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Everything posted by waccoo

  1. Try the Astronomical League's Urban Astronomy club. http://www.astroleague.org/al/obsclubs/urban/urban.html It has some very nice (mostly large and bright) objects for those of us who live in cities, and, can't get to a dark sky site very often. Surprising what is listed there.
  2. You can spend all evening in Auriga and not run out of objects The area around M38 over towards the Flame Nebula is full of nice clusters (and some rather boring ones too). ngc 3242 is up later. Might be an issue for folks with higher latitudes, but, it's a gem!
  3. Only thing Easier than Star Hopping is the dreaded "GOTO" scope. An abomination! Remember that Messier was using the equivalent of 2.4" (61mm) scope when he found these objects (scopes just weren't very good back then). Yes, the sky was better, but, he had really poor equipment.
  4. I have been a serious amateur astronomer for 40+ years, and, while I don't get to post here often, I do read when I can. I enjoy reading the reports from all the members. I don't care if they are posting that they found the Moon for the first time, or, saw a 15th Mag galaxy. I love to read that people are enjoying the art and Science of Amateur Astronomy. The last time I got to go out with the scope was back in August. We had an incredibly clear night, which is incredibly rare here in South Georgia USA in the summer. I spent my whole night looking at Globulars in and around Sagittarius. I also picked up some Nebulae in the Milky Way. The weather or my schedule has been bad ever since. Reading what others see helps me make it through.
  5. NGC 1365. The Great Barred Spiral. The Australians have made it their own.
  6. In and around Ursa Major, Canes Venatici is chock full of easy to find Galaxies. M63, and M94 are easy fines even in smaller cities. Coma has M64 and the northern Virgo cluster. Virgo: M59, 60, 84, 86 and 87 are relatively easy to see. If you aren't too far north M104. Braver souls would try for the brighter items in Draco. As it is, we are getting into the Summer Globular season and galaxies are on the way out, but, there are still some fine easy finds even with brighter skies.
  7. With binoculars, you look above Dubhe. Pan to the front of the bear. The next bright star along the nose is 23 Uma. Above it (towards the Pole) find a moderately bright triangle (isosceles triangle Sigma UMa 1 2 and Rho Uma). Pan back towards Dubhe and find 24 UMa. 81 and 82 are right next to 24. Once you have done it this way, You can just find the triangle and pan back. I can find it here in my city with no problem.
  8. I was in the GOTO=CHEATING school until one of our club members told me that he "was just too old to learn the sky." Folks who haven't been doing it manually for 40+ years probably don't care to learn the sky enough to find things, so, they go GOTO. I am at the point where I can find most the the Messier objects from memory, so, I just don't care about GOTO (except maybe if I ever get a photography setup). I once made a buddy of mine very mad when I told him I could find M15 in 15 seconds. It took me 10. He wasn't happy. Folks like me find the finding as exciting as the seeing.
  9. Omega was only about 5 or 6 degrees above the horizon when I saw it. I am sure any redness I saw was due to that. I live at 32deg North and our dark site has great horizons. If it weren't for the giant paper mill about 10 miles south, it would be perfect. From the beach, we can see Achernar, but, only for about 1/2 hour. Once, when I was in my 20s, we saw Alpha Centari from here, by using the light bending aspect of the atmosphere. It was pretty cool.
  10. When I was younger, I saw colors in many objects that I don't see now. A few weeks ago, I saw Omega Centaurus naked eye and it certainly had a red hue, but, in the scope, it was white speckles.
  11. Went out to our dark sky (mostly dark?) Friday evening for some viewing with the 10" Newt. It's a 50 mile drive to this site near Ludowici, Ga , so, we don't go without a chance of good seeing. As it was, the seeing was great! We had a nice displace of Zodiacal Glow to the west for about an hour. I worked a little on my Caldwell list, finding a few spring items. I was distracted by the owner of the site and his astro photography set up. We got to talking and he zipped off a few photos for me while we were in the comfort of his little hut. It's amazing what can be done with an amateur setup in the middle of a blueberry farm. The Oh Wow moment came about 10:10 when the sky exploded! I was looking for NGC 2392 in Gemini and noted a meteor flash out of the corner of my eye. It started getting brighter and brighter and then it blew up! Our estimate was about -12 or so, but, according to the reports of other viewers http://www.amsmeteors.org/fireball2/public.php?start_date=2011-04-29&end_date=2011-05-01&state=GA&event_id=&submit=Find+Reports it could have been -27!?!?!? I think that isn't quite right. We weren't directly under the object. It was about 30deg above the South Western Horizon where we were. We saw Red/Orange and Bright Green colors and were quite dazzled by the whole thing. We didn't hear any bangs. The rest of the evening was a bit of a downer after that. I did look at a few more Caldwell objects, including NGC 5128 and Omega Centaurs. Omega Cent was naked eye that night and quite nice in the scope. NGC 5128 was a big fuzzy thing and I couldn't see the dark lane. I also took a shot at M13 and was quite pleased at it's beauty. About Midnight we called it quits as dew had started to settle in and everything was quite wet, and fogged over. I had to work the next day anyway.
