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    Default Urban/Suburban Bortle 8-7.5 skies - what to observe



    I have been away from astronomy for 15 years and in that time my skies have gone from bad to worse.

    The other night they were darker than usual so I looked at Vega and with averted vision I could just make out the two stars for Lyra, in the Northern Cross I can see Deneb and with averted vision a couple of the other stars.
    Luckily I love the moon and planets but the other problem I run into is all the trees in my yard, I do have a view to the S to SE of bout 50 degrees (towards a factory and 24 hour Walmart within 1/4 mile.

    What do people recommend for observing in a bad area? I was out the other day and was able to see the Ring Nebula, barely, but could identify it. M22 was a very faint smudge.

    Would deep sky filters help? I saw that Orion makes an Ultra Sky filter supposed to be for urban skies.



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    Default Re: Urban/Suburban Bortle 8-7.5 skies - what to observe

    Unfortunately, there is very little we can do to fight background skyglow from light pollution but one trick you can use to enhance your dark adaptation is to throw an observing towel over your head to block out stray light.

    I do this regularly with my scope and it really helps. You can also place an eyepatch over your observing eye about a half hour before taking the scope outside, this saves time and gets the eye ready to see faint images.
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    Default Re: Urban/Suburban Bortle 8-7.5 skies - what to observe

    I think you have a bad case of trees.

    I'm in bortle 7 land. Can pick out the ring nebula, dumb bell, some smudgy galaxies. I'm thing some astrophotgraphy with filters for nebula. I think i can get a good image of the whirlpool galaxy.

    I find straight overhead to be the better view normally but i do have somewhat dark sky to the west, very little light from the ocean.

    I've enjoyed a lot of the star clusters, planets and moon obviously. The messier M30 challenge is a good place to start.

    You can thank me for the moon rising later and waning as I bought a dual polarized filter.

    I saw that thread on the carbon start challenge or maybe the double list. That sounds like fun.
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    Default Re: Urban/Suburban Bortle 8-7.5 skies - what to observe

    I think the important thing is to forget about what you can't see or spending money trying to see what you can't see. Aside from the brighter Messier objects there is not much going to happen for you under the skies you described. The good news is there are countless things to do. Obviously the planets are going to be available, there are countless double stars within reach of your scope, and even the opportunity to do some science with the observing of the various types of variable stars within reach of your scopes
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    Ben Cartwright SASS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Urban/Suburban Bortle 8-7.5 skies - what to observe

    I Have started the Messier list from my house it will be interesting how many I can knock off.

    Since my back corner of the yard has the SE-S I can see many things, but the horizon starts at 30 degrees and ends straight up, more or less at Vega, I have a window to work in. I can see some the West but there the horizon is about 40-45 degrees due to trees but I can see overhead but that is from my front yard under a street light.
    I just picked up a book, "The Urban Astronomer's Guide" and even though I technically live in a suburb, my local conditions with the Norwood Automile, 15 car dealerships from 1-3 miles along RT 1 and the mall 300 FEET away to the N-NE (can't see Ursa minor at all normally in that direction). I have city skies.
    I do belong to the RI astro club but have found they only allow people to observe there on Saturday nights from 9-11 pm only. I belong to a gun club with a great view N-SE with a 10 degree horizon, I will have to talk to them about the security light, although I can hide behind the Skeet high house from the light, but to see to the south I have to go to the far end of the field and look over the light.
    But there the skies are probably a 6! Friday night I went to check it out and could see Lyra and a hint or more of the Milky Way straight overhead!
    The problem is getting there with all my gear, so weeknights are sort of out, that is why I want to see what I can do from home.

    I think I will take observing from here as a challenge! See what I can do from here! If I can keep interested I could see building a roll off observatory so I could just leave my scope outside.
    Another challenge is the trees, makes my goto NexStar 5 hard to align as I don't always have 2 stars in view.
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