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Starting my messier list today.


Ccolvin968
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So I decided to start keeping track of all the Messier objects that I've seen. I'm getting my first telescope in the mail tomorrow. Its a Celestron 127 EQ. I managed to get it for $100USD. Any tips on observing any of these and which are easier than others for a beginner like myself? Thanks bunches everybody!

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At the moment, I guess things like M13, M57 and M27 would be your best bets - I found all of them fairly easy - though it's pretty near full moon, so not good for DSOs. The moon is so bright it obscures them. Maybe an open cluster like M39 or M29 would work? (The last one is fairly distinctive - the 'Cooling tower cluster')

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A good sky map of some description is a great help - Pocket Sky Atlas is is handy little book to take out with you and will show the locations of these objects and download Stellarium on your computer which is free, if you haven't done so already.

Hope you enjoy your new telescope.

andrew

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Get yourself a sheet of red acetate or a red lighting gel, use a little bit of electrical tape and tape it around the display on your ipad. Obviously it turns it red, but also reduces glare quite well and still lets you swipe and tap away like normal :)

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If you enter "list of messier objects" into google you get the Wikipedia list.

This can be selected and saved into Word as a table - well I managed it easily.

Then you can add an extra column to tick it off ot scribble a note in.

There is a button on each comumn to reorder the lost - suspect reorder by constellation is a good idea. Then do the save to Word.

You could then print a constellations worth at a time off and take outside.

If impatiance is the order of the day and you want to get as many as possible then there is this planner. enter your position and horizon and it tells you wnat is visible that night.

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Be wary that even with red acetate on the screen your iPad will effect your night vision. You are shinning a light into your eye.

I only use my iPad when observing, if I'm hunting brighter objects, like the telescopic planets. If hunting faint Galaxies and diffuse nebulae. The iPad stays far away from the eyepiece and a dim red torch and star chart are the order of the day.

Most of the messier catalogue is bright enough that you should be okay, but be aware a dim red torch and a star chart are way better.

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Alot of people promote the red torch and star chart approach, however its very much down the the individual. Iv tried doing it like that and got frustrated as if you realise your looking in the wrong place, but have found something equally interesting if you don't have the right chart you have no info available, whereas using an app or laptop you can quickly find out what it is and where you went wrong. While it does still affect your nightvision, its the balancing act between perfect observing and ease of use. Some people (myself included) like our technology far too much to go back to paper :)

Edit - That wasnt supposed to sound as viscous as it might have done, peace love and all that jazz :)

Edited by Mattscar
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You don't want the very tool you are using to help you find a very dim galaxy to be the reason you can't see it when using a tablet, laptop etc.

Indeed a very good point and what I do find myself doing sometimes is once Iv found what Im looking for, the laptop gets shut and phone ignored (Iv red adapted that aswell) to give my eyes the 20mins or so extra so I can see more detail :)

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So I decided to start keeping track of all the Messier objects that I've seen. I'm getting my first telescope in the mail tomorrow. Its a Celestron 127 EQ. I managed to get it for $100USD. Any tips on observing any of these and which are easier than others for a beginner like myself? Thanks bunches everybody!

Don't be too disheartened if you do not do well tonight, even if skies are clear, the moon was as bright as anything last night and will be so again over the next few days. Still, higher up in the sky , M13, a great starter should be visible as are others high in the sky. :)

I do my planning in Stellarium beforehand, free software you can download, then I go out and do my observing without a torch or charts, perhaps not the easiest method and kindest on the brain, but it works for me. It does mean having to memorise things an practice that. For the trickier objects this can be difficult. Recently observing above the teaspot it took while to sort out what was what over a period of a few nights to make sense of what I was exactly looking at, under what were difficult sky conditions with few naked eye reference stars. I had to make a few drawings and verify afterwards with so many stars around, and quite a few Messiers close by to make sense of it.

Apart from that, this method never fails me. Bit by bit I am working my away around , learning new chunks of sky. I do seem to have an above average visual and accurate photographic memory and spatial awareness ( or so I was told ), suffice it to say, the method I use may not be for everyone, I hope that does not sound too arrogant, but I've learned to rely on that strength, which is quite handy in this hobby. I'll bring myself back down to earth by saying I was never was much good at remembering quotes from books, poems, that kind of thing, small little facts. Don't ask me to tell you loads of details about Messier objects, what each one is made of, I often forget that stuff I soon as I read it :)

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