  12. Ok, you got me on that one. A 12mm Nagler would indeed do the trick. Too bad that lens cost more than my first car.
  13. This was part of the Urban Astronomy List. I had little trouble finding it from my backyard 2 summers ago. A great looking planetary. As for 3242, if you can catch it on a still night, you should easily see the internal structure of it. 3242 was the first object I found with my first scope using the star chart from the Sky and Telescope. It's a beauty!
  14. When I go hunting for M101, I use my 32mm Plossl in my 10" newt. It's a VERY wide view and you still can't get all of 101 in it. But, due to the concentration of the light, you can get a nice view of the galaxy. More power does not translate into better views of this object. Nor, of M33, M74 or other face on galaxies.
  15. Another vote for M22, with M4, M15 and M2 running close behind. As for Omega Cent. current thinking is that it's actually the center of a dwarf galaxy, so, it may not qualify any more. Even so, it's wonderful to look at, specially in a pair of those BIG binoculars.
  16. Go to this website Urban Observing Club Introduction | The Astronomical League Scroll down to the Deep Sky list at the bottom of the page. There are a number of galaxies listed that you should be able to see in almost any clear sky condition. Unless you are IN the city, you should be able to see them. Short of going there, you should be able to find: M31, 32, 77, 81, 82, 86, 87,104,64, and 94. You MIGHT be able to see the center of 51, but, it will be tough. Other MIGHTS are: M63, NGC 404 (behind the sun right now), NGC 4565, and maybe a few others. I use a 32mm Plossl. You get a wide view, but, it helps with the contrast, so, you can see the difference in the items. One thing to remember is that Messier best equipment was the equivalent of a 2.4 inch scope. Anything we have now will give a better view.
  17. Sounds like your conditions are just like mine when I go out in my backyard (garden?). Even on the best nights, I can't see the Milky way and can just see the Pleiades. But, I have managed to fine several Virgo cluster galaxies and a number of other deep sky objects from my house. I used the list from the Astronomical League for Urban Astronomers. It was a tough go, but, very rewarding.
  18. We did our Messier Marathon Last night. IN about 4 hours, I did find 45+ different objects before the dew got so bad that it might just have been raining. It was a very nice night otherwise, we had a nice Zodiacal (sp?) glow in the West. We also had a nice glow in the South and Northwest from nearby towns, but, it was still dark enough for us to see the winter Milky Way. Started at dark with M42, 43 and 45. They were quite easy. For such a wet night it was VERY clear. I found M31 and 32 just before they went behind the line of trees about 1/2 mile away. I couldn't get 110 as the sky was just too bright for it still. I did get 31 and 32 before the trees got in the way. As the night progressed, I pretty much cruised. I had my Wil Tirion Sky Atlas 2000 (1st Ed) with me and only had to consult on a few items. The rest I could do from memory. Like I said, it got very wet about 11:30pm, so, I didn't bother with the Virgo group. Just went around it. I have done MMs several times and, while I don't have the whole group memorized, I have enough in my head to do it in about 30 minutes or so. The problem is identification, not, finding the galaxies. As it was, I didn't spend too much time looking at individual objects. The idea behind the Marathon is speed, not, the quality of your report. GoTo has it's uses, but, it's like bringing a auto to a horse race. Turn it off and learn the sky!
  19. Aren't they great! This would be a great time of year for the galaxy group around NGC 3190. They are in the neck of Leo. There are four or five nice galaxies in the group. Take a stab at it.
  20. I hear you about the weather. I live in South Georgia USA. The weather here, while much warmer, is also rather rainy or at least murky. I am a member of the Astronomical League's Urban Astronomy Club, so, I do know about limited seeing. Still, I don't use Goto or digital setting circles. When I do my astronomy from home, it's in the fall to later spring. After that the murk is so think I just can't see more that 4th mag stars. Living in the middle of a small southern city doesn't help much. But, once the sand gnats come out (I think you Brits would call them midges), out door activities are even more limited. To be honest, my club does have access to a dark sky site about 50 miles out of town. But, even then, when the temps hit 85F+ at night (30c+ for you folks) you don't want to be out there either. Anywho, I understand about time no matter what.
  21. Try doing it withOUT the GOTO. It's much more rewarding.
  22. Without a really dark sky, all you would see of M31 is an oval that is very close to a circle. In a dark site, you should be able to see a faint glow that is quite large even in low power.
  23. Besides it just being stars, any type of haze or mist could be interfering with your view. I also vote for a stab at the Caldwell List. I am slowly working on that one myself. Last year, I did the Astronomical Leagues 'Urban Astronomer' list and had quite a good time without leaving my back yard.
  24. Here is the trick. Get a good pair of Binoculars. M81 is an easy target in 7x50s from a decent dark site. From Dubhe look towards the bear's nose til you find the next bright star (not the nose star itself) pan straight towards the pole star and up for a triangle of stars. Using the base of the triangle, pan to the west until you find a 24 UMa, about 1 binocular field. With the glass centered on 24 UMa you should be able to see M81 with no trouble. M82 would be in the same field in low power for your scope. I don't remember ever seeing M82 in the binos.
  25. That was going to be my guess too. O Cen definitely.
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