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Northeastern US (Maine) Discussion & Introductions

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#1 Mainemaksutov

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Posted 12 January 2017 - 11:47 AM

Hello all,

 

 I am new to this sight and astronomy (the actual act that is, have been interested in the  heavens for 30+ years and know a fair amount the subject) and as my screen name says, I live in Maine. Yup. Freezing my a@& off at the moment but after many years of fighting the risk of addiction, I've purchased my first scope just before xmas... and then a week later a second...now looking at ordering another one.... oh and one more. Just one more! Promise! This is going to be an issue.

 Anyway, I am trying to learn the sky and the locations of obejects that I can see with a 4.5" Newtonian as well as a 90mm mak. Been attacking the moon now that it's back (wolf moon last night) and the planets and learning some of the stars as I go but no DSO stuff. Mainly because I'm battling setting circles and are getting ready to abandon the little buggers for now and trying to learn star hopping. A lot of the things that I see listed on line and in my star apps are things that I find out AFTER searching for them that I need bigger aperture to see. Does anyone have any ideas per chance? I am ordering a 10" Skywatcher dob and either a 150mm mak or 180mm. Not sure yet. Fighting the urge not to wimp out here and use a goto mount to find things. Seriously, goto isn't wimping out... I'm just trying to learn old school first before going that route as I don't want to give up just yet on the manual part. The exploring is half the fun. 

 Thanks to any who may respond! 



#2 geovermont

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Posted 12 January 2017 - 12:14 PM

I suggest that you might stop with the purchases and just spend a lot of time outside. Well, as someone who lives in Northern New England and knows how cold the nights can get, a lot of fairly short periods of time outside! For nights when the moon is down, do some advance planning and find some candidate objects that will be at convenient altitude above the horizon. Why  not search for some of the Messier Objects? How many of those have you found? they can all be seen with pretty small telescopes.

 

Go out the next night with a few objects in mind and just try to find them. Not too many. Others will be encountered. Check out some easy double stars and see which ones you can resolve. the next time you go out, find those objects again and look for a few more. Figure out which of your eyepieces help you the most. Maybe (just maybe) you'll need one or two other eyepieces to start with, but keep the buying urge in check for now. Get a real paper atlas and pore over the charts. I'm old-fashioned and like Norton's. That alone should keep you busy for some years.

 

George



#3 Mainemaksutov

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Posted 12 January 2017 - 12:54 PM

Geovermont 

 

I appreciate your thoughts on the purchases, however, truth be told it's not just me that I'm buying for... I have spurred quite an interest with my oldest son, my youngest and my nephew and I have been planning this for awhile now as I see the kids wrapped up in video games and never looking up. I may sound crazy but I can assure you, I am quite rational, just scratching a long term itch and bringing some kids along for the ride as far as they'd like to go. I am attempting to learn the ins and outs basics quickly so that I can continue to foster their interest as well as my own. I am planning a messier hunt challenge for the next weekend that's clear which may be this one. I am looking for some help with the easiest objects to locate with the scopes I currently have. 

 You are very correct on the time outside. I have been out every night that there Is anything to see even with it freezing outside and every morning viewing Jupiter at around 4 am until it fades from view due to rising of the sun at just a bit past 7. A paper atlas? What is that? I'm joking. I will admit to never using one though. I've read that until well versed in them that they can be tough to manage because of a mental jungle gym of flipping and reversing objects when tying to locate them in the sky. And yes, it's been so cold out that I can stand it for a short bit and then come in and warm up which in turn shatters my night adapted eyes. I did forgot about double stars though... good thought and I will look up these charts as well. Thank you, sir. 


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#4 Justin Fuller

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Posted 12 January 2017 - 01:32 PM

For your current scopes and your coming 10" I recommend getting a Telrad finder https://www.amazon.c...t/dp/B0000ALKAN and a 9x50 RACI finder like http://www.telescope...Scopes/e/49.uts , if you get bases for them for each scope you can swap them out for use on a particular scope. These make navigating intuitive and easy. To aid navigation I recommend a Planisphere like http://www.telescope...c/52/p/4110.uts and a map like http://www.telescope...c/52/p/4150.uts .  For this time of year, just after dark, some of the best DSOs visible with your current scopes are M31, M36, M37, M38, and M42.


