Extreme Crescent Hunting Tips

Saber’s Beads: The “string of pearls” arc of illuminated lunar peaks seen prior to the first complete crescent. Note the striking resemblance to the moments just before and after a total solar eclipse. (27 May 2006. raw image credit: maurice collins/ltvt)​

The moonrise before and moonset after each New Moon offer stargazers the opportunity to view the thinnest lunar crescents. There are many websites and apps that provide exact moonrise/set data for any location. Here are some additional tips to maximize your chances of sighting our very young (or old) moon.

Set up at a site with as much altitude as possible overlooking an unobstructed horizon. Optimal sky transparency allows the crescent to be detected and tracked down to, or up from, the horizon. Using a telescope or binoculars (mounted binos are recommended), fine tune the focus on Venus, Jupiter, or one of the brighter stars beforehand. For dusk attempts, have Sol’s setting azimuth on hand- making note after sunset of a random landmark at that position for reference- as well as Luna’s altaz position at sunset thru moonset. Accordingly, for dawn attempts, have Luna’s altaz info for moonrise thru sunrise. As dawn slivers have the advantage of possible detection with dark-adapted eyes, wearing sunglasses during the day prior to sunset attempts is recommended for maximum ‘dusk’ adaptation. Once the crescent is acquired in binoculars, walk the bino down to the horizon/random landmark in consecutive FOVs for the approximate naked-eye altaz. A favorable elongation is important. In the 24 hours before or after New Moon, Luna’s angular separation from Sol can vary by several degrees. With a favorable ecliptic, net elongations (as altitude) of 6° or more at sunset or moonrise offer the best window for detection. Observers nearer to the equator than the poles enjoy a much greater frequency of steep ecliptics. Illuminated fractions of same-age crescents within 24 hours of New Moon can vary by 200% and a full magnitude of brightness due to distance, libration, and sun angle. Slivers near perigee help present a thicker and brighter lunar profile for personal record crescent spotting. Last but not least, don’t always count-out a shallow ecliptic. Occasionally our moon’s extreme northern or southern declination will compensate for a less than favorable ecliptic angle.

BRACKETING THE SLIVERS

Another rare and challenging notch for ones lunar bedpost is to catch the consecutive waning and waxing crescents within 24 hours on each side of New Moon. For example, the July 2008 Buck Moon offered such an opportunity as I was able to spot both the -16.5 hour illumination before sunrise on the 2nd and the +23.5 hour sliver just after sunset on the 3rd. Clean horizons for both windows is a gift in itself.

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[exerpt from Saber Does The Stars by Stephen Saber] http://c14isawesome.blogspot.com

http://saberdoesthestars.wordpress.com

http://saberscorpx.vidmeup.com

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sitting in plato: earth viewed from the moon 

simulated pics as seen from the lunar crater plato *courtesy of celestia*

earth occults the pleiades (messier 45)

earth visits the hyades (caldwell 41)

earth occults saturn

earth occults mars

earth occults sol (total solar eclipse)

a total solar eclipse from earth is seen as a shadow transit from the moon


full shadow transit vidclip at http://saberscorpx.vidmeup.com

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saber does the stars at 

http://c14isawesome.blogspot.com

http://saberdoesthestars.wordpress.com

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glass at a glance: orion 25×100 giantview



by stephen saber 

$349 from telescopes.com
instrument arrived promptly, well-packaged, mechanically sound, and in fine collimation.
aluminum case for transport.
bak4/fmc. orion does not skimp on AR coatings- there is barely any reflection at the business ends.
height 17.1 in
weight 10.1 lbs
individual focus
integral mounting post
exit pupil 4 mm
ipd 61-72mm
effective aperture 95mm
eye relief 17 luxurious (as advertised) useable mms
i’m happiest with 12-14mms of UER plus a few more to take advantage of leaving the eyeguards out to block peripheral light. the orion does not disappoint.
large 21mm eyelens diameters also contribute to a comfortable and rewarding viewing experience.

