/or lenses) in the instrument, you might see the Moon upside down, or even mirror-reversed, which can be somewhat disconcerting.

Thus, when you purchase your first telescope, ask the dealer how you will see objects through it, because seeing the Moon upside down might make it vastly more difficult to learn to find your way around the thousands of craters, mountains, rilles, and other objects that make the Moon one of the most fascinating objects in the solar system.

Understanding How the MAG 250 Set Top Box Functions

Welcome to the new world of UK Television experience. Never before has it been this easy to watch UK television channels. You can now watch your favorite UK TV channels and programs right from the comfort of your living room, wherever you may be. With the new MAG 250 set top box, you can watch over a hundred UK TV channels without the need of a satellite dish, a computer or a satellite system.

How it works

The top of the range MAG 250 top box has all the UK TV channels you ever dreamt of. Best of all, it’s simply a plug and play device. All you need is a TV set with HDMI connectivity and a router. From there you just have to hook up the set top box to the asdl router and your TV, go through a brief first time installation and you are ready for a wonderful TV experience.

Defining IPTV

MAG 250 set top boxes use Internet Protocol Television also widely known as IPTV. This is a protocol that receives heavy backing by the telecommunications industry. It is affordable and offers millions of viewers across the globe access to superb and high quality TV services. MAG 250 set top boxes, through the application of this IPTV mechanism have made it possible and easy for viewers around the world to watch UK TV channels without the use of satellite dishes or systems. Simply buy a plug and play MAG 250 high quality set top box and watch your programs as soon as you have the box configured!

Areas where services are available

Whether in the U.S.A, Canada, the Middle East or the Far East, you can receive all the UK TV channels from your MAG 250 set top box. All that will be required is for you to have a good broadband connection and the rest is handled for you. There are authorized dealers that can be found online. Make sure you buy your MAG 250 set top box from any one of these authorized dealers for great prices and good quality. Once you have confirmed your purchase, your set top box will be shipped to your agreed address. You will be taken through the installation process which is really straightforward. As soon as you are through with the installation, you are ready to benefit from some of the finest entertainment, news and sports channels UK TV channels have to offer.

Frequently asked questions

Most viewers seem confused with the whole IPTV concept, so here are some facts to help reaffirm the working of the MAG 250 set top box.

Once you buy your MAG 250 set top box, you will only require a router and a HDMI TV set.

No computer or satellite dish is required and if you have a computer, you can still continue using it whilst watching TV.

This is a live TV service and not a contract TV. Companies such as DemandUKTV offer flexible terms with long long term tie-ins.

The MAG 250 set top box offers programs in High Definition and you do not need a UK IP address.

You can move with the box anywhere in the world other than the UK and you will still receive your TV channels.

Smart DNS VPNs: The New Way to Stream UK television

Streaming media content using the Internet has become easier with times. Not so long ago, the choice of content was limited. So nobody really needed any tools for streaming television programs, or films.

But over the years there are many programs and television sets that now work overnight to cater to the needs of people from different countries. Timings differ across the globe. Therefore, if people miss out on any program, they can view it later on. They could record it too. But what if there are more than one program that they want to watch and the timings clash? In the past, there was no way this problem could be solved other than to try to record one of the programmes. But now, it is possible to watch those programs with the help of tools.

Most people who use a streaming facility are familiar with VPN based systems. What this system does is establish a network on the web connecting the requester’s device with the server where the requested content resides. There are risks in establishing such a system. There can also be interference. A lot of programming and coding needs to be done to ensure that the user can stream the desired content without compromising the quality or interference from hackers who are keen on invading privacy.

Such coding and development of VPN systems, i.e. virtual private networking systems utilise secure peer-to-peer encryption and this slows down the streaming speed. But the invasion on the user’s privacy is minimized by most of these Virtual Private Network software programs. As a result, the user can enjoy a movie as if it has been screened exclusively for him or her, albeit a bit slower than normal.

One of the problems encountered while streaming with UK based VPN software is disruption because of problems with the connection. A new technology called SmartDNS is now available that overcomes many of the problems encountered while streaming with VPN software.

Basically the two technologies are different. Unlike VPN, SmartDNS is essentially a network based system. Therefore, it is able to adjust to requests faster. VPN software programs on the other hand search for matching criteria and then stream the content. In SmartDNS both software and hardware play an active role in establishing that connection. The connection is therefore less likely to break frequently as is the case with VPN streaming.

