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Old 29-09-2011, 10:35 AM
Ray Cash
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Ray Cash is offline
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Petaluma, California
Posts: 3
Hi There,

This will be my first post. Invited by Suzy. . . Looks like a great community under the greatest of skies! Lots of great advice by experienced observers already on this thread. . . But, at the risk of repeating what some of you have already said, I'll post a list that works for me, in no particular order, off the top of my (bald-ass) head:

1) Be relaxed and rested. A comfortable position at the eyepiece cannot be over emphasized. If caffeine makes you jumpy, don't do it, or do it in moderation. If alcohol makes you drowsy. . . Have snacks on hand, but don't eat a full-blown dinner shortly before observing. Take breaks as necessary: this is not work, it is PLAY!
2) Go at your own pace. Again, relax. Trying too hard, moving from object to object too quickly savors little.
3) Observe with friends! Sharing with novices is always great, but having a buddy with similar equipment and experience to share views with always benefits both (or more) of you!
4) Linger on the view(s). Photons will accumulate on your eye/brain whether the object is bright or dim. Quite remarkable and rewarding to experience this.
5) Definitely use higher power (once you find your object)--your eye/brain will make more sense and see more detail from a more magnified image, even if the lower power image is more aesthetically pleasing.
6) Fine tune the art of averted vision: Don't try too hard. Relax. Massage your eyes . . Jiggle the scope.
7) Make an "eyepiece chart" for really dim objects with your Astro software--that way you can be certain you are in the correct FOV, even if the object itself is too dim/conditions are not ideal and skunks you.
8) Take notes, at the very least. Sketch if you like. Both will force you to see more.
9) Be honest with yourself--don't always trust what you see! I've experienced "averted imagination" in myself as well as with others (especially susceptible in the wee hours when extremely tired). . . Look again. Confirm difficult sightings with others.

And, of course, all the basic stuff: Dim red lights, observing list(s), resource books/charts, play with different filters. . .

Ray Cash
Petaluma, CA
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