editorial:
i pay to see out to the field stop, even if the outer fov is just for context. anything less is considered a design flaw and/or a rip-off. those designing noks with 9 or less mms of ER should be subjected to forcibly viewing the fieldstop regardless of ocular bone damage or disfigurement. i keep imagining a think-tank of designers intentionally ignoring every new models’ ER specs and, for kicks and giggles, creating a betting pool as to the final distance outcomes. (“okay boys! who had 11 mms?”)

close focus 100 ft
soft rollback eyeguards
tfov 2.5° (spec )
field sharp to 80%
coma free field 2.0°
nominal positive distortion
afov (spec) 63°
afov (subj) v good. not a spacewalk but a substantial view relative to the limited tfov. fieldstop is well-defined.
false color: present but minimal
ergonomics: braced on my elbows-tripod or reclined, the increased weight actually serves to help stability when held near
the objectives. a heavy-duty tripod is required for best detection and detail.

purchase motivations:
giant bino addicts must have at least one 100 mm or larger horse in their stable. it’s the law. and yes, that’s my collective noun for them, as in ‘a stable of thoroughbred binoculars’. an ‘arsenal’ works, too. again, i also use and recommend giants for high mag handheld training, usually as a warm-up session before powering down to lower mag noks. after spending 15-20 minutes with the 25×100, regardless of the actual physiological stability increase, views thru my 15s and 20s certainly feel lighter and seem steadier- often reaching ‘heartbeat-limited’ stability.

bottom line:
10 lbs of heaven
five star transaction and instrument
highly recommended
*as always, ymmv*

tip of the day: afov direct (star) measurement.
view the left eyelens with your right eye. keeping both eyes open place two superimposed 1x stars at the left and right fieldstop borders, afov is the angular distance between the two stars. divide by tfov for magnification.

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more binocular reviews at:
tinyurl.com/saberdoesthestarz tinyurl.com/c14isawesome

*photo courtesy of telescope.com*

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saber does the stars (vol. 2: the index catalogue)

Saber Does The Stars (Vol 2: the Index Catalog)

C14 (ngc869/884) in Perseus *courtesy of SDSS*
[all contents within are free use and may be reprinted with author/website acknowledgement]

*****

“what does it take to see saturn’s rings? i’ve got 4k to spend.”

4k will certainly buy some jaw-dropping views of the rings. fortunately, run-of-the-mill amazing rings are available for alot less. near opposition, even a 25x binocular will show a tiny but crisp disc/ring system. it takes about 30x when saturn’s out roving around the quadratures. there are even very sporadic reports of naked eye detections of the disc ‘bulges’. as for myself, there were several nights surrounding the last ring plane crossing that i was able to detect the ring orientation unaided, as the rings appeared more like hands of a clock than just big ears. but if i had that much to spend on a scope right now i’d get a 9.25hd edge and load it for bear. by the way, it also does a wonderful job on thousands of other night sky treasures. (but mostly on the rings.)

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beyond starhopping: sharpshooting

our scopes are shaped like grenade launchers and cannons. finders give us crosshairs and bull’s-eyes. those of us who still enjoy the theme and thrill of the hunt take pride in possessing a quick and accurate target acquisition. so i view starhopping as an initial reconnoiter, not a continuous requirement. sharpshooters practice what has also been referred to as ‘spatial acuity’. basically, this is memorizing simple asterisms formed by nearby visible stars and a finder’s red dot (or other) reticle pattern. many of us reflexively form invisible asterisms on a regular basis. in light-polluted skies we fill in the dimmer stars of the little dipper or corona borealis. sharpshooting is the dso equivalent. an excellent exercise is to see the red dot as the target itself. after completing an observation take another look thru the finder with both eyes open and imagine the red dot completing a simple local star pattern (a triangle, an ‘L’, etc.). return the scope or binoculars to a neutral start position and aim again to recenter the target solely as the completion of a stellar pattern. using ones lowest power/widest field ep is recommended, as this allows a larger margin for error. it won’t happen overnight, and some are tougher than others, but with repetition this logistic reinforcement will allow the observer to eventually memorize hundreds of otherwise invisible dso positions and skip the celestial pinball routine altogether. building this personal go-to database of ‘lock and load’ targets is both a goal and reward of proficient starhopping. the 110 messier objects are popular sharpshooting targets. becoming intimate with their positions is also essential for those wishing to test their prowess while running the m-cubed (messier marathon from memory).

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waning interest: hunting the oldest crescent moon

if you’re into chasing thin crescents and not taking advantage of the waning slivers, you’re missing half of the challenge and rewards. dawn crescents don’t get nearly the attention of their dusk counterparts. there is no cultural significance and most of the world is still asleep. this is unfortunate as oldest crescents usually enjoy cleaner, steadier air, and observers already have a jump on dark adaptation. catching the thin horn of luna’s limb emerging from the horizon can also be an addictive twist to the dusk event. the still of the night also lends itself to creating a more peaceful and contemplative experience.
double your pleasure, practice, and conquests- support your oldest crescents.

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outreach: think accessibility

i’m not a recruiter. just offering to share the view. unless they want to be recruited. then i feel like a drug dealer, as there’s possible addiction and withdrawal involved. in any case, the easier we make it look, the more people feel they can try it themselves. i try to speak in layman’s terms as much as possible, as if there’s no new ‘language’ to learn. not all at once, anyway. relate that any cloud-free sky will do, and that a modest scope, or even those binoculars in the closet are all they need. i have a couple of 8x40s that i pass around to supervised groups while they wait in line. i usually do public outreach under some waxing moon phase and stick with whatever other naked-eye showpieces are available (except by request). quality/wow factor over quantity. three or four bright targets per group or person is all you really need (i.e., always leave the crowd wanting more). also, everyone is welcome, whether they want to become an astronomer or astrologer or join the x-files. (those who pathologically correct visitors on every scientific nuance cross the line into ‘outpreach’, and become the stereotype droll know-it-alls.) i’m not there to criticize how anyone enjoys the stars. in fact, i’m intrigued by the different attractions and curiosities the night sky evokes. the cream will rise to the top without any bias from the host. beyond that, it’s just about making the experience more interesting than academic and enjoying the reactions when that tiny spot of light hits their pupil. i offer cellphone snaps at the ep for souveniers, and of course have plenty of old astromags/catalogs, dark sky brochures, and local club info available. most importantly- and this cannot be overstated- use a 5mw laser pointer to point stuff out. people (kids especially) are entranced by it. many would stay for the light show alone.  it is, however, at your discretion whether or not to make the light saber sound while using it.

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butch and sundance

i remember only two of us from the club showing up to handle 250 scouts on a sugar-high stampeding in the dark  toward the observing field at once. the ground and scopes were shaking. quite a daunting experience until the dust settled and the panting troop leaders caught up to them. 

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braving the cold: eat (then dress) for success

this topic always brings dozens of clothing, layers, hand/feet warmer ideas for cold weather observing. but i’m always suprised that fueling and care our own internal furnaces is either only mentioned as an afterthought or not at all. if the same question was asked about keeping your house warmer in the winter, how many would ignore turning up the thermostat as an option? generating more heat from within amplifies the effect of any exterior protection severalfold. i know i’m at peak winter obs efficiency when i sense my clothing radiating body heat back at me rather than just slowing down the cold air’s creeping penetration.
yes, bringing hot chocolate along gets an occasional mention, and that’s wonderful during the session. (sugar but not coffee- constriction of the blood vessels is not a good trade for any alertness boost when the priority is maintaining warmth. i’m a coffee/caffeine fan, but save it for the mental boost while driving home in a warm vehicle.) but get a jump on it all by putting away some additional calories before going out as well. unashamed, unabashed calories. pizza, tacos, ribs, and 4-digit calorie monster burgers are recommended. their sole purpose in life is to supply bulk, long-term heat.
in short, eat a triple-stack baconator with a quart of whole milk before setting up at your obs site. it works.
the second, complementary, warmth preparation is even more sacrilegous. it concerns circulation and exercise. i fully appreciate that the more sedate, relaxing nature of stargazing has its own lifestyle appeal (yup, i just called us all lazy), but those wishing to become frequent cold weather observers should be packing-on an additional 2-3 lbs a week and exercising regularly- even if it’s just walking- to prepare and acclimate. (plus, by messier marathon season, march will feel like t-shirt weather.)
a body with poor circulation is much more content to simply downshift into hibernation mode at the eyepiece, severely compromising vision and data processing abilities. stretch and take a short walk at least every hour during extended sessions, preferably to a discreetly-distant idling vehicle. keep some energy bars on hand to munch on during these breaks.
finally, handle your tripods, scopes, binos, eps, etc. as sparingly as possible. they may be our best obs buddies, but they get wickedly cold, and are more than happy to immediately usurp any heat that we offer them. fingers are the most susceptible volunteers. very thin cloth gloves for equipment adjustments worn under a thicker pair are preferable to any contact with bare skin, and having hand warmers available is always recommended.
the freezing winter air finally strips-off the sky haze that plagues many of us the rest of the year, seemingly allowing us to see magnitudes deeper with equally enhanced contrast. eat, exercise, and dress appropriately to take full advantage of it.

