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Messier 104

New to astronamy and SGL

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Hi everyone new to stargazers lounge.

I am 24 years old, been very interested in space and everything about it throughout my life. I live in Bristol in the UK and have a big problem with light pollution although I do manage to get out "in the sticks" quite often for a darker site.

about a year ago I started taking interest in visual astronomy and my love and knowledge for it has been growing ever since.

got my first telescope in may 2016 and would love advice anyone with experience can give.

I have a sky watcher 150P scope and a range of eyepieces from 6.3mm to 40mm, a 2x barlow lense (low quality) and a 3x celestron X-cel barlow.

my biggest interests are DSO (deep sky objects) but I have never been able to observe comets. any advice on equipment or technique will be very appreciated but Id really like to know how is best to get the most out of my scope for deep sky objects and any comets in the near future that are reasonably easy to find.

thanks.

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Hi and welcome to SGL! This forum is a great place to further develop your knowledge and understanding of astronomy...and to make you want to spend more money! 

Enjoy your time here :-) 

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For both the simple rule is a dark sky.

At 150 I guess you have a limiting magnitude of around 15 (sheer guess). My 70 is given as mag 11.

Easiest option I find is to load up Stellarium, set location then press F4 and set the DSO limiting Mag to say 10 for you, I use 8. Then you are left with objects that I would half expect you to be able to see in the scope.

Presently you have things like M3, M53, NGC 5053 and NGC 5466 - all globular clusters in the SE to E area of the sky. There are always lots of Open Clusters but M36, 37, 38 in Auriga are easy.

Comets are more work, you need to know where they are in a constellation day by day. The things have a habit of moving. Not many around at present. I think (only think) they may be a Mag 11 somewhere - apologies it was something I read then sort of abandoned it when I read mag 11, too dim as far as I was concerned. You will have to search out sites that list visible comets, then you need something that give the track of the comet. Initially use google or try BAA and SPA sites. Seems Lovejoy has just identified another.

For comets and DSO's you will find that 80x is enough, possibly less so down at 30x to 50x. Last comet I watched was in 8x42 binoculars. Didn't go looking for it but this odd ball of fuzz drifted across my view. Literally was a case of "What is that!"

If you have goto then if there is a specified RA+Dec for the day you may be able to input that as a custom object, just do not expect the mount the track it very wel, it might in effect be going the wrong direction.

DSO's try the Leo triplet.

Edited by ronin
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Get a good sky map Turn Left to Orion is very good especially for a 6 in scope, I had the skywatcher 150p to start and had Turn left found loads of objects using this. You might consider a Telrad maps for this can be downloaded free it is excellent combined with finder scope to find objects. Welcome to SGL ask any questions loads of people to help on here.

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Welcome. I'm sure you'll find the info you want in SGL. 

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Hi and welcome. This place has been great for me over the last year since I got into this hobby, I bought a 150p on eq3-2 this time last year and have not looked back.  I've seen loads of DSO's in this time and the best advice is get a star atlas. I have this one and love just looking though it and planning my next sessions:

https://www.amazon.ca/Sky-Telescopes-Pocket-Atlas/dp/1931559317

 

Edited by Peco4321
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Hi and welcome.

That there 150P is what many of us dreamed of in the days when such things were difficult to come by and were expensive. It's a great work horse and should serve you very well for many years. Mine did and still does!

The only advice I would give with regards to observing DSO's is get out to your preferred dark sky site and get stuck in. Above all don't expect too much. The brilliant images posted on here don't represent any reality that is visible with the eye at the telescope. They are computer generated lies!! :):) 

Just take your time. The ability to see subtle detail is governed by a number of interplaying factors. Sky conditions, distance above the horizon, telescope size, age of the observer and not least, skill. Skill is acquired by patient observing. Making sketches at the eyepiece is a great way to get to know an object but I've not done that for many years myself.

Comets can be very tricky. Their advertised magnitudes are for their total light output and when spread over a diffuse fuzz ball can be unexpectedly dim and difficult.

You need a good planetarium program or mobile app loaded with the up-to-date orbital data for comets. That way you can identify a star field and star-hop to the exact location of the comet you are looking for. It's very satisfying when you finally succeed. Just keep an ear to the ground on here for news of what comets are visible at any time. Stellarium (not the mobile app) is as good as it gets for desk-top/lap-top and my choice by a country mile for mobile is SkySafari. Both will get you all the comet info you'll ever need.

There are a couple knocking round just now but not easy targets. 

This one is currently near Merak in Ursa Major but it's going to be tricky visually:

The good news is that we are getting over due for another good one! :)

Edited by Paul M
To add details of planetarium packages.
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Hello, M104, and welcome to SGL - it's great to have you join us!

We all love questions being asked, and answers being found. So no worries asking yours in these forums.

Starry Skies -

Dave

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Hi and welcome to SGL  - This is a great place full of helpful people with friendly advice. Glad that you found us :)

Look forward to seeing you around :)

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Hi M104 and welcome to SGL, hope you enjoy using your scope and the forum :) 

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Hi and welcome to S G L, enjoy the forums.

Clear Sky's.

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On ‎21‎/‎03‎/‎2017 at 21:00, rockystar said:

Welcome to SGL

here http://www.heavens-above.com/comets.aspx?lat=0&lng=0&loc=Unspecified&alt=0 for comets

Do you know how to work out the magnification for each EP & Barlow combination in your scope? And are you aware of the maximum recommended mag for your scope and the UK skies?

thanks a lot will try out the site. hopefully will have a clear sky soon to try it out.

yeah iv done a lot of reading up on this sort of thing before I got the scope. I believe the max mag is 300x, which if im doing the math right my 7.5mm EP + the 3x Barlow is very close to that. although with UK sky I don't think going that high is a good idea.

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On ‎21‎/‎03‎/‎2017 at 21:25, wookie1965 said:

Get a good sky map Turn Left to Orion is very good especially for a 6 in scope, I had the skywatcher 150p to start and had Turn left found loads of objects using this. You might consider a Telrad maps for this can be downloaded free it is excellent combined with finder scope to find objects. Welcome to SGL ask any questions loads of people to help on here.

hi thanks for the welcome.

In fact I do already have turn left at Orion :) its very easy to use and a great book. my only problem with it is I don't get much time to really get in depth with it due to the cloud cover we have had since new years. its been very bad around Bristol.

Telrad??, not heard of that kind of map, will have a quick Google now see if I can find one.

thanks for the help.

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On ‎21‎/‎03‎/‎2017 at 21:43, Peco4321 said:

Hi and welcome. This place has been great for me over the last year since I got into this hobby, I bought a 150p on eq3-2 this time last year and have not looked back.  I've seen loads of DSO's in this time and the best advice is get a star atlas. I have this one and love just looking though it and planning my next sessions:

https://www.amazon.ca/Sky-Telescopes-Pocket-Atlas/dp/1931559317

 

Hi Peco thanks for the welcome.

yes I can tell there's lots of people here that are more than happy, I cant wait to get stuck in and really build my knowledge.

thanks for the advice I haven't actually thought about actually planning what targets to look for during my sessions, I normal notice some clear sky then jump with joy and just grab the scope. will have to have a think and plan a session for the weekend, in hope of good weather.

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2 minutes ago, Messier 104 said:

will have to have a think and plan a session for the weekend, in hope of good weather.

Forecast for me in East Yorkshire looks good for the next few days, typical, I'm out at parties fri and sat. May take it easy and still go out when home, something I would never have thought of before this hobby took hold. 

When I started I sort of just bumbled around loving clear views of star fields, quickly got into finding globular clusters, moved on to DSO's (planetary Nebula, galaxies etc) love the moon when it spoils the hunt for DSO's and also Jupiter is now getting in a good position. 

The timing of you getting going matches me starting in this March last year do it will be interesting to see how you progress. The Astro photography bug bit me, albeit extremely amateur compared to images on here. 

Please feel free to ask anything. 

Peter. 

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On ‎21‎/‎03‎/‎2017 at 20:21, ronin said:

For both the simple rule is a dark sky.

At 150 I guess you have a limiting magnitude of around 15 (sheer guess). My 70 is given as mag 11.

Easiest option I find is to load up Stellarium, set location then press F4 and set the DSO limiting Mag to say 10 for you, I use 8. Then you are left with objects that I would half expect you to be able to see in the scope.

Presently you have things like M3, M53, NGC 5053 and NGC 5466 - all globular clusters in the SE to E area of the sky. There are always lots of Open Clusters but M36, 37, 38 in Auriga are easy.

Comets are more work, you need to know where they are in a constellation day by day. The things have a habit of moving. Not many around at present. I think (only think) they may be a Mag 11 somewhere - apologies it was something I read then sort of abandoned it when I read mag 11, too dim as far as I was concerned. You will have to search out sites that list visible comets, then you need something that give the track of the comet. Initially use google or try BAA and SPA sites. Seems Lovejoy has just identified another.

For comets and DSO's you will find that 80x is enough, possibly less so down at 30x to 50x. Last comet I watched was in 8x42 binoculars. Didn't go looking for it but this odd ball of fuzz drifted across my view. Literally was a case of "What is that!"

If you have goto then if there is a specified RA+Dec for the day you may be able to input that as a custom object, just do not expect the mount the track it very wel, it might in effect be going the wrong direction.

DSO's try the Leo triplet.

Thanks a lot Ronin, stellarium sounds like a very useful tool.

Yes I think your about right with the limiting magnitude for the scope but with UK skies and the polluting light I don't think +11 targets and above are very practical, but with a darker site im sure it could handle around that.

M3 iv seen as was very satisfied the last time I observed it, was looking very good and could pick stars out very close to the clusters centre. will have a look at those other targets as well.

This is the problem iv been having with comets, as the move day by day, and skies are generally cloudy, I find it hard to match a clear enough night with a patch of sky that I know a comet is passing through. BAA may well be a good site to try thanks for that.

That sounds like some good magnifications for me as I have some X-cel EPs that work out around that. I was a little worried I would have to use more magnification for comets and would ruin the image but that sounds very hopeful.

No I don't have a GoTo, I was thinking about it when I got the scope but I kind o felt like its buying a jigsaw puzzle that's already put together. I get a BIG kick out of finding a tiny object in our sky, that's hundreds, if not millions of light years away.

And yes the Lio triplet has been on my list since Leo was disappearing into the west last year, didn't really have a good idea on where to look till it was to late.

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