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Most Impressive Object Seen?

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#1 mman22

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 09:36 AM

So I have been dealing with a week of mostly cloudy to overcast skies now (suppose to be clear tonight!), so I decided to live vicariously through all of you. What is the most impressive object you have seen through your scope? Also, what is the most difficult solar system body you have seen in physical form (the disc or outline)? To help my education in what telescopes do what, please include the equipment used. I am too new to have a good story yet, I haven't even gotten to look at Saturn as every time I have been up early enough cloud cover has foiled me (again this morning even) :bawling:

#2 Feidb

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 09:48 AM

I've logged over 1600 objects so far and they are all impressive to me, from the brightest "tourist objects" we show at outreach events like the Orion Nebula to the faint fuzzy smudges I can barely detect by nudging the scope and noticing something is slightly different against the black (or usually gray) background. It's a highly subjective thing.

I've been using 16-inch scopes for 20+ years now. First was one I made, a 16-inch f/6.4, but since 2008 or so, a 16-inch f/4.5. Before that, I used an 8-inch f/9.44 which I also made. Eyepieces have ranged from a .965-inch Kellner to the 82 degree 102mm wide field eyepiece I'm using now as my starter eyepiece (before I go to other magnifications). My mounts have been Dobsonian for decades, undriven, manual clock drive (in other words, I nudge it), no electronics whatsoever except a green laser pointer.

I'm sure you'll get all kinds of responses of what everyone thinks is most impressive. From a hard-core visual observer, they all are to me.

#3 Jeff2011

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 09:57 AM

I would have to say M42 and M31 at a dark site are the most impressive that I have been able see through my 8" scope. I also saw comet C/2012 K5 LINEAR in December and that was impressive for my first comet. I have seen all of the planets (not Pluto which got demoted to a dwarf). Neptune being the furthest away is the smallest. Except for the pretty blue color, it looks pretty much like a star. Uranus is a little bigger and has a nice blue/green color to it. Good luck with your skies. This winter has been a real drag. It just cleared up a bit for me after several horrible weeks.

My eyepieces are:
25 MM Plossl that came with the scope
9 mm Orion Expanse
13 mm Baader Hyperion
38 mm Orion Q70 2"
Orion Shorty 2x barlow (Japanese made)

I just recently bought a Baader coma corrector (MPCC) which really helps the Q70. For deep space object viewing and general viewing the wide angle eyepiece is the way to go.

#4 jerwin

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 09:58 AM

For me Saturn started it all. It almost looks unreal. Jupiter is very nice too. The orion nebula is very beautiful.

The ring nebula is one of my favorites because it was one of the first objects I memorized the location to.

In December at our dark site I discovered ngc 2683 which is the UFO galaxy. I haven't got to see it since but it was one of the more impressive objects I've seen.

Also the Transit of Venus was pretty amazing to me, but you won't get to see that again until 2117.

Our own sun is also pretty awesome. If you ever get a chance to look through an HA scope do it (but be warned it could cause your bank account to shrink). The solar flares and prominences and sunspots are always changing. Pretty amazing to see a prominence that is a few times the diameter of the earth.

Good luck and clear skies. Enjoy that darkness in Montana.

Jim

#5 bouffetout

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 10:08 AM

To me it's always been M13 ... First time I saw it ,it was in a 10" homemade newtonnian that a friend of mine build from scratch...I was very amazed ,and everytime I see it ,I have the same feeling !

#6 J. Barnes

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 10:20 AM

mman,
I now your pain, I'm up in Kalispell and the winter/spring cloud-fest can be unbearable. I'm able to see Saturn most mornings before the clouds roll in around 5am. That's the object that got me hooked. From there, the Ring Nebula and the Sombrero Galaxy got me searching for every DSO I could find.

