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What are your most memorable "discoveries"?

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#1 25585

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Posted 07 December 2022 - 07:54 AM

Both intentional and accidental.

 

Mine have been mainly when scanning around what I am hunting, with larger apertures - new larger scopes big benefit. I have seen more DSOs and "new" double stars that way, than hunting for anything.


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#2 Kent10

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Posted 07 December 2022 - 08:23 AM

Before I knew about NGC 7789, Caroline's Rose, I was just scanning around and "discovered" it.  A beautiful surprise that I now look at over and over.


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#3 starcanoe

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Posted 07 December 2022 - 08:37 AM

Way back in 80 ish era. Main scope was a 60mm Jason refractor (back then those scopes and associated eyepieces were actually of respectable quality. 

 

Anyway...using some 7 by 50 binocs I "discovered" the "Coathanger". 


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#4 BrentKnight

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Posted 07 December 2022 - 08:37 AM

In September 1984, I was out with a friend in the national forest.  My old Odyssey I was pointed at NGC 7331 when I noticed something else nearby.  My friend and I proceeded to locate another two objects in the field.  We were using the SkyAtlas 2000 and this was when I first realized there was more to see and discover in the night sky than was shown on my (very good) charts.


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#5 Astrojensen

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Posted 07 December 2022 - 08:57 AM

I discovered an ancient lunar impact basin, that was, to me, completely unknown at the time. It is extremely sparsely mentioned in the professional (and amateur) literature and it took quite a bit of investigation to find out what I had actually seen.

 

https://www.cloudyni...-the-near-side/

 

The scope used:

 

med_gallery_55742_4772_288428.jpg

 

 

Clear skies!

Thomas, Denmark


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#6 MikeTahtib

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Posted 07 December 2022 - 09:06 AM

My favorite was the Double Cluster at my first star party, only about 4 months after gettign my first telescope as an adult.  It was late, most people had gone to sleep, my first tiem at a dark site, first time seing the Milky Way.  I was getting an understandign of the smallness and faintness DSOs, and was just looking around the sky to see what I could point at.  There was something fuzzy that I wasn't even sure I was seeing, so I pointed my 8" reflector at it, and to my utter amazement the double cluster filled the lens.  I had never heard fo such a thing, and I happened to have the perfect setup for seeing it - 8"f6 with an 82* 30mm eyepiece.  The cluster were bright and bold, but with just enough space around them to highlight their nature as star clusters. 


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#7 gstrumol

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Posted 07 December 2022 - 09:07 AM

For me it was seeing M13 for the first time. I knew roughly where to find it, so one night I took my C8 out and slew over to the area. It took a bit but suddenly it popped into view: a beautiful ball of sparkling diamonds in the blackness of space!

 

Gary


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#8 starcanoe

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Posted 07 December 2022 - 09:10 AM

Ahhh....the good old days when sky charts made to be correct for the year 2000 were being made for the "distant" future.

 

A friends "discovery"..in Brent's same National Forest (Conecuh)...probably the same actual field....late 90's.

 

I had made my old high school friend a 8 inch f5 dob. He was very casual observer. Only joined us once in awhile.

 

Anyways.....I'm messing around with taking some film tripod shots of the Milkyway.  Friend has grabbed  my Sky Atlas 2000 and is randomly hitting some galaxies on one of the charts. He calls me over....having found a nice galaxy. We start looking carefully at it (and we were SERIOUS about being dark adapted)...man thats a nice galaxy...hey...its pretty edge on....hey...its really edge on...darn nice dust lane...

 

So eventually we look up the NGC number on the chart....then go to my handy dandy paperback Burnhams Celestial Atlas for details/description. Turns out that galaxy was pretty much THE classic/best edge on galaxy to be had.

 

Hey...gonna find something...might as well find the best one!

 

IIRC it was NGC 891...will have to go look that up 


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#9 bphaneuf

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Posted 07 December 2022 - 12:27 PM

Wow.  Hard to pare down that list!  But I would say within the context of "discoveries" it would be two accidental finds. 

 

  • I was observing M60 and NGC 4647.  The core for 4647 seemed awfully bright for that object and a bit too close to M60.  When I got back home and looked it up I found what I was seeing was SN2022hrs - my first supernova! (Also saw M60-UCD-1 - a dwarf companion by accident)  
  • Second was stumbling across Markarian 205 while observing the group of galaxies around NGC 4319.  Since M60-UCD-1 had seemed stellar but turned out otherwise,  I wondered about this stellar-like object tucked in close to 4319.  Turned out to be Markarian 205 - my first quasar!  And those were only a couple weeks apart.  Pretty stoked that month of late April to mid-May of this year.

-b


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#10 Spartinix

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Posted 07 December 2022 - 01:04 PM

Scanning around with my new 20" for the first time with a 40mm eyepiece and UHC filter... suddenly a big and bright ring came into the field. I immediately recognised it as the Helix. I had seen it only vaguely through much smaller aperture and less good skies before. The difference was mindblowing.

Edited by Spartinix, 07 December 2022 - 01:05 PM.

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#11 ButterFly

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Posted 07 December 2022 - 02:25 PM

A tiny HII region while I was grazing around Cas with my intensifier.  It wasn't listed in any of Sharpless, LBN, NGC, ... .  I noted a star it was near and SIMBAD'd it.  It was IC 10.  There are quite a few planetaries I have "discovered" this way.

 

I have "discovered" a comet right where Hubble's Variable Nebula is many, many times.


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#12 bphaneuf

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Posted 07 December 2022 - 02:38 PM

"I have "discovered" a comet right where Hubble's Variable Nebula is many, many times."

 

lol.gif lol.gif


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#13 Epick Crom

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Posted 07 December 2022 - 06:00 PM

My most memorable "discovery" was with my new 10x50mm binoculars after I mounted them on a tripod. They were my first ever optical instruments. I was having a fantastic time just randomly scanning the night sky when I came across a beautiful blue and gold double star close together. 

 

I was excited to find out later that I had "discovered" Albireo!


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#14 NinePlanets

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Posted 07 December 2022 - 07:03 PM

Most exciting for me was when I did discover a comet!

 

An observing companion and I had his 6" F/5-ish up on a nearby mountain. I was sweeping around the zenith and spotted something that looked an awful lot like a comet. The good ol' Skalnate Pleso atlas showed nothing but stars there and we were convinced it was a comet.

 

We hurriedly packed up and raced down the mountain to get to the phone at his apartment so that we could call it in to the MPC, or whomever. When we got there I picked up his copy of Sky&Telescope, looked in the Comet Digest, and saw the already-known comet at the location we discovered it.

 

Ah, well. It WAS a comet discovery, after all. Just not a new one.


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#15 Chad7531

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Posted 07 December 2022 - 07:08 PM

I’ve always used setting circles so I haven’t really run into any surprises. If you can see Mirach’s ghost, that’s always cool. This isn’t so much a discovery but I was aligning my mount to Altair one time and the ISS flew through my eyepiece, that was amazing.
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#16 John Fitzgerald

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Posted 07 December 2022 - 07:40 PM

Back on May 8, 1983, I was scanning in Draco with my 8" f/6 Newtonian.  I found a smudge not on my atlas.  My two observing friends, who shortly joined me, couldn't find it on a better atlas, I believe the S-P, or in Sky & Telescope.   It was a comet.  It was naked eye too, barely, from my semi dark at the time front yard.  It would be our comet!  Before calling it in, we called another observer we knew who had better connections with comet finds.  He said something like "yes, it was discovered ten days ago" (actually on April 25).   My friend wrote an article about our experience, and it was picked up by the Reflector, the publication of the Astronomical league, and published in the August, 1983 issue.  I still have that issue.  It was Comet 1983d, IRAS-Araki-Alcock.


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#17 Migwan

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Posted 07 December 2022 - 07:40 PM

NGC 604.  Didn't yet know how to identify such objects and thought it might be a galaxy in the background.  


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#18 Redbetter

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Posted 07 December 2022 - 08:51 PM

One of the bigger unexpected thrills was discovering Tau 1 Eridani Galaxy while star hopping with the 20" (CN link).  It was bright enough and obvious enough that I couldn't believe it was not in mainstream catalogs such as the NGC or IC, MCG, or ESO.  Steve Gottlieb suspected that Burnham would have seen it, and in searching through his papers confirmed that he had observed it with the 36" Lick refractor in 1890.  But Burnham didn't publish the position until he reobserved it with the 40" at Yerkes in 1909 and 1910.  So while it wasn't a wholly new discovery for me (also having a LEDA 2816331 designation) it is #1 on my COOLG list of overlooked galaxies.  

