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.

Photo

historical sky mapping

classic equipment observing
  • Please log in to reply
11 replies to this topic

#1 jmillsbss

jmillsbss

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 74
  • Joined: 03 Dec 2018
  • Loc: New Albany, Mississippi, USA

Posted 19 February 2019 - 10:53 AM

I've only been in the hobby for about a year.  Never even looked through a scope before last summer.  The planetary display of last July-August got me hooked!!!

 

So, I bought a 10" dob from Orion and I have the Orion 25mm plossl and barlow that came with the scope, as well as purchasing the Celestron "kit" with 5 plossls and a handful of color filters, so I could kinda research what I really wanted to see with this scope.  After much study and reading reviews on CN and other sites, I added a 62 degree 26mm Explore Scientific eyepiece as well as their 82 degree 8.8mm eyepiece.  I also picked up the Lumicon UHC and O-III filters and WOW!!!  What a difference!!!

 

My question is this:  I have a decent scope and some entry level EP's and was floored after adding the higher-end EP's and filters and would like to know, how in the world did Messier and Galileo map and discover the deep and fuzzy things way back in the day, with the hardware deficit they had to work with?  No doubt, they had remarkably dark skies, but even with the gear I have and knowing where to look, I struggle to find some of the brighter objects.  Thanks for the input!!!



#2 Astrojensen

Astrojensen

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 11711
  • Joined: 05 Oct 2008
  • Loc: Bornholm, Denmark

Posted 19 February 2019 - 11:13 AM

You mainly struggle because you're new to this. Also, dark skies makes a GIGANTIC, ENORMOUS DIFFERENCE. If you're observing under typical suburban skies (NELM ~4.5 - 5.0 or so) and never been to truly dark skies, you just don't understand how insanely huge the difference is. Going from a NELM 5.0 sky to a NELM 7.0 sky is like going from a 10" scope to a 25" scope. Especially to an experienced observer. 

 

For an experienced observer (and Messier was super experienced!) under a dark, pristine sky, most of the Messier objects are a piece of cake in a 2" refractor at 25x. 

 

 

Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark


  • Carlos Flores, havasman, Crusty99 and 2 others like this

#3 Araguaia

Araguaia

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1389
  • Joined: 31 Aug 2018
  • Loc: deepest, darkest Brazil

Posted 19 February 2019 - 11:26 AM

The best aperture is experience!  

 

In a couple of years you will be amazed by how  some of those formerly featureless fuzzies became bright and full of detail.


  • Astrojensen, Crusty99, Starman47 and 1 other like this

#4 droe

droe

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 798
  • Joined: 01 Jul 2015
  • Loc: Fenton, Mi

Posted 19 February 2019 - 11:31 AM

I've only been in the hobby for about a year.  Never even looked through a scope before last summer.  The planetary display of last July-August got me hooked!!!

 

So, I bought a 10" dob from Orion and I have the Orion 25mm plossl and barlow that came with the scope, as well as purchasing the Celestron "kit" with 5 plossls and a handful of color filters, so I could kinda research what I really wanted to see with this scope.  After much study and reading reviews on CN and other sites, I added a 62 degree 26mm Explore Scientific eyepiece as well as their 82 degree 8.8mm eyepiece.  I also picked up the Lumicon UHC and O-III filters and WOW!!!  What a difference!!!

 

My question is this:  I have a decent scope and some entry level EP's and was floored after adding the higher-end EP's and filters and would like to know, how in the world did Messier and Galileo map and discover the deep and fuzzy things way back in the day, with the hardware deficit they had to work with?  No doubt, they had remarkably dark skies, but even with the gear I have and knowing where to look, I struggle to find some of the brighter objects.  Thanks for the input!!!

Messier and Galileo had real dark skies. I saw my first true dark sky last year and it looked fake. Before that, if I was at a planetarium and they showed me what a real dark sky looked like I would have said "come-on, at least try to make it look real". That is how different it is. Before light pollution, the sky was a real marvel to behold.


  • Astrojensen and jmillsbss like this

#5 birger

birger

    Sputnik

  • -----
  • Posts: 36
  • Joined: 13 May 2018
  • Loc: Sweden

Posted 19 February 2019 - 01:17 PM

The whole world was Bortle 1 at that time. Variations in humidity and seeing were of course still present. Galileo and Messier were curious astronomers who probably spent thousands of hours behind their telescopes, eagerly scanning the sky for new objects.

 

Messier was not looking for nebulae or galaxies when he stumbled upon them. He was looking for comets. His catalog was just a way for him and other astronomers to help discern permanent objects from comets.

 

Many of us would simply gasp if we were thrown back in time to the night skies of the 17th and 18th centuries. People back then were probably just 'meh' about it.


  • mrsjeff likes this

#6 Sketcher

Sketcher

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 952
  • Joined: 29 Jun 2017
  • Loc: Under Earth's Sky

Posted 19 February 2019 - 02:19 PM

There was a time when people learned how to observe by using small telescopes without help from electronic computers and motorized mounts.  Those people gained their experience by personally taking control over small telescopes.  Their lenses were not coated.  The glass used was not ED or any other exotic material.  Their refractors were not apochromats.  Their reflectors were inefficient at reflecting light.  Their eyepieces did not consist of multiple, multi-coated elements that could provide sharp-to-the-edge, super-wide apparent fields of view.  Their skies, for the most part, were no darker than those one can find scattered about over parts of the western U.S.  Yes, they were much darker than those that most are stuck under today.

 

Those people (early telescopic observers), out of necessity, learned to rely on their own means when it came to their astronomical problem-solving -- how to most efficiently "see" celestial objects, using what they had, under the conditions they had.  They had no adjustable red LED lights to take notes by.  They were intelligent individuals.  They were motivated.  They were thinkers.  They didn't let modest equipment keep them from doing what they wanted or needed to do.

 

Nicolas-Louis de Lacaille cataloged nearly 10,000 stars and 43 nebulous objects from southern Africa.  The telescope he used? . . . a refractor -- of 1/2-inch aperture.

 

Many of today's beginners are not interested in gaining experience by starting out using a small, manually-driven telescope.  They're easily frustrated.  They must see more right away, so they go for the biggest, bestest, go-to telescope they can afford.

 

Learn to observe first?  Who needs to?  Why bother when I can see right away with a 12-inch telescope what an experienced observer can see using a 2-inch telescope?  . . .  How could Messier and Lacaille accomplish so much with so little?

 

The answer:  Intelligence, motivation, and experience -- and yes, they did have darker skies than most (but not all) of today's amateurs.


  • Astrojensen, Carlos Flores and Crusty99 like this

#7 brentknight

brentknight

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 654
  • Joined: 29 Dec 2014
  • Loc: Foley, Alabama

Posted 19 February 2019 - 10:24 PM

Sketcher,

 

I really don't think you are being fair here.  First off, there is no way to put the "genie" back in the bottle these days.  Relatively large computer controlled scopes are everywhere and are affordable these days.  Assuming the trend continues, even more powerful scopes and equipment will be available in the future.  It's natural to want something cool and I see nothing wrong with this if it gets beginners out under the stars.

 

And I would say you have probably forgotten how frustrated you got at times trying to find things when just starting out (or even just last night).  I know I struggled just trying to identify the major constellations.  My first real telescope was a 13.1" dobsonian I mounted in a wheeled platform that I pushed out into my folks driveway.  This was years after I had struggled with a 2.4" refractor that the box promised would do 800x.  I had great fun with that blue Odyssey.  I can't even remember what happened to the little refractor.  Actually, today I'd probably enjoy a little refractor - a nice, pretty, wide-field number to complement my other three telescopes.

 

The point is though, that a person can be drawn to this hobby for many reason.  Many find out later that it's not what they thought and will move on to something else.  But some will really get into it and will learn as they go and will grow into experienced amateur astronomers.  I really don't think this progression in a person is dependent on what equipment they originally purchased.  It comes from a genuine love of the hobby.


  • jmillsbss and Groundhog like this

#8 Araguaia

Araguaia

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1389
  • Joined: 31 Aug 2018
  • Loc: deepest, darkest Brazil

Posted 20 February 2019 - 05:26 AM

The whole world was Bortle 1 at that time. 

 

Let that sink in for a while.


  • Astrojensen and Olle Eriksson like this

#9 bumm

bumm

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2452
  • Joined: 07 Jan 2011
  • Loc: Iowa

Posted 20 February 2019 - 08:45 AM

As far as "historical sky mapping" goes...

     When I was a kid, I couldn't figure out how men in ancient times not only learned the patterns in the stars, (the constellations,) but recognized which of the points of light were planets.  I'd tried to learn the constellations, but without a mentor, the random jumble of the sky was just too much for me.  It wasn't until I was in high school and got into the habit of taking late night walks that I began to recognize my own patterns and went on to learn the classical ones we all now recognize.  (And that was one of the best things I ever did for myself...  see my sig.)

                                                                          Marty



#10 Starman47

Starman47

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 575
  • Joined: 10 Jun 2018
  • Loc: Tennessee

Posted 20 February 2019 - 10:03 AM

Half the fun is the search for that seemingly elusive object. I have only been in the hobby just over three years. I can remember struggling to find some of the Messier objects. In fact many nights I came in thinking this hobby is too hard. But I went back out the next night and continued the search. Now three years on, I am working the Herschel 400. It is a bit easier because of experience. But I still come into the house complaining about how hard it is to find that faint fuzzy. Hey even complaining is fun sometimes, but you mostly have to complain to yourself. No one else seems to care. (Ha Ha)

 

But ain't it fun to just get out under the stars with peace and quiet and no glowing screens.


  • bumm, brentknight and jmillsbss like this

#11 jmillsbss

jmillsbss

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 74
  • Joined: 03 Dec 2018
  • Loc: New Albany, Mississippi, USA

Posted 04 April 2019 - 02:59 PM

There was a time when people learned how to observe by using small telescopes without help from electronic computers and motorized mounts.  Those people gained their experience by personally taking control over small telescopes.  Their lenses were not coated.  The glass used was not ED or any other exotic material.  Their refractors were not apochromats.  Their reflectors were inefficient at reflecting light.  Their eyepieces did not consist of multiple, multi-coated elements that could provide sharp-to-the-edge, super-wide apparent fields of view.  Their skies, for the most part, were no darker than those one can find scattered about over parts of the western U.S.  Yes, they were much darker than those that most are stuck under today.

 

Those people (early telescopic observers), out of necessity, learned to rely on their own means when it came to their astronomical problem-solving -- how to most efficiently "see" celestial objects, using what they had, under the conditions they had.  They had no adjustable red LED lights to take notes by.  They were intelligent individuals.  They were motivated.  They were thinkers.  They didn't let modest equipment keep them from doing what they wanted or needed to do.

 

Nicolas-Louis de Lacaille cataloged nearly 10,000 stars and 43 nebulous objects from southern Africa.  The telescope he used? . . . a refractor -- of 1/2-inch aperture.

 

Many of today's beginners are not interested in gaining experience by starting out using a small, manually-driven telescope.  They're easily frustrated.  They must see more right away, so they go for the biggest, bestest, go-to telescope they can afford.

 

Learn to observe first?  Who needs to?  Why bother when I can see right away with a 12-inch telescope what an experienced observer can see using a 2-inch telescope?  . . .  How could Messier and Lacaille accomplish so much with so little?

 

The answer:  Intelligence, motivation, and experience -- and yes, they did have darker skies than most (but not all) of today's amateurs.

I can tell you this - I am/was an addict.  Bad, life/relationship destroying addict.  For the past 12 years anyway,at least, I'm clean, but now I have a new vice and it's so much better than my past drug of choice.  However, my wife is certain I'm having an affair with some unseen, unheard, unnamed woman in my backyard.  She's right.  I love this. I've spent every calm, clear moonless night reminding myself how small I am.  I've never been happier with what I do in my free time.  I wish I'd have found a telescope a long time ago.

 

I can only imagine what the pioneers in astronomy could see.  I'm sure even my imagination falls short of language.



#12 jmillsbss

jmillsbss

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 74
  • Joined: 03 Dec 2018
  • Loc: New Albany, Mississippi, USA

Posted 04 April 2019 - 03:26 PM

Half the fun is the search for that seemingly elusive object. I have only been in the hobby just over three years. I can remember struggling to find some of the Messier objects. In fact many nights I came in thinking this hobby is too hard. But I went back out the next night and continued the search. Now three years on, I am working the Herschel 400. It is a bit easier because of experience. But I still come into the house complaining about how hard it is to find that faint fuzzy. Hey even complaining is fun sometimes, but you mostly have to complain to yourself. No one else seems to care. (Ha Ha)

 

But ain't it fun to just get out under the stars with peace and quiet and no glowing screens.

Yes it is!  My wife is getting to watch all the "reality" TV she can stand and yet I'm sure the reality over our heads is far more valuable!

 

I was out a couple nights ago and the sky was as clear and steady as I may have seen all winter.  The jet stream was kinda fast so I'm sure it could have been better, but I can't complain about my skies when most everyone here are under a 7, or worse.

 

The point about searching for the elusive object, I had new gear and wanted see M81 and 82.  It fit just right in my 62 degree 26mm and I wondered what it would look like in the 82/24.  I thought I was right on it and slewed around wildly and just knew I should be seeing it.  After calming down and looking at the chart and the app on the phone, I did some more star-hopping, and I tracked across a little fuzzy smudge.  I knew where M82 should be in relation, but it wasn't there.  I started free-slewing again, slowly, still no Cigar....

 

Then about the 5th time by, there it was.  M81 and sure enough, there was M82, right where it should have been.  Then it occured to me what had just happened.  That first smudge wasn't Bode's after all.  Instead, I'd found a new galaxy, new to me anyway, that wasn't on my chart OR my app!  It was as if I'd peered into the Hubble U Deep field and had a whole new galaxy to catalog!

 

Clearly, at least now, I was seeing Holmberg IX.  But it's a tiny, dim and previously unseen, by me, galaxy that's 12 million light years away.  I shut down that night knowing there are unknown, uncounted and unbelievable things yet to be seen.  I'm sure one day I'll be in a place that this sort of thing doesn't still excite me.... God forbid.




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





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: classic, equipment, observing



Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics