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#1 IVM

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 01:06 PM

Something like this has been asked on this forum before, but our goals and our membership evolve, so I guess no harm is done by opening a fresh thread. What are yours?

I am thinking about building up my mental images of the Messier and Messier-class spiral galaxies. This will require at least one more round of re-observation. I will probably also make careful drawings of each and even photograph them. So far I have only rough sketches for most of the Messiers, and haven’t even seen quite a few of the nicely structured non-M galaxies with large enough aperture.

I would also like to see all of the William Herschel catalog (~2500 objects) from my home latitude and the James Dunlop catalog (~250 objects) from the Southern Hemisphere. So far I have seen fewer than 1000 from the former and just over 100 from the latter.

#2 GlennLeDrew

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 01:51 PM

My aim to to further refine my 'mental' atlas of the large scale arrangement of our Galaxy's features as seen on the sky (as well as the 3-D structure), the molecular clouds, stellar associations and star-forming complexes making up the framework.

#3 Sarkikos

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 02:06 PM

I recently finished the H400. I've seen about a third of the H400 II. I might try for the rest of that list.

In all, I've observed over 1000 objects - not counting doubles. So for now, I think I'll slack off a bit and maybe catch up with comparing some recent eyepiece acquisitions. I need to cull the herd again.

Last month I made my first attempt at the Messier Marathon. I saw all the M's that could be seen until 3AM. Then I quit because of responsibilities for the next day. Maybe I'll try again next year.

I've had in the back of my mind for quite a while to memorize all the Messiers and their locations. Not necessarily to do them all in one night, like the M-Cubed Marathon, but just to KNOW them. I'd also like to do this for the 100 or so best non-Messier objects, and maybe the 100 or so best colorful doubles. I know these goals are anachronistic in this era of gotos and DSCs. But I don't have - never have had - gotos or DSCs, am in no hurry to get them, and am very comfortable star hopping. Besides, I like the idea of actually KNOWING something, rather than constantly relying on a computer to supply me with the knowledge.

Mike

#4 buddyjesus

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 02:22 PM

I am looking to increase my mental database of objects to locate much like Mike, mainly for the "just in case" situations.

my current astronomy goals are to finish the stragglers on the messier, caldwell and lunar 100 lists along with trying to get a shield put on a nearby streetlamp.

#5 Feidb

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 02:22 PM

I'm working the Herschel 400-2, about 2/3 done with that and still working the herschel 2500. Got quite a ways to go with it. I'm also working the Collinder list, the Skiff & Luginbuhl index from the back of their book, the Palomar clusters and I am thinking of adding a few more lists... maybe the entire NGC list.

I've seen 1400+ objects so far. Certainly no record with the esteemed members here, but I'm not doing too bad.

Also continuing to work the Las Vegas Astronomical Society Observer's Challenge. A great project and we always welcome new members from anywhere in the world, whether visual observers or imagers (despite the name).

Supplemental:

Writing more astronomy-related articles for my web site and the occasional magazine.

Doing more product reviews as I see fit.

Generally annoying people with my opinions.

#6 MikeBOKC

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 03:53 PM

My lifetime goal -- certainly not within my control and unlikely to be attained at my current age -- is to visually observe and monitor the life cycle of a bright supernova, either in the Milky Way or M31 or some other fairly close galaxy. Living in the northern hemishere I could not observe SN1987a, but something of that brightness in an easily observed location would be a lifetime dream. Sadly, of the hundreds of supernovae detected each year, most are mag 16 or dimmer from our perspective and only easily observed photographically. I don't need something like SN1054, the Crab precursor with daytime visibility, but one around mag 10 or brighter would be ideal, well positioned for nightly observing. Now if someone can just arrange for Betelguese to go off before I do, I would be most appreciative . . .

#7 JayinUT

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 06:20 PM

Lets see. The H2500, eventually the NGC if I have time in my life we'll see. Lots will change I hope come summer when I order my big scope for my observatory on my land. I figure by then I'll have my 14 inch list and then that big list which will include many ARP's and other hard to observe items. I'm working on a DSO challenge list for scopes in the 12 to 15 inch range. I'll agree that I want to observe a bright SN but I'll take one like 1054 and it doesn't have to be a Type II. A good old Type I is good enough also to view. Are there any amateur images of what SN1987A looked like down south?

#8 azure1961p

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 09:33 PM

Since you've mentioned this at another time Ive tried (casually) to do the same. If Ive got it right, we orbit the sun in an orbit that's perpendicular to the galaxies axis. Its interesting to work out the modeling if it in my head based on the rather flat view we have of the sky.

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#9 Sarkikos

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 09:57 PM

buddyjesus,

I am looking to increase my mental database of objects to locate much like Mike, mainly for the "just in case" situations.


I like being able to go right to an object without having to look it up or ask a goto to go to it. KNOWING is a good exercise for the mind, as well. Besides, do we really want to be like those folks who pack up and go home when their goto goes south for the night? I'm more than my computer. ;)

Mike

#10 buddyjesus

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 12:07 AM

well the technology failure would be if my palm pilot with its planetarium program. I became heavily dependent on what those in the medical field call an "accessory brain." My back pain also strongly affects my memory negatively unfortunately. At least I am no longer in practice!

#11 DJCalma

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 12:31 AM

My goal is to continue to rid my mind of all cognitive thinking and lose myself in the stars each and every time I observe. :crazyeyes:

#12 Sarkikos

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 05:51 AM

well the technology failure would be if my palm pilot with its planetarium program. I became heavily dependent on what those in the medical field call an "accessory brain." My back pain also strongly affects my memory negatively unfortunately. At least I am no longer in practice!


I have Sky Safari Pro on my Android tablet. But I look on such programs and gizmos as a scalable, faster version of printed star charts ... as long as the gizmo isn't linked directly to the scope's mount. The only connection between SSP and my scope is through my eyes, brain and nudging muscles.

:grin:
Mike

#13 LivingNDixie

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 10:13 AM

Short Term (This year): Finish the Carbon Stars and Sunspotter observing programs with the Astro League.

Medium Term (next 5 years): Finish the remaining pins for the Master Observing pin.

Long Term: Develop a obseving program for the Astronomical League.

#14 Sarkikos

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 10:19 AM

Lately I've been reading Phillip Harrington's Cosmic Challenge. I might add the ones I haven't seen in my 10" - that I could see in my 10" - to my next observing list. Maybe I ought to work on the rest of those H400-II's, also. :thinking:

Shoot, comparing eyepieces can wait! I'd rather be hunting for stuff and observing!

:grin:
Mike

#15 star drop

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 10:59 AM

I am thinking about building up my mental images of a clear night sky.

#16 Sarkikos

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 11:08 AM

Somehow I don't think that will have any effect in the real world.

:grin:
Mike

#17 ensign

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 11:27 AM

I have a couple of them going on simultaneously.

One is to observe the Herschel 400. I'm pursuing this at a leisurely pace, since I don't view observing as a competitive sport. On any particular night, if the idea occurs to me, I'll pick a few objects from the H400 and hunt them down. If I see them, great. If not, that too is fine. Better luck next time.

The other goal, also being pursued without great amounts of ambition, is to learn Trumpler's classification system for open clusters and then, without looking at the designation beforehand, see if I can classify various clusters correctly. Since there are so many open clusters in the night sky, this seems a worthy pursuit.

#18 Sarkikos

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 11:48 AM

I mostly compete with my self. So far I'm winning. :ubetcha:

Mike

#19 stevecoe

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Posted 02 April 2013 - 04:14 PM

Ensign, et al;

I am also getting better at using Trumpler's designations. Sometimes it is useful, sometimes not. He seems to use the "nebulosity" designation too often, maybe just background fog in the photos he was using. I don't know.