 

I have found a few others since then that were not cataloged/recognized as galaxies, a few moderate sized irregular ones in Crater, and some that are companions to NGC galaxies such as the one on the south edge of NGC 883.  In most of these cases I notice something in an image first and then confirm it visually in the scope, but for some, such as companion to NGC 883 I see it in the scope first then realize it is a galaxy later when reviewing images.

 

I also "rediscovered" Neptune & Triton in October while star/galaxy hopping with the ST80 on the 20".  The star field didn't look right in the ST80, so I looked at in the 20" at 156x.   I noticed one of the stars was oddly steady, and realized it was a pale blue disk.  Triton was also visible at this magnification.


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#19 Jim4321

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Posted 07 December 2022 - 09:03 PM

My most memorable discovery is one that I made with my Mod 3c, a 55 mm SLR lens, and a photographic H-a filter... There is sure a gosh-awful lot of hydrogen 'floating' around out there! 

 

Jim H.


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#20 Tony Flanders

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Posted 07 December 2022 - 09:25 PM

I've stumbled upon several asteroids completely unintentionally while doing star-hops to deep-sky objects.
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#21 Alex Swartzinski

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Posted 07 December 2022 - 09:59 PM

My first time seeing the Orion Nebula, I simply pointed my scope at the belt and panned around. I wasn't expecting to actually see the nebula with my sky conditions, and I didn't know exactly where it was. When it drifted into view, I was amazed. 

 

NGC 206 in the Andromeda Galaxy and NGC 604 in Triangulum were both unintentional finds. Seeing Nebulae in other galaxies without even trying was very exciting. 


Edited by Alex Swartzinski, 07 December 2022 - 10:01 PM.

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#22 David Knisely

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Posted 07 December 2022 - 11:36 PM

Most exciting for me was when I did discover a comet!

 

An observing companion and I had his 6" F/5-ish up on a nearby mountain. I was sweeping around the zenith and spotted something that looked an awful lot like a comet. The good ol' Skalnate Pleso atlas showed nothing but stars there and we were convinced it was a comet.

 

We hurriedly packed up and raced down the mountain to get to the phone at his apartment so that we could call it in to the MPC, or whomever. When we got there I picked up his copy of Sky&Telescope, looked in the Comet Digest, and saw the already-known comet at the location we discovered it.

 

Ah, well. It WAS a comet discovery, after all. Just not a new one.

Yea, I also sort of "discovered" a comet just after finishing my 8 inch f/7 in the summer of 1972: the comet 21P Giacobini-Zinner.  I was looking for M33 and sort of ran into the comet.  I got all excited and quickly dispatched a telegram, only to get a nice letter a few weeks later from Brian Marsden explaining that I had just picked up that well-known comet.  Clear skies to you.


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#23 Chad7531

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Posted 07 December 2022 - 11:48 PM

I need to go bag 176p and 95p just so I can log my first comets. Never ending bad weather however.
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#24 UnityLover

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Posted 08 December 2022 - 11:39 AM

For me, "discovering" a satellite! 

With the library starblast, I was scanning around to try and find the andromeda galaxy. Then, I saw a star that moved, I thought it was an asteroid, but I now know it was most likely a satellite. When I "discovered" the andromeda galaxy with my current scope about a month ago, I almost full on attacked my mom lol. I could actually see stars in andromeda, which was suprising. Only a few though.


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#25 Astro-Master

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Posted 08 December 2022 - 05:13 PM

About five or six years ago observing with my 18" Dob. from a dark site, I was looking at the faint but rich open cluster NGC 2194 in Orion.  After getting a good look at the cluster, I was scanning around the area and came across what looked like another cluster in the shape of a figure 8.  I wrote down the RA & DEC from my computer to look it up when I got back home.

 

The cluster wasn't listed on any of my atlases, not even Uranometria, when I looked on Wikisky it looked like a cluster, but there was no idenification for the object.  I thought I either discovered a cluster or it's not really a cluster, then I looked for it in my copy of Star Clusters by Archinal and Hynes, and there it was, it was discovered by Brian Skiff on the Palomar Sky Survey Plates, now known as Skiff 4.  Well at least I discovered it visually, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.  grin.gif lol.gif

 

Later when the Interstellarum Deep Sky Atlas came out, there it was, Skiff 4 just east of NGC 2194.


Edited by Astro-Master, 08 December 2022 - 05:17 PM.

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