Page 1 of 1

Good binocular objects?

Posted: 11.04.2004, 08:32
by Evil Dr Ganymede
*gasp* a bona fide astronomical question from me for a change! :D

I just got me a pair of 10x50 binoculars today (not particularly great for astronomy, but I got them more for wildlife watching on the work cruise I'm going on next week up the BC coastline). But I tried them out tonight (about 10pm PST) for a bit of skywatching and they weren't too bad.

I found all the planets that were up. I could see Venus as a small disk, but I couldn't see the half-phase that it's supposed to be in (according to Celestia anyway). I saw Mars as a smaller red disk, and Saturn as a small yellow disk (I couldn't make out the rings though). Jupiter was obviously a disk, and I saw a dot to the lower-left of it that was Ganymede and Io (they're very close to eachother), and just about made out Callisto further to the left. But it wasn't easy to make out the moons.

I also saw the Pleiades (very nice), I think I saw the Praesepe cluster in Cancer (a big clump of stars, basically), and the Orion nebula (a dim fuzzy patch around a couple of stars). I found Castor and Pollux and managed to locate and split up Mizar and Alcor too. M31 was too low to the horizon to spot though.

Is there anything else worth seeing in the northern hemisphere sky nowadays? I spent most of the time looking west, in the general direction of Orion. I didn't spot much in the eastern sky though - is there anything interesting there too see? (by which I mean clusters, nebulae, galaxies, multiple stars that can be split up, etc).

Re: Good binocular objects?

Posted: 11.04.2004, 09:43
by TERRIER
Evil Doctor G,

This may be a helpful site for binocular viewing;
http://www.skymaps.com/downloads.html

...and of course there's the Goto surface (ctrl+G) feature in Celestia as well !

Evil Dr Ganymede wrote: Saturn as a small yellow disk (I couldn't make out the rings though)


Unfortunately you'll need a more powerful set of binocs to start clearly viewing the rings. You're looking at something around 50x mag.

Glad you could see the moons of Jupiter, there's been some clear nights here recently and the small pinpoints of light have been clearly visible through my 20x50's :D

regards
TERRIER

Posted: 11.04.2004, 11:31
by ElPelado
Try to find the Cluster in Canis Mayor, nice cluster. And the are two clusters in the tail of the Scorpion(M6 and M7 if I'm not mistaken). I love the Scorpion clusteres, they were the firsts I saw...
Oh, and of course, the Moon....

Re: Good binocular objects?

Posted: 11.04.2004, 17:00
by Evil Dr Ganymede
TERRIER wrote:...and of course there's the Goto surface (ctrl+G) feature in Celestia as well !

I've been using that feature extensively to check the locations of things in the sky (it's how I knew what jovian moons I was looking at). It turns Celestia from being into a pretty educational tool to a darn useful astronomical aid :).

Unfortunately you'll need a more powerful set of binocs to start clearly viewing the rings. You're looking at something around 50x mag.

I've seen those though a telescope - I have an old 2 or 3" refractor at home. Even that's noticeably better than these binoculars though.

Glad you could see the moons of Jupiter, there's been some clear nights here recently and the small pinpoints of light have been clearly visible through my 20x50's :D


I think if my hands weren't so shaky I might have seen them more clearly. But I was impressed that I could still see Callisto, it was really faint.

I'm downloading seldens clusters and nebulae addons, so I'll see if I can find those other ones that ElPelado mentioned. Of course, what I'd really kill to see are the Magellanic clouds, but I'm in the wrong hemisphere for that :(.

Re: Good binocular objects?

Posted: 11.04.2004, 23:51
by TERRIER
Evil Dr Ganymede wrote:I think if my hands weren't so shaky I might have seen them more clearly. But I was impressed that I could still see Callisto, it was really faint.


Yes, even with the most steady of hands and also trying not to breath, it's almost impossible to keep the image of the object reasonably still for more than a second or two. :lol:

Anybody know a good method of keeping binoculars steady without using a tripod ?

Go to surface

Posted: 12.04.2004, 10:32
by quakemazer
Hey everyone I'm new to the forums and the program and absolutely love both. Just wanted to say hello, and ask a question.

After I hit control-G; Is there a way to tell Celestia to go to a particular longitude and latitude on the surface? That way the sky I'm looking at is representative of the actual sky I'll see from my home position.

I've been using this nice freeware to help me check out the night sky:

http://stellarium.free.fr/ .

I'd like to get the same functionality from Celestia but can't quite work it out yet.

Thanks in advance and have a great day (or night).

Posted: 12.04.2004, 11:29
by selden
quakemazer,

Please read the "preliminary user's faq" at the top of the Celestia User's Forum, especially Q/A#19

Thanks selden

Posted: 12.04.2004, 11:47
by quakemazer
I've literally just stumbled into all of this so I'm still sorting the where’s from the what’s. Thanks for the heads up! What a fun application Celestia is. :)

Posted: 13.04.2004, 04:52
by Guest
Try the freeware program http://www.hnsky.org/software.htm

It's the one I use to see what's good to see for the night. Not as fancy graphics as celestia but it's designed for a differrent purpose, basicaly to help with observation planning. Given your're using binoculars I'd suggest open clusters as a starting point and some of the larger globular clusters. I'm in the southern hem so I don't really know whats up there in your area.
If you want some real eye openers (though you won't be able to see them) load in the leda data set to see just how many galaxies are out there. Quite amazing and even it's not complete....