Meade 305 ƒ/10.4 LX200 • Royce 250 ƒ/19 Dall Kirkham • AstroTech 250 ƒ/8 RC • AstroTech 250 ƒ/4 "RFT" Newtonian • Meade 80 ƒ/6 ED APO • TEC 140 ƒ/7 APO • Orion 180 ƒ/15 Mak Cass ... Denkmeier II binoviewer - Nikon 8x60 binocular
Astronomical Files from Black Oak Observatory
Every week I do something new to reduce light pollution. Eyes on the Sky is at 600,000+ views so far; more views = more awareness. Please consider sharing with others.
Quote:my sentiment is that astronomers generally spend too much attention on getting large aperture to see faint details in far galaxies, when there is a wealth of dense detail -- nebulae, galactic clusters, giant dust and molecular clouds, star clouds, layered features lying in different spiral arms -- that is available for study in our own galaxy, even with the naked eye. why is this so commonly ignored?i think a large part of that has to do with the pinhole mentality of the catalog list and GOTO mount: we go about looking at specific objects that are only arcminutes wide, at best. the idea that a spacewalk eyepiece is *so* much better than a drinking straw eyepiece obscures the basic fact that they both show you a minuscule fragment of the celestial sphere. put that 17mm 100º $800 tele vue ethos in your 16" ƒ/4 dob and you get to see 0.0024% of the sky at any one time!
Quote: At some point, one has to recognize what it is that draws one to this hobby... For me, it's not the science as much as it is the aesthetics, I just enjoy looking through a telescope/binoculars/naked eye at the night sky... It's just neat being out there under the night sky.
Quote: . . .even better is a collection of telescopes that provide different views on different scales... There is a lot of neat stuff to see... it's neat to look through big scopes, it's neat to look through small scopes and there is a lot to be learned doing both.Jon
Dr. Willie K. Yee President Mid-Hudson Astronomical Assn.Member RAC, AOSNY, IDA, Astronomers Without Borders, Charlie Bates Solar Astronomy Project
NexStar 50 Expert, Lunar 50 Expert; AL Outreach, Messier, and Sunspotters AwardsCommander Prius Class Shuttlecraft Zhang HengTeeter 13.1" f/4.5 Custom Dob, NexStar8 SE, Meade 80mm f/6 ED Apo, Meade 363 f/10 80 mm, Lunt LS60THa, PST dbl stk
Quote: We all enjoy the sky in a different way... I very much enjoy just wandering around and seeing what I can see, figuring out what it is, learning something about it... I don't use GOTO, I view the constellations as part of the road map, sign posts to help me find my way from one part of the sky to another.
I am a big believer in using a telescope as an instrument of discovery rather than as tool to go down a list of objects... It's a different paradigm. I mostly work from the sky to the books rather than from the books to the sky. But I have to admit that I think in 2 dimensions...
At some point, one has to recognize what it is that draws one to this hobby... For me, it's not the science as much as it is the aesthetics, I just enjoy looking through a telescope/binoculars/naked eye at the night sky... It's just neat being out there under the night sky.
Quote:My telescope has opened up a whole new, exciting world to me; I would not enjoy it nearly as much without my telescope; pinhole mentality? Maybe, but it sure is fulfilling to me. I love to put my 30ES in, and just wander all over the sky, stopping at something that looks interesting.
My eyepieces are made from the waste product of exploding stars. 10XTi 102XLT ST80A(2" Focuser) XW: All; XO: 2.58 Televue: Naglers-T1 Smoothside-full set, 17T4,12T4,Ethos 17,4.7; plossels-40,32,20,17,&7.4mm; Pans-22,24mm; Delos-6,8,12,17.3mm ES100: 5.5,9*,14,20 ES82: full set ES68: 16,20,24,34 NLV: 5,9,10,15 Ortho: HD-7,9; OPS-9,12 Meade RG 7mm Other: Pentax 12.5K(.965), 10mm Parks Zoom: Nag3-6 *=on b/o DAS Dark Site
DJ Eastern Missouri, USA Bushnell 8x42's, SV80ed, Nexstar 130SLT, C5+, 8" LX200 Classic, 10" f/7 Cave, Orion XT10 w/Moonlite focuser
Quote:we all learn the constellations in our novice steps, and these ingrain certain asterisms in mind as if they are equally distant stars appearing at pretty much their absolute magnitudes.
