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

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#101 Saravanja

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Posted 25 April 2020 - 03:58 PM

What was the trick?  Better weather conditions, bribing the DSO spirits?

 

I wrote about my experience here: https://www.cloudyni...2#entry10141475

 

Bottom line is aperture. At least for me in last nights seeing conditions.


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#102 Vince_Maine

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Posted 25 April 2020 - 08:43 PM

Now I'm jealous... tongue2.gif

Well I'm jealous of the very satisfied feeling you'll have once you lock these in!

 

Not that I'm qualified to be giving directions... but happy to share the process I used, which I followed from the famous and wonderful, Turn Left at Orion:

 

- Make a line and note the step between Phecda and Dubhe of the Big Dipper. Your goal is this same step away from Dubhe, along this line. 

 

1. Leaving Dubhe in the finder scope, arrive at a rough line of 4th and 5th class stars (just as Dubhe leaves view) with endpoints being 38 and 32 Ursae Majoris.  You're halfway there. 

2. Continue away from Dubhe and the 38/32 bunch along the same line. You'll arrive at a 4th mag star, 24 uMa. Aim at that star and switch to the eyepiece. 

3. 24 uMa is the right corner of a right triangle of stars, with one line being longer than the other. Follow this longer line, and continue slowly east looking for fuzziness/ovalness, which is M81. The more pencil shaped M82 is a little north of this. 

 

Good luck!! It took me several tries, each time I got more confident of each step, until I could recognize my position. Moving to 24 uMa felt like the biggest jump. You got it. 


Edited by Vince_Maine, 25 April 2020 - 08:46 PM.

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#103 Vince_Maine

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Posted 25 April 2020 - 08:44 PM

I wrote about my experience here: https://www.cloudyni...2#entry10141475

 

Bottom line is aperture. At least for me in last nights seeing conditions.

I think the seeing conditions are also what helped me on my night of success. 


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#104 Eliserpens

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Posted 27 April 2020 - 04:35 AM

Woke up at 3.30 am to find a marvellously clear sky - I wonder if its partially due to the shut down.  Took out my new binoculars (10X50) for a quick scan through the window.  An hour later - standing outside in pyjamas :D - I had spotted all sorts.  The Andromeda galaxy was just rising in the NE, I saw two globular clusters, the famous ones in Hercules and Sagittarius, and the lagoon and triffid nebulas (among others) also in Sagittarius.  Also spotted the 'swimming aligator' open cluster in Cepheus.  Spending the time getting to know the constellations seems to be paying off :)

 

The most dramatic, however, was the clarity of three moons of Jupiter: Calisto, Ganymede and Europa.  I couldn't quite make Io out. 

 

The best news, perhaps, is that our location can have such a beautifully clear sky 


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#105 SouthernSkiesCro

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Posted 27 April 2020 - 06:22 AM

Not a newbie to observing, but newbie to CN (long time lurker though). I woke up at 2:40 am to a clear moonless sky. We had some rain and it has gotten chilly, and with chilly weather come clearer skies.

 

To my surprise, a faint trace of a milky way was visible from Cygnus to Sagittarius which was low on the southeaster horizon (the famous teapot is too low for my liking at this latitude!) My backyard has deteriorated from green-yellow in 2008 to yellow-orange zone now.

 

But still, this was a marvelous sight to see from my backyard. I always get surprised how much darker the sky is in the am compared to the evening. There seems to be less light pollution and the sky seems more transparent.

 

I first went to the M3 and M13 and those reminded me why I bought 12 inch f5 and sold the 8 inch f6, the difference between 8 and 12 inch scopes on globulars is insane. At 200x mag they were fully resolved and looked imho better than photos.

 

Then I got over to M51 and while i could make out the spiral structure the light pollution over here is too heavy for successfull observation of diffuse objects. I found the same with the M8, M20, M17 and M16. They were all extremely washed out, M20 showed the dust lanes fine, but any chance of catching a glimpse of pillars of creation in M16 was out of the question. Even with UHC.

