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View Full Version : My first night of star gazing went well!



Kebsis
2003-Jul-01, 07:23 AM
Earlier tonight, I took out the telescope for pretty much the first time, other than to look at lunar eclipses.

I set up the scope, and just pointed it in a random direction and admired the stars. And after no more than thirty seconds, what do I see but a shooting star fly through my field of vision 8)

I was suprised by how many stars I could see with the scope as well. Here in North Jersey, there usually isn't much to see with the naked eye.


That being said, I would like it if someone could tell me where in the sky I should point the scope to see some of the things you find neat...Jupiter, Venus, whatever you think I would appretiate.

And remember, laymens terms only please :)

Thanks in advance.

Glom
2003-Jul-01, 11:25 AM
Earlier tonight, I took out the telescope for pretty much the first time, other than to look at lunar eclipses.

Good for you. I made my first observing session in quite a while over the weekend. I didn't bother with my telescope though because it's crap and because binoculars do me just fine.


I set up the scope, and just pointed it in a random direction and admired the stars.

I'd imagine you'd be a bit of an exception. Generally, the narrow field of view of a telescope offers limited enjoyment next to naked eye or binocular viewing unless of course there is some specific marvel you're looking at. When, it comes to general stars, I like to take in as much of the sky as possible.


And after no more than thirty seconds, what do I see but a shooting star fly through my field of vision 8)

I was looking at Ursa Major the other night and noticed a split second streak.


That being said, I would like it if someone could tell me where in the sky I should point the scope to see some of the things you find neat...Jupiter, Venus, whatever you think I would appretiate.

Jupiter, Saturn, Venus and Mercury are near conjunction at the moment so they won't be particularly good. Mars is low on the ecliptic so may not be particularly spectacular from North Jersey (would that be North Jersey, the Channel Island or North New Jersey? Either way, they're both pretty Northward.) But it lies not far from Skat (Delta Aquarii) in the constellation of Aquarius.

RichField
2003-Jul-01, 06:48 PM
The "easy" stuff is out really early in the evening right now and it sets pretty early too.
This suggestion is specific to 7/1/03

Try going out right around sunset, find the location where the sun is setting. (Obligatory: don't look directly at the sun) Move up and to the left from this spot, about the width of your hand, pinky and thumb extended, held at arms length and you should find a very young crescent moon. It should look great through the scope at low powers, really pop into 3D.

If you keep going up and to the left from the moon, about the width of your fist, you should come across a bright point in the sky. That's Jupiter. It will be the first bright star-like object you can see after sunset in that area.

Tomorrow night, the moon will have moved up and to the left to be closer to Jupiter. Tonight looks like a really good night for the Northeast so try to get out if you have chance. The big dipper asterism should be high overhead after sunset. The second star in from the end of the handle is a double star. It might be clear enough tonight to see both stars naked eye, you can then get it in the telescope to see how far apart they are.

Kebsis
2003-Jul-01, 07:42 PM
Thanks guys. I'm in North New Jersey, about thirty minutes from NYC. Where I live it's pretty hard to see stars with the naked eye, I'm guessing because of the air pollution and bright lights from all the cities around me...usually theres only a couple dozen stars that I can see just looking into the sky. With the telescope I could see tons though.

ChesleyFan
2003-Jul-01, 11:40 PM
Congratulations on your first stargazing experience. I once saw a bolide streak across the southern sky for several seconds-- a bright green, silent fireball-- that was very cool.

For any newbie I'd suggest getting a copy of "Turn Left at Orion". It's great for small scopes and light polluted cities. And the navigation isn't too complex, either.

Russ
2003-Jul-02, 02:26 AM
Congrats on getting out and looking up. Sometimes I just drift my scope too. That means turning off the motors and just letting the sky drift by. In all my scoping, I've never seen a meteor through the scope. Seen bunches with unaided eyes.

I recommend the Moon as a reliable target. It is easy to find and is there frequently all year. It is way under rated by the snooty snobs who chase nebulae, galaxies and such. There are all kinds of neat things on the Moon. Of course the creaters but rills, mountains and cracks are well worth going after. Creaters that are on the terminater (dark/light interface) have more depth and detail due to the low Sun angle. Look to the edges (limb), especially in the north or south poles. You can really see the mountains and have a sense of 3D.

Have a good time!!!!

aurorae
2003-Jul-02, 09:08 PM
For any newbie I'd suggest getting a copy of "Turn Left at Orion". It's great for small scopes and light polluted cities. And the navigation isn't too complex, either.

Here's another vote for "Turn Left at Orion", great book for newbies with a telescope.

You might even find a copy at your local library!