Podcaster:  Shane and Chris

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Title: How to Find Things in the Night Sky

Organization:  Actual Astronomy

Link :


The Actual Astronomy Podcast presents How to Find Things in the Night Sky 

In this episode Shane and Chris attempt to answer the frequently asked question, “How do I find things in the Night Sky?”  In a walk through from beginner to advanced stargazing techniques listeners will learn how they can find anything in the night sky from stars, planets and constellations to deep sky objects like galaxies, nebula and star clusters. 

Bio: Shane and Chris are amateur astronomers who enjoy teaching astronomy classes and performing outreach where they help the eyes of the public to telescope eyepieces.

Today’s sponsor: Big thanks to our Patreon supporters this month: David Bowes, Dustin A Ruoff, Brett Duane, Kim Hay, Nik Whitehead, Timo Sievänen, Michael Freedman, Paul Fischer, Rani Bush, Karl Bewley, Joko Danar, Steven Emert, Frank Tippin, Steven Jansen, Barbara Geier, Don Swartwout, James K. Wood, Katrina Ince, Michael Lewinger, Phyllis Simon Foster, Nicolo DePierro, Tim Smith, Frank Frankovic, Steve Nerlich

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00:00:02.820 –> 00:00:15.030
Chris Beckett: and welcome to episode 127 of the actual astronomy podcast the all about finding stuff in space edition sorry about that shane I think I surprised that there with the recording but we’ll just roll with it.

00:00:15.330 –> 00:00:18.240
Shane Ludtke: yeah i’m you know i’m locked and loaded i’m always ready.

00:00:18.390 –> 00:00:26.430
Chris Beckett: Good stuff well we’re amateur astronomers who love looking up the night sky and this podcast is for anyone else who likes going out under the stars.

00:00:27.090 –> 00:00:31.530
Chris Beckett: And again, my apologies i’m a little tired today, I was, I was actually doing astronomy.

00:00:32.220 –> 00:00:38.250
Chris Beckett: All night last night until it started getting Brighton and, as I, as I was telling us you know I came home and.

00:00:38.820 –> 00:00:45.060
Chris Beckett: In our carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide or one of these detectors ran out of batteries and about.

00:00:45.600 –> 00:00:51.000
Chris Beckett: Half an hour after after I had fallen asleep so, even though I was up all night I was, I was up bright and early.

00:00:51.630 –> 00:01:06.390
Chris Beckett: and ready to go so so shane let’s talk about finding stuff in the night sky that that always presents a challenge not only for newcomers but, but even last night I was struggling to find a few things so see what are your thoughts on this topic.

00:01:07.020 –> 00:01:13.380
Shane Ludtke: Well, you know if I remember when I first got into astronomy in terms of like I bought my first real telescope.

00:01:14.610 –> 00:01:20.010
Shane Ludtke: That was the most intimidating thing for me was like how do I find anything in the night sky because.

00:01:21.060 –> 00:01:34.800
Shane Ludtke: At that point, everything basically look the same to me, other than the moon, you know it was just a bunch of different brightness of stars, essentially, and even though some of those stars were planets and other objects, but.

00:01:36.210 –> 00:01:52.500
Shane Ludtke: You know you you start off with some basic understandings and you just sort of work, your way up to more and more challenging things and I think we’ll walk people through that today and talk about some of the tools that you can use we’ll talk about some good books that people can use.

00:01:53.520 –> 00:02:02.880
Shane Ludtke: And you know, maybe to kick it off, I would say, the first thing to start with, to find in the night sky with a telescope or with binoculars is the moon.

00:02:02.910 –> 00:02:10.680
Shane Ludtke: it’s yes, the easiest thing and often you know when we do our monthly podcast about objects to observe and in the upcoming month.

00:02:11.040 –> 00:02:21.180
Shane Ludtke: there’s often a number of planets and sometimes some other deep sky objects that are you know really close to the moon, so you know locating the moon, you can kind of branch off and end up finding other things.

00:02:21.600 –> 00:02:30.570
Shane Ludtke: From there but anyway that’s that’s usually that’s how I did it actually when I had my first telescope which was an eight inch sky watcher dub Sony and.

00:02:31.350 –> 00:02:42.720
Shane Ludtke: It sat on used for a couple of weeks because I wasn’t sure exactly how to use it, how to find something and then one night the moon was out and that was the first object I I found through my telescope.

00:02:43.080 –> 00:02:48.390
Chris Beckett: Nice nice yeah first thing I looked at was the planet Mars.

00:02:49.080 –> 00:02:49.710
Shane Ludtke: Oh yeah yeah.

00:02:50.070 –> 00:02:55.440
Chris Beckett: it’s sort of similar situation, and it was it was the brightest thing was Mars opposition and.

00:02:56.760 –> 00:03:04.020
Chris Beckett: And it was it was very high overhead and we had these clouds that were that were just it was very, very terrible conditions, and if you weren’t.

00:03:04.260 –> 00:03:10.530
Chris Beckett: somebody who was getting a telescope for the first time and and only had this one night to use it, you probably would never have gone out on this night.

00:03:10.950 –> 00:03:20.790
Chris Beckett: And I was actually not sure it wasn’t going to rain and I remember, I could see it between the brakes and glad someone’s I could actually see it through the clouds weren’t that thick and so.

00:03:21.810 –> 00:03:31.860
Chris Beckett: yeah I was, I was able to to get it in there and I was really surprised to be able to see it even even with our clouds going by and I can see the polar caps and everything yeah it was just just amazing to be able to see that.

00:03:32.880 –> 00:03:35.460
Shane Ludtke: yeah that’s a great first view through a telescope for sure.

00:03:35.730 –> 00:03:47.160
Chris Beckett: yeah and sort of, fortunately, of course, it was about the only only thing I could see because of because of all these other clouds so it was very easy to figure what which one up there, which one up there was Mars, but.

00:03:47.940 –> 00:03:54.240
Chris Beckett: But yeah I mean and then sort of beyond like those those really initial steps you know it can.

00:03:54.900 –> 00:04:00.600
Chris Beckett: be challenging to to sort of make make our way through through the night sky but.

00:04:01.020 –> 00:04:11.610
Chris Beckett: You know, probably one of one of the best places to get started, is really just to begin learning those those constellations so how did you learn the constellation shane and do you have any.

00:04:12.030 –> 00:04:19.140
Chris Beckett: tools tips or tricks for for people who who just just want to learn those those constellations really to get started.

00:04:19.740 –> 00:04:32.760
Shane Ludtke: yeah probably the best tool that I can recommend and it’s one that i’ve used and used for many, many years and it’s known as a planet sphere, so a planet sphere is something you can take into the field with you.

00:04:33.660 –> 00:04:51.510
Shane Ludtke: And it has trying to explain this it’s best to probably do an Internet search on this thing or YouTube video just to get an idea of what i’m talking about, but basically what it is, is a piece of plastic or cardboard and there’s a central disc in it which rotates and this disc has.

00:04:52.590 –> 00:05:06.870
Shane Ludtke: illustrations of all of the constellations in the sky and then on the outside of the disc or dates and times, so what you do is you match up like you rotate this disc so that it is the correct date and time for your current location.

00:05:07.980 –> 00:05:17.730
Shane Ludtke: And then, what you do there’s like north, south, east, west on this planet sphere, you you put it overhead and you hold it up to the sky aligning you know north to north.

00:05:18.240 –> 00:05:27.930
Shane Ludtke: And then, it provides a map of the night sky at that time, for your location and that’s to me, one of the greatest ways that you can learn the constellations.

00:05:28.650 –> 00:05:38.340
Shane Ludtke: You know there’s all kinds of Apps out there, that you can get on your phone and it uses like the gyroscope in your phone, so you you hold the phone up to the sky and it it kind of shows you where everything is.

00:05:39.420 –> 00:05:47.160
Shane Ludtke: i’ve used those kind of like I don’t have a lot of usage time with those, but I have used them in the backyard.

00:05:47.520 –> 00:05:55.470
Shane Ludtke: There Okay, but sometimes I find like the scale isn’t quite represented very well, or what my phone is showing is.

00:05:55.830 –> 00:06:05.880
Shane Ludtke: is not really aligned with what is in front of my eyes in the night sky you know, maybe it’s off to the right or off to the left so i’m not as huge fan of.

00:06:06.870 –> 00:06:12.990
Shane Ludtke: Of the Apps I really like the planet sphere, and that the typical thing to I guess with constellations is.

00:06:13.350 –> 00:06:26.790
Shane Ludtke: Usually they’re comprised of some of the brightest stars in the night sky, so you know you look for some of those distinct stars and then you start to draw the lines you know, in the sky, to understand you know the the outline of the constellation.

00:06:27.540 –> 00:06:35.880
Chris Beckett: yeah and I have to underscore you know not you know we use, you know planetarium software and other things for for planning our sessions and.

