Jump to content

Stargazers Lounge Uses Cookies

Like most websites, SGL uses cookies in order to deliver a secure, personalised service, to provide social media functions and to analyse our traffic. Continued use of SGL indicates your acceptance of our cookie policy.

sgl_imaging_challenge_banner_android_vs_ios_winners.thumb.jpg.803608cf7eedd5cfb31eedc3e3f357e9.jpg

Swoop1

Contemplating specialising

Recommended Posts

Due to the circumstances of my location and schedule limitations, I am contemplating specialising in Lunar and possibly Planetary observing/ imaging.

My garden is quite badly affected by light pollution caused by nearby street lighting and insecurity lighting. Also relatively recent development work has fairly killed my southern horizon.

I would love to have a pier as this would solve time issues but for the deep sky stuff, i'm not sure it would be worthwhile.

I know planetary is a bit meh at the moment but the moon is always cooperative in position etc.

What projects could I engage in to spice up my sessions?

Thanks

Matt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You should be able to get some nice open clusters and asterisms in your light polluted location. If you can get enough magnification on them, some globulars in a 150mm will still look very good. Count out galaxies and all but the very brightest nebulae. Maybe core of M31 with a very low power view like your binoculars, or M81/82 might still show for galaxies. I like open clusters quite a bit and zooming in on M42. Some of it around the trapezium stars is still very nice looking with a UHC filter. Ring nebula is pretty bright. Swan nebula in summer.

 

Lunar viewing is great. I didn’t get real interested in it until I started binoviewing and bought a used William Optics binoviewer and put a couple 20mm eyepieces in and viewed the moon. A whole new kind of fun. Don’t get me wrong, single eyepiece is also great for lunar, but two eyes and higher power than my binoculars could give me has been really thrilling.

 

If the planets will have scarce views for an extended period of time, you might check out some reading in the EEVA section and see what some folks are doing with small telescopes in heavy light pollution.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Solar observation could be your best bet. Warmer, potentially visible every day and you don't need a large telescope. Or lose sleep!    😀

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had a 150mm Newt and found it made the sky background too bright at lower magnifications from my city location next to an airport. I have switched to scopes in the range of 3-4", although I am thinking of a 5"Mak for planets, and specifically for Mars next year.

I am content looking at the brighter Messiers, but I understand not everyone feels the same way! Some nebulae are possible from my location, particularly planetary nebulae, which would look even better with a bigger aperture than I have as they take magnification well.

The solar suggestion is good, and is one I have followed myself - I recently invested in a TS Herschel Wedge.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, Peter Drew said:

Solar observation could be your best bet. Warmer, potentially visible every day and you don't need a large telescope. Or lose sleep!    😀

Quote: What He said.
Solar is a whole new hobby:
Live viewing of movement & Proms in H-a.
White light or H-alpha.
Visual or Imaging.
Suntan. Sandals, T-shirt and shorts. 😎
DIY or commercial instruments.
New toys or old toys and a bit of Solar foil.
Be the envy of family, friends and colleagues.
Kick snow in the face of Jack Frost!
Cast off your dew bands.
Dance freely in the sunshine.  :wink2:

  • Like 4
  • Haha 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Number of things come to mind that could be "united" with certain type of gear:

1. Lunar observation / imaging. Also a lot of interesting project can be related to lunar imaging. I'll name a few - creating animated sequences of phase changes / libration. More advanced stuff would be for example 3d mapping of terrain features. This involves specialized software so not sure if it's feasible for you, but you could do multiple recordings of the same terrain and process shadow data to extract terrain elevation data.

Novel ideas in lunar imaging - use of filters to get sharpest possible recording, application of drift scan technique for recording (usable for those on non tracking mounts) where you record the Moon drifting thru FOV and then chop up movie and try to stabilize patches of moon surface (make them "stationary" in recording) for stacking. Doing mosaic of these small patches.

2. Planetary imaging / observation. Again same as above. Could throw a bit of science into that - measuring major Jovian moon's positions, determining orbits, maybe calculating the speed of light due to "wobble" in transit times. Measuring sizes of features on planets, and planet's rotation speed - whatever comes to mind. Again, for those that have programming knowledge - improvement in processing algorithms ...

3. Stellar science - some spectroscopy (with Star Analyzer for example), determining stellar classes of some stars. Maybe trying to do parallax measurements on close stars. Determining proper motion. Splitting doubles both visually and with imaging. Finding fast orbiting doubles and doing measurements of orbital periods - maybe even video composed from multiple imaging sessions to show motion of the pair. Variable stars measurements.

Determining distance to stars / clusters (for better precision) - includes a bit of spectroscopy to determine stellar class, a bit of photometry to determine apparent magnitude. Using H-R diagram and formulae to find distance to star. Comparing that to published results and feeling proud if you get anywhere close to that result :D. Doing the same on double stars, or star clusters for improvement in accuracy.

I think all of those can be done from LP affected locations.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I can't comment on photography options but for visual observing of objects outside the solar system,  double stars, variable stars, and open clusters present a lot of doable targets.

 

On the moon, you can do lots of science, measuring it's distance and position, libration, etc.

Edited by Paz
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our natural satellite is a very attractive object for both Observer and/or Photographer. It makes sense to transfer your attention to it due to your local seeing conditions. Certain moderate skies, such as light mist or haze is no deterrent to planetary observing either. Double Stars too can be added, as the haze can indicate very quiet atmospheric conditions, highly conducive to splitting close pairs. Other recommendations made in the thread are certainly valid alternatives too.  UK skies do seem to be increasingly declining in clarity, although there is much evidence within SGL's Images and observing sections to show that all is not lost yet by a long chalk.  So we just keep going.

Ron 

 

 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for yoursuggestions folks. Solar is something I engage in in a basic, white light fashion, though ultimately I would like to take it further.

I am a mathamatical dolt and not academic so projects that go too far down the science and maths/ physics path are beyond my capabilities. I partake of the simple joy of observing and imaging so things like the TLP project could be right up my street.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How about trying the Lunar 100? It gives a purpose to observing the moon which can bring much more enjoyment than simply scanning the terminator say. You could also turn your hand to sketching it if you wanted?

Double stars are another great target for light polluted skies. Close doubles, contrasting colours and different magnitudes, there is plenty of variety out there. The Sissy Haas book is a good one to try.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
20 hours ago, Swoop1 said:

What projects could I engage in to spice up my sessions?

How about trying to image one of the fainter jovian moons? Himalia (about mag 15) is accessible with moderate equipment. True, it is currently a bit close to Jupiter and (to add insult to injury) even further south than Jupiter itself, but in a couple of months it will be a nice distance from the planet ... maybe image it around Jupiter's stationary point, so that you can get several nights' shots against roughly the same stars? Just a thought.

Details of its location can be found here. Stellarium also pinpoints its location, although my version does not display the moon itself.

Edited by Demonperformer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Swoop1 said:

Thanks for yoursuggestions folks. Solar is something I engage in in a basic, white light fashion, though ultimately I would like to take it further.

I am a mathamatical dolt and not academic so projects that go too far down the science and maths/ physics path are beyond my capabilities. I partake of the simple joy of observing and imaging so things like the TLP project could be right up my street.

 

One doesn't need to be a genius to enjoy Astronomy. No calculations are required to gaze at 
the gems of the Universe, with or without a telescope. Although, the latter shows you more. 😀

Ron.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I too live under light polluted skies. When at home, my astronomy is most commonly -

Double star observing ( Sissy Haas's book is great)

Observing and imaging the Moon

Narrow band imaging of nebulae.

I hope this helps.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.