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My first sky journey

Beginner Eclipse Moon Observing
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#1 Sjotroll

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Posted 29 October 2023 - 04:40 AM

Not sure if this is the right subforum to post this, so apologies if it isn't...

 

Yesterday I borrowed a DD Optics Pirschler 10x56 from a kind stranger in the area, and lucky for me it was right about the moment that a partial eclipse of the Moon was happening. I went home and from the small balcony of my flat I started looking at it - really nice. By the way, according to lightpollutionmap.info, I am in Bortle 8-9 zone. Below is a picture with my phone through the binos, all handheld, just to show how small the eclipse was. In the next 20 min I jumped back and forth between Jupyter with its three moons showing very nicely, and our own partially eclipsed Moon. While watching the Moon i noticed an effect showing its upper border yellow, and its bottom border purple. What happened there and does it say something about the binos? After that I decided to just roam the sky randomly, and you can imagine my astonishment when by chance I stumbled upon a group of seven very bright stars which I hadn't noticed on the sky before - the Pleaides. I was like "what the heck is this" and lowered my binos to see what was I seeing, couldn't see anything. After repeating a few times I noticed by naked eye the tiny group of start, hardly visible, and this was when I understood the power of (these) binos. After that I noticed what I later checked on Stellarium to be Aldebaran. It was distinct from the rest of the surrounding stars with its red-yellow colour. On the app I saw that Uranus should be between the Pleaides and Jupyter, so I went on a search. Now for this I'm not sure, but I think I identified Tau1 and Tau2 Arietis, Zeta Arietis, Botein, and 65 Arietis, in relation to which I think I identified Uranus - not sure, however, if that was it.

 

And that was the end of my first journey. Regarding the binos, I don't think I'm going to be enjoying the magnification of 10 as much due to the shaking, even though the binos do provide good pictures. I think I'd be more content with a magnification 8, but I haven't tried one yet. Regarding the usage of the app, I'm aware that it's not ideal in dark conditions due to reducing the pupils, but here I was in bright conditions and also for the first time I think it's easier to identify targets. I'm planning on utilizing starmaps when I'll be going out to the wild, but I'll have to wait and see how that goes.

 

I've read somewhere that it's good to keep a logbook and take notes while observing. If you are one that does, what kind of data do you write there? Do you ever go back to those notes/logs? Do you write freely in a notebook anything you notice, or use something like a form and just fill the required data?

 

Moon eclipse.jpg


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#2 therealdmt

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Posted 29 October 2023 - 05:00 AM

Congratulations — sounds like you’re well on your way! smile.gif

 

I write up my observations free form, much like you did here. And also like you did here, I often post them or parts of my observations on Cloudy Nights. A good place to get started is the ‘Newbies - what did you see in the sky last night’ thread in General Observing: https://www.cloudyni...8#entry12640018

 

Another place that a number of people have be using lately is the ‘If you live in Bortle 7 or 8 or 9, what did you see last night in your scope?’ thread here in Beginners: https://www.cloudyni...-scope/page-100

 

Alternatively, especially if it’s a special observation, you can just start a new thread here in Beginners like you just did.

 

And there’s more smile.gif There’s a "What did you see last night in your binoculars?" thread in the Binoculars forum, and so on. So, I often pick one of various applicable threads to post in, or otherwise just write up my observation in the Notes app on my iPad. If it’s a very routine observation, I might not bother to write it up, but anyway, lots and lots of write ups. Don’t let it be a burden though — do it if you want to (it is a good practice though; it definitely helps make a session more concrete and as a practice makes things more focused and meaningful).

 

Yet another approach is to make a quick sketch or two of what you saw, or maybe a more detailed drawing. Or a sketch and written notes, and so on


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#3 coopman

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Posted 29 October 2023 - 06:44 AM

The yellow & purple colors at the moon's edges are normal chromatic aberration that most binos have.


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#4 aeajr

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Posted 29 October 2023 - 08:17 AM

Welcome to CloudyNights.

 

I too started with binoculars.  They were $25 at Harbor Freight.  Not the best but they got me started.  I still have them and use them occasionally.

 

Ed’s Beginner Resource Guide - Revision 2
Part - 1  GETTING STARTED
Things you will want to understand before buying anything.
https://www.cloudyni.../#entry12639865

 

In the above guide you will find:

 

New Astronomers Quick Start Guide -
Focused on helping those who are starting in astronomy with binoculars.  Many people already own binoculars.
This will also be useful to first-time telescope users.