#7 newtoskies

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 11:21 AM

For me Jupiter got me hooked. Have only had one fuzzy view of Saturn. M31 is nice but I'd say the Ring nebulae was the most impressive for me. This mainly because I didn't plan on seeing this and there it was.
hm, maybe it's clusters that amaze me most. Well basically every thing I have viewed so far I guess. I'm too new at this and the list of viewed objects is small.

#8 MikeBOKC

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 11:49 AM

If you mean imopressive visually, there are a lot of favorites, some already cited here. But some objects are impressive because of what you know about them. For me, I can stare at M87 for a good while knowing its properties as a massive elliptical galaxy with a relativistic jet emerging from the supermassive black hole at its center, and even though I cannot "see" those features with my eyes, it is impressive at a deep cosmological level to know they exist.

#9 drober23

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 11:53 AM

Oooh! My son is all about black holes. Gotta get M87 on my list soon!

Thanks

#10 mich_al

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 11:59 AM

Moon, Jupiter, Saturn, any Comet in that order. Seeing Pluto was the hi-lite of the Summer. Very faint and I could only see it 2 out of about 15 tries even knowing exactly where it was.

#11 Dennis_S253

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 12:26 PM

Wow, what a question. Saturn is always nice to see. M81-82 grabs my attention also. M42 is always nice. The Pleiades is my favorite open cluster. Faint fuzzy's are good. Heck there are just to many to mention.

#12 csrlice12

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 01:16 PM

One time, I did see a break in the grey atmosphere overhead......actually saw a bit of bluish tint to it.

#13 RobertED

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 01:22 PM

Saturn...saw it through a Sears 2.4" refractor. I was 14 yrs old. I jumped 2 ft into the air when I found it!! I quickly called Mom and Dad over to see what I 'found'!!! I felt sooooo smart!!!
Do you know?....I found M-42 and for many weeks, had NO clue what it was. I kept calling it "this cool group of stars in a gas-cloud!!" This too was with my "new" Sears refractor! It never gets dull!!!!!

#14 wirenut

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 01:29 PM

the darkest sky I've seen is most impressive object,why? It made everything look better.

#15 kansas skies

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 01:38 PM

I would agree that Saturn never fails to impress. I don't know why, but when I first saw Saturn through a telescope, my reaction was to immediately move my head away from the eyepiece and look up at the sky. Somehow, I felt like owner of the telescope was playing a joke. It seemed so unreal. Now, thirty-some odd years later, I still get the same feeling when Saturn again becomes present in the morning sky. I don't know how many times since my first encounter that I've shown Saturn to new and unsuspecting people, but almost always, their reaction is the same.

Bill

#16 lamplight

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 01:44 PM

I've read and seen a lot about M87s black hole in the last months.. Can't e member if I saw it.. To answer your question mman, I haven't seen a lot yet only one planet, Jupiter.. But nonetheless my answers "so far" are:

Some mixture of M31 , M42 and Jupiter. Almost all most likely first seen through my 8" SCT .. Like said before part of it is knowing what they are.. otoh M42/M43 was the first .. "holy nebulae batman!" visually. When I very first started (all this only last fall) I had the goto show me the blue snowball nebula (NGC 7662) hich I detected as definitely blue.. That was pretty cool Tough I don't think I'd even learned what a planetary nebula was at the time ..

#17 GlennLeDrew

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 02:43 PM

No optics required!

For me, the most impressive 'object' is our own Milky Way Galaxy. From Australia, when Sagittarius is passing through the zenith, I lay back and just stared into the 180 degree 'eyepiece' view of an edge-on galaxy filling the field of view, exhibiting intricate detail in the dust lane, numerous star clouds, star-forming regions, stellar associations and clusters.

All with the unaided eye.

#18 rdandrea

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 03:16 PM

What is the most impressive object you have seen through your scope?


Are we limited to nighttime objects? Because I'd have to say that after more than 50 years in this hobby, I am most impressed with the Sun. Even with my minimalist Lunt 35, it's fascinating and changes day to day--even hour to hour. I wish I had bought a solar scope years ago.

