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Newbies - what did you see in the sky last night? Come say hello...

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#1 Eliserpens

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Posted 03 April 2020 - 07:47 AM

HI there - CN has topics for experienced astronomers where its a bit intimidating (and maybe silly) to post a beginner's first view of the Orion nebula through a new telescope so I thought we need our own.  Anything that interested you - and maybe things you saw by accident looking for something else (which you never found, hey, be honest!).

 

I'll start.  I don't use the GOTO on my scope as I'm trying to learn it by eye.  Which means a lot of misses and wanderings in the far universe!  Last night I tried to find Bode's galaxy pair but could not swing over from Ursa Major (a line extended NE from Phecda/Dubne about the same distance; or maybe the seeing was simply not good enough - most likely I'm still not ontop of the equatorial mount orientation).  This was particularly disappointing because Star Safari placed the comet Atlas about the same interval in the same direction.  Thus, I took a fourth look at Orion and the sigma orionis (easy to find, stunning when the single star seperates into 4 at higher magnification); I almost wrote mag, but that means magnitude here!).   Then I managed to find Castor.  You can tell it from Pollux because it has three smaller stars at right angles close to it in the finder and just visible with my 31mm (~30X).  Castor separates into a binary pair at higher gain (11mm. ~90X) and with the Barlow 2X it was splendid. 

Thus, I felt the evening wasn't a complete failure!

 

[I'm a beginner, if I made any errors I would love corrections!]


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#2 SeaBee1

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Posted 03 April 2020 - 08:12 AM

Good morning Elise!

 

Well... I can't exactly claim "beginner" status... yet neither am I vastly experienced... so I guess I am like that middle child, you know, the one that always gets in trouble...

 

And the only thing I saw last night were clouds... on my way home from work...

 

So, the only thing I can respond with is "Hello!"

 

It sounds like you had a nice evening! I see you were comet hunting... keep in mind that the comet I think you are looking for (ATLAS, I think it is...) is fairly dim and not expected to brighten up much until perhaps May, so don't beat yourself up... and keep looking!

 

Good hunting!

 

CB


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#3 Waddensky

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Posted 03 April 2020 - 08:22 AM

Lovely report! I love accidental discoveries, have them all the time. You can also tell Pollux and Castor apart by their colours, subtle but very recognisable once you notice it.

 

Point your binoculars to Venus tonight. There's another accidental discovery waiting for you smile.gif.


Edited by Waddensky, 03 April 2020 - 08:28 AM.

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#4 Eliserpens

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Posted 03 April 2020 - 09:51 AM

Lovely report! I love accidental discoveries, have them all the time. You can also tell Pollux and Castor apart by their colours, subtle but very recognisable once you notice it.

 

Point your binoculars to Venus tonight. There's another accidental discovery waiting for you smile.gif.

Hi Koen (I hope that's your name).  I think I almost saw it last night ;)


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#5 Starkid2u

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Posted 03 April 2020 - 10:01 AM

Nice to hear from newcomers. I remember my first forays, even now. You have many more exciting discoveries ahead  of you! I notice that you have a Mak scope in your inventory.  Is that what you are using? The reason I ask is that the FOV in an SCT or Mak is more narrow than you would find in a reflector, due to it's design. This makes it a little harder to find objects; less wide field views. Good EP's, though. You'll be needing a 15-18MM to flesh out the 'Low-Med-Hgh' setup that you'll need for proper viewing. Keep looking and searching. You'll find all of them sooner or later! Oh, and one more thing: try using "spiral searches". They are a lot more efficient when you're looking for objects. Sometimes, though, using GOTO is a good thing. Hard to find some of these things if you don't really know what they look like in the sky. Just a thought or two. Take care and clear Canadian skies to you!

 

STARKID2U


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#6 Viliakas

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Posted 03 April 2020 - 10:03 AM

Hi!

 

I'm just starting out and we've had nothing but clouds for over a week. Yesterday though there was a brief moment when I could see the moon. Brought out my telescope and the recently bought adapter for my girlfriend's DSLR camera. Happy with the image of the moon I was seeing in the camera display I took the photo, which to my dismay turned out nothing but white. Turns out you gotta know how to use the camera in addition to the telescope. lol.gif  Once I started fidgeting with the camera settings, the clouds were back and the moon was gone.

 

Looking forward to having my brother over to show me the ropes around the camera, once the social distancing is over.

 

May your nights be less cloudy.


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#7 Kipper-Feet

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Posted 03 April 2020 - 10:29 AM

To the topic starter, Eliserpens, kindly check your Personal Messenger ASAP, you have got time sensitive mail.


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#8 jayhopkins2001

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Posted 03 April 2020 - 11:03 AM

Clouds......


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#9 Jond105

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Posted 03 April 2020 - 11:06 AM

Moved from beginners to GO&A for better fit



#10 Waddensky

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Posted 03 April 2020 - 03:15 PM

Hi Koen (I hope that's your name).  I think I almost saw it last night wink.gif

Yes that's my name wink.gif . That could well be! I did see it again tonight, wonderful sight.


