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What observers Down Under would love to see in northern skies

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#1 Bob King

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 10:09 AM

Hi everyone,

 

I'm writing an article about what southern observers look forward to seeing on a trip to the northern hemisphere. I assume the Pole Star and Big Dipper are a couple of the hoped-for sights, but what else would you love to see? I know northerners look forward to the Magellanic Clouds, 47 Tucanae, the Jewelbox and Southern Cross when we finally get a chance for a trip south. Thanks! Bob King



#2 PETER DREW

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 10:17 AM

That's about it I think.   lol.gif


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#3 Adun

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 10:40 AM

Polaris.

I live at 3°N, and most often there's trees, mountains or something blocking sight of Polaris.

Although to be honest, last December I took a telescope to a remote beach at 11°N and I spent more time looking at Carina, Omega Centauri and the crux. (and Andromeda, Orion, M45, etc of course)

#4 MG1692

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 11:31 AM

As a transplanted southerner, aside from Polaris, I was fascinated with seeing Orion standing right way up. M51 was a biggie personally. And was curious to see how M13 compared with its southern brethren.

 

Perhaps not a common desire but I had never seen M31 down south, although many southern observers have seen it.  My northern horizons were always really bad.

 

Seeing Cygnus and Cassiopeia was cool, but I would not say either was a bucket list item. 



#5 Love Cowboy

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 12:55 PM

As a transplanted southerner, aside from Polaris, I was fascinated with seeing Orion standing right way up. M51 was a biggie personally. And was curious to see how M13 compared with its southern brethren.

 

Perhaps not a common desire but I had never seen M31 down south, although many southern observers have seen it.  My northern horizons were always really bad.

 

Seeing Cygnus and Cassiopeia was cool, but I would not say either was a bucket list item. 

I would imagine M13 was a bit of a disappointment for you.  As someone who lives far enough south to at least see Omega Centauri, though not in its full glory, I can tell how much it would blow M13 out of the water from a southerly latitude. 



#6 ilovecomets

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 01:06 PM

Depending on where in Southern Hemisphere these may not be visible and would be worth looking for:

 

  • M57
  • M27
  • Albireo
  • Double Cluster
  • Coat Hanger
  • M101
  • M51
  • M97
  • Mizar


#7 MG1692

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 02:40 PM

 

As a transplanted southerner, aside from Polaris, I was fascinated with seeing Orion standing right way up. M51 was a biggie personally. And was curious to see how M13 compared with its southern brethren.

 

Perhaps not a common desire but I had never seen M31 down south, although many southern observers have seen it.  My northern horizons were always really bad.

 

Seeing Cygnus and Cassiopeia was cool, but I would not say either was a bucket list item. 

I would imagine M13 was a bit of a disappointment for you.  As someone who lives far enough south to at least see Omega Centauri, though not in its full glory, I can tell how much it would blow M13 out of the water from a southerly latitude. 

 

But on the other hand M13 is better than 107 other globular clusters out there :) But Omega Cent has this really weird optical effect that seems to almost give it a 3D quality. Unfortunately I have never seen a photo that did this justice.



#8 herschelobjects

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 03:35 PM

A decade ago I spent two weeks observing the deep sky from the Atacama Desert in Chile at latitude –23°S. At midnight looking north I could easily see the Big Dipper which stood six to twelve degrees above the northern horizon, the “Ursa Major” portion of the constellation stood higher still, of course. Because of the time of year (it was March), I didn’t see Cassiopeia but knew that six months later, it too would easily clear the northern horizon. It struck me at the time that at this general latitude, literally EVERY showpiece deep sky object in the sky, north or south, could be observed, with these exceptions: M81, M82 and NGC6543 (Cat’s Eye nebula). Naturally, there are many more northern objects that would appear low on the northern horizon (examples: M101, M51, the Double Cluster, NGC6946, M106) and would suffer greatly because of atmospheric extinction, but they could at least be seen. And if you were landlocked in Australia, for instance, you could travel to the north coast where objects like M51 and M101 would culminate at about 28° above the northern horizon. In South America or Africa one can easily travel much farther north than –23°S without ever getting on an airplane. So the question would be: as a southerner, would it be worth several thousand dollars in airfare and accommodation costs to observe three deep sky objects best seen from the northern hemisphere? I know going the other way it was well worth the cost to me (I’m a Canadian living at +49°N, my southern horizon is –41°S). Alpha and Beta Centauri, the Magellanic Clouds, the Tarantula, 47 Tuc, Omega Centauri and at least a dozen other spectacular globular clusters, Eta Carinae (and the plethora of spectacular star clusters in the Carina Milky Way), the Southern Cross, the Jewel Box and breathtaking galaxies like NGC55, NGC300, NGC1313, NGC1566 and many others. I observed every night from dusk to dawn for two weeks and I barely scratched the surface. I will be going back again, someday... The only thing to see in the northern sky that might make a trip to Canada or Scandinavia worthwhile? The Aurora Borealis.



#9 Tony Flanders

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 03:50 PM

There was a long thread on this subject not very long ago. Sorry, I don't remember which forum.

 

For my money, the two best  sights not visible from significantly south of the equator are the Double Cluster and the M81/M82 pair.

 

Farther south, both M51 and M31 are quite a bit of a strain for observers in the Southern Hemisphere. M31 in particular is theoretically visible from most inhabited places in the Southern Hemisphere, but it's one thing to see something right on the horizon and another entirely to see it overhead.


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#10 MEE

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 03:59 PM

https://www.cloudyni...orthern object”



#11 havasman

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 04:14 PM

Observers from both S Africa and Australia were most keen to see the M81/82 galaxy pair when I took them to the SE Oklahoma dark site. Other multi-galaxy fields also proved interesting for them.

I think Allan still has not gotten a shot at Palomar 1, AFAIK the only Milky Glob he's not yet seen, and I hope we get a shot at it next time it's in range when he's in town.


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#12 Adun

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 04:40 PM

So the question would be: as a southerner, would it be worth several thousand dollars in airfare and accommodation costs to observe three deep sky objects best seen from the northern hemisphere? I know going the other way it was well worth the cost to me


Well, not for me at least.

 

I live in Colombia, and I do intend to take one of my scopes on my future trips to Peru and Galapagos Islands. I might make an astronomy trip to Chile one day, but I don't plan to bring a scope to my next trip to the U.S.

 

One reason is that the currency exchange rates make trips to the US/EU a lot more expensive for us, than it is for northeners to come to the south.

 

Another reason would be the relative value of northern showcase objects compared to other things to do up north. In my mind, the expense of a trip north is worth it to bring the family to Disney World, or for touring Europe, or something like that, but not for astronomy purposes.


Edited by Adun, 07 March 2018 - 04:42 PM.


#13 Tony Flanders

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 04:53 PM

Another reason would be the relative value of northern showcase objects compared to other things to do up north. In my mind, the expense of a trip north is worth it to bring the family to Disney World, or for touring Europe, or something like that, but not for astronomy purposes.


I only once in my life traveled far with astronomy as my primary goal. (To Chile, in case you're wondering.) And there were other, very high-priority goals as well, notably seeing the world's second-highest mountain range. The Atacama Desert may be the single thing I remember longest from that trip; I have never before been in a place where there was absolutely no sign of life, big or small, as far as I could see.

My point is that in practice one usually makes a trip for multiple reasons. There are tons of wonderful things to see in the U.S., and as long as you're there, why not engage in some astronomy as well?
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#14 Tony Flanders

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 08:07 PM

I only once in my life traveled far with astronomy as my primary goal.


I take that back. I made quite a few long-distance trips with astronomy as the primary goal when I was working at Sky & Telescope -- but obviously it's different when you're getting paid to do it. And even so, almost all those trips had important non-astronomy activities mixed in.

The other case of traveling long distances specifically for astronomy is total solar eclipses. Those are really rare and precious; if you don't travel, you probably will never see one.



#15 Bob King

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 08:30 PM

Hi everyone,

 

Thanks for your enthusiastic replies and suggestions. Keep 'em comin'! I also appreciate the link to the earlier thread on the topic. It's fun to see the sky I've seen for life from a different point of view.



#16 Adun

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 08:52 PM

My point is that in practice one usually makes a trip for multiple reasons. There are tons of wonderful things to see in the U.S., and as long as you're there, why not engage in some astronomy as well?

 

Well, that's just how I feel.

 

I will take a scope south for a better sight of Omega Centauri, the magellanic clouds and Carina, or north for a stay at a dark site (like my december Caribbean beach vacation), but not north to light polluted cities in the US or Europe, which is where I'm likely to be when I travel there.

 

Scopes and tripods do take up some space on luggage, and seem to grab the attention of the airport x-ray operators. Staying up late and/or waking up early while my wife sleeps, and then being sleepy during the day, is ok on a relaxed beach vacation but not ideal on a more active one (or on a tour).

 

Again, that's just how I feel, living at 3°N

 

On the other hand, I have not visited the US since I took the hobby, so what's certain to happen next time I travel there, is I'll purchase some astronomy stuff to bring back home with me, saving me a lot on the international shipping that I normally have to incurr anytime I buy even a used eyepiece. Most likely that's when I'll buy my first APO.



#17 havasman

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 09:48 PM

 

On the other hand, I have not visited the US since I took the hobby, so what's certain to happen next time I travel there, is I'll purchase some astronomy stuff to bring back home with me, saving me a lot on the international shipping that I normally have to incur anytime I buy even a used eyepiece. Most likely that's when I'll buy my first APO.

Yes, absolutely. That is certainly something southern observers are really stoked over when they come to the US - the relatively low cost marketplace. And if they can rig some way around the customs charges as well as the delivery fees the savings can be huge.


