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View Full Version : WOW First night out in with Binocs (Attn: Wolverine)



skrap1r0n
2004-Apr-27, 03:07 AM
I spent the most amazing hour or so outside. I was amazed to see the Phases of Venus and Jupiter with 4 moons visible. Unfortunately, light pollution was too much for me to see much else.

One thing kept distracting me, something completely unexpected...Sattelites. At least, I THINK they were sattelites, they weren't planes for sure. They were really cooking across the sky at a fast, but steady pace. I located 6 seperate ones on different trajectories, mostly west to east but one was north to south. Just like a newbie to chase shiney objects across the sky.

Wolverine, I noticed that you are in Austin as well. I hope you got a chance to get out tonight. (Monday 4-26). Have you heard of Austin Dam Astronomers (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Austindamastronomers)? They meet every Friday out at Mansfield Dam. I have been waiting 5 weeks for a clear Friday. I'm hoping to finally get a good, clear friday this week.

edit/ Yep, that shop is where I am buying that 10" dob from, once I get the money that is.

Charlie in Dayton
2004-Apr-27, 03:21 AM
Could you track one from horizon to horizon (or at least as far as it'd go)? How long did it take to go h-to-h? Did they all seem to follow the same general direction (parallel paths)?

What time was this?

By the way, I'm gonna order them there 12x60 nebula filter specials, and that paint roller monopod deal...

Wolverine
2004-Apr-27, 03:30 AM
It's great to see someone in a very similar situation to mine. :D

Yessir, I've been outside taking full advantage of tonight's clear conditions, and very much enjoying splendid lunar detail, and all the goodies you've mentioned.

And, I've done precisely the same thing with satellites -- it's amazing to see so many, especially when viewing other objects and just having them cross your observational path by chance. :)

Yes, I'm familiar with the Dam crew, and have been waiting for a while myself for a clear night to scoot over that way. I live in the far northwestern part of the county, not terribly far from Mansfield Dam, and don't have to deal with the light pollution that exists around the downtown area. If I have the chance I'll pop over there this week.

Happy hunting, skrap! 8)

skrap1r0n
2004-Apr-27, 04:00 AM
No way to track them from H to H from where i live. in fact, I only noticed them blazing through my field of view, once I found one I was able to follow it a bit by anticipating its course. This is how I was able to show them to my son. Most Sattelites seemed to be going from west to east and crossed my field of view in 3 to 5 seconds. I am not sure what the FoV but here are the specs (http://www.dealtime.com/xPF-Bushnell_Powerview_13_1650_16x50). They are saying 182/1000, but I am not sure how that translates into degree FoV.

I am trying to learn how to starhop in the hopes of scoring asw many Messier objects as I can with them before I graduate to a telescope. I have to get a portable starchart first though, Right now all I am using is Caretes Du Ciel and don't have a laptop.

Wolverine, I am in NE Austin, in the Pflugerville area (for non-Austinites, don't spit on your monitor trying to say that aloud). Hopefully we'll catch the same clear friday sometime and get over to the dam. I also knoe of some really WICKED viewing areas between Burnet and Kingsland, if your ever out on hwy 29. Theres a nice park on Park Road 4 that sits on top of a hill out in the middle of nowhere. The only light pollution you'll get will be from fireflys.

FWIW, These Binocs have a decent Diopeter setting. The trick I used was to leave a lenscap on the side with the diopeter adjustment and focus the binocs. then remove the lenscap, and put it on the other barrel, the one without the diopeter adjustment and focus the now open barrel in using ONLY the diopeter. Once I got that down, I was able to see the phases of Venus (which matched the moons phases almost identically), go figure. Learned that tonight.

Wolverine
2004-Apr-27, 04:29 AM
I am not sure what the FoV but here are the specs (http://www.dealtime.com/xPF-Bushnell_Powerview_13_1650_16x50). They are saying 182/1000, but I am not sure how that translates into degree FoV.

There's a page that discusses the difference between linear and angular FOV here (http://www.astronomy.com/content/static/beginners/basics/nottooclose.asp) (scroll down to the bottom).

So, you've got 182' of linear view @ 1000 yds; simply divide 182 by 52.5, and voila, your binos have an angular FOV of ~3.5.


Wolverine, I am in NE Austin, in the Pflugerville area (for non-Austinites, don't spit on your monitor trying to say that aloud). Hopefully we'll catch the same clear friday sometime and get over to the dam. I also knoe of some really WICKED viewing areas between Burnet and Kingsland, if your ever out on hwy 29. Theres a nice park on Park Road 4 that sits on top of a hill out in the middle of nowhere. The only light pollution you'll get will be from fireflys.

Sounds good! :)

skrap1r0n
2004-Apr-27, 05:09 AM
wow 3.5? thats pretty narrow. I thought 4 degrees was about Avg with an object moving through them in about 70 seconds.

