Jump to content


Photo

How to keep observing interesting?

  • Please log in to reply
46 replies to this topic

#26 MawkHawk

MawkHawk

    Messenger

  • *****
  • Posts: 408
  • Joined: 23 Aug 2009
  • Loc: SE Michigan, USA

Posted 25 January 2013 - 11:57 AM

Every time you get bored, get a different scope.

#27 Jon Isaacs

Jon Isaacs

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 43885
  • Joined: 16 Jun 2004
  • Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA

Posted 25 January 2013 - 02:03 PM

I like to find the targets listed in the "This Month" catagory of S&T, and Astronomy magazine. Many mentioned, I have not seen, so it inspires me to put them on my "to see" list.

I also use the Pocket Sky Atlas, & love taking a page & trying for every possible target on that page.

When weather does not permit observing, then I turn to my astronomy library & go thru my books; then I can't wait to get out observing!


:waytogo:

- The Cloudy Nights observing forums are also good places to find interesting new objects.

Jon

#28 kenrenard

kenrenard

    Surveyor 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 1562
  • Joined: 13 Dec 2012
  • Loc: Dunmore, PA

Posted 25 January 2013 - 02:26 PM

I'm really enjoying the various lists and programs. I've almost finished the Messier list and have made a good bit of progress on the Herschel 400. Next on the list is Herschel 2 and after that the Globular Cluster program and the new Stellar Evolution program... these are all via the Astronomical League.




I agree with Denny.

I think a list of objects to work on motivates us. I am going through the Messier Catalog and trying my hand at sketching some of the objects. I also have done some of the easier Hershel Objects.

As others have suggested a plan certainly helps. But the other night it was very cold and windy and I only had about 25 minutes to spare. So I enjoyed the Moon, Jupiter, and Orion.

Sometimes looking at them is like an old friend. They have more to show each time you look.

Another favorite thing to do is just stand in my driveway before leaving for work while everyone is still asleep and just look around at the pre-dawn sky.

#29 John Kuraoka

John Kuraoka

    Ranger 4

  • *****
  • Posts: 371
  • Joined: 12 Dec 2012
  • Loc: Sunny San Diego, CA

Posted 25 January 2013 - 03:47 PM

With my kids, I like to mix it up - a planet, a nebula, a cluster, back to the moon. But, I like to have some cool tidbit of information about the target.

Like, when I showed them Andromeda, the two things that seemed to be coolest were (a) it was a whole other galaxy and (b) if we actually had a dark sky and could see the whole thing (all we could make out was the central fuzzblob), it would take up more sky than the moon. The idea that the scope could tease out very large, dim objects was exciting.

So for me, the formula has been cool object + cool factoid(s) = sustained interest.

#30 GeneT

GeneT

    Ely Kid

  • *****
  • Posts: 12698
  • Joined: 07 Nov 2008
  • Loc: South Texas

Posted 25 January 2013 - 07:02 PM

Don't do anything. The night sky is always interesting--like my wife's kisses. :grin:

#31 MikeRatcliff

MikeRatcliff

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1783
  • Joined: 12 Jun 2004
  • Loc: Redlands, CA

Posted 25 January 2013 - 07:40 PM

On the Helix, I start with Delta Aqr (mag 3.3) that is the brightest star due east of the upper left (east) corner of the Capricorn triangle.

From Delta Aqr there is a gentle curve of three stars below (south) and to the right (west) of Delta: 66 Aqr (mag 4.7), Upsilon = 59 Aqr (mag 5.2) and 47 Aqr (mag 5.1).

The Helix is in between the last two stars, closer to the second star.

"Left", "right", "below" are for mid latitude Northern Hemisphere people. The 3 stars can be seen pretty easily in blue skies but I haven't tried it in my red sky backyard. Of course easier to show with a laser pointer than the words above.
Mike

#32 Doc Willie

Doc Willie

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1640
  • Joined: 31 Mar 2010
  • Loc: Mid-Hudson Valley, NY, USA

Posted 26 January 2013 - 08:11 AM

Buy more stuff.

#33 dpwoos

dpwoos

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1400
  • Joined: 18 Oct 2006
  • Loc: United States

Posted 26 January 2013 - 08:25 AM

On the Helix, I start with Delta Aqr (mag 3.3) that is the brightest star due east of the upper left (east) corner of the Capricorn triangle.

From Delta Aqr there is a gentle curve of three stars below (south) and to the right (west) of Delta: 66 Aqr (mag 4.7), Upsilon = 59 Aqr (mag 5.2) and 47 Aqr (mag 5.1).

The Helix is in between the last two stars, closer to the second star.

"Left", "right", "below" are for mid latitude Northern Hemisphere people. The 3 stars can be seen pretty easily in blue skies but I haven't tried it in my red sky backyard. Of course easier to show with a laser pointer than the words above.
Mike


I like how this looks, and am looking forward to giving it a try. Hopefully my eyes/brain will want to latch onto this! Thanks.

#34 City Kid

City Kid

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2339
  • Joined: 06 May 2009
  • Loc: Northern Indiana

Posted 26 January 2013 - 08:32 AM

I'm always working on completing multiple observing lists from the Astronomical League. These give me a never ending list of new targets to observe. I've also found that keeping my life so busy that I barely have time to observe even when it's clear really helps keep it fresh. :tonofbricks:

#35 NeilMac

NeilMac

    Gemini

  • -----
  • Posts: 3182
  • Joined: 25 Sep 2010
  • Loc: MedHat, AB, Canada

Posted 26 January 2013 - 10:32 AM

I think as long as one is in awe of the Universe and how appreciative the incredible beauty the skies offer, one is always motivated to look.

