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Hey, where did everything go?


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Just had my first session in a month or so, and I'm very lost. I noticed Cassiopeia had rotated and from there i struggled. Couldn't even find m31, something i could locate easily a month ago. Even more frustrating was the fact that every object i researched to be viewable in september, was anything but. When i face south i feel more comfortable but north is just confusing. I can find ursa major/minor but locating things in and around it proved difficult. I either blame light pollution or my incompetence lol. Anyone got any tips for facing north, or anything that should be there this month - i read neptune is visible around about now?

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Everything rises roughly two hours earlier each month or (again roughly) 30 minutes a week.

So if you miss a couple of months, which is more than possible in the UK, then what rose at midnight will rise at 8pm and will be over head by midnight.

You do get used to it :)

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I hear your pain! It is so disorienting trying to navigate the night sky when it is constantly changing in orientation. My two cents, try to learn the brighter stars and their basic shapes in relation to each other first. The likes of deneb, Altair and Vega that make up the summer triangle is one. Obviously the plough is a good one and if you follow the handle in a big curve to the next bright star, that is Arcturus. Just up from there, in between the summer triangle and arcturus, is thr constellation of hercules. Other ones are Capella in auriga, you can find this by going straight out from the nose of ursa major. The big square that makes up the body of Pegasus. The teapot, I.e. the arm and body of Sagittarius is also easy to spot. Don't get me wrong, I'm still learning the stars, constellations and where everything will be in 'x' hours but learning the key parts of the sky in the northern hemisphere is worthwhile.

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At least your actually seeing stars, I'm on the East coast USA and have had cloud cover over the whole sky for over 96+ hours. Learning your sky and constellations is paramount. The sky will change its orientation from season to season, w/8 store has a star chart , Stellarium and a few others are free off the web. If I were you learning to star hop, will benefit you immensely. Everyone has to start off here.

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Yes, Stellarium will help you find your constellations and those elusive targets in them.

If you want to print charts, also consider Cartes du Ciel (Sky Chart). That will print good star hopping charts with finderscope, Telrad or eyepiece circles on them, to mark your path from an easy to a difficult target.

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Tonight i literally took my laptop outside with Stellarium and rotated it around like a map. Managed to find all the classics i found when i started in June, although Ring nebula was odd since Vega was in a totally different position to what it was 2 months ago. If only i could find M81 & M82 now...

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If you are taking your computer out with you to observe the night sky, I hope you found the Night Mode function. This turns the program red as red-light won't ruin your dark-adapted eyes. The built-in red-mode is pretty good. But I like this one better:

http://davesastrotools.weebly.com/night-vision-saver.html

It's free and fully adjustable.

Clear & Dark Skies,

Dave

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If you are taking your computer out with you to observe the night sky, I hope you found the Night Mode function. This turns the program red as red-light won't ruin your dark-adapted eyes. The built-in red-mode is pretty good. But I like this one better:

http://davesastrotools.weebly.com/night-vision-saver.html

It's free and fully adjustable.

Clear & Dark Skies,

Dave

I use an app that turns the screen slightly red to stop my eyes getting a headache. I use a Mac but ill have a try running your linked software using Wine :)

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Their still there, but as Planet Earth rotates, and we pass through the Seasons, all the Angles seem to change, as do the positions of  the Star constellations, as viewed from ground level.  I'm fairly lucky living at 57° as it appears to me that the Pole Star is only a few degrees from my Zenith. I know I`ll be corrected,  because there's still 30+° to play with, but when I step out into the garden,  Polaris is neck breaking, straight up. This allows me to carry out observations in a circular area surrounding the Pole, This takes in Ursa Major to Cassiopeiae and everything in-between. But alas due to my observatory position, I`ve still to locate a lot of what's up there?

My problem here is street light pollution during the darker Months like now.......Winter here,  is from about 1st October till about April/May, then its just too light through the Summer Months, so I really need to get away to darker sites to get the best.

I can  see the central core of M31 Andromeda  and one other in Ursa Major, but not seen other Galaxies  yet due to conditions? This last Year, I have been on an extended holiday, so have had ample time to visit darker sites, but often, the planning goes well, but the weather prevails, and  2014, probably has to be the worst Year on record, for me, due to the poor, cloud covered nights I've experienced. At least the clouds are like a blanket to  keep my place place warmer at night, and this has given us one of the most warmest and driest seasons to date for the North of Scotland!

I intend to observe more often now from a 'Tent' that I will modify to allow the aperture to be exposed, with a snood on the scope. As long as I can't see direct light or street light pollution my situation should get better, but not perfect.

Even after a couple of hours between viewing the Stars their positions should have changed in the sky, but their just  rotating around Polaris. So mentally mark Polaris from your garden, and once reorientated everything should  fall into place.

Edited by Charic
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If you have a smart phone then one of the planetarium apps are very good for finding your way. If you have the motion sensors turned on then when you hold the phone up to a particular area of sky the app should show you what you are looking at. Apps include, but are not limited to Google Sky Map, SKEye, and Astro Tools. All have a night mode to protect your night vision. Less cumbersome than carrying around a laptop! :grin:

HTH 

Edited by southerndiver357
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If only i could find M81 & M82 now...

Relatively easy to find, depending on the eyepiece being used (biggest one you got). Find the Saucepan (Big dipper, plough whatever), locate the stars Phecda and Dubhe diagonally opposite each other in the pan itself, these will be your pointer stars. Using the distance between these two stars as one step, step outward from Dubhe in the direction of the pointer you made until you find two very faint stars (dUMa & HIP 47594). Centre your eyepiece onto the star closest toward Dubhe and you should see M81 & M82 in that FOV, you may need to pan around slightly but you should find them.

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At least your actually seeing stars, I'm on the East coast USA and have had cloud cover over the whole sky for over 96+ hours. Learning your sky and constellations is paramount. The sky will change its orientation from season to season, w/8 store has a star chart , Stellarium and a few others are free off the web. If I were you learning to star hop, will benefit you immensely. Everyone has to start off here.

4 days  :eek:  :eek:  :eek: . When it gets to 4 weeks you'll start to have some idea of uk astronomy :D

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