Telescopes & Digital Photo Frames

Choosing the Right Telescopes

TelescopeWhen choosing which telescope to buy the first question is always “Who will be using the telescope?”.  We have a large range of telescopes for every age from basic models for younger children to more advanced models that can open up the whole universe, some more complicated to use than others.

The second  question is “What do you want to look at?” because while you can look at anything with any of our telescopes, they are all designed to be better at something in particular.

So if you answer is:

“Only or Mainly looking at the night sky” then you should be looking at a reflector or Newtonian telescope.

“Both stars and things on the ground”. Then you should be looking at an astronomical refractor telescope.

“Only looking at things on the ground”. Then you should be looking at either a terrestrial refractor or a spotting scope

Reflector Telescopes

Reflector telescopes use a concave mirror to reflect and focus light back from the “back” of the telescope onto a secondary flat mirror which then reflects the light to the side and into the eyepiece. The eyepiece then focuses and magnifies the image.

Reflector telescopes are characterized by the much larger diameters of the telescope tube which allows a lot more light to enter the telescope. Because of this they are best suited for astronomical use (star-gazing).

Reflector telescopes don’t normally have an objective lens however sometimes they do and are called “Catadioptric”. The additional lens at the front of the telescope allows for a more compact telescope design.

Refractor Telescopes

Refractor telescopes are the type of telescope that most people think of. They have an objective lens at the front of the telescope and the eyepiece at the back. As the light passes through the telescope it is bent or refracted, into a focal point. The eyepiece then magnifies the image for the eye to see.

There are three main types of Refractor telescopes:

  • Astronomical  Refractor Telescopes

These are the most popular type of telescopes that we have. The power or magnification is changed by inserting different eyepieces. As well they can be adapted so that an SLR camera can be attached to the telescope by using a ‘photo adaptor tube’ (available separately). Although the image is shown upside down and back to front, by inserting an ‘erecting eyepiece’ (supplied with the telescope) the image is “flipped” the right way round for when you wish to look at a terrestrial object such as a distant building. So an astronomical refractor can be “converted” to an terrestrial refractor quite easily.

  • Spotting Scopes

Spotting scopes are a compact form of the ‘terrestrial refractor telescope’. They were originally designed for use by target shooters in competitions to enable them to “spot the target” or see where the shots had landed without moving from the firing position.

They are also used by both hunters and nature watchers who wish to “scan “ or keep a watch on an area. The spotting scope provides a much higher range of magnifications than binoculars can (up to 60x) and the comfort of using a tripod for extended periods.

The tripod for a spotting scope is usually only 30-45 cm high (12-18 in). Spotting scopes are available with either a “straight – through” eyepiece or with the eyepiece raised 45 degrees.

Their combination of excellent optics (clear view) and compact size has made them very popular with people who don’t have the space for a full size telescope and tripod but who, like hunters, want more power than binoculars can provide and the comfort of a tripod. A spotting scope on a table (such as a dining table) is an excellent alternative to a full size telescope.

When selecting a telescope, consider which target objects you plan to explore as well as your level of experience. For viewing most night sky objects, you’ll want a telescope with as much aperture as possible. Keep in mind that as the size of the objective lens or mirror increases, so does the size of the telescope. So be sure to select a telescope that isn’t too heavy to manage or too complicated for you to set up – especially if portability is a necessity.

Refractors: Refractors are less affected by atmospheric instabilities making them perfect for observing the Moon and planets. Perfect for first-time novice astronomers, small refractors are lightweight, portable and require very little maintenance. And, if you’re interested in viewing both land and celestial objects, refractors are equipped for both uses.

Reflectors: Reflectors feature larger apertures for a wide range of viewing at an affordable price. Designed with the eyepiece located at the top of the tube, reflectors are more comfortable to use for viewing night-sky objects such as nebulae, the Moon, planets and galaxies. Reflectors tend to be heavier and larger than refractors.

Eyepieces: Lower power eyepieces provide a wider field-of-view and a brighter image making them ideal for viewing the full Moon and planets, star clusters, nebulae and the constellations. To focus in on the finer details of the Moon and planets such as mountains, ridges and craters, use an eyepiece with higher magnification.

Mounts: There are two basic types of telescope mounts, the altitude-azimuth (or altaz) and the equatorial. Altaz mounts are the easiest to maneuver and are ideal for first-time astronomers. Dobsonian type telescopes are an example of the altaz mount. Equipped with a manual control or motor drive that allows you to follow the movement of objects across the night sky, equatorial mounts are ideal for more experienced astronomers.


Phillips Digital Photo Frame

Phillips Digital Photo FrameThis attractive, white frame is sure to brighten up and enhance any room. Its high density 640 x 480 pixel assures your photos will be displayed in a clear, crisp manner. It is among one of the highest density photo screens in the industry and it displays more pixels per square inch than most other frames it size, and even more than some larger frames.

Its 4:3 aspect ratio is ideal for a distortion-free display of your pictures to give you the best viewing experience and it will automatically fit your photos into either a landscape or portrait mode via a sensor on its auto photo orientation feature.

This frame allows you to organize and manage your photos in an efficient fashion by creating albums and slideshows for you and you can search and locate photos quickly by using its thumbnail display feature.

You can manage and display many photos on this digital photo frame either on memory cards or its large 32MB internal memory. This item can even read two different memory cards at the same time for fast and efficient photo transfer and display and its Smart copy software can copy your photos from one memory card to the other and it will even resize your photos to enable you to store the maximum photos possible.

The Photo Effect Wizard feature is state-of-the-art and enables you to crop, rotate, zoom-in and adjust the color tones of your photos.

Included along with the photo frame in your purchase are; a start guide, stand to place the frame on any desktop, an AC-DC adapter, PC/MAC software CD, USB cable, and a user manual.

The actual dimensions of this stylish digital photo frame is 9.8 inches x 7.9 inches x 5.4 inches.

Let’s look at some of the noted PROS and CONS of Phillips 5.6 Inch Digital Photo Frame

PROS:

Several people who purchased this frame felt it was competitively priced and a great buy for the money. There are many features that were complimented in quite a few reviews. The slideshow feature of this frame has a great menu with a variety of selections and choices that allows you to control and manage your slideshow.

Its memory card slot is compatible with many different types of cards such as CF, SD, MS, MMC and XD.

The timer option it offers was also complimented by some people and they liked the ability to be able to select the time you want to turn the frame on and off in order to conserve electricity and energy.

The menu on this digital photo frame is intuitive and it makes it easy to upload your photos and in addition to the slideshow feature you can display your photos in a collage fashion if you choose.

Besides being stylish and attractive the frame is also a “perfect size for any desk”.

CONS:

Some of the negative comments from people who reviewed this product centered around its inability to load any photos other than JPEG photos. They were also disappointed that there is no music or video option and while there is a USB port to easily connect the frame to your computer there is not one to connect to a flash drive.

The frame only comes in white so it may not match your decor. Phillips does offer larger frames in different colors however that are of comparable quality to this digital photo frame.

AVERAGE RATING based on Amazon is 4.0 stars out of 5.0 stars. We have also rated this item  as “Best in Size” and a worthwhile purchase for the price.

Fire Pit & Space Heater for Home

Electric Space Heater

Space HeaterElectric space heaters may be used to heat up one room instead of having to spend the money that it takes to heat up the entire house. Natural gas prices are often higher than electrical charges and if you can use a portable heater to heat one small area without having to turn up the heat for the entire house you may see a drop in your gas consumption and in return your heating bills. There are many different models and brands available with various features designed to make them safe and effective. The prices from model to model vary with the output and features available and some research should help you find a model that fits your budget.

The Internet is a good source to use for basic research and you should be able to get some idea of the models and features that they have. You will want to pay close attention to safety shutoff features as they may at times get knocked over or pointed in the wrong direction if you have a house with children or pets present. You will also want to look into the effectiveness of each unit and energy savings estimates or ratings to help you find the model that offers the best performance for the best price.

Many electric space heaters have features that allow the heater to oscillate which spreads heat throughout an area instead of just one direction. This is an excellent option for larger areas that may be shared by multiple people at once. There are also several different ways to control the temperature settings on different models with some featuring digital readouts of the current temperature selection that are illuminated to be seen even in the dark. Electronic control for the heater itself is much more efficient as it is a much more accurate way to keep the heater set to the desired temperature.

Safety features should include tip over safety shut off switches that will make sure your heater turns itself off if it happens to be tipped over for whatever reason. This can help prevent fires and you should not consider any of the small portable units available if they do not offer this feature. You will also want look into over heat shut-off protection as well as this another area that may cause a fire if your heater doesn’t have a feature built in to protect from this possibility. Styling and convenience features are more up to the individual and there are even models that come with a remote control.

You will find that space heaters can help you save on energy costs while making your home comfortable at the same time. They are quick to heat up and you won’t have to spend much time waiting for them to begin warming a room. There are models designed for almost any sized room or even use in multiple rooms that are connected. Taking the time to search for the models that offer the performance, efficiency, and safety you desire will help make your next choice out of the electric space heaters available a great investment for the comfort of your home.

Gas Fire Pit

A natural gas fire pit is one of the safest ways to have a bonfire in one’s own backyard because of the low risk associated with it. Many governments have prohibited open fires due to safety hazards, and the best alternative is a gas powered fir pit. Gas fire pits are easy to install, as they can be connected to the gas supply already existent for kitchen use, or a gas cylinder can be used for the purpose. Moreover, with innovative materials and professional kits available, a gas fire pit can be constructed in virtually any shape or size, tailored to the space and individual requirements.

A natural gas fire pit is useful in colder regions, where the use of heaters is an everyday part of winter life. In such areas, it is impossible to have an outdoor get-together in an outdoor location. Despite the cold, there is an appeal to outdoor events during winters which are impossible to hold without heaters. A gas fire pit not only provides much needed heat, but also serves as a means of preparing BBQ and grilled food. Guests can participate in the activity, receiving warmth and thus also reducing the burden of work off the hosts.

A natural gas fire pit not only provides confined and controlled flames, but there are zero sparks and embers which can prove dangerous, especially if there are young children in the vicinity. Gas fire pits do not produce toxic waste, which is harmful for the environment as well as results in a suffocating atmosphere. There is also no clean-up required after using the gas powered pit, as opposed to disposing off the ash when using wood as fuel for the fire. This fire pit can also be used for a bonfire activity during chilly nights, creating a warm and cozy ambiance.