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Hi folks

this is not a polemic - just curious......

once you have seen jupiter 5 times (wow! dimishing to ,good view tonite)

is there any point in looking a sixth time?

what keep you guys motivated enough to brave freezing temperatures to look at something you have seen many times before?

or is amateur astronomy just a test of navigation/imaging/resolving prowess - and the subject matter less important?

cheers

alan

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I guess, if your seriously interested in astronomy, you keep going back to regular objects, trying to tease more detail from them.

For example with Jupiter, the great red spot can be hard to locate, due to seeing conditions, or other reasons, so you keep trying to see more of an object

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How many cloud bands did you resolve?

Have you seen a moon cast a shadow on the planet?

How well have you seen the red spot?

Have you shared the view with anyone and seen the wonder on their face?

That is just one object. Well worth freezing for!

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I think you may find that the subject, with a lot of amateur Astronomers, never ceases to amaze, the quality of seeing varies that much, especially with the Planets that you always look for that little detail you may not have seen before. The Moon in all its beauty holds different aspects as the terminator races across the surface, and as for the faint fuzzies, as they are called, then the interest in tracking these down and finding them and realising that the photons that are reaching your eyes has been travelling aeons of time, that is how many look upon the hobby. I think if it did not, then recently purchased Astro gear by a new starter may find its way onto the s/h market sooner than later :)

John.

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I can both agree and disagree, many will look again and again simply because it is there and a familiar object and there may be a change or something missed or not seen previously. After quite a few years of wandering round the earth I still look up at the moon.

Equally as you said it is great at first then becomes just another viewing. It is this that I have thoughts over when people want to enter into imaging there are just 3 planets to realistically image. When any say they are not yet interested in imaging DSO's there is not a lot else, 3 planetsand one of them is a pain to see or image.

I would say that if possible a view of Jupiter etc being a familiar object, bright so hopefully easy to locate and it sort of checks out the general viewing conditions. Kind of Jupiter is nice and sharp tonight lets go look at the more difficult things.

To this extent viewing something like Jupiter is more a check of conditions and how equipment is performing, so not a specific observation of it.

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I will certainly always take a look at Jupiter (or Saturn) if it is there. The other eve was the best I have ever seen Jupiter, so it was well worth looking at and spending some time on it to pull out more detail. I also find Jupiter more interesting when there is a moon transit and/or when the Great Red Spot is visible. Whilst I have seen shadows moving across, a few weeks ago was the first time I have been able to see a moon in transit.

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To me viewing the night sky is never the same, regardless of what I am looking at. It is always different, sometimes you struggle with the seeing and other times it is clear. I have no idea how many times I have looked at the moon in the 65 years of my life, but I never tire of it, whether through a telescope of visually. These last few night walking the dogs I always stand in the middle of the field and watch the moon for ten minutes or so. I think that if you get fed up with the wonders of the night sky then I feel really sorry fo you - there is just so much to see.

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just for completeness (as a newbie) -for me its partly the challenge of getting the perfect view (which you never achieve) - its partly learning to master new a new skil and its technology - partly the wonder of what the objects are really like; what makes em tick etc - and hopefully it might be the shared appreciation when you post that perfect shot.

I guess you can get the same from any hobby or sport - but so far astronomy has a lot got a lot going for it as an option - especially for an old guy! :smiley:

cheers

alan

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It's a bit like going on holiday - there's always a new place to visit and new sights to see. Or like changing cars - there's always a new model of scope and new technology to get you there quicker, better, or more efficiently. Astronomy all depends on how much fun you get out of driving sightseeing holidays lol :)

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You never know what you are going to get (life is like a box of chocs etc). Different seeing different moons different details different levels of frost bite. This is true of planets like jupiter but even more true of DSO's. No matter how familiar they are, the slightest change in atmospherics and the detail you will get will vary enormously. It's all good fun (except the frost bite) :grin:

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Well for me it is a number of thing – last night I captured Europa transiting Jupiter and so casting a shadow on the surface, completely unaware this was happening last night, so sometimes the unexpected can relight the fire so to speak.

I was once asked why bother looking at stars and planets when you can see photos in a book.

My reply was why go fishing when you can buy a meal in Tesco or hitting a small white ball around with a club into a hole only to pick it up again.

Achieving something yourself is the drive.

So staying awake until 3am at -8°C in the dark can be worth it.

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The hobby has kept me interested for 30+ years so there must be something about it !

A lot of the time I am observing objects that I've seen many times before and trying to squeeze more detail from them but most years I've managed to add a few things that I've not managed before or that are temporary apparitions such as supernovae or comets.

I also think it's a seasonal hobby with each season bringing back old favourites. If I've not observed something for several months then there is still a shiver of excitement as it slides into the field of view again :smiley:

It's still a great way to unwind and put the world into some sort of perspective too. Watching an icy moon and it's shadow scudding across the Jovian cloud tops for a couple of hours seems to make some of our petty concerns on this world fade away somewhat :smiley:

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the surface detail is always changing recording data moons lots of stuff to keep busy

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Yeah it really does pull your mind away from the stress of life and drums home that we are but insignificant ape-like creatures living in a very large universe. :p

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I second all of these :grin: There's always something new to be found or seen somewhere up there. And even if you're returning to old favourites such as Jupiter, there's always a little bit more detail to look for, or to see what's changed since you last saw it. A guy at work asked me why I go out and look to see where Jupiter's moons are when you can find out online - I was quite happy to say that I'm just one of those people that likes to have seen it with my own eyes, and to have had that experience.

One of the first times I saw jupiter through my scope, I was blessed with what i now know were great viewing conditions, and there's always the hope that tonight might be the night where that happens again. And it never really worries me if the seeing conditions are terrible, I think I am lucky enough to be one of those people that can stare at the universe and just marvel at it. :smiley:

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As a newbie it is very inspirational to hear the enthusiasm of people that have been around the block a few times!!! :rolleyes: it really sells astronomy as a hobby!

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I've only been observing for close on two years and I find that when I first viewed Jupiter or any other of the showpiece objects I just got them in view and moved on. Now having seen them I tend to look more closely and try to see more. Regarding Jupiter I have seen several shadow transits but am still waiting for that first view of a moon transit.

It really surprises me that with quite modest equipment you can stand/sit in your backyard and see the wonders that our universe has to offer.

The more I observe the more I want that next clear night.

Keep looking up and enjoying :rolleyes:

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I'm sorry if I am repeating stuff that has been said already but I keep 'going back' because it seems that observation skills to improve over time. You can make notes of what you have seen or simply keep it in your memory. These experiences help you to build up an overall or composite picture of how targets look over time for atmospheric conditions and other factors can resolve objects in different ways. There are many things to watch out for, elusive targets that may be found - Jupiter is a wonderful planet due to its fast rotation, moon transits and those RARE nights when you get a glimpse of cloud belts with amazing amount of detail.

An obvious one is M42 and the Trapezium contained within. Four stars can be easily seen, but the chances are you may be able to see the E and F stars if seeing and transparency are good. It can be pretty exciting if you can see both! I spotted them with an 8" Newtonian - I think they can also be spotted with 6 inches of aperture, although I have heard people have seen them with a 4inch refractor when the skies are great!

post-3767-0-43338500-1354275442_thumb.gi

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Nice thread and a good question.

For me, I think it has a lot to do with it being on the whole the last great unspoilt frontier. There always seems to be something very pure and stilling about looking into the universe, from what often seems to be one mad crazy old world.

Its like the last great guaranteed escape, bar the occasional satellite floating through your field of view. And the things you see, that so many people never see.

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For me there's always something new to see whenever you go out. It's literally impossible to see all the objects in the night sky in a lifetime so it's only a lack of planning (which I am usually guilty of) that results in not seeing something new in a given session.

In terms of your specific question re e.g. Jupiter, this is a special case as you are literally looking at Jupiter afresh every time you look at it. the cloud belts, the moons, the rotation constantly change and therefore every single time you observe it, that exact configuration is unlikely to have been seen before.

As others have said, different scopes, eyepieces, seeing, transparency, level of tiredness, (blood alcohol level), a companion, time of year all bring their own 'flavour' to the observing session and it's rarely the same.

On top of all that is the thinking about what you are observing. It's a truly unique hobby to me at least. At this time of year, I'm glad that I am not a brass monkey.

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As newbie im enjoying watching moons change position and like some others I still look up at the sky with my eyes just marvel at the universe as I have enjoyed discovering nothing is constant when you take close look.

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A lot of people think of the night sky as stagnant with little or no change within their lifetime. But once you look closer, you find many things that change besides the numerous satellites or meteors. As for Jupiter, the changing positions of the moons, cloud belts and of course the ever continuing search for the Red Spot keeps people coming back.

I think that's what keeps people coming back to the same objects along with the ever changing observing conditions from night to night and sometimes hour to hour. And who knows...coming back over and over could mean the new discovery of a comet in the field of view.

When you think about it, there are many reasons for viewing the same object over and over. The night sky DOES change (variable stars, doubles with their position changes, etc.) IF you are willing to keep looking, the night sky and its wonders are not as stagnant as most believe :laugh:

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I think it's two things for me. Hoping to beat your best ever view, and just enjoying the view, the same way you might listen to a song you like many times or you might look at a nice picture on your wall.

I don't think two views tend to feel the same anyway, like I don't think any two images posted here on SGL look the same!

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I think "foundaplanet" hits one of the more important nails on the head, namely that we are in a fortunate very small minority in that which we have seen. One of the main reasons I consider outreach so rewarding. :smiley:

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