Anyways, looks like i am going to start planning out at least 2 messier objects I can locate within the next week, weather permitting. I'll keep everyone posted.

Wolverine
2004-Apr-27, 07:55 AM
Well, with that pesky moon out of the way it's been a very productive little session here -- particularly, some lovely clusters. Just wish I could see better detail in nebulae, but oh well. In due time I'll rectify that. :wink:

darkdev
2004-Apr-27, 08:03 AM
Has anyone tried using a digital video camera to view extraterrestrial objects? The one I have access to has 650x digital zoom and 12 or 16x optical zoom.

JohnOwens
2004-Apr-27, 10:23 AM
I just got back inside from catching my first Iridium flare, and then seeing three satellites in 10-15 minutes, including what might be my first look at ISS (I think last time I looked at one along those lines, it was Mir & a Shuttle docked to it). A good night, the clouds cleared off just in time for the flare, one even scooted across where the flare was to be about 1/2 minute before it happened!
3-5 seconds sounds just about right for crossing your FoV; it might have taken a bit longer for me, but I've got a somewhat greater FoV. There's a tradeoff between FoV, power, exit pupil, & objective size; since your binocs are a bit higher powered than average, especially in relation to the objective, it's natural that they'd have a rather narrow FoV. I happened to get Bushnell PowerView myself a few weeks ago, but I got the 10x50, with a 341'/1000 yd FoV (about 6.5 deg, if you prefer). So I can't see the moons of Jupiter or phases of Venus as well as you can, so quit complaining. :wink:
You might be able to find out which satellites they may have been at (if I've decoded the URL correctly) Heavens Above (http://www.heavens-above.com/allsats.asp?Date=38103.9791666667&Mag=4.5), after you enter your location. It'll list all satellites of magnitude 4 or brighter that passed through your sky at that time (assuming before 1 AM). You might even be able to coax it into giving you dimmer satellites by tweaking the URL; I haven't bothered to check if that works or not, given the problems I have spotting those with the light pollution around here. :roll:

skrap1r0n
2004-Apr-27, 01:46 PM
As far as nebulae go, I'm not thinking I'll be able to catch any from where I live due to Light Pollution. I was stunned by seeing the Moons of Jupiter. I know this is no big deal to some others, but it was the first time I had seen them. I can't wait until Saturn is further away from the Moon so I can glimpse the rings.

Glom
2004-Apr-27, 04:30 PM
First use of a good pair of binoculars was brilliant for me as well. I observed Orion through the binoculars and suddenly a huge vista of stars appeared. It was quite spectacular.

skrap1r0n
2004-Apr-27, 05:03 PM
First use of a good pair of binoculars was brilliant for me as well. I observed Orion through the binoculars and suddenly a huge vista of stars appeared. It was quite spectacular.

Orion was pretty low on the horizon last night and there was a streetlight in the same FoV as Rigel. I was hoping to see M42, but it wasn't happening with the streetlight there. I will say though that the stars that made up the scabbard were breathtaking. I First saw these through some 7x35's and had to stare a while before I realized I wasn't getting double images. Seeing it (partially) with the 16x50's was amazing...so much more detail. I cannot wait to see Saturn. I was able to faintly make out the rings in the 7x35's, I am excited to see how well they show up with the newer binocs.

Venus was almost TOO bright, took a lot of adjustment to make out the phase.

Andromeda321
2004-Apr-27, 05:11 PM
Ah, satellite season is upon us! Hoorah, I was beginning to miss them...
Here's a neat little trick if you want to know just what the satellite you saw was. Make a note of the time and the constellations the satellite moved through (or the path, or orientation) and go to heavens-above.com later that evening (or the next day). Once you've found your area click on the link that generally says "all satellites down to magnitude 4.5" for the night you observed. You get a list and, using the time and locations you recorded, you can figure out what satellites you saw. It's a good way to familiarize yourself with the night sky and a fun little side thing to do while observing! :D

skrap1r0n
2004-Apr-27, 07:01 PM
Ah, satellite season is upon us! Hoorah, I was beginning to miss them...
Here's a neat little trick if you want to know just what the satellite you saw was. Make a note of the time and the constellations the satellite moved through (or the path, or orientation) and go to heavens-above.com later that evening (or the next day). Once you've found your area click on the link that generally says "all satellites down to magnitude 4.5" for the night you observed. You get a list and, using the time and locations you recorded, you can figure out what satellites you saw. It's a good way to familiarize yourself with the night sky and a fun little side thing to do while observing! :D

Maybe some other time I'll do it. The problem is, last night I was trying my hand at starhopping around constellations and this little thing would Buzz through my FoV and I wound up chasing it...completely losing where I was to begin with...

