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how to design a tour for a non-astronomer?

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#1 joelin

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 11:27 AM

I'm thinking I can bring my Edge 8" and have a plate solver attached to it via a guidescope. 

 

This would allow it to easily find anything in the sky with high precision

 

I want to design a tour for non-astronomers. What should I choose? I also want some descriptions to go with it. I know theres Saturn/Jupiter, Trifid/Lagoon right now and some of the other big / bright messier objects, but what else would really use the power of the plate solver?



#2 jerahian

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 12:03 PM

Wait, I'm confused with your last statement:  "...what else would really use the power of the plate solver?".

 

If you're trying to avoid having to do a star alignment via your hand controller, then I guess you can plate solve to save a couple of minutes.  But, you would really only need to plate solve once to get your star alignment in check, maybe again if there is an accidental bump or nudge of the scope.  After that, you can use your mount hand controller to GoTo the objects in your mount's database, or via your planetarium on your PC (since you'll already be connected to a PC for plate solving).

 

That said, a good source of various interesting objects for non-astronomers would look something like this, IMO:  http://www.astronomy...rst-10-objects/

 

Good luck

-Ara



#3 joelin

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 12:43 PM

Wait, I'm confused with your last statement:  "...what else would really use the power of the plate solver?".

 

If you're trying to avoid having to do a star alignment via your hand controller, then I guess you can plate solve to save a couple of minutes.  But, you would really only need to plate solve once to get your star alignment in check, maybe again if there is an accidental bump or nudge of the scope.  After that, you can use your mount hand controller to GoTo the objects in your mount's database, or via your planetarium on your PC (since you'll already be connected to a PC for plate solving).

 

That said, a good source of various interesting objects for non-astronomers would look something like this, IMO:  http://www.astronomy...rst-10-objects/

 

Good luck

-Ara

Star alignments were okay, but never gave me the precision I demanded.... Plate solvers also allow me to radically enhance the image to be really confident that the faint fuzzies are there



#4 S.Boerner

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 01:36 PM

Consider using either your mount's Tonight's Best or looking at SkySafari.  Either should do you well.



#5 sg6

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 01:56 PM

One or two of each seems reasonable:

Almaak, Albireo and Mizar for double stars.

First 2 are color contrast and pretty, last is one most can find and it is a binocular split, or even naked eye.

 

M13 for a Globular Cluster, M92 another

 

How about C14 (doiuble cluster) for an Open Cluster - there are lots, just pick another. Auriga is a bit low presently.

 

Planet is basically whatever is around.

 

Can you see M57 Ring Nebula easily for a planetary Nebula.

 

M31 (doubtful, too big) or M33 maybe for galaxies. The Leo triplet has gone.

 

Arcturus if still up for a big red star.

 

If they are non-astronomer they will have no idea about a plate solver, so forget that. It is a tool for you and likely gibberish to them.



#6 aeajr

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 04:40 PM

I do sky tours all the time.  Some are for binocular users. Some are for schools.  Some are done at an observatory.   These have NOTHING to do with the equipment, other than matching aperture to targets.  It is all about understanding your audience.

 

Why would you need plate solving?  Sorry, I don't understand the point.

 

I do outreach with a Meade ETX 80 refractor and a Meade LX200 14" SCT.   Either one can present showcase targets appropriate to its aperture.   I just punch in the targets and the scope finds them.  No need for plate solving.

 

I pick 4-5 targets for an evening, but mostly they want to see planets and the Moon.   


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#7 Voyageur

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 05:20 PM

I do sky tours all the time.  Some are for binocular users. Some are for schools.  Some are done at an observatory.   These have NOTHING to do with the equipment, other than matching aperture to targets.  It is all about understanding your audience.

 

Why would you need plate solving?  Sorry, I don't understand the point.

 

I do outreach with a Meade ETX 80 refractor and a Meade LX200 14" SCT.   Either one can present showcase targets appropriate to its aperture.   I just punch in the targets and the scope finds them.  No need for plate solving.

