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Naemeth

The Hunt for the Messiers

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Well considering your LP problem your certainly doing well with your Messiers. :)

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Hmm.... having no finder scope doesn't completely stop things, tonight was a really clear night so I left my stuff out, unfortunately by the time I got out, everything had dewed a bit, and it took about 20 minutes to get a clear view out of the eyepiece. Nevertheless, I spent the next 30 minutes looking for M71, and found the area, and I think I got a smudge, I'm just not convinced, tried the 4mm and things were much darker, and very possibly a smudge there, but perhaps not. I know I was in exactly the right area, can I call this one done or not?

It's very difficult to find where you're pointing without a finder, but I use a similar technique as I do for the Sun, look from the bottom of the tube, and guesstimate where the mirror is pointing.

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M71 is an easy one to find the right area but it doesnt exactly jump out at you!

A couple sketches here both with 12" scopes.

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Nice to hear your getting them bagged. From the part of the sky i can see from my back garden ive done them all, some are just dropping below the house behind to get them so i'm going to have to have a session out at the weekend to try and get them before they dissapear

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Bagged M23 tonight, very obvious, thought I was in the area of M9, but when I moved the scope down a bit, it was M23. Would have been a more productive night, but next door put on their bathroom light, destroying my night vision in seconds... oh well!

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Nice to see the list growing (you are ahead of my son now ;))

I think I'm getting much better at it than I was at the start, although the lack of a finder makes it more difficult. I also found that before my OTA was screwed into the mount a bit too tightly, and loosening it a bit made moving around a lot smoother.

I really hope next new Moon is going to be clear, the Moon really makes the southerly low Messiers very difficult to spot.

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It is really a matter of learning to see these objects. A finder is very important too. My massive finder scope makes life a whole lot easier. I recently added a 70mm F/5 scope, plus the Erfle 22mm to the Ocular settings in Stellarium, so I can print maps of what the sky should look like in the finder scope. That also makes life easier. Moonlight, however, is a real problem for many fuzzies, no matter how good you are.

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It is really a matter of learning to see these objects. A finder is very important too. My massive finder scope makes life a whole lot easier. I recently added a 70mm F/5 scope, plus the Erfle 22mm to the Ocular settings in Stellarium, so I can print maps of what the sky should look like in the finder scope. That also makes life easier. Moonlight, however, is a real problem for many fuzzies, no matter how good you are.

Are there any good books that catalogue when each Messier will rise for a given latitude, and when they will set, where they will be at a certain time, and how many degrees above the horizon? So I can plan my Messier hunt with certain times for each object I have left. Otherwise, I suppose I could get that information from Stellarium.

I know Messier objects stay in the same place relative to other stars, but how long do they remain in the same place? For instance, how long would I be able to keep a star chart accurate for? Would it change over a year, a decade?

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Star charts stay accurate for many, many, decades, even centuries. Charles Messier would have no difficulty finding his objects in the sky now (except for light pollution ;) ). The main changes stem from the precession of the earth's axis, and minor shifts are due to the proper motions of the stars. The neat thing of Stellarium and the like is that the software can adjust the view based on the observing date and time, taking known motions into account.

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Star charts stay accurate for many, many, decades, even centuries. Charles Messier would have no difficulty finding his objects in the sky now (except for light pollution ;) ). The main changes stem from the precession of the earth's axis, and minor shifts are due to the proper motions of the stars. The neat thing of Stellarium and the like is that the software can adjust the view based on the observing date and time, taking known motions into account.

So, for stars with a higher proper motion, they would change their position relative to the rest of the stars?

Could I still get away with making a rough week by week / month by month map of the Messiers and their surrounding stars using Stellarium that would be useful for at least a few years?

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So, for stars with a higher proper motion, they would change their position relative to the rest of the stars?

Could I still get away with making a rough week by week / month by month map of the Messiers and their surrounding stars using Stellarium that would be useful for at least a few years?

Absolutely. There are one or two stars with "high" proper motion (such as Barnard's Star) for which you might want to update the charts, but my Sky Atlas 2000.0 has been fine since I bought it more than 20 years ago

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Absolutely. There are one or two stars with "high" proper motion (such as Barnard's Star) for which you might want to update the charts, but my Sky Atlas 2000.0 has been fine since I bought it more than 20 years ago

Hmm... I think it may be worth compiling one, for future proofing, I could use the locations for 2014 or 2015, which gives me plenty of time to complete.

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No need for future proofing. My kids will be able to use the Sky Atlas 2000.0 when I am long gone, and even their children should find it useful. Any shifts are well within the margins of error of provided by the FOV of your finderscope.