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prettiest globular?

if i had my choice of hot globs to take to the prom it would easily be 47 tucanae (aka c106/ngc104). wonderful symmetry and resolution gradient. love her sexy aussie accent, too.
the great hercules cluster (m13/ngc6205) and omega centauri (c80/ngc5139), while blatantly impressive, are more about brute strength impact, and would be my first choices if i were hiring, say, nfl linemen.
the 4th magnitude southern showpiece cluster escorts our neighboring galaxy- the small magellanic cloud- across the sky, and culminates in september at radec 0024-7205 (psa 80).

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stoking the embers

outer atmospheres of suns containing a majority of carbon rather than oxygen only allow the red spectrum of their light to reach our eyes.
the beauty of these aptly colored carbon stars has also stopped most of us in our tracks while panning thru the eyepiece.
specifically hunting and comparing these scattered blood diamonds is one of the more forgiving amateur pursuits, as less-than-perfect seeing and altitude often only accentuate their fiery presence.
the astronomical league offers a great program for those ready to start chasing these stellar gems. check it out at https://www.astroleague.org/content/carbon-star-observing-program

happy hunting!

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give a hoot

C13 (aka ngc 457) has many nicknames including the Kachina Doll, E.T., Owl, and Jet Fighter cluster. It’s also not a stretch to see it as Sir Patrick sporting his shiny monacle, as it’s one of the best non-Messiers in his Caldwell catalogue. At magnitude 6.4, the rich open cluster is also the brightest in Cassiopeia [0119+5810 psa 01] Of note, C13’s brightest sun, phi Cas, is actually an unrelated foreground star that just happens to be in our line of sight to the rest of the 7900 ly distant cluster.
Residing in the northern circumpolar sky has alot to do with its popularity and varied descriptions, and its orientation on ones first view tends to leave the strongest impression (my own first C13 experience happened to catch the cluster in Jet Fighter mode).
Discovering these multiple ‘personalities’ also speaks to the benefits of observing all of our treasures at different aspects as they rotate during their trek through the sky.

(btw- herschel 400 hunters can also log ngc 436, the more modest ‘mouse’ cluster, found in c13’s neighboring fov either escaping the owl’s claws or directly in the jet’s gunsights.)

tinyurl.com/saberdoesthestars
tinyurl.com/c14isawesome

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forced statutory outreach:
the night i crashed the science fair

my brother’s kid had brought home a flyer from school announcing an upcoming science fair and the evening’s program; simple demonstrations of basic physics, geology, chemistry, etc. but conspicuous by its absence was any mention of space, astronomy, or even a lousy solar system diorama.
the final rub was that this was taking place at, not just any grade school, but my own hometown childhood almamater- so now it was personal.
politely, but thru gritted teeth, i called the school ready to verbally pound some sense into this blasphemous principal’s head…

okay, that’s enough dramatics.
just wanted to convey my initial reaction. i was even suprised at how betrayed i felt.
anyway, a semblence of sanity prevailed allowing me to see this as a sad but excellent outreach opportunity.
sure it was december and cold for public outdoor observing, but not even an indoor table display or a few hubble pics?
in the end they were thrilled to have me bring a scope, some noks, and a variety of outreach material.
my 18″ round laminated moon pic was hung at the far end of the gym above the bleachers for observing practice.
but my glp easily stole the show, giving me a big audience of parents and children on which to also impress the dangers and legal ramifications of improper laser use.
it was a fun evening and i was invited back in the spring for a full-blown outdoor event.

