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How many objects/hour do you observe?

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#26 jcj380

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Posted 26 June 2018 - 01:07 PM

I'm not sure what a "typical night" is for me.  I spend from 30 minutes up to 4 hours, depending on time of night, season, and location.  If I have to get up for work the next day, an hour is about the max this time of year.

 

I'm in heavy LP and use a combo of alt-az coords and also starhopping.  Sometimes, I'm lucky if I find one new object the whole session.  Not that it's not there, it's just it's too washed out.

 

I always try to end a session with a look at *something* - an open cluster or a planet or a double, even if it's an "boring" target.  That way I end on a positive note instead of going inside frustrated.



#27 Keith Rivich

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Posted 26 June 2018 - 09:49 PM

If I am doing gee whiz for public observing usually about 5 per hour.

Gee whiz for myself about 30 per hour.

Gee whiz for myself and friends about 15 per hour.

Difficult DSO's maybe 2 per hour.



#28 Tony Flanders

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Posted 27 June 2018 - 06:38 AM

A couple of weeks ago I spent two hours on M101. I barely cracked the cover on that most amazingly detailed galaxy. Sadly, it's getting too low for good observing now -- I'll probably devote a few more multi-hour sessions to it next spring.

I once spent an entire night, dusk to dawn, on the Large Magellanic Cloud.

On the other hand, I also like to check up on my old friends at the end of a session, when I'm too tired for serious study. That usually means viewing whatever planets are available, plus the seasonal Messier objects. That might add up to as many as 30 objects in 30 minutes.
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#29 Allan Wade

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Posted 27 June 2018 - 07:46 AM

My observing varies all over the place, depending where I am and what equipment I’m using. Some nights it’s 30 minutes and 5 objects with one of my refractors, others it’s a ten hour session with the 32”.

 

I built a list last year with a little over 300 objects and wizzed through it in one night to vett the quality of the objects. That was looking at a target every minute or two for hours on end, and I did it just to see what was possible. It was an interesting exercise, but not something I’d likely try again.



#30 Asbytec

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Posted 27 June 2018 - 09:14 AM

Folks seem to be all over the map looking at a few to many objects over a span of time. So am I at times and depending...

To me, however, when someone asks about "observing" the connotation is taking some time to observe a single object (its image, really).

When I used goto, of course we saved time and could zip through dozens of objects each night. I find this is really not observing in the sense we patiently study a single object gathering all the information we can possibly grasp from its image.

Observing actually requires a descent amount of time. An hour is not uncommon. Quick looks, and I'm guilty of them as well, are not really observing. It's looking. We look at objects in rapid succession, we observe with patience.
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#31 treadmarks

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Posted 27 June 2018 - 10:06 AM

I probably have a DSO night 1 or 2 times per season. And about 2 hours per DSO session. So I'm usually trying to cram in all the best objects for that season. I'm also relatively new to this so I'm still kind of surveying the sky and finding some favorites. For those reasons, it helps to have go-to because it really speeds up what I can find.

 

All that said I observe somewhere around 20 DSO on a typical night.



#32 Tony Flanders

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Posted 27 June 2018 - 12:59 PM

To me, however, when someone asks about "observing" the connotation is taking some time to observe a single object (its image, really) ... Observing actually requires a descent amount of time. An hour is not uncommon.

That depends on the object. When I'm working through a list of objects -- say all the objects observed by William Herschel -- many or most of them are faint galaxies that reveal very little detail no matter how long I look. It's always worth spending a few minutes to make sure that I've reached the limit of what I can see. But if I see no more after 6 minutes than after 3 minutes, it's time to move on to the next object.

 

One of the joys of such a list is that you always encounter little jewels -- objects that turn out to be much more interesting than you expect. So when observing ten objects, I might spend just a few minutes of 9 of them, and then 15 minutes on the next.


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#33 Redbetter

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Posted 27 June 2018 - 03:02 PM

That depends on the object. When I'm working through a list of objects -- say all the objects observed by William Herschel -- many or most of them are faint galaxies that reveal very little detail no matter how long I look. It's always worth spending a few minutes to make sure that I've reached the limit of what I can see. But if I see no more after 6 minutes than after 3 minutes, it's time to move on to the next object.

 

One of the joys of such a list is that you always encounter little jewels -- objects that turn out to be much more interesting than you expect. So when observing ten objects, I might spend just a few minutes of 9 of them, and then 15 minutes on the next.

