Jump to content


CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Planning observing sessions with CPC 1100

  • Please log in to reply
8 replies to this topic

#1 adamsdp


    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 143
  • Joined: 18 Feb 2005

Posted 16 May 2018 - 09:18 PM

I have a telescope that I am finally using regularly - a CPC 1100 and wondering what would be a good way to plan observing sessions.  I have a good selection of star charts and observing books and so far have put sticky notes on pages that correspond to sections of the sky that will be in an observable section of the sky in my backyard.   I am wondering how many use software to plan their sessions and if so, is it in general a better way to go or is it more of a way to supplement the paper star charts and observing guides such as Deep Sky Wonders.  It would be nice to filter out sections of the sky that are blocked by trees or my house and also to narrow to categories such as double stars and clusters if desired.  For those who use software, what is a good program to use?  Thanks!

Edited by adamsdp, 16 May 2018 - 09:19 PM.

#2 AnalogKid


    Ranger 4

  • *****
  • Posts: 359
  • Joined: 12 Dec 2017
  • Loc: North/West of Pittsburgh PA

Posted 16 May 2018 - 09:57 PM

I use:





Both very handy and you can filter on what you want to see.

  • alstarjoey likes this

#3 aeajr


    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 10370
  • Joined: 26 Jun 2015
  • Loc: Long Island, New York, USA

Posted 21 May 2018 - 01:33 PM

This is my approach.  I don't use paper charts much.   


Create a list of targets sorted by constellation using Tonight's Sky -

#4 GeneT


    Ely Kid

  • *****
  • Posts: 15265
  • Joined: 07 Nov 2008
  • Loc: South Texas

Posted 21 May 2018 - 04:20 PM

I am a visual observer only and an old timer. There are a lot of great astronomy Apps, and Internet sites to plan a viewing session. I still prefer a planisphere and some good star charts like Sky Atlas 2000.0 Field Laminated edition. I like to spend most of my viewing time on one or two constellations each viewing session, getting to know them in depth, then peel off some other objects scattered around the night sky.  

  • MP173 likes this

#5 nimitz69



  • *****
  • Posts: 401
  • Joined: 21 Apr 2017
  • Loc: A barrier island 18 miles south of Cocoa Beach

Posted 22 May 2018 - 02:08 PM

I use SkySafari 5+.  Download to your iPad and iPhone.  Easy to use and has a ton of great features. You can upload a panoramic image of your backyard to use as a background but l never bothered since it doesn't take long to learn what portions of the sky are 'off limits' to you since it doesn't change and simply plan around it ...

#6 HenryB


    Vostok 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 149
  • Joined: 11 Jan 2013

Posted 22 May 2018 - 02:22 PM

I created a list of objects per constellation that are within my reach. Then you only need to recognize which constellations are within view.

#7 PNW


    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 77
  • Joined: 07 Sep 2017
  • Loc: Lummi Island, WA

Posted 22 May 2018 - 02:40 PM

I think the best advice is to keep a log. I use a spiral notebook with date and place. I use the margin for a target list and have room for notes about obstructions, best magnifications, and general comments. Tonights sky and dso browser are great listing the targets so as to circle the sky in one session. Every time I run across an interesting catalog (CN had a link to colored doubles) I make a printout for my 3 ring binder. The hard part is trying to compile a target list from all these resources. I'm approaching 1 year into this and hope to repeat target lists from last year.

#8 Arizona-Ken


    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1875
  • Joined: 31 Aug 2008
  • Loc: Scottsdale, Arizona

Posted 26 May 2018 - 09:42 AM

I went through this process several years ago, when software was not so advanced. I took some good sources, the Saguaro Astronomy Club databases, the NGC/IC project, the Herschel 400 list, Burnham's Celestial Handbooks, and made a spreadsheet-based master list of objects down to about mag 14, and sorted by constellation. It was a lot of work, but I have been using it since then.


I also keep a log of my observations. This combination keeps me focussed when I observe, and I don't suffer from the problem of looking at the same things over and over again just because I don't know what else to do.


Arizona Ken

#9 aeajr


    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 10370
  • Joined: 26 Jun 2015
  • Loc: Long Island, New York, USA

Posted 26 May 2018 - 11:20 AM

I post an observation report after each night's session in this thread.



Later I gather them up into a Word document that I can search.


At the end of each year I count up the number of observation sessions I did that year.

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Recent Topics

Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics