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What to look at. Was : Viewing in Broad Daylight & Filters

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  • Peter Vasey
    Hi, Sakinah, What to look at apart from the Moon? Phew, now that s a question I keep asking myself - there are so many beautiful objects that can be viewed
    Message 1 of 46 , Dec 1, 2003
      Hi, Sakinah,

      What to look at apart from the Moon? Phew, now that's a question I keep
      asking myself - there are so many beautiful objects that can be viewed
      with the LX90. And they're easily found with the GOTO system.

      Planets of course, with the highest magnification you can manage without
      overdoing it (there's a sweet spot for different nights depending on the
      conditions) - they are very small in the eyepiece. Mars in the early
      evening, tho' still bright is now too small unless you have excellent
      seeing conditions (low turbulence in the atmosphere). Saturn is well
      placed at the moment and always awe inspiring. Make the most of it this
      year- the rings are wide open and it's at it's closest approach of this
      cycle. In another month or two Jupiter will have pride of place - it's
      worth sketching the changing appearance and moon positions on different
      occasions.

      Unless you have decently dark skies at your home - a good test is if you
      can see the Milky Way - you'll be disappointed at the appearance of
      galaxies - just a faint grey smudge for the most part. Nevertheless
      when you think that the light you see even from the nearest ones started
      its journey millions of years ago, it's inspiring.

      Open Clusters are beautiful, and mostly well visible even with a full
      Moon in the sky. For the most part use fairly low magnification. The
      Auriga clusters are all gorgeous and well placed at the moment (Messier
      36, 37 and 38). Nearby M35 is another beauty. GOTO M45, the Pleiades,
      but don't expect to see much through the eyepiece - the finder scope is
      the one to use! Don't forget Globular Clusters, although most of them
      are now pretty low in the sky - best seen in the Summer months.

      All the Messier objects are worth a visit, tho' some of the galaxies are
      very faint. Not all the objects are visible at this time of year of course.

      There are some very pretty double stars - Albireo in Cygnus is the best
      known, but now setting early. Have a look at Almaak (Autostar spelling)
      in Andromeda - a fairly close double with nicely contrasting colours.

      One of my favourite clusters is NGC 457 in Cassiopeia. Does it remind
      you of a 'Space Invader'? Here's a photo I took of it a couple of
      nights ago. http://www.btinternet.com/~petevasey/MX716/NGC457.jpg
      Don't expect to see the faint stars unless you have a very clear night
      and are fully dark adapted.

      And saving the best 'til last - the Great Orion Nebula - Messier 42. An
      absolute must!

      The Autostar has a Tour facility, and one of the options is the 'best of
      the night' (or words to that effect). Worth a try.

      If you haven't got a Planetarium program, download Skymap 10 trial
      version from http://www.skymap.com - it has loads of objects and isn't
      time limited.

      Keep a log of your observations! In a year or two you'll be amazed how
      many objects you've looked at.

      If your home has light polluted skies get a Sky Glow Filter (has
      different names - Light Pollution Reduction filter - LPR etc.) Varying
      opinions on their usefulness, but I've always found mine to improve the
      view of a light polluted sky, particularly for nebulous objects like M42
      and galaxies.

      I've barely scratched the surface here. There are thousands of
      interesting things to view and you've got loads of time - the sky's the
      limit!

      Incidentally, if you're not sure that you've correctly gone to an
      object, press the GOTO button again. The telescope will do a spiral
      search, and certainly for clusters it'll be obvious when they pass
      across the field of view. Pressing the Mode button will stop the
      search. You should also become familiar with the High Precision mode,
      particularly if you're chasing galaxies which are difficult to see. And
      that mode will quickly make you learn the names and positions of the
      brighter stars :-)

      Enjoy!

      Peter.
      http://www.petevasey.btinternet.co.uk
      or if that fails, try
      http://www.btinternet.com/~petevasey
      54º 56' 49" N, 1º 27' 39" W

      Sakinah wrote:
      > Peter-
      > Yep, I'm 13 and a proud owner of the Meade LX90 8-i. My parents
      > bought it for me (b-day present for the next 17 years I guess). I am
      > thinking of joining ocastronomers, so I can learn more about my scope
      > and astronomy in general.
      > Other than the moon, what would you suggest I practice using my scope
      > on?
      > ~Sakinah
    • Sakinah
      Scott~ Haha and if they ask me for a raise, I ll be like Hey, didn t you call me a freak back in 7th/8th grade? Ahh yes that was you. Sorry no raise. Not now,
      Message 46 of 46 , Dec 1, 2003
        Scott~ Haha and if they ask me for a raise, I'll be like "Hey, didn't
        you call me a freak back in 7th/8th grade? Ahh yes that was you.
        Sorry no raise. Not now, not ever *evil laugh*." Just kidding.
        ~Sakinah
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