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Daniel Mounsey
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Reged: 06/12/02

Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: blb]
      #5503364 - 11/04/12 02:36 AM

Quote:

I was so hoping that this would not devolve into a discussion about Burnham. I guess that is not going to happen though.




Buddy you'll never be rid of me. You know me all too well.

Quote:

I do NOT need to read a four page dissertation.





Yes you do


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okieav8r
I'd rather be flying!
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Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: Daniel Mounsey]
      #5503387 - 11/04/12 03:56 AM

Quote:

Quote:


I'm a bit preplexed by this statement: "It's no wonder people have so few things to speak about regarding objects these days. Very few people retain information anymore."




Perhaps I could best answer this question by asking you a question.

If you saw Alpha Centauri, would you just stare at it and say to yourself, it's a yellowish star? Or does anything else go through your mind?




Unfortunately, Alpha Centauri is a bit out of my line-of-sight. However....

When I'm looking at something through the eyepiece Daniel, I constantly marvel, and try to wrap my mind around what I'm seeing. When I look at a tight globular cluster, I wonder what the night sky looks like on a planet orbiting one of its stars. I'm time traveling. When I look at a faint galaxy 70 million light-years away, I'm awed and humbled that the photons from that fuzzy speck of light I'm seeing took that long to get here, only to fall on my eye. I'm amazed that it's comprised of maybe 300 billion or more stars, and stretches two or three hundred thousand light years across. I'm kind of saddened when I look at the Ring Nebula, knowing that it fortells the fate of our own Sun in the distant future. I wonder if there might have been thriving civilizations on a planet orbiting that star, and if so, were they fortunate enough to be technologically advanced enough to leave in time to escape their planet's fate? The Crab Nebula might look like a smudge to some, but knowing that at its heart is a neutron star, the most compactly dense visible object in the universe (purposely excluding black holes here), weighing billions of tons to the spoonful, and spinning 30 times a second is beyond mind blowing!

While I'm contemplating these things, I'm not simply staring at the object I'm looking at. I study it, try to push my visual accuity to its limit, doing my best to tease out detail and contrast. I love looking at closer objects like M51 and M33, working to see as much detail as I can pull out from the arms and HII regions. A real treat is watching one of Jupiter's moons as it emerges from, or ducks behind the planet. I wonder what Jupiter looks like if I were able to stand on one of it's moons? I can't see Alpha Centauri, but I can see Betelgeuse, and find it almost incomprehensible that it dwarfs our Sun the way the Sun dwarfs the Earth. I could site more examples, but I think I've made my point.

Daniel, what I'm trying to say here is that I, and many others, need nothing more in an observing guide other than simple, straightforward information to get me where I'm going, to find and observe the objects in the sky, and still be amazed, humbled, enlightened, and awed--to see much more than what is simply in the eyepiece--to get a better sense of my place in the universe. In the end, I find I am enriched in my observational endeavours far beyond just seeing something in a telescope, and my own sense of curiosity and wonder goes a long way in helping me to see things with my own sense of prosaic vision.

Again, I'm not knocking writers like Burnham. I really do like and read him. But my time in the field is for observation, and it is precious. The time I spend planning a session or afterward in my easychair is time in which folks like Burnham and O'meara can help me to further fill in the blanks.


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csa/montana
Den Mama
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Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: Michael Rapp]
      #5503694 - 11/04/12 10:26 AM

I really use my NSOG's alot; not only in the observatory, but armchair planning as well! The NSOG is primary in my book collection.

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Daniel Mounsey
Vendor (Woodland Hills)
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Reged: 06/12/02

Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: okieav8r]
      #5503706 - 11/04/12 10:38 AM

Rex, I admire your response sir.

There does however appear to be some misunderstandings about how much astrophysical information one needs about the object at the eyepiece. Take the 1st and 2nd editions of the Sky Atlas 2000 companion for example. It gives a brief observational and astrophysical explanation about each object that's short enough to be easily usable under the stars. Of course I agree, it wouldn't be practical to read entire pages or several detailed pages under the stars.

