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Going to the desert in early April, what DSOs should I look for?

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#1 arian487

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Posted 08 March 2021 - 10:31 AM

I'm going to death valley in early April just before the new moon and I'm taking my 10" dob. I've never viewed a DSO in my scope and I'm generally pretty new to this. I have a 17mm ethos, and a 6mm delos along with whatever came with the scope (10mm and 25mm plossl).

Couple questions I have are, should I get a another eyepiece for the trip (I'm thinking a higher quality 24-27mm perhaps) and what DSOs should I look for? I tried doing some research about what might be good during this time but honestly the information is overwhelming!

#2 happylimpet

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Posted 08 March 2021 - 10:35 AM

Well, youve more than half the universe available to you (as the earth rotates), there are more choices than you can shake a stick at!

 

Galaxy season later, but you can still see orion etc early.


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#3 VariableBob

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Posted 08 March 2021 - 10:39 AM

The 25 mm eyepiece is pretty good.  I have a number of eyepieces for my 8" 'dob' (fl 1200mm); however the eyepiece that I use most is my 25 mm Meade series 4000 which gives me a field of view slightly under 1.25 deg at 48x.  The next most used eyepiece is an Antares 15 mm which is not longer manufactured.  It gives me a field of view slightly less than 1 degree at 80x.  I do occasionally use my 10 mm to resolve globular clusters or to look at the planets; however for DSO observing my 25 mm is used 75% of the time and the 15 mm is used 25%.



#4 VariableBob

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Posted 08 March 2021 - 10:41 AM

As for DSO you have lots of galaxies before midnight and lots of the Milky Way after midnight.


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#5 arian487

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Posted 08 March 2021 - 10:48 AM

I guess being a beginner I was wondering if you all had specific DSOs to target my first time given the time of year and also the location I'll be.

A follow-up I forgot to ask is whether or not I should invest in a barlow?

#6 jcj380

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Posted 08 March 2021 - 10:55 AM

https://www.taas.org...avengerList.pdf

 

Courtesy of the Albuquerque Astro Society.  YMMV.

 

(The TAAS 200 list does not include the Messier Objects.)


Edited by jcj380, 08 March 2021 - 10:55 AM.


#7 coopman

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Posted 08 March 2021 - 11:09 AM

Take your binoculars if you have any.  The wide field low power views should be killer.


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#8 TelescopeBah

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Posted 08 March 2021 - 11:22 AM

Hi arian487,
First thing I would do if you have not done already, is get a stargazing app on your phone or tablet iPad. Sky Safari is really nice. Another option that I really like is 'DSO planner' this app allows you to set the date of observing session and it shows you what will be visible on that night. You can then select a object on the star chart and view information about it such as the magnitude, size, transit time, surface brightness, and also there are notes on what the object looks like through various sizes of telescopes! I really like that part of it. You can then make a list of the objects you want to observe! Sounds like your in for a nice experience!

Clear skies! and be safe!
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#9 MikeTahtib

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Posted 08 March 2021 - 11:28 AM

If you've never seen a DSO before, defintiely look at the Orion Nebula first.  It's big, bright, and easy to find, and will be visible from nightfall until about midnight.  It will give you an idea fo what one of the most spectacular DSOs looks like, and will set a top limit on what you can expect to see. It is really a must-see.  After that, stick to Messier objects, especially ones near easy-to-find stars. I would recommend teh star clusters in Auriga (M36. M37, M38), then if you can find Gemini, M35 is really nice, in the "hockey stick" (my term) at the taurus end fo Gemini.  I would spend some time sweeping the dense starfields in Perseus.  This area looks like glitter to the naked eye, and is good to see in binoculars as well as a telescope.  Leo will be very prominent as the night wears on.  There are a few good galaxies there that are relatively easy to find, but beware that they are on the small and faint side compared to the thins already listed, but still definitely worth the look.  M81 and M82 are some of the best galaxies in the sky, but are a bit hard to find.  I follow teh bottom left and top right diagonal stars in the big dipper bowl, about the same distance out as they are apart from each other, and scan around.  They are bright so easy to se, but in the middle of nowhere, so can take a bit of searching to find.  Also, if the skies are super-dark, M51 Whirlpool galaxy(s) is a great view.  I finally got a good look at it after many attempts.  Before that, even modest light pollution kept it invisible. 

