Spaced-Out Challenge: Eyeing Andromeda & Comet ISON Cometh

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Comet ISON-Oct-12-2013

Image by Brian McGaffney, Nutwood Observatory (10/12)

Welcome again to the Spaced-Out Challenge. Whether you have a question about a scope, a new astronomical discovery you want to expand on, or just want to kick back and enjoy the cosmos above, come one come all on our weekly journey through space and time.

This week, I'll show you how to take advantage of the beautiful rendezvous of Mars with Regulus to find brightening Comet ISON in a small amateur telescope this week; and better introduce you newbies to the most famous damsel in distress, Andromeda.

Chasing Comet ISON
Now at magnitude 10 and brightening, ISON is well within range of even small amateur telescopes, with visual sightings confirmed in telescopes as small as 70mm in aperture. Using HeavensAbove, I generated the following star charts (stars depicted are down to magnitude 14, so don't expect to see all of those in your scope). These are for fields of view just 2 degrees wide, so bright star Regulus won't appear in any of them. Just aim for Mars and drift north/north east until your eyepiece view roughly matches the chart on the given day.

HeavensAboveFinderChartOct14.png

Monday: Mars and Regulus form a close double, with ISON just over a degree to Mars' NE.
HeavensAboveFinderChartOct15.png

Tuesday: Mars and Regulus remain doubled, with ISON drifting closer towards Mars.
HeavensAboveFinderChartOct16.png

Wednesday: Mars and Regulus begin seperating, but ISON drifts closer towards Mars from our perspective, now under a degree to it's N/NE. A wide-field eyepiece should capture both.
HeavensAboveFinderChartOct17.png

Thursday: As Mars drifts past Regulus, ISON continues it's close proximity to Mars.
HeavensAboveFinderChartOct18.png

Friday: Mars has seperated further from Regulus, but now ISON may begin to be effected by the star's glare. The three are still within a 3 degree FOV.
HeavensAboveFinderChartOct19.png

Saturday: Mars and ISON begin seperating, but remain in close proximity.
HeavensAboveFinderChartOct20.png

Sunday: More of the same, by this point Comet ISON should be well under magnitude 10.
Through wide-field low power, the faint greenish smudge of the comet's coma will appear just a degree northeast of Mars tomorrow morning and Wednesday morning. Simply aim for the star-planet double, center Mars in your eyepiece, then drift north and east until you spot the smudge.

The consensus among visual observers is it appears as a severely out-of-focus greenish star in small aperture and poor atmospheric conditions. The larger your instrument, the brighter the coma will appear and you may even catch it's tail. Despite some concern about the comet dissolving, current observations are more reassuring.
***
Andromeda, the Chained Princess

1027863-constellation-of-andromeda-from-johannes-bayer-uranometria-ulm-1723.jpeg

Andromeda from Johannes Bayer's Uranometria

Regular readers of the SOC are at least familiar with the three brightest stars in the Chained Princess which form an arc out of the Great Square and towards Perseus, her rescuer:
ThreeMainStarsAndromeda.png

However, the constellation is much larger than this bright arc alone implies, covering a huge swath of sky between Cassiopeia, Perseus, Pegasus and Lacerta:
500px-Andromeda_IAU.svg.png

Map by IAU/S&T (Roger Sinnott & Rick Fienberg)

Beyond the bright three stars forming her head, back, and right leg, an arc of fainter stars forms her left leg, while another traces her left breast, arm and chain to the rocky outcropping from which she is to be sacrificed to Cetus, the sea monster.
Andromeda has many gems for amateurs. For owners of binoculars, the reddish star Beta Andromedae (Mirach) and the glorious galaxy M31 stand out. For small telescopes, the beautiful orange-blue double Gamma Andromedae (Almach) can be added to that list. But for owners of slightly larger scopes, say of 3" aperture and above, there are two sights that are challenging but worth it. Let's go deeper.
Mirach's Ghost (NGC 404)
MirachsGhostPhoto.jpg

Image by Odd Trondal

An easy object to center on thanks to it's close proximity to the bright star Mirach, the glare of said star makes it a challenge to observe. Visual observations are actually more successful than photographic attempts, but in either case, persistence will yield a tantalizing galaxy not even a star-hop away. Simply aim at Mirach, crank up your power, and start hunting:
MirachsGhostInTheEyepiece.png