00:06:36.570 –> 00:06:51.990
Chris Beckett: You know even even create my own star charts from them and print them off physically and take them into the field but there’s a few challenges with using screens under the night sky one of them is that the screens, I mean at least all the screens i’ve seen are too bright.

00:06:53.640 –> 00:07:00.540
Shane Ludtke: yeah yeah they’re often fairly bright now there’s some things you can do to tone them down like there’s settings on the phone that allow you to.

00:07:00.900 –> 00:07:16.890
Shane Ludtke: To put like a red background on and really tone down the brightness and you can even get like red overlays to put on the display of your phone so that you know it’s greatly reduced, but the thing is is it’s usually such a large surface emitting light.

00:07:16.980 –> 00:07:19.380
Shane Ludtke: them it’s kind of hard to really control.

00:07:21.000 –> 00:07:32.100
Shane Ludtke: Now if you’re in if you’re in the backyard if you’re in a light polluted sky I don’t worry too much about phones or any of that kind of stuff because you’re probably not getting that dark adapted anyway, but.

00:07:32.160 –> 00:07:41.640
Shane Ludtke: yeah if you are outside like if you’ve made the voyage to go to a dark site I just don’t like to spoil it with any kind of light, you know as little light as possible.

00:07:42.030 –> 00:07:50.130
Chris Beckett: yeah and you know as well you know, like what you’re saying and i’ve helped a few people with these, and it is always a little bit frustrating where.

00:07:51.090 –> 00:07:56.160
Chris Beckett: If they’re not if the software isn’t set up properly, you know just just like with the planet sphere.

00:07:56.400 –> 00:08:04.560
Chris Beckett: You kind of have to set the day and time and have the general location and that sort of thing but typically you’ll buy a plan is fear based on your on your latitude so like.

00:08:05.130 –> 00:08:16.260
Chris Beckett: You can get one for like 50 degrees north of just more or less where we live here in in saskatchewan and that will work that will work more or less pretty much anywhere in North America, give it give or take, however.

00:08:17.130 –> 00:08:24.570
Chris Beckett: You know, you can get ones for 40 degrees North which, which is great if you live like in New York, or you can get ones for like 30 degrees.

00:08:25.080 –> 00:08:33.030
Chris Beckett: North which is great if you live in the in the Southwestern states in the US or something like that, and then there’s there’s there’s all kinds of different ones.

00:08:34.170 –> 00:08:43.230
Chris Beckett: That you can get and that that works really well so that that kind of bit of the setup is is done for you, whereas with with the phones and the other Apps I often find that.

00:08:43.950 –> 00:08:52.320
Chris Beckett: What people haven’t put something in right or they haven’t put the the the Greenwich mean time in right so so it’s not correct correcting for.

00:08:53.190 –> 00:09:06.000
Chris Beckett: When it’s night here versus when it’s when it’s night time in the UK and, of course, that that doesn’t work so well and they’re they’re kind of getting different constellations up and it, it seems like that would be a simple thing to do, but you know.

00:09:07.080 –> 00:09:10.110
Chris Beckett: With electronics in the night sky like I was working with my.

00:09:11.940 –> 00:09:21.000
Chris Beckett: Computer driven mount that can both work computer driven and not computer driven and I was doing some some finding of things last night and I thought wow.

00:09:21.420 –> 00:09:28.770
Chris Beckett: Like I know where these things are, and I know what stars, I need to have a pointed at to get it aligned properly and.

00:09:29.490 –> 00:09:38.370
Chris Beckett: And that’s pretty easy for me to do but but oftentimes for newcomers, those are going to be some pretty large barriers for for getting into it so.

00:09:38.910 –> 00:09:50.760
Chris Beckett: That that’s why we recommend sort of these these older sort of analog just just a plastic paper plan a sphere and then just just kind of learning those constellations first before trying to get into this this computer driven technology.

00:09:51.240 –> 00:10:02.640
Shane Ludtke: yeah for sure, and you know, maybe i’ll just take a pause here, and maybe explain the process as well, so if you’re taking a telescope out under a dark sky or even maybe a light polluted sky.

00:10:03.930 –> 00:10:10.980
Shane Ludtke: Usually what you’re going to do and i’m going to make an assumption here that you’re manually moving the Mount yourself it’s not one of the computer driven ones.

00:10:11.190 –> 00:10:24.300
Shane Ludtke: yeah so if you’re if you’re doing this, usually the way you begin is you well, first of all, you want to know what you’re looking at and we’ll get into how you determine that but, once you have the object that you want to look at.

00:10:25.350 –> 00:10:38.880
Shane Ludtke: Your now probably going to star hop to it, so you start at brighter stars, that you can see, with your naked eye and then you use the telescope and you move from star to star to star until you get to the object that you want to look at.

00:10:39.270 –> 00:10:43.260
Shane Ludtke: Now that’s why identifying the constellations is important.

00:10:43.320 –> 00:10:49.170
Shane Ludtke: Because you can often use one of those stars in the constellation to begin your star hop from.

00:10:51.420 –> 00:11:00.630
Shane Ludtke: So you know starting off with the planet sphere, you know you’re able to locate the constellation, then you can locate the star within the constellation that’s important to you.

00:11:01.050 –> 00:11:08.520
Shane Ludtke: And then you can start to navigate to some of the you know nebulas galaxies clusters, whatever you might be chasing down within that constellation.

00:11:08.850 –> 00:11:18.420
Chris Beckett: Right yeah and even like you know even some people may want some even more basic advice you know what one thing that I.

00:11:19.500 –> 00:11:30.120
Chris Beckett: That I typically go from in my astronomy classes my my very basic non credit university astronomy classes, that I teach beginners trying to learn the night sky is.

00:11:31.380 –> 00:11:38.280
Chris Beckett: This great resource at sky maps COM i’m not affiliated with sky i’m not really good I don’t know everything about them, but.

00:11:38.970 –> 00:11:46.980
Chris Beckett: it’s a reputable site and what they do is every month, they put out a free star chart and that you can print off and.

00:11:47.730 –> 00:11:54.000
Chris Beckett: And, and what they do, they do something really well and that’s that they help you learn all the different.

00:11:54.510 –> 00:12:04.470
Chris Beckett: bright stars and constellations using the moon, and where the moon, is in the scale so K, like the moon, is going to be near regulus or the moon, is going to be near and terry’s tonight.

00:12:04.860 –> 00:12:11.310
Chris Beckett: And on the Left column just about every day, it has where the moon is listed, or what other things are listed.

00:12:11.640 –> 00:12:17.850
Chris Beckett: And what else is going on the native Skype there’s a meteor shower or something like that all these really basic things and I actually think.

00:12:18.810 –> 00:12:28.620
Chris Beckett: If somebody did this somebody really wants to learn the night sky and you didn’t have a lot of time, you could probably print those off and just take like 15 minutes or half an hour, a month and go with it.

00:12:29.100 –> 00:12:36.180
Chris Beckett: In your backyard and you could you could probably learn the sky over the course of a year or two just just using that it could be a lot of fun.

00:12:36.960 –> 00:12:38.400
Shane Ludtke: yeah yeah that’s a great suggestion.

00:12:39.870 –> 00:12:45.840
Chris Beckett: So what else do we have that there’s some other basic books, I think that can that can really help people.

00:12:46.590 –> 00:12:50.340
Chris Beckett: get going in learning the nighttime sky I don’t know if you if you had any.

00:12:51.060 –> 00:13:01.380
Chris Beckett: sort of early books that kind of help you trace out the constellation chain or any advice for tracing the constellations other than using a physical planet sphere and not relying on.

00:13:01.740 –> 00:13:07.380
Chris Beckett: On trying to drag up phones and ipads which also are expensive in like last night it’s extremely do we and.

00:13:07.620 –> 00:13:09.750
Chris Beckett: You wouldn’t want to leave an iPad sitting up for.

00:13:09.780 –> 00:13:13.140
Chris Beckett: For three or four hours in those conditions and probably be damaged.

00:13:13.380 –> 00:13:20.850
Shane Ludtke: yeah yeah one book that you and I have talked about on previous episodes of this podcast and you know is near and dear to our hearts.

00:13:21.420 –> 00:13:32.820
Shane Ludtke: Is night watched by Terrence Dickinson that’s one that I started off with early early on and and there’s multiple revisions of this thing, but even if you find an old one, at a like a used bookstore.

00:13:32.970 –> 00:13:35.730
Shane Ludtke: is actually what I did I think my first copy of that was like.

00:13:36.240 –> 00:13:39.450
Shane Ludtke: $2 or something like that that I got at a used bookstore.

00:13:39.720 –> 00:13:51.900
Shane Ludtke: yeah and The thing is, is the constellations basically don’t change don’t so it’s still valid, and it really it’s an awesome guide you know, to the constellations and some of the prominent things within those constellations.

