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Currently visible targets for moony nights


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Hello,

Looks like we've got a few decent nights ahead of us here in Oxfordshire and I was hoping to have some friends around to have a look through my telescope.  The moon will be just starting to wane, so not a lot of faint things will be visible, however it would be nice to have a list of things to target that will pique their interest.

I was thinking:

Jupiter (+ moons)

Saturn (+moons) ..... may be worth planning ahead which are where for these two, so we can put names to them.

The moon itself - are there any particular features that will be visible at the terminator?

Ring nebula (especially with a OIII filter)

 

I'd be grateful for  any other suggestions of things that we can look at that won't be too hard to find. 

Any thoughts?

 

Pete

 

 

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If they're non-astro friends then the moon, Jupiter and Saturn will probably entertain them most?

Planetary nebulae usually hold up quite well in brighter skies: the Ring, the Blinking Nebula, Cat's Eye and the Saturn nebula should all be accessible.

And then throw in some nice double stars. Albireo and Almach are both about, and well coloured. You could catch Izar before it sets. Lyra is near overhead, so the double double, if seeing permits. Perhaps some with a fainter companion, away from the moon, like Rasalgethi and Sarin in Hercules.

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Thank you for these.  Yes non-astro friends.  All intelligent people, who will probably have lots of questions, so I want to have a bit of a "programme" planned so that I can be a little prepared.  Saturn nebula would be a new one for me, so I might include that....plus there are some clusters in the vicinity that I could take a look at at the same time.

 

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I've had some smart, science & tech. savvy friends enjoy using my 'scope during lockdown. First time I employed a bit of theatre : using my mak I started out with a middling kind of magnification on the Moon, which got some impressed wows. Then I ramped it up with a bit more mag, and when we got to the highest I own (6mm giving 250x) they were speechless !

I've found a very handy free downloadable win. prog, , Virtual Moon Atlas, which gives a zoomable photo map of the Moon, can be flipped to match the 'scope view (or not) , and the labels link to information, there's also a list of some interesting features on the terminator at that time . As with stellarium you set your location, it picks up  the time from your device , but you can run the time forward via the 'ephemeris' tab. It's not the most intuitive software I've ever used, but worth a look.

The easy target of the Moon gave them the chance to get the hang of twiddling the slo mo cables for themselves too, as well as mastery of the focus adjustments they needed to make for their eyesight. The seeing wasn't terribly good that night,  but they spent quite a while with Jupiter & Saturn, Galilean Moons all conveniently lined up, and they saw the rings and colour  banding , but no more detail and to be honest if I'd been observing on my own I'd not have bothered once I'd seen how fizzy the view was.

Clouds were coming over by then, plus my friends showed signs of having had enough,  and were getting a bit cold, so rather than faff around seeing if any faint fuzzies were able to be seen I showed them Mizar/Alcor in the Plough handle.

Heather

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1 minute ago, Orange Smartie said:

Thanks Heather, checking out the Moon Atlas now.  I agree, Moon/Jupiter/Saturn are probably the "wow" targets, but hopefully they'll be sufficiently interested in the idea of stepping outside our solar system to want to see some nebulae and faint fuzzies. 

I'd have liked to show them for e.g. the Ring Nebula, but conditions just didn't allow ...  They were suitably impressed with what they did see though, and I was interested to find that rather than the 'quick look, seen it, what next' I'd sort of expected, they wanted to spend long minutes at the eyepiece taking the view in . Actually I should have set up a second (or possibly third)  'scope for  myself 🙂 . Maybe you could ask them to bring along any binoculars they might have, and have copies of the binocular sky newsletter printed out and a red torch for them to read it by.  The nice thing is that my friends have been back and done a little white light solar , and want more ... I'm thinking dark winter night/hot chocolate and or gluhwein/Orion might be good !

There's so much to see and grasp the idea of  , I think as long as you are well prepared with a set of possible targets and give some sort of structure (eg, start close to home , work out , so go Moon, Jupiter , Saturn, double stars of our galaxy, DSOs)  The best thing to do is be sensitive to their reactions and interest level, don't let one individual dominate and hog the eyepiece, stop if they show signs of being bored. Difficult when interest level is going to vary, but If it's a success with some, you can always invite them again .

Oh, and if one of them finds they need to adjust the focus very differently from the rest, have that individual at the end of the queue for each object so the other folk need a minimum of faffing , and you who can do it more quickly and easily will be the one to refocus.  Get them to look down ...does hair fall in the eyes? Wear a hat or be forever pushing strands back ! Warn any likely eye make up wearers to leave it off please to protect your eyepieces too !

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Just now, Orange Smartie said:

Good advice! It might be worth having my Heritage 150p out at the same time, just in case one or more of them want to linger on a particular target. I like the idea of starting closer to home and moving out - sets some context for what we're looking at. 

I just realised , I'm reverting to primary school teacher type logic, crowd control, equipment constraint coping,  alternative activity provision, and lesson planning ! 🙂

At least your 'pupils' are volunteers and can go  home whenever they choose !

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38 minutes ago, Tiny Clanger said:

I just realised , I'm reverting to primary school teacher type logic, crowd control, equipment constraint coping,  alternative activity provision, and lesson planning ! 🙂

At least your 'pupils' are volunteers and can go  home whenever they choose !

Maybe I should lay on some colouring books or make mobiles with them afterwards....

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5 minutes ago, Orange Smartie said:

Maybe I should lay on some colouring books or make mobiles with them afterwards....

For the full modern UK education experience, forget colouring in or dried pasta collages, you'll need a properly written plan in detail with specific curriculum outcomes in mind, and will factor in spending  time after the main part of the 'lesson' to rigorously test and assess them on what they learned , record their progress, and devise a plan to bring any low scorers up to the expected level  ...

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13 minutes ago, Tiny Clanger said:

For the full modern UK education experience, forget colouring in or dried pasta collages, you'll need a properly written plan in detail with specific curriculum outcomes in mind, and will factor in spending  time after the main part of the 'lesson' to rigorously test and assess them on what they learned , record their progress, and devise a plan to bring any low scorers up to the expected level  ...

But you forgot the most important thing of all - the risk assessment!

Bad, bad Clanger - you'll be put into special measures for sure. 🤦‍♂️

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Ahem, back to targets...

The Coathanger is good fun, as it's so unexpected.

Depending on your scope, the double double might be a test for your guests' eyes.

If you're showing Jupiter and Saturn, you could also show them Uranus and Neptune - pointing out that neither was known about until relatively recently. You can then give them the challenge of seeing how soon they can 'bag' the remaining three planets. 

 

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6 minutes ago, Gfamily said:

Ahem, back to targets...

The Coathanger is good fun, as it's so unexpected.

Depending on your scope, the double double might be a test for your guests' eyes.

If you're showing Jupiter and Saturn, you could also show them Uranus and Neptune - pointing out that neither was known about until relatively recently. You can then give them the challenge of seeing how soon they can 'bag' the remaining three planets. 

Coathanger looks good...and will be in a good position for my garden.  I have a 10" dob (and a 6" too).  I'm guessing that Uranus and Neptune will be too small to see as disks?  I haven't seen either yet.

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6 hours ago, Dave scutt said:

Hi orange smartie I only have a uhc filter can you let me know how Saturn nebula, ring nebula, owl nebula looks for a 0III filter thinking about getting one .

Thanks dave

In my opinion, the O-III is excellent when used on the Owl Nebula of these. For the others I tend to prefer a UHC or no filter at all if the sky is reasonably dark.

Messier 27, The Dumbbell Nebula in Vulpecula is another where a UHC can produce very pleasing results. Plus, it's a big planetary nebula compared with the others !

The bright globular cluster Messier 15 in Pegasus is worth a look as well.

Coloured double stars such as Albireo and Gamma Andromeda can impress too !

Oh, and the triple star Iota Cassiopeia is well worth a visit.

 

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