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Astro Imp

Planning?

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Hi,

Just curious, how much planning do you guys do before you start observing?

Cheers.

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That's a very good question. I am a relative beginner and live in a light poluted area so I just try to grab what I can, sometimes I try to make a plan but really I am lucky if I manage one or two messiers. I guess it really depends on experience/light polution/equipment - I don't have goto so I can spend a night just trying to locate something that might be a sinch to someone more experienced.

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I just pick up the binoculars and head out the back door :(

I expect when I get a telescope I'll need to do more planning.

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I usually check Heavens Above once a week...

Apart from that: quite poor.....I go out and look up, if it's cloudy I go in the garage and tinker with the bike, if it's not I go in the garden and tinker with the scope.

But I'm going to be more systematic in future and try to make a target list in advance.

Mike

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I check the weather - if it's clear I take the scope out. That's about my current level of planning lol :(

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Following on from my previous post, I work like this. I identify what I want to see, given the time of year and my location (a recent example for me would be the ring nebula last year), then I do a bit of planning. I look at star chats, familiarise myself with the area of sky and contellation in question (In this case Lyra, quite an easy one), and orientate this with the rest of the sky. Then I already have a feel of what I'm looking for before I get behind the eyepiece.

I think it depends what you mean by 'planning' - planning in detail, finding a particular target or planning to do many targets - given you have the skill and the time :(

Edited by ColB

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LOL : Check the weather, then stellarium and see what is on my list that is over the houses at what time.

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I have to admit, my planning is quite involved. Mainly because I am new to Astrophotography, so there is alot to remember. Also I am always learning the sky (not such a great memory) plus I don't have goto so it's all manual for me. And lastly because it gives me somthing to do when I am "working" lol

Here is a little example of a plan I made for November (it makes sense to me lol)

NGC7000 North American Nebula- telrad on 62eta 230* Rotation on camera

(next magnitude 3.7 one telrad left from Deneb)

Lyre, Best rise- 20:00

----

M57, NGC6720 Ring Nebula- Telrad between bottom 2 with second set rings.

Ursa Major best rise 21:00

----------

M109, Spiral Galaxy- Telrad on Phecda

(first down from handle)

and so on. Just means it is clear in my head where to point the scope/camera, less time faffing about. :(

Michael

Edited by msinclairinork

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I don't do any planning at all. What I observe etc depends on seeing conditions which I can't judge until I look through the eyepiece.

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I'm with ColB on this one. I find it much easier if I know what I want to look at and where I should be looking for it, preferably with some idea of how to star-hop there from something else I can find. If I'm really organized then I might even have a backup plan in case things don't work out the first time.

James

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Thanks for asking the question, Astro Imp.

Coincidentally, I was thinking about this last night.

I don't have a telescope but have contacted someone about 150 miles away who has for sale the gear I had decided best for me - an 8" dobson. (Now, if it will stop snowing sleeting and freezing rain in Texas so I can make the trip to inspect and maybe buy it . . . Heaven only knows what will happen weather-wise if I ever get a scope. We will probably have months of rain and cloudy skies.)

I was thinking that I know so little about astronomy and so little about setting up the telescope, that I would need to make myself a plan or an objectives list for each viewing session. I think the objective for the first few sessions will be learn to prepare the scope for viewing. I suspect that I will spend several sessions just getting the hang of leveling and using the telrad and ep's. For those purposes, what would you dob owners recommend as learning exercises for a complete beginner? What first object to find and use to learn how to use the scope?

In starting out, I've bought and read several books and I've downloaded Stellarium and other software. I even put Stellarium on my iPhone. I've been out with binos and the iPhone but haven't really mastered use of Stellarium yet. I can locate the ursas and using the major one locate Polaris and I can (usually) find the planets of the season and hour by eye. Using equipment and locating them is far more daunting.

I would also like to see observers state what their sightings objectives would be and why. I think that would make a very interesting thread. Perhaps responses should be predicated on equipment. For example, if you had no equipment what would your sightings objectives be (season dependent of course) for the greatest enjoyment; if you had binos . . . ; if you had a refractor . . . ; if you had a reflector . . . Would the type of mount determine your objectives? If so, why?

Great thread topic :(:hello2:

Edited by rabbithutch

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I do quite a lot of planning at the moment, because I am trying to image a lot of the open clusters in Pup and CMa, as far south as I can. This involves working out the time when they are best positioned from my location (bearing in mind houses blocking the horizon, positions of streetlights, and maximum height above the horizon) and planning my evening to start/end each object at the best time (allowing for things like sets of dark subs between objects, etc).

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Main thing is weather , if a window of oppotunity presents itself i,ll be out there !

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My plan is to see everything in one night "iz it coz I iz nu" :(

At the moment Im just pointing at what I know I can see so that I can learn how the scope, mount and Ep's work. But I do like the idea of a plan of targets and ticking them off, esp the lunar 100.

Dave

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So far I've not really done any planning (other than looking at the weather forecasts) - and the result of this has been I've seen the same objects twice and then couldn't decide what to look for next.

After this very poor showing, I've decided to have a proper read through Turn Left and draw up a general list of things to see in the current season - and then refine for the specific date via Starry Night or Stellarium or whatever. This does, of course, depend on the weather forecast being clear, and correct for once.

Cheers

Ted

Edited by EcoTed

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I sometimes try to jot down several targets for imaging. I've lost quite a bit of time before wondering what to try next, so with all the cloud around, I hate to lose the little time there is!

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That's a very good question. I am a relative beginner and live in a light poluted area so I just try to grab what I can, sometimes I try to make a plan but really I am lucky if I manage one or two messiers. I guess it really depends on experience/light polution/equipment - I don't have goto so I can spend a night just trying to locate something that might be a sinch to someone more experienced.

ditto :(

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I'm afraid I don't plan. I look at the weather put my scope out to cool then half an hour later bring the scope back because its clouded over.

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I check the weather - if it's clear I take the scope out. That's about my current level of planning lol :(

That's about the size of it for me also.

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Check weather, if good then out with binos and more recently my new scope.

Otherwise, grab binos for a gorgeous widefield view of whatever is in the sky.

Otherwise may simply peruse Stellarium.

No planning here! Not yet at least - I'm still learning.

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Half an hour - checking on Stellarium, making a list of targets, memorizing how to find hem in the sky.

I plan all the time though, so immediately before I go out I am just reviewing my plans.

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Hi,

Thanks guys, it seems we all have our methods.

Me I've only just started observing and haven't yet settled for a routine, but interesting to see what others do.

Cheers,

Clear skies.

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I'm afraid I don't plan. I look at the weather put my scope out to cool then half an hour later bring the scope back because its clouded over.

:(:D:D:D

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