Your Favorite Object to Observe

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  • Member since
    February, 2014
Your Favorite Object to Observe
Posted by Encumbrance on Sunday, February 23, 2014 4:36 PM

What is your favorite object to view and what instrument do you use to see it.

Whenever I go out, I look at the obvious things, like Jupiter, the Moon, or the Orion Nebula.

I don't know of many things in the sky, I'm looking for more things to explore. My beginner telescope is 4 inches. I know aperture doesn't mean everything but I'm just giving some info.

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Posted by DaveMitsky on Monday, February 24, 2014 2:12 AM

I suggest that you start with the brighter Messier objects.  (The Orion Nebula or M42 is one of the most prominent of the Messier objects.)

http://www.seds.org/messier/ (the Messier Catalog) 

Here are some deep-sky object lists that go beyond the Messier Catalog.  Many, if not all, of the DSOs listed can be seen by an experienced observer with a 4" aperture from a good dark site.

http://messier.seds.org/xtra/similar/sac110bn.html (the SAC's best objects in the NGC list)

http://messier.seds.org/xtra/similar/rasc-ngc.html (the RASC's finest NGC objects list) 

http://www.tyler.net/lphilpot/saa100.html (the sci.astro.amateur 100) 

http://www.taas.org/taas200.html?type=10 (the TAAS 200) 

The following are the monthly top ten DSO lists from my monthly Celestial Calendar:

Top ten deep-sky objects for January: M1, M36, M37, M38, M42, M43, M78, M79, NGC 1501, NGC 2024 

The objects listed above are located between 4:00 and 6:00 hours of right ascension. 

Top ten deep-sky objects for February: M35, M41, M46, M47, M50, M93, NGC 2261, NGC 2362, NGC 2392, NGC 2403 

The objects listed above are located between 6:00 and 8:00 hours of right ascension. 

Top ten deep-sky objects for March: M44, M48, M67, M81, M82, NGC 2654, NGC 2683, NGC 2835, NGC 2841, NGC 2903 

The objects listed above are located between 8:00 and 10:00 hours of right ascension. 

Top ten deep-sky objects for April: M65, M66, M95, M96, M97, M105, M108, NGC 3115, NGC 3242, NGC 3628 

The objects listed above are located between 10:00 and 12:00 hours of right ascension. 

Top ten deep-sky objects for May: M3, M51, M63, M64, M83, M87, M104, M106, NGC 4449, NGC 4565 

The objects listed above are located between 12:00 and 14:00 hours of right ascension. 

Top ten deep-sky objects for June: M5, M101, M102, NGC 5566, NGC 5585, NGC 5689, NGC 5746, NGC 5813, NGC 5838, NGC 5907 

The objects listed above are located between 14:00 and 16:00 hours of right ascension. 

Top ten deep-sky objects for July: M4, M6, M7, M10, M12, M13, M92, NGC 6210, NGC 6231, NGC 6543 

The objects listed above are located between 16:00 and 18:00 hours of right ascension. 

Top ten deep-sky objects for August: M8, M11, M16, M17, M20, M22, M24, M27, M55, M57 

The objects listed above are located between 18:00 and 20:00 hours of right ascension. 

Top ten deep-sky objects for September: IC 1396, M2, M15, M30, NGC 6888, NGC 6946, NGC 6960, NGC 6992, NGC 7000, NGC 7009 

The objects listed above are located between 20:00 and 22:00 hours of right ascension. 

Top ten deep-sky objects for October: K12, M52, NGC 7209, NGC 7293, NGC 7331, NGC 7332, NGC 7339, NGC 7640, NGC 7662, NGC 7789 

The objects listed above are located between 22:00 and 24:00 hours of right ascension. 

Top ten deep-sky objects for November: M31, M32, M33, M76, M103, M110, NGC 40, NGC 253, NGC 457, NGC 752 

The objects listed above are located between 0:00 and 2:00 hours of right ascension. 

Top ten deep-sky objects for December: M34, M45, M77, NGC 869, NGC 884, NGC 891, NGC 1023, NGC 1232, NGC 1332, NGC 1360 

The objects listed above are located between 2:00 and 4:00 hours of right ascension.

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
    March, 2008
Posted by Antitax on Monday, February 24, 2014 8:00 AM

Encumbrance

What is your favorite object to view and what instrument do you use to see it.

   I don't have a favorite cause I can't discriminate but one of the most striking is M5 for me. It's got to be the easiest globular to resolve, eventhough it's a bit smaller than M13 and M3.

   Any telescope that's not dwarfish, mine or the club's, shows it as a very peppery sphere. We watched it last Saturday night and agreed it's obviously resolved, with very apparent stars well detached from one another.

   If I wanted to introduce a newcomer to globular viewing through a small scope, or under lit skies, I would point M5 rather than M13, M4 or M3, so the newbie could resolve it at first sight and low power. Graininess is what makes a globular interesting, otherwise it would pass for a round nebula or galaxy.

