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Best amateur DSO's

dso dob observing
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#1 Guster

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Posted 13 January 2021 - 01:54 PM

Hello everyone!

 

I recently got a 10" dob 1200 mm focal length with a 30 mm and a 9 mm plossl. I live in a relatively light-polluted (bortle 6).

 

So far I have seen M34, 35, 36, 38, 42, 44, 45, 81, and 82.

 

I hope to observe Markarian's chain, the Leo triplet, M97, 1, 49, 42, 43, 78, 31, 32, 110, 74, 77, 79, 37, 39, 41, 103, NGC1501, 2024, 7789, the double cluster, and Hyades soon.

 

What other great objects are there for me to look at? I am not sure if I am ready for harder objects like M33 yet, but what are some nice, bright objects that I should look for this time of year?

 

Guster

 

edit: I live near San Francisco in the PST time zone. I am usually observing from 8-10:3 ish, but I sometimes go out in the early morning.

 

PS: This is my first post. Please tell me if I can do anything to make my post clearer in the future.


Edited by Guster, 13 January 2021 - 01:56 PM.

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#2 cuzimthedad

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Posted 13 January 2021 - 02:07 PM

Welcome to Cloudy Nights Guster and congratulations on your new scope! Seems to me you're off to a great start. I recommend never taking an object as a one and done as the more you observe the same over time, the more of it you will see. M42 and M31 are obvious examples of this. There are some wonderful DSO lists in this forum so I also suggest taking some time to read through them although you should be receiving some good info in this thread too!


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#3 Guster

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Posted 13 January 2021 - 02:33 PM

Ok, makes sense! Thank you!
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#4 JamesDuffey

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Posted 13 January 2021 - 02:34 PM

Every Month in the Announcements & Reviews/Celestial Events forum Dave MItsky posts an exhaustive list of celestial events during the month. The January 2021 Celestial Calendar contains information on various DSOs towards the bottom. You can find the calendar here:

 

https://www.cloudyni...stial-calendar/ >

 

It is very useful.


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#5 Guster

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Posted 13 January 2021 - 02:55 PM

Yeah, I saw that... It looked kind of scary though. I am not entirely sure what objects are easier or harder, and I think it is directed towards more experienced observers. I saw another thing he did where he recommended 10 objects per month, and I have made sure the Jan ones are in my list :)

Edited by Guster, 13 January 2021 - 02:57 PM.


#6 Sheol

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Posted 13 January 2021 - 08:15 PM

                          You should be able to see Markarians Chain soon. I hope to get my new 12 inch Dob out for those as well. I have seen BOTH Leo Triplets, there are actually two of them. The standard one, M.65 & M.66 & the NGC galaxy I have seen many times in my * inch. I have also seen M.84 & M.86 many times in Virgo. So the Chain is in reach, just hope the LP here won't kill the non-Messiers even for the 12 inch. Fortunately, the Eclliptic runs through my backyard away from the DFW  Light Dome north of my house.

 

                              Clear Skies,

                                     Matt.



#7 Guster

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Posted 13 January 2021 - 08:26 PM

I think Markarians Chain is already up in the early morning. Thanks for the advice!



#8 JamesDuffey

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Posted 13 January 2021 - 08:37 PM

Yeah, I saw that... It looked kind of scary though. I am not entirely sure what objects are easier or harder, and I think it is directed towards more experienced observers. I saw another thing he did where he recommended 10 objects per month, and I have made sure the Jan ones are in my list smile.gif

It is kind of dense and it can take some effort to extract what is useful to you. Towards the bottom of that post is the DSO list:

“Top ten binocular deep-sky objects for January: Cr65, Kemble 1, M36, M37, M38, M42, NGC 1528, NGC 1647, NGC 1746, NGC 1981

Top ten deep-sky objects for January: M1, M36, M37, M38, M42, M43, M78, M79, NGC 1501, NGC 2024”

 

This, I these objects are a condensed version of the 10 objects per month you referred to, which is very useful.

 

When I look at the list every month, I scan it for interesting things. There is a lot there I don’t use, but it is a good reference. 


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#9 Guster

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Posted 13 January 2021 - 09:42 PM

Ok, I'll make sure to review it!



