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New here, what to look at (visual not ap)

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#1 richard hoyt

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 12:04 AM

So I have looked at the moon, Jupiter, Uranus and a couple of stars and m31, but what you all look at mostly when you are just looking visually? I am using my c8 sct for visual use. This could be because I am so new, but when trying to look at galaxies or nebula you really don't see much? So what are the more interesting objects?

#2 star drop

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 03:21 AM

Have you tried viewing globular clusters?

#3 nicknacknock

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 04:47 AM

How's the light pollution where you are, i.e. are you observing from an urban location or at a dark site? This will determine what you can see...

#4 Qwickdraw

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 06:37 AM

Richard,

Welcome to CN!
If you are expecting to see visually the detail which astrophotos reveal you will be disappointed. Many of those photos are over long exposures. Many galaxies in an 8" SCT will just look like a smudge or blur with some shape being discerned. It can still be an awesome encounter. Anyways, there are many visually satisfying and also challenging objects including the occasional comet, splitting double stars, solar, globular clusters, asteroids, ect.
Of the planets, Mercury and Pluto can be a rewarding challenge. You should be able to capture Pluto in your 8" if conditions are right.

Have fun

#5 kenrenard

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 07:08 AM

Richard,
A good place to start is with a book. Turn left at Orion is good for beginners to find objects in the sky that are very interesting. Since your C8 is go to should be able to find many of the objects in the book. The Messier Catalog is a great group of objects.

As the others have said some of this depends on your light pollution. Another is observing skill time at the eyepiece. You are not going to see detail right away without dark adapting your eyes and looking for longer times at the eyepiece. I spent about an hour just looking at Jupiter last night. The longer you look the more you will see. I would look at all of the open clusters this time of year. M34,35,36,37,38, M45 is stunning in binoculars you can grab pieces of it in your SCT. The double cluster is magnificent.

Read the post below in the beginners forum. Dave Mitsky has put together a wonderful list.

http://www.cloudynig...5631845/page...

That should get you started.


Ken

#6 Tony Flanders

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 07:40 AM

At this time of year there are tons of magnificent star clusters. But the season's prime target (aside from Jupiter) is obviously M42. You could spend all winter looking at that and see something new every night.

#7 kenrenard

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 07:52 AM

At this time of year there are tons of magnificent star clusters. But the season's prime target (aside from Jupiter) is obviously M42. You could spend all winter looking at that and see something new every night.



Tony,
It was so obvious to me. I forgot to include it!

I feel like a dunce not including M42 :foreheadslap:

#8 Madratter

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 08:46 AM

This time of year, apart from some obvious targets like the Orion Nebula, the Moon, and Jupiter, I like some of the open star clusters. Some good ones include M35, M37, (while there go to nearby M36 and M38), M41, M46 with its associated planetary, and NGC 457 (the ET cluster), and last but hardly least the Double Cluster. There are many other fine clusters up this time of year as well (or any time of the year for that matter).

#9 MikeBOKC

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 08:56 AM

Do you have the Nexstar C8 wit go to? If so try out the tour button on the hand controller and just let the scope take you on a tour of various objects, pushing the info button when you view them to give you an idea of what they are. This will also give you a better idea of your scope's capabilities under your sky conditions.

#10 Mike4242

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 09:18 AM

+1 "Turn Left at Orion". This book is organized by season so that you have a target list for each season of the year. Also, everything in the book is meant to be viewed in small to medium sized telescopes and are all within the capabilities of your 8" scope.

#11 JayinUT

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 09:39 AM

Two items. You'll need an atlas to find these but the best 110 of the NGC by RASC is good and is at this link. It breaks it out by season so that should help.

Here's the same list broken out by Messier object by season at this link. Hopefully that gives you some time to go out and find them and observe them. Enjoy.

#12 richard hoyt

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 09:49 AM

Wow a lot of responses this is great. To answer all of the questions, i live in a semi rural area so I have some lp, but not bad. I can see a lot with out a scope for reference. I am sure it could be better and darker though. :). I do have the goto mount so I will have to try the tour button and thanks for the heads up on the book. I have a couple so far, but not this one. A friend and I were looking at Jupiter for about an hour last night and the. Went onto other items.

I dot expect to see the details like photos, I learned that the first time I looked at m31 and was like I only see a smudge is this thing broken. The gobar clusters is a great idea and I haven't looked a any yet.

Now this may sound dumb, but how do you split stars? I thought Polaris was a double and when we were looking at it ( with 20mm and 7mm pentax xw) it still looked like one. Will it look like two stars right next to each other?