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#11 Eliserpens

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Posted 03 April 2020 - 03:34 PM

Unfortunately, we have clouds; maybe a break at 2 am so if I'm up....



#12 SirLoyne

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Posted 03 April 2020 - 06:20 PM

Three weeks ago I went up to the White Mountains. While looking at M82, I came diagonally down and found NGC 3077. From there I went straight across, just a bit, to the left and found what I thought to be another galaxy, except that it wasn't listed in any of my Android apps or in Stellarium on my computer. I started wondering if it wasn't something that was moving, even though it appeared bigger and brighter in the eyepiece than NGC 3077. I went back last week and, despite my best efforts, and using multiple different magnifications, I was unable to find it again. It's a mystery to me what it was.


Edited by SirLoyne, 03 April 2020 - 06:30 PM.

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#13 Gravity Wave

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Posted 03 April 2020 - 07:17 PM

Did some observations around Orion with my push to dob. Ok viewing but still a good night
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#14 DSloan

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Posted 03 April 2020 - 07:33 PM

I've been able to go out three times since I bought my first scope (8" dob) a couple of weeks ago. I'm doing everything manually by star hopping, so I'm still dealing with the initial learning curve. I'm also in a very bright city, so lots of things are hard or impossible to find. But, so far, my favorite things have been:

- M42
- Venus (been fun having it pass by the pleiedies recently)
- A few open clusters like the beehive.
- This morning I got up early to try and find M13. I finally found it with a 30mm EP, but just could not get it inside my 10mm EP - I kept bumping the dang scope whole switching out eye pieces, lol. It spurred me on to order a an 82°/8.8 eyepiece today. Maybe I'll have better luck with a wider FOV.
- And the moon, of course! I Had fairly steady skies last night, and really enjoyed looking at craters through a 2x Barlow.

I'm really hoping I can find time to visit a dark site after the shutdown ends. I've spent time trying to track down other bright nebulas, but just cannot seem to locate them under my skies.

Edited by DSloan, 03 April 2020 - 07:43 PM.

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#15 Eliserpens

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Posted 03 April 2020 - 09:43 PM

DSloan - thank goodness for M42 eh? There are so many bright stars in Orion you are sure to find your way sooner or later! My first few sessions (I've only had 5 or six) all gazed first or eventually at Orion but I became a bit more adventurous with each try. Have you tried to see how many stars you can see in the Trapezius? Your scope should have about the same resolution as mine (also 8" reflector. I got 5 clear (A,B,C,D,E) while I could see F as a bump. Also look at sigma orionis - diametrically below the left hand star of the belt - the one star turns into a whole star system at high power. Love to hear if anyone has imaged any other regions of Orion - its starting to set now so not quite the delish target that it was.


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#16 DSloan

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Posted 03 April 2020 - 10:33 PM

DSloan - thank goodness for M42 eh? There are so many bright stars in Orion you are sure to find your way sooner or later! My first few sessions (I've only had 5 or six) all gazed first or eventually at Orion but I became a bit more adventurous with each try. Have you tried to see how many stars you can see in the Trapezius?


Yeah, whenever I get frustrated trying to find something I often end up just pointing the scope back at Orion for any easy win. I've tried splitting some of the major double stars in it, but no luck. Too much turbulence in the air, I think. Similarly, I can definitely see a,b,c, and d in the trapezium, but don't think I've really spotted e or f. I suspect that the seeing just hasn't been good enough for the amount of magnification needed.
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#17 river-z

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Posted 04 April 2020 - 01:10 AM

I guess I'm still a newbie, having acquired a telescope only last November.  The upside of observing in LA is warm temps though the winter so I've been active.  Of course, the downside of observing in LA is light pollution which is bad bad bad.  But I've enjoyed the planets, moon, M 42, 41, and a bunch more Messier objects when I got out of the city once.

 

Tonight I spent a long time looking at Venus in the Pleiades (Telescope and Binoculars) and showing it off to my wife and kids.  Took some pictures as a kind of souvenir. Gorgeous.

 

Then I found 5 double stars that were on my list.  I've found that while Messier objects get washed out in the light pollution double stars don't, and they're fun and satisfying to find, especially when they're very different colors.  You know when your got one too, because it splits.  So it was a good night.


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#18 Eliserpens

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Posted 04 April 2020 - 03:47 AM

There is an amazing satisfaction to making two or sometimes many stars out of one isn't there?   Its like you discovered its big secret.  I'm kinda glad we don't have two suns tho - how would we ever see the stars?


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#19 Rajput

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Posted 04 April 2020 - 08:37 AM

Very new myself. Got a 70m f/10 last Christmas with zero knowledge of astronomy. Enjoyed it a lot so got myself a 10inch dob last month which I’ve only been able to try out a couple of times due to weather.

