A Lazy Night Under the Stars.

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  • Member since
    November, 2009
A Lazy Night Under the Stars.
Posted by Poppa Chris on Saturday, November 02, 2013 10:06 PM

Ahhh...  No photography tonight.  No computers, no cameras.  Tonight was just me and the stars.  In fact I was so lazy I only mounted my SCT in Alt-Az  mode and only did a simple one-star alignment on Vega to get it tracking good enough for visual work.  Then I just played around with several targets using my age-old star-hopping skills when the scope wouldn't slew accurately because of the simple alignment.  I knew it would do this and I didn't care.  I was in a total "laid-back" mood tonight.   Still, there was no Moon, not a cloud in the sky.  Temp in the 50's with very little humidity so dew wasn't even a bother.  Wistfully, I managed some great views of the Ring Nebula, Galaxy M31 in Andromeda, The Blue Snowball nebula, The Pleiades, The Hyades, Double-Cluster in Perseus, (15x70 Binoculars for these 3) and the planet Uranus (after removing my 6.3 focal reducer).  Folded everything up about 9:30 as Orion was just rising.  I want to get up early in the AM to see if I can spot Comet ISON before dawn.  Summary - I just wanted to get back to my roots of stargazing the way I practiced it for 30 years before taking up astrophotography.

---Poppa Chris---

Denham Springs, Louisiana USA

"Second star to the right - Then straight on until morning!" - Peter Pan

Celestron CPC1100GPS (XLT) - 279mm aperature, 2800mm Focal length. (f10) Celestron Ultima LX (70deg AFOV) Eyepieces 32mm thru 5mm, Canon EOS Rebel T2i DSLR, Backyard EOS imaging software, Orion Star Shoot Planetary Imager IV, Celestron Skymaster 15x70 binoculars

 

  • Member since
    March, 2008
Posted by Antitax on Sunday, November 03, 2013 9:31 AM

   It's not lazy when the computer's not doing it.

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

  • Member since
    April, 2012
  • From: North Carolina east coast USA
Posted by stepping beyond on Sunday, November 03, 2013 10:11 PM

Chris is the star hopping wearing you out, that's one of the reasons I didn't get a goto or intelliscope. I do enjoy the thrill of the "hunt". I hope you get it working for your sake. I was out in the elements for 4hrs. lovin those views, Totally Awesome my friend.

  • Member since
    November, 2009
Posted by Poppa Chris on Monday, November 04, 2013 5:54 AM

stepping beyond

Chris is the star hopping wearing you out, that's one of the reasons I didn't get a goto or intelliscope. I do enjoy the thrill of the "hunt". I hope you get it working for your sake. I was out in the elements for 4hrs. lovin those views, Totally Awesome my friend.

 

No.  My equipment was working just fine.  I was just a combination of lazy and nostalgic at the same time.  I enjoyed star-hopping for years and committed a lot of my favorite targets positions to memory.  But ever increasing light pollution and a desire to try my hand at astrophotography made my decision to purchase a full-featured GoTo scope, both for tracking and for finding my way without visible landmarks in the sky.  But every now and again, I get the whim to go back to my roots.  This was such a night.

 

---Poppa Chris---

Denham Springs, Louisiana USA

"Second star to the right - Then straight on until morning!" - Peter Pan

Celestron CPC1100GPS (XLT) - 279mm aperature, 2800mm Focal length. (f10) Celestron Ultima LX (70deg AFOV) Eyepieces 32mm thru 5mm, Canon EOS Rebel T2i DSLR, Backyard EOS imaging software, Orion Star Shoot Planetary Imager IV, Celestron Skymaster 15x70 binoculars

 

  • Member since
    April, 2012
  • From: North Carolina east coast USA
Posted by stepping beyond on Monday, November 04, 2013 8:57 AM
My bad , should've read the post all the way.
  • Member since
    November, 2009
Posted by Poppa Chris on Monday, November 04, 2013 9:05 AM

stepping beyond
My bad , should've read the post all the way.
 

No problem.  I believe every amateur astronomer should be able to "star-hop".  It should be part of a mandatory astronomy education.  But I also view GoTo as another tool in my kit.  It definitely has its uses and does them well.  But it remains a tool, not a crutch.  That said, if GoTo gets more people into the hobby, then so be it. The more the merrier.

---Poppa Chris---

Denham Springs, Louisiana USA

"Second star to the right - Then straight on until morning!" - Peter Pan

Celestron CPC1100GPS (XLT) - 279mm aperature, 2800mm Focal length. (f10) Celestron Ultima LX (70deg AFOV) Eyepieces 32mm thru 5mm, Canon EOS Rebel T2i DSLR, Backyard EOS imaging software, Orion Star Shoot Planetary Imager IV, Celestron Skymaster 15x70 binoculars

 

  • Member since
    October, 2007
Posted by Aratus on Monday, November 04, 2013 9:16 AM

Sometimes a 1 star alignment works quite well.   You increase the chances by having the tripod on the level.

Computers and imaging  do take up a lot of time.   Not only do they mean a lot of set up time, but hours can be spent imaging.  If you get a good result at the end of the day, it can feel worth it. but if something goes wrong it can be a really depressing.    I think we do need to force ourselves occasionally to leave the gadgets behind.   It is being lazy in one sense, but in fact it is just using the time differently.