 

That is a good summary of my approach.  If a galaxy appears to be just another elliptical, then other than looking for nearby companions or very faint stars, there is little to note.  If it is at the averted vision limit then I will be trying to detect a core and to see if the glow is uniform or brighter in some areas.  I look for elongation/position angle.  But in about 3 minutes I will be able to tell if there is any point to going deeper or if I am at the limit of what I am likely to see--at least without some guide showing me what to scrutinize for more detail.

 

With the big scope I often use lists as more of a jump off point.  I look at the object on the list, and explore the area around it for things in Uranometria, or any unidentified fuzzies that show up in the eyepiece.  Whole galaxy groups appear this way just beyond the depth of the atlas.  One of the unexpected "jewels" of such an approach recently was Hickson 56, a tight group of 5 galaxies which was just south of the bright galaxy NGC 3718...which itself was even more interesting than the Herschel 400 object I was targeting (NGC 3729, quite nice in its own right.) 


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#34 Asbytec

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Posted 27 June 2018 - 05:24 PM

That depends on the object. When I'm working through a list of objects -- say all the objects observed by William Herschel -- many or most of them are faint galaxies that reveal very little detail no matter how long I look. It's always worth spending a few minutes to make sure that I've reached the limit of what I can see. But if I see no more after 6 minutes than after 3 minutes, it's time to move on to the next object.

Good point, Tony. I normally observe an object until I'm sure there is nothing more to be seen or glimpsed. On productive objects with some difficult detail, that can take a while. If an object is not productive in the sense it offers some difficult and fleeting detail, yea, it doesn't take that long. I understand the concept of running across an unexpected gem.

 

I guess my practice of observing includes objects "within reach" of my aperture with the potential for some detail, be it a bright nucleus or a bright elongated core, or possibly a dust lane. I choose targets specifically for their potentially observable and interesting structure. Observing this level of detail "within reach" of the aperture can take time. Sometimes, after a short while, you can tell the observation is not going to be productive in terms of detail or not seen at all. 

 

One nice example is NGC 7479. It's a beautiful barred spiral, but you couldn't tell it from my sketch. After about an hour, I realized the arms were just not gonna be "observed". There was some detail, so it was rewarding just the same. I mean, this is what it "looks like" to me. I still haven't even glimpsed NGC 660, yet NGC 3115 turned out to be a real gem as did NGC 2683. 


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#35 Tony Flanders

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Posted 28 June 2018 - 07:27 AM

I guess my practice of observing includes objects "within reach" of my aperture with the potential for some detail, be it a bright nucleus or a bright elongated core, or possibly a dust lane.

Right. That's a fine kind of observing. There are many others.
 
A good chunk of my observing includes many objects that are beyond the reach of my scope -- not merely beyond the possibility of discerning any detail, but beyond the possibility of seeing the object at all. With such an object, most of the "observing" time is spent simply trying to find it within my eyepiece's field of view. A list of objects isn't challenging unless I fail on a good fraction of them.
 
Oddly enough, if I can see a galaxy at all -- even intermittently, with averted vision -- I can usually make out some rudimentary detail, such as the degree of concentration and the position angle of elongation. My notes are filled with entries to the effect "not quite sure I'm seeing this galaxy, but if I do, it points SE-NW".


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#36 Feidb

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Posted 28 June 2018 - 04:07 PM

A lot of my fuzzies are just that, extremely faint smudges that are barely detectable with averted vision. THAT'S what I live for! Then, when I find something brighter with detail, that's a nice bonus!


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#37 Procyon

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Posted 29 June 2018 - 10:55 PM

From my backyard I can go for 3-30 objects per night within 2-5hr sessions. I'll never pace and just move on to another target as I feel. From dark sites, a pre made list is probably best to have, especially if there are views of the horizon from every cardinal point.

Sticking to your original plan, if you started with one, is another story.

Prefer to pan to different targets that are on the opposite side of a city light source at dark sites or towards Zenith from the backyard to maximize quality views.

I've been enjoying globular clusters M5, M3, M13 & M92 on every decent night from my backyard, those have been great showpieces since April-May. Before that it was galaxies. It was a great spring.

Most important is to enjoy what you see every night, whether it's one object or 100.

Edited by Procyon, 30 June 2018 - 08:51 AM.


#38 TOMDEY

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Posted 29 June 2018 - 10:59 PM

I realize the answer to this question is probably: "it varies"

If you were to say on a typical night, how many objects/hour are you observing? Does it depend on an evening's observing program?