 

I don’t have a go-to so I tend to do a lot of research before venturing out to find stuff. There’s a couple of sites which I reference (this is one of them). Don’t always find what I want but extremely satisfying when I do.

 

Last Wednesday was one of the rare nights with clear skies so I hauled out the big one around 11pm. Ended up spending close to 3 hours outside.  There was a half-moon out. I estimate my skies are Bortle 6 but I have no clue how accurate that is.

 

Started at the moon which was beautiful but was also a bad idea since it killed my night vision a bit. I went down to 171x and got a lot of detail but I don’t know the names of all the features.

 

Once the vision recovered, I turned my attention to Leo. 

 

I saw M65 and M66 for the first time. They were very faint and I could not see the 3rd component of the triplet. Tried various eyepieces to increase magnification on M66 and see if I could see any arms but had no luck. They framed nicely at 42x with a FOV of 1.3 deg (my 28mm eyepiece). M66 is a bit brighter but all I saw was the cores of the galaxies with a faint halo around them.

 

Also, visually identified Virgo. Picked out Spica which was very bright and was what first caught my attention and Poornima. Currently doing some research on how to find some of the Virgo galaxies.

 

Turned my attention to the Dipper and found M81 and M82. Have seen them before but it was my first time with the dob. They were much brighter that M 65 & M66. Again, tried to zoom into M81 with my small collection of eyepieces hoping to see some arms but had not luck. I will revisit them when there is no moon. For now, my 42x 1.3 degree eyepiece gave me a great view of both. M81 shows a bright core with an oval halo around it. M82 shows as a distinct line about a degree away.

 

Then turned my attention to M94 which is the easiest galaxy to find for me. The core is very bright on this one, again no arms but a slightly smaller halo.

 

Ended on M13 for a change from galaxies - another easy to find object for me. I got to 100x which showed me a fair amount of detail.

 

OP, I use this technique to find M81 & M82. There is another post on it in this forum but I don’t have the link. If you have Stellarium, you should be able to find the stars

 

1) Start at the faint star above Dubhe (23 Uma)
2) Head about 4 degrees perpendicular to the line between 23 UMa and Dubhe to a triangle of stars around 5 mag. These should be visible even in a 5x24 finder in Bortle 6 skies
3) Head down (parallel to the line between 23 UMa and Dubhe) to a pair of stars about a degree apart.
4) M81 and M82 should be about a degree away from this pair towards Dubhe.

 

I hope that is somewhat clear. I have been able to spot them a couple of times with my 70mm (very faintly) so they should be detectable in decent skies in most scopes.


Edited by Rajput, 04 April 2020 - 08:39 AM.

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#20 Eliserpens

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Posted 04 April 2020 - 09:54 AM

Great session Rajput - and thanks for the tip on the path to Bode's.  I'm not sure if this will work so well for me if, as I presume, your Newton is on a Dobson mount and my reflector is equatorial.  I'm going to study the map to see if I can find equatorial-aligned stars for the hopping.  Indeed, its worse than that; while I can find one of the Ursa Major pan-stars in the finder scope I was having a hard time figuring out which one I was looking at!  So lots of learning to use the EQ in store...



#21 Rajput

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Posted 04 April 2020 - 10:45 AM

Thanks. Yes, its on a Dobsonian mount. Good luck finding Bode's. It's a toughie but well worth the effort and it should show up great in your scope.


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#22 river-z

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Posted 04 April 2020 - 10:56 AM

 

Last Wednesday was one of the rare nights with clear skies so I hauled out the big one around 11pm. Ended up spending close to 3 hours outside.  There was a half-moon out. I estimate my skies are Bortle 6 but I have no clue how accurate that is.

There are some helpful light pollution maps online to help you gauge your situation and where you might go for darker skies.

Here's one I like.

https://www.lightpol...0FFFFFTFFFFFFFF


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#23 Rajput

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Posted 04 April 2020 - 11:07 AM

There are some helpful light pollution maps online to help you gauge your situation and where you might go for darker skies.

Here's one I like.

https://www.lightpol...0FFFFFTFFFFFFFF

Thanks. That's helpful. I will check it out.



#24 Waddensky

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Posted 04 April 2020 - 12:19 PM

There are some helpful light pollution maps online to help you gauge your situation and where you might go for darker skies.

Here's one I like.

https://www.lightpol...0FFFFFTFFFFFFFF

That is a great resource. Make sure you use the ATLAS layer, not the VIIRS layers. The latter measures the light emitted from light sources as seen from space, the former uses this data to calculate the estimated brightness of the sky as seen from Earth. That is the information we are interested in. A lot may have changed since 2015, though.



#25 Furryfred99

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Posted 04 April 2020 - 04:42 PM

I can see what I believe is Venus(?)
In the West with just my eyes.
I have my late father's 10x50 Swift binoculars (at least 50 yrs old) but my hands are no longer steady enough to see any more than disco lights.
So I need a tripod. Any recommendations please?


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