As far as my goals, I have printed out the Messier and Best of the NGC lists from the SAC website and am pursuing them with my almost new 16" f/4.5 Newtonian. I am having lots of fun looking at old friends and bright objects that I have not observed for many years. I am writing some pretty comprehensive notes and drawing a few as I go along.

Clear skies to us all;
Steve Coe

#20 Tom Laskowski

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 12:24 PM

I've cobbled together a number of lists over the years of different objects (carbon stars, doubles, Trumpler, Collinder, Arp, Hickson, etc. etc.) and am probably going to spend the rest of my observing life working on these. I've already observed both Herschel lists but I do try to go back whenever I'm under a good dark sky and reobserve some of the Messiers and showpiece objects that I rarely get to observe.

Also after 40+ years of ignoring the Moon I've come to realize what a fantstic object it is. I'm confident I'll never run out of things to do under the night sky.

#21 LivingNDixie

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 03:26 PM

I've cobbled together a number of lists over the years of different objects (carbon stars, doubles, Trumpler, Collinder, Arp, Hickson, etc. etc.) and am probably going to spend the rest of my observing life working on these. I've already observed both Herschel lists but I do try to go back whenever I'm under a good dark sky and reobserve some of the Messiers and showpiece objects that I rarely get to observe.

Also after 40+ years of ignoring the Moon I've come to realize what a fantstic object it is. I'm confident I'll never run out of things to do under the night sky.


Tom,
The Moon is a fantastic object to view in its own right. There are enough craters, rilles, mares and domes to keep a person busy for a long time.

#22 JimP

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 06:36 PM

I am trying to make some decisions about just this topic. I have been observing since 1965 and have devoted my observing almost entirely to the Moon and Planets as well as some double star observing. Of course, over such a long period of time, I have observed a fair number of Deep Sky objects but not many given the amount of time I have been at this. From 1965 until about 2000 I was entirely a visual observer and then found webcam imaging of the Moon and Planets. I want to get back to visual observing but can see as much detail on the laptop screen as visually and the finished image can be very nice. I realize therefore the visual observations might have to be of double stars, carbon stars and other Deep Sky objects. Just how to go about this is my dilemma. I have kept a journal since 1965 but when imaging, which has taken most of my observing time, I write little in those journals. One of the things I want is to start keeping a journal again.
At 62 I know it is time to come up with a plan. I am working on it. Thanks for the topic.

Jim

#23 City Kid

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 07:31 PM

I have more objects I want to observe than I have years left to observe them. Aside from that I want to spend more time with the brighter, more familiar objects in the sky. I want to really push what I can see in those. Heck, my biggest goal right now is to just be able to get out and observe. I can't achieve any of my observing goals if I don't get out and observe.

#24 azure1961p

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 06:26 AM

One of my ultra deepsky challenges is a Quasar in Ursa Major 3/4 the age of the universe that has a magnitude which corresponds to my standard mirror coatings limiting mag of 15v. I'd like to make that call this spring.

Other ones: arms in M81
Definitive sketch of m51
Resolving a globular in M31 as non stellar appearing
Detail in NGC5907
Detail in M99, 100


That's my short list anyway. I DO want to nail that Quasar . Ultimately it'd look just like a faint point of course with emphasis on the knowledge alone making most of the reward but in this case that's enough. Pre solar light - its an engaging concept!!!

Pete

#25 LivingNDixie

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 09:31 AM

One of my ultra deepsky challenges is a Quasar in Ursa Major 3/4 the age of the universe that has a magnitude which corresponds to my standard mirror coatings limiting mag of 15v. I'd like to make that call this spring.

Other ones: arms in M81
Definitive sketch of m51
Resolving a globular in M31 as non stellar appearing
Detail in NGC5907
Detail in M99, 100


That's my short list anyway. I DO want to nail that Quasar . Ultimately it'd look just like a faint point of course with emphasis on the knowledge alone making most of the reward but in this case that's enough. Pre solar light - its an engaging concept!!!

Pete


Pete,
G1 is the easiest M31 globular to be seen as non-stellar. In an 18in Obsession last year it was easy to see the fuzziness that globular would show.






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