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No need for future proofing. My kids will be able to use the Sky Atlas 2000.0 when I am long gone, and even their children should find it useful. Any shifts are well within the margins of error of provided by the FOV of your finderscope.

Thanks, they should still be within the margin of error in my telescope FOV... Barnard's Star even though it moves quickly, only moves about a quarter of a degree in a lifetime, and my FOV is 2.08 degrees on my largest FL eyepiece!

Thanks for the help!

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Such a good night tonight, considering it was a quick one (45 minutes!). Also considering the replacement RDF I ordered arrived today, which must be a first, a clear night on the delivery of astro equipment!

Since I'd not been sure about M71, I thought I'd start with that one, found the area with ease, and with a bit of concentrating, it was there.

Then, I swung around to the area of M39, this one was rather tricky to find, as the guide stars were on the edge of my un-adapted vision (around 4th magnitude or so), so I struggled a bit, but with a bit of luck (scanning up and down for the area), I got M39 in the centre of view, and it was very obvious!

Next, I moved onto M25, which was not really too difficult, the sky though was much more light polluted than it was around M39, never the less, I got a good view of M25, moving on, I noticed M28 was close so I went there.

M28 was certainly there, not much else could be seen in the FOV apart from the two stars either side of M28 (HIP 89980 and Kaus Borealis).

Moving on, I moved back to M25, and tried to get M11.

M11 was very obvious, and even though I've tried to find it before, tonight it was very much easier.

All in all, 4 Messier's bagged in a fairly short time, unfortunately my night vision was ruined at the end by lights inside the house, but I feel a job well done tonight! It wasn't too cold either :).

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Nice result. If you got M28, you were VERY close to M22, which is a stunner! Much easier than M28. I also note from your list that you have M32, but not M31, is that a typo? M31 is WAY easier than M32 (even M110 is easier).

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Nice result. If you got M28, you were VERY close to M22, which is a stunner! Much easier than M28. I also note from your list that you have M32, but not M31, is that a typo? M31 is WAY easier than M32 (even M110 is easier).

Oh darn it! Had my night vision been around a little longer, I probably would have got M22. There are certainly a lot of Ms around there, so I'll have a go next clear night I am out. I'm sure it was a typo, but that I did see them all (M31, M32, M110) in the same field of view (as my eyepiece gives me 2.08 degrees), I'll go back there and check next time I'm out :)

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Since the last post, I've been out once (that was tonight), had a cold when it was semi-clear on the 4th at about 11pm so didn't feel like going out. Tonight was great though, I didn't visit any new Messier objects, and the cloud arrived after about 30 minutes, but I was introducing my housemate to some of the sky, saw M71, M39 and M29. Found them all really easily, even though I've seen them before, being able to find things more quickly always helps.

Here's hoping for a little more than 30 minutes next time :).

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Are there any good books that catalogue when each Messier will rise for a given latitude, and when they will set, where they will be at a certain time, and how many degrees above the horizon? So I can plan my Messier hunt with certain times for each object I have left. Otherwise, I suppose I could get that information from Stellarium.

I know Messier objects stay in the same place relative to other stars, but how long do they remain in the same place? For instance, how long would I be able to keep a star chart accurate for? Would it change over a year, a decade?

I use "Turn Left at Orion" and "Pocket Sky Atlas" to find objects. "Turn Left at Orion" breaks it down into seasons as to what objects to see includng Messier objects and how to star hop to them. With, "Pocket Sky Atlas" I made a clear plastic template the size of my finder's scope (7mm) and prior to observing that evening I practice the star hops of the objects I want to see that night. Plus I'll have it with me next to the scope. What i see in my template is what I see in the finders scope.

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First observing session since the 6th! That's nearly a month, since then I've flocked the tube (made a mess of it, one of the screws won't go in!), and made a shroud that travels with the flex part.

Another 3 Messiers to add, M27, M34 and M52. That's 27/110 now :).

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Lovely, saw the forecast for "Anglia" as they call it , looked very clear, better than here early on.You should be able to pick up M35 in Gemini in the small hours.

Flocking and the light shroud just transforms this tidy scope, Nick.

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Lovely, saw the forecast for "Anglia" as they call it , looked very clear, better than here early on.You should be able to pick up M35 in Gemini in the small hours.

Flocking and the light shroud just transforms this tidy scope, Nick.

I think I noticed a difference, but I'm not sure I did. Must've been the fact the Moon is still quite bright in the sky. If I can, I'll have a go at M35.

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Another night, and I can add M2, M72 and M73 to the list :)! I also looked at old favourites like M13 and M92, the likes of which are much brighter and more obvious, most Messiers I'm encountering are all seen through averted vision, and staying at the eyepiece for a while!

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Spent most of my time out tonight doing lunar observation, but did manage to get M103 added to the list :).

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