A question from a newbie

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  • Member since
    July, 2013
A question from a newbie
Posted by SWA Pilot on Saturday, January 04, 2014 3:29 PM

  First, I thought it would only be polite to introduce myself.  My name is Craig Wilson and I have been into astronomy ever since my first field trip to a planetarium back in the 70s.  I spent 14 years, 2 months and 4 days on active duty(who's counting) as an active duty Air Force pilot.   I have been a pilot for Southwest Airlines for almost 11 years.  My wife of 23 years is a Chemistry Professor at a local university and we have a 9 year son and 6 year old daughter.

  This summer my son and decided to get into astronomy, so in an unsual fashion for me I decided to start off slow and do it correctly the first time.  First I bought and read Sky and Telescope's Pocket Sky Atlas, Gary Seronik's Binocular Highlights and Terence Dickinson's Nightwatch.  I also have subscriptions to both Astronomy and Sky and Telescope Magazines.  As for equipment I have Canon 10x30 Image stabilized and Steiner 10x50 binoculars.  A telescope will come when I get better at viewing with my binoculars.

  Okay, to the question.  I think I am doing something wrong and I need help from the experts.  I am really having problems seeing star clusters.  M103 and NGC 457 in Cassiopeia and NGC 1647 in Taurus are prime examples.  From the books I know where the are.  From the internet I know what they look like.  Still I cannot find them to save my life.  I figure the problem is threefold:

1:  Noise pollution- I live thirty mile north of Dallas and 20 mile north of DFW airport in a neighborhood with lots of lights.
2:  Age- My eyes are 48 not 18 years old.

3:  Experience- I have only been at this for about 5 months.

 

Do any of the experts out there have any pointers to help me?  Thanks in advance for the help.

 

 

Well boys, we got three engines out, we got more holes in us than a horse trader's mule, the radio is gone and we're leaking fuel and if we was flying any lower why we'd need sleigh bells on this thing...

 

Canon 10x30mm Image Stabilized, Celestron Cavalry 15x70mm, Oberwerk BT70, Oberwerk 25x100mm Deluxe, and Steiner 10x50mm binoculars

Celestron AstroMaster 114 EQ telescope

Moderator
  • Member since
    July, 2002
  • From: Texas
Posted by chipdatajeffB on Saturday, January 04, 2014 4:03 PM

Welcome!

You seem to be doing it right!

ET / NGC 457 is so small that with binos it will be difficult to make out at all.

My advice is to keep at it. Check out www.texasastro.org and www.3rf.org for free public events several times a month in the Dallas area!

 

The universe is not only stranger than we imagine, it's stranger than we CAN imagine. --- JBS Haldane

Come visit me at Comanche Springs Astronomy Campus (we're on Google Maps) in Texas.

www.3rf.org

Moderator
  • Member since
    July, 2001
  • From: PA, USA, Earth Moderator
Posted by DaveMitsky on Saturday, January 04, 2014 5:01 PM

Welcome to the Astronomy.com forums.  You may find some of the information on astronomy and amateur astronomy presented in my post entitled Advice for Beginning Amateur Astronomers under General Stargazing helpful.

http://cs.astronomy.com/asy/observing/f/1/t/49111.aspx (previous posts will no longer hot-link here since the last forum upgrade)

As Jeff mentioned, NGC 457 (the Owl or ET Cluster) will be rather small at 10x.  M103 is even smaller.  Nevertheless, both clusters are visible through 10x50 binoculars.  NGC 1647 is considerably larger.  

http://www.astroleague.org/al/obsclubs/binomess/binomesa.html

http://www.astroleague.org/al/obsclubs/dsbinoc/BINODSKY_LIST.pdf

Light pollution will make seeing any deep-sky object difficult or even impossible and open clusters are no exception but a number of them are bright enough to be seen under city skies.

Noteworthy binocular open clusters that are visible from nightfall into the early morning at this time of year include M34-M38, M41, M44-M48, M50, M52, M67, M93, Melotte 20, Melotte 111, NGC 752, NGC 869 and NGC 884 (the Double Cluster), NGC 1528, NGC 7789, and Stock 2.

http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/objects/deepsky/3304896.html?page=1&c=y

http://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/objects/deepsky/3304531.html

http://www.cloudynights.com/item.php?item_id=2062

There's more on binocular observing in my post at http://cs.astronomy.com/asy/observing/f/69/t/49119.aspx?page=1

Dave Mitsky

Sic itur ad astra!

Chance favors the prepared mind.

A man is a small thing, and the night is very large and full of wonders.

  • Member since
    July, 2013
Posted by SWA Pilot on Saturday, January 04, 2014 7:54 PM

Thanks for the links, they really are helpful.  I really appreciate the help.

Well boys, we got three engines out, we got more holes in us than a horse trader's mule, the radio is gone and we're leaking fuel and if we was flying any lower why we'd need sleigh bells on this thing...

 

Canon 10x30mm Image Stabilized, Celestron Cavalry 15x70mm, Oberwerk BT70, Oberwerk 25x100mm Deluxe, and Steiner 10x50mm binoculars

Celestron AstroMaster 114 EQ telescope

  • Member since
    November, 2011
  • From: SE MA, U.S.A.
Posted by mr Q on Friday, January 17, 2014 1:02 AM

Welcome to the forums !

Mead DS-10 (10" newt)

10x50 Focal Bino

10x70 Orion Bino

What goes around, comes around, eventually.Wink

  • Member since
    February, 2014
Posted by space_ace on Monday, February 24, 2014 4:50 PM

You probably just need more experience

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