The Blue Snowball (NGC 7662)
TheBlueSnowball.jpg

A beautiful planetary nebula that lives up to its name, this blue-green gem can be found in the chain-rock part of the constellation. A challenge for larger instruments is to catch the varying 12-16 magnitude white dwarf. Blinking and averted vision seems to bring out other fainter detail within the nebula. Here's where to aim your scope:
FindingBlueSnowballWideView.png

FindingBlueSnowballFinderscopeView.png

Note: if you have a nebula filter and are having trouble catching the snowball, use it when you hop to And 13. It will dim the stars but enhance the planetary nebula. Remove the filter once you've zeroed in to enjoy the natural color.
****
With Christmas and Comet ISON both around the corner, it's never been a better time to get a telescope. The Beginner's Buyer's Guide can be found in the master index of all Spaced-Out Challenge threads here, but of course you can always inquire about binoculars, telescopes, and all the rest in the comments. As always, if you have astrophotography, product recommendations, or astronomy news you'd like to see on a future Spaced-Out Challenge, email me at theonandonlyfinn (at) gmail.com. Until next week, clear skies and keep looking up!

Posted by: CAC at 08:05 PM



Comments

1 Wow. CAC rising the intellectual level of the Horde.

You need to post these earlier when we are still sober.

Posted by: Nip Sip at October 13, 2013 08:07 PM (0FSuD)

2 A little mood music:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wmd9BjnyLII

Posted by: Psychedelicat at October 13, 2013 08:07 PM (Vk2pI)

3 CAC, don't forget to put up an open thread below so that this thread can focus on astrology.






*hee*

Posted by: Niedermeyer's Dead Horse at October 13, 2013 08:08 PM (DmNpO)

4 Thanks, CAC. I don't get to much sky watching, but I really love these posts.

If I get that job in New Mexico, I'll have to make more time for it.

Posted by: DC in Towson at October 13, 2013 08:11 PM (eQJwb)

5 I don't believe in comets.

Posted by: eman at October 13, 2013 08:11 PM (AO9UG)

6 What sucks is the amount of observing gear gathering dust in the garage because I cursed myself to cloudy skies by buying a Telrad base for my SCT.

Posted by: Yepimanerd at October 13, 2013 08:14 PM (FCgaq)

7 CAC have you been to Mauna Kea?

It is amazing! Snow in HI!

Posted by: Nip Sip at October 13, 2013 08:16 PM (0FSuD)

8 Someone said a stoner thread was up. This is way too complicated for a stoner & me. Nice pictures

Posted by: Misanthropic humanitarian, now with 50% more sensitivity at October 13, 2013 08:16 PM (HVff2)

9 "I don't believe in comets."

Silly. You're soaking in it.

Posted by: Water on Earth at October 13, 2013 08:17 PM (sOtz/)

10 CAC, I'm looking for a good, rugged telescope I can throw in the back of the truck - smaller, really - say car-trunk sized. Are Celestrons still good? If you haven't already done so, maybe a "what to buy for a first telescope" post might be useful to some of us.

Posted by: Skookumchuk at October 13, 2013 08:17 PM (x4x3r)

11 One of these nights, when there is a plethora of cool stuff going on, you should hook up your telescope to a webcam and live stream it in a space thread, along with live commentary.

Posted by: Psychedelicat at October 13, 2013 08:17 PM (Vk2pI)

12 "...you can always inquire about binoculars, telescopes, and all the rest in the comments."

Okay, here's the thing. Mr. DeVille has taken some interest in these threads, noted that Spruce Knob in WV (a recommended spot on your list) is not far from the place near Elkins where he hunts, and has muttered something about being sorry we got rid of the telescope.
The telescope we had was junk, though better than nothing. I do NOT want to get another one. (Trying desperately to get rid of stuff right now.) However, I have been thinking of getting him a really good pair of multi-purpose binoculars. What would a star-gazer recommend?

Posted by: Margarita DeVille at October 13, 2013 08:18 PM (dfYL9)

13 What sucks is the amount of observing gear gathering dust in the garage because I cursed myself to cloudy skies by buying a Telrad base for my SCT.
Posted by: Yepimanerd at October 13, 2013 08:14 PM (FCgaq)
Break. It. Out. For. ISON.

Posted by: CAC at October 13, 2013 08:18 PM (1Ila9)

14 Any chance with binoculars?

Posted by: Anna Puma (+SmuD) at October 13, 2013 08:18 PM (xqlZc)

15 Seriously, the great dust bowl... Really caused by the delivery of a Tasco refractor ordered out of the Sears catalog by a feller in Topeka.