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#18 BrooksObs

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Posted 07 March 2018 - 10:58 PM

Over the decades I've had several prominent deep southern hemisphere observers of note as house guests, both from Australia and South Africa, taking them out to observe from my observatory housing a 12.5" Newtonian working under my then Bortle class 1 skies.  They noted that they could see pretty much the best of the North's celestial objects back at home, although most were situated at a relatively low altitude in their skies.

 

Beyond simply seeing Polaris, their most requested object was M31. However, in spite of the excellent skies and the fairly large instrument for that era, they were largely disappointed...one responding, "Is that all there is to it? John, you need to come south and I'll give you a look are some real celestial sights." When I eventually did make my way to the deep southern sky I saw just what they meant. Dang...we up here sure got short changed!

 

BrooksObs 


Edited by BrooksObs, 07 March 2018 - 11:00 PM.

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#19 Allan Wade

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Posted 08 March 2018 - 06:31 AM

It’s not so much about seeing objects in the north, as I can see plenty of the showpieces from 32S. What I enjoy about observing from the northern hemisphere is seeing these objects high in the sky. The other thing I like seeing in the north is all my good astro mates.



#20 edwincjones

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Posted 08 March 2018 - 06:41 AM

double double

 

I went to New Zealand in 2003, stayed in an astronomy B&B,

and was shown the southern sights

My host wanted to see the double-double

so we lugged his 13.1" scope up the stairs

from back yard to higher front to see the double stars in Lyra

 

edj



#21 HellsKitchen

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Posted 08 March 2018 - 07:22 AM

I'm at 34*S and my dark sky site has perfect horizons all round. I've used my 8" to view M57 and the Veil Nebula, both objects were amazing. It was last winter I observed the Veil for the first time, the experience really left an impression on me, a very impressive object.

 

I can see M51, the Cygnus star clouds and the North American Nebula from my site, but never actually observed it. The Double Double, M13, M33, M31 and the California Nebula are well within my reach. 

 

The M81/82 is the major northern showpiece that is out of my reach. 


Edited by HellsKitchen, 08 March 2018 - 07:41 AM.

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#22 wargrafix

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Posted 09 March 2018 - 09:15 AM

 

 

As a transplanted southerner, aside from Polaris, I was fascinated with seeing Orion standing right way up. M51 was a biggie personally. And was curious to see how M13 compared with its southern brethren.

 

Perhaps not a common desire but I had never seen M31 down south, although many southern observers have seen it.  My northern horizons were always really bad.

 

Seeing Cygnus and Cassiopeia was cool, but I would not say either was a bucket list item. 

I would imagine M13 was a bit of a disappointment for you.  As someone who lives far enough south to at least see Omega Centauri, though not in its full glory, I can tell how much it would blow M13 out of the water from a southerly latitude. 

 

But on the other hand M13 is better than 107 other globular clusters out there smile.gif But Omega Cent has this really weird optical effect that seems to almost give it a 3D quality. Unfortunately I have never seen a photo that did this justice.

 

Do I come close?

 

gallery_218407_321_415229.jpg



#23 goodricke1

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Posted 09 March 2018 - 09:48 AM

Over the decades I've had several prominent deep southern hemisphere observers of note as house guests, both from Australia and South Africa, taking them out to observe from my observatory housing a 12.5" Newtonian working under my then Bortle class 1 skies.  They noted that they could see pretty much the best of the North's celestial objects back at home, although most were situated at a relatively low altitude in their skies.

 

Beyond simply seeing Polaris, their most requested object was M31. However, in spite of the excellent skies and the fairly large instrument for that era, they were largely disappointed...one responding, "Is that all there is to it? John, you need to come south and I'll give you a look are some real celestial sights." When I eventually did make my way to the deep southern sky I saw just what they meant. Dang...we up here sure got short changed!

 

BrooksObs 

If they were looking at M31 through a 12.5" instrument, I'm not surprised they were disappointed. It is far too expansive to be viewed optimally in such a large scope. Hand them a pair of strong binoculars and they would most likely have been impressed.


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#24 davidmcgo

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Posted 09 March 2018 - 10:32 AM

I disagree with M31 not being impressive in a big scope.  Under dark skies I really like kicking the power up to 200x or so on my 15" and can really start to see knots and hints of structure in the dark lanes and star clouds.  It becomes many fields of view long, but is well worth the effort.  Same with M33.  

 

With my 15" f4.5 Obsession, when I drop back down to a 30mm XW, I can frame with M32 and 110 also in the filed and the core is very bright and dust lanes prominent.  

 

Maybe in the old days with low power and small AFOV eyepieces it would lack some grandeur, but is is the best closest spiral we can see.

 

That said, the LMC showed more detail probably in 15x50 Canon image stabilized binoculars from Lake Tekapo in New Zealand.  

 

Dave


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#25 noisejammer

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Posted 09 March 2018 - 02:24 PM

I travel back and forth. The only object that I really can't find a better example in the southern skies is the double cluster in Perseus.


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