I personally cannot fault a GOTO system.   The only disadvantage is that an individual will not really learn their way around the night's sky.    That would be a shame, but encouraging folk to find an object with binoculars first gets rid of that.   (Or at least pinpoint the area of the sky)

Aratus

Location:  North West Devon, UK

-------------------------------------------------

Celestron Nexstar8i (8" SCT).

Celestron Skymaster binoculars 15x70

Other:0.63 & 0.33 correctors. X2 & X4 barlow.

Imagers: Meade DSI & Celestron NexImage.  Canon EOS 550D

 

 

  • Member since
    November, 2009
Posted by Poppa Chris on Monday, November 04, 2013 10:38 AM

This is sort of getting off-topic, but I like the way the thread is moving so I'll play along...

I often use 1-star alignment if there is a prominent named star near my first planned target.  In this case it was Vega in Lyra so I could see the Ring Nebula before it got too low in the west..  It is a snap to add another star later by "replacing" an alignment star with another prominent named star.  I my case above I use Enif in Pegasus to replace (unassigned), thereby giving me a 2-star alignment before going over to M31 in Andromeda.  In both cases I was required to know both the names and where the alignment stars were.  A minor bit of knowledge given to me by learning star-hopping in years past.  Why didn't I choose a star closer to M31?  Simple.  I knew I would be looking for other targets in the general area (Pleiades, Hyades, etc.) so I picked a star that would suit the area as being sort of in the middle. 

It would be good to note that only the 3-star alignment routine doesn't require you to know the names of alignment stars. For all of the others, you  had either best study up on the sky or have a good sky atlas handy.

Another point is that there is a "Precise GoTo" function in Celestron's handset.  Once aligned normally, you then slew to your selected target. Initiate Precise GoTO and the scope then automatically selects and slews to the very nearest named star.  You then proceed to align on it very carefully.  Then you go back to your intended target you will find it to be dead-on center of your field of view. 

A little trick for finding exceptionally dim objects recently relayed to me by a fellow Horseman of the Night.  Using Precise GoTo, instead of slewing back to that original target, enter in the RA/DEC coordinates of your unseen quarry.  Precise GoTo will put you right there.  Doesn't help much for visual work but opens up a whole new world of imaging targets.  He used it to find Comet ISON this past weekend and produced a very fine image of the still dim comet.  (Ray - I'm talking about you.  Are your ears burning?)

I tried in vain to find ISON myself this weekend using 15x70 binos and I know pretty closely just where to look. So I am thoroughly impressed with Ray's use of GoTo as a working tool by someone who knows the sky and where/how to find what he is looking for.

---Poppa Chris---

Denham Springs, Louisiana USA

"Second star to the right - Then straight on until morning!" - Peter Pan

Celestron CPC1100GPS (XLT) - 279mm aperature, 2800mm Focal length. (f10) Celestron Ultima LX (70deg AFOV) Eyepieces 32mm thru 5mm, Canon EOS Rebel T2i DSLR, Backyard EOS imaging software, Orion Star Shoot Planetary Imager IV, Celestron Skymaster 15x70 binoculars

 

  • Member since
    October, 2005
Posted by leo731 on Monday, November 04, 2013 1:58 PM

Nice little report there Chris.  When people ask me why I own three telescopes I tell them it is nice to be able to tailor my observing to the various circumstances of that evening.  I can set up the big scope when I have a lot of time to go after nebulae, I can set up the medium sized go-to scope for light polluted skies, or I can take out my alt-az Vixen for a relaxed and less intensive view of my old favorites. 

Any time observing is better than not seeing anything.  As to lazy, well all my scopes are configured so that I can sit down at any position the scope may point.  Comfort makes for better seeing.   In my case anyway.  Sleep

L

A nebula in the eyepiece is worth two in the Atlas.

  • Member since
    September, 2011
Posted by RayM0506 on Monday, November 04, 2013 6:51 PM

Poppa Chris

 

A little trick for finding exceptionally dim objects recently relayed to me by a fellow Horseman of the Night.  Using Precise GoTo, instead of slewing back to that original target, enter in the RA/DEC coordinates of your unseen quarry.  Precise GoTo will put you right there.  Doesn't help much for visual work but opens up a whole new world of imaging targets.  He used it to find Comet ISON this past weekend and produced a very fine image of the still dim comet.  (Ray - I'm talking about you.  Are your ears burning?)

I tried in vain to find ISON myself this weekend using 15x70 binos and I know pretty closely just where to look. So I am thoroughly impressed with Ray's use of GoTo as a working tool by someone who knows the sky and where/how to find what he is looking for.

 

Thanks for the kudos there Chris! Great initial report BTW, It has been a long time since I just went observing.  Right now I am all about imaging though. LOL I've waited all my life to do this!

On the precise goto, yes, the RA/DEC is VERY cool and has opened up huge amounts of non major catalog or NON catalog objects like comets for me!!  Another cool thing about the precise goto is you can use the star it slews to as a focus star.  I always use that star with my focusing mask to get good focus for that area.  Then there is VERY little if any mirror slippage when you slew to the object which is normally VERY close to the star!!!  BONUS! 

Ok here is the ison pic that Chris mentioned.  Just 4 3 minute subs

  

Celestron 8 SCT F/10 to 7.5 to 6.3-C-GEM Mount-Starizona Power Pack II+-Bahatinov Focus Mask-Canon 60Da-Nexguide Auto Guider-Orion Short Tube 80mm Guide Scope- Baader Planetarium UHC-S/L-Booster visual/photographic 2"-Capture Software Backyard EOS-Deep Sky Stacker-Adobe Photoshop/Registax 6 for post work

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