Quote:constellations only cement the delusion -- all those stars "go together" in a completely arbitrary patch of sky, even though the stars usually have nothing to do with each other and in our minds have only a hazy connection (if any) to the landscape they inhabit.
Quote:perhaps we look at far away objects in isolated and tiny fields of view because ... it is just so much easier to do.
Quote:I have been trying to stay away from this thread, but something keeps pulling me to it. I personally take it a little offensive with your so called "pinhole mentality". If it pleases someone to set up a scope and view the wonders of the sky then so be it.
Quote:We all enjoy the sky in a different way... I very much enjoy just wandering around and seeing what I can see, figuring out what it is, learning something about it... I don't use GOTO, I view the constellations as part of the road map, sign posts to help me find my way from one part of the sky to another. I am a big believer in using a telescope as an instrument of discovery rather than as tool to go down a list of objects... For me, it's not the science as much as it is the aesthetics, I just enjoy looking through a telescope/binoculars/naked eye at the night sky... It's just neat being out there under the night sky.
Quote:I knew I should stay away from this. Starting with the title, "unlearning the constellations".
First and foremost observing love: naked eye.
Last but not least, telescopes.
And I sometimes dabble with cameras.
Quote:[...]a large part of that has to do with the pinhole mentality[...][...]put that 17mm 100º $800 tele vue ethos in your 16" ƒ/4 dob[...][...]we piece together glimses of these pinhole samples of the sky as isolated features with nonsense pidgin arabic or cartoon character names, and call it "astronomy" with the absurdity of someone who has a pet name for every piece in a 100 or 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle but has never put the puzzle together to see what it represents.[...][...]constellations only cement the delusion[...][...]the problem seems so big that it's hard to know where or how to begin.[...][...]perhaps we look at far away objects in isolated and tiny fields of view because ... it is just so much easier to do.
Quote:there are two ways to misinterpret a post, and you've done both.
Quote:i liked the suggestion made about a software program focused on these topics. where can i get it? the software > Where is M13? < is a rudimentary version of what i had in mind, but it does not link the objects to the visible milky way, but to a galaxy schematic.
ToddBrunton Eterna 15x51 • Fujinon 10x50 FMT-SX • Garrett Optical Signature Series 15x70Nikon 12x50 Action Extreme • Oberwerk 15x60 and 20x80 (Standard) • Pentax 20x60 PCF WP IICelestron Skymaster 20x80 (Reanimated by Dr. Suddarth)Orion Paragon Plus Mount and Paragon XHD TripodManfrotto 562B Monopod adapted with Manfrotto 222 "Joystick" Head
Quote:The title is probably unnecessarily combative. I think "Beyond the Constellations" would be more accurate.
For me, the greatest glory of astronomy is that there are so many different ways to approach it. There had better be! It is, after all, the study of the universe -- literally, everything that is, has been, or ever will be. I find the aesthetic approach, the historical approach, the study of individual objects and stars, and the study of how they fit together, all equally interesting.
“I am the only person to ever ace a 1951 USAF resolution test. My 'to observe' list says 'done'. I do not use charts or atlases when I starhop; men do not use maps. One of my sketches won an SBIG deep sky imaging contest. I am the life of star parties I have never attended. I never say anything looks like a faint fuzzy - not even a faint fuzzy. Pilots aim green laser pointers at me. Don Pensack proofreads my CN forum posts.” - The Most Interesting Astronomer in the Universe
Quote:here's another way to approach the issue.
it's a simple test: take the test,
[but not simple to give the correct answers. And may be contaminated by a correlation to verbal I.Q.]
and see how you do. note that these are all "landscape" questions -- none have to do with astrophysics, cosmology, or any other arcane expertise. these are all questions of the type -- "you're in yosemite valley, where is half dome?"
[Okay, I'll bite.]
if you don't do so well, then perhaps you should give my post a second thought.
[Even if we do well your post deserves careful thought.]
1. A novice asks you, "where is the center of our galaxy?" Where do you point, and how far away do you say it is?
[Unfortunately novices don't ask questions like these. If they do, say " "Hurry, you'll be late for your class at Cal Tech!"]
[Sagittarius, 30,000 ly.]
2. A novice asks you, "in what direction is our rotation around the center of the galaxy taking us?" Where (or at which star) do you point?
[Deneb and Gamma Cygni are rotating away from us].
3. There are 20 bright stars (v.mag. > 2.5) within twenty parsecs of the sun -- our near companions in our galactic journey. Name five.
[Alpha Centauri, Vega, Arcturus, 61 Cygni, Sirius.]
4. How many other stars, besides these 20 bright stars, are within 20 parsecs of the sun?
[Hundreds So-called "red dwarfs," and "brown dwarfs," not readily visible because of dimness.]
5. The sun is most closely associated with a specific spiral arm of the galaxy. Which one?
6. This spirial arm is visible as a large part of the Milky Way. From our viewpoint on Earth, where does this spiral arm appear to start, and where does it end?
[Sagittarius to Cygnus. May actually start in Ara or Centaurus or somewhere down there.]
7. What is the closest galactic star cluster to Earth?
[Big dipper. Followed by the Hyades.]
8. Where is the closest region to Earth where stars are actively being formed?
9. The Milky Way appears to divide into two bands in what part of the Milky Way? What causes this separation?
[Cygnus. Dark clouds of interstellar dust.]
10. What is the farthest part of the Milky Way that we can see from Earth? Where is it, and how far away is it?
[Perseus arm, about 20,000 light years. I believe we can't see objects in the External Arm beyond the Perseus Arm, with most amateur telescopes.]
i'll wait for some answers (or individual tallies of the number of questions that can be answered), before i post answers of my own.
[We may learn something from our wrong answers.]
Quote:indeed, despite your claim to have equal and diverse interests, i note that you prefer to critique rather than build on my post.
Quote:Bruce,A number of points:1. Your gifs are great and show a lot about the sky that other representations don't show. I agree with you that these alternative representations of the sky are valuable. Thanks for posting them.2. You raise very important questions. As far as I can tell, the Herschel 400 I and II, while no doubt valuable and worthwhile, convey little understanding of the structure of our galaxy as a whole. Observing lists in general can have this limitation. So I agree with this part of your thesis as well. 3. The pinhole view is narrow in the sense that one is observing only a small portion of our galaxy. But with my 13 Ethos ( I don't have the 17) in my 16"f/4 Dob the view is perceptually wide, 100 degrees wide. Al Nagler is right about the "grandeur factor." The emotional and perceptual sense of the breadth and vastness of our universe is conveyed in part by these huge visual fields even though in terms of absolute distances they are very narrow indeed.4. There are some guides in the area of galactic structure. Prime among them, and going far beyond Craig Crossen's Binocular Astronomy, is his subsequent book, with Gerald Rhemann, "Sky Vistas" (published by Springer). He devotes great attention to the structure of our galaxy. Another guide is Bill Tschumy's "Where is M13?" I am sure you are familiar with these but my point is that a huge amount can be learned about the structure and content of our galaxy by careful study of these sources, which you have doubtless already done.6. If your thesis is that we need to spent time scanning the Milky Way with binoculars, looking for star clouds, dust lanes, dark nebulae, and OB associations, in order to get an understanding of and appreciation for our own beautiful galaxy, I agree entirely.7. Where I part company with your thesis is as follows: When I look at M17 I enjoy it as an object in itself, but I try also to be aware of where it lies in our galaxy. I value diagrams like "Where is M13" that show it visually. And I devote special attention to objects that are far out toward the Perseus arm, such as the Double Cluster and one or two more distant objects in that direction. I also try to look at objects near the galactic center, such as NGC 6522 and 6528, in Baade's Window, with the realization of where they are; similarly for objects in our Orion Arm. My point here is that viewing individual objects is not exclusive of understanding the galactic structure, and that binocular study, while essential for this purpose, is not the only contributor to this understanding. Knowing where in our galaxy an object is, adds a great deal to the pleasure of observing it and to my understanding of the object and our galaxy. To know that M54, while not outstanding visually, is probably the core of a now dispersed galaxy, enriches the visual experience.I am also very interested in viewing the sky in terms of the absolute brightness of the stars in it. So, I always like to take a look at Zeta 2 in Scorpius, and 6231 is itself one of my favorite objects. And Rho in Cassiopeia, and P Cygni, and Wesen and Aludra in Canis Major.As a related issue, I think the OB associations, especially in Perseus and Scorpius, are much neglected by observers. Perhaps because they are too easy to find and so don't confer much prestige on the observer?Bill Meyers