Another reason the new technology is becoming popular is because a single installation is sufficient for streaming on more than one device. This has not been possible with VPN streaming. OpenVPN streaming was introduced recently to give access across any platform. But with SmartDNS that problem has already been addressed. Since there is no need to develop the existing program in the case of SmartDNS, the costs are lower, and are likely to remain stagnant. But with VPN based streaming, the software tool has to be periodically upgraded. Therefore, prices of these tools increase with each passing year.

In so far as costs are concerned, a SmartDNS UK VPN is head and shoulders above all the VPN software programs. In other words, VPN software is invariably expensive. Nevertheless, it is the user who has to take a call whether he or she is willing to put up with the inconveniences in a VPN based streaming provider, or SmartDNS based streaming. If the user considers privacy to be an important issue, VPN based streaming is made for such user.

Sky Viewing Cards: Where to Purchase in Portugal

Enjoy the best of UK television all across Portugal

Since the nineties, Sky television has forged the way in home television entertainment to customers within the United Kingdom. It removed many barriers that traditional terrestrial television channels were unable to break, such as delivering pay-per-view events including major sports fixtures and recently released movies. Sky also provided us a much varied range of television, most commonly from the America and in more recent years, from other regions including Asia, Australia and the Middle East.

In the past, where there was just the usual range of BBC and ITV networks to deliver the same rigid choice of TV shows, Sky instantly opened up a whole universe of television entertainment.

Now more than a quarter of a century later, we are in the internet age of home entertainment where not only can you still access TV via satellite transmission, you can also watch programmes ‘on-demand’ at a time and place of your own preference on numerous devices at home or on-the-move. The world has evolved fast and without doubt, Sky has been an influential part of that. Where other TV channels have followed, Sky television has been an innovator and leader of new technologies.

So with such a forward focussed attitude, is it any wonder that Sky is just as popular today as it ever was?

With the growth of the European Union, the world has become a smaller place and with that, many Brits have decided to leave the motherland and start a new life overseas, most notably in sunnier climates such as Spain, Portugal, southern France, Italy and Greece. Some however have migrated to the likes of Switzerland, Austria, Poland and many other eastern European nations. We are without doubt a nation of distanced ex-patriots.

However like most Brits, we favour our television and given the possibility, we still prefer to watch our own, native TV entertainment rather than the local offerings. That’s why so many of us who have left the country, still have the desire to watch UK TV where they live. This growing demand has led to many overseas suppliers of Sky television to arise from the shadows and start supplying UK television abroad.

The problem is, there are many companies who are operating outside of the law and in many cases, offering pirated and illegal services that could be closed down or worse still, could put the customer in a position of enquiry under EU laws. So with that in mind, how can you find a credible and legal provider of Sky television?

Finding a reputable Sky viewing card seller

Consider it or not but there are a good handful of reliable suppliers of Sky viewing cards but separating them from the rogues is the difficult trick. Here’s a few ways to finding a supplier you can trust and count on:

1. Secure Site

Look for the lock icon when searching for Sky TV in Portugal. If their website is secure, it shows you they have taken moves to secure your data and ensure your credit card details is only transmitted over a secure, encrypted connection. Google ranks sites using HTTPS with greater priority so if you’ve found a site that doesn’t use SSL, ignore them and move onto the next one.

2. UK address

If you’re buying a Sky card using a UK credit card, your best choice is to buy from a UK supplier. By doing so, your payment will be protected under UK law but also, you’ll be able to speak to an English language speaking native if you ever need advice. Any reliable supplier can send a Sky viewing card to virtually any country across Europe as the postage fees are low and delivery should be quick and easy.

3. Telephone

Choose a seller that offers telephone as well as email support. Email only backup tends to ensure you are kept at arms length, whilst telephone calls give you the ability to talk to someone and find out what their support is like. If you get through, ask some pressing questions and then get the feel for whether you can count on this supplier.

4. Avoid Scammers

Online auctions are filled with fake and hacked Sky cards. The same is true for online forums, Facebook pages and a number of other social media platforms. If they don’t have a website with a permanent business location, do not trust these sellers. More often than not, they will send you a crappy card that either works temporarily and will get cut off shortly after use!

Be satisfied with your choice!

Once you’ve chosen a supplier who ticks all of the above needs, you should be ready to go online and buy your Sky TV in Portugal service. Getting Sky TV overseas is fairly straightforward in most European countries nowadays but settling on a supplier who is trustworthy and professional is another matter altogether. So with just a little homework and due diligence, you should be able to make an informed and wise choice.