#36 jrbarnett

jrbarnett

    Eyepiece Hooligan

  • *****
  • Posts: 20291
  • Joined: 28 Feb 2006
  • Loc: Petaluma, CA

Posted 26 January 2013 - 10:42 AM

"Not burnout by any means, but a reluctance to gear up, set up and view the same sky I had yesterday."

Hmm, that "same sky" is a pretty big place, full of interesting things to look at that couldn't possibly all be seen in one night...or a thousand nights. Pace yourself and be deliberate. Don't dabble, but rather build lists and set goals for each season and each session. Yeah, I know, it's starting to sound a bit like work, but a little structure and effort at the front end will keep things engaging when, even though it's the "same sky" the next day, it's not the "same targets".

It also helps to have a set-up or two that have minimal set-up time requirements. The easier you make it to get the stuff out and ready, the more productive you'll be with your goals and lists.

Regards,

Jim

#37 jrbarnett

jrbarnett

    Eyepiece Hooligan

  • *****
  • Posts: 20291
  • Joined: 28 Feb 2006
  • Loc: Petaluma, CA

Posted 26 January 2013 - 10:44 AM

Oooooh...I dub thee "Gene Juan". Ayayayaya!

:grin:


- Jim

#38 jfaust75

jfaust75

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 634
  • Joined: 04 Oct 2011
  • Loc: Central Florida

Posted 26 January 2013 - 03:37 PM

change viewing time(instead of going out at sunset wake up an hour or two before sunrise) We(myself and 14yo son) are planning on doing this in the morning to see saturn and maybe Omega Centauri if we are lucky enough(low in the sky here but better than not seeing it at all)

#39 bob irvin

bob irvin

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 265
  • Joined: 22 Mar 2011
  • Loc: Greater Los Angeles, CA

Posted 29 January 2013 - 03:10 PM

Great thread.

I like to see how seeing conditions change how things look. Take a look with your naked eyes and if it looks steady see if the scope bears it out.

I also second what Jon says about double stars they are a treat.

bob

#40 csrlice12

csrlice12

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 10812
  • Joined: 22 May 2012
  • Loc: Denver, CO

Posted 29 January 2013 - 03:26 PM

Photons are similar to water, you can't view the same photon twice.....the views are never the same......

#41 Meep_Esq

Meep_Esq

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 74
  • Joined: 02 Jan 2007
  • Loc: Dunedin, New Zealand

Posted 29 January 2013 - 10:15 PM

I've been hanging out for a decent auroral display. Just got back from a weekend in the Catlins - a wild, isolated coastal area with a only a few settlements here and there. A full moon did put a crimp in the black skies tho... :grin:

#42 Sonomajfk

Sonomajfk

    Explorer 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 93
  • Joined: 30 Jun 2012
  • Loc: northern CA, USA

Posted 29 January 2013 - 10:34 PM

I'm working on observing lists; just started some new observing lists with binoculars, which keeps observing focussed on some goals. But I also find that astronomical events (like the recent transit of Venus, comet apparitions, etc.) always raise my interest and energy level for observing. Taking classes where they're available is great, too... always so much more to learn about.

#43 JayinUT

JayinUT

    I'm not Sleepy

  • *****
  • Posts: 3933
  • Joined: 19 Sep 2008
  • Loc: Utah

Posted 29 January 2013 - 10:41 PM

There are some very practical things mention and I have a few but one thing that is going to keep it fun for me is this winter. It's been so cloudy and snowy this winter I haven't been out at a dark site observing since early November. Take a 3 month break due to weather and next time out I promise will be fun and enjoyable. I can't wait!

#44 John Kuraoka

John Kuraoka

    Ranger 4

  • *****
  • Posts: 371
  • Joined: 12 Dec 2012
  • Loc: Sunny San Diego, CA

Posted 30 January 2013 - 01:45 PM

I'm still a beginner so it's all new and interesting. But last night, with a haze rolling in, I used SkEye to find potential things to look at in the patches of clear sky I did have.

#45 csrlice12

csrlice12

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 10812
  • Joined: 22 May 2012
  • Loc: Denver, CO

Posted 30 January 2013 - 01:54 PM

There are some very practical things mention and I have a few but one thing that is going to keep it fun for me is this winter. It's been so cloudy and snowy this winter I haven't been out at a dark site observing since early November. Take a 3 month break due to weather and next time out I promise will be fun and enjoyable. I can't wait!



Sure you ain't in the Denver area? Sure sounds like it.

#46 bob irvin

bob irvin

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 265
  • Joined: 22 Mar 2011
  • Loc: Greater Los Angeles, CA

Posted 30 January 2013 - 03:16 PM

Great thread.

I second what Jon says about double stars, they are very cool to view and can be seen well in light polluted areas.

I also get fired up to observe by reading up on celestial objects, and listening to astronomy pod casts like this. It gets me thinking about what amazing wonders lie out there and makes me want to have a look for myself. :)

bob

#47 ensign

ensign

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 791
  • Joined: 16 Dec 2008
  • Loc: Southwestern Ontario

Posted 30 January 2013 - 08:42 PM

There are some very practical things mention and I have a few but one thing that is going to keep it fun for me is this winter. It's been so cloudy and snowy this winter I haven't been out at a dark site observing since early November. Take a 3 month break due to weather and next time out I promise will be fun and enjoyable. I can't wait!



Sure you ain't in the Denver area? Sure sounds like it.


Or Southwestern Ontario? Same rotten, stinkin', gray, cloudy skies here too. One of our club members has taken to hitting himself in the head with a hammer just so he can see stars. Of course, the rest of us are taking up a collection to help with the psychiatric bills.






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics