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Thread: Suggestions

  1. #1
    brysont15's Avatar
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    Default Suggestions



    My Skyline 8" finally got her a couple days ago and so far I've gotten to look at the moon in great detail, Jupiter and Saturn decently. The 9mm doesn't magnify as much as thought it would so i'll hopefully be getting a 2x barlow lens soon as well as the 6mm Expanse eyepiece by Orion. I couldn't see basically any detail on Saturn but I could see some of the color, bands/zones on Jupiter. If you have any suggestions for the best things to view please comment them. I mainly like to look at Nebula, Galaxies, Planets, some star clusters. I'm intrigued by M104 but it's almost 30 million light years away so I guess that's out of the question. The closer the better so I can see in more detail but I'd like to look at some deep sky objects, so the nearest Galaxies and Nebula would be very appreciated. Thank you!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Suggestions

    Hi Bryson! Do not discount M104! Your 8" should be quite capable as long as your light pollution isn't horrible, though I'm sure Richmond puts up it's fair share of it.

    At any rate, for some of the best and brightest, look to the Messier Catalog as your paradigm of hope. There are some fantastic objects on the list, and when the Moon isn't a factor and the transparency is good, the observing is fine.

    M57, the Ring Nebula, should provide a nice treat for you. The Messier galaxies in Virgo are getting a bit too far westward nowadays, but may still be observed if one can get an early crack at them in the evenings. If you can stay out late, M31 and accompanying M32 and M110 are excellent targets as well. Of course, as the year wears on, M31 will become available earlier in the evenings and should accompany our nightly pursuits through the fall and into early winter. It will then hand off the night time glory to M42 in Orion as winter progresses, and then come again the galaxies galore as next spring warms the air and the trees begin to green again.

    Also, look southward into Scorpius and Sagittarius this time of year. The Messier objects in these two constellations are excellent and should provide nice views in your 8". Lots of various nebulae, globular clusters, and open clusters to observe on the Messier list there.

    Hope that helps some.
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    Default Re: Suggestions

    Cracking good advice from Bryan. Read some of his viewing reports, unknown to him i use his reports to plan my viewing!!! Enjoy your scope and what it can show you. Clear skies.
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    Default Re: Suggestions

    Your Skyliner is a fine scope Bryson, and congratulations on making a good choice. I will ask if you went through the directions included with it for collimation (alignment) of the mirrors? Having the mirror properly aligned with certainly help with planetary views.

    Regarding Saturn, you didn't mention it, which surprised me, but I presume you did see the rings clearly? The banding on Saturn is more subtle than on Jupiter visually and thus the do not stand out as easily. With Jupiter you also have the main four Galilean moons - Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto. They are visible and do their nightly dance in orbit around Jupiter, changing sides, sometimes passing behind or in front of Jupiter. With Saturn you have its brightest moon Titan, along with some others that may be visible to you - Dione, Enceladus, Tethys, Rhea, Iapetus, Hyperion and Mimas are the main ones.

    As for the Deep Sky Objects (DSOs), such as open clusters, globular clusters, galaxies, and various types of nebulae (planetary, emission, reflection, dark), these can be impacted variously by the light pollution you have around Richmond, which I know is significant. The light coming from these objects must overcome the brightness of the sky to be seen. But Bryan is correct, do look to the Messier Catalogue as your starting point to observing these varied objects. Learning to find and see objects in the sky is not an intuitive skill, but rather one gained by practice. The more time one spends behind the eyepiece, the more one learns about the sky and moving around in it.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Messier_objects

    I don't know how familiar you are with the sky, but even spending time outside with only your eyes and a simple chart or planisphere will help you to learn your way around. These charts are the equivalent to a terrestrial road atlas that one might use to get from point A to point B in search of a town. Not knowing what you have, I will give you some links to various books and resources that hopefully will aid you in the learning process. Most importantly, don't be afraid to ask questions here if something isn't clear to you.

    The first link is for the free planetarium program Stellarium. With it you can set your location and it will give you a real time presentation of the sky from where you are. There are even controls in there to set the level of light pollution you have to more clearly match your local conditions. You can change the date/time to watch as the sky progresses through an evening, across days, months and even years. There is a lot of flexibility there that should really help you to understand more about the night sky.

    Other links will be to books, charts, atlases or even free printable atlases that you may find interesting and of use. I realize this may be a bit of overload, but obviously one doesn't have to use all those things I linked, but more to see that there is a lot of stuff out there at our disposal to make the hobby more enjoyable and help in the beginners learning curve. I hope this helps you out in some way and look forward to hearing how you get along as you begin learning the sky and chasing its wonders. Have fun!

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    Default Re: Suggestions

    I'll only add small notes as some sage advice has already been given

    * Be patient - looking into a scope is VERY different from our normal visual experience. Saturn, details are of low contrast. You need to give your eye time to make out the soft cloud features and on the rings. The Cassini division too as seeing conditions can make things very testing. Experienced observers don't rush things - that's the nub of this hobby!

    * I've spotted M104, M83 & Cenataurus A in a wee 30mm finder. Again, slow down. Many times while chasing a faint fuzzy I've stormed over it, not trusting my averted vision enough to totally IGNORE my central vision. Big mistake we all make, even with experience...

    * colour filters can help, a lot! But they are not a panacea. Using filters presents its own set of challenges. Some features can become more obvious. Others appear opposite to how you would expect. Some will suck your eyeballs out of your head they are soooo challenging, like clouds on Mars. And AGAIN, patience and experience are your best friends.

    An 8" scope is sensational! I have three! Two dobs (one I can put the OTA on an eq mount) and an SCT. The SCT is my main lunar and planetary scope

    Alex.
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