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#5 Sketcher

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Posted 29 October 2023 - 10:19 AM

Welcome  welcome.gif   to CloudyNights! 

 

That's a nice first journey, and a nice write-up!

 

I've read somewhere that it's good to keep a logbook and take notes while observing. If you are one that does, what kind of data do you write there? Do you ever go back to those notes/logs? Do you write freely in a notebook anything you notice, or use something like a form and just fill the required data?

In my opinion it's an excellent idea to take notes; and if you're up to it, and if it fits in with what you're doing, including sketches adds another very worthy dimension.

 

I look at the use of a logbook, a notebook, individual sheets of blank paper, standardized forms, etc. to be a matter of personal preference.  Go with whatever you're comfortable with as far as how you do it.  But I definitely recommend taking notes in one way or another for at least some of your observing sessions.

 

I've made use of the logbook idea at times past, but my own personal preference is mostly just going out with a blank sheet of paper on a clipboard.

 

Sketcher Transit Of Mercury May 9 2016
Aboce: Observing a transit of Mercury.

 

I've created my own forms from time to time, and since I have many "blank" copies that I made in the past, sometimes I'll still use one of those.  My forms come in two varieties, one with a larger Field of View circle, the other with a square, or rectangular field.  The first is for showing the full field of view.  The second is for sketching "close-ups".

 

Some people use voice recorders for their in-the-field note taking.  Again, whatever works for you.

 

A couple of my observing "records":

 

Comet NEOWISE 5.30 20 July 2020 UT
Above: A standard 8.5x11 inch sheet of paper on a clipboard -- my preferred method these days.
 
Comet C 2017 K2 PanSTARRS Negative July 7  2022
Above: An observing form of my own creation (a "negative" image of the form).  Some areas were intentionally left blank for "privacy" and/or other purposes.

 

I'll often include notes on non-astronomical sights, sounds, etc. in addition to my astronomical notes.  For that, the blank sheet of paper is my preference, giving me more flexibility in where to write different things -- in different locations, at different angles, in different letter sizes, etc.

 

Sketches on non-forms permit better notations on colors, contrast differences that don't show in the sketch, etc. with arrows drawn in to indicate where those differences belong in the sketch.

 

Record whatever you find to be of interest, in as much or as little detail as you desire.

 

Yes, sometimes I go back to earlier observational notes; but mostly they just stay buried in my "stacks".  In rare cases I'll photograph a record for inclusion in a CloudyNights posting (which explains why I had the above two records available for this posting).

 

One never knows what may become of one's records.  They may get used for purposes that were completely out of mind when they were created.  So it's a good idea to make them and to keep them -- just in case smile.gif


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#6 WillR

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Posted 29 October 2023 - 01:27 PM

 

I've read somewhere that it's good to keep a logbook and take notes while observing. If you are one that does, what kind of data do you write there? Do you ever go back to those notes/logs? Do you write freely in a notebook anything you notice, or use something like a form and just fill the required data?

 

Congrats on a great first session!

 

I'll just tell you what I do to log sessions. It is more than most people would want to take on, and sometimes I feel it is a lot of work, but ultimately worth it to me. The entire process will make you a better observer.

 

I take notes on the voice recorder on my phone as I look at the target. I used to write them down at the eyepiece, but using the voice recorder is a lot simpler and results in much more detailed observations.

 

I then transcribe these into a journal, along with any drawings that I do.

 

Finally, I put everything into a spread sheet, which is very helpful in keeping track of what I have seen.

 

I log the date, the conditions as best I can judge, if there is a moon and its phase, my location, the catalogue number, the scope or binocular used, the eyepiece and magnification, and specific notes on what I saw. In the spreadsheet, I also have size, magnitude, and separation for double stars.



#7 sevenofnine

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Posted 29 October 2023 - 02:30 PM

Welcome to C/N! flowerred.gif

 

What a fantastic first light and review...congrats! You can stabilize those 10x56's with a monopod or tall tripod. You were able to see those objects because of their power and light gathering ability. Those are very good night sky binos. I use this H/D pistol grip monopod with my 12x60's. They are almost permanently mounted because they are so handy this way borg.gif

 

https://oberwerk.com...tion-ball-head/.


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#8 eric_zeiner

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Posted 30 October 2023 - 08:05 PM

Welcome to CN!!!  You have been bitten by the bug and may your journey be truly rewarding.   Just take your time,  do your research and ask tons of questions.   That's what we are here for. 


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