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Thread: Learning to look around the field

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    stoest219's Avatar
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    Default Learning to look around the field



    As I work on learning the subtle art of observing I find that I sometimes become so fixated on an object that I forget to look around the field but got a good example of the value of taking the time to look around recently. I've been revisiting the Messiers noting what I can see each time and trying to learn to see more each time I visit them. While looking at M35 I noticed a smudge not too far from the cluster but something that was definitely not a part of the cluster. I looked at SkySafari and sure enough there was another cluster NGC 2158 not far from M35. Cranking up the power a bit NGC 2158 proved to be a real gem, tiny and not completely resolved, almost like a loose globular. It's one of the more interesting open cluster's I've seen despite its small size and faintness. A real treat and totally unexpected, I wonder now how many things I've missed because I didn't take time to look around and take the whole field in. I'd looked at M35 two times earlier and missed this wonder every time till now.
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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Learning to look around the field

    Nice catch with 2158! You can put that one down as a Herschel 400 target. There are several fun open clusters there in Gemini and in Taurus, and you can keep following the OC trail into Orion, Monoceros, Canis Major...

    I try to scan my field as much as possible. I often stumble into clusters of galaxies in this fashion, especially in Andromeda, Pisces, Aquarius, Cetus, Virgo, Coma Berenices, Leo, Ursa Major...heck, next thing you know, you've got a whole bushel basket of objects logged and described on your list.

    Any time you are observing along the plane of the Milky Way, there is so much to see and open clusters like yours seem to be everwhere.

    Good stuff!
    Bryan

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    Default Re: Learning to look around the field

    Very good Stoest!

    That's what I am calling 'The Turn Left at Orion Objects'
    Some easy of the season: NGC 5198 south of M51
    NGC 4618 to the west of M94
    NGC 6207 north of M13
    NGC 3593 west of M65

    Happy hunting,

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    Default Re: Learning to look around the field

    Good advice and sounds like a great session.

    If you want to increase your observation skills, give sketching a try. You don't have to be artistic (otherwise it would rule me out), you just try your best to reproduce the pattern you see through the ep.
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    Default Re: Learning to look around the field

    Nice report and observation.

    You get to messing around in Virgo, you'll have to sometimes count the number of galaxies in the field... not a bad thing, that.

    Clear, Dark Skies
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    Default Re: Learning to look around the field

    Thanks for the tip! I need to go look for that smudge.
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    Default Re: Learning to look around the field

    whenever anyone says smudge I immediately think of thumbprints on objectives !!!!
    Geoff's the name - head's in the clouds
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    Default Re: Learning to look around the field

    Another one to try for is NGC 404 - Mirach's ghost. Locate the bright orange star Mirach in Andromeda and see if you can catch a little spot of fuzz right next to it. This is the elliptical galaxy NGC 404. Should be visible right now as it is high up near the zenith. Should be visible in your Celestron Evolution.
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    Default Re: Learning to look around the field

    That's why I like star-hopping. I'm often stumbling into stuff!
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    Default Re: Learning to look around the field

    I've been recently practicing this technique as well. Amazing how focused your eye can get fixed on one object, and amazing what you start seeing when you relax your focus to the sides of the FOV.

    Congrats
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