 

It was already 4 am and Lyrae was high in the sky so I decided to take a peek at M57. Very good details at 200 x mag, clear nebulosity around and inside the nebulae itself, central star...well that is a bit too optimistic...perhaps when i get another 12 inch f5 mirror and make a binoscope out of it (in my plans).

 

In the end, I went back to M13 at 200x mag (15mm wide angle 68 deg plus 2x barlow) and watching this huge, bright globular cluster slowly drifting in and across the large field of view is an unforgettable experience. Photos cannot describe it. 

 

It was 4:20 am and astronomical twilight has already started. I packed my scope into the house, drank a glass of milk and went to sleep.

 

 

If the weather allows, tomorrow morning around 3 am i hope for another brief and satisfying observing session.

 

 

Clear skies,

Adrian 


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#106 starprincess66

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Posted 27 April 2020 - 07:30 AM

Hi my name is chris
Aka Starprincess
Last night I was out on my porch looking at the night sky, and I was looking at the Big Diper, I
Was using the app that I put on my tablet called SKYsafari,and I identified C/2010 (Boattini),
Description-comment in URSA Major
The 15th magnitude comet appearing in the constellation URSA Major.
I had already identified Venus, and now identifying Ursa Major is major excitement for me,as an ameture
astronomer, I will surely study all about Uras major.
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#107 datchley

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Posted 28 April 2020 - 03:16 PM

Datchley - well done.  I've been looking for them several times without success.  Any tricks?

No real trick.  Though I had to find some guide posts to inform where I was pointing the scope (see image).  I basically made a triangle between Dubhe, h Ursae Majoris, and Giausar, bisected with a line from Dubhe and looked using sweeps on the left of that bisecting line.  Nothing scientific, but maybe its useful.

 

Image%202020-04-28%20at%202.59.43%20PM.p


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#108 Eliserpens

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Posted 28 April 2020 - 03:28 PM

My challenge is that I have an equitorial mount - and I really want to learn how to use it to scan the sky.  Its a different way of thinking, especially as you approach the N pole.  RA doesn't scan the sky but changes the angle for the sweep of Dec.  That's quite a concept shift.  

 

Mostly I have tried to get to M81/2 by the extension of the UM diagonal by the same distance - which should work.  Next time I am going to find giausar and sweep round using the RA - they are at about the same Dec.


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#109 AJK 547

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Posted 29 April 2020 - 09:18 AM

One of the more interesting ‘events’ I saw in the skies a few days ago was the NW to SE traverse of the Starlink ‘train’ of satellites at ~9:05 CST.  One of my astronomer buddies notified me about 45min. prior to the sighting and to view this spectacle was most enjoyable...  Certainly won’t be good for AP though!

 

Clear, steady nights.



#110 NYJohn S

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Posted 29 April 2020 - 10:20 AM

My challenge is that I have an equitorial mount - and I really want to learn how to use it to scan the sky.  Its a different way of thinking, especially as you approach the N pole.  RA doesn't scan the sky but changes the angle for the sweep of Dec.  That's quite a concept shift.  

 

Mostly I have tried to get to M81/2 by the extension of the UM diagonal by the same distance - which should work.  Next time I am going to find giausar and sweep round using the RA - they are at about the same Dec.

I don't know if this will help but if I'm having trouble finding them I follow the attached star hop (from Sky Safari). I don't necessarily go from star to star but I use them to guide me in the right direction. On a good night I land right on them but more often than not I overshoot and find myself near dUMa or 27 UMa and the surrounding stars. From there it's easy to backtrack and find M81 & M82. The line of stars near ET UMa stands out and helps confirm I'm heading in the right direction but not there yet. Practicing with your 10x50 binoculars can help. I do that quite often.

 

Good Luck!

John

Attached Thumbnails

  • M81 Star Hop 1500px.jpg

Edited by NYJohn S, 29 April 2020 - 10:21 AM.

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#111 brentknight

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Posted 29 April 2020 - 11:02 AM

I don't know if this will help but if I'm having trouble finding them I follow the attached star hop (from Sky Safari). I don't necessarily go from star to star but I use them to guide me in the right direction. On a good night I land right on them but more often than not I overshoot and find myself near dUMa or 27 UMa and the surrounding stars. From there it's easy to backtrack and find M81 & M82. The line of stars near ET UMa stands out and helps confirm I'm heading in the right direction but not there yet. Practicing with your 10x50 binoculars can help. I do that quite often.

