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Jetmech0417
2002-Oct-15, 07:57 AM
Hi, all. I'm still a very much amateur astronomer, but I love viewing the night sky. I currently live in southwestern Idaho, USA where we enjoy very clear skies with minimal light pollution year round. The only "tools" I have for viewing are my own eyes, a pair of glasses that correct my nearsightedness, and a 7x35 set of Tasco® Binoculars. What are some of the things I could view that would be worth my while with such equipment? I have no problem going to sites like Sky & Telescope for star charts, so if I just had a few ideas of what would be pleasureable to my meager eyes it'd be much appreciated.

Thanks,
Jet

GrapesOfWrath
2002-Oct-15, 12:24 PM
Nothing to do with stars, but have you been watching for aurora borealis (http://www.sec.noaa.gov/Aurora/)? There have been some opportunities recently.

Jetmech0417
2002-Oct-15, 03:40 PM
Actually, no, I haven't. Thanks for the insight. Hopefully I'll be able to see it over the mountain range to the north of here.

GrapesOfWrath
2002-Oct-15, 04:36 PM
Maybe check out Things you've missed (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?mode=viewtopic&topic=399&forum=2&start=50) or the Top Ten Lists (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?topic=1860&forum=2) threads.

Beskeptical reminded us that the Leonids meteor shower (http://skyandtelescope.com/observing/objects/meteors/article_719_1.asp) may be impressive next month, and I noticed that Venus and Mars get together in December.

If you get up early, you might be able to see Mars and Mercury together just before sunrise. Jupiter and Saturn are high above them. Mercury goes back towards the Sun soon, but Mars hangs in the early morning sky over the next few months. In the middle of November, Venus climbs up to it, and they're joined by the crescent moon on the first of December. Mars and Venus will stay near each other for a while--then on Christmas day the star Zubenelgenubi will be less than a moon's width away from Mars, and the moon will show up again five days later.

You can watch the dance of the planets as they get closer and then part over the next couple months.

O yeh, Spaceweather.com (http://www.spaceweather.com/) says tonight may be a good night for auroras.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: GrapesOfWrath on 2002-10-15 12:48 ]</font>

The Bad Astronomer
2002-Oct-15, 05:03 PM
On 2002-10-15 12:36, GrapesOfWrath wrote:
Beskeptical reminded us that the Leonids meteor shower (http://skyandtelescope.com/observing/objects/meteors/article_719_1.asp) may be impressive next month


Unfortunately, the Moon is full on the night of the peak. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_frown.gif

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: The Bad Astronomer on 2002-10-15 13:03 ]</font>

Kaptain K
2002-Oct-15, 10:14 PM
On 2002-10-15 13:03, The Bad Astronomer wrote:


On 2002-10-15 12:36, GrapesOfWrath wrote:
Beskeptical reminded us that the Leonids meteor shower (http://skyandtelescope.com/observing/objects/meteors/article_719_1.asp) may be impressive next month


Unfortunately, the Moon is full on the night of the peak. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_frown.gif

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: The Bad Astronomer on 2002-10-15 13:03 ]</font>

True...but:
1) The peak (U.S.) occurs around 5:30am EST. By then, the moon will be in the far western sky.
2) Although the moon will washout the fainter meteors, if it is a good storm, the bright ones and fireballs will more than compensate for their absence.

PS I forgot. You're on the left coast. The peak occurs around 2:30 am for you. My condolences. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_frown.gif

PPS No optical aid needed for meteor viewing. Mk.1 eyeballs are all that's needed.
_________________
Be alert! The world needs more lerts.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Kaptain K on 2002-10-15 18:17 ]</font>

maryellenandtom
2002-Oct-17, 01:05 AM
Some of our favorite binocular targets:

moons of Jupiter
epsilon lyrae (double star near Vega)
Andromeda galaxy
Uranus and Neptune
earthshine on new moon
moon occulting a planet or star
Pleiades

- Maryellen and Tom

Jetmech0417
2002-Oct-17, 06:49 AM
Some of our favorite binocular targets:

moons of Jupiter
epsilon lyrae (double star near Vega)
Andromeda galaxy
Uranus and Neptune
earthshine on new moon
moon occulting a planet or star
Pleiades

- Maryellen and Tom


Thanks, guys.

Jet

GrapesOfWrath
2002-Oct-17, 08:53 AM
On 2002-10-16 21:05, maryellenandtom wrote:
epsilon lyrae (double star near Vega)
And, bonus, with a small telescope, it's a double double (http://www.sciencenet.org.uk/astron/const/Lyra/epsilonlyrae.html). /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: GrapesOfWrath on 2002-10-17 04:53 ]</font>

David Hall
2002-Oct-18, 12:20 AM
Open clusters make very nice binocular targets. The Pleiades, the Hyades, the Praesepe (http://www.rog.nmm.ac.uk/leaflets/stars/clusters/M44.html) in Cancer. I also like the double cluster (http://www.astro.uiuc.edu/~kaler/sow/doubclus-p.html) in Perseus.

Sometimes it's fun just to scan the sky along the Milky Way. There's lots of good stuff along it. The Sagitarius/Scorpius area is especially rich in clusters, nebulae, and star clouds (it being the direction of the galactic center). Unfortunately, they're summer sky constellations, so they set very early now, but you can always look forward to next year.

One of my favorite challenges is trying to spot the galaxy M33. I've only been able to clearly see it once. It's low surface brightness might make it a better naked-eye object than a binocular target though.

(Side note: does anyone know if the North American Nebula is visible in binoculars? I've tried for it several times, but I haven't succeeded. Am I wasting my time there?)

I suggest just getting a good star map and start looking for the stuff on it. Anything starting with an M (http://www.astroleague.org/al/obsclubs/binomess/binomess.html) would be good to start with. Not everything will be visible of course, but it's fun to try.

And finally, always keep your ears open for news of any new comets. Those are perfect binocular targets.

http://www.uvaa.org/BinocularResources.htm
http://www.lightandmatter.com/binosky/binosky.html

Russ
2002-Oct-18, 07:58 PM
The only thing that I've been able to catch in my rather megar binoculars is the Orion nebula. Jupiter can be good if the seeing is REALLY good. Finally the Moon. There's all kinds of things you'd never guess were up there.