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Newbie having trouble actually "viewing" Messier objects.

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#26 Titan63

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Posted 15 September 2019 - 08:03 PM

I am new to astronomy and also have some light pollution. However, in the past month I have found maybe ten Messier objects from my small backyard. I have read as much as I can from experienced people such as you find on this forum. It is good to listen to the little things that might help you the next time you search the night skies. I have viewed the same objects and am finding them quicker and seeing more details. I am taking care to collimating my dob each time, acclimating properly (use my fan now on the primary too), enough time to adjust your eyes to the dark, and pre-planning my targets in terms of how you will star hop. 

 

I'm still in the early stages with my 8" dob but am enjoying the crap out of the small victories when I actually find that target. I fortunately have a dark sky park about 22 min from my house when make a big improvement.


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#27 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 16 September 2019 - 07:57 AM

Here's the section on urban astronomy from my post (#22) at https://www.cloudyni...mers/?p=5184287

 

The vast majority of deep-sky objects visible in amateur telescopes are quite faint and are best seen from a dark location. Stargazing from light-polluted locales can be quite challenging. However, there are a number of DSOs that can be seen by urban observers. The Moon, the bright planets, bright binary stars, bright open and globular clusters, bright nebulae, and bright galaxies are all possible targets.

 

Light pollution and nebula filters may be useful to some degree on certain nebulae.  However, the rising use of broadband LED lighting may render such filters ineffective.

 

https://www.prairiea...ep-sky-objects/

 

https://www.cloudyni...mparisons-r1471

 

Tips on city observing are posted at the following URLs:

 

http://www.astroleag...n/urbantip.html

 

http://www.skyandtel...cs/3303991.html

 

http://www.astronomy...stargazing.aspx

 

Urban astronomy is also discussed at these sites:

 

http://www.dirtyskies.com/

 

http://washedoutastronomy.com/

 

http://urbanastronomer.blogspot.com/

 

https://tonyflanders...essier-project/

 

Books on the subject include Urban Astronomy by Denis Berthier and The Urban Astronomer's Guide: A Walking Tour of the Cosmos for City Sky Watchers (Patrick Moore's Practical Astronomy Series) by Rod Mollise.

 

http://www.amazon.co...r/dp/052153190X

 

http://www.amazon.co...y/dp/1846282160

 

Lists of binary stars and deep-sky objects that are visible from urban areas can be found at the following URLs:

 

https://www.astrolea...an/urbanls.html

 

http://www.astroleag...an/urbanld.html

 

http://www.covington...iles/index.html

 

http://las-skycamp.o...n_List_v2_0.pdf (spelling errors)

 

http://www.skyandtel...ts/3074841.html

 

http://www.astronomy...y delights.aspx

 

Dave Mitsky


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#28 LanceRFerguson

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Posted 17 September 2019 - 12:20 PM

One "secret" to enjoying this hobby is to concentrate on those things you can see.  Concentrate on seeing all you can see in the objects you look at.  Taking the time to carefully study and sketch those objects will further train your eye-brain system to "see".  You'll end up seeing more when you spend more time looking for "hidden" details.  Sketching helps -- even when the sketcher lacks the most basic abilities to sketch anything!  It may sound ridiculous, but it takes time to learn how to see when observing astronomical objects through a telescope.

 

Notice that I never mentioned / suggested getting a larger telescope.  I have larger telescopes.  Yet, I very rarely use anything larger than a 6-inch, and often I use smaller.  If I had to get rid of all my telescopes excepting one, I would get rid of my 12-inch, my 10-inch, my 6-inch, and keep my 130mm (5.1-inch).  Under a dark sky, a good 5.1-inch telescope is capable of providing a life-time of viewing pleasure!

This is very helpful, thanks.  Seems like a silly question but I've seen recommendations for sketching in other places but never really making the connection to improving what is seen.  Do you sketch in the dark 'live' or are the sketches from memory after you come back inside?

Also, thanks for the encouraging words on the 130mm.  Just started using one and have great hopes!


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#29 Sketcher

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Posted 17 September 2019 - 04:59 PM

This is very helpful, thanks.  Seems like a silly question but I've seen recommendations for sketching in other places but never really making the connection to improving what is seen.  Do you sketch in the dark 'live' or are the sketches from memory after you come back inside?

Also, thanks for the encouraging words on the 130mm.  Just started using one and have great hopes!

I make sketches "live" at the telescope.  This necessitates (for deep-sky objects) the use of a dim, red light --  bright enough to see what I'm putting on paper, but dim enough to not too badly impair my dark-adaptation.  The more or less constant back and forth between the object in the eyepiece and the sketch on the paper, comparing and contrasting, is a huge factor in seeing more.

 

Relying on memory to make the sketch later, inside, would be less effective in training the eye-brain system to see more.  Furthermore, making the sketch later would permit more inaccuracies to creep in due to our unreliable memories.

 

P.S.  Being comfortably seated while at the eyepiece while observing/sketching is another factor that should not be underestimated!


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