 

Good Luck!

John

Using binoculars to trace out the route is a very good suggestion.

 

When I look for these two, I start at h UMa and scan north until I see a prominent triangle of stars.  Rho UMa is the northern most star in this triangle and has close to the same declination as M81/M82.  You can scan north about another 1.5° from Rho UMa and lock the dec and then scan over east until the galaxies appear in a low power field (it's about 6° to the east). 


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#112 RockyMtnRR

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Posted 29 April 2020 - 01:09 PM

Last night I saw my first Messier Objects.  It was a learning experience.   M44 and M67 in Cancer, specifically.  

 

After a bit of Lunar fun the skies were dark enough I could pick out Leo reasonably well.  Cancer is completely invisible to the naked eye in SLC even on a good night.  M44 is BIG and bright enough to see through the finderscope.  M67 was invisible in the scope but with the half hour of dicking around I spent on M44 I found it pretty fast with a map.  Important things I learned:

  • Experience finding yourself on a map through pattern recognition translates well to stars
  • Figuring out how MUCH sky you are seeing is a key factor here.  Both of the middle Cancer stars and Beehive cluster fit into the finderscope's view.  I can see now why View Circles on a starchart are helpful.
  • Gotta be patient when finding stars by feel, so to speak.  A slow steady zig zag search eventually netted me Cancer's upper claw, though I didn't immediately realize it.
  • If you turn the right angle thingy on the viewfinder straight out/up from the scope, your view through it will be aligned with the sky you see and with the scope.  This makes hunting and hopping like 1000 times easier.
  • If your darkest spot in the yard is also the raspberry patch you must be very very careful moving around. 

Can't wait to get out there and see some more. :D


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#113 Eliserpens

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Posted 29 April 2020 - 01:41 PM

Rocky - I know exactly what you are talking about having struggled with relating whats in the EP to whats actually in the sky.  Then I bought a Telrad and it all became different.  You might want to check into this - its a viewfinder without any gain - what you see continues outside the viewing screen to the sky itself.  Once you have pointed the 'target' circle whatever you are looking at is within not only your finder, but even your EP.   Sure helped me with my equatorial mount challenges...  And its cheap.



#114 B l a k S t a r

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Posted 29 April 2020 - 02:20 PM

Have you tried late / early morning for the gas giants and Mars? Saw Jupiter and unfortunately missed a transit with shadow today...

 

https://www.cloudyni...-us/?p=10151177


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#115 RockyMtnRR

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Posted 29 April 2020 - 04:21 PM

Yeah in fact the friend who helped me take the leap suggested a red dot one and after last night I'm like yeeeeaaah that'd be nice.

 

Alternately, I can just get really good at waving a telescope around the sky and hoping for the best, but the telrad is probably smarter.  Did you mount yours on a double finder dealy or do you do the swap?

 

 

Rocky - I know exactly what you are talking about having struggled with relating whats in the EP to whats actually in the sky.  Then I bought a Telrad and it all became different.  You might want to check into this - its a viewfinder without any gain - what you see continues outside the viewing screen to the sky itself.  Once you have pointed the 'target' circle whatever you are looking at is within not only your finder, but even your EP.   Sure helped me with my equatorial mount challenges...  And its cheap.


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#116 river-z

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Posted 29 April 2020 - 05:40 PM

Last night I saw my first Messier Objects.  It was a learning experience.   M44 and M67 in Cancer, specifically.  

 

I can definitely relate to what you wrote about first finding and then star hopping in Cancer because it's not visible to the naked eye where I live either.  So I start with binoculars, find the center star and the Beehive, and then find it in the finderscope of my telescope.  From there I can hop around.  

 

Next time you're in Cancer I highly recommend finding the star Iota at the top of the constellation.  It's a beautiful double star whose primary star is yellow, and secondary star is blue.  It's kind of fun to see how the star splits at different magnitudes with different eye pieces.  Worth a look.