Posted by: Yepimanerd at October 13, 2013 08:19 PM (FCgaq)

16 Meanwhile on the Death Star.

Posted by: Boss Moss former editor of the Harvard Law Review at October 13, 2013 08:20 PM (a6O1A)

17 That picture of Andromeda.

Tranny.


Could we please order up a better looking constellation?

Posted by: Tobacco Road at October 13, 2013 08:20 PM (4Mv1T)

18 [We Politely Request That All Off-Topic or Political Comments Be Directed to the Thread Directly Below This One, Which Will Serve Officially as the Current "Active Conversation" Thread for All Discussions Not Related To This Topic.



man, talk about how you kick a thread in the nuts. I guess I will go back over to the older thread.

Posted by: yankeefifth at October 13, 2013 08:21 PM (Z9EHQ)

19 CAC, great job on on these threads. Any insights or prognostication on whether ISON will survive? I was hoping for the comet of the centurybut now it looks like Big Astronomy is ripping me off.

Posted by: Jim in Virginia at October 13, 2013 08:22 PM (dmJhQ)

20 #14 Any chance with binoculars?
Posted by: Anna Puma (+SmuD) at October 13, 2013 08:18 PM (xqlZc)
Give ISON another week to a week and a half, and it should be down to Mag 9 or brighter, well within range of most binoculars.

Posted by: CAC at October 13, 2013 08:22 PM (1Ila9)

21 Break. It. Out. For. ISON.
CAC at October 13, 2013 08:18 P

Sadly the Houston area has been generally cloud covered since March. I've had 1 clear night of imaging since July.

Posted by: Yepimanerd at October 13, 2013 08:24 PM (FCgaq)

22 However, I have been thinking of getting him a really good pair of multi-purpose binoculars. What would a star-gazer recommend?
Posted by: Margarita DeVille at October 13, 2013 08:18 PM (dfYL9)
AND
CAC, I'm looking for a good, rugged telescope I can throw in the back of the truck - smaller, really - say car-trunk sized. Are Celestrons still good? If you haven't already done so, maybe a "what to buy for a first telescope" post might be useful to some of us.
Posted by: Skookumchuk at October 13, 2013 08:17 PM (x4x3r)

I made a buyer's guide for beginners here, recommending several great telescopes and binoculars along with first accesories:
http://ace.mu.nu/archives/342610.php
Links go right to Ace's Amazon store (if applicable).

Posted by: CAC at October 13, 2013 08:25 PM (1Ila9)

23 22--- Thanks!!!

Posted by: Margarita DeVille at October 13, 2013 08:26 PM (dfYL9)

24 Thanks CAC. Good stuff as always.

Posted by: Foghorn Leghorn at October 13, 2013 08:27 PM (l0lja)

25 Just checked, my binoculars are 10x50.

Posted by: Anna Puma (+SmuD) at October 13, 2013 08:29 PM (xqlZc)

26 Skookumchuk
For a great just grab-and-go scope, it's small, but will do the trick for planet features, the moon, bright nebula, most comets, wide double stars and clusters, can't go wrong with Orion's GoScopeII 70mm Refractor:
http://www.telescope.com/ Telescopes/Refractor-Telescopes/Refractor-Telescopes-with-Altazimuth-Mounts/ Orion-GoScope-II-70mm-Refractor-Travel-Telescope/ pc/1/c/10/sc/334/p/102397.uts
close the spaces in the URL.

Though I think if you want to really enjoy some stuff and your trunk is big enough, or your backseat, check out the Orion XT8. Simply put, it's one bad motherfucker. Huge mirror, ridiculously cheap for that size, tough, easy to realign, simple mount without any complicated doo-hickies.

The Celestron NexStars aren't bad, and if you can still find an old-style C102gt go to refractor, that's not bad either. ExploreScientific has a 102mm refractor + binocular + tripod combo for $449 now too.

Posted by: CAC at October 13, 2013 08:29 PM (1Ila9)

27 Great, thanks CAC.

Posted by: Skookumchuk at October 13, 2013 08:31 PM (x4x3r)

28 Good lord, I can't believe I have a question for this thread. The littlist sailor, 1 day out of surgery demanded that she see leinoid (SP?) meteor shower. She sat outside with a blanket staring at the sky, waiting for a show that never came. Depressed she walked back into the house and went to bed.

That got me thinkin.

Apparently I am raising children that are smarter than me. I think I want to buy her a telescope. She's 9, I have about $300 to spend. So space geeks, what say you?

Posted by: Oldsailors Poet Palin/Bolton 2016 at October 13, 2013 08:34 PM (XIxXP)

29 "Nutwood Observatory"

Heh-he-heh-he-he-he-heh

Posted by: Butthead at October 13, 2013 08:37 PM (stMuz)

30 Its going the wrong direction

Posted by: UWP at October 13, 2013 08:38 PM (vj51i)

31 CAC.. what do recommend for a beginner like me to observe the stars? Don't have much money but maybe my family can put their heads (and money) together and get me something halfway decent for Christmas. My husband was really into this in his youth and I think it's a great time for him to revisit it and for me to start learning.

Posted by: jewells45 trying to keep from going crazy at October 13, 2013 08:39 PM (u25eL)

32 Allright, I read upthread and have found and even older threads with lists and lists of shtuff to buy. I like yours CAC.

Posted by: Oldsailors Poet Palin/Bolton 2016 at October 13, 2013 08:40 PM (XIxXP)

33 Old Sailor.. not smarter per se.. just maybe a bit more curious. That's great she was interested.

Posted by: jewells45 trying to keep from going crazy at October 13, 2013 08:40 PM (u25eL)

34 Old Sailor.. not smarter per se.. just maybe a bit more curious. That's great she was interested.
Posted by: jewells45 trying to keep from going crazy at October 13, 2013 08:40 PM (u25eL)

I will do for her what my dad didn't, indulge her intellectual curiosities while keeping pop culture at bey.

Posted by: Oldsailors Poet Palin/Bolton 2016 at October 13, 2013 08:42 PM (XIxXP)

35 31 - jewells45 --- Go to the link CAC posted in comment #22. Lots of great suggestions for beginners!

Posted by: Margarita DeVille at October 13, 2013 08:45 PM (dfYL9)

36 Old Sailor... Orion Starblast 4.5. Great little scope for a beginner.

Posted by: Yepimanerd at October 13, 2013 08:46 PM (FCgaq)

37 Apparently I am raising children that are smarter than me. I think I want to buy her a telescope. She's 9, I have about $300 to spend. So space geeks, what say you?

Posted by: Oldsailors Poet Palin/Bolton 2016 at October 13, 2013 08:34 PM (XIxXP)

*takes deep breath*
Nine, $300 to spend, and you want her to enjoy the heavens? Totally doable.
First: avoid any telescope you see at CVS or Walgreens. Set fire to them. Sounds like you have very bright kids and giving them a solid scope they can really use will pay off in spades. You need something relatively small and easy to haul around, but still large and powerful enough to actually yield some cool stuff.

Option 1-
The Astronomy-Without-Borders 130mm dobsonian reflector, $199. Plus: 14 lbs, collapsible, easy to collimate, constructed for AWB by Celestron which has been building scopes for over half a century, proceeds go to a great cause.
Minus: you will have to collimate (adjust) it to keep mirrors aligned, but that's relatively easy.
Link here: http://tinyurl.com/muc3nrf

Option 2 from my original buyer's guide is Orion's all-in-one package 90mm mak cas + tripod + eyepieces set for $299 here:
http://astore.amazon.com/aoshq-20/detail/B0056F0TCS
3 eyepieces, tripod, telescope, all for under $300 shipped. More accessories than the dob, lighter, but not as good for deep sky objects unless you're under really dark skies.

Posted by: CAC at October 13, 2013 08:46 PM (1Ila9)

38 I have obtained shatners autograph on a tj hooker poster.

And thus endeth my first and probalby only comicon.

Posted by: Kreplach at October 13, 2013 08:47 PM (hmUex)

39 I dug out my father's old binoculars, turns out they're Bushnells so I think they're quality stuff. Now all I need is for the damn clouds to clear out.

Posted by: Retread at October 13, 2013 08:48 PM (Oz+LZ)

40 Thanks CAC!!

Posted by: jewells45 trying to keep from going crazy at October 13, 2013 08:49 PM (u25eL)

41 Posted by: CAC at October 13, 2013 08:46 PM (1Ila9)


Thanks, I'm gonna drag Mrs.Sailor in her with some money and spend it. If you would like, I'll send you some pictures of her using it. I like the all in one package. I was also looking at the books, left turn at orion and the Backyard astronomers guide. Which do you think would be best for a nine year old with a 12 year old maturity and a college level reading skill?

