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What do you do while waiting for an object to get in position?

Astrophotography Observing
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#1 ABQJeff

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Posted 05 May 2021 - 08:36 PM

So last night I was observing Globular Clusters in my 150mm Mak and had viewed all those in view and I had to wait about an hour for a new set of objects to rise. I got some coffee, checked my other observing lists to see if there happened to be anything I still needed to check off (nope), busted out the ST120 and did some sky sweeping. I thought about jumping on Cloudy Nights. That got
me thinking, what do other astronomers do while waiting?

Each case is different, for weather, whether or not you can leave your telescope (I can’t when I observe from my driveway), if you are at a remote dark site (can’t go in to watch TV), etc.

So share some ideas with others (and me): what do you do when you have an hour-plus to wait for that next object to get just in the right spot for you to observe or photograph?

CS!
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#2 Augustus

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Posted 05 May 2021 - 08:39 PM

Go look at other stuff. There are thousands of interesting things to see even with a 6" and mediocre skies.


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#3 Stellar1

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Posted 05 May 2021 - 09:00 PM

Same here, no one object is so exciting that it warrants ignoring others while waiting, especially considering how few clear nights we get. When I have a chance it’s like get as much as I can while it’s clear.


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#4 TOMDEY

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Posted 05 May 2021 - 09:25 PM

I push on the east dome wall from the inside or the west dome wall from the outside --- which moves the target into position. Granted, it takes a while... but it always works. If you're at a remote dark site, just pack up and drive east --- which speeds up the process. That's called the "Magi Strategy".   Tom

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#5 ABQJeff

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Posted 05 May 2021 - 09:44 PM

I push on the east dome wall from the inside or the west dome wall from the outside --- which moves the target into position. Granted, it takes a while... but it always works. If you're at a remote dark site, just pack up and drive east --- which speeds up the process. That's called the "Magi Strategy".   Tom

That is awesome lol.gif !  Love it!

 

And yes, go look at other stuff is always a great option, especially with a second scope.


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#6 havasman

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Posted 05 May 2021 - 09:49 PM

There is no waiting during a session, only observing. Good planning creates a wealth of observable objects spread over the night's procession and also through the N-S range in case some quadrant clouds over. And there's always the charts or the Night Sky Observers Guide for consultation.


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#7 Jethro7

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Posted 05 May 2021 - 09:51 PM

Hello Jeff,

In my backyard I have a stand of trees that block any viewing below 40° to the East but have open skies North, West, and to the South. So I often have to wait till my planned viewing targets rise into a viewable position. That still leaves me with a plenty of sky and a multitude of  other objects to keep me occupied in the mean time. Heck at times I have forgotten my original plans in doing so. There are so many beautiful and interesting Celestial artifacts that sometimes it's just as well to not make any plans in the first place. This way you are never really waiting for your next target to come up.

 

HAPPY SKIES AND KEEP LOOKING UP Jethro


Edited by Jethro7, 05 May 2021 - 09:54 PM.

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#8 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 05 May 2021 - 09:59 PM

There is always something to look at.  Double stars, DSOs of every type, planets, new object, old friends, dark sky, light polluted backyard..

 

I don't work from lists and check off objects as "done." Objects are long term projects, never finished.

 

Right now from my light polluted San Diego backyard I'm working on NGC galaxies, it's slow going but I'll do that for a couple of hours and then look at some easier stuff.

 

Jon


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#9 Barlowbill

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Posted 06 May 2021 - 08:46 AM

Cold beer


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#10 aeajr

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Posted 06 May 2021 - 09:00 AM

So last night I was observing Globular Clusters in my 150mm Mak and had viewed all those in view and I had to wait about an hour for a new set of objects to rise. I got some coffee, checked my other observing lists to see if there happened to be anything I still needed to check off (nope), busted out the ST120 and did some sky sweeping. I thought about jumping on Cloudy Nights. That got
me thinking, what do other astronomers do while waiting?

Each case is different, for weather, whether or not you can leave your telescope (I can’t when I observe from my driveway), if you are at a remote dark site (can’t go in to watch TV), etc.

So share some ideas with others (and me): what do you do when you have an hour-plus to wait for that next object to get just in the right spot for you to observe or photograph?

CS!

Interesting question, especially since you are working globular clusters, my favorites. I have never experienced this problem, but perhaps that is because I have only been doing this for 7 years, so I have not begun to see all there is to see.

 

I am currently working the Astronomical League Globular Cluster observing program, learning about the GCs and the elements and variations I knew nothing about.  There is a rating system based on the density of the core which I knew nothing about.