#19 StarStuff1

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 03:57 PM

Ditto to rdandrea and Glenn!

#20 Paco_Grande

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 04:39 PM

Like many others, Saturn is hard to beat. Never get tired of seeing it.

Now, how about something from up there that came down here? I visited a few years ago, it's mighty impressive. Oh yeah, someone pass the vodka, please. :D

http://www.theliving..._Images_02.html

#21 mman22

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 04:42 PM

mman,
I now your pain, I'm up in Kalispell and the winter/spring cloud-fest can be unbearable. I'm able to see Saturn most mornings before the clouds roll in around 5am. That's the object that got me hooked. From there, the Ring Nebula and the Sombrero Galaxy got me searching for every DSO I could find.


J, everyone on here keeps telling me they envy my sky. I had a thought when out viewing last weekend at a nearby "dark" spot; bet they don't have to worry about something coming out of the dark and eating them when they view. :grin:

My post was meant for both the most impressive visually and the most impressive feat. I mean, seeing the actual disc of Ganymede or perhaps any glimpse of Vesta would be an impressive feat to me at least.

#22 Tony Flanders

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 04:42 PM

What is the most impressive object you have seen through your scope?


Impressive to me or to the average bystander?

The objects guaranteed never to fail at public star parties are the Moon and Saturn. Jupiter is right up there, too. All of these are visible in any decent scope.

For deep-sky objects it depends on sky brightness. The Pleiades and the Alpha Persei Group are impressive even in the brightest city skies, but they require pretty small scopes or binoculars. The Double Cluster is great in any instrument. Under dark skies, the Orion Nebula has all of those beat.

Like Glenn, my all-time favorite is the Milky Way. But that's best viewed naked-eye or with binocular; it's too big for a telescope.

Also, what is the most difficult solar system body you have seen in physical form (the disc or outline)?


Not just a point of light, you mean? The smallest objects I've seen as disks are Jupiter's moons. They probably require a 6-inch scope and excellent seeing. The faintest objects I've seen as extended forms are various comets.

#23 mman22

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 05:03 PM

Tony, something that would be impressive to the average amateur astronomer. I have a feeling that 99% of us will probably never get to see some of the objects you have. Thinking of what Tony may have seen made me think of the Hubble. How many of you have seen it? I just imagine telling someone else who asks, what are you using your telescope to view? Answer, another telescope!

#24 Mark Costello

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 05:11 PM

So I have been dealing with a week of mostly cloudy to overcast skies now (suppose to be clear tonight!), so I decided to live vicariously through all of you. What is the most impressive object you have seen through your scope? Also, what is the most difficult solar system body you have seen in physical form (the disc or outline)? To help my education in what telescopes do what, please include the equipment used. I am too new to have a good story yet, I haven't even gotten to look at Saturn as every time I have been up early enough cloud cover has foiled me (again this morning even) :bawling:



The most impressive thing I've ever seen was actually a naked eye object. It was Comet Holmes when it got close around November, 2009, if I recall correctly. It was a visible pale blue ball in Perseus and it was not small. I had trouble framing it in a 4" achro I had at the time. It gave me the heebie-jeebies to think how big that thing was, just how large was it anyway? Looking up its position in space at the time and comparing how much of the field of view it spanned, I estimated around 1,500,000 miles.

:bigshock:

Was I wrong? :shrug:

Other impressive objects viewed in that 4" achro and now my 5"-er include

M42, wonderful at any power
The double cluster, great at low and medium (118X) power
M13, when it's high up on a nice night, I can see stars everywhere
M11, wonderful at medium and high powers


Best,

#25 mountain monk

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Posted 15 February 2013 - 05:17 PM

The clear night sky at 16,000 feet in the Kun Lun, Pamir, and Karakorm ranges of western China. It holds yor attention without searching for anything else. Eventually, you begin to look at the Milky Way...

Dark skies.

Jack






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