This is a list of frequently encountered abbreviations to help users of the Forum. It is not exhaustive, and is not meant to be a full glossary of astronomical terms â€“ there are whole books devoted to this. It presupposes some astronomical knowledge and simply gives a guide to some commonly used abbreviations that people tend to slip into their messages, but which you might not readily be able to decipher. For other terms, a Google search will usually tell you what you need to know.
I will try to add to it as necessary. Comments to me via private message, please.
AN = Astronomy Now, UK magazine
Ant = Antoniadi scale of seeing quality
AP or ap = Astro-Physics â€“ US telescope manufacturer, notably of apochromatic refractors, famed for their long waiting lists
APO = Apochromatic refractor – highly colour-corrected
AVI = Audio Video Interleave – a video file made (for example) with a webcam
BAA = British Astronomical Association
BC&F = Broadhurst, Clarkson & Fuller or Telescope House
Bins = binoculars
CA = chromatic aberration (false colour with refracting optics)
Dec = Declination, part of celestial coordinates
DSLR = Digital Single Lens Reflex – digital SLR camera
Dob = Dobsonian
DS-2070, DS-2114 = Meade GOTO starter telescopes
DSI = Deep Sky Imager, Meade CCD camera
DSO = Deep Sky Object – usually a nebula, cluster or galaxy
ED = Extra Dispersion – glass used in apochromatic refractors
ETX = Meade ETX telescope, either 70, 80 (refractors), 90, 105 or 125 (Maksutovs), apertures in mm
EP = eyepiece
FLI = Finger Lakes Instruments – US manufacturer of CCD camerass etc
FOV = Field of view (eg of an eyepiece)
GEM = German equatorial mount
GP or GPE = Vixen Great Polaris equatorial mount
GO TO = Computer-controlled mounting that drives to a chosen object once properly set up.
HP = high power
LP = light pollution, low power
LPI = Lunar and Planetary Imager, Meade CCD camera
LPV = Long period variable star
LX200 = Meade LX200 Schmidt Cassegrain telescope, either 7", 8", 10", 12", 14" or 16"
LX90 = Meade LX90 telescope, usually 8" but 10" becoming available.
LXD75 = Meade telescopes on German equatorial rather than fork mounts
M31 (or M45 or any other number up to 110) = an object in the Messier catalogue of deep-sky objects.
Mak = Maksutov Cassegrain telescope eg ETX90
ND Neutral density (ie grey) filter. ND13 is 13% transmission, equivalent to photographic ND0.9.
NGC = Catalogue of deep-sky objects.
OG = Object glass – the objective lens of a telescope (see also spec)
OMC 140 = Russian-made Maksutov, imported by Orion Optics UK
OTA = Optical tube assembly – the telescope tube and optics alone
PA = Popular Astronomy, the SPA magazine
PEC = periodic error correction (overcomes regular variations in motor drive rates)
PV = Peak-to-valley, regarding wave front of light as it comes to focus (measure of mirror accuracy). Also, in photometry, photovisual (magnitude).
RA = Right Ascension (celestial coordinates)
S&T = Sky and Telescope, American magazine
S@N = Sky at Night, UK magazine or TV programme
SBIG = US manufacturer of CCD cameras etc
SCT Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope
SNT Schmidt-Newtonian telescope
spec = speculum – archaic term for telescope mirror
TAK = Takahashi, Japanese equipment manufacturer
TV = TeleVue, American manufacturer mostly of refractors, eyepieces and filters
SPX 250 = Orion Optics UK 250 mm reflector on Vixen Sphinx mount
S/W = Sky-Watcher telescopes (or occasionally = software)
W9 (or other number up to 106) A filter number in the Wratten series
Here's the place for any sights you wish to remark on
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