 

I pick 4-5 targets for an evening, but mostly they want to see planets and the Moon.   

This post closely reflects my thinking and experience about introducing people to this hobby, something I do a lot of at outreach events. I would only add the extra charm of a bit of star hopping as well as using the goto. I do both at my club events.

 

I want to show people beautiful, interesting objects, not impress them with software. I don't mind impressing them a little with my knowledge of the night sky, (such as it is) because this is an important part of this hobby for me.  If I can point out a few stars, that, if they follow them by star hopping, will lead them to M31, they've learned something. As they look through my scope at Andromeda, I tell them a few facts about it, the experience is enhanced. 

 

To me, that's way more interesting (and impressive) than saying, "Watch me push these buttons and see the scope do its own thing. OK, now we will look at what it's found for us."

 

Now, if your non-astronomer is someone you know to be fascinated with electronic gadgetry, by all means, incorporate a presentation based on plate solving. But for most newcomers to the hobby, it will be confusing, as they really will have no frame of reference for what's going on and will enjoy interacting with you and your enthusiasm and knowledge of the sky much more than admiring some technology.


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#8 tommm

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 11:33 PM

... Plate solvers also allow me to radically enhance the image to be really confident that the faint fuzzies are there

Could you elaborate on how plate solving enhances the image?  Do you simply mean it gives more accurate pointing of the scope ensuring the object is actually in the field of view of your main scope's eyepiece? Or perhaps that it gives enough accuracy to enable using a higher power eyepiece and have the object in that ep's smaller fov, so the image is "enhanced" because you can use a higher power to find and see the faint object?

 

As far as objects, I agree with others that most people like seeing the more impressive things like Saturn and Jupiter, the moon due to the detail with which you can see features on it, and it is something they see regularly with their naked eyes so interesting to see it in more detail.  Faint fuzzies usually don't impress them.  And the more you can tell them about what they are looking at the better.


Edited by tommm, 13 August 2019 - 11:37 PM.

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#9 Sky_LO

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Posted 17 August 2019 - 01:00 PM

In talking to folks about my astronomy hobby, some were very interested. 

So I did a "night sky tour" on a couple of different nights, one for some family and another for friends.     

My approach was to show examples of the different types of objects a backyard telescope can see.  

My tour was this:  

 

Double Stars  (2) Mizar and Polaris   - Mizar to show that naked eye constellation star is a double - and Polaris has the fun mini companion. 

 

Globulars (2) M13 - best glob in the sky right? and M5 - another nice one. 

 

Galaxies (2) M31 - Andromeda - the big one and  M81/m82 - to show two galaxies in one scope view.

 

Open Clusters (2) the double double In Persus - considered one of the prettier spots in the sky and ngc457 the owl to show a fun one. 

 

Planets (2) Jupiter - point out the stripes and the moons  - and Saturn and its rings

 

Moon - I did not do the moon as I chose moonless viewing nights for the tours

 

Nebula - (3) showed the Dumbbell Nebula (a bright one) and the Omega Nebula (fun swan shape) and the Ring (m57) to show variety. 

 

All of the participants seemed to enjoy the tour.

 

-Lauren  


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#10 Alex McConahay

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Posted 18 August 2019 - 09:05 AM

Try  https://www.goodread...ard_Astronomers

 

by Alan MacRoberts……

 

 

Lots of good information. 

 

Of course, most hand controllers have a "greatest Hits" set programmed right in.

 

 

And I cannot see the need for the Plate Solver. You are looking for big, bright things. If your goto is not good enough to get the scope pretty much there, something is wrong and should be attended to before getting fancy with Plate Solving. 

 

Alex


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#11 Bowlerhat

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Posted 19 August 2019 - 03:59 AM

High power eyepieces with filter for jupiter and saturn. Maybe moon? but the sky won't be as impressive for DSOs.

 

A globular cluster is rather interesting with a bright nebula.

 

And perhaps an adapter for taking photos. A camera for taking a shot of milkyway is a nice souvenir.


Edited by Bowlerhat, 19 August 2019 - 04:00 AM.



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