Posted by: Oldsailors Poet Palin/Bolton 2016 at October 13, 2013 08:51 PM (XIxXP)

42 CAC...what do recommend for a beginner like me to observe the stars? Don't have much money but maybe my family can put their heads (and money) together and get me something halfway decent for Christmas. My husband was really into this in his youth and I think it's a great time for him to revisit it and for me to start learning.
Posted by: jewells45 trying to keep from going crazy at October 13, 2013 08:39 PM (u25eL)
Check out my buyer's guide up thread!
If you really, really want to wow him AND to have a great time along the way learning the sky, let me direct you to an email I received on this topic:

"My wife and I used your suggestions and got an Orion XT8 telescope and the Astronomics lens kit for our 30th wedding anniversary. It is every bit as good as you said and the moon viewings have been astounding. (That moon filter helps.) Of course, we've only had a couple of clear nights since we set up the XT8 but winter, and clearer skies, is coming! The light pollution in our back yard isn't bad and has to be better than what you deal with in L.A.

We have always been interested in astronomy. I've followed the space program since the first Mercury launches. Now that we are retired, we can finally indulge some of these interests. Thanks again for your excellent posts.

Two lurkers who never leave comments."
The combined price of what they bought is just under $490. For that, they got filters, a total of 5 eyepieces (including the one that comes with the telescope), a barlow lens (effectively doubling their arsenal of eyepieces), and the legendary XT8 beast.

I sound like a broken record, but I can't recommend the XT8 enough. If you can afford it, get that. If not, check out the other options listed in the Buyer's Guide.

Posted by: CAC at October 13, 2013 08:55 PM (1Ila9)

43
expand my knowledge please, mag 10? is that brightness? Is mag 5 brighter or less?

Posted by: Guy Mohawk at October 13, 2013 08:56 PM (N8z9m)

44 CAC, I am one of the silent appreciators of your astronomy posts. Thought I'd de-lurk to thank you for your presentation.

Posted by: Mindy at October 13, 2013 08:58 PM (8DqNg)

45 Thanks CAC! You've rekindled my lost love of astronomy. I haven't missed a comet sighting since before Halley's last pass. Time to dust off the old 'scope and set it up.

btw, you've cost me more than any other cob and will no doubt cost more. Celestron soon...

Posted by: Spun and Murky at October 13, 2013 09:00 PM (4DCSq)

46 Just thought I'd drop in and say: Thanks CAC. I appreciate the poats. Even if I don't comment most of the time.

Posted by: Joethefatman™ (@joethefatman1) at October 13, 2013 09:03 PM (MnSla)

47 I was also looking at the books, left turn at orion and the Backyard astronomers guide. Which do you think would be best for a nine year old with a 12 year old maturity and a college level reading skill?
Posted by: Oldsailors Poet Palin/Bolton 2016 at October 13, 2013 08:51 PM (XIxXP)
I'd get her both. Turn Left is extremely easy to use, and the Backyard Guide is great for anyone who is starting off with equipment they've never used before but with a burning curiosity o'er how to use it.

I am also toying with the idea of writing up my own Beginner's Guide to the Sky, but that's at least a year out. Of course I'd recommend that too if it ever got finished.

Posted by: CAC at October 13, 2013 09:05 PM (1Ila9)

48 Thank You CAC, We shall see how it goes.

Posted by: Oldsailors Poet Palin/Bolton 2016 at October 13, 2013 09:06 PM (XIxXP)

49 I am also toying with the idea of writing up my own Beginner's Guide to the Sky, but that's at least a year out. Of course I'd recommend that too if it ever got finished.
Posted by: CAC at October 13, 2013 09:05 PM (1Ila9)

I wrote a book, If I can write one, anyone can, slam it home. Thanks again.

Posted by: Oldsailors Poet Palin/Bolton 2016 at October 13, 2013 09:07 PM (XIxXP)

50 expand my knowledge please, mag 10? is that brightness? Is mag 5 brighter or less?
Posted by: Guy Mohawk at October 13, 2013 08:56 PM (N8z9m)
The brighter an object is, the lower it's magnitude. Some objects, like the sun, moon, planets, and Sirius, are negative magnitude.
From a light polluted sky, the eye can catch objects as faint as magnitude 4.
From a suburban one, as faint as magnitude 5.
From a decent dark sky site, magnitude 6 (this is all naked eye by the way).
Binoculars bring many objects of magnitude 10.5 or better into view, especially from a dark sky site. Right now, ISON is on the edge for excellent binoculars from dark sites.