 

No matter how long the session is there is always more to see, and by see I don't mean more things to check off.   I can go back to a globular cluster, an open cluster, a planet and spend 20 minutes on it, studying the shape, probing at different magnifications.   Perhaps try a filter or two to see if there is something there that I had not been aware of, maybe some nebulosity.  Maybe a color filter will have some useful impact.

 

With GCs it is a question of, at what mag can I resolve stars?  How does the density of the core compare to the outer regions.  What does the shape suggest?   

 

I might start to sketch, something for which I have no talent.  However I have found that sketching has helped me notice things that I would have otherwise overlooked. 

 

On one night I stood my 5" Mak next to my 12" Dob to compare the images and what could be seen.  Clearly aperture does truly rule in visual astronomy.  If I ever doubted it, that night proved it to me. 

 

However if I had observed the GCs all that I wished I would move to to other targets as I waited for new GCs to rise.  Or, if I am out with friends I might take a break from the eyepiece and socialize with them.

 

In all the vastness and variation of what is up there, it is only my equipment, my surroundings and my imagination that can hold me back. And, if I am with others, there is so much to be gained by being with them, learning from them and sharing the experience.


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#11 jgraham

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Posted 06 May 2021 - 10:27 AM

The sky is a Very Big Place. There is always lots to see.

 

Enjoy every minute.


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#12 csrlice12

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Posted 06 May 2021 - 10:31 AM

Wasn't there a meteor swarm Monday and Tuesday????  Nothing to look at?


Edited by csrlice12, 06 May 2021 - 10:32 AM.

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#13 geovermont

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Posted 06 May 2021 - 11:20 AM

And of course there's always "drifting": Just point your scope to a likely spot (with any drive turned off), settle in on your chair in a comfortable position (because you do use a chair, right?) and spend a few minutes letting the rotation of the Earth sweep your eye past a chunk of that big universe out there. And who needs a telescope? Just sit back and look at the sky for a bit.


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#14 alphatripleplus

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Posted 06 May 2021 - 02:02 PM

 I usually have a list of targets with little down time between. On those occasions that I have a gap, I will sometimes just scan interesting parts of the sky with binoculars for a while.


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#15 dave253

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Posted 06 May 2021 - 04:54 PM

We have a big trampoline in the backyard, we go and lay on it with binoculars and SkySafari and look for other things to observe, and catch the occasional meteor. 


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#16 gwlee

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Posted 06 May 2021 - 05:19 PM

So last night I was observing Globular Clusters in my 150mm Mak and had viewed all those in view and I had to wait about an hour for a new set of objects to rise. I got some coffee, checked my other observing lists to see if there happened to be anything I still needed to check off (nope), busted out the ST120 and did some sky sweeping. I thought about jumping on Cloudy Nights. That got
me thinking, what do other astronomers do while waiting?

Each case is different, for weather, whether or not you can leave your telescope (I can’t when I observe from my driveway), if you are at a remote dark site (can’t go in to watch TV), etc.

So share some ideas with others (and me): what do you do when you have an hour-plus to wait for that next object to get just in the right spot for you to observe or photograph?

CS!

I don’t wait. I observe whatever available to me 



#17 ABQJeff

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Posted 06 May 2021 - 05:34 PM

Cold beer

Two Thumbs Up!!waytogo.gif waytogo.gif Especially during summer in New Mexico!


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#18 ABQJeff

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Posted 06 May 2021 - 05:36 PM

Interesting question, especially since you are working globular clusters, my favorites. I have never experienced this problem, but perhaps that is because I have only been doing this for 7 years, so I have not begun to see all there is to see.

 

I am currently working the Astronomical League Globular Cluster observing program, learning about the GCs and the elements and variations I knew nothing about.  There is a rating system based on the density of the core which I knew nothing about.

 

No matter how long the session is there is always more to see, and by see I don't mean more things to check off.   I can go back to a globular cluster, an open cluster, a planet and spend 20 minutes on it, studying the shape, probing at different magnifications.   Perhaps try a filter or two to see if there is something there that I had not been aware of, maybe some nebulosity.  Maybe a color filter will have some useful impact.

 

With GCs it is a question of, at what mag can I resolve stars?  How does the density of the core compare to the outer regions.  What does the shape suggest?   

 

I might start to sketch, something for which I have no talent.  However I have found that sketching has helped me notice things that I would have otherwise overlooked. 

 

On one night I stood my 5" Mak next to my 12" Dob to compare the images and what could be seen.  Clearly aperture does truly rule in visual astronomy.  If I ever doubted it, that night proved it to me. 

 

However if I had observed the GCs all that I wished I would move to to other targets as I waited for new GCs to rise.  Or, if I am out with friends I might take a break from the eyepiece and socialize with them.

 

In all the vastness and variation of what is up there, it is only my equipment, my surroundings and my imagination that can hold me back. And, if I am with others, there is so much to be gained by being with them, learning from them and sharing the experienc

Great inputs!


