Deep Sky Forum and Faint Fuzzies create 46-object observing guide

Posted by Sarah Scoles
on Monday, March 18, 2013

One year ago, NASA’s Ebb and Flow craft sent back images of the farside of the Moon, Lady Gaga started her own social networking site, and the Deep Sky Forum was in its infancy. 

Mayall’s object (Arp 148) is the Object of the Week for the week of March 10. It shows the aftermath of a collision between two galaxies. // STScI

Now, 12 months later, is a dynamo of observing information. With almost 300 members who have collectively made more than 1,500 posts, the site brings together some of the best and most experienced people in amateur astronomy. Users post and respond to others’ posts about everything from obscure-object bragging rights to colors in planetary nebulae.

One permanent area in the forum is called “Object of the Week,” or OOTW. Here, each week has an associated thread, and each thread has an associated object — one that is visible during that week.

Users then discuss and observe the OOTW, turning that particular forum area into a virtual encyclopedia of cool stuff to stare at.

Now Alvin Huey, creator of the site, has made it into an actual encyclopedia. He took the “Objects of the Week” from February (the site’s inception) to December 2012 and compiled them into a single document — an observing guide.

Each entry has a wide-field finder view, a Telrad view, and a Digital Sky Survey (DSS) image. To retain the Internet 2.0-ness of the Deep Sky Forum, Huey also included conversations from the Internet forum, since they often included additional information, observing tips, and equipment details.

Celebrate the Deep Sky Forum’s first anniversary by downloading this guide for free by going to the Faint Fuzzies Downloadable Observing Guides page. The link is approximately halfway down.

You can keep Object of the Week 2012 as a handy PDF on your computer or e-reader, or you can print it out old-school and take it with you into the field.

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