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Welcome to NCTU.Club.Astronomy's
Frequently Asked Questions

NCTU.Club.Astronomy - Frequently Asked Questions. Ver. 1.0
Last-modified: July 30, 2000

Section I - General Questions

What is NCTU.Club.Astronomy?
NCTU.Club.Astronomy is a very friendly group of people from around the world who love to discuss all astronomy related topics. We ask questions, provide others with information, post observations, and just have fun.

What does the acronym NCTU mean?
Short Answer: National Chiao Tung University.
Long Answer: This University has been kind enough to allow us server space for this newsgroup. It should always be kept in mind that we are guests on their board. The only drawback is that if your ISP does not filter spam well, you may get some confusing email that appears to be gibberish. (See Netiquette below).

What are the major purposes of
In no particular order:
1. To create a friendly, respectful environment for amateur astronomers to discuss their love of the skies and the many accouterments of the "hobby".
2. To impart information about the latest astronomy and space news (See Dennis Bishop's posts of the "Sky & Telescope" bulletins.)
3. To try to help each other on technical issues, purchase decisions, etc. relative to amateur astronomy.
4. To have fun with astronomy.

What is the Object of the Month (OOTM)?
First a definition: "Object" - any *verifiable* astronomical appearance. It has to be something predictable. Comets and planets and deep sky objects such as globular clusters, open clusters, nebula, etc. fall into this definition. UFOs and bolides do not. Though if you see a bolide please do let us know!

This is a semi-democratic process of choosing one or several objects for members of the group to try to find through their scopes or binoculars. In the first days of each month someone typically posts with the subject "OOTM?". Members of the group then follow with suggestions for what object or objects we should all try to view. After a while, one or more objects show up as the most popular and this becomes the OOTM.

After the OOTM is chosen members try to get opportunities to spot the OOTM and then give our reports in a thread typically titled "OOTM report" started by whoever manages to post first. Ultimately it becomes a friendly discussion of our viewing experiences including unexpected sky objects along the way. Sort of a Virtual Star Party.

What is the Challenge of the Month (COTM)?
The COTM is similar to the OOTM, only the objects chosen are a bit more challenging. They may be difficult to find, or may require a larger aperture scope to view them with. The COTM allows us all the opportunity to experience these objects through the reports of others in the group.

Who can post to
This newsgroup is an unmoderated, open Usenet newsgroup and there is no restriction on who can or can not post. All that is asked is that the basic rules of "netiquette" be followed.

Section II - Speaking of Netiquette

The following URLs give excellent descriptions/definitions of basic "netiquette".

Net user guidelines and netiquette

Types of posting that are particularly undesired in nctu:

1. Cross-posting:
This is submitting the exact same post to more than one group at one time. For a better explanation of this see the above URLs. Meanwhile, if you have a question that you just absolutely *must* ask more than one astronomy group, than please, write it up and post it first to one group, than change the group name and post it to the other group. This may seem silly to those of you who haven't seen the damage that cross-posting can do but it actually works just fine. People interested in the post in either group will respond without involving people that might otherwise not care at all or who might want to bicker between groups.

2. Spam:
The following is a nice definition of this unsightly creature of the 'net.
Typically all forms of spam are unappreciated on any newsgroup.

3. OT = Off Topic:
This group doesn't have a problem with OT posts as long as they are labeled as such. Sometimes posts digress from astronomy to music or writing or screenplays... that's fine just be sure to label your post as OT.

4. Flames:
Definition: Flame: nasty, rude, taunting often unwarranted remarks designed to anger or hurt other people.

Simple - Don't flame ! If you are flamed the best response is no response. If you can, "killfile" or "filter" a person that offends you (most newsreaders have this capability). Even such filters are not infallible though and often someone quotes the person you are trying to avoid. For such times when you have no filter available or it is not working due to quoting - use the Manual Killfile - a.k.a. - the delete key.

NCTU considers itself to be a very friendly, open group and we welcome anyone with questions, advice, interesting stories, etc. Unfortunately, sometimes people come in with "agendas" and even the best of us can get caught up in a "flame war" (big nasty argument). The best thing to do is back off, shrug off the flames and be the bigger person. It is strongly suggested that members simply ignore flamers. Responding to them is their oxygen. Deprive a flame of oxygen and it will eventually go out.

5. Binaries
Typically, binaries are image files such as .bmp, .pcx, etc. While there is an appreciation for astrophotography, posting binaries to a newsgroup is considered poor etiquette. They typically require long download times and not everyone has a high speed connection or system. However, do feel free to post URLs (web pages) that point to such images.

Section III - Web Pages & Links

Members Pages

The following are links to member pages that are specifically about astronomy or space or some aspect of the hobby.

Astral's Page

Don "The Bug Bomber" Baker's Page

Dennis Bishop's Telescope Buyer's FAQ
This is a great page for the new amateur astronomer trying to decide what scope is best for them. Also posted regularly to the group by Mr. Bishop.

Niall Glynn's Page

Scott Haas's (Tarkus) Page

Curt Hall's Astro Page

Curt's mirror site

Marc Jones' Page

Michael Kipp's Astronomy pages

Charlie Wallace's WebTV Page

Charlie's mirror site at Tripod

Non-member links These links are good sources of info. No commercial sites are included here.

Two of the best sites on the net for all types of astronomy information & product reviews.
Todd Gross' Weather & Astronomy Site
Ed Ting's Telescope Review Site

Two good sites for folks new to astronomy and wanting to learn more about it and space science:


Real-time Weather Radar (important for sudden urges to stargaze

Plan to view satellites, HST, Mir, etc. Fun!

Astro picture of the day.


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