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Naked eye stargazing

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#26 SiriusLooker

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Posted 20 May 2021 - 03:33 PM

two snap shots of a video of closeup of spiral galaxy, seen from a very oblique angle.

A MilkyWay (side view)
A Milky Way (side View)


#27 REC

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Posted 21 May 2021 - 02:09 PM

I have added a new tool to naked eye observing. My Sky Safari App on my phone. Some nights it's clear, but I don't want to set up a scope if my back is bothering me, but still want to be out. Lately I have been using the App to see how high the object is, brightness ect. So like last night I saw a very bright object in the NW sky and wasn't sure if it was Venus or Mercury. I ponted my phone at it and it was Mercury, 12* above the horizon. Venus was below it, but could not see it. Covered by tree line.

 

How clear is it? Oh, I can just make out Mizar double cleanly. Love Leo and all the stars that make it up seen clearly. BTW, I'm in a Red zone light pollution LM 4.5



#28 GeneT

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Posted 21 May 2021 - 05:22 PM

About 76 years ago, when I was two years old, I was visiting my grandparents in Minnewaukan, N. Dak. My grandmother took me out to the back porch, and said, 'look up at the stars.' The skies were at least Mag 7. I looked up, and have been looking up ever since. What is sad, there are a lot of people who have never seen the night sky from a truly dark site. When I am driving from San Antonio to parts out west, when I get out in the dark skies, I always stop for considerable time looking up--naked eye.


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#29 birger

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Posted 23 May 2021 - 01:34 AM

Naked eye is my favorite way of observing. It makes for a more spiritual experience. Also, I like to think of the thought that I'm on a giant rock, gazing out in space. That creates a strange, eerie feeling which I enjoy. smile.gif

 

Being under a perfectly dark and clear sky is on the top of my astronomical bucket list. I would actually rather want to be at 60° N than, say Australia, because I would want to see a perfect sky from my own latitude, despite having less awesome objects. Sadly, I need to travel a lot to see a good sky with those conditions.


Edited by birger, 23 May 2021 - 01:37 AM.


#30 ToddZ71

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Posted 23 May 2021 - 07:31 AM

I occasionally like to see what brighter Messier objects I can see from a really dark site with just my eyes. Even if I can see it directly or with averted vision it blows my mind what you can see from truly dark skies. Although they are merely faint smudges. I tend to think I don't do 'naked eye' observing often but, I am enjoying what I can see gazing into the night sky during sessions away from the eyepiece. So in a sense, I suppose I am naked eye observing more than I think. Whether that be watching a meteor shower, the rare bright comets we get, or picking out target areas in the constellations for telescope observing.
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#31 LDW47

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Posted 23 May 2021 - 07:56 AM

It was just wanting to learn the constellations that got me into this amateur astronomy thing in the first place.  I had no desire to get a telescope, I just wanted to learn the sky.  Of course, it wasn't long before I learned that such and such an object is located in such and such a place, and then I went out with my dad's cheap, awful, binoculars, and then...  Well, one thing leads to another.  Still, I step outside for a few minutes most clear nights just for a look around, and there are always old friends to visit and always more to learn.  I often take binocs out with me, and I love my old C8 and what it can show me, but if I had to make a choice between naked eye and optics, I'd have to choose naked eye.  I just love the night sky.

                                                                                                                  Marty

Nothing like the TFOV your eyes put out on a clear, dark night !


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#32 LDW47

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Posted 23 May 2021 - 08:11 AM

When I was a kid in the late 50’s my father and I would snow shoe into a small lake to catch a few lake trout through the ice, we would fish till about an hour after dark for the late bite then we would pull the lines and snow shoe back to the truck. The memories of Orion looking down on those cold, clear nites is impinged in my brain, my mind 60 yrs. later, there had to be something higher than Bortle 1, and the calm and quite was loud in your ears. And the funny thing was we didn’t even know what Orion was but we sure knew that shape that you could almost reach out and touch, every clear winter night, lol ! Many times I wish those nights were back and I had my scopes of today !


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#33 adamnyholt

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Posted 23 May 2021 - 10:24 AM

On my last camping trip I spent an hour simply laying on the grass, looking up at the sky, and taking it all in. So peaceful. And I also had a pair of 10x30 binos to just get a closer look.

That got me day dreaming about how I could make a rig for my 8” SCT that would allow me to observe while laying down. That’s the way we were meant to look at the stars :)


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#34 dUbeni

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Posted 24 May 2021 - 08:47 AM

Hi! I really enjoyed reading all the experiences expressed here. I too spend a lot of time looking at a sky full of stars when I'm on a dark sky location. It's fun to identify all those constellations I can't see on my Bortle 9 city sky. Curiously many of times I go to darker locations I spend more time observing naked eye than with the telescopes. At times is a bit frustrating just because I planned a few sketches and end up not doing it. Early this month around new moon I went to a small village up north and only took my 55mm f/5.5 refractor and my 2.1x42 binos, we stayed in a small house with a tiny courtyard in the center of the village, SQML 20.70, but I was able to find naked eye the Coma star cluster (Mel 111), just a smudge in the sky, easily confirmed by the small telescope. This is the reason I want so much to move into a dark location so that I can actually sketch without feeling the pressure of leaving soon.

 

CS

Bernardo


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#35 gwlee

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Posted 24 May 2021 - 07:16 PM

I spend a lot of time in my recliner stargazing with naked eyes, but almost always have a handheld binocular in my lap too. 


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#36 REC

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Posted 25 May 2021 - 02:02 PM

Hi! I really enjoyed reading all the experiences expressed here. I too spend a lot of time looking at a sky full of stars when I'm on a dark sky location. It's fun to identify all those constellations I can't see on my Bortle 9 city sky. Curiously many of times I go to darker locations I spend more time observing naked eye than with the telescopes. At times is a bit frustrating just because I planned a few sketches and end up not doing it. Early this month around new moon I went to a small village up north and only took my 55mm f/5.5 refractor and my 2.1x42 binos, we stayed in a small house with a tiny courtyard in the center of the village, SQML 20.70, but I was able to find naked eye the Coma star cluster (Mel 111), just a smudge in the sky, easily confirmed by the small telescope. This is the reason I want so much to move into a dark location so that I can actually sketch without feeling the pressure of leaving soon.

 

CS

Bernardo

How are those 2x4 bino's? Must be great for the Milky Way and Orion region!


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#37 jcj380

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Posted 25 May 2021 - 02:16 PM

At a really dark site, I do at least some naked eye - it's usually accompanied by me blurting something out like, "Holy Jamoly!  I can actually see <constellation>!" 

 

At home, not so much because of the LP soup.  But I have been looking at the moon lately just to watch the phases change.  Not good for observing, but when it's partly cloudy, the moon can provide some spectacular views as it seemingly glides in and out the clouds.


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#38 dUbeni

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Posted 25 May 2021 - 03:32 PM

How are those 2x4 bino's? Must be great for the Milky Way and Orion region!

Hi REC, to me they are fantastic all over the sky and specially at a dark site, the field of view is very large and the numbers of stars seen is really rewarding. In the city it helps find those stars I can see naked eye on a dark sky, very usefull.

My binoculars are the Vixen SG 2.1x42, there are other similar binos from other brands. 

 

Bernardo


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#39 vsteblina

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Posted 25 May 2021 - 03:52 PM

 

BTW, the best accessory for naked eye stargazing is a zero-gravity chair.  smile.gif

It is a push between a LaFuma and a set of contact lenses that correct for night myopia.

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm...les/PMC3388063/



#40 gwlee

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Posted 25 May 2021 - 05:49 PM

A Lafuma chair and the single-vision eyeglasses I had made up with high index Zeiss lenses are my favorite accessories for naked eye and binoculars stargazing. The eyeglasses work well for night driving too, but I can’t read charts with them. 



#41 Dingotech

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Posted 25 May 2021 - 09:43 PM

Naked eye is my favorite way of observing. It makes for a more spiritual experience.

 

Indeed. I've pretty much lived my whole life in light pollution-enriched environs. About two and a half years ago, I moved full time to my second home in SW Colorado. The skies here are magnificent! I finally saw the milky way (It really is there!), and stars that I knew were there, but could never fully appreciate, even when deep in the Sierra or Cascades. I often go out onto my front deck in the wee hours and marvel at my personal sky show. It's impossible to not break out into a ****-eating grin. I find naked eye more than spiritual, it's wickedly spiritual. 

 

Oh, and finally a chance to post here for the first time. 


Edited by Dingotech, 25 May 2021 - 09:46 PM.

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#42 dave253

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Posted 25 May 2021 - 09:55 PM

Yep! Even after 40+ years in the hobby, I love laying under a dark sky with a chart or app and just picking out constellations and asterisms. It really helps to fully enjoy telescope time too, knowing one’s way around the sky. 


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#43 weis14

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Posted 26 May 2021 - 08:38 PM

I love naked eye astronomy.  Under truly dark skies, it is an amazing experience.  Throw in a few meteors, or if you are really lucky the aurora, and you can have a really memorable night without any optics at all. 

 

I am lucky enough that I have had the opportunity to do this both by myself and with various companions.  Late last fall, I went to my mother's place along Lake Huron (Bortle 2) to look for the aurora one unusually warm evening.  Not only did we faintly see it (both of us have seen it numerous times), but we had a great evening talking about various things for 2-3 hours.  I took the Stowaway, but other than a quick look at the Double Cluster and M45 just to show them to her (probably the 20th time I've shown her since I got my first scope as a kid 25 years ago), it was unused as we just enjoyed the skies around us.

 

Another time, I took an AP130 I owned to one of the lookouts along Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. While these weren't pristine skies by any means, they were pretty good for less than three hours from Washington.  After some unplanned twilight outreach, by about midnight I found myself laying on a park bench looking up, while the scope just sat there.  

 

I even have a habit of looking up wherever I am.  Saw Starlink for the first time along a trout stream last weekend.  My companions were amazed, while I tried to hide some of my frustration out of respect for their enthusiasm.  


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#44 StarWolf57

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Posted 01 June 2021 - 05:41 PM

Every time I'm out observing, I spend at least party of that time viewing naked eye. While the views through my scopes can provide wonderous views of heavenly objects, nothing compares to the peaceful feeing of simply looking up and taking it all in. It takes be back to being a kid on our camping trips to the eastern Sierras and sleeping under the stars.


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#45 Uldahl

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Posted 01 June 2021 - 11:57 PM

My entrance to astronomy, and observing without binoculars or telescope. It came as I was sailing alone across the Indian Ocean in a sailboat with no engine. Windless and starry nights, all over the horizon around. All the lights on the boat were off and I was far from shore and the shipping lanes so no danger at it.

It was in February so it was against the wind when there was wind. Otherwise a clear sky, and sometimes a thunderstorm. Those nights with a cloud free sky, without a moon, I'll never forget. No light pollution anywhere on the horizon, and all lights on board turned off. Often I made a nest of cushions, and pillows on the front deck, where I lay or sat for many hours, observing and learning to navigate the night sky.

The trip took 5 months and taught me both to navigate for the stars ,appreciating a dark night sky completely free of light pollution. And how beautiful the night sky really is when studied from a completely dark place. Something we're going to go to sea these days to experience.

It was the best spend 5 months in my life. I wish you all could experience such a night sky, it is indescribably beautiful. I wish i could do that trip again.


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#46 gwd

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Posted 02 June 2021 - 12:43 AM

My entrance to astronomy, and observing without binoculars or telescope. It came as I was sailing alone across the Indian Ocean in a sailboat with no engine. Windless and starry nights, all over the horizon around. All the lights on the boat were off and I was far from shore and the shipping lanes so no danger at it.

It was in February so it was against the wind when there was wind. Otherwise a clear sky, and sometimes a thunderstorm. Those nights with a cloud free sky, without a moon, I'll never forget. No light pollution anywhere on the horizon, and all lights on board turned off. Often I made a nest of cushions, and pillows on the front deck, where I lay or sat for many hours, observing and learning to navigate the night sky.

The trip took 5 months and taught me both to navigate for the stars ,appreciating a dark night sky completely free of light pollution. And how beautiful the night sky really is when studied from a completely dark place. Something we're going to go to sea these days to experience.

It was the best spend 5 months in my life. I wish you all could experience such a night sky, it is indescribably beautiful. I wish i could do that trip again.

This post reminds me of a  teacher I had in high school who, when he would try to talk us into taking life more seriously would often slip into a verbal reverie about his time in the navy and laying out under the stars with his shipmates philosophizing.  It was obviously a life transforming experience.  "I wish you all could experience such a night sky..." could be a quote from him.
 


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#47 Uldahl

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Posted 02 June 2021 - 07:59 AM

This post reminds me of a  teacher I had in high school who, when he would try to talk us into taking life more seriously would often slip into a verbal reverie about his time in the navy and laying out under the stars with his shipmates philosophizing.  It was obviously a life transforming experience.  "I wish you all could experience such a night sky..." could be a quote from him.
 

It is absolutely a mind blowing experience, and id did change my life in a positive way. What i loved the most was those nights with a small breeze, when i hoist up the main sail, just enough to surfe the long lazy ocean waves. Only the rippling  sound from the water under the keel, it gave me a filing of traveling in the middel of the Milky Way. And trough the univers


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#48 nso123

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Posted 02 June 2021 - 08:45 AM

I am fortunate to live in a rural area that has great skies at night. Rarely does a clear night go by that I don’t go outside and look around the sky. It is one of my favorite things to do, as the only sounds I hear belong to nature.  It serves to remind me just how small I am, and how temporary our time here is. Many times I find myself drifting back to my times at Scout camp in the summers where we would spend our nights looking for all of the constellations we could find. I guess there is something very nostalgic about it. 


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#49 CarolinaBanker

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Posted 29 June 2021 - 11:27 PM

Tonight I had a really enjoyable naked eye session, it was fun to look for various asterisms e.g. the kite, the Summer Triangle, the fishhook and the keystone. Summer is a great time, particularly given that I didn’t expect clear skies as the forecast here was for partial clouds. Saturn and Jupiter were also evident. With the late moonrise I was able to get in a nice 45 minutes of observing.


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#50 Bright_Light

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Posted 01 July 2021 - 08:57 PM

This is a topic near and dear to my heart. In Nevada we have some really dark skies and the sky can be mind blowing at times and observing with just my eyes is the highlight of my night. I'm very nearsighted but looking up at the sky without glasses allows me to see just the brightest stars thus the constellations' outlines for the most part, so it helps me navigate. I like to turn-off my dark adaptation sometimes and enjoy the sky turning from a deep black to a musty grey as the number of stars change. Best night ever was with my 20x80 binos placed directly on M33 from a line of sight alignment. 

 

Baseball maybe America's past time but it should be stargazing from a zero gravity chair in the dark. 


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