being back at my old grade school was an experience in itself. in 6th grade our class held the annual folk festival in the same gym. my group’s exhibit- brazil- had also been the most popular, especially with the adults.
ours was the only country serving coffee.

peace, stephen

p.s., speaking of glps, it’s extremely difficult to preach responsible laser use when you have the overpowering urge to
make the light saber sound while demonstrating them.

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do u observe alone at remote locations?

from a preference standpoint: sure. whenever i’m not sharing views with the public and have time for the drive.
alone with the stars it’s a much more intense bonding experience. like it’s all on display just for me.

from a danger/life-threatening standpoint: doesn’t bother me a bit. there are worse ways to go than with saturn or a favorite dso in the eyepiece.
in fact, it would be my third preferred ‘found dead while’ scenario. the second would be while behind the drums.

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i was a teenage exit pupil abuser

9×63, 10×70, 11×80. there was a time i couldn’t get enough wasted light. spraying it like a firehose from the eyepieces of my binoculars during nights on end of gluttony and laughter. after all, i had convinced myself, there was a free and neverending supply. i crashed numerous star parties- aiming the back of my noks at nearby dso observers, and giggling as they flinched from my venomous stray light intruding on their precious night vision. i scoffed criticisms from my elders that there were children starving for light in cloud-covered cambodia. cursing disapproval, several others would often swarm behind me to catch and splash the spewing overflow of photons in their eyes that would otherwise bounce without purpose off the grass and onlooking sheep behind me.

but exit pupil laws were becoming increasingly strict, and my freewheeling cowboy lifestyle finally caught up with me. at one event i was hauled off the field by the national ExP guard and brought before a judge. sentenced to 5 years of hard labor, poor transparency, and a harshly restricted 30×50, i spent many tearful nights repenting the tomfoolery of my youth.

[epilogue: bino exit pupil is often overrated. like aperture, more is always preferable to not having enough. eye placement is less critical with large ExPs as well. iow, don’t let an oversized ExP override your enjoyment of the night sky.]
peace, stephen.
http://tinyurl.com/saberdoesthestarz
http://tinyurl.com/c14isawesome

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zerbatory blues

after making the 45 minute drive to our blue zone observatory, confining myself to its rectangular slit of heaven would be torture. i spend a good deal of time set up in the surrounding field and rolling around in the grass like a kid in a candy store, too.

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Not Another Moon Illusion

Depending on your level of intimacy, most people have experienced up to 3 moon illusions; the size illusion (moon appears larger near the horizon), the depth illusion (moon craters appear as domes aka the ‘convex/concave con’), and the terminator illusion (illuminated portion of moon appears offset to direct sun rays).
Another that’s followed me thru the years of lunar observing is not so much an illusion as a temporal inconvenience.
The 1.3 seconds it takes for the moon’s reflected light to reach us translates to a
time-delayed terminator. Whether by inches or yards (cms or meters), the terminator has always advanced farther than what we’re seeing from earth. So, while we’re slightly ripped-off when the moon is waxing, the waning phases constantly allow us to see features that are actually already in darkness.
Ashen light (earthshine) takes an additional bounce to reach us, so we’re actually seeing that area as it appeared 2.6 seconds ago.
The time machine increases dramatically when we view the more distant planets and stars. Saturn’s illuminated image, for example, is always roughly 90 minutes old as viewed from earth.
Good stuff to consider next time you see
our closest neighbors.

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Best Stargazing Locations (U.S.)

