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#1 spottisw

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Posted 12 December 2019 - 12:31 AM

I've just acquired an Evolution 8 with f6.3 R/C and EP's from 40 to 6mm plus 2x Barlow.  I live in Los Angeles and given the sky brightness here think that planets and the moon are the way to go. I would love to revisit the major solar system spectacles, Jupiter and Saturn, both for my own pleasure and to show my grandchildren, who have never seen a decent sky, but both Jupiter and Saturn are out for the next few months but I can hopefully entertain them with the moon when past full.  So my question is, given these circumstances, what would you guys recommend as good objects to view in the next month?  My small list includes the Pleiades and the Orion nebula.  I'd appreciate your suggestions. 

 

Best thanks,

 

James

 


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#2 WilburTWildcat

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Posted 12 December 2019 - 01:02 AM

The Andromeda Galaxy is good. In that neighborhood, you've also got M15, a nice little globular. Any of the open clusters in Cassiopeia and Auriga are also great. Ooo, ooo, don't forget Perseus' Double Cluster!


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#3 Daveatvt01

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Posted 12 December 2019 - 02:08 AM

Here is a good resource for light polluted skies:

 

https://www.skyandte...yDeepSky111.pdf

 

I doubt everything would be visible from LA, but it will give you a good list of things to try. 

 

NGC 457 (Owl or ET Cluster) is always fun.

If you like double/multiple stars, you could try Almach, Polaris, Rigel, or Sigma Orionis

You could try carbon stars too.


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#4 Astro-Master

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Posted 12 December 2019 - 02:54 AM

Uranus, and Neptune should be visible as well as Double Stars.  Pick up a copy of "Double Stars for small telescopes" by Sissy Haas, it has over 2,100 double stars, and is easy to use.

 

Its one class of objects you can observe even with a full moon.  Have fun with your new scope.


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#5 sg6

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Posted 12 December 2019 - 04:25 AM

Jupiter and Saturn have more or less gone for a few months.

Uranus and Neptune are around but I think not high in the sky, and in a way nice to tick off but as they are a long way off they are small and neither have great surface features to pick out or observe at least for amateur sized scopes.

 

In your scope I would not bother with M31, simply it is too big and all you see is a rather unimpressive central core - fuzzy and indistinct ball.

 

Double stars will be reasonable the obvious couple being Albireo and Almaak. You have Mizar+Alcor and assuming right time the double double in Lyra.

 

Owing to LP I doubt that M1 or M57 will show through.



#6 rhetfield

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Posted 12 December 2019 - 11:20 AM

I live under Bortle 7-8 skies outside of Chicago and can see M27 (not a good time of the year for that one right now) and M57 with a 5" reflector.  I haven't tried yet, but expect to be able to see M1 also as soon as the moon moves out of the way.  These are small enough that they can be a challenge to identify with wide angle EPs.  UHC filters help with seeing them once found.  M27 is bigger, but a bit dimmer.

 

Galaxies and globular clusters are just smudges in light polluted skies (all you see is the centers), but are cool once you make it to the dark areas.  The open clusters tend to be much better in light pollution.

 

Getting yourself up into the hills (wilson observatory, Mt Baldy, or similar places) will make a big difference.  Other side of the hills is much better and Death valley is as dark of skies as you will find anywhere and is a big step up from the hills.


Edited by rhetfield, 12 December 2019 - 11:21 AM.


#7 Jay6821

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Posted 12 December 2019 - 08:29 PM

Certainly don't overlook the moon with grandchildren.  Get a copy of Sky & Telescope's Field Map of the Moon 

 

https://www.amazon.c...0?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

and they will be able to help identify stuff with you, and they can also pick out things to point the scope at.



#8 spottisw

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Posted 12 December 2019 - 09:01 PM

Thank you all for your helpful suggestions.  

 

I suspect that the moon and open clusters are the way to go.  Per your advice I have also identified reasonably close sites with darker skies, in particular Topanga State Park.  When my kids were small I used to take them to Mount Pinos on nights with a new moon, or nearly so, so in spite of being light polluted city dwellers, they got a sense of what the real sky looks like.  I look forward to giving the same gift to my grandkids.

 

Thanks again,

 

James



#9 rhetfield

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Posted 14 December 2019 - 12:13 PM

The higher up in the hills, the better. The higher elevations will get you above more of the LA smog.

#10 REC

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Posted 14 December 2019 - 01:00 PM

Here is a good resource for light polluted skies:

 

https://www.skyandte...yDeepSky111.pdf

 

I doubt everything would be visible from LA, but it will give you a good list of things to try. 

 

NGC 457 (Owl or ET Cluster) is always fun.