There are in fact, some interesting but limited deep sky notes about some of the objects in NSOG, for example, Barnards star. In my opinion, it's important to teach others to take a little time to understand more about these interesting objects we are seeing in the night sky. Not doing this, deprives not only the observer, but others from appreciating even the most subtle of objects in appearance, in essence, a cure that helps avoid aperture fever that plagues observers. That's what was so genius about Burnham. He observed with his mind, rather than just his eyes, something lacking all to often with observers these days who are clueless about what they are actually looking at and believe me, they are clueless!

Take M92 and M13. Since everyone will point at M13, it's up to the observer to explain why M92 is also an interesting globular and that's not what's happening. Any observer who lacks the skill to explain or teach others that faint or less attractive objects may have great significance is not a very skilled observer in my opinion. A good observer knows how to make the universe an interesting place by knowing more about what they're seeing. NGC2419 isn't the finest globular from a visual perspective, but I'll bet if you explain to others why it's so faint, they will appreciate it much more. NSOG actually did this, so it's not entirely lacking.

NSOG is still a good guide in my opinion and don't get me wrong, I actually like certain parts of it. If you go to p.97 vol 1 and see the description of NGC2362, NSOG actually gives a nice, little description of the object that could easily be read under the stars at the telescope. All I'm suggesting, is that writers and authors take a little more time to put down something brief, but interesting so it can be shared with others at the eyepiece to help us all contemplate what we are seeing.

Remember folks, the attention span of the average observer is next to nothing. Many of them do not study because they don't have the patience to sit down and read Burnham's but if writers take a little more time to offer a brief explanation about the object, it will be the first step to getting other observers to wake up and think more about what they're seeing. The universe doesn't always need to be a loud, saturated, colorful place like we see in Hubble pictures. Writers, authors, editors, for crying out loud, just put a little more depth into your other than just another endless visual description.

Several of you have already complained about how the visual descriptions don't even match what you see anyway. I'm not saying to eliminate the visual descriptions at all. It's important to have them. Just minimize them and use the space in the book for other important notes. There are always going to be factors like experience, seeing, darkness etc effecting what we see vs. what others see. For that reason I always take other visual observations with a grain of salt.


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blb
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Reged: 11/25/05

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Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: Daniel Mounsey]
      #5503731 - 11/04/12 10:56 AM

Daniel, if you are going to quote me, please quote the whole sentence. Doing that will not change it's meaning. What I said was...
Quote:

I do NOT need to read a four page dissertation about a double star I can not see from my latitude while observing.



When you quote the whole sentence you will see that I said that I do not need to read it while observing, that time is much to precious to spend it reading a four page discription that does little more than tell me the distance to these stars and there spectral type, that Proxima Centauri may be getting brighter. You see I have read it and it is a bunch of nothing that could not be shared in a paragraph in a modern text. Plus if I could see this star, I would have to look up it's curent position angle and seperation, coordinates and other information because that 50 year old information is no longer any good. Even you use sky safari for the curent information on doubles. So whats left is a nice wright up that is best left to the arm chair and not for use at the telescope.


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Daniel Mounsey
Vendor (Woodland Hills)
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Reged: 06/12/02

Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: blb]
      #5504140 - 11/04/12 03:49 PM

Quote:

I do NOT need to read a four page dissertation about a double star I can not see from my latitude while observing.




And I don't need a 700 page dissertation on visual descriptions. You even stated yourself you don't take NSOG into the field, so what's the difference.


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turtle86
Pooh-Bah Everywhere Else
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Reged: 10/09/06

Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: Daniel Mounsey]
      #5504488 - 11/04/12 08:11 PM

No book can be all things to all people. Due to space limitations for printed works, authors and publishers are obliged to make practical choices--it's not easy to have it all in terms of depth, breadth and usability. While I certainly enjoy the depth of the O'Meara guides and Burnham's, they lack the sheer breadth of NSOG. If NSOG went into similar depth for each object it contained it would be completely unusable in the field. As things presently stand, many observers prefer to use NSOG solely as a desk reference anyway. Though NSOG doesn't pretend to be anything more than a comprehensive observing or field guide for amateurs with medium or large scopes, I think it actually manages to do a decent job of giving interesting background information for a lot of the objects it includes, despite its focus and space constraints. Indeed, the wonderful intro by Craig Crossen by itself goes a long way toward doing just that. I have pretty much every astronomy book worth having, but when I go out observing, I certainly can't take them all with me. Occasionally I'll take one of the O'Meara guides but I *always* take NSOG.