After midnight, the summer stuff will start to rise.  Look for M13 Globular Cluster in Hercules, then the M57 Ring Nebula in Lyra, and all sorts of stuff in Scorpio and Sagittarius just before dawn.

Do you have a star atlas?  I would recommend teh Cambridge Star Atlas as the perfect beginner atlas.



#10 MikeTahtib

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Posted 08 March 2021 - 11:32 AM

I would not invest in a barlow right away.  I would get a low-power wide-angle eyepiece before a barlow,  The 6mm is pretty high-power already.   But it also depends on what you want to look at.  There are  alot of large easy-to-find showpiece objects that aare better seen in a large low-power field of view - the Orion Nebula (but then definitely zoom in), the Double Cluster in Perseus, the Andromeda Galaxy, the Pleiades, the Beehive Cluster, The Veil Nebula, the Leo Triplet.


Edited by MikeTahtib, 08 March 2021 - 11:38 AM.

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#11 Daveatvt01

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Posted 08 March 2021 - 11:46 AM

Does the dob have goto or push to? That will have a big impact on your list.



#12 coopman

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Posted 08 March 2021 - 12:52 PM

Does the dob have goto or push to? That will have a big impact on your list.

That's very true.  You can spend most of your time looking AT objects instead of searching for them.  


Edited by coopman, 08 March 2021 - 12:53 PM.


#13 coopman

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Posted 08 March 2021 - 12:56 PM

You'll probably leave the 17 Ethos in the focuser most of the time.  



#14 arian487

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Posted 08 March 2021 - 01:21 PM

Unfortunately I do not have a goto in my dob, I'll have to search for everything!



#15 MikeTahtib

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Posted 08 March 2021 - 02:25 PM

Unfortunately I do not have a goto in my dob, I'll have to search for everything!

That may not be a bad thing.  Many people (myself included) really enjoy searching for things.  It gives a great sense fo satisfaction when you finally find something.  I think I would eb a bit bored if I just pushed a button and the scope did everything for me.  This is a very personal thing; some people love the search, others just want to see the objects without futzing around looking for stuff.  Neither way is right or wrong.  Although I have my preference, I would not say anythign bad about someone who likes to use goto.  You may not know how you feel about it yet, although after your trip, you will have a better feel for what you like to do.

I would go with an open mind, see what you like, then come back and ask more questions.  You may come back asking for recommendations for star atlases, or you may come back asking how to add goto to your scope. Either way is fine.


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#16 cuzimthedad

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Posted 08 March 2021 - 06:27 PM

A +1 for bringing along a pair of binoculars. For me, dark sky trips are not just time spent behind the eyepiece but also kicking back in a lawn recliner and taking in the glory of the night sky with both binocs and naked eye. It's amazing and I always come away from these trips a little tired but also revitalized and with a deeper appreciation of the vastness of our universe, the beauty it unveils to me, and the satisfaction I get from knowing what an amazing hobby this is.


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#17 Daveatvt01

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Posted 08 March 2021 - 06:40 PM

A couple of random things:
Objects will look much better if they are 30 degrees or more above the horizon. Someone had mentioned the Orion nebula sets kinda late, but it will lose detail the closer it gets to the horizon. If you get a late start it’s definitely worth looking looking at late though, even if it’s really low.
What do you have to aim the scope? You might want to consider a telrad, they really help with figuring out where things are. If you can, you should also try hunting down some DSOs in your area as practice before the trip, it’ll help a lot.
If you are not familiar with collimation, you might want to print a copy of a collimation guide, such as https://garyseronik....to-collimation/ and have it on hand in case internet doesn’t work.

 

Anyway, what you really wanted was a list, so here goes:
Early:
M42 - the orion nebula
NGC 2024 -the flame nebula - much fainter but should be easy to find
M46 - an open cluster with a planetary nebula “inside”, it will be trickier to find but worth it
M97 - the owl nebula

Mid:
M65/M66/NGC 3628- the Leo triplet (galaxies)
M51- whirlpool galaxy
M101- pinwheel galaxy
Melotte 111 (huge cluster in coma berenices, no scope just use your eyeballs)

Late:
M13- globular in hercules
M104- sombrero galaxy
NGC 5139- omega centauri- a huge globular, only gets a few degrees off of the horizon though

 

There’s so much more to look at, but that will at least get you started and go until about midnight. After that is a lot of summer milky way fun if you stay up that late. Good luck!


