Author Topic: Helping beginners with the Messiers?  (Read 1689 times)

Lumpy Darkness

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Helping beginners with the Messiers?
« on: September 25, 2014, 11:29:20 AM »
I'd like to add a monthly "Observable Messiers" list to the Beginner section.  I suppose it would be best to limit them to a 45 degrees elevation, so as to make them nicer to see.  Is there anyone who would put together a list by month, for a year, based on the bay area as the observing location, and a reasonable elevation for the objects? 

John Pierce

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Re: Helping beginners with the Messiers?
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2014, 11:45:38 AM »
that list will be heavily overlapped...   and at what time should it be calculated?   stuff thats directly overhead at 10pm in july is also overhead at 11pm in august, etc etc.

Lumpy Darkness

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Re: Helping beginners with the Messiers?
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2014, 11:52:58 AM »
Yes, there will be a lot of overlap, which I think is a good thing.

I'd think the "what time" criteria would be astronomical dark at the beginning and end of the month.  I am sure the time changes over a month add a bit of a wrinkle to this...

Marko

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Re: Helping beginners with the Messiers?
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2014, 01:23:00 AM »
If one has a list of the Messier objects that is ordered by RA then the key piece of info is to explain that a given RA is overhead on the meridian at midnight on a particular  month/day each year.  Combine that with the understanding that for every hour of clock time before or after midnight one hour of RA rotates counter clockwise relative to Polaris for each passing hour.   That is a powerful lesson that 'teaches one to fish'  for a good month/time (for Messiers or any object knowing it's RA). 

The Astronomical League (of which TAC-AL participates) has a an ordered list of messier objects at http://www.astroleague.org/al/obsclubs/messier/messlist.html

The above list does the grouping that Mark has suggested as well by the way.

Let me roam the deep skies and I'll be content.

John Pierce

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Re: Helping beginners with the Messiers?
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2014, 01:42:15 AM »
at a recent public 'moon' event, I did a bunch of explaining to folks about the phases of the moon, and teh day vs lunar vs annual cycles, and got a lot of 'oh wow's from the folks.

first I made sure folks saw the whole moon at about 25X in a pair of 25x100 binoculars, and identifed that they saw this Sinus Iridium loop sticking out.  Then I had them look in the 12" dobson, with a moon filter, and a 82' wide Explore 8.8mm eyepiece to get the zoomed in view.    This got a lot of ".....  OH ...  MY ... GAWD! " as they saw the loop sticking way out well beyond the terminator at 150X  :)

win-win!