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#117 Eliserpens

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Posted 29 April 2020 - 06:26 PM

Yeah in fact the friend who helped me take the leap suggested a red dot one and after last night I'm like yeeeeaaah that'd be nice.

 

Alternately, I can just get really good at waving a telescope around the sky and hoping for the best, but the telrad is probably smarter.  Did you mount yours on a double finder dealy or do you do the swap?

The telrad sticks directly onto the OT with its own double sided tape so does not need a dovetail.  I have a reflector; the ARCI is next to the focuser and the telrad is after that.  I also had a red dot - it worked too but had to go on the same mount as the ARCI.  I'll use that with my refractor, if it every comes....



#118 epee

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Posted 30 April 2020 - 07:24 AM

Venus, the Moon and Starlink...


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#119 Eliserpens

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Posted 30 April 2020 - 11:45 AM

Its getting hard to miss Starlink at dusk.  I think they just put up another 60 :o

 

But the moon is always beautiful - did you see anything particular along the terminator (line between the lit and dark regions).  You probably know this, but you can see the details of the mountains, crags and crater edges, a moveable feast!  Also, if you are using your telescope, what phase is Venus in? 


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#120 epee

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Posted 30 April 2020 - 12:10 PM

Its getting hard to miss Starlink at dusk.  I think they just put up another 60 :o

 

But the moon is always beautiful - did you see anything particular along the terminator (line between the lit and dark regions).  You probably know this, but you can see the details of the mountains, crags and crater edges, a moveable feast!  Also, if you are using your telescope, what phase is Venus in? 

Somehow I missed the "Newbies" part of the title; though I'm far less experienced than many on this board.

 

Venus is a wide crescent right now and if I'd hung on a short while I would have seen the Lunar "X".



#121 brentknight

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Posted 30 April 2020 - 12:14 PM

Its getting hard to miss Starlink at dusk.  I think they just put up another 60 :o

 

But the moon is always beautiful - did you see anything particular along the terminator (line between the lit and dark regions).  You probably know this, but you can see the details of the mountains, crags and crater edges, a moveable feast!  Also, if you are using your telescope, what phase is Venus in? 

Pardon my crappy hand-held phone pic, but the "X" was very prominent...

 

Moon X.jpg


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#122 Eliserpens

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Posted 30 April 2020 - 05:55 PM

Stunning Brent - please tell us more, when in the cycle is it visible and where?



#123 brentknight

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Posted 30 April 2020 - 07:15 PM

Stunning Brent - please tell us more, when in the cycle is it visible and where?

Apparently most people see this accidentally as I did.  I just happened to step outside to play with the Alt/Az circle and gauge on my 10" and it just popped into view - very clearly.

 

Here is something I found on YouTube: Lunar X - An Animated View...


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#124 sunnyday

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Posted 30 April 2020 - 07:30 PM

Stunning Brent - please tell us more, when in the cycle is it visible and where?

there are 2 or 3 thread currently in progress on CN,

about the x and the v which was visible last night and which comes back more or less at each new moon.


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#125 KaireBackyard

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Posted 02 May 2020 - 05:23 AM

Last night.... It was cloudy. Fortunately i woke up very early this morning at about 2 AM just to observe, luckily the transparency was excellent and it wasn't cloudy.I decided to look at Scorpius, I located the bright star Shaula and scanned the constellation, and accidentally bumped M7 which looked like a box with a diamond outline and M6 which looks really like a butterfly sideways, both were crazy bright even in Bortle 6 skies.

 

Then I switched constellation to Sagittarius, which is on its way to the zenith, I was really excited to look at M22 one of the brightest Globulars out there, and...... lets say I was disappointed, it was just a dim and fuzzy cotton ball, at least it was visible....

 

After that big let down, I pushed my telescope near the zenith and was hit with this large field of stars, too small even with my 2 degrees of FOV, I looked at my app, apparently it was the Small Sagittarius Star Cloud, It was really beautiful with both normal and averted vision. In fact i was so mesmerized by it, I totally forgot that Jupiter was about to go over the zenith.


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