Oh and add to the the fact that we are in the beginning of firefly season here in Texas. Want a shock? Have a firefly light up in your FoV...

Hale_Bopp
2004-Apr-27, 08:16 PM
Satellites are pretty numerous. I have 20x80 binocs and what surprises me is how often I can see multiple satellites in the same fov. I have had three in the same field several times and two is quite common.

Another thing that amazes me is how many galaxies you can get in the Virgo cluster at once in binocs of this size if you are under a truly dark sky.

Overall, check out the open clusters. There are a lot of bright ones that are great in binoculars.

Rob

mike alexander
2004-Apr-27, 08:26 PM
Last night was a good night. The air settled down enough around 10PM so that I could watch the Red Spot tracking around Jupiter for a couple of hours (the first time I've ever seen it :D ).

I took some pictures, but the atmosphere was still pretty jumpy. Still, considering that I'm shooting through a Nikon Coolpix I really have to say I'm pleased to get anything.

The Bad Astronomer
2004-Apr-27, 09:04 PM
To check on satellites, go to Heavens Above (http://www.heavens-above.com).

Wolverine
2004-Apr-27, 10:36 PM
I was stunned by seeing the Moons of Jupiter. I know this is no big deal to some others, but it was the first time I had seen them.

I shared precisely the same experience earlier in the week during a brief break in the clouds, and was absolutely thrilled. :D

By the way, there's a neat little resource here at S&T (http://skyandtelescope.com/observing/objects/planets/article_830_2.asp) that helps you identify which is which.


I can't wait until Saturn is further away from the Moon so I can glimpse the rings.

Once the moon set last night, I was able to view the rings more clearly (earlier in the evening, Saturn appeared as more of a "football", lol). Also, even though it was merely a tiny speck, I was able to make out Titan as well. Like you said, this is probably nothing huge for the vets, but for relative rookies like myself, the sort of thing that causes me to turn a cartwheel. :)

skrap1r0n
2004-Apr-27, 11:08 PM
I was ablr to view the football saturn with the 7x35's. I haven't had the chance. Tonights looking good for Austin though. I may try to get up on the roof tonight, see if I can get a better view.

Wolverine
2004-Apr-27, 11:41 PM
Tonights looking good for Austin though.

I'm trying to remain optimistic for tonight also... looking at the current satellite view I see a mass of clouds heading this way.
I swear they're magnetic! 8-[

On a side note skrap, I noticed you said you were using Cartes Du Ciel... have you ever tried Starry Nights? There's a free download version available on their web site which is good for 2 weeks' worth of evaluation -- and they have a feature which highlights good targets for binoculars like clusters and such. Might be worth a look.

I've also used Stellarium (http://stellarium.free.fr/) in the past with great success. While it's much more basic than SN, it's certainly a handy freebie for naked eye and binocular astronomy. Just thought I'd mention it FWIW. :)

skrap1r0n
2004-Apr-28, 12:12 AM
I'll check it out, thanks for the heads up. Eevn if the cloudes move in, I'll bet there will be some sucker holes.

skrap1r0n
2004-Apr-28, 03:18 AM
Alrighty then,

VERY hazy out tonight (4/27) As of 22:00cst I managed to get Venus, Mars, Jupiter (Callisto, Io, Europa, and Ganymede), and Saturn. As for stars, well it was waaay hazy, I only managed Betelgeuse and Arcturas. The only full constellation I managed to see all at once was the big dipper.

Thats my scorecard for tonight...How'd you Do Wolverine?

Wolverine
2004-Apr-28, 03:29 AM
Thats my scorecard for tonight...How'd you Do Wolverine?

Haven't even started yet... was waiting for some clouds to subside and watching the rest of the Det/Cgy game.

skrap1r0n
2004-Apr-28, 03:54 AM
I am having trouble locating the Starry night Demo. I am all over their site looking but to no avail. I may go back out here in a few and try again in a bit. I managed to get an Eyepiece set on Cartes for 3.5 degrees. Will make it easier for me to plan out a starhopping path.

geeze I wish I had a laptop...

Wolverine
2004-Apr-28, 04:00 AM
I am having trouble locating the Starry night Demo. I am all over their site looking but to no avail.

It's here (http://www.starrynight.com/digitaldownload/trial_download.php). Make sure you give them a real e-mail address -- they mail you the actual download URL and a registration code.

Heading outside shortly...

skrap1r0n
2004-Apr-28, 04:03 AM
I am having trouble locating the Starry night Demo. I am all over their site looking but to no avail.

It's here (http://www.starrynight.com/digitaldownload/trial_download.php). Make sure you give them a real e-mail address -- they mail you the actual download URL and a registration code.

Heading outside shortly...

Thanks working on the download now.