#10 Jim Haley

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Posted 14 January 2021 - 01:03 PM

Welcome to Cloudy Nights Guster and congratulations on your new scope! Seems to me you're off to a great start. I recommend never taking an object as a one and done as the more you observe the same over time, the more of it you will see. M42 and M31 are obvious examples of this. There are some wonderful DSO lists in this forum so I also suggest taking some time to read through them although you should be receiving some good info in this thread too!

One example of seeing more with experience was when I began observing with an 11" dob. I started with M41 (and others) in Canis Major and then tons of stuff in Orion.  One year later came back to the same area and it was like I had a bigger scope!  Perhaps as much as two more inches of aperture!  I just saw SO much more in every object at which I looked.  

 

Also, Skymaps.com has a free monthly map that also has a list of items to check out naked eye, in binoculars, and with a telescope.  Really helps to narrow down the objects to ones you can probably find from your back yard.  By the way, most galaxies are just a dim smudge from a dark site and may disappear altogether from a light polluted back yard.  Even the Andromeda galaxy ("huge" with significant shaped detail from a dark site) is reduced to a largish blob in my backyard.



#11 Jim Haley

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Posted 14 January 2021 - 01:08 PM

One other thing.  Dark Site binocular objects may disappear in light pollution but can be brought back by using a telescope when in the back yard.  For example, M36, M37, M38 are "binocular" open clusters.  In my light polluted back yard M38 disappears from my 15x50is Binoculars and the other two are just tiny smudges in 9x50 finder scope.  However, all three are fine in 8" scope even if they don't show as much detail as would be seen from a dark site.



#12 Guster

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Posted 14 January 2021 - 01:56 PM

One example of seeing more with experience was when I began observing with an 11" dob. I started with M41 (and others) in Canis Major and then tons of stuff in Orion.  One year later came back to the same area and it was like I had a bigger scope!  Perhaps as much as two more inches of aperture!  I just saw SO much more in every object at which I looked.  

I'll definitely keep that in mind! I've been hearing a lot of people say the same thing. Seems like something I just have to learn over years of experience.

 

Also, update:

 

I managed to get out last night and observe:

 

M1, 31, 42, 43, 78, NGC2071, M103, the double cluster, and NGC7789. Definitely see what you were saying about the andromeda galaxy. I didn't like it, because it was easy to find yet not very rewarding to me. I'm sure I'll be able to tease out more detail when I'm more experienced!



#13 Guster

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Posted 14 January 2021 - 02:05 PM

Oh yeah, I managed to get the SkySafari Plus app (which has a nice tonight's best) feature. Is that any good?



#14 havasman

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Posted 14 January 2021 - 03:22 PM

Another major advantage of Dave Mitsky's list is that it prompts observations at or near the meridian where successful observations are much more likely. It is ALWAYS best to select objects more favorably presented in a night's sky than to select poorly placed (low in the sky) famous objects.

Target rich Perseus, Andromeda, Taurus, Aries, eastern Cetus, northern Eridanus, Orion, Auriga, Camelopardalis, Auriga, and Gemini are all much better placed for observing as January nights unfold than are Leo and Virgo.

Observing site conditions are also a primary factor in choosing targets. M33, for instance, is a naked eye object from a dark site on a good night whereas Markarian's Chain is reduced to two or three faint small puffs from a poor urban site.

Realistic expectations in target selection and object resolution can be helpful in achieving satisfying experiences.



#15 Guster

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Posted 14 January 2021 - 03:36 PM

Ok, I'll make sure to review that one again! Do you still think that Markarian's Chain is a good target, however?



#16 Sheol

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Posted 14 January 2021 - 07:44 PM

                      Yeah, the Realm of the Nebulae will be up sometime early in the morning. Leo is already rising at 8:30-9:0PM my time. US CST. Now you have me getting anxious for this area..

 

                           Clear Skies,

                                   Matt.



#17 Guster

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Posted 14 January 2021 - 07:53 PM

Lol. I’ve also just found out that Markarian’s Chain is part of something called the Virgo cluster. Very hyped!

