The Urban Astronomers Guide

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Hungry for the deep sky after years of deprivation.

The Backyard Astronomers Guide

It was wonderful. How about M78? Only one puff of nebulosity was apparent, but it was there. If I was patient and waited for just the right night, even the Ms and M74s fell before my wondering eyes. Naturally, I was pumped and was soon making lists that contained not just Messiers, but NGCs too, and not just NGC open clusters, but galaxies dim enough to be, I feared, impossible in my compromised skies.

Most of the dimmer stuff was nothing more than cosmic dust bunnies in the eyepiece, but was there nonetheless.

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I began to wonder if there might be techniques or equipment that would allow me to see the surprising amount of things I could see better. This is the biggie. If you could obtain at least a modicum of dark adaptation, you could see much more of the deep sky under the worst light-pollution than you can with your pupils constantly pinned. The good thing is you can do something about ambient light. These can be anything, but stage-flat -like shields can be made easily and work particularly well since they can be moved around the yard as you move the scope to avoid trees and other obstacles.

The Urban Astronomer's Guide - Rod Mollise - Häftad () | Bokus

Get a great big finder , a set of digital setting circles, or just go go-to. The problem is finding it. You forget the Telrad or use it in concert with an optical finder, which will show many stars invisible to the naked eye. A mm is OK, an mm is better.

The Urban Astronomer's Guide: A Walking Tour of the Cosmos for City Sky Watchers

Pump up the power. I know you love your mm Panoptic. I love mine too. But not in the city. In areas of significant light-pollution, the background sky-glow in a low power eyepiece is bright enough to extinguish your prey. Yeah, I know that goes against the grain.

The Urban Astronomer's Guide: A Walking Tour of the Cosmos for City Sky Watchers / Edition 1

You are supposed to use low power for deep sky observing, right? Well, no. Even under dark skies, many amateurs use way too little power on the deep sky. Higher power will frame many objects better there are way more medium-small galaxies and planetary nebulae and globs than there are giant open clusters and emission nebulae and will make it easier to see minute details.

More importantly for the urban astronomer, higher power spreads out background sky-glow enough to make the quarry pop out. My fave? In the days before the mm Ethos it was the mm Nagler 2. Enough power in my Wait for it…wait for it… Objects that are invisible one night may be visible the next if the humidity drops.

Or if you wait till after midnight when some city lights go out and the skies get a little better. Or if you wait till the object culminates crosses the local meridian and is as high in the sky as it ever gets. Or you cool your heels until M or M74 or M97 gets over toward the good side of the sky away from the light dome. Other tips? Why would anybody try to see anything of the deep sky from city lights? Where the heck is Piscis Austrinus?

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Which eyepiece was the one that worked so good with NGC ? That greatest of all amateur astronomers, Sir William Herschel, once compared observing with a telescope to playing a musical instrument, and I think that is right apt.

How good would you be on the steel guitar if you only practiced every few months? The first step on the road was when I decided to see if I could do all the Ms with the 4-inch Edmund. I thought it would be fun to keep a logbook of my efforts and draw each of the objects I was able to corral.

I enjoyed the hunt and was proud of my resulting logbook. Which led me to wonder what I could do with my writings and drawings now that I was done. Use medium power and expect to have to use averted vision on bad nights. Soon I found I was doing it to please myself; I enjoyed spreading the word about urban observing and writing about the deep sky.


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Eventually, after I took over Skywatch and started posting it on the web, I began doing it to please the fans the column had garnered. Instead, Springer was supportive, even enthusiastic. Their only stipulation was that I change my proposed title. It would be easy to say the book wrote itself, and in some ways that is true. I was passionate about the subject, and the words flowed. Any book is, with the most onerous part of the process being the constant need to Apply Seat of Pants to Seat of Chair and write for a couple of hours.

FAQ Policy. This is a guide to good deep-sky astronomy under bad skies. Show all. Spring Pages Mollise, Rod.

Summer Pages Mollise, Rod. Autumn Pages Mollise, Rod. Winter Pages Mollise, Rod. Show next xx. Read this book on SpringerLink. Recommended for you.