Many people are only a 15-20 minute drive away from the most stars they have
ever seen. Center your location on the linked map. Green areas are very good.
Blue is even better. Gray/Black is as good as it gets.
Plan a short road trip to these areas on a clear, moonless night and soak in the stars.   

http://www.jshine.net/astronomy/dark_sky/

Show Me My Star

If you’d like a free photo of that honorary star named for a friend or loved one just follow
these simple instructions.

http://www.pictureofmystar.blogspot.com/

Deep Sky Objects: Concordiem Borealis

http://concordiemborealis.blogspot.com/

New Moon: Extreme Crescent Visibility

http://astro.ukho.gov.uk/moonwatch/nextnewmoon.html 

(great site. email them to include last crescents before new moon, too!)

LROC Interactive Lunar Map

http://target.lroc.asu.edu/q3/

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Outreach Gone Wild / Saber’s Beads Evolution
in Non-Astronomy Fiction:
(Cailyn Vature’s ‘Raven’ 2009)
in Music: YouTube (Sophie Hutchings 2012): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C18Dp7Lw4HA

Saber’s Beads: Flower Power (Faulkner 2014)
http://www.naturalselectiondaylilies.net/intros/sabers.html

Saber’s Beads: Gaming (Perfect World 2015)

http://www.pwdatabase.com/pwi/items/46331

Saber’s Beads: A Horse of Course (Tabgold Racing 2015)

http://www.tabgold.co.za/racecard/SV151206/1.htm

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Sitting In Plato

Simulated views and events from our moon (and other stuff)

http://c14isawesome.blogspot.com/2017/01/sitting-in-plato-earth-viewed-from-moon_47.html?m=1

Herschel 400 by Declination
Mostly for kicks, but a good reference for target availability and prioritization.

http://www.herschel400bydeclination.blogspot.com/  

The NGC Asterisms / Going Deep for Doubles: The NGC 140

http://www.ngcasterisms.blogspot.com/

Quick And Dirty Binocular Mag Comparisons

http://binomagcomparisons.blogspot.com/

Saturn: The Motion Picture

http://saberscorpx.vidmeup.com

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Lightspeed Distance to the Planets
(from Earth, closest approach):

Mercury 5m10s
Venus 2m15s
Mars 4m20s
Jupiter 35m
Saturn 1h10m
Uranus 2h30m
Neptune 4h10m
(The current distance to Pluto is 4h39m)

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First Scope and Eyepieces

Buy the most aperture that is both affordable and portable. Portability should be easy enough that it never becomes an issue or reason not to setup or travel. Some don’t think twice about regularly moving 100 lbs of equipment around while some think anything over 25 lbs is a chore. Vehicle accomodation is a consideration if one plans to travel. Which type of scope is more intuitive to use? Some people naturally take to the operation of a Dob over a Cat and vice-versa. The remaining design pros and cons tend to cancel each other out, and are usually not of crucial importance as both provide amazing views. Goto scopes also provide fine images, but a solid familiarity with the brightest stars and constellations is required to avoid alot of operational frustration.
For eyepiece needs, a 32mm Plossl, 24-8mm premium zoom, and shorty barlow will be more than enough to cover most useable powers in most scopes. At the same time I recommend collecting and enjoying as many Naglers as possible.

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A Mount By Any Other Name

For not being a binocular tripod fan, I sure have enough of them.
When I’m not beating on my drumkit the cymbal stands are all available for duty as sturdy
mounts for my noks. They’ve occasionally been used at outreach events for multiple viewers as well.
With the cymbal stand boom arms adjusted to the vertical many can extend up to 84″. Most are compatible with bino adapters, and the more robust models can easily handle my 100mm guns.
An alternate mounting choice that often gets overlooked, some music stores carry used boom stands
for less than $50.