#18 sevenofnine

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Posted 14 January 2021 - 10:09 PM

I keep "The Messier Observer's Planisphere" pinned above my scope. It really helps me keep in touch with what's happening in the night sky. It's large (18") and is loaded with information front and back. "A great investment at $32 on Amazon. Harvard Pennington's classic book "The Year-Round Messier Marathon" is also very useful. He shows how anyone can find these objects. Of course a darker sky helps on some of them. Good luck on your observations!



#19 Guster

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Posted 15 January 2021 - 01:07 AM

I’lol make sure to check that one out!

#20 hamers

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Posted 15 January 2021 - 09:00 AM

Oh yeah, I managed to get the SkySafari Plus app (which has a nice tonight's best) feature. Is that any good?

Sky Safari Pro is great. The compass feature (so you can hold up your phone and identify what you're looking at) and the "look forward in time" feature (to plan where things will be in the sky from your viewing location) are great.   I also use Sky Safari on my desktop.   Another useful feature is being able to put in your specific equipment (focal length, eyepiece and/or camera, barlow/reducer) and it will show you exactly what field of view to expect.  Super-useful in planning ahead so you can make the best use of your imaging time.   Star Walk 2 is also good, but if you get just one I'd definitely go with Sky Safari Pro.


Edited by hamers, 15 January 2021 - 09:00 AM.

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#21 havasman

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Posted 15 January 2021 - 01:36 PM

Ok, I'll make sure to review that one again! Do you still think that Markarian's Chain is a good target, however?

That's a fantastic set of observations. There is a "river of galaxies" that runs roughly from north central Ursa Major through Canes Venatici, Coma Berenices, eastern Leo, Virgo, northeastern Hydra and northern Centaurus and Markarian's Chain is part of one of the densest areas in it. That region is beginning to present fairly well after midnight these nights. Its location relative to the meridian will improve through springtime and that season through mid-summer is generally considered the optimum observing opportunity for that part of the sky.

It is not a matter of that being where galaxies are located but that in those seasons we are looking out of our galaxy into deepest space whereas in mid-to-late summer we peer more directly into the Milky Way that blocks some deep space objects with gas clouds and bright objects.

Your 10", if you can get it to a dark site, will show you so many galaxies up and down that large area that you will likely become confused, as many of us do, while galaxy hopping along as to which one is which. A good chart will be your friend.


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#22 Guster

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Posted 15 January 2021 - 05:57 PM

Alright, I'll try to point my telescope at that area! Maybe I can get out to a dark sky site soon. Is bortle 4 good for a dark sky site?



#23 havasman

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Posted 16 January 2021 - 02:42 PM

Better than brighter sky. Any opportunity to find and use darker than what we have used is a good opportunity.



#24 vicm

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Posted 17 January 2021 - 06:19 PM

Sky Safari Pro is great. The compass feature (so you can hold up your phone and identify what you're looking at) and the "look forward in time" feature (to plan where things will be in the sky from your viewing location) are great.   I also use Sky Safari on my desktop.   Another useful feature is being able to put in your specific equipment (focal length, eyepiece and/or camera, barlow/reducer) and it will show you exactly what field of view to expect.  Super-useful in planning ahead so you can make the best use of your imaging time.   Star Walk 2 is also good, but if you get just one I'd definitely go with Sky Safari Pro.

I agree. Sky safari pro made a huge improvement in my star hopping by being able to program my finder scope and eps in the app.  The best twenty bucks I have spent on astronomy by far. 



#25 Guster

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Posted 18 January 2021 - 01:23 PM

Great! I am still working on setting up my finder scope in SkySafari, but I’ve got my wfov eyepiece set up. I’ll set up the finder scope ASAP.

Also, I know that there are literally hundreds of amazing dsos visible every night, but I feel like I just don’t know what to see.

For example, two nights ago, I saw m37, m39, m52, and hyades. It was great, but I was really struggling for targets, even thought there were no trees near the zenith. Eventually, I decided to look for m33 (without expectations), and I guess that I kind of saw it. If I had spent a bit more time collimating and dark adapting, I would’ve caught more than what I did, (which was SO faint even with averted vision). The only reason I looked for this galaxy was because I couldn’t find anything better to look for. Also note that this was relatively early night, so some objects were super low still.

So, what are some other bright targets that are high in the sky around now?


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