Posted by: CAC at October 13, 2013 09:10 PM (1Ila9)

51 ugh, ten nonstop minutes of TWD: Couples Island.

Posted by: adams porn at October 13, 2013 09:12 PM (gQKHE)

52 Absolutely fascinating, as usual. Thank you for these wonderful articles.

Posted by: and irresolute at October 13, 2013 09:14 PM (RqHWH)

53 Binoculars bring many objects of magnitude 10.5 or better into view,
especially from a dark sky site. Right now, ISON is on the edge for
excellent binoculars from dark sites.>>

The diameter of the forward end of any optic you use will help with low light viewing, regardless of mag.

Posted by: The Hickster at October 13, 2013 09:18 PM (okL9f)

54 Did anyone else notice that even in a star tread CAC managed to get some tits in it?

Posted by: Nip Sip at October 13, 2013 09:20 PM (0FSuD)

55 I got up at 430 this am and went hunting for ison. I have some light pollution in the east sky and used a new sodium filter. I was not exactly sure which faint spot in particular was the comet. I don't see green real well.

will try again next weekend.

Posted by: DONKEY PUNCHER at October 13, 2013 09:26 PM (45mmJ)

56 This thread...Its' full of stars...

And I don't have time for that shit....

Sorry.

Posted by: Portnoy at October 13, 2013 09:26 PM (XJ66k)

57 56
This thread...Its' full of stars...
And I don't have time for that shit....
Sorry.


Did you miss some recent events that highlighted how much the people producing all this free content hate when people drop in to tell them that their efforts just don't meet their lofty standards?

Posted by: Splunge at October 13, 2013 09:32 PM (bKA83)

58 thanks cac

Posted by: Guy Mohawk at October 13, 2013 09:35 PM (N8z9m)

59 "However, I have been thinking of getting him a really good pair of multi-purpose binoculars. What would a star-gazer recommend?"

Not multi-purpose really, but these are excellent for astronomy. Stupid website won't let me get the link, but go to astro-physics.com and look for Binoculars under Products. They only have two. I use the 15x70 model.

Spruce Knob is home of the "Almost Heaven Star Party". Check out ahsp.org .

Posted by: whoever at October 13, 2013 09:40 PM (UJe/j)

60 #58 de nada.

Posted by: CAC at October 13, 2013 09:41 PM (Gw1Go)

61
cool. I just embroidered Andromeda... and 19 other constellations for a quilt.

but my Andromeda wasn't the whole thing apparently. Hmmm.

Posted by: petunia at October 13, 2013 09:42 PM (DAcBA)

62 #59 Spruce Knob is as dark as Death Valley. Considering its only 4 hours from D.C., that's pretty incredible.

Posted by: CAC at October 13, 2013 09:43 PM (Gw1Go)

63 Regarding star magnitudes, the original system of classifying them from 1 to 6 started with the ancient Greeks. "Stars of the first magnitude" were the brightest stars in the sky, "stars of the second magnitude" were somewhat fainter, and so on.

When written this way, you can see that it actually makes sense that lower numbers are brighter than higher ones.

Sixth magnitude stars are generally the faintest that can be seen with the naked eye. After the invention of the telescope, the scale was extended to higher numbers (fainter stars).

At first the classifications were purely subjective, but starting in the 19th century attempts were made to standardize the system. Yes, math is involved. This also led to the use of negative magnitude numbers for very bright objects. For example, the Sun as seen from Earth averages -26.74.

Here are two Wikipedia pages which go into more detail:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnitude_(astronomy)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stellar_magnitude

At the bottom of the second link is an interesting chart that compares magnitudes of various objects.

Posted by: rickl at October 13, 2013 09:51 PM (sdi6R)

64 That should be -26.74 for the Sun. I may have stuck a space in there by accident.

Posted by: rickl at October 13, 2013 09:53 PM (sdi6R)

65
Did you miss some recent events that highlighted how much the people
producing all this free content hate when people drop in to tell them
that their efforts just don't meet their lofty standards?


