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Thread: Astronomy!

  1. #1
    Anthropos mhc's Avatar
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    Astronomy!

    I have had a life long interest in astronomy, and nearly 20 years from that moment in my childhood when it first sparked my interest, i have finally seen jupiter and its moons as well as saturn and its rings with my own eyes! does anyone else have an interest in astronomy?

    i purchased a celestron nexstar 6 (http://www.celestron.com/astronomy/c...xstar-6se.html) about 6 months ago, and in true intp style, i have just finally got around to starting to use it! definitely wishing i had purchased a larger diameter scope now!

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    Persona Oblongata OrionzRevenge's Avatar
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    Yeppers, I know the thrill.

    If you haven't already, search out the banding near Jupiter's equator.



    and the star factory in Orion's sword.




    Venus just made it's closest approach to Earth and sank into the morning twilight over winter.
    Later on, pick it up in the evening twilight and watch this phase/size pattern reverse over the summer.



  3. #3
    Anthropos mhc's Avatar
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    thanks! i could see some bands around jupiter but could not clearly see the band in the centre. tomorrow night, whether permitting i will point my telescope towards orion's sword. another thing that i find fascinating is to see the movement of universe in realtime as objects move (quite quickly at times) through the eye piece.

    when i was about eight years old i tried to build an observatory in the back yard, something which i will be attempting again!

    did you take those pics yourself? the pic of jupiter looks very similar to what i saw tonight

  4. #4
    Senior Member Starjots's Avatar
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    I got the astronomy bug around 1998 after attending a Dark Night hosted by the local astronomy club and looking through a 30" dobsonian mounted on the back of a VW bus. The thing reminded me of pictures of self propelled artillery from World War 2. Anyway, I had to wait for a few minutes in line just to climb up the ladder and look through the eyepiece at the Ring Nebula. The central star was obvious and blue and the nebula looked like a color photograph. It was awesome.

    I started with an 8" dob which doesn't track or find like your scope, is buikier but does show deep sky objects a little better. Light pollution isn't bad where i live, you can see lots of stars and hints of the Milky Way away from street lights. My favorite objects to look at are the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn, open star clusters and globular clusters and brighter galaxies, mostly from the Messier catalog - in other words, the greatest hits of amateur astronomy. Even after seven years of observing I didn't chase the faintest of fuzzies - the greatest hits are faint enough.

    Is your observing site dark enough? Most objects (except planets) are faint and background light pollution makes them harder to see (sort of a signal to noise thing). Finding places to observe that are significantly darker effectively makes your telescope act like its bigger, if you see what I mean (except on planets).

    Here's something else you might try - run a Messier Marathon. Know the date for the marathon was March 29th, but you can do it anyway during the next new moon (oh yea, don't deep sky observe with the moon in the sky). There's this thing called the Messier catalog which was compiled by a comet hunter who wanted to know what objects weren't comets and therefore to be avoided. Turns out they are most of the best observation targets in northern hemisphere. Once a year if you stay up all night you can see all or almost all of them in one night. You go to a decent dark site, dress very warmly and bring something hot to drink, you get cold standing around all night, maybe a chair, and start running down the list. With a Nexstar 6 finding the objects should be simple if you are aligned right, just punching the buttons. There is a certain order to it, which objects are visible at any given time - you can pull that off the web - people have written nice observing books about it too.

    You'll learn a lot about what is up there, a 6" is big enough. Don't worry about not finding everything, hell its the journey that counts.

    I did this from my backyard with a 4 1/2" scope with no tracking or finding, running around the yard to avoid the trees, laying down in the wet grass (that is one small scope) and found.. I forget maybe 2/3rds of the objects before I called it a night and it was great. You get a real sense of the sky and constellations and time.

    One year there was a space mission to slam a rocket into an asteroid or comet and another guy and I decided to try to see this. I had a 15" scope which can pull in the light pretty good but again, no finding or tracking and all I had was a crappy star chart pulled from the net. We spent maybe two hours in a parking lot in the middle of the woods staring at one little patch of sky, looking at a field of very faint stars wondering if that was the right spot, he had an 8" but it was goto (like your scope) but then again, the fields of view were rotated and flipped because they were different kinds of scopes. Never saw a damn thing, but it was the sort of weird ass thing that is fun to do sometimes (I read nobody else in the world saw it either).

    I haven't observed much since 2005 although I got a hankering a few months ago and bought a 6" reflector optical tube assembly and built a truly epically crappy dob mount for it. I will drag it out, same size as your scope and see what I can see...

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    Persona Oblongata OrionzRevenge's Avatar
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    Nah, If I could find it, I'd show you the image I did snap of the Transit of Venus back 6/12.

    Mostly I've just had the ol eyeball up to the lens.

    Jupiter's bands vary, but most often (in my past) you're 'spose to be able to make out TWO bands near the equator nor & south.

    If you have several eyepieces, use your low power for stuff like the Great Orion Nebula. (The one with the greatest "## mm" number) -- This number divided into the F.L. ###(#) mm number gives the power for each eyepiece.

    Not only do you magnify the nagging spin of the Earth with power, you also splay-out the set number of photons across your retina. The effect is like zooming in on a picture while at the same time setting it darker and darker.

    Lowest possible power and widest field of view that gets it seen is the rule.

    When you do set eyes on something as misty as a nebula, take a turn not looking at it directly but rather noticing it of to the side of central vision. (The Fovea is mostly packed with color sensors while the periphery realize mostly on B&W sensors to detect movement at night.

    Hang with each observation (other than Moon -- pointless) for a good 20 mins to Dark Adapt your eyes. Then re-observe faint objects.

    Stars and such mostly deliver blue toned photons. So use dim red light to illuminate anything you have to.



    Also, look at the butt of your eyepieces and make sure all the rings or diaphragms are metal and not plastic.

    If all metal, then go for Sunspot Baby! (A song from ages ago)



    Sadly, a member known for his British wit has drifted away. He could have given you tons of pointers about telephotography.

    Hermy is into star stuff too I think.


    Have fun.
    Last edited by OrionzRevenge; 04-08-2014 at 05:34 PM.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by OrionzRevenge View Post
    When you do set eyes on something as misty as a nebula, take a turn not looking at it directly but rather noticing it of to the side of central vision. (The Fovea is mostly packed with color sensors while the periphery realize mostly on B&W sensors to detect movement at night.
    I noticed this with Andromeda, a galaxy visible by the naked eye (though I'm sure you already know that) if you happen to be far enough from light pollution. It pretty much looks like a fuzzy patch, but it's still cool. If you think about what a galaxy is, and how it's a collection of stars, it's amazing to consider the multitude within. I wonder about the space between galaxies. Is it really totally empty, or are there things in between?

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    Persona Oblongata OrionzRevenge's Avatar
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    ^^^Before the advent of NightVision goggles and cameras, Soldiers on sentry were taught these indirect view techniques.

    And Yes many a time as a child in more rural surrounds, I would look at the star in Andromeda's bent knee to resolve that the the fuzzy patch beside it had an overall oval shape.

  8. #8
    was here.. LordLatch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OrionzRevenge View Post
    Soldiers on sentry were taught these indirect view techniques.
    I will vouch for this though we had NVG's and were still taught it.
    This just in: I'm accepting all friend requests too unless you're a fricken jerk and I can't stand your existence and inane drivel. If that's the case, then I'll accept your friend request so I can keep an eye on your ass unless you don't hold any interest for me; then only the threat of keeping my eye on you stands. feces

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    Persona Oblongata OrionzRevenge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by latch View Post
    I will vouch for this though we had NVG's and were still taught it.
    I'm not surprised that they still would teach it. NVGs could fail or whatnot.

    While we're on the subject, FYI for any novice that might come across this thread.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    http://www.stellarium.org/


    Stellarium is a free open source planetarium for your computer. It shows a realistic sky in 3D, just like what you see with the naked eye, binoculars or a telescope.

    It is being used in planetarium projectors. Just set your coordinates and go.

    http://barry.sarcasmogerdes.com/stel..._guide-new.pdf


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stellar...ter_program%29

    It packs a lot of features into only a bit over 100 MB


  10. #10
    was here.. LordLatch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OrionzRevenge View Post
    I'm not surprised that they still would teach it. NVGs could fail or whatnot.

    While we're on the subject, FYI for any novice that might come across this thread.
    Usually only a couple pair were issued during field problems per squad so almost no one had them. I also did a lot of blackout driving with nude eyes.

    When I see something bright in the sky I want to identify I go here: http://neave.com/planetarium/

    Intuitive and nothing to install. Limited of course but I live in town of .5 million so light pollution limits anything but a cursory interest in gas and dirt balls in the cosmic clock.
    This just in: I'm accepting all friend requests too unless you're a fricken jerk and I can't stand your existence and inane drivel. If that's the case, then I'll accept your friend request so I can keep an eye on your ass unless you don't hold any interest for me; then only the threat of keeping my eye on you stands. feces

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