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#5 Mainemaksutov

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Posted 12 January 2017 - 01:50 PM

Thank you Justin! I was just back to the internet trying to hunt for the best (most obvious=easy) objects that I could see with what I currently have for scopes. May be some cloud breaks tonight and I can "try" my hand at locating at least one. One would be good and then being able to repeat it whenever I want to will be my goal followed by more. I have the easy finder ii on both OTA. I admit... they seem a bit chintzy but the telrad would be a great upgrade. A planosphere... now that would be too easy. I will indeed be ordering one. Thanks again Justin.

#6 Justin Fuller

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Posted 12 January 2017 - 02:19 PM

You're welcome. You'll indeed find the Telad much better than the EZ-Finder; others prefer the Rigel QuickFinder due to it's smaller "footprint", it's good too, but I prefer the 4° reticle the Telrad has for navigation. You'll get the hang of star-hopping pretty quickly, and the 9x50 finder/Telrad combo will make it that much easier. If it's visible tonight for you, M42 will be the easiest to find: just below Orion's belt stars, which will be low in the South-East after sunset; It's one of the, if not the most impressive visual object in the night sky, you'll find yourself revisiting it often.

 

As far as cold weather observing, I recommend water-proof insulated boots, wool socks, "long johns" underwear, , insulated ski pants, a wool vest, oversized insulated coat, ear muffs and wool hat. Everything should be slightly loose to allow freedom of movement. I've observed with this type of get up into the single digit temps and was comfortable, a variation (more layering) will work in colder temps. A thermos of hot cocoa (not coffee) is also your friend.


Edited by Justin Fuller, 12 January 2017 - 02:34 PM.

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#7 Mainemaksutov

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Posted 12 January 2017 - 02:36 PM

Justin,
I have heard that Orion Nebula is indeed just that... brilliant. I can just see the bottom of the belt with the trees on my property the way that they are. I'll have to check tonight and see where the nebula is located based on my tree "issue" and go from there... provides the clouds break.

I have heard of both of the finders you mentioned but not tried either of them but have read good of both. Maybe I'll get both and try them and see which one rings my bell. The easy finder I feel like is a child's toy and easy to break. Did I mention they seem to shift out of alignment as well? I dunno.

#8 Mainemaksutov

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Posted 12 January 2017 - 02:41 PM

Justin,
I missed the second part of your last message, I was using my iPhone and didn't scroll far enough. Yeah, it's warm here right now and raining and in the 40's then dropping to 2F or lower tomorrow night. I am out in the cold all the time plowing etc but I'm moving when I'm out of the truck dealing with the snow. Sitting or standing still is something I'm not used to doing with the temps that low. Your ideas are all quite sound! I almost considered bringing out a propane 100,000 btu heater and aiming it as to not interfere with the OTA but as a heat source. Last week at -9F standing air temp with feels like temps close to -20F my eyes were making ice on the eye pieces.

#9 Justin Fuller

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Posted 12 January 2017 - 02:56 PM

Provided clouds aren't in the way, M42 is worth waiting to allow it to get higher in the sky. If this your first time seeing The Great Orion Nebula (M42), I envy you, it's kin to viewing Saturn for the first time. I use both Telrad and 9x50 finders on my 16"; the Telrad to get near my target, and the 9x50 to zero in on it. As long as some pattern of ~8 magnitude stars (limit of my SkyAtlas 2000) are visible I can find just about anything visible in the 16". If I had just one or the other, navigation would not be so easy, it's the combo that allow easy finding. The Telrad is very solid, and will hardly ever perceptibly shift over the night; magnified finder scopes will almost always shift a small degree over a night of use, you just have to get used to recalibrating them every couple of hours.



#10 Mainemaksutov

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Posted 12 January 2017 - 03:07 PM

I have never seen m42 before. When I see it, it will be for the first time with my own eyes. I tried before but nearly froze or it was snowing or ice storm but I really want to. I will wait until it's higher in the sky, no issue there. I've only seen to date: the moon (yup, even I couldn't miss that one), Jupiter almost daily, Venus, and mars as well as some individual stars of course. I am waiting for Saturn. Patiently. Too low for me to see it as the sun is hot on its heels. As far as the finders go, the one on my little mak is pretty solid but the other is, well, not.