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#18 Astro-Master

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Posted 08 March 2021 - 06:42 PM

I would forget about getting a 27 or 24mm eyepiece for now, you have the 17 Ethos, and its a great eyepiece for finding DSO's at 71x and a 1.4* degree FOV

 

What you really need is a good medium power around 150x for higher contrast views on galaxies, and globular clusters.  You could buy an 8mm Ethos for $590, or a 8 Delos for $352, or the TV 2" 2x Big Barlow for $218 and it would convert the 17 Ethos to a 7.7mm Ethos with a power of 155x, and about 400x with the 6 Delos for bright Planetary Nebula.

 

I actually compared an 8 Ethos to my 17 Ethos with the TV Big Barlow on my 18" Obsession, and I liked the 17 with the barlow better.  It had a flatter field and a more comfortable eye relief with no vignetting.

 

If your scope didn't come with a red dot finder, buy a telrad red dot finder, it will make finding DSO's much easer.  For a list of objects to observe, start with the Messier Objects, get a red LED  flashlight with a variable brightness control and a good star atlas like the Sky & Telescope Jumbo Pocket Sky Atlas.  Using a cell phone or tablet will ruin your night vision to some extent even with a red filter over them.

 

Clear Skies and good hunting.



#19 Sheol

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Posted 08 March 2021 - 07:19 PM

                               Do This, Right Now: Buy a good Star Atlas. I actually have 3. The Pocket Sky Atlas by Sky & Telescope gets the most use, but I also have the Peterson Field Guide one as well. Hard to use, but a wealth of info on DSOs & Double & Variable stars.

                                Start learning your constellations NOW. Its going to be hard in DV. Because you will be over-whelmed by how many stars you can see. No joke, you may lose the outlines of constellations at first. I did at the Texas Star Party in the Davis Mts.

                                You will be able to see just about everything possible to be seen, especially galaxies, OCs, & Globular clusters.

                                 Enjoy your trip but be careful!

 

                  Clear Skies,

                     Matt.


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#20 Daveatvt01

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Posted 08 March 2021 - 10:45 PM

Lots of good advice! I actually use an eye patch for dark adaptation. I keep it over my observing eye so light from my chart, app, or whatever doesn’t cause me to lose any night vision. 
 

If you stay up late enough and the core of the Milky Way comes up, you won’t need a chart as much. Many of the best objects will be easily seen with the naked eye as bright hazy patches, which makes aiming the scope much much easier.

M6, M7, M8 (with nearby trifid nebula too), M11, M16, M17 and M24 should all be quite visible.



#21 arian487

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Posted 09 March 2021 - 02:08 AM

Amazing advice. This is exactly what I was looking for! Thanks all. I'll make sure to collimate (I use a lazer collimator) while I'm there

#22 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 09 March 2021 - 11:12 PM

Here's my list of binary star, carbon star, and deep-sky object lists.  

 

https://www.messier-...er-object-list/ (the Messier Catalogue)

 

http://messier.seds....r/sac110bn.html (the SAC's best objects in the NGC list)

 

http://messier.seds....r/rasc-ngc.html (the RASC's finest NGC objects list)

 

http://www.tyler.net...pot/saa100.html (the sci.astro.amateur 100)

 

http://www.taas.org/...00/taas200.html (the TAAS 200)

 

https://www.astrolea...00/h400lstn.pdf (the Astronomical League's Herschel 400)

 

http://www.stpeteast...ces/thelist.pdf (Vic Menard's list of 400 objects)

 

https://www.cloudyni...-best-dso-list/ (Don Pensack's 500 Best Deep Sky Objects List)

 

http://www.raycash.org/dm600.htm (the Orion Deep Map 600)

 

http://www.clarkvisi...appendix-e.html (Roger Clark's catalog of 611 deep-sky objects)

 

http://messier.seds....lar/BElistA.txt (the Boyd Edwards list of 884 objects)

