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Thread: Improving observation of deep sky objects

  1. #31
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    Default Re: Improving observation of deep sky objects



    Actually Dave it should work with binoculars as well, but with a caveat. The supposed typical sweet spot is said to be when shifting your observing eye so the area just to the inside (towards the nose) is looking at the object. For the right eye dominant that would mean shifting your gaze slightly right, and for left eye dominant slightly left. However, the kicker to that is the typically worst place for averted vision is on the opposite side. Thus when using binoculars that would mean one eye hits the prime spot while the other hits the worst spot.

    There are two ways to get around that. One of course is to shut your non-dominant eye and go one eyed. But that takes away the advantages of two eyed observing. The other way is to utilize what is typically considered the second best place for averted vision - slightly below center. In that case, try moving both eyes very slightly upward so the object's light hits just below center.

    In my case, I have found that I get the best results when looking slightly above an object. In other words, using what is normally considered the second best averted vision spot. So that tells me in my case that I vary from the norm. At least that is what I've found works best for me during experimentation. So give looking upward a try and see if that helps you out.
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  3. #32
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    Default Re: Improving observation of deep sky objects

    Many thanks, Alan. As helpful and insightful as ever. I'll give that a go tonight on M31 again with a bit of luck and see if I can discern a bit more of M110.
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    Default Re: Improving observation of deep sky objects

    Quote Originally Posted by Davesellars View Post
    While perusing the inter-web I came across this (old) article from Sky and Telescope. Quite an interesting read and learnt a few things!

    Secrets of Deep-Sky Observing - Sky & Telescope
    Thanks Dave for the link,

    it is one of the best short reads on the observing techniques.

    Nothing much to add to the article and to the comments by Alan, just 2 or 3 short notes from my experience.

    1. When you can't see the DSO you believe to be spot on, move your eye away from the eyepiece. I have nailed down some DSOs during a fraction of second when 'giving up'.
    2. With the binoculars, swing around the position of the DSO you want to find. The swing left-to-right and up-and-down really helps. That's the advantage of the hand-held binoculars viewing.
    3. I make frequent breaks during the observing session to walk around in dark in the garden. This is a perfect training for the vision in dark, and also to find out the 'swinging pattern' of your eyes, which helps you to recognize small faint obstacles. Walking in the dark also speeds up the dark adaptation - I believe.

    Back to the binoculars.
    When I run a little marathon to fix as many DSOs as I can within some period of time, I don't sit on a chair.
    I am standing and swinging both the binoculars and myself. Certainly funny, but nobody is watching me, so I don't care.

    Happy hunting the DSOs,

    JG
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    Default Re: Improving observation of deep sky objects

    Some nice additions there JG. Many thanks! I'll certainly try those.
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    Default Re: Improving observation of deep sky objects

    Agree with what JG has added. I especially like how he tricks the object into revealing itself by appearing to give up! Indeed moving the binoculars is a good trick. That goes back to the fact that our eyes are more sensitive to faint moving objects than to stationary ones. Absolutely take breaks. For some reason, I've found some observers forget to breath regularly while at the eyepiece. It may be because they are so entralled and focused with what they are doing, they even forget to perform involuntary actions! To focus our brain power on seeing and interpreting what we are seeing, our brains must have adequate oxygen (and also important - rest). Depriving it of said need will cause our observations to suffer and tire us in the process. So yes, do walk away periodically both to stretch muscles and feed your brain so you can relax and enjoy more productive observing.

    Well said JG.
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