OK, folks, I think I looked at the Lagoon last night, but really can't confirm it. Lots of stars, huddled in a fairly tight area, but that's it. This was slightly below and to the right of Saturn, roughly 9:30 PM. Perhaps I'm just expecting too much, but I saw nothing that looked like what I assumed it would look like, no aura, nebulosity, fuzziness, just nothing. Without fancy filters and stuff, is that all there is to it? (I was viewing at roughly 90X.)
Thanks a bunch,
This is a common ocurance for all manner of observing: Expecting to see . . . Assuming it would look like . . .
It's better to expect nothing! Make no assumptions! Observe. Record what is seen. Try to be an impartial onlooker. These are 'tricks' that artists use. When an artist sketches a chair, they don't sketch a chair! They sketch that which they see in front of them. They sketch the lines and the shadings that are seen. As soon as the artist starts sketching Syrtis Major, etc. they've 'lost it'. They're no longer sketching what they're seeing. They're now sketching what they know is (or should be) there. Observers don't expect. They observe and record whatever is seen -- nothing more -- nothing less.
In the absence of expectations, if "nothing" is seen, there's no disappointment. If anything is seen, it's a pleasant surprise!
We live and observe under widely varying conditions -- from Las Vegas light pollution to pristine darkness and everything in between. It's a mistake for an observer in one situation to expect to see the same thing as an observer who's in a different situation.
The same applies to differences in telescope apertures, magnifications, etc. The young man observing from his city residence with a 16-inch reflecting telescope shouldn't expect to see all that the little old lady out in the middle of nowhere can see with her 3-inch refractor. Yes, for some objects, that little old lady will actually see more! For other objects, the young man will see more.
We're all on our own to see as much as we can, from where we are, with what we're using. If we can accept the realities of our situations and work within those realities, we can be happy and productive observers. The alternative . . . well . . . it's not so good.