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Mr Q

OK, Here's A Tough one For All You Experienced Observers

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While out observing, someone walks up to you and asks what you are doing. Explaining what you are doing, the visitor eventually asks, "Can I take a look?".

You ponder the question a bit and want to impress the visitor with an easy viewable object that will get him/her interested in the hobby. So after the most obvious objects in our solar system, what type of deep space object would you point your scope to for an easy view by the visitor and why that particular type of object?

I quickly come up with several examples but the one that will MOST impress the visitor? I'm still thinking about it :confused:

How about you?

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Double Cluster, always a Wow, even for my Mrs who thinks every other DSO is a fuzzy blob!

(Albireo, not a DSO but always a beauty)

Cheers

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orion nebula is the obvious choice, however for me IF its a larger aperture scope ( say over 6") then for me it would be m13 . it took my breath away through the 8" .

Edited by rory
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Yep, I'd go for the double cluster too.

Assuming that I had a 10" scope or larger, the Ring Nebula at high power with an ultra wide eyepiece is quite impressive too. Maybe M13 too, again at high power.

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i'd imagine just about anything would look good in that scope. how about m81-m82... no wait, m45.... yeah m45.

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Double cluster. It simply looks breathtaking against an inky black sky, and the few coloured orange stars dotted within increases the impact and provides additional interest as well. Easy to find too :grin:

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The Beehive,Kemble's Cascade,Leo triplet,Coathanger,Saturn

Too many to pick from

Edited by LukeSkywatcher

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my aim is always to show them something that looks like something. if they just see a mass of stars then they will say 'all I can see is a mass of stars'. something that separates itself well from the background is good.

I agree that the double cluster is a good one and M13 always gets good comments for me. the orion nebula and ring as already mentioned.

in terms of other clusters the Wild Duck Cluster, M11 is awesome and the Owl/ET cluster are favourites when I show people.

you need dark skies for galaxies to be appreciated properly.

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If planned then bright DSO highlight's that favour the season and sky conditions will be on the menue, but if an unplanned visitor was to come along, it might be tricky if you have just settled in after spending time and effort locating something new. However probably one of the brighter open clusters such as (currently) M35 would be a good subject, or better still if you additionally have binoculars to hand with a tripod then for sure the Double Cluster, and you do not loose your intended (visually less sensational) target in the scope.

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My error for not being more precise in my OP. Because I did not specify any one time of the year, that's why I asked about what type of object (clusters, EGs, planitaries, globulars, etc.) From your responses so far, your answers are still good since we all know what type object is mentioned.

For myself, I would look for a bright open cluster and as a second object, a bright globular. Nebulae and galaxies never seem to have any real "character" that a guest would notice or remember (M42 excluded), not to mention getting that "wow" response.

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whatever we think as astronomers of the things we see in the sky, there's nothing like solar system objects for that wow factor for the layman I think.

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A +1 for M45 - M42 - and Jupiter.

Right now those are nice targets for a casual observer. Hand them some binoculars and again M45, then double cluster and the Moon. (Moon also for a large scope)

M31 for those lwith a little more interest in space stuff.

Regards

Aenima

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After obvious objects in our solar system (the Moon, Saturn and Jupiter), then M42 and M57. For Deep Sky objects it is best to have additional information to impress: light years away, something about the actual size(compared to our solar system) ... facts that I usually do not have at hand! Sometimes double stars such as the double double or Alberio I find get a very positive reaction. Like the stated above, a large aperature is best for globulars.

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If you're observing at a place where a passer-by is likely to walk up to you and ask for a look then you're most likely somewhere that's over-brightly lit, the passer-by won't be well dark-adapted, and they might not be able to see much at all. Consequently planets or colourful stars are the best bet. But if it has to be a DSO then I agree the Orion Nebula and Double Cluster would be good choices. Best thing might be to pass them your binoculars and let them have a sweep, rather than have them stick their fingertip on your Ethos and ask, "Is this where I look?"

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Best thing might be to pass them your binoculars and let them have a sweep, rather than have them stick their fingertip on your Ethos and ask, "Is this where I look?"

Yes, I am occasionally approached by dog walkers whilst setting up, who express an interest, so I suggest they come back later for a look (to date though no one has). I would be more guarded if later on an unknown visitor at a remote location was to drop by at the very least for the comment made above.

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As mentioned above - double cluster, orion neb, ring neb and perhaps blue snowball

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I have shown several DSOs to interested people (often at a camping site, so dark adaptation is better). M13, M22, M27, and M57 are obvious choices in summer. M31, and M51 are very nice from a dark site. M42 and M45 in winter. There are many planetary nebulae that have high surface brightness. The Ghost of Jupiter, Blue Snowball and Eskimo Nebula are prime examples.

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Wish I could be original here, but the double cluster is and always has been my favourite whether viewed through binoculars or rich field refractor. It's instantly impressive and beautiful to boot, so would be my choice to show to anyone who's never stargazed before.

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M42 and M31 always seem to impress friends I drag along for the first time :D

sent from Gherkin Muncher mk .III (commonly known as a Galaxy S2)

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I think it depends on which scope I was using, however if ti was the 12 incn I think I would point it at M13 if that qualifies for DSO, if not it would be M42. Time of the year is also a factor, in summer I would point it either M6 or M7, nice clusters.

Alan.

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I say point your scope at something like M51 (or any good looking galaxy) under a dark sky and while the person is looking tell them that what they are seeing is an entire galaxy as it was 23 million (or whatever) years ago. When you add that perspective of time and distance it really boosts the wow factor for the lay viewer since it fires their imagination. Also if Saturn is up that's always a fantastic sight for anyone see with their own eyes, as it's so iconic.

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