Saaaayyyy... Suppose one wants to OFFICIALLY observe (look at, see, log) More celestial objects (cept single stars) in one night, than anyone else in history? I think that might be pretty easy to pull off:

 

You get an agile, precise, big, ergonomic GoTo scope under great dark skies and pre-program it to dead-center pre-selected Giant List of objects. The Computer (and and/or assistant) announces each object as the scope slews and locks on coordinates. e.g. assistant, "M13 Great Globular." Observer, "Thar she blows! Giant ball o' stars dead center... NEXT!" ... Hour after hour, nebulae, clusters, galaxies, double stars... each and every one dead center. The list criterion is that the objects are not too crazy tough for this scope... things that an experienced, able-bodied observer can see fairly easily with this big, precise scope under these excellent conditions. Every object is locked dead-center and you blurt out a few words describing it. About one in ten is an intentional negative (dead sky) location, trying to get you to claim you see what is not there. e.g. "NGCabcd small galaxy." The appropriate response is, "Umm Uh Ummm... No Sighting... Next!" So, it goes on like that, hour after hour...

 

The scope could even have a motorized parfocal eyepiece turret, filters, etc. auto-optimized for each target. You could smoke cigars thru the same tube that water and Hershey's Syrup come thru... Got it all figured!

 

I’ll bet one could log 100 viewed objects an hour for 15 hours, with 99% accuracy (the other 1% comprising true negatives and false positives).

 

Some experienced witnesses would be monitoring the session and, of course, the Guinness Representative would be there, Officially recording the event.

 

Tom

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#39 rowdy388

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Posted 29 June 2018 - 11:41 PM

My style is generally fast and loose using memory to guide me. However I often find myself

pausing surprising long periods when a target strikes a chord in me. Many of my favorites I'll

just observe for a few seconds as my main goal is often to just reinforce their location in my

memory. Any planets observable are reserved until the end of the session except those in the

west. In that case I use my other eye to preserve dark adaptation in my dominant eye. 



#40 Starman1

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Posted 30 June 2018 - 08:44 AM

Saaaayyyy... Suppose one wants to OFFICIALLY observe (look at, see, log) More celestial objects (cept single stars) in one night, than anyone else in history? I think that might be pretty easy to pull off:

 

You get an agile, precise, big, ergonomic GoTo scope under great dark skies and pre-program it to dead-center pre-selected Giant List of objects. The Computer (and and/or assistant) announces each object as the scope slews and locks on coordinates. e.g. assistant, "M13 Great Globular." Observer, "Thar she blows! Giant ball o' stars dead center... NEXT!" ... Hour after hour, nebulae, clusters, galaxies, double stars... each and every one dead center. The list criterion is that the objects are not too crazy tough for this scope... things that an experienced, able-bodied observer can see fairly easily with this big, precise scope under these excellent conditions. Every object is locked dead-center and you blurt out a few words describing it. About one in ten is an intentional negative (dead sky) location, trying to get you to claim you see what is not there. e.g. "NGCabcd small galaxy." The appropriate response is, "Umm Uh Ummm... No Sighting... Next!" So, it goes on like that, hour after hour...

 

The scope could even have a motorized parfocal eyepiece turret, filters, etc. auto-optimized for each target. You could smoke cigars thru the same tube that water and Hershey's Syrup come thru... Got it all figured!

 

I’ll bet one could log 100 viewed objects an hour for 15 hours, with 99% accuracy (the other 1% comprising true negatives and false positives).

 

Some experienced witnesses would be monitoring the session and, of course, the Guinness Representative would be there, Officially recording the event.

 

Tom

To get night that long between astronomical twilights would mean being at a high latitude in winter.  15 hours might require active heating.

But, at that rate, in a dark sky, you could see all a 12.5" can see in only about 30 sessions.



#41 Asbytec

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Posted 30 June 2018 - 10:20 AM

But, at that rate, in a dark sky, you could see all a 12.5" can see in only about 30 sessions.


That's a short career. :)

#42 Crusty99

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Posted 30 June 2018 - 07:30 PM

If you count set up and put away times and writing up the observation in a log of sorts -- then I am good if I can achieve one object every two or three hours. Just observing time -- none of the other time eaters -- I observe one to five objects per hour. Some objects I just follow across the the sky. Others all I need is a quick peek to give me a few goosebumps.

 

shrug.gif

Sorry -- I wish I could be more specific.



