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    Default What to observe at a dark site?



    If all goes well I'll have my 12" SCT at a dark site this weekend. Since a dark site is rare for me, I want to take advantage of it and not just observe stuff I could have observed at a semi-dark site. So what should I observe?

    My thoughts so far:
    Quasars. Since these are so faint, this would be a good time to grab some.
    Bononia, a Hilda asteroid currently at opposition, is pretty faint.
    North America Nebula. Nebulae are tough to see, especially to see the subtleties of them, and this one is on my Herschel list anyway.
    There are gads of asteroids visible at opposition around now, so I may try to see a bunch of them in a small area, including fainter ones.

    More specific questions:
    Are there other nebulae you would recommend, the views of which would be much improved (or made possible) by a dark site?
    Galaxy structure: Galaxies have always been faint patches for me, in part because I viewed the Messiers with a 4.5" scope and now that I have a 12" scope I've been viewing dimmer galaxies. The only time I've seen real structure in a galaxy was viewing M 82. So what are some galaxies that would be good to view to see structure (arms, dust lanes, knots, ...)??

    I hope to use your feedback to guide my selection for this weekend, but any ideas I get I'll keep on a list for future dark site visits as well. And hopefully others will also benefit from the ideas!

    Many thanks!
    Mark
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    Default Re: What to observe at a dark site?

    I'd look at some stuff you already can see just so you can compare the difference. Pick out some things you can see that are viewable but difficult to resolve.
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    Default Re: What to observe at a dark site?

    Hi Mark,

    I use (as do a lot of other forum members) Deep Sky Objects Browser. You have control over many parameters so you can select the very faint fuzzies if you so choose. Go here: Deep Sky Objects Browser

    Cheers and clear skies,
    JT
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    Default Re: What to observe at a dark site?

    Man, I've got my lists, and I know what I'm having trouble with pulling out of the dark from my backyard, so I'd make those objects priority. My main interest is galaxies and globular clusters, so I'd give the Herschel II and III lists a once over, and work as many of those as I could.

    Also good (for me) is to revisit old favorites and marvel at how much better they look at a dark site.

    And bring extra socks. You'll continuously need to replace them as the ones you are wearing get blown off. Sometimes they hang up in the tree limbs.
    Bryan

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    Default Re: What to observe at a dark site?

    The Triangulum Galaxy (M33) can be a tough one to see and is a good target for dark skies. In fact, I saw it for the first time last weekend at a dark sky site after searching for two years in more light polluted skies.
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    Default Re: What to observe at a dark site?

    Hello Mark,

    visiting a dark observing site,I'd definitely go for the Crescent Nebula in Cygnus, and itis good to have an OIII filter with you.
    You definitely should not mis the spiral arms in the Andomeda Galaxy M31, and the star cloud NGC 206, Google-Ergebnis für http://www.narrowbandimaging.com/images/ngc206_map.jpg

    The next target would be the Triangulum Galaxy M33 with the star birth clouds inside, M33 HII Regions and Star Clouds And don't forget to search for the spiral arms curling into a 'Frog' IC 139, IC 140, IC 137, A14 inside M33. An UHC filter helps on this galaxy!

    The North America Nebula is the classics. The 12" scope may even reveal the "Panama Channel".
    Another bright nebula worth of looking is the Pacman NGC 281 in Cassiopeia.

    Enjoy the dark clear skies,

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    Default Re: What to observe at a dark site?

    M33 with NGC 604 should be easy to see
    NGC 6946 Fireworks galaxy
    NGC 6905 planetary nebula
    NGC 6717 the easiest Palomar globular
    Barnards galaxy
    Try dwarf galaxies!
    Look in your atlas for galaxies with cool names like "silver sliver"

    My personal list for my very first dark sky weekend that's coming up:
    Page 1: H400
    CON NGC
    Sgr 6540
    Sgr 6569
    Sgr 6583
    Ser 6118
    CVn 5273
    Uma 3953
    Boo 5557
    Uma 5322
    Dra 5982
    Per 1023
    And 891
    Per 1342
    Cam 1961
    Aqr 7723
    Cyg 7044
    Cas 136
    Cet 157
    Cet 247
    Scl 288
    Scl 613
    Aur 1931
    Aur 2281
    Psc 524
    Cet 615
    Cet 720
    Cet 779
    Cet 908
    Cet 1022
    Cet 1052
    Cet 1055
    Eri 1084
    Eri 1407
    Ori 2024
    Ori 2185

    Page 2: some objects that I failed several times, then a whole bunch of planetary nebulas and the brightest Palomars.
    Sgr Pal 8
    Oph 6366
    Oph 6539
    Oph IC 1276
    Aql 6803
    Aql 6741
    Aql M1-66
    Aql Pal 11
    Aql Vy 2-2
    Aur Pal 2
    Sagitta 6886
    Her Ab 39
    Lac Ab 79
    Cep IC 1454
    Cep 7076
    Cep 7354
    Cep 7139
    Cep M2-51
    Cep M2-52
    Cas 147
    Cas 7640
    Cas Ab 2
    Cas Ab 82
    And 891
    Cyg 7044
    Cyg 7048
    Cyg 7026
    Cyg Egg Neb
    Cyg 6742
    Cyg Ab 61
    Cyg 6884
    Cyg Ab 78
    Cyg 6894
    Cyg 6842
    Cyg 6765
    Gem Ab 21
    Tau 1514
    Cap Pal 12
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    Default Re: What to observe at a dark site?

    Any of the faint fuzzies you know at home will pop out. Things like M13 are blaa in the city and stunning under dark skys.
    Bruce
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    Default Re: What to observe at a dark site?

    This weekend, I would be looking for the Helix nebula, this is the best time of the year to see it from our latitude. Check the timing on Stellarium for when it is at it's highest.

    Uranus' moons would be a good target. It might be worth trying to spot Neptune's main moon Triton as well.

    For a real challenge, try NGC253, the great Sculptor galaxy, another difficult target from up here. Again, check Stellarium for the best time.

    Where are you heading to? Kelling?
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    Default Re: What to observe at a dark site?

    Wow, dark site and big scope is a dream to me
    Not much experience but if I were you, I would definitely try to see the pillars of creation in Eagle Nebula

    Good luck!!!
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