00:13:52.380 –> 00:13:57.570
Chris Beckett: yeah and what I, like most about about night watch is Terrence Dickinson who’s the author.

00:13:59.010 –> 00:14:10.770
Chris Beckett: He has this very great way of teaching people that I think sky and that book has the sense of charts sort of by CS and there’s sort of like for these means seasons, in the year, just like there is.

00:14:11.040 –> 00:14:21.720
Chris Beckett: The seasons that we experienced and by by seasons we’re talking about different stars that appear in the nighttime sky depending on whether it’s winter spring or summer fall and.

00:14:22.500 –> 00:14:37.140
Chris Beckett: And he’s got this this beautiful bit in their sort of well drawn charts that that depict what the sky looks like just to your eye with those with those bright stars and then on, on the other, page.

00:14:38.310 –> 00:14:39.450
Chris Beckett: He details so.

00:14:40.770 –> 00:14:48.090
Chris Beckett: A bit of a bit of a chart sort of allowing you even like sitting in your living room on a on a stormy night.

00:14:48.780 –> 00:14:57.660
Chris Beckett: To look and go back and forth and kind of become familiar with, looking at the stars sort of in a natural way you know, of course, when we look up there’s no there’s no.

00:14:58.590 –> 00:15:13.170
Chris Beckett: there’s no lines lines drawn in the sky, though sometimes I was like a joke and say it was so dark, we could see the lines connecting the constellation patterns, but, but you don’t see that, on the nighttime sky and of course that’s that’s part of the joy of learning this.

00:15:14.340 –> 00:15:19.710
Chris Beckett: And he really he really does that well and then so he has these basic sense that help you.

00:15:20.250 –> 00:15:32.400
Chris Beckett: See the sky, just as your I would see it, and then you can take those out under the nighttime Sky and the book is designed it’s ring bounce you can lay it flat somewhere on like a car hood or something like that, and then.

00:15:33.450 –> 00:15:39.510
Chris Beckett: he’s got some more advanced charts in there, which actually depicts some of the brighter deep sky objects.

00:15:40.530 –> 00:15:50.370
Chris Beckett: And the other thing he does is he connects all star patterns, because oftentimes, and this is this is less true now but oftentimes in the past or atlases would not connect.

00:15:51.360 –> 00:16:02.160
Chris Beckett: The the brighter stars that depict the most common star patterns and that that can be a bit of a barrier to people trying to learn anytime Skype it just like dots in a page like what am I looking at right.

00:16:03.090 –> 00:16:12.540
Shane Ludtke: yeah yeah it’s a really, really good book for all of those reasons, is there any other ones that stand out to you, Chris that are you know, good for somebody just getting going.

00:16:13.110 –> 00:16:21.510
Chris Beckett: So this, this is one I bought recently another Terrence Dickinson book it’s it’s even more basic you know and it just goes to show that everybody learns.

00:16:22.200 –> 00:16:35.190
Chris Beckett: A little bit differently so he actually has a really, really basic one called exploring the night sky by Terrence Dickinson so this one’s really inexpensive I think I paid $9 for one new Amazon.

00:16:36.750 –> 00:16:46.050
Chris Beckett: But anyway, in that book he he breaks the Skype into anything five or six different sort of dominant sets of constellations bye.

00:16:46.830 –> 00:16:57.960
Chris Beckett: bye sort of typical times of the year, so, for example, you might even say like really spraying and late spring and early summer late summer, so I think there’s maybe, maybe even up to eight sets of these these patterns, I have it here I just don’t wanna through it.

00:16:59.220 –> 00:17:04.770
Chris Beckett: And people that were taking my streaming class we’re actually getting this I wasn’t recommending it, and so I bought a copy.

00:17:05.700 –> 00:17:13.380
Chris Beckett: My suppose she excellent the night sky and when she was doing her girlguiding and and she she learned.

00:17:13.860 –> 00:17:26.580
Chris Beckett: The stars and those those patterns using this and it’s good it’s just that that section isn’t very big and it’s it’s an inexpensive book it’s almost like a like a like like a really good pamphlet almost it’s pretty thin.

00:17:27.270 –> 00:17:33.720
Chris Beckett: But that section in there is really nice I kind of wish that they would pull that out and do something a little bit different with it.

00:17:34.380 –> 00:17:42.150
Chris Beckett: But in in night watch he expands and that a little bit more, but I think exploring the night sky if somebody was really just a rank beginner and looking to get.

00:17:42.900 –> 00:17:50.490
Chris Beckett: very basic guidance on learning a few things that book has is something really base that you can pick up and kind of read the pertinent sections.

00:17:51.090 –> 00:17:56.640
Chris Beckett: Over the course of an hour or so like a like a very relaxing evening having having a cup of tea.

00:17:57.630 –> 00:18:09.750
Chris Beckett: And then, one of the other books and I, and this is what I do own and i’ve known for a while, is is by the author of the curious George book strings enough ha Ray was also an amateur astronomer and he actually.

00:18:10.320 –> 00:18:15.360
Chris Beckett: worked to to create better depictions of the star patterns that we see.

00:18:15.690 –> 00:18:27.600
Chris Beckett: And now they’re they’re a little bit different maybe than the ones you and I are more familiar with, he drew and in a few extra lines, but by simply going out with that book and it’s almost like in workbook format, like the work we stayed in grade school.

00:18:29.040 –> 00:18:43.950
Chris Beckett: And, and by by using that book and kind of tracing out those patterns, you can become more familiar with sort of those dominant patterns, like the keystone of Hercules in the square of Pegasus and the w pattern of cassiopeia and all that stuff it really focuses on the ones.

00:18:44.970 –> 00:18:50.190
Chris Beckett: That are a little bit in the patterns and making those patterns that a little bit more easier to recognize.

00:18:50.880 –> 00:19:04.140
Chris Beckett: That may be some some of the other patterns that that have been talked about previously and those have been sort of adapted over time so yeah do you have any other recommendations there for people just just looking to get started and finding stuff in the night sky shane.

00:19:04.980 –> 00:19:13.440
Shane Ludtke: um no no books or anything like that, but I think we probably should move on to the next step in the process, which is there’s a whole bunch of stuff up in the sky, to look at.

00:19:13.740 –> 00:19:13.950
Chris Beckett: yeah.

00:19:13.980 –> 00:19:19.920
Shane Ludtke: I went do you look at yeah, how do you even know what to look at it let’s say, for example, you want.

00:19:19.980 –> 00:19:24.150
Shane Ludtke: To look at a galaxy you know how do you find where the galaxies are.

00:19:25.170 –> 00:19:42.060
Shane Ludtke: So there’s there’s a number of observing lists and maybe not even lists, but there’s, I guess, maybe there’s catalogs so catalogues of objects in the night sky and there’s multiple different ones there’s the ngc ic a lot there there’s a whole bunch of different catalogs out there.

00:19:42.870 –> 00:19:44.040
Shane Ludtke: And then, what.

00:19:44.070 –> 00:19:50.760
Shane Ludtke: People do is create observing lists usually out of those catalogs.

00:19:51.150 –> 00:19:58.200
Shane Ludtke: Now, probably the most famous observing list at least I think and correct me if i’m wrong but it’s the messy observing list.

00:19:58.980 –> 00:20:04.560
Shane Ludtke: And it’s 110 objects, most of them are quite bright and somewhat easier to find.

00:20:05.460 –> 00:20:12.180
Shane Ludtke: And it’s the quick history of that is Charles messy was an astronomer that was looking for comets a long time ago.

00:20:12.630 –> 00:20:20.580
Shane Ludtke: and basically what he would do is scan the night sky with his telescope if he saw something that was fuzzy or diffuse, he would.

00:20:21.510 –> 00:20:26.130
Shane Ludtke: He would kind of chart the star field and then he would come back a few days later and re observe it.

00:20:26.460 –> 00:20:40.050
Shane Ludtke: If that fuzzy thing moved, then he discovered a Comet if it stayed static it wasn’t a Comet, so I think he ended up discovering like six or seven or eight comments in his lifetime, but what he’s really famous for is this list of non comets.

00:20:40.380 –> 00:20:40.950

00:20:42.090 –> 00:20:52.020
Shane Ludtke: A lot of astronomers a lot of amateur astronomers start off observing that list because of you know it’s bright lot of the objects are large there’s a lot of detail to see.

00:20:53.220 –> 00:21:01.410
Shane Ludtke: But there’s there’s a bazillion observing lists out there that can really meet just about anyone’s observing interests or styles.

00:21:02.070 –> 00:21:09.030
Chris Beckett: yeah and I think that and that’s one of the challenges that that newcomers can faces, you know will well what should I.

