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First Night Out. Q's.

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#26 havasman

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 11:26 AM

The other disappointment was that I saw nothing .... out of the ordinary. Everything I saw was essentially a white dot of varying degree in the sky. Nothing I could say was anything other than a star aside from the obvious Moon and the possible satellites/planes.

Yep. I don't know about everybody else but my first 10 or so attempts were similarly confusing and frustrating. If I was less hard headed I'd have likely poo-pooed the whole concept and taken up another hobby, saying amateur astronomy had more in common with astrology than science.

 

But I kept looking and reading (this was well before discovering Cloudy Nights) and seeing better and then one night I started spotting objects and here we are today where extragalactic objects are familiar and the moon is a source of infinite detail and shading. So I think the key is to keep looking. And keep researching. And pretty soon something will pop in the field you're observing and you'll be off and running.

 

Try the belt of Orion area, for instance. Nothing but three aligned, evenly spaced stars until you drill down a bit and maybe see that 2 of 'em are doubles and isn't that big S-shaped formation winding between and perpendicular to the 2 right hand stars pretty and do I see shading around some of the left hand stars and is that a triple star just below and inside that left end star... or is it FOUR stars..? All of a sudden those three simple stars have a lot going on and become fascinating. Hang in there. You'll see.


Edited by havasman, 15 February 2020 - 11:30 AM.

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#27 brentknight

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 12:35 PM

Desertstars,

That one pictured was from Amazon for about $50. They go back pretty far, feels like my head will touch the ground. When looking high in the sky I have to scrunch down a bit to get my elbows in the right place to hold the binoculars on the armrests. I haven't done it, but you could probably make something that could go across the armrests to raise it up a bit.

Last night I used this setup to view M42 just 20 degrees above the horizon, and M35 almost at zenith.
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#28 brentknight

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Posted 15 February 2020 - 12:37 PM

I've seen them for sale at places like Sam's club and Walmart. I got mine at a sporting goods store that had camping equipment.
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#29 GeraldBelton

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Posted 17 February 2020 - 12:12 PM

How flat do these things go? (No shortage of places in Tucson that'll order one for me, but I have yet to find one on display anywhere to actually check out before buying.) 

Dick's Sporting Goods carries them. The website says they are in stock at the North Tucson store. 


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#30 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 17 February 2020 - 03:56 PM

Here's part of the section on binocular observing in my post at https://www.cloudyni...mers/?p=5184287

Mounting a binocular on a tripod or a dedicated binocular mount (guider) will improve views markedly. Information on binocular mounts is posted at http://www.cloudynig...ts/thoughts.pdf and http://binocularsky....binoc_mount.php



#31 7howie7

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Posted 17 February 2020 - 10:53 PM

Welcome to astronomy! There's a lot to discover out there. Have fun and enjoy the trip. Your neighbors will just have to adjust!

Clear skies! Jeff

And before you know it your neighbors will want to take a look too. 



#32 Tusck

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Posted Yesterday, 06:37 AM

This sounds like it should be all over the sky given all the mentions of it, but I didn't trip over it this morning. I'll see if that's in the sky tonight. The list is growing! 

What I've learned in my first few months of astronomy, at least for me, is because I don't know the sky I need to have a plan.  The first nights I tried to bounce around, I saw nothing except the two easiest things to see.  Once I started using a plan, I always started at Orion, and moved out from there.  There is so much to see just in Orion it is crazy, and there are so many things in that neighborhood! Happy hunting


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#33 desertstars

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Posted Yesterday, 08:21 AM

What I've learned in my first few months of astronomy, at least for me, is because I don't know the sky I need to have a plan.  The first nights I tried to bounce around, I saw nothing except the two easiest things to see.  Once I started using a plan, I always started at Orion, and moved out from there.  There is so much to see just in Orion it is crazy, and there are so many things in that neighborhood! Happy hunting

I found that helped relearning the night sky, as well. And using a game plan worked so well for me that I've been working from a plan since I got back into this 15 years ago. Having even a simple observing list really helps to keep me focused on what I'm doing. The structure of my game plans can vary, depending on anticipated conditions, the nature of ongoing observing projects, and which instrument I want to use. When I'm headed out with the Old Scope (60mm refractor from 1970) the list is of double stars suited to that aperture, and the targets can be all over the sky. These days, If I'm headed out to a dark sky site with the Three-legged Newt (200mm f/5 reflector) the plan will be to explore one or two constellations for their deep sky objects. When I was working the Astronomical League's Messier Program, that comprised my game plan, and I was all over the sky any given night. 


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