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In Praise Of Shallow Ecliptics

Flat ecliptics are no fun for planet viewing or young crescent moon sightings, and often means it’s pretty cold outside. But it does give me a better sense of orientation with the Solar system.
In a world where ‘north’ is usually associated with ‘up’, it just feels more natural to be looking directly across the planets’ orbits with my head and feet more aligned to Sol’s north and south poles.
Near the other extreme, viewing a perpendicular ecliptic means I’m standing on the Earth’s side and should be sliding off the limb and into space.
It’s a very Earth-centric bias and one I’ve been reluctant to share out of shame.
For those who have not experienced this I should have warned you ahead of time not to read this as it may trigger unwarranted vertigo and uneasiness during future obs sessions. My bad.

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Caldwell Fever
Stephen Saber

I bagged the Caldwells as an elective project en route to the A.L. Master Observer’s award and found them to be a worthy and, in a few cases, challenging DSO refresher course. By request, the following is a  jump-start for those in pursuit of Sir Patrick’s favorite 109 non-Messier treasures. His concept was a forefather of modern post-Messier collections which has also inspired, often by its notoriety, a slew of the individual lists we see today. For the intermediate observer, this is a very nice warm-up for the Herschel 400 as most of the northern Caldwells also appear in that list. Only 70 targets are required to receive this award, making the program available to observers in either hemisphere (but don’t let that stop you from traveling to enjoy the rest). The targets being numbered by declination also gives a much more intuitive idea as to their local altitude and availability. Prefacing the Caldwell catalogue designations below are the host constellation, its mid-point midnight culmination date, and respective Pocket Sky Atlas chart(s). Multiple targets within a constellation are ordered in suggested search sequences. Along with the object type, magnitude, and radec, an additional identifier is included for those who have not yet memorized this iconic deepsky database.

cma / jan02 / psa27
C64 oc 4.1 0719-2457 (ngc2362)
C58 oc 7.2 0718-1537 (ngc2360)

gem / jan05 / psa25
C39 pn 9.9 0729+2055 (ngc2392)

mon / jan05 / psa25, 26
C50 oc 4.8 0632+0452 (ngc2244)
C49 bn — 0632+0503 (ngc2237-9)
C46 bn 10.0 0639+0844 (ngc2261)
C54 oc 7.6 0800-1047 (ngc2506)

pup / jan08 / psa28
C71 oc 5.8 0752-3833 (ngc2477)

lyn / jan19 / psa23
C25 gc 10.4 0738+3853 (ngc2419)

cnc / jan30 / psa24
C48 gx 10.3 0910+0702 (ngc2775)  

car / jan31 / psa39, 38
C96 oc 3.8 0758-6052 (ngc2516)
C90 pn 9.7 0921-5819 (ngc2867)
C92 bn 6.2 1044-5952 (ngc3372)
C102 oc 1.9 1043-6424 (ic2602)
C91 oc 3.0 1106-5840 (ngc3532)

vel / feb13 / psa39
C85 oc 2.5 0840-5304 (ic2391)
C79 gc 6.7 1018-4625 (ngc3201)
C74 pn 8.2 1008-4026 (ngc3132)

sex / feb22 / psa37
C53 gx 9.1 1005-0743 (ngc3115)

cha / mar01 / psa30
C109 pn — 1010-8052 (ngc3195)

leo / mar01 / psa34
C40 gx 10.9 1120+1821 (ngc3626) 

hya / mar15 / psa36, 46
C59 pn 8.6 1025-1838 (ngc3242)
C66 gc 10.2 1440-2632 (ngc5694) 

cru / mar28 / psa49
C99 dn — 1253-6300 (coalsack)
C98 oc 6.9 1242-6258 (ngc4609)
C94 oc 4.2 1254-6020 (ngc4755)

cen / mar30 / psa49, 48
C100 oc 4.5 1137-6302 (ic2944)
C97 oc 5.3 1136-6137 (ngc3766)

C80 gc 3.6 1327-4729 (ngc5139)
C83 gx 9.5 1306-4928 (ngc4945)
C77 gx 7.0 1326-4301 (ngc5128)
C84 gc 7.6 1346-5122 (ngc5286)

mus / mar30 / psa50
C108 gc 7.8 1226-7240 (ngc4372)
C105 gc 7.3 1300-7053 (ngc4833)