00:21:09.480 –> 00:21:18.810
Chris Beckett: Look at up there, you know and where do I, where do I begin, well, I think, like we covered like first of all start learning the constellations that’s key you know I.

00:21:19.350 –> 00:21:23.250
Chris Beckett: Sometimes we’ll we’ll chat with newcomers, who have really got me into.

00:21:23.970 –> 00:21:33.780
Chris Beckett: Like computerized telescopes and stuff but then they’re trying to look for for things and and and struggling to to determine exactly what what they want to see next because.

00:21:34.350 –> 00:21:45.240
Chris Beckett: they’ve been reliant on the technology, you know, not the technology isn’t good but, but sometimes they’ve become too reliant on it so they’re they’re sort of struggling on where to go next but.

00:21:46.470 –> 00:21:55.080
Chris Beckett: But then for other folks who are really just getting started like these lists can seem pretty long of 110 things and certainly some of those things on the Messier list are reasonably faint so.

00:21:55.320 –> 00:22:07.290
Chris Beckett: A lot of organizations like I know, like the in the states the astronomical League and here in Canada, we have the Royal astronomical society of Canada and and we’ve put out a program.

00:22:08.700 –> 00:22:16.200
Chris Beckett: called explore the universe or exploring the universe it’s one or the other, but if you type in explore the universe or ASC.

00:22:16.830 –> 00:22:24.960
Chris Beckett: we’ve put out a free program through the rsc observing Committee which I sit on and anybody can go and download the PDF sheets and.

00:22:25.350 –> 00:22:32.160
Chris Beckett: anybody can go in and apply to the program you don’t need to be a member of the organization and you can get these names pins and a certificate.

00:22:33.120 –> 00:22:42.930
Chris Beckett: And what that program does is it actually breaks out, I think it’s really just a few dozen different things, you can see in the sky there’s some stars and there’s some really easy to see clusters and.

00:22:43.830 –> 00:22:49.560
Chris Beckett: break galaxy or two and that sort of thing, and it really gives you like a like a very brief introduction.

00:22:50.340 –> 00:23:02.010
Chris Beckett: To the night sky and and the things that you can see, and there’s some other resources and like I said just go on there and look under observing programs you’ll find it explore the universe.

00:23:02.940 –> 00:23:04.350
Shane Ludtke: yeah yeah that’s a great suggestion.

00:23:04.860 –> 00:23:09.150
Chris Beckett: yeah so charts, how do you how do you find this stuff on a chart.

00:23:09.900 –> 00:23:19.830
Shane Ludtke: Right so here’s here’s another reason also, to use a list so when you decide on your list you’re going to have a list of the objects, which is obviously important.

00:23:20.220 –> 00:23:33.840
Shane Ludtke: Now, what else is important, is where they are so which constellation so we’ve already talked about how to find the constellations but if you’re trying to find out where the object is within the constellation or within your atlas.

00:23:35.490 –> 00:23:46.860
Shane Ludtke: You need to know some details about that object, so the list will have some coordinates for that object, known as right Ascension declination and.

00:23:48.030 –> 00:23:59.940
Shane Ludtke: Those will help you locate where the object is within your atlas now maybe before we get into that detail Chris what’s a good atlas you know what would that list, do you use what atlas would you recommend.

00:24:00.780 –> 00:24:14.550
Chris Beckett: yeah so you know if people are just getting started, I really think that night watch by Terrence Dickinson actually it is a really great basic atlas in there, which I think is is all the Atlas and absolute newcomer needs.

00:24:16.290 –> 00:24:23.700
Chris Beckett: And, and he he draws out the main constellations like are some major the big dipper boots that hurts been.

00:24:24.690 –> 00:24:32.700
Chris Beckett: You know Leo or Ryan all those kind of main constellations are in there and really like like a newcomer to astronomy.

00:24:33.240 –> 00:24:37.980
Chris Beckett: who’s trying to learn the constellations maybe using the charts and sky maps COM or the he wrote a book.

00:24:38.880 –> 00:24:47.640
Chris Beckett: In combination with night watch and you can really probably go for for maybe your so some people may be faster than others, some people really might want to take their time and that’s great.

00:24:49.230 –> 00:24:53.190
Chris Beckett: But then like beyond that, like if somebody okay it’s like all right, I really want.

00:24:53.910 –> 00:25:02.400
Chris Beckett: A good chart because i’m really into astronomy now, I think the best getting started chart is the jumbo pocket outlets by sky and telescope.

00:25:02.880 –> 00:25:07.560
Chris Beckett: They make a pocket atlas, which is a little bit on the small side, I think we all bought copies when it first came out.

00:25:08.040 –> 00:25:16.170
Chris Beckett: And then they put out a jumbo edition, which I think, which I think is is perfect for people who, who are just learning this guy’s, and the reason why.

00:25:16.650 –> 00:25:30.360
Chris Beckett: Is that that chart actually one it’s pretty inexpensive I forget what it costs, exactly, but I think it’s a very good value as far as a star chart goes the quality is extremely high it comes from.

00:25:31.320 –> 00:25:36.300
Chris Beckett: A very reputable organization which is sky and telescope and some of the best amateur astronomers.

00:25:37.200 –> 00:25:42.960
Chris Beckett: Out there for creating these types of materials and then also they draw in the star patterns.

00:25:43.950 –> 00:25:49.440
Chris Beckett: In there so that like if you’re looking at or some major you’re going to see that dipper pattern depicted there might be spread out.

00:25:49.710 –> 00:25:59.640
Chris Beckett: across two or three different pages, but but it’s still there, so if you recognize the dipper pattern of the big dipper before and that’s going to be in there, whereas if you if you bought.

00:26:00.180 –> 00:26:05.190
Chris Beckett: One of the older star charts like I know these are these are a little bit out of print now like you’re in a metro area.

00:26:07.200 –> 00:26:09.990
Chris Beckett: You know, which I do want a copy of like there’s no there’s no.

00:26:10.590 –> 00:26:15.600
Chris Beckett: there’s no constellations drawn in there and then some of the other charts that have been around for years don’t have the.

00:26:15.960 –> 00:26:23.220
Chris Beckett: The constellations drawn in there either, and certainly if people want that experience of just having having the stars themselves.

00:26:24.090 –> 00:26:35.430
Chris Beckett: sort of standalone with without any the lines drawn and then certainly people can look to to some other charts but what would be a more advanced star atlas the that you can recommend shane.

00:26:36.510 –> 00:26:40.590
Shane Ludtke: Well, one that you and I both on, and I know we both quite like it is interest delirium.

00:26:41.400 –> 00:26:42.240
Shane Ludtke: it’s probably.

00:26:43.410 –> 00:26:50.220
Shane Ludtke: generally regarded, I think, is one of the best maybe it certainly like top three type of atlas is out there.

00:26:50.250 –> 00:26:59.910
Shane Ludtke: yeah it’s exceptionally detailed I forget what magnitude it goes down to, but I want to say it’s like 11 or something like that it it goes pretty faint.

00:27:00.450 –> 00:27:01.440
Chris Beckett: And it’s not.

00:27:01.680 –> 00:27:02.220
Chris Beckett: That but.

00:27:02.280 –> 00:27:03.180
Shane Ludtke: You don’t think okay.

00:27:03.510 –> 00:27:05.130
Chris Beckett: it’s like eight or nine or something like.

00:27:05.160 –> 00:27:05.940
Shane Ludtke: Okay okay.

00:27:06.150 –> 00:27:07.200
Chris Beckett: it’s getting down there yeah.

00:27:07.590 –> 00:27:15.300
Shane Ludtke: yeah but it’s it’s a wonderful atlas what’s a ton of objects that you’ll probably never have enough time in your lifetime to to observe them all.

00:27:16.170 –> 00:27:27.540
Chris Beckett: yeah I really I really like the interest delirium and in, and I think it also draws in the patterns, which, which is, which is really helpful and then.

00:27:28.200 –> 00:27:38.040
Chris Beckett: yeah there’s there’s a lot of material in there, but I think they really strike a good balance, one that is is really the cornerstone for people that are.

00:27:38.760 –> 00:27:58.140
Chris Beckett: sort of progressing is the sky atlas 2000 but but, to be frank, I think the sky at least 2000 in the pocket atlas are now almost synonymous, I think they actually use the core information from the sky atlas 2002 to make the pocket atlas and then, once you get into the jumbo edition.

00:27:59.370 –> 00:28:09.600
Chris Beckett: Of the pocket atlas I think you’ve basically got the scale is 2000 more or less, and I think I think you’ve really got what you could have gotten out of the scale is 2000.

00:28:09.870 –> 00:28:13.710
Chris Beckett: i’m going to say this about star trek this, this is one thing that most people aren’t going to realize.