#43 optinuke

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Posted 19 June 2019 - 02:37 PM

Saaaayyyy... Suppose one wants to OFFICIALLY observe (look at, see, log) More celestial objects (cept single stars) in one night, than anyone else in history? I think that might be pretty easy to pull off:

 

You get an agile, precise, big, ergonomic GoTo scope under great dark skies and pre-program it to dead-center pre-selected Giant List of objects. The Computer (and and/or assistant) announces each object as the scope slews and locks on coordinates. e.g. assistant, "M13 Great Globular." Observer, "Thar she blows! Giant ball o' stars dead center... NEXT!" ... Hour after hour, nebulae, clusters, galaxies, double stars... each and every one dead center. The list criterion is that the objects are not too crazy tough for this scope... things that an experienced, able-bodied observer can see fairly easily with this big, precise scope under these excellent conditions. Every object is locked dead-center and you blurt out a few words describing it. About one in ten is an intentional negative (dead sky) location, trying to get you to claim you see what is not there. e.g. "NGCabcd small galaxy." The appropriate response is, "Umm Uh Ummm... No Sighting... Next!" So, it goes on like that, hour after hour...

 

The scope could even have a motorized parfocal eyepiece turret, filters, etc. auto-optimized for each target. You could smoke cigars thru the same tube that water and Hershey's Syrup come thru... Got it all figured!

 

I’ll bet one could log 100 viewed objects an hour for 15 hours, with 99% accuracy (the other 1% comprising true negatives and false positives).

 

Some experienced witnesses would be monitoring the session and, of course, the Guinness Representative would be there, Officially recording the event.

 

Tom

I sort of tried this with a 16" LX200 and was able to sustain a rate of 200 objects/hour.  Details in my post yesterday https://www.cloudyni...rate-observing/

 

Jay



#44 Vince Tramazzo

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Posted 19 June 2019 - 04:31 PM

Except for Solar observing, I have to drive fifteen miles to a decent observing site.  For me 2 to 21/2 hours per session is about it. 

 

Have to save some energy to break down equipment, load up the car and drive home.  At almost 69, I don't have the stamina that I had at 15!
 



#45 jcj380

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 12:45 PM

Now that I've added encoders to my mount, I bang through objects a *lot* faster once I'm aligned, maybe 15-20 an hour.  I log them on my phone and then transcribe to my paper log book later.

 

I admit I'm still exploring how much I can find and testing how accurate the encoders are, so I expect I'll slow down and smell the roses (DSOs?) once I get past the whippity-zippity novelty of push-to encoders.



#46 Araguaia

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Posted 21 June 2019 - 09:28 AM

Last night I observed 22 objects in the hour and a half between full darkness and moonrise, plus Jupiter as the Moon rose.

 

But:

 

- some were galaxy groups.  How many objects did I observe while looking at just the southern end of Markarian's Chain?

 

- I spent a few minutes just looking up at the Milky Way.  Is that one more object, or a bunch?  Does naked eye count?

 

- I must have spent about 15 minutes, with 3 eyepieces on one "object", the Hickson 44 group.  Same with M101, which was looking particularly spirally on this fine night, when I could see M3 by naked eye.  OTOH, I must have spent a few seconds with a single EP on M94.  Antares (just before Jupiter, of course) took me all of 10 seconds to realize the seeing was not good enough to split it.  

 

What that means is that I just look until I am "done".  



#47 Starman1

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Posted 21 June 2019 - 10:19 AM

simple trick on Antares: use a UHC filter to view it.  The secondary is barely dimmed, but the primary is dimmed by about 3 or 4 magnitudes.

It eliminates the glare from the primary and makes the pair easy to split.


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#48 Tony Flanders

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Posted 21 June 2019 - 10:33 AM

I have had a number of multi-hour nights devoted to a single object. M33 would be a good example.

 

At the opposite extreme, when I'm working on obscure galaxies in (say) the Herschel 2500, it's not unusual for me to log ten or more in one hour. But even then, one of them may grab my attention, or hover frustratingly at the border between visibility and invisibility, and slow me way down.



#49 Arcticpaddler

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Posted 21 June 2019 - 11:08 AM

Depends.  I might spend well over half an hour on a single object--like trying to see the "eyes" of the Owl Nebula or viewing the Horsehead Nebula with an 8-inch SCT---or viewing quasar 3C 273 with a 4-inch refractor.  Or I might knock off a couple dozen galaxies in the Virgo Cluster in an hour.  A difficult object that has eluded me often gets captured when careful study coincides with an exceptional night.



#50 Roragi

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Posted 21 June 2019 - 11:12 AM

I try to have a programmed list of many objects of which I have already seen in a previous output and I want to go deeper. Normally in one night I do 2 or 3 sketches of which each one takes me about an hour. Let's say that in one night I observe 6 or 7 objects.


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