#11 Justin Fuller

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Posted 12 January 2017 - 03:29 PM

You are in for a treat. I recommend this site http://www.cleardark...scope accessory it shows you 48 hours of pretty accurate forecast, and dark skies close to you (for example Baxter State Park has excellent dark skies). It's very helpful to me to judge whether it's worth going out to the desert to observe, I don't make the effort to trek to dark skies unless the forecast is 10% or less cloudy, average or better transparency and seeing, and wind is 5mph or less; otherwise I stick to observing from home.


Edited by Justin Fuller, 12 January 2017 - 03:31 PM.


#12 Mainemaksutov

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Posted 12 January 2017 - 05:01 PM

Well that makes sense. It must be nice not to be hampered by the cold half of the year! Baxter is a long ways from me but where I live there is no shortage of dark skies but what I do have against me is the amount of trees! They don't call Maine the pine tree state for nothing. Not a lot of clearings and this time of year it could be three feet of snow. But I am checking out the other site right now on my iPad. What is the scope that you run? Or scopes I should say.

#13 Justin Fuller

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Posted 12 January 2017 - 05:32 PM

These days I mainly use a 16" Meade Lightbridge Dobsonian. I have a Celestron 8" Schmidt-Cassegrain that I use when I'm on (non dark sky specific) road trips, space permitting, with a CG-4 manual EQ mount. If space is tight I'll take my Celestron 80mm ED refractor instead on the same mount. I also use the 8" and 80mm (mostly the 80mm) for DSLR astrophotography on my Celestron ASGT equatorial mount.



#14 sg6

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Posted 12 January 2017 - 05:59 PM

For a simple Messier hunt there are 3 in Auriga, then you have M42 and M45.

Suggest that you use something like Stellarium, set location and then set the DSO magnitude to 6 or 8 (F4) and apply that.

All the dimmer DSO's disappear and you are left with the "brighter" ones.

Then work through the easy constellations Ursa Maj, Auriga, Cassiopeia, Perseus, Orion, Taurus and Leo makes short lists of what is in each one. That way each bunch is in one local area of the sky.

 

While the moon is full(ish) many will be difficult as it tends to wash them out.

 

If memory serves me then on THe Astronomy League one of their programs is a Messier selection for binoculars.

 

Not sure what eyepieces you have but for the 90 Mak if you do not have one then get a 40mm plossl and/or a 30mm one. I was using a 90mm Mak last night and the best thing I did was drop a 40mm in it.



#15 Mainemaksutov

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Posted 12 January 2017 - 06:24 PM

Well I am a tiny bit jealous... telescope envy. Sad really.
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#16 Mainemaksutov

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Posted 12 January 2017 - 06:41 PM

Sg6-
For my mak I have a 25mm plossl and a 15mm. I also have some
Orion wide expanse in 6 and 15mm. Some crappy kellners in 9 and 12 a shorty Barlow and 3x Celestron Barlow. A 40mm... never thought of running a 40mm in it. Was was the field of the 40?

Just for the hell of it my son and I intentionally ran my 4.5 newt to 377x last week on Venus and the moon because they're so bright by stacking the barlows. We did it as a joke. We were amazed that the image was clear and sharp contrasts. Focal length of the newt is 400mm. We were pretty surprised the image held together.

The app I have at the moment is stalk walk 2. I don't own a regular computer just iPads and iPhones at the moment. I'll have to see if I can get stellarium for the apple OS. We haven't seen any Messier objects yet so... rain go away! Learning the star hopping is what I'm on to now and I find it a bit daunting.

#17 ascii

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Posted 12 January 2017 - 07:50 PM

Stellarium for iOS ($2.99) seems to have mixed reviews on the App Store. It is a port of the official app.  The original is available for Linux, macOS and Windows.  The original is also free.

 

As far as iOS, most people seem very happy with SkySafari.  It's not free.  I can't see the price since I purchased it.  Be sure to get version 5 not 4.  They sell both.  It comes in regular, plus and Pro flavors. I don't recall the differences, but I splurged for the Pro version. 


Edited by ascii, 12 January 2017 - 07:56 PM.


#18 zawijava

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Posted 12 January 2017 - 08:14 PM

Hello all,

 

 I am new to this sight and astronomy (the actual act that is, have been interested in the  heavens for 30+ years and know a fair amount the subject) and as my screen name says, I live in Maine. Yup. Freezing my a@& off at the moment but after many years of fighting the risk of addiction, I've purchased my first scope just before xmas... and then a week later a second...now looking at ordering another one.... oh and one more. Just one more! Promise! This is going to be an issue.