00:28:14.580 –> 00:28:32.370
Chris Beckett: Because I didn’t realize this, I use software and I use it for for planning my astronomy classes from teaching newcomers to astronomy and I also use them for planning my own astronomy sessions, and when I was first making star charts for these purposes, I quickly realized that.

00:28:33.570 –> 00:28:36.480
Chris Beckett: You can kind of get lost in space pretty quick.

00:28:37.260 –> 00:28:44.070
Chris Beckett: Because one of the things that you’re that you’re paying for when you buy a physical atlas versus just trying to use a piece of software is.

00:28:44.370 –> 00:28:55.800
Chris Beckett: In the software, you can zoom to any kind of level, you can zoom out and see the entire night sky or you can zoom right in and make just just a double star system or quadruple star system or something.

00:28:56.040 –> 00:29:06.240
Chris Beckett: fill your entire screen and that’s really cool, but when you get out under the night sky How does that scaling work what scale, should you have it sent to.

00:29:06.570 –> 00:29:16.230
Chris Beckett: And, and that scaling needs to be fairly accurate or your eye and your brain won’t be able to translate what you’re looking at on a page or a screen.

00:29:16.560 –> 00:29:22.500
Chris Beckett: And and into what either you’re looking at with your eye on on the sky or through a binocular through a telescope.

00:29:22.890 –> 00:29:27.450
Chris Beckett: And so there’s there’s a bit of a barrier there when you are using software’s.

00:29:27.780 –> 00:29:37.230
Chris Beckett: Under the night sky or even like for me printing off star charts I have one last night i’ve got some that are working and I I got one and i’m like this, this doesn’t work because i’ve scaled it wrong.

00:29:37.680 –> 00:29:48.390
Chris Beckett: And so, people do need to be aware, for that, but with like the pocket atlas or interest delirium they’ve done that scaling for you so you’re not you’re not sort of getting lost in space by having.

00:29:48.720 –> 00:29:56.370
Chris Beckett: These different zoom levels so i’m not sure if you ever experienced that or not shame, but that’s certainly something that that I discovered which was unanticipated.

00:29:56.760 –> 00:30:09.960
Shane Ludtke: yeah no for sure and scale is kind of an interesting concept, I think it’s somewhat subjective you know, I think it varies from person to person in terms of their perception to the sky and then seeing it on paper, but I can definitely relate to that.

00:30:10.530 –> 00:30:16.260
Chris Beckett: yeah and it depends so so, for example, your fist at arm’s length we’ve talked about this before.

00:30:16.590 –> 00:30:34.830
Chris Beckett: And we we do usually refer to it every month we do our objects in the sky your fist at arm’s length is approximately 10 degrees spread over the nighttime sky and then so if if you were to correctly depict a star chart you would want to have maybe that scale, to a certain extent right.

00:30:35.040 –> 00:30:36.210
Chris Beckett: And then, it depends on how.

00:30:36.210 –> 00:30:45.990
Chris Beckett: Close or how far away you’ll you’ll place your eye to to the page, for example, and I could be wrong on this, but I, but I believe, when I was looking at.

00:30:47.490 –> 00:30:57.510
Chris Beckett: E barnard’s atlas of selective regions of the Milky Way and I printed off a copy when it became available digitally and then, subsequently bought my own copy of it.

00:30:58.800 –> 00:31:06.060
Chris Beckett: When it was reprinted I noticed that that the scale was was pretty good for for a boat that kind of seen.

00:31:06.660 –> 00:31:13.140
Chris Beckett: Distance and then other ones you kind of have to bring sort of closer to your eyes to kind of make sure that it that it matches, but if you’re using.

00:31:13.500 –> 00:31:16.290
Chris Beckett: Just a regular piece of software and you’re like trying to zoom in on something.

00:31:17.250 –> 00:31:27.630
Chris Beckett: It can become really bewildering to sort of match what you’re seeing on the screen with other what you’re seeing with your IRA or through a telescope that that’s very difficult, then it kind of kind of meet up actually.

00:31:28.620 –> 00:31:35.010
Shane Ludtke: yeah yeah well that’s the the the fist at an arm’s length is a something I use all the time.

00:31:35.520 –> 00:31:41.670
Chris Beckett: yeah how about marking up the star chart so so you’ve decided what you’re going to look at you’ve got yourself a star chart.

00:31:42.600 –> 00:31:50.280
Chris Beckett: Where where do you go from there, do you just take it out with you and look at the sky machine or do you do any kind of prep work before you before you go down to the stars.

00:31:50.790 –> 00:31:52.830
Shane Ludtke: Well, well both actually but.

00:31:53.880 –> 00:32:04.380
Shane Ludtke: I prefer to do a little bit of work, prior to going out and mark up my star charts so what i’ve done is I purchased some post, it notes, but like those little arrows that you can write on.

00:32:04.890 –> 00:32:12.390
Shane Ludtke: And what I do so before I observe i’ll spend whatever amount of time half an hour so understanding which objects, I want to look at.

00:32:12.750 –> 00:32:22.050
Shane Ludtke: Then I find them in my atlas or on my star chart and I put one of the Posted arrows pointing right at the object, with the ngc or whatever the catalog designation is.

00:32:22.980 –> 00:32:35.670
Shane Ludtke: And then, when I go out observing what I love about this approach is all I do is observe I don’t spend time looking at my star chart for the object and then trying to find it in the Atlas and then finding it in the sky.

00:32:36.120 –> 00:32:40.770
Shane Ludtke: And you know that’s This is just something actually that i’ve started doing based on.

00:32:41.790 –> 00:32:52.560
Shane Ludtke: Like kind of your recommendation of how you were doing it, and it is so much better doing it this way than trying to find the object in the Atlas while you’re at the telescope, at least for me I.

00:32:52.890 –> 00:33:00.930
Shane Ludtke: When i’m at the telescope I just want to observe and this gets rid of the frustrating, you know, trying to search for something with a red light, you know, on a piece of paper.

00:33:01.680 –> 00:33:14.010
Chris Beckett: yeah and like right now i’m i’m looking at a set of approximately 50 things in the nighttime sky spread over constellation which, which is spread over maybe six or seven pages on my atlases and.

00:33:15.270 –> 00:33:31.680
Chris Beckett: You know and it’s it would be daunting to go there just with the list you’re looking at the list and then looking at almost like this the sea of of objects in your paper we just to me anyway, I would just be overwhelmed by that to try to do it in any kind of.

00:33:32.910 –> 00:33:41.010
Chris Beckett: Efficient pattern, you know i’m trying to do this, over the course of a month or so and, but if I was just go and try to pick these off one, at a time.

00:33:42.000 –> 00:33:56.190
Chris Beckett: I think it would just be just be so difficult but look, one of the other things I want, I want to mention and I don’t know if I if I mentioned this tier not in a in a recent episode, but I actually used the wrong color ink when I was barking up these charts for the.

00:33:56.820 –> 00:33:57.900
Shane Ludtke: chase so you couldn’t.

00:33:58.650 –> 00:34:05.790
Chris Beckett: And so, at night we use red lights, this is another thing that we we haven’t mentioned but we’re sort of talking about finding stuff but.

00:34:06.060 –> 00:34:17.070
Chris Beckett: But using a very dim red light is important that you preserve what’s called your night vision so during the day you’re I will constrict people will constrict and and let in.

00:34:17.310 –> 00:34:25.230
Chris Beckett: Less light because there’s lots of light around and at night that that people will open up now if you’re out at night you’re looking at a star chart.

00:34:26.160 –> 00:34:37.290
Chris Beckett: and use a white light that people will constrict and then it takes about 15 minutes to half an hour for it to open up wide enough to really see all the stars again and that’s something that that also newcomers face as.

00:34:37.740 –> 00:34:45.450
Chris Beckett: far as a challenge, so you can actually go and buy these astronomy flashlights typically there between like say 20 and $40.

00:34:46.050 –> 00:34:56.040
Chris Beckett: Which which can be a bit of money so typically what I recommend for people to do and and this this isn’t the best of you really stay in astronomy, but it certainly will will get you.

00:34:56.580 –> 00:35:01.170
Chris Beckett: really far in astronomy without having to Shell out so much money for a red led but.

00:35:01.740 –> 00:35:10.620
Chris Beckett: Just just get an inexpensive red flashlight and put some red duct tape or read electrical tape or paint the lens read or use a use a.

00:35:11.010 –> 00:35:21.120
Chris Beckett: pill bottle CAP if you have a pill, I have a pill bottle CAP here that’s that’s read that will fit over flashlight you can use all kinds of different things to demand and make it red state your eye isn’t.

00:35:21.780 –> 00:35:28.890
Chris Beckett: isn’t dilated by the or isn’t isn’t constricted by by white are really bright lights when you’re under the night sky.

00:35:29.460 –> 00:35:32.940
Shane Ludtke: yeah yeah for sure controlling that light is super important.