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#19 brentknight

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Posted 06 May 2021 - 05:45 PM

I've had this problem recently. I've been observing the H400s in Virgo, but they were rising later in the evening and behind the roof. I turned the telescope 180 degrees and noticed Ursa Major was right there - let's revisit some of those objects for a while...
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#20 ABQJeff

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Posted 06 May 2021 - 05:48 PM

Thank you all for the great inputs and ideas.  Yes "keep observing other things" is the common answer, but some other great inputs I have seen mentioned:

 

1) Under "keep observing" , is going back to old favorites (for instance in my example I did go and observe Double-Double, Dumbbell, Ring, NA, Veil, and re-did M13 and M5)

2) Sketching something

3) Doing equipment comparisons (scope vs scope, filter comparisons), and I would add doing equipment analysis (eg do some stardrift testing to figure out what the field of views truly are of various scope/eyepiece combos)

4) Trying 'tough' challenges: splitting super tight doubles, seeing how many stars in a GC you can count

5) Sky sweep with binos (and/or RFT as I had mentioned in the opening) or better yet grap your comfy chair (or trampoline) and let sky sweep by you (love that one)!

6) Socialize with those observing with you, and I will add the frosty beverage suggestion to this category as well (see my signature, all about the beverage and the stars wink.gif !)

 

Some other ideas:

- Double check "things to see this month" articles to make sure a meteor shower, conjunction, asteroid close approach, etc. isn't being missed

- Planning your next session, because with too big a gap perhaps not enough thought went into this one -- although I don't like to plan every minute, I like to leave an hour gap for "random craziness".

 

That is really what this post is about...what random things do you throw in while observing to change up the pace

 

Keep the ideas coming... What "off script" things do you do when you have a 'break', for whatever reason, in your observing/astrophoto plans?

 

CS!!


Edited by ABQJeff, 06 May 2021 - 05:49 PM.

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#21 BRCoz

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Posted 06 May 2021 - 05:50 PM

I will look for other objects, eat a snack, get out the 20x80s and kick back for a few.  Get out the night vision scope and look for animals.  One night I was looking at a coyote that was looking at me.  


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#22 brentknight

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Posted 06 May 2021 - 05:55 PM

Here in the liquid sunshine state of Alabama, we don't get many clear nights.  If I'm out there, I'm observing.  I'd be in the house reading CN if it were a CN...

 

I do like the idea of pulling out the zero-G chair and a pair of binoculars though...


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#23 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 06 May 2021 - 06:19 PM

Here in the liquid sunshine state of Alabama, we don't get many clear nights.  If I'm out there, I'm observing.  I'd be in the house reading CN if it were a CN...

 

I do like the idea of pulling out the zero-G chair and a pair of binoculars though...

 

Not much liquid sunshine out my way. Plenty of regular sunshine though particularly in the high desert.

 

One thing Jeff and others have not mentioned:

 

Take a nap.  At 73, all nighters are no longer possible, I find myself falling asleep. I go inside, lay down for a while.

 

On a warm summer night, sometimes I'll pull out the zero-gravity chair, a few pair of binos and fall asleep under the Milky Way.  (The lack of mosquitoes makes this possible)

 

Eyepiece rack 1.jpg

 

You can see a few binos next to the chair on the lower level of the cart I use for an observing table.

 

I have this dream of having a regular bed with a mattress, pillows and blankets out under the stars so I can fall asleep in comfort under the night sky..

 

Jon


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#24 brentknight

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Posted 06 May 2021 - 06:25 PM

Not much liquid sunshine out my way. Plenty of regular sunshine though particularly in the high desert.

 

One thing Jeff and others have not mentioned:

 

Take a nap.  At 73, all nighters are no longer possible, I find myself falling asleep. I go inside, lay down for a while.

 

On a warm summer night, sometimes I'll pull out the zero-gravity chair, a few pair of binos and fall asleep under the Milky Way.  (The lack of mosquitoes makes this possible)

 

 

 

You can see a few binos next to the chair on the lower level of the cart I use for an observing table.

 

I have this dream of having a regular bed with a mattress, pillows and blankets out under the stars so I can fall asleep in comfort under the night sky..

 

Jon

Nice dream...  Absolutely NO MOSQUITOS???


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#25 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 06 May 2021 - 06:41 PM

Nice dream...  Absolutely NO MOSQUITOS???

 

I know that sounds like an impossible dream for many amateur astronomers.. You have my admiration and sympathy. 

 

Mosquitoes require water.. in the high desert, water doesn't last.  In San Diego, occasionally I might get a bite, maybe 5 in a year. Some places there maybe more.

 

Mosquitoes are not on my radar.. 

 

Jon


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