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Have you tried this indoor Astronomy project?

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#1 robjme

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Posted 24 January 2023 - 04:48 PM

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I'm interested in moving up from being just a casual sightseer to a know-it-all. I designed an interesting project for some indoor astronomy. My purpose is to learn the constellations better, more star names, more star magnitudes, and the Greek alphabet.

I started a notebook of constellations as a learning tool and a learning experience. 

1. I begin with the constellation name, correct spelling and definition.

2. I draw the constellation (in light pencil first, then ink) while copying it from the atlas.

3. I label the stars in my best Greek penmanship (I am left-handed).

4. I list the stars and their names from the atlas below with pronunciations and meanings when available.

5. I open Burnham's Celestial Handbook and add more information to each star, like the magnitudes, variability, companions.

6. I open Richard H. Allen's "Star Names" and add any new interesting facts I find there. This information is often different from BCH.

7. I draw in and label M objects, but no descriptions; I have enough of those.

I do not have another source of constellation magnitudes like this. So I will bring it into the field and become more familiar with star magnitudes. I only have a rough idea now.

I would recommend this exercise to anyone. It's educational and enjoyable.

I am interested in seeing how many others have notebooks like mine.


Edited by robjme, 24 January 2023 - 04:49 PM.

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#2 JohnBear

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Posted 24 January 2023 - 06:11 PM

+1 plan! - and it will soon help you become a "Superior Astronomer".

 

You will quickly become a way better astronomer than the noobs that twant to buy any "good telescope" on sale for $2000+ and simply "point it up" at night (without even knowing what Polaris is) to find all the wonders seen by Hubble and Webb. lol.gif  

 

Being "really good" at astronomy is like earning a PhD. The wide variety of available telescopes are merely the tools need to  put our acquired knowledge and experience to good/best use.  Until we learn how to use the variety of available tools properly, AND to apply them properly, to observe specific (and often hard to find) targets - well, we are just undergrad 'noobs'.   Patience and a love for learning (and gaining new knowledge and experiences) is what helps us grow into better astronomers.   


Edited by JohnBear, 24 January 2023 - 06:15 PM.

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#3 TOMDEY

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Posted 24 January 2023 - 06:16 PM

Yes indeed! Self-directed, self motivated. I've gone thru piles of notebooks like that. My older brother and I attended this preppy all-boys' high school where superior brains and poverty could get you admitted at reduced cost. He was taking Greek and learning the alphabet etc. So we would recite/sing the twenty-four letters much like the English twenty-six recollection from our grammar school days. And I was taking Mechanical Drawing, where lettering was one topic. So we would compete to see who could write decent renditions quickly and accurately. I won because of my drafting skills. Then we would converse --- in classic Greek! He went on to be an historian, and I became a scientist.

 

So, this rote learning does indeed have value. The Sisters of St. Joseph, Basilian and Jesuit Priests, etc. were redoubtably fierce task masters. Chastisements were frequent and compliments rare. An additional positive was that we students blew the standardized state and national tests right out of the water --- with great humility. When I joined the military, same training concept --- and effective. College later seemed disappointingly easy!   Tom

 

PS: I tried the alphabet exercise a few months ago >>> still able to do it! Criteria are: uniform script, evenly spaced, straight parallel lines on unlined paper and quickly! Counterintuitively, the faster you do it --- the better it comes out! Cursive writing is an art form.    Tom

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#4 robjme

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Posted 25 January 2023 - 09:43 PM

Hello John,

Patience and a love for learning (and gaining new knowledge and experiences) is what helps us grow into better astronomers.

This is a wonderful quote. Well said!

I am newly retired, and I try to stay focused on those two things. They also are the keys to a happy and long life. And they're free!

 

Hello Tom,

I hated the Greek alphabet until now. RH Allen refers to stars by their Greek designation as do many others. This is why it is worthwhile for amateurs to learn these 24 letters.  

But this is not for everyone. You can enjoy stargazing without knowing these letters. And now, with go-to, you don't even have to know the constellations. I've been an amateur astronomer since I was twelve in 1967. I am no expert, as many here are, but I've spent much of my adult life stargazing. But... I never learned these letters, just as I never learned most of the star names.

The Meade hand controller uses star names, and that pushed me to have a printed list of the star names on hand so I could use the controller. 

 

As I said, I am newly retired. Practicing patience isn't so hard now, because I have plenty of time. As a Construction Manager, I was always rushing from one place to another. I joked about becoming a know-it-all, but I now have the time to pursue many interests. I want to become the best astronomer I can be, it's high on my to-do list.


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#5 robjme

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Posted 25 January 2023 - 09:49 PM

Hey Tom, 

Just to prove that I looked at your post closely, you show the upper-case Delta.

Hey, I really am becoming an annoying know-it-all.

Bob


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#6 robjme

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Posted 25 January 2023 - 10:29 PM

Correction:

My star atlases show the different magnitudes of the stars graphically, so I do have plenty of sources for star magnitudes. I just don't use them.


Edited by robjme, 25 January 2023 - 10:34 PM.

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#7 mikemarotta

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Posted 25 January 2023 - 10:58 PM

Congratulations on doing the hard work that makes the hobby rewarding. When I was learning to fly, one of the many lessons was that pilots spend as much time (or more) planning the flight as they do in the air.

 

I'm interested in moving up from being just a casual sightseer to a know-it-all. I designed an interesting project for some indoor astronomy. My purpose is to learn the constellations better, more star names, more star magnitudes, and the Greek alphabet.

I am interested in seeing how many others have notebooks like mine.

 

No, not that, but I did take an online class in astrophysics.

 

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Best Regards (and Clear Skies),

Mike M.


Edited by mikemarotta, 25 January 2023 - 10:59 PM.


#8 TOMDEY

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Posted 26 January 2023 - 03:11 AM

Hey Tom, 

Just to prove that I looked at your post closely, you show the upper-case Delta.

Hey, I really am becoming an annoying know-it-all.

Bob

Oh yeah! Father Doser would have called me a blasted evil idiot and slapped me around for a few minutes for that... as the other students watch with glee, schadenfreude... and just a bit of fear... knowing that their turns would inevitably come. In those schools... no one got left out - diametric to today's participation trophy norm. It was great preparation for Boot Camp, just a handful of years later. [This comment is only slightly tongue in cheek.]    Tom



#9 Nankins

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Posted 26 January 2023 - 05:05 PM

Great idea! I took very basic Greek for one year, so already familiar with the letters. However, I don't do well with the letters when it comes to the stars, and I don't do much better with the names. I generally find it much easier to just recognize where an object is located.

On a plus note, may I use this as a lab idea for the homeschool astronomy class I teach next month?
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#10 desertstars

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Posted 26 January 2023 - 08:34 PM

When I jumped back into amateur astronomy, one of the first things I did was make a set of flash cards (out of 3x5 recipe cards) of the Greek alphabet. It was part of the refresher course I gave myself, having been away from anything to do with star charts for 30 years.


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