00:35:33.210 –> 00:35:33.660
Chris Beckett: yeah.

00:35:34.110 –> 00:35:36.720
Chris Beckett: And what I did is is I used a color ink that.

00:35:36.990 –> 00:35:51.960
Chris Beckett: wasn’t visible under red light at night I didn’t know that I just grabbed a pen at random and i’m like this is invisible ink at night in the day, it looks like it looks totally fine so actually had to go through with with a black.

00:35:53.670 –> 00:36:02.220
Chris Beckett: ink pen and I just went and ink them like and in the in the warm afternoon sunshine, so that I didn’t get get the ink everywhere.

00:36:02.550 –> 00:36:14.730
Chris Beckett: Oh, my star charts but yeah I mean my star charts I will never be able to sell them, they are marked up and i’ve got sticky notes, but, but their their battle scarred for sure you know they’re going to be well used.

00:36:15.630 –> 00:36:18.870
Shane Ludtke: yeah for sure so what’s next in the process, Chris.

00:36:19.290 –> 00:36:29.340
Chris Beckett: Well, one thing you talked about you know we’ve sort of made these notes that we’re gonna we’re going to sort of do one thing and then we switch gears at the last second and I really like what you said about using your binoculars.

00:36:29.670 –> 00:36:37.260
Chris Beckett: And then we’ve talked about binocular astronomy a lot in the past but binoculars really get you more than halfway between what your eye sees.

00:36:37.590 –> 00:36:47.850
Chris Beckett: alone, and what you see through the telescope and binoculars are great because they turn they make sure, everything is right setup and correctly oriented where the telescopes are going to be turning things around quite a bit.

00:36:48.450 –> 00:36:52.560
Chris Beckett: mirror reversed upside down all this kind of stuff can make things a challenge.

00:36:53.220 –> 00:36:58.830
Chris Beckett: To find so like you were saying you know what you can do is you can find stuff with the binoculars first.

00:36:59.190 –> 00:37:10.800
Chris Beckett: And then find it with with the telescope so particularly like anything that would be like in the explore the universe program, which is a free program by the rsc, which is a volunteer organization that we belong to.

00:37:11.880 –> 00:37:24.180
Chris Beckett: Typically anything in that program you can see, with your binoculars first and then you can actually use that to kind of guide you when you’re pointing the telescope to that region of the sky, I do, that a fair bit I think you did that as well shame.

00:37:24.870 –> 00:37:33.600
Shane Ludtke: yeah yeah for sure and and I did it a lot more when I was first starting out because, like you said, the telescope can change the orientation so like a dub Sony and.

00:37:34.200 –> 00:37:47.040
Shane Ludtke: Left right is reversed and up down is reversed so to do the mental gymnastics in your head of you know, trying to match the star chart to what you’re seeing through the eyepiece can be a little challenging, especially if you’re tired and you’ve been observing for a while.

00:37:47.520 –> 00:37:53.850
Shane Ludtke: So sometimes just getting the starfield and the binoculars because everything is as it appears in the Atlas or your star chart.

00:37:54.240 –> 00:37:59.580
Shane Ludtke: Just makes it a lot easier than to go to the telescope and kind of, say, oh it’s left of the bright star over here.

00:38:00.000 –> 00:38:02.820
Chris Beckett: yeah yeah no no that’s really good.

00:38:03.900 –> 00:38:10.860
Chris Beckett: One of the other things that people can do and I really I really like using the binoculars quite a bit because they’re correctly oriented.

00:38:11.340 –> 00:38:20.520
Chris Beckett: And it makes a game like you said that you don’t to the mental gymnastics, but you can get fined or scopes that will correctly orient the image for you.

00:38:21.060 –> 00:38:34.170
Chris Beckett: And so i’ve i’ve had these in the past and i’ve recently rolled my own, which which costs a fair bit more than just buying one off the shelf, you can thinking by a pretty decent went off the shelf for probably what like 50 or 60 bucks or something like that.

00:38:34.440 –> 00:38:35.790
Shane Ludtke: yeah yeah that sounds about right.

00:38:36.240 –> 00:38:43.680
Chris Beckett: And, and they just simply mount on the telescope typically there’s ways to mount these these Finder scopes on whatever telescope you have.

00:38:44.010 –> 00:38:50.250
Chris Beckett: And you can get one of these correctly oriented find the scripts and and see see if it’s for you now, some people.

00:38:51.150 –> 00:39:02.190
Chris Beckett: I know, like one one person who’s pretty famous in the amateur astronomy communities editing and I was watching one of his videos he does YouTube videos now he’s been around in the astronomy Community since long before YouTube.

00:39:03.210 –> 00:39:05.700
Chris Beckett: But he was saying, like he prefers the straight through.

00:39:06.750 –> 00:39:20.730
Chris Beckett: version and I guess there’s a couple different types of Finder scopes that people can actually use on on telescopes so sort of what are the main two types through what are the main two types of find your scope chain.

00:39:21.180 –> 00:39:33.000
Shane Ludtke: Well, I think I would boil it up to a high level of there’s optically aided Finder scopes and then like non optically aided in terms of sanctification like a one times and then a multiple times.

00:39:33.450 –> 00:39:34.230
Shane Ludtke: yeah Finder.

00:39:34.530 –> 00:39:39.090
Chris Beckett: yeah like a zero power fine I think there’s sometimes called though I think you’re right I think it’s more like a one times Finder.

00:39:39.480 –> 00:39:52.830
Chris Beckett: And then, and then, once that actually will will be like little reflectors on their own, or some something something like that, so do you use any finders at present, or have you used any finders in the past for helping locate things in the sky.

00:39:53.400 –> 00:40:13.380
Shane Ludtke: yes and yes, so when I when I first started off observing I kind of had a three stage approach to finding an object one side you know, was that the telescope so number one is I would use one of these like zero times one times it’s basically like a red dot Finder or a reflex Finder.

00:40:13.680 –> 00:40:15.030
Shane Ludtke: So I was using a tell RAD.

00:40:15.210 –> 00:40:20.580
Shane Ludtke: And what it does, is it it imposes like some rings in red, and you can control the brightness.

00:40:21.450 –> 00:40:29.520
Shane Ludtke: And when it’s aligned you you wherever these rings are pointing that’s what your telescope is looking at, so I would use that to get me into the general field.

00:40:30.030 –> 00:40:42.210
Shane Ludtke: Then I also had a I think it was a seven by 50 Finder like optical Finder on the telescope so, then I would use that because it, you know gave me a pretty wide field of view I would use that to get me.

00:40:42.840 –> 00:40:52.770
Shane Ludtke: kind of more into the star field that I needed to find my object and then usually in the telescope focus or I would have a bit of a wider field eyepiece.

00:40:53.730 –> 00:41:01.050
Shane Ludtke: That would allow me to see the object or find it then you know, hopefully with relative relatively little movement to that point of the telescope.

00:41:01.260 –> 00:41:03.450
Shane Ludtke: yeah and then, if I wanted more magnification I would.

00:41:03.600 –> 00:41:04.860
Shane Ludtke: use more magnification.

00:41:06.390 –> 00:41:20.670
Shane Ludtke: Now, what I do use quite a lot, actually, though still is the red dog Finder I just love how quick, you know you point the whatever star or planet that you want to observe, or at least start star hopping from.

00:41:20.760 –> 00:41:24.660
Shane Ludtke: And it just is so fast the acquisition is quick and I love it.

00:41:25.260 –> 00:41:26.250
Chris Beckett: it’s basically like.

00:41:27.270 –> 00:41:41.550
Chris Beckett: Like a like an advanced sighting to really is what these are there, there you know, the better part of an inch across us they look like a little tube and then they have a little red dot that gets projected onto the screen.

00:41:41.970 –> 00:41:50.250
Shane Ludtke: yeah yeah and you know they the the power consumption is is like next to nothing like I leave these things on all night and.

00:41:51.090 –> 00:41:55.380
Shane Ludtke: I don’t even know if I replace the battery once a year, like they they do a really good job.

00:41:55.710 –> 00:42:00.450
Shane Ludtke: And again, you can vary the brightness so if you’re in a light polluted area like within the city.

00:42:00.720 –> 00:42:09.960
Shane Ludtke: You may want it brighter so that you can actually see the red dot But then when you’re under a dark sky, you can tone it way down so that it’s not you know blinding you almost when you’re fully dark adopted.

00:42:10.440 –> 00:42:18.750
Chris Beckett: yeah and they often come with beginner telescope so though I got an admin I bought a couple over the past year for beginners and.

00:42:19.650 –> 00:42:25.530
Chris Beckett: And I didn’t I didn’t give them because some of the really inexpensive ones are in properly constructed.

00:42:25.950 –> 00:42:37.650
Chris Beckett: And they have a the the plastic screens or the glass screens lack the opacity and lack the functionality of it’s very difficult to actually see the stars through them and I thought well.