 Anyway, I am trying to learn the sky and the locations of obejects that I can see with a 4.5" Newtonian as well as a 90mm mak. Been attacking the moon now that it's back (wolf moon last night) and the planets and learning some of the stars as I go but no DSO stuff. Mainly because I'm battling setting circles and are getting ready to abandon the little buggers for now and trying to learn star hopping. A lot of the things that I see listed on line and in my star apps are things that I find out AFTER searching for them that I need bigger aperture to see. Does anyone have any ideas per chance? I am ordering a 10" Skywatcher dob and either a 150mm mak or 180mm. Not sure yet. Fighting the urge not to wimp out here and use a goto mount to find things. Seriously, goto isn't wimping out... I'm just trying to learn old school first before going that route as I don't want to give up just yet on the manual part. The exploring is half the fun. 

 Thanks to any who may respond! 

Where in Maine? We have some great Astronomy Clubs here in Maine with lots of fine people. Here in southern Maine it's http://www.asnne.org Astronomical Society of Northern New England, Kennebunk ME

or Southern Maine Astronomers, Portland ME

 

but more Club's dot the landscape all along the coast as far Down East as you can go…Eastport ME


Edited by zawijava, 12 January 2017 - 08:16 PM.


#19 Mainemaksutov

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Posted 12 January 2017 - 08:31 PM

Zawijava- I'm near Sebago Lake. I've spoken to Robert with the astronomical society and he is a great guy. I was trying to get to the planetarium for a meeting but I couldn't make it. I'd love to be able to speak with people in my area and go to a star party or two!

#20 MikeBOKC

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Posted 13 January 2017 - 08:58 AM

I will guarantee that if you get involved with a local club and start attending their events your knowledge and skill will grow exponentially. I'd also suggest holding off on further purchases until you attend a star party or two and try the views through a wide range of scopes and eyepieces there. I often say to newbies, you would not buy a car without test driving it; same applies to a scope.


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#21 Mainemaksutov

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Posted 13 January 2017 - 09:01 AM

Ascii,

 

sky safari is running 59.99 for the 5 version which as you stated, is the only one to get. I am getting the app regardless shortly after reviewing it. It's freaking amazing. I too will get the top version. Also, I am changing scope choices around and getting a Skywatcher 8" dob (for moving off site easily) and then saving for a 14"+ goto dob that sky safari can be used with later. In fact, I may later build a platform and install a pier and snag a small plastic dome observatory to house the future dob. 


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#22 Mainemaksutov

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Posted 13 January 2017 - 11:36 AM

MikeBOKC,

 

 I agree with what you're saying. I'm not too worried about the money invested in the scopes however. I want to try a bunch of different scopes but I also know what types I like so far since I have a small newt and mak. Bigger of both to start. I am a gun collector and have been for years and I have a decent number of them. Some I shoot, some I just look at. I like the aspects of them all.

 However!!!.... your right... attend star parties and I will when some come up that I find out about. I can tell already that not all scopes are the same even though they may of the same breed, just like cars as you stated. I'm NOT purchasing any refractors or Schmitt- cassegrains until I get to try them out first, no matter the reviews. The two I have I did a lot of research on based on bang for buck and to cheaply try out these types, and I found that I like them so adding larger maks and newts make sense based on reviews of others. I hope I'm not sounding like a jerk or anything here because I appreciate all the help and thoughts from folks. 

 

Best,

sean 



#23 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 13 January 2017 - 04:05 PM

Sean,

 

While it does not specifically deal with purchasing telescopes, you may find some of the information presented in my post (#22) at http://www.cloudynig...ur-astronomers/ informative.

 

Dave Mitsky



#24 Mainemaksutov

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Posted 13 January 2017 - 04:55 PM

Dave! That's quite the treasure trove of information! Thank you! I'll be digging in that for quite some time. 



#25 Cpk133

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Posted 15 January 2017 - 11:06 AM

A pair of 10 X 50 binoculars are a great observing tool when it's freezing cold outside.  They make for really quick sessions.  If you have light pollution, they can help find fainter objects / reference stars with their wide fields.  When it's single digits, I do my astronomy through my kitchen windows with binoculars or a small refractor at low power.  


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