If you like double/multiple stars, you could try Almach, Polaris, Rigel, or Sigma Orionis

You could try carbon stars too.

Great list, bookmarked. Tony Flanders also has a good list for urban skies.



#11 REC

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Posted 14 December 2019 - 01:04 PM

Get a UHC nebula will help some with the LP you have. There are some really great members that live in your area, so hope they see your post and help you out. Don P. is one that comes to mind, but can't remember his last name?



#12 Starman1

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Posted 14 December 2019 - 02:15 PM



Thank you all for your helpful suggestions.  

 

I suspect that the moon and open clusters are the way to go.  Per your advice I have also identified reasonably close sites with darker skies, in particular Topanga State Park.  When my kids were small I used to take them to Mount Pinos on nights with a new moon, or nearly so, so in spite of being light polluted city dwellers, they got a sense of what the real sky looks like.  I look forward to giving the same gift to my grandkids.

 

Thanks again,

 

James

Yes, the Topanga State Park will be darker than downtown LA, but not very dark, alas.  On a clear, dry, moonless night, perhaps a mag. 5 limit at the zenith.

Go a little further to the intersection of Mulholland and Point Dume roads (above Thousand Oaks) and the skies become about suburban dark (30 minute drive from west LA)

[I used to go to Boney Peak in the Santa Monica mountains many years ago (fantastic view to the south!!), but the LP has gotten too bad to justify the 1 hour drive.]

Extend the drive a bit further north on the 5 to Pyramid lake (Templin Highway) and it's even darker (45 minute drive), maybe mag.6 at the zenith.

A little further to The Chuchupate Ranger Station parking lot at 5000' (west of Frazier Park) and the sky is much much darker (60 minute drive), perhaps mag. 6.5-6.7 at the zenith.

And that parking lot won't require chains, always the possibility for the Mt. Pinos parking lot at 8350' (90 minute drive), perhaps mag.6.8-7.0 at the zenith.



#13 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 15 December 2019 - 03:15 AM

James,

 

You may want to read the section on urban astronomy in my post (#22) at https://www.cloudyni...mers/?p=5184287



#14 Monsai52

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Posted 16 December 2019 - 02:31 PM

As a couple of others have mentioned, double stars are good targets from your location.  One slight advantage of viewing from the LA basin area, is that the you can often get very steady seeing, which is extremely helpful for the planets and dbl stars.  I grew up in the Arcadia/Pasadena area, and I still remember some of the views of Jupiter and Saturn I had back in the late '60s - early '70s with my old Cave 10" are among the best I've ever experienced.

 

Best regards,      



#15 Starman1

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Posted 16 December 2019 - 04:50 PM

I bought an 8" SCT in 1993 and took it out on the roof of my condo building to cool.

I went out 3 hours later to look at Orion, et.al. and the double star 7 Tauri was split at 406x (It was about 0.7" at the time)

And the stars were tiny little pinpoints with a single diffraction ring.

The E and F stars in the Trapezium stood out at 81x and were quite easy to spot.

That was in west LA, and that site had sub arc-second seeing most of the time, though I was never able to repeat that observation

with the 8" scope.  I guess it was perfect seeing that night, serendipitously.

Anyway, Los Angeles does often have excellent seeing within the city limits.  It varies a LOT by location, though.



#16 jmillsbss

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Posted 16 December 2019 - 10:08 PM

I don't know if you can see Auriga very easily yet but I can later at night and we're at similar lats. If you can, the Pinwheel and Starfish clusters are faves with my 5 yr old. Now I feel guilty complaining about my B5 backyard skies!

Edited by jmillsbss, 16 December 2019 - 10:11 PM.


#17 caronb

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Posted 19 December 2019 - 09:22 AM

A previous post mentions the lack of surface features on Uranus and Neptune however I think finding these 2 is as satisfying as anything else.  Get a good astronomy app such Sky Safari 6 and start exploring.  Orion is especially loaded with good targets, both nebulas and lots of double stars.  Clusters are everywhere and can be both challenging to find and very satisfying when you do finally find them.  

 

The possibilities are endless.  Enjoy!



#18 Starman1

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Posted 19 December 2019 - 10:18 AM

A previous post mentions the lack of surface features on Uranus and Neptune however I think finding these 2 is as satisfying as anything else.  Get a good astronomy app such Sky Safari 6 and start exploring.  Orion is especially loaded with good targets, both nebulas and lots of double stars.  Clusters are everywhere and can be both challenging to find and very satisfying when you do finally find them.  

 

The possibilities are endless.  Enjoy!

Last year we saw a transitory white stripe on Uranus.  Pictures taken at the same time verified we had seen it.

It had disappeared a month later.


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