00:42:38.250 –> 00:42:45.780
Chris Beckett: i’ll just instruct them to use super low power I pieces, so if you’re getting one get one from like a reputable telescope store.

00:42:46.500 –> 00:42:55.170
Chris Beckett: Make make sure that it’s that it’s one that that isn’t just necessarily include it with a telescope like a really inexpensive telescope like some of the ones I was getting.

00:42:56.550 –> 00:43:03.540
Chris Beckett: Get get a proper one you know, and I think I think a really good one run about like 39 or $40.

00:43:04.290 –> 00:43:08.340
Chris Beckett: or something like that, and definitely like the tell rads are still out there and the rigell systems.

00:43:08.640 –> 00:43:13.950
Chris Beckett: are still out there, and those are sort of the the original red dot finders but yeah just just allows you to.

00:43:14.190 –> 00:43:19.200
Chris Beckett: Have a the sky and basically whatever you see with your eyes, like you learn the constellations like we talked about earlier.

00:43:19.530 –> 00:43:28.950
Chris Beckett: And, and you can just pointed out, a particular star or area of the sky, or you know there’s a deep sky object and then that that’ll be centered in in your low power eyepiece like shane said.

00:43:29.640 –> 00:43:30.660
Shane Ludtke: yeah yeah exactly.

00:43:31.740 –> 00:43:36.300
Shane Ludtke: So then, when we get into optical finders Chris there’s definitely some variations there as well.

00:43:37.230 –> 00:43:37.710
Shane Ludtke: Do you want to.

00:43:37.800 –> 00:43:39.030
Shane Ludtke: Take us through some of that.

00:43:40.020 –> 00:43:47.490
Chris Beckett: yeah one of the things that that I noticed with folks is they often get focused on having a bigger and bigger Finder that’s that’s.

00:43:47.820 –> 00:43:59.340
Chris Beckett: Very common to hear any amateur astronomy circles, and I think that people, maybe just haven’t haven’t fully thought through that so with the Finder what you’re doing is you’re you’re placing.

00:44:00.180 –> 00:44:03.420
Chris Beckett: The primary telescope into a position where it’s.

00:44:03.990 –> 00:44:17.190
Chris Beckett: going to be on whatever it is that you’re looking for, which is typically going to be fainter than what the Finder sees so you want to get a Finder that has a really high quality wide field of view whether it’s straight through zero power.

00:44:18.090 –> 00:44:27.630
Chris Beckett: Or, or maybe a more advanced Finder so, for example, my advanced finer and finer scopes will come and get them in like a bit of 20 or 24 millimeter size.

00:44:28.500 –> 00:44:36.210
Chris Beckett: aperture size of 30 millimeter is pretty common 40 and 50 millimeter calm and then you can get them all the way up to like I think three or four inches.

00:44:37.980 –> 00:44:46.260
Chris Beckett: But I think probably the most useful ones are sort of in that 30 to 50 millimeter size range and so i’ve recently sort of rolled my own.

00:44:46.800 –> 00:44:54.120
Chris Beckett: find your scope of 50 millimeter and size and it’s an optical Finder and it has what’s called an mvc prism minute.

00:44:54.360 –> 00:45:06.360
Chris Beckett: Which is a correctly oriented it’s it’s right side up and correct left to right, just like a pair of binoculars and then with this one, I can actually use any IP so I want I can actually use any IP snip that I want.

00:45:07.290 –> 00:45:14.130
Chris Beckett: Which is something that I always wanted to have and what that allows me to do is have a super wide field of view and I think that is.

00:45:14.400 –> 00:45:26.220
Chris Beckett: One thing to focus on a little bit more than any of the other aspects of a Finder scope is just having a high quality and pretty wide field of view and, again, many of these can be can be purchased off the shelf or and.

00:45:26.220 –> 00:45:28.920
Chris Beckett: 50 or 60 bucks or so and then.

00:45:29.700 –> 00:45:39.210
Chris Beckett: you’ll be able to look through them now, the advantage of rolling your own is you can use all of your own eyepieces and I like to have or I need to have long I really because I wear glasses at the eyepiece and.

00:45:39.600 –> 00:45:50.250
Chris Beckett: I just want a little bit more more control over how wide a field, I have just for some of the objects that i’m looking for it can be can be pretty challenging to see in my in my small orange.

00:45:50.730 –> 00:45:59.280
Chris Beckett: Four inch telescope but sort of like speaking telescope shane you said use an appropriate telescope what What did you mean by an appropriate telescope.

00:46:00.420 –> 00:46:02.760
Shane Ludtke: Oh, did I say that.

00:46:03.930 –> 00:46:05.190
Shane Ludtke: I think I meant maybe.

00:46:06.270 –> 00:46:11.160
Shane Ludtke: Like using a MIC wasn’t an appropriate eyepiece like a wide field eyepiece in the telescope.

00:46:11.250 –> 00:46:13.470
Chris Beckett: Okay, maybe that was it yes yeah yeah.

00:46:13.620 –> 00:46:16.710
Shane Ludtke: No, no, no worries I just wanted to make sure we’re on the same page.

00:46:16.860 –> 00:46:20.820
Chris Beckett: i’m a little tired so that’s why I stayed up all night last.

00:46:21.840 –> 00:46:31.380
Shane Ludtke: yeah um so like having a wide field eyepiece in like really what what we’re talking about here with all of this stuff is.

00:46:32.460 –> 00:46:44.280
Shane Ludtke: kind of increasing your success of finding an object because it’s not always easy when you’re manually trying to locate them, but there it’s extremely rewarding I love I love the kind of the hunt, you know or trying to find this stuff.

00:46:44.880 –> 00:46:53.130
Shane Ludtke: And you’re just trying to kind of slowly narrow down the area of the sky that you’re looking at, so you start off with like.

00:46:53.400 –> 00:46:59.340
Shane Ludtke: Like I say, like the red dot Finder which has no magnification it just gets into the general area of the sky.

00:46:59.730 –> 00:47:12.480
Shane Ludtke: Then you could go to an optical Finder which allows you to maybe star hop or or see some fainter stars, which again point the telescope closer to where this object is that you want to find.

00:47:12.870 –> 00:47:22.560
Shane Ludtke: And then you go to the telescope with you know, a higher powered eyepiece but hopefully still a wide field of view so that it makes it easier for you to see the object because.

00:47:22.830 –> 00:47:32.520
Shane Ludtke: If you have a narrow eyepiece and the object is you know just outside of the field of view you’re not going to find it and you’re going to keep scanning around and maybe get frustrated.

00:47:32.790 –> 00:47:34.320
Shane Ludtke: But a wider field of view.

00:47:34.590 –> 00:47:41.970
Shane Ludtke: allows you to just see more of the sky through the telescope so you’re more likely to find this object and then, once you find it in the telescope.

00:47:42.300 –> 00:47:54.720
Shane Ludtke: You know you Center it and then you know you can put different filters on if you’re looking at nebulas you can do different magnification is to see if you can pull out more detail that’s when the real observing begins.

00:47:55.050 –> 00:48:02.220
Chris Beckett: yeah yeah one thing I want to mention is is like go to telescopes which are which are pretty problem that I mentioned, go to telescopes and then.

00:48:03.060 –> 00:48:12.480
Chris Beckett: Let you talk about the right Ascension declination but you know with with the go to telescopes and even even my telescopes can be set up as as go tues.

00:48:13.230 –> 00:48:17.580
Chris Beckett: The challenge can be that that with many of the things that we’re looking at.

00:48:17.940 –> 00:48:29.010
Chris Beckett: There at the threshold division, so people might be listening to say well why wouldn’t I just buy a go to telescope I set it up, I go through that process I punched in some numbers, then it goes the stuff that I want to see.

00:48:29.460 –> 00:48:35.730
Chris Beckett: So the challenge with that is most of this stuff is is going to be really faint there’s there’s a handful of.

00:48:36.120 –> 00:48:44.760
Chris Beckett: brighter things that that you can do that with but, for example, I was looking at a planetary nebula that’s just a minute that’s a pretty bright planetary nebula.

00:48:45.180 –> 00:48:55.620
Chris Beckett: And I was hunting it down using my right angle Finder scope and my four inch refractor last night and if I just simply punched it in there’s there’s no way I would have seen it.

00:48:56.100 –> 00:48:59.100
Chris Beckett: You know i’m i’m i’m an experienced amateur astronomer.

00:48:59.370 –> 00:49:09.420
Chris Beckett: And sometimes what I do when I align my telescope is I will actually like as it’s getting dark i’ll actually punch in something, last night I punched in em, for I could not see you couldn’t see it.

00:49:10.020 –> 00:49:15.120
Chris Beckett: Maybe 500 it down, I would have seen it but, but it was just too bright the sky conditions weren’t right.