Oh, I'm sorry, full of starts and sprinkled with cockholsters.

My bad.

Posted by: Portnoy at October 13, 2013 09:53 PM (XJ66k)

66 Hi, CAC--I live just outside DC and never see much of anything but the sun or the moon. How far away do I have to get to actually see something up there? And, are "amateur" astronomer groups really worth looking into? Thank you!

Posted by: Quint&Jessel, Sea of Azof, Bly, UK at October 13, 2013 09:55 PM (6KSs1)

67 65
Oh, I'm sorry, full of starts and sprinkled with cockholsters.
My bad.


So much for you.

Carry on, my wayward son.
There'll be peace when you are gone.
Lay your weary head to rest.
Don't you cry no more.

Posted by: Splunge at October 13, 2013 09:56 PM (bKA83)

68 66
And, are "amateur" astronomer groups really worth looking into?

Posted by: Quint&Jessel, Sea of Azof, Bly, UK at October 13, 2013 09:55 PM (6KSs1)


Yes, absolutely! You'll find that there is more to see than you thought, plus you'll get to look through all sorts of telescopes. That experience will come in handy if you decide to buy your own.

Posted by: rickl at October 13, 2013 10:00 PM (sdi6R)

69 Hi, CAC--I live just outside DC and never see much of anything but the sun or the moon. How far away do I have to get to actually see something up there? And, are "amateur" astronomer groups really worth looking into? Thank you!

Posted by: Quint&Jessel, Sea of Azof, Bly, UK at October 13, 2013 09:55 PM (6KSs1)


If you haven't looked into it already (and do so after the government shutdown is over) check to see if the Naval Observatory still does evening events (I believe they were once a month).

Posted by: Vendette at October 13, 2013 10:02 PM (PTQex)

70 Vendette: USNO's page indicates they shut down public tours because of the sequester, never mind the "government shutdown". So it might be a long time before those are restored.

Posted by: Ian S. at October 13, 2013 10:09 PM (T6c9C)

71 Posted by: Ian S. at October 13, 2013 10:09 PM (T6c9C)


Didn't know that, but am not surprised. Thanks.

Posted by: Vendette at October 13, 2013 10:11 PM (PTQex)

72 Not astronomy-related, but space-related, which is close enough for me.

Last night's SNL opening. I thought it was kind of cute.

http://tinyurl.com/mqmmjlw

Posted by: rickl at October 13, 2013 10:26 PM (sdi6R)

73 Tangentially related, we saw the ISS fly-over at 1945 this evening.

Posted by: AltonJackson at October 13, 2013 10:43 PM (JMmQ9)

74 66 Hi, CAC--I live just outside DC and never see much of anything but the sun or the moon. How far away do I have to get to actually see something up there? And, are "amateur" astronomer groups really worth looking into? Thank you!
Posted by: Quint&Jessel, Sea of Azof, Bly, UK at October 13, 2013 09:55 PM (6KSs1)
If you shield your view, you can actually see quite a bit from Montgomery Co, PG, Fairfax or Alexandria, especially if you have a telescope. For improved naked eye views, there are several sites listed in the MD and VA entries in this thread, including one less than 2 hrs from the Capitol that offers a great view of the Milky Way, Sky Meadows State Park: http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state_parks/ mobile/sp.cfm?sp=SK (close gap in URL) and here's the list of dark sky sites for all 50 states: http://minx.cc/?post=342159

Posted by: CAC at October 13, 2013 10:52 PM (Gw1Go)

75 I'm late to the thread, as usual, but CAC, it makes me very happy to have an astronomy thread. Thank you.

Posted by: sinmi at October 13, 2013 11:21 PM (NUMNK)

76 ...& Comet ISON Cometh

Don't hype it too much. I remember Comet Kohoutek was played up and it turned out to be a dud.

Posted by: Blacque Jacques Shellacque at October 13, 2013 11:41 PM (/IXKu)

77 What do you do to the photos that gives the parallax effect in the background star field? Very neat effect.

Posted by: T TWICE at October 14, 2013 02:28 PM (4TixI)

78 SMOD?

Posted by: mojo at October 14, 2013 03:48 PM (AIC5Z)

79
Oh, I want to say thank you to you guys--couldn't get back to this thread until now! I'll look into the amateur group here, and also for darker places!

Posted by: Quint&Jessel, Sea of Azof, Bly, UK at October 14, 2013 05:09 PM (6KSs1)






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