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Old 30-09-2014, 06:38 PM
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mental4astro (Alexander)

mental4astro is offline
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: sydney, australia
Posts: 4,877
You've done well to pull out this amount of detail in M8 under urban skies,

Ben, it is no accident that you actually DO see more by constantly nudging the scope along. While a go-to instrument will help find and track objects, it makes for 'lazy' observing. By that I mean it takes out the very thing that maximizes the sensitivity of the eye at low levels of light - movement! At these levels of light, our eyes are poor in sensitivity and so saturate quickly and we end up seeing less. Also, our eyes designed to respond to the slightest change in illumination - notice that you always quickly notice something move out of the corner of your eye? Again, no accident.

All this leads to one thing - you need to induce movement into the image you are looking at to re-set and refresh the maximum sensitivity of our eyes. Trick is that just by moving your eyes quickly about the FOV does not achieve this - we can't fool our eyes this way.

This is something that I've noticed over many, many years of observing, but it was only explained to me the mechanisms at play about 5 years ago. For this reason, all but one of my 7 scopes are not motorized. The only scope I have with a drive is my 30 year old C8 that I uses exclusively for the Moon and planets.

Take my last posted sketch of the little galaxy NGC 1566. It is a very small object with soft details. Yet even with averted vision, some of the faintest of details only had detailed features after the scope was given a little nudge. Once the scope was still, these features quickly faded out of view, only to pop up again with a little nudge of the scope.

Now, all is not lost with a go-to instrument. What is important to do to achieve this exact same movement induced re-activation of the eye's sentitivity is by giving the scope a good tap to induce a shake/vibration into the instrument. It is necessary to make this second nature otherwise it is something that is easy to forget to do - and you end up loosing so much of what the scope is actually providing.
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