 

http://messier.seds....milar/m1000.txt (the Magnificent 1000 by Tom Hoffelder)

 

http://www.astroleag...r/dblstar2.html (binary stars)

 

http://www.skyandtel...h/double-stars/ (binary stars)

 

http://users.compaqn...9fT0AWh8#a00150 (binary stars)

 

http://www.billboubl...wds_table1.html (binary stars)

 

http://www.skyandtel...-red1203201401/ (carbon stars)

 

https://www.theposta...ganic-existence (carbon stars)

 

http://www.astrosurf...iar2/carbon.htm (carbon stars)

 

http://www.nckas.org/carbonstars/ (carbon stars)

 

https://www.go-astro...arbon-stars.php (carbon stars)

 

https://www.astrolea...bonStarLog3.pdf (carbon stars)

 

https://sites.google...me/carbon-stars (carbon stars)



#23 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 09 March 2021 - 11:43 PM

The Turn Left at Orion object lists can be found at https://www.cambridg...kies_april-june
 

Seasonal lists for the Messier objects and some of the best NGC objects can be found at http://www.messier.s...r/dataRASC.html and http://www.messier.s...r/rasc-ngc.html



#24 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 10 March 2021 - 12:05 AM

You might want to consider getting a 2" wide-field eyepiece in the 30 to 35mm range to make locating objects easier and to view some of the larger DSOs in their entirety.

 


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#25 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 10 March 2021 - 12:08 AM

The following are the monthly top ten DSO lists from my Celestial Calendar:

 

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

The objects listed above are located between 4:00 and 6:00 hours of right ascension.

 

Top ten deep-sky objects for February: M35, M41, M46, M47, M50, M93, NGC 2261, NGC 2362, NGC 2392, NGC 2403

The objects listed above are located between 6:00 and 8:00 hours of right ascension.

 

Top ten deep-sky objects for March: M44, M48, M67, M81, M82, NGC 2654, NGC 2683, NGC 2835, NGC 2841, NGC 2903

The objects listed above are located between 8:00 and 10:00 hours of right ascension.

 

Top ten deep-sky objects for April: M65, M66, M95, M96, M97, M105, M108, NGC 3115, NGC 3242, NGC 3628

The objects listed above are located between 10:00 and 12:00 hours of right ascension.

 

Top ten deep-sky objects for May: M3, M51, M63, M64, M83, M87, M104, M106, NGC 4449, NGC 4565

The objects listed above are located between 12:00 and 14:00 hours of right ascension.

 

Top ten deep-sky objects for June: M5, M101, M102, NGC 5566, NGC 5585, NGC 5689, NGC 5746, NGC 5813, NGC 5838, NGC 5907

The objects listed above are located between 14:00 and 16:00 hours of right ascension.

 

Top ten deep-sky objects for July: M4, M6, M7, M10, M12, M13, M92, NGC 6210, NGC 6231, NGC 6543

The objects listed above are located between 16:00 and 18:00 hours of right ascension.

 

Top ten deep-sky objects for August: M8, M11, M16, M17, M20, M22, M24, M27, M55, M57

The objects listed above are located between 18:00 and 20:00 hours of right ascension.

 

Top ten deep-sky objects for September: IC 1396, M2, M15, M30, NGC 6888, NGC 6946, NGC 6960, NGC 6992, NGC 7000, NGC 7009

The objects listed above are located between 20:00 and 22:00 hours of right ascension.

 

Top ten deep-sky objects for October: K12, M52, NGC 7209, NGC 7293, NGC 7331, NGC 7332, NGC 7339, NGC 7640, NGC 7662, NGC 7789

The objects listed above are located between 22:00 and 24:00 hours of right ascension.

 

Top ten deep-sky objects for November: M31, M32, M33, M76, M103, M110, NGC 40, NGC 253, NGC 457, NGC 752

The objects listed above are located between 0:00 and 2:00 hours of right ascension.

 

Top ten deep-sky objects for December: M34, M45, M77, NGC 869, NGC 884, NGC 891, NGC 1023, NGC 1232, NGC 1332, NGC 1360

The objects listed above are located between 2:00 and 4:00 hours of right ascension.


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