   Its graininess never fails to show in my 5-inch Schmidt-Cass, even when in the city. 52x is sufficient to separate its brighter elements, 96x opens it up and frames it ideally in a 68°.

TS 8x40 Wildlife, 10x50 Marine/Fujinon 16x70/TS 80mm triplet, 6x30 finder, EQ-3 mount, TS 2" 99% diagonal/Celestron C5+ and 6x30 finder, DIY tripod/5" Bahtinov/12" GSO dob, 8x50 finder/Meade 2" 24mm 82°/Hyperion 24,13,10mm 68°/TS Expanse 17mm 70°/SW 7mm Panorama 82°/Ultima 2x barlow/Astronomik UHC-E filter/Baader O-III/Astro Solar 5" & 80mm filters/Sky Atlas 2000/Rükl's Moon Atlas/Canon 400D/5mW green laser

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  • From: Eastern SD.
Posted by johnjohnson on Monday, February 24, 2014 8:31 AM

One of my favorites is NGC 6543 (Cat's Eye Nebula). I usually observe it in my 20" Obsession Dob at 150 to 200X, at 320X it is trully magnificent with the right seeing conditions. It shows wonderful color and radial layers and the central star pops right out. It is always above the horizon in the constelation Draco. It can be seen from town with smaller instruments revealing color and the central star. Slightly difficult to find as in finder scopes it looks like a bloated dark blue star.

Good hunting.

JJ

20" F5 Obsession, OMI mirror .987 Strehl. 10" F4.7 reflector. 6" F5 ST reflector. 120mm F7.5 EON. 80mm F11.3 guide scope. SkyWatcher EQ-6 Hyper Tuned.   Flicker Astro Site   More Astro Images

  • Member since
    February, 2014
Posted by Encumbrance on Monday, February 24, 2014 9:15 AM

Thanks for the info, I'll definitely look into this. Also at what point do telescopes pick up color? I could imagine Astronomy gets even better at that stage.

 

e/ Also I have never gotten the finder scope to work. I always end up eyeballing the orientation of the telescope then go back and forth under low power to find the object.

I set it up once during the day and tried it out at night but it moves so easily. I don't want to bend or break anything by tightening the screws too much.

  • Member since
    July, 2003
  • From: Eastern SD.
Posted by johnjohnson on Monday, February 24, 2014 9:30 AM

Color is dependant on surface brightness of an object and your eyes sensitivity. Double star color is easy with instruments as small as 50 - 60mm in diameter because of the concentrated surface brightness. I like planetary nebula because the have a fairly high surface brightness and can be seen from town. Diffuse nebula will show more grayish in small instruments. This is because their surface brightness is spread over a greater area. Blue and green are easier to see for the human eye at night, thus most objects with color will be in that part of the color spectrum.

At 6" aperture color in diffuse nebula will be detected "fairly" easily from a dark site location and good dark adapted eyes. If you are looking for color in any instruments from a light polluted region it will be almost impossible except for bright stars or double stars and the brighter planetary nebula.

JJ

20" F5 Obsession, OMI mirror .987 Strehl. 10" F4.7 reflector. 6" F5 ST reflector. 120mm F7.5 EON. 80mm F11.3 guide scope. SkyWatcher EQ-6 Hyper Tuned.   Flicker Astro Site   More Astro Images

  • Member since
    February, 2014
Posted by Encumbrance on Monday, February 24, 2014 11:52 AM

Right. I've observed M42 and M45 with and without a telescope/binoculars. But I'm in New Jersey near the city so it's mostly grey and blue things I see (red from Mars as well).

You are saying that the color you see is more (or entirely) dependent on the light pollution than the lenses in the telescope?

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Posted by DaveMitsky on Monday, February 24, 2014 12:59 PM

Seeing color in nebulous objects is limited by the fact that human night vision (scotopic vision) is not sensitive to color and the fact that the surface brightnesses of very few nebulae are high enough to activate the cone cells that are responsible for photopic color vision.  Unfortunately, resolution is also diminished in the dark-adapted eye and that's why "faint fuzzies" look fuzzy.

http://www.visualexpert.com/Resources/nightvision.html

Color vision varies considerably with age (children have much better color vision) and among individuals.  Some observers, including me, can see subtle hues of various pastel colors (green, blue, pink, and/or red) in M42, under the right conditons.  Bright planetary nebulae such as NGC 3242, NGC 6543, NGC 6572, NGC 7009, and NGC 7662 can be seen as blue, aquamarine, or green (depending on the individual and the object) far more easily.  (The human eye is most sensitive to green wavelengths.) 

Aperture definitely plays a role.  The larger the telescope, the easier, in general, it is to see color in those objects that display it.

