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Observing for the fun of it

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SXN's picture
Observing for the fun of it

I simply love being out under the stars, and I enjoy looking through the eyepiece of a fine telescope more than just about anything I can think of. In the last couple years I've decided to try to take the time and make the effort to rediscover some of the deep sky objects I used to observe on occassion, as well as discover some new ones I haven't seen before.

To this end, I had a few books on my Amazon wish list this year, and was lucky enough to get two of them. The first one 'The Secret Deep' by Stephen James O'Meara held another surprise I hadn't known about until I got the book in my hands. The object photos supplied throughout the book were all done by AAVSO President, Mario Motta. So far, I've only read a few entries, I'm enjoying the information, charts, drawings and the pictures. 

Under the night sky

I couldn't agree more - I'm trying to find some time to set up more binocular program stars so if nothing else I can move out in the backyard and relax with them for a few minutes.  I've always considered the sky my own personal fortress of solitude.  Spending more time under it enriches the soul in unimaginable ways.


Matthew Templeton

The last astronomical object I observed through binoculars was the Moon.  I enjoyed it.  There wasn't much to report to anyone, which is fine by me.  My eyesight isn't so hot -- science is probably better served by me encouraging visual observing rather than engaging in it for research.  But being outside under the sky is always a treat, particularly on the rare occasions I'm under a dark sky.  I live down the street from an industrial park, so this isn't very often.

My fiance and I were observing different objects through binoculars over the weekend -- the results were about a dozen long-tails, two dozen harlequins, a common loon, and (we think) a solitary black scoter, all off of Halibut Point in Rockport -- not far from where our President lives, I think.  Those were reported to the ranger station only; ducks don't have AUIDs.

It's a little ironic that I'm responding to this thread while taking a break from processing my (own, for a change!) Vphot images, which is fun in a different way.  There's room for everything.  If it clears up for our after-dinner walk tonight, I might take binoculars with me though....

Herr_Alien's picture
It's the other way around for me.

Here's something funny: when I got my binoculars it was all about faint fuzzies. After about a year of hunting (some of) them down, it dawned to me that this was somewhat boring.

I needed something that would change over time, something to keep me interested in observing the same patches of sky again and again. I started observing R Leo, and I was hooked.

MDAV's picture
Herr-Allen. Variabes do that.

Herr-Allen. Variabes do that. R Leo hooked a lot of us. Leslie Peltier called it "Star Susceptibility"

Back in those far distant days of yesteryear (the 80's) I was warned to not even attempt R Leo because of its intense red hue. Fortunately-  being in my 20's - I didn't listen to the older and wiser heads.  

HNL's picture
Comments about observing

Hi:  This is great. Somewhere along the way, I was sitting on my back porch which moderates with the rising sun.  I would occassionly take a picture of where it was in relation to the trees. I call it my retreat. which doesn't work in winter.  It doesn't take much set up and is like a balcony because the land slopes down from our house.  I did my observation for the Astronomical League pin on Sunposts in 2000 or so. I have some of the "Drawings still available" I noticed that someone in the ATMOB was pushing "Drawing at the eyepiece."   So, the progression of life always amazes me as I get older.

 Best  HNL

HNL's picture
observing for the fun of it

 Thanks Matt:  After my last post. I had this horrible thought.  From time to time; I have had the serious thought that a smaller yard would be nice. Too much to attend to and the cost of yardwork for someone else is not just a local child mowing your yard.  Big business and high costs.  I am afraid now that it will be worth it.  I would have a serious withdrawal problem in losing my viewing. Not much fun stareing at a garage or the next door neighbors barb-b-que. With that in mind. I will resolve to banish all thoughts of moving.  Do more observing outside and enjoy my local racoon whose footprints bear witness of spring and a return of the warmth of the sun.   

LKR's picture
Shhh be wery wery quiet...

I'm hunting wracsally wabbits I mean comets! I shamed by how long it took me to finally see Pan-STARRS recently. I was simply not looking far enough north along the horizon! :/ . I spend most of my outdoor time showing the stars to others and teaching students how to use telescopes to find things for themselves. It is very rare that I take the time to be selfish and keep the stars for myself. I think I need to do more of that.



mbennett's picture
The perfect past time


 I was simply not looking far enough north along the horizon! :/ .  




Hi LKR this was my problem to haha but when i found it i was in love. it was amazing. There is nothing quiite like being under the stars at night staring at the orion nebula or north american nebula through my telescope. Sometimes its good to just not focus so much on helping astronomy and just focus in on observing.

rmu's picture

Sometimes I go out and look the sky through an eyepiece. These rare nights are the only wich I am  not looking at the computer seeing how images are downloading. How much pleasure is seeing objects with our own eyes. But doing measures and slew the telescope with the touch of a button is fun too.

Unfortunately, it was raining during the last four weeks and ir seems not to stop in the next days.

Observing for the fun of it...


    I agree that observing variable stars is both a learning experience and FUN. Furthermore, there is often more than meets the eyes on this issue. How many other astronomers, amateur and professional, actually see and understand the importance of variable star astronomy? How many people on this Earth have actually seen the light from the explosion of a star (supernova) in a distant galaxy, far, far, away? How many astronomers, both amateur and professional, have observed any variable star for a long period of time to see the rise and fall of a Mira, or the unpredictable behavior of an SR, or a recurrent (sp) nova, etc? Variable star observers are a rare bunch of people in proportion to the astronomical community at large and if it were not for variable star observers, the astronomical community would understand less about the stars as it does today.


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