00:49:15.420 –> 00:49:22.620
Chris Beckett: So there’s there’s some other challenges than simply just buying a piece of technology punching in some numbers and then being able to see it.

00:49:22.980 –> 00:49:27.000
Chris Beckett: And I think that’s what we’re we’re talking about here is that there is this process.

00:49:27.270 –> 00:49:35.100
Chris Beckett: Whether you want to follow it or not, you’re going to end up having you know, having to learn this process is part of doing amateur astronomy this is sort of the love of doing it.

00:49:35.670 –> 00:49:44.520
Chris Beckett: This is that process for actually successfully finding that stuff because I know this is that I get hundreds of people showing up for my.

00:49:45.060 –> 00:49:55.980
Chris Beckett: astronomy class or the past few years, saying I bought a go to telescope and I can’t see anything through it and i’m like the tell us and they’re often great telescopes really good optical telescopes.

00:49:56.310 –> 00:50:06.660
Chris Beckett: But to actually see the stuff you need to go through a little bit of a process here and again like my telescope has go to functionality, but when i’m trying to find.

00:50:06.990 –> 00:50:17.040
Chris Beckett: A lot of things i’m not i’m not using that functionality Oh, in fact I don’t I don’t really use that go to functionality I use it for for tracking and getting on some other targets.

00:50:17.640 –> 00:50:23.460
Chris Beckett: Maybe once i’ve located them, maybe as as the conditions are getting darker may go back to a target or something like that.

00:50:24.210 –> 00:50:29.040
Chris Beckett: But that’s really how it works, but chain gonna let you talk about right Ascension declination.

00:50:29.790 –> 00:50:40.110
Chris Beckett: Those are the coordinate systems for actually finding stuff and how do you use right Ascension and declination what do they mean and how to use them for finding something like say em 31 the andromeda galaxy.

00:50:40.470 –> 00:50:50.910
Shane Ludtke: yeah so so right Ascension declination will be listed for objects like on an object list or like, if you look up an object and planetarium software.

00:50:51.540 –> 00:51:00.600
Shane Ludtke: It will list, they are a are right Ascension and the declination usually abbreviated Dec now what you do with that information.

00:51:01.200 –> 00:51:09.240
Shane Ludtke: Is you go to your star charter your atlas, and these are just like maps that you would like a topographical map, for example.

00:51:09.960 –> 00:51:18.150
Shane Ludtke: There are coordinates on your star chart on the outside edges top you know left to right and then on the sides top to bottom and.

00:51:19.020 –> 00:51:30.600
Shane Ludtke: That is your ra and your declination coordinates, so to speak, so if you are looking for I don’t know em 31 I don’t have the coordinates right in front of me.

00:51:30.930 –> 00:51:31.110

00:51:32.280 –> 00:51:43.320
Shane Ludtke: Where are they oh yeah here we go, so the coordinates for him 31 so right Ascension is 42 minutes 44 seconds declination is plus 41 degrees 16 minutes nine seconds.

00:51:43.470 –> 00:51:45.210
Chris Beckett: And so the constellation andromeda.

00:51:45.510 –> 00:51:46.320
Chris Beckett: yeah yeah.

00:51:46.440 –> 00:51:54.030
Shane Ludtke: So what you would do on your star chart you’d find out where andromeda is in the in the Atlas and then just flip.

00:51:54.030 –> 00:51:55.020
Chris Beckett: To that page yeah.

00:51:55.200 –> 00:52:02.640
Shane Ludtke: yep flip to that page and then along the side you know you’d look for where’s the where’s roughly 42 minutes okay hold your finger there.

00:52:02.940 –> 00:52:08.340
Shane Ludtke: Now look on the other, axis in look for 41 degrees because that’s the declination.

00:52:08.730 –> 00:52:15.660
Shane Ludtke: And then just basically kind of draw almost straight lines like there’s a little bit of curvature and there’s some guidelines and atlases that show you that but.

00:52:15.930 –> 00:52:25.290
Shane Ludtke: You basically connect your fingers and that’ll get you probably right on andromeda galaxy or at least very close and then in the Atlas you’re now looking for him 31 in that spot.

00:52:26.490 –> 00:52:31.890
Shane Ludtke: And now you know, once you found it now, you can go to your telescope and find him 31 in the sky.

00:52:32.760 –> 00:52:36.840
Chris Beckett: That that’s an since you touched on i’m going to get you described MERCATOR projection now.

00:52:37.500 –> 00:52:37.830
i’m just.

00:52:40.470 –> 00:52:44.370
Chris Beckett: I think that’s the crazy that I think that’s what the curvature is called of the charts and.

00:52:45.090 –> 00:52:57.780
Chris Beckett: um but yeah I mean that’s that’s a perfect way to describe it, is that you, you, you find a what constellation The object is in that you’re looking for you find that set of charts on.

00:52:58.530 –> 00:53:10.950
Chris Beckett: On your atlas and then you use just that are in Dec like make that right angle connection and then usually whatever you like verse like most things like 99.9% of the time they’re going to be plotted on that chart if you’re using.

00:53:11.610 –> 00:53:24.240
Chris Beckett: The appropriate chart for the stuff that you’re looking for if it’s not plot it then you know you’re in for a bit of a challenge you know typically typically things that you can see, are going to be plotted on on the carpeting that’s a great explanation same thing.

00:53:24.810 –> 00:53:34.200
Shane Ludtke: yeah yeah so you know, I think, with everything we’ve said here, you know starting it off like right at the very start, like talking about lists and where to find the objects, you want to observe.

00:53:34.710 –> 00:53:50.910
Shane Ludtke: Some good beginner books like night watch then some you know atlases and you know your your, this is the process to finding an object, with a telescope right, you know beginning to end and we’re probably missing some some things and and everybody I think has or develops their own approach.

00:53:51.270 –> 00:53:54.990
Shane Ludtke: yeah, but this is a pretty solid guide, I think that will help get people going.

00:53:55.350 –> 00:54:01.740
Shane Ludtke: And you know even you know even me who i’ve done this now, for you know well, almost two decades.

00:54:02.730 –> 00:54:11.880
Shane Ludtke: Just this year I started to mark up my atlas with those post, it notes, so you know you can always learn I think some different methods to that can improve your observing even if you’ve done it for a while.

00:54:12.090 –> 00:54:18.360
Shane Ludtke: yeah and you know it for me it’s all about just maximizing my time at the telescope and.

00:54:18.390 –> 00:54:18.660
Chris Beckett: yeah.

00:54:18.780 –> 00:54:20.820
Shane Ludtke: You know, seeing as many objects, as I can.

00:54:21.420 –> 00:54:26.940
Chris Beckett: yeah and and you know, I have to stress this, this process, the finding of stuff.

00:54:27.300 –> 00:54:36.210
Chris Beckett: This really is the rewarding process, you know, and then the observing of whatever it is that you found and that’s sort of, like the other half.

00:54:36.540 –> 00:54:45.150
Chris Beckett: But, but that discovery that discovery process is in many ways that’s The thing that kind of keeps us coming back and keeps us.

00:54:45.870 –> 00:54:56.460
Chris Beckett: Looking through the telescopes because you know there’s there’s not as many things, but you know in life, where you can actually look at sort of that that original Article.

00:54:57.390 –> 00:55:04.500
Chris Beckett: You know if you’re looking at a hubble space telescope scope image well sometimes the things going to be to think, but a lot of the stuff you can actually see.

00:55:05.010 –> 00:55:11.550
Chris Beckett: For yourself it’s it’s going to look different you know, but a lot of these stuff with these a lot of things that we look out in these natural sciences.

00:55:12.150 –> 00:55:23.490
Chris Beckett: We can go out and see for ourselves, and then again like with astronomy you know, I was looking at X off yuki last night, and I was too tired I didn’t quite get the observation and good enough, but.

00:55:24.360 –> 00:55:40.380
Chris Beckett: You can do a variable star estimate and submitted to the variable star association ABS so and anyone that will contribute to the greater ball body of science so it’s sort of like one of those few things you can be doing that yeah in these natural sciences very cool.

00:55:40.920 –> 00:55:41.940
Shane Ludtke: yeah yeah for sure.

00:55:42.960 –> 00:55:46.680
Shane Ludtke: And with that note, Chris I think it’s probably time to sign off.

00:55:47.190 –> 00:55:48.780
Chris Beckett: Alright well i’m going to get some sleep.

00:55:49.200 –> 00:55:49.950
Shane Ludtke: yeah you should.

00:55:51.630 –> 00:55:54.810
Chris Beckett: Now that my batteries have been replaced in my in my detector.

00:55:57.720 –> 00:55:58.650
Chris Beckett: Alright, thanks so much.

00:55:59.100 –> 00:55:59.460
Shane Ludtke: Thank you.

End of podcast:

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