Thanks for the suggestions so far. A lot of great help.

#13 MikeBOKC

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 09:52 AM

The companion to Polaris is quite dim and unless seeing is pretty good it may not show up. The prettiest double in the sky right now is Almach -- you should split it easily. Also try Beta Monoceros, a very nice triple star system.

#14 kenrenard

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 10:28 AM

Richard,
If you have binoculars use those as well. It's very easy to scan the sky with Binoculars and find interesting areas to look at. Binoculars are a great companion.

Some other advice. When you get to M31 again try a few different eyepieces you have and look around, see if you notice its companions M110 and M32. Take your time and allow your eyes to adjust. Also get the double cluster in with your widest eyepiece. It's very rich with stars and beautiful to look at.

Double stars will sometimes look like headlights on a car far away. Some are different colors and some can be very difficult to split.

#15 Madratter

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 03:55 PM

Now this may sound dumb, but how do you split stars? I thought Polaris was a double and when we were looking at it ( with 20mm and 7mm pentax xw) it still looked like one. Will it look like two stars right next to each other?


Polaris is not a particularly good place to start. As was already mentioned, the companion is quite dim. Unless you have your scope well collimated (unlikely at this point in the game), you are unlikely to see it very easily.

Much better targets are those where the companions are nearly equal (within a magnitude or two) of each other.

Another suggestion:

15 Mon (has about a kabillion companions, some easy, some hard). It is inside NGC 2264, an open cluster that is a nice object in its own right.

#16 Qwickdraw

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 06:49 PM

Also, what eyepieces are you using? Depending on seeing conditions, too much magnification for planetitary viewing can just make detail worse. High quality eyepieces are going to be your best friend.

#17 GeneT

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 09:28 PM

Have you tried viewing globular clusters?


Yes--and double stars!

#18 wky46

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 10:10 PM


Now this may sound dumb, but how do you split stars? I thought Polaris was a double and when we were looking at it ( with 20mm and 7mm pentax xw) it still looked like one. Will it look like two stars right next to each other?



Another suggestion:

15 Mon (has about a kabillion companions, some easy, some hard). It is inside NGC 2264, an open cluster that is a nice object in its own right.

That one sounds interesting. I'll check that one out meself! :cool: Thanks, Phil

#19 Dennis_S253

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 10:15 PM

What ever you want to. Do some research and see what's out there. Stellarium is free and good. Look up the sky tonight or heavens above. The Messier's seems a good place to start, for some people.

#20 Ed D

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 09:57 AM

My favorite entry-level book is Star Watch, by Phil Harrington. It covers all the Messier objects, as well as a sampling of many other objects like nebulae, and double and variable stars. Phil includes excellent mini star charts to help find the targets, great instructions for finding them, and general info on what you are observing. After several years I still use my copy as a reference at home and dark sky outings, and it does look like the well used and loved book that it is.

Ed D

#21 bunyon

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 11:36 AM

There is an open cluster coming (M46) that is one of my favorites. A really nice open cluster that contains a little treat (I'll let you read/discover it on your own).

But, as others say, if you don't expect astrophoto like images, there is a lot to look at. Start with the brighter stuff and don't get in a hurry. And don't get frustrated when you inevitably fail to find/see something.

#22 richard hoyt

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 09:45 PM

Awesome thanks guys. I think this weekend will be fun. I will give you a report once I get some free time.

#23 kfiscus

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 01:27 AM

I highly recommend that you get a copy of the Sky & Telescope Pocket Sky Atlas. It's probably the best value in astronomy (about $14!). It breaks the sky down into very user-friendly chunks and shows the variety of objects available. I found it to be the most logically organized charts around. The indexes in the back also help you keep track of the Messier, NGC, and Caldwell objects that you find.

#24 ensign

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 10:18 AM

I highly recommend that you get a copy of the Sky & Telescope Pocket Sky Atlas. It's probably the best value in astronomy (about $14!). It breaks the sky down into very user-friendly chunks and shows the variety of objects available. I found it to be the most logically organized charts around. The indexes in the back also help you keep track of the Messier, NGC, and Caldwell objects that you find.


+1

Initially I found that I was intimidated by the complexity of star charts. The simplified ones in "Nightwatch" by Terence Dickinson helped me a great deal.

#25 GeneT

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 07:11 PM

All planets, the moon, globular clusters, double stars, nebula, carbon stars--everything!






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