The most colorful DSO that I've ever seen was the Homunculus Nebula.  I was observing from the Bolivian Altiplano at an altitude of well over 12,000 feet and using a 22" Starmaster Dob.  The nebula that surrrounds Eta Carinae was a bright orange in color.

http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap080617.html

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
    February, 2014
Posted by Encumbrance on Monday, February 24, 2014 1:38 PM
This is going off topic a bit but you brought up an interesting point with vision. I read a little bit of the article you posted. I noticed that if you look directly at something in the dark, you cannot see it that well but if you look slightly off to the side, your peripherals see it perfectly, just you are not focusing on the point any longer. So after a full 45 minute adjustment to the dark, does this change? I'm not sure if I've ever reached this point since all the houses around me have their porch lights on and my fence is not high enough.
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    March, 2008
Posted by Antitax on Monday, February 24, 2014 5:20 PM

Encumbrance

if you look directly at something in the dark, you cannot see it that well but if you look slightly off to the side, your peripherals see it perfectly, just you are not focusing on the point any longer. So after a full 45 minute adjustment to the dark, does this change?

   No, in darkness lateral vision is always more sensitive than central vision. Averting the gaze is a standard observing technique for faint things, you resolve less with averted vision but you notice dimmer lights. You resolve more with central vision but you don't see dim lights easily.

   Planets and double stars take central vision, and fainter targets take averted vision. Lateral vision is also very sensitive to motion (you need this whether you're predator or prey), this also spurred an observing technique: moving your eye across the field, or nudging the scope a bit will make you pick up very dim things.

   Don't be discouraged by set-in-stone rules stating lateral vision can never resolve well, night vision will never pick up pretty colors in the deep sky, light pollution ruins everything, small scopes are worthless for deep sky in the city, etc. Practice and a positive mind trump limits.

TS 8x40 Wildlife, 10x50 Marine/Fujinon 16x70/TS 80mm triplet, 6x30 finder, EQ-3 mount, TS 2" 99% diagonal/Celestron C5+ and 6x30 finder, DIY tripod/5" Bahtinov/12" GSO dob, 8x50 finder/Meade 2" 24mm 82°/Hyperion 24,13,10mm 68°/TS Expanse 17mm 70°/SW 7mm Panorama 82°/Ultima 2x barlow/Astronomik UHC-E filter/Baader O-III/Astro Solar 5" & 80mm filters/Sky Atlas 2000/Rükl's Moon Atlas/Canon 400D/5mW green laser

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Posted by DaveMitsky on Saturday, March 01, 2014 3:46 PM

Browse http://www.skyatnightmagazine.com/feature/how-guide/how-to%E2%80%A6-master-art-averted-vision and http://oneminuteastronomer.com/86/averted-vision-nature-gave/ for articles on employing averted vision.  Cones are concentrated at the fovea of the retina.  Rods, which contain rhodopsin and thus are 1,000 times more sensitive to light than cones, predominate at the periphery.  There are about 120 million more rod cells than cone cells in the human eye.

It is a scientific fact that the rod cells responsible for scotopic vision are not sensitive to color.

http://micro.magnet.fsu.edu/primer/lightandcolor/humanvisionintro.html

http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/vision/rodcone.html

It is also a scientific fact that rod cells have very poor resolution capability, some 10 times worse than cone cells.

http://www.aoa.org/optometrists/tools-and-resources/clinical-care-publications/aviation-vision/the-eye-and-night-vision

That's part of the reason why, even when seen with very large apertures, nebulous deep-sky objects never look as good as images of them do. 

It's important to remember that both rods and cones are functioning, but not at peak efficiency, during mesopic vision.

http://books.google.com/books?id=FTUqAAAAQBAJ&pg=PA81&lpg=PA81&dq=mesopic+vision+astronomy&source=bl&ots=5FIwSIg3zx&sig=3dfizeEgIANymQ6DN9pfzpaQtQw&hl=en&sa=X&ei=fFYSU76IG6S00QGp2IHQAg&ved=0CEsQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=mesopic%20vision%20astronomy&f=false

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
    June, 2009
Posted by StarFarmer on Saturday, March 01, 2014 9:40 PM

My favorite object is the most popular comet at the given time.  Finding it for the first time is such a thrill.  Many times our astronomy club gathers for the search and when it's found there is hollering and high fives all around! My optics vary according to the brightness of the comet and the detail I want to capture.  These include my 60mm Meade refractor, 127mm Explore Scientific APO triplet, and Meade 10" LX-200.  And don't let me leave out those Celestron 15X70 SkyMasters and the Canon XSi DSLR with or without zooms.  The DSLR piggybacked will give some awesome comet positioning against the background stars.  I have many opportunities to see most other objects so when I get the chance to view a comet I stay with it until it says its last goodbyes.  My avatar is comet PanSTARRS that I took through the 10" Meade 18Mar2013.

**********************************************************************************************************

 Member since the spring of 2009.  Born 1958.  NW OK.  LX-200 EMC Classic (10") 

Explore Scientific 127mm APO Triplet.  Celestron CGEM mount available for both.

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