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Suggestions for some challenging visual targets

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#1 YetAnotherHobby

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 07:40 AM

Hello all -

I will be traveling to a very dark (for the east coast) site next month. I find myself re-finding the more difficult Messier and 'showpiece' objects when I am under dark skies, but this time I would like to stretch my observing muscles a bit and try for some interesting but challenging targets. I am an "experienced beginner" with a C11. I have OIII, Ha, and UHC filters if I need them. What recommendations would you make? I am open to any type of object - I guess I am interested in discovering what targets others find to be worthy challenges.

Thanks!

Geoff

#2 JayinUT

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 07:57 AM

Deep Sky forum has some great targets listed over there. Here is a link.

#3 tigerroach

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 08:04 AM

With 11" the list of potential targets is a long one!

How about the Antennae galaxies in Corvus? They aren't super dim or anything but they are a very cool target and often overlooked.

#4 Tony Flanders

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 08:17 AM

Well, I'm biased because I edit Sue French's column for Sky & Telescope -- and that also gives me a practical incentive to "use" those columns. But when I want a really interesting and varied set of targets, I turn to her book Deep-Sky Wonders. There's enough there to keep anybody busy for a long, long time. Some of the targets are well-known, many are obscure, some are easy to see, and some extremely challenging even for experienced observers with big telescopes under dark skies.

#5 Achernar

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 09:06 AM

Try the globular cluster NGC-5053 in Coma Bernices, it is very challenging from anything less than dark sites. The dwarf galaxies Sextans A and B are also challenge objects, along with the odd galaxy NGC-3109 in Hydra. The Coma Galaxy Cluster, which is centered on NGC-4874 and 4889, has numerous fainter members that would be a challenge for an 11-inch.

Taras

#6 MikeBOKC

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 09:14 AM

Well next month you will have two spectacular areas of the sky in good position -- the Virgo galaxy cluster, including Markarian's chain, and the many many fine globular clusters and planetary nebulae in the Saggitarius region. Those two areas alone would make for a night's observing. But don't neglect such more commonly seen targets like M57 and M13 . . . they can really shine under dark skies, with lots more detail visible than yuo may be used to.

#7 kfiscus

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 09:52 AM

Go for the central star in M-57, Caldwell 1 (NGC 188), the Crescent Nebula in Cygnus. I might nominate the Crescent as one of the most improved by an O-III filter.

#8 BillFerris

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 12:05 PM

Jim Shield's Adventures in Deep Space site is an excellent resource for off the beaten path deep sky catalogs and lists. A deep sky hound can easily spend many a cloudy night perusing the various lists and planning their next dark sky trek.

Bill in Flag

#9 jerwin

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 12:48 PM

Geoff, I use a program called skytools, you can download a free starter edition but I think it limits the scope to a 4 or 5".

It will list different objects and you can sort it by the best time to view on a given night, You tell it how dark your skies are, your experience level, even your pupil size if you know it and it will rank what it believes are obvious, easy, detectible, difficult, challenging, up to very challenging. It will give you a recommended eyepiece (from the list of eyepieces you have and supply). You can rank the objects, put in notes, for me it's just a great tool. Every night I have a scheduled viewing session, I'll print a list off.

Jim

#10 David Knisely

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 01:36 PM

Hello all -

I will be traveling to a very dark (for the east coast) site next month. I find myself re-finding the more difficult Messier and 'showpiece' objects when I am under dark skies, but this time I would like to stretch my observing muscles a bit and try for some interesting but challenging targets. I am an "experienced beginner" with a C11. I have OIII, Ha, and UHC filters if I need them. What recommendations would you make? I am open to any type of object - I guess I am interested in discovering what targets others find to be worthy challenges.

Thanks!

Geoff


The H-alpha filter will be useless visually, as the dark adapted eye has very very poor sensitivity at the deep red wavelength of the Hydrogen-alpha line. That filter is primarily used for imaging emission nebulae. Your most used filters will be a narrow-band "UHC" like filter and the OIII filter, both for emission and planetary nebulae. For a good list of potential targets for filter use, the article cited below may be of some use:

Filter Performance Comparisons For Some Common Nebulae

Clear skies to you.

#11 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 03:53 PM

You may want to try your hand at some of the objects on the RASC list.

http://messier.seds....r/rasc-dsc.html

Dave Mitsky

#12 YetAnotherHobby

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 06:03 PM

Thanks to everyone. Terrific suggestions. Time get going on an observing list.

Geoff

#13 Tony Flanders

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Posted 22 May 2013 - 08:21 PM

You may want to try your hand at some of the objects on the RASC list.

http://messier.seds....r/rasc-dsc.html


I second that suggestion. None of these objects can reasonably be described as challenging, but it's an exceptionally good selection. Anything on that list that you haven't seen, you should see.






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