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Starman1
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Reged: 06/24/03

Loc: Los Angeles
Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: turtle86]
      #5505602 - 11/05/12 03:30 PM

One can have too much information on an object in the field.
From brief, like in the Sky Atlas 2000 reference books, to better, like the Sky Atlas 2000 Companion, to even better (Luginbuhl & Skiff) to even better (NSOG) to too much, like O'Meara's guides.
The best field guides are those from Alvin Huey, containing information, finder charts, drawings, and pictures and descriptions, and they lie flat. But if NSOG were done this way it would be in 20 volumes.
So I don't really have a major complaint about the NSOG, even though my own log now has over twice the number of entries. I take NSOG to the field every time I go.

Well, come to think of it, I do have one complaint--the organization! Whose idea was it to separate the constellations by "season"? What a dumb idea! As if no observer ever observed any other time than the first two hours of darkness every night. How am I to remember if Cepheus is a "summer" or "Autumn" constellation? I view something in Cepheus close to 12 months a year at some time of night or other. Plus, the seasons are reversed down south.

If they ever reprint these, I vote to have all the constellations arranged alphabetically so one book goes A-K, then L-V, then W-Z or something like that.
We all have different southern and northern horizons. Let us find the constellations in alpha order, please!


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Rick Woods
Postmaster
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Reged: 01/27/05

Loc: Inner Solar System
Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: Starman1]
      #5505863 - 11/05/12 07:29 PM

Quote:

If they ever reprint these, I vote to have all the constellations arranged alphabetically so one book goes A-K, then L-V, then W-Z or something like that.




Mehhh... that's a tough one.
During at least some parts of the year, you only need take one NSOG volume out. When they're arranged alphabetically, you always have to take everything out. Like with Burnham's.

Maybe arranged RA 0-12, and 12-24? (Hmm; that's sort of how it is now, isn't it.)
Or, just have one huge volume!


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blb
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Reged: 11/25/05

Loc: Piedmont NC
Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: Rick Woods]
      #5505911 - 11/05/12 08:05 PM

Don said,
Quote:

Well, come to think of it, I do have one complaint--the organization! Whose idea was it to separate the constellations by "season"? What a dumb idea! As if no observer ever observed any other time than the first two hours of darkness every night.



I do agree with that. I still can see looking at fall objects in the sky after sunset now and yet before the sky starts to lighten up in the morning, Orion is already on the west side of my meridian and I am seeing some spring constellations in the east. So if I took them out when observing I would have to take both volums out to cover the whole night.


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Starman1
Vendor (EyepiecesEtc.com)
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Reged: 06/24/03

Loc: Los Angeles
Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: blb]
      #5505986 - 11/05/12 09:06 PM

Rick, Buddy,
That's what I do--I always take out both volumes in the northern 2/3. And, since I use both volumes every time, I have to remember which "season" a blinkety-blank constellation is in.
Arranged in alpha-sort order, all I have to remember is which letters which volume contains.
I put labels on the front of each volume with the names of the constellations contained therein, but I usually end up looking at the covers of both to find a constellation I'm looking for.
Hercules is a "Spring" constellation? Really? Then why am I still looking at objects in Hercules right after dark in November?
And Cygnus still has a month or more to go--into winter, actually.
Bah.
I think the reason they used the seasonal association was because of how the Observer's Guide was published in magazine form.
Info--good. Arrangement of info--not so good.


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Daniel Mounsey
Vendor (Woodland Hills)
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Reged: 06/12/02

Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: Starman1]
      #5506151 - 11/05/12 11:12 PM

I think I understand what the issue is here with alphabetical vs season. It appears that nobody here constellation mops. I'm fine with it either way and even though each volume is seasonal, they are still alphabetized. I must say though, it's pretty amusing that we can haul around a 20" dobsonian, observing ladder, observing chairs, a case of eyepieces and everyone complains about carrying a couple of extra books It's time to to read my Burnham's

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Starman1
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Reged: 06/24/03

Loc: Los Angeles
Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: Daniel Mounsey]
      #5506263 - 11/06/12 01:36 AM

Quote:

I think I understand what the issue is here with alphabetical vs season. It appears that nobody here constellation mops. I'm fine with it either way and even though each volume is seasonal, they are still alphabetized. I must say though, it's pretty amusing that we can haul around a 20" dobsonian, observing ladder, observing chairs, a case of eyepieces and everyone complains about carrying a couple of extra books It's time to to read my Burnham's



Well, I often stick to a constellation for quite a while. But, if I want to go over to my table and pick up a volume of NSOG, which one do I pick up for Capricornus? That's a Fall constellation, right? Wrong. It's in the Spring & Summer volume. You see, I either have to memorize which book every constellation is in or look in the table of contents of each volume to find every constellation, and those tables of contents are several pages inside the covers and then I have to take my gloves off to turn the pages. Sure, it's only a problem when I switch constellations, but it's a problem every time I switch constellations.

It's like the original version of Uranometria 2000. It simply didn't make sense that to continue from the right hand side of the chart you were on you had to back a page. Fortunately, they fixed that in the second edition.

I got an idea, but it would raise the prices of the books: add dictionary-style indented tabs with the 3-letter constellation abbreviations on the tabs. Instead of A..B..C, we'd have AQR...BOO...CAM on the tabs. That would work.


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Rick Woods
Postmaster
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Reged: 01/27/05

Loc: Inner Solar System
Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: Daniel Mounsey]
      #5506268 - 11/06/12 01:48 AM

Quote:

I think I understand what the issue is here with alphabetical vs season. It appears that nobody here constellation mops. I'm fine with it either way and even though each volume is seasonal, they are still alphabetized.




I do! But my impetus is laziness. I get situated comfortably pointing at a given constellation, then just look at everything in it. A big SCT is the perfect vehicle for that - just relax, sit back, and bounce from target to target.

Quote:

I must say though, it's pretty amusing that we can haul around a 20" dobsonian, observing ladder, observing chairs, a case of eyepieces and everyone complains about carrying a couple of extra books




Again, not me. I love having a library of good references with me.

Quote:

It's time to to read my Burnham's




It's always time for that! For me, Burnham's will always occupy the top spot. In fact, my indoor copy has an entire bookshelf almost to itself, with two elaborate Star Trek bookends supporting it. The only other thing that rates sharing that shelf is the Barnard atlas reprint.

But, I do use the NSOG a bit more at the eyepiece these days. And I confess, my field copy of BCH is in pretty good condition, not mutilated like your obviously extremely-well-used copy. I never make notes, though I know I should.


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Rick Woods
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Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: Starman1]
      #5506273 - 11/06/12 01:53 AM

Quote:

You see, I either have to memorize which book every constellation is in or look in the table of contents of each volume to find every constellation, and those tables of contents are several pages inside the covers and then I have to take my gloves off to turn the pages. Sure, it's only a problem when I switch constellations, but it's a problem every time I switch constellations.





Don,
Just make copies of the table of contents pages, and keep them all together. A quick index. I did that for my music fake books, so that when a tune is called, I know which of about 10 books it's in. Not ideal, granted, but easier than looking through each book.


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Daniel Mounsey
Vendor (Woodland Hills)
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Reged: 06/12/02

Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: Starman1]
      #5506530 - 11/06/12 09:28 AM

Quote:



I got an idea, but it would raise the prices of the books: add dictionary-style indented tabs with the 3-letter constellation abbreviations on the tabs. Instead of A..B..C, we'd have AQR...BOO...CAM on the tabs. That would work.




I agree that would be pretty cool and yes it would raise the cost. My friend actually did that for his NSOG. He added stick-on tabs for each constellation. Don, when we observe, your table is pretty well equipped book-wise anyway, heck, I think you even have some of Stephen O'Meara's arm chair books at the table.


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Starman1
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Reged: 06/24/03

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Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: Daniel Mounsey]
      #5506599 - 11/06/12 10:11 AM

One of my fairly recent observing guides at the table (I took it out for over a year) was the Willmann-Bell "The Arp Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies" by Kanipe and Webb.
The slick pages are fairly dew-proof, and there are pages with atlas data, finder charts, B&W photos, observation notes, and a really good history of the Arp Atlas.
But I end up using Alvin Huey's guide to those galaxies more because it's easier to use in the field.
It didn't get used as much this year as last because transparency wasn't as good over the year.
It's worth noting that many, if not most, of the Arp Galaxies are in NSOG.


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Tom Polakis
Carpal Tunnel
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Reged: 12/20/04

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Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: Starman1]
      #5506791 - 11/06/12 12:16 PM

Quote:

Well, come to think of it, I do have one complaint--the organization! Whose idea was it to separate the constellations by "season"? What a dumb idea! As if no observer ever observed any other time than the first two hours of darkness every night. How am I to remember if Cepheus is a "summer" or "Autumn" constellation? I view something in Cepheus close to 12 months a year at some time of night or other. Plus, the seasons are reversed down south.





Yeah, that was one of my main complaints when they first came out. I told that to Glenn Sanner, and he reluctantly agreed that it wasn't the best arrangement. I suggested pretty much what you did, Don. Just print the names of all the constellations in each volume in small font on the cover.


Quote:

If they ever reprint these, I vote to have all the constellations arranged alphabetically so one book goes A-K, then L-V, then W-Z or something like that.
We all have different southern and northern horizons. Let us find the constellations in alpha order, please!





I think that Volume 3 for the south is a good marketing decision, since a large number of northerners will never go far enough south to see any of those objects. Why make them purchase that volume? Otherwise, the idea to alphabetize the two northern volumes by constellation name is great. When I used to carry Burnham's out to the field, it was effortless to memorize Andromeda through Cetus, Chameleon through Orion, and Pavo through Vulpecula.

Tom


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Daniel Mounsey
Vendor (Woodland Hills)
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Reged: 06/12/02

Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: Daniel Mounsey]
      #5507659 - 11/06/12 10:41 PM

I think another thing that's important to remember is that NSOG is especially intended for observers using larger aperture telescopes, granted small telescope users can use it just fine, but they're going to have to sift through a lot of objects. A lot of us praise NSOG for the amount of objects it contains, myself included. I've used NSOG on many occasions in the field but it is very dark sky reliant. Currently, my largest telescope is only 10", perfectly suited for Burnham's, plus much of my observing is conducted from heavily light polluted skies. For that reason, I use Burnham's because I prefer the layout. For example the double star text is much larger and easier to read in the dark compared to NSOG and it lists the brighter clusters I can view from the city instead if sifting through NSOG.

Many people look at Burnham's as old and outdated, but remember too that its a very inexpensive list of thousands of objects too. An observer can only see so many objects in a night. It's just a list of numbers. Since I only use Sky Safari for all my goto functions, all the updated data is front and center in red screen mode. A lot of emphasis gets placed on the idea that Burnham's just an armchair read, but that's totally untrue. Burnham's was actually designed to be used in the field just like NSOG. I am often surprised how observers don't take their books into the field, heck NSOG is only $35!!!!! That's a steal for the wealth of information it contains and the same goes for Burnham's.


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Rick Woods
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Reged: 01/27/05

Loc: Inner Solar System
Re: Night Sky Observers Guide new [Re: Daniel Mounsey]
      #5507747 - 11/07/12 12:01 AM

Quote:

I am often surprised how observers don't take their books into the field, heck NSOG is only $35!!!!!




... per volume!



Quote:

That's a steal for the wealth of information it contains and the same goes for Burnham's.




Yuppers! I especially like Burnham's for the double star lists.


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