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

Getting back into observing

observing
  • Please log in to reply
14 replies to this topic

#1 kappa-draconis

kappa-draconis

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 224
  • Joined: 14 May 2018
  • Loc: East Coast, USA

Posted 27 March 2020 - 09:43 PM

Hi there, I'm a primarily visual observer. I have done a tiny bit of manual astro-imaging with a camera. I'm trying to figure out what my next steps should be. A while ago, I spent lots of time observing. I've seen all the major constellations, some of the minor ones, some of the really hard to see ones, all the naked-eye planets, the ISS, a comet a while back, lots of moon features, an eclipse, a few random meteors, and all the easier DSOs. I'm using 10x binocs and the naked eye for now. I have good logs of everything I saw. 

 

So I'm looking for next steps people can suggest: more challenging targets within reach, equipment I might be able to make with readily available things, things to learn about, etc. 


Edited by kappa-draconis, 27 March 2020 - 09:58 PM.

  • BoldAxis1967, NYJohn S, zakry3323 and 1 other like this

#2 kfiscus

kfiscus

    Baltic Birch Dob Bases

  • *****
  • Vendors
  • Posts: 6,802
  • Joined: 09 Jul 2012
  • Loc: Albert Lea, MN, USA

Posted 27 March 2020 - 11:02 PM

There are so many things you could try out.  I decided that I liked deep sky objects the most and started up the aperture progression:  4.25" to 10" to 12" to 16".  This progression was slow and I trained my eye and brain to see dimmer and dimmer targets.  My favorites now are planetary and emission nebulae.

 

I started out with the Messier Catalog and then added hundreds and hundreds of other targets from other catalogs.  I'd recommend borrowing or buying a good used scope and seeing what kinds of objects give you the most satisfaction.  Be prepared for your tastes to change over time.  Good luck.


  • Bean614, NYJohn S and kappa-draconis like this

#3 kappa-draconis

kappa-draconis

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 224
  • Joined: 14 May 2018
  • Loc: East Coast, USA

Posted 28 March 2020 - 11:16 AM

Alright, what's the first thing I should observe in the scope? 



#4 Tony Flanders

Tony Flanders

    Hubble

  • *****
  • Posts: 17,880
  • Joined: 18 May 2006
  • Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA

Posted 28 March 2020 - 11:43 AM

I've seen ... all the easier DSOs.


What does that mean? Are you talking about the easiest ten? Easiest 100? Easiest 1000?

Have you considered double stars? A fair number can be split with 10x50 binoculars.

How dark are your skies?

#5 justfred

justfred

    Viking 1

  • ****-
  • Posts: 636
  • Joined: 24 Sep 2010
  • Loc: Birmingham, Alabama, USA

Posted 28 March 2020 - 12:35 PM

Hey there, Kappa.

 

Start out with a 6 or 8 inch dob. If you plan on using 2" eyepieces one day, go with the 8. The prices are close. The 2" eps give you a wider view but the view with the 1.25" eps are plenty good. Honestly, I like the 6 inch dob over the 8. A little bit lighter and the views are not that far behind the 8. Most folks go with the 8. Look through a few if you can first.

 

These modest aperture dobs bring A LOT of things into play and they're not that hard to store or transport. Get you a copy of the RASCs All Splendours, No Fuzzies observation list. It's a really good smattering of just about every kind of object.

 

Once you have the dob you'll have a benchmark of where to go next!

 

Let us know how it goes.

 

Fred



#6 kappa-draconis

kappa-draconis

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 224
  • Joined: 14 May 2018
  • Loc: East Coast, USA

Posted 28 March 2020 - 03:42 PM

What does that mean? Are you talking about the easiest ten? Easiest 100? Easiest 1000?

 

I'd have to count them in my logs. Probably the easiest ten. When I get out to my darker site, when there are good sky conditions, I could focus on the others. 



#7 kappa-draconis

kappa-draconis

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 224
  • Joined: 14 May 2018
  • Loc: East Coast, USA

Posted 28 March 2020 - 03:43 PM

Start out with a 6 or 8 inch dob.

 

Yeah, I gotta at least give these a try. There might be some people locally who would let me observe a bit with theirs. 



#8 gwlee

gwlee

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,877
  • Joined: 06 Sep 2015
  • Loc: 38N 120W

Posted 28 March 2020 - 06:03 PM

Yeah, I gotta at least give these a try. There might be some people locally who would let me observe a bit with theirs. 

If you live near a metro area, there’s probably an astronomy club in the area that holds monthly star parties and welcomes visitors to view the sky with them, and many clubs have scopes to loan members to tryout. Google “astronomy clubs” to find a club near you. 



#9 Keith Rivich

Keith Rivich

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,134
  • Joined: 17 Jun 2011
  • Loc: Cypress, Tx

Posted 28 March 2020 - 06:52 PM

Alright, what's the first thing I should observe in the scope? 

M1


  • justfred likes this

#10 kappa-draconis

kappa-draconis

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 224
  • Joined: 14 May 2018
  • Loc: East Coast, USA

Posted 28 March 2020 - 07:26 PM

Looks cool, thanks. 



#11 DSOGabe

DSOGabe

    Vostok 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 132
  • Joined: 02 Aug 2019
  • Loc: El Paso, TX

Posted 31 March 2020 - 10:58 AM

Alright, what's the first thing I should observe in the scope? 

Start with the easier stuff. Double stars, open and globular clusters. Then work your way up to nebulae and galaxies; these are more challenging if your skies are polluted and may not be too awe inspiring at first. Go back to them over and over and your eye will begin to see more detail each time. 



#12 dhawn

dhawn

    Messenger

  • -----
  • Posts: 427
  • Joined: 29 Aug 2016
  • Loc: Santa Barbara, CA

Posted 31 March 2020 - 01:26 PM

Something you might want to consider is a subscription to Sky and Telescope or Astronomer magazines. When they come every month there's inspiring info about what's in the sky and what you can see with binoculars, all the way through large scopes. It's something that helps to keep my fires burning.


  • Dave Mitsky likes this

#13 river-z

river-z

    Explorer 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 99
  • Joined: 02 Nov 2019
  • Loc: Los Angeles

Posted 31 March 2020 - 08:10 PM

I recommend starting by printing yourself a copy of the April star map at this website:

http://www.skymaps.com/downloads.html

 

It's very useful for understanding what's happening in the heavens on each day of the month.  And it lists the more notable objects for naked eye, binocular, and telescope viewing. 


  • Dave Mitsky and kappa-draconis like this

#14 Dave Mitsky

Dave Mitsky

    ISS

  • *****
  • Moderators
  • Posts: 90,359
  • Joined: 08 Apr 2002
  • Loc: PA, USA, Planet Earth

Posted 31 March 2020 - 09:14 PM

I author an astronomical calendar each month.  Contained within is information on solar system events and lists of deep-sky objects and binary stars to observe.

 

https://www.cloudyni.../#entry10080841


  • justfred and j.gardavsky like this

#15 j.gardavsky

j.gardavsky

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,134
  • Joined: 18 Sep 2019
  • Loc: Germany

Posted 01 April 2020 - 10:21 AM

Hello Jon,

 

back in the day I have been touring the night skies according to the Phil Harrington's book Touring The Universe Through The Binoculars, https://www.amazon.d...s/dp/0471513377

Still having that book on the shelf.

Otherwise, the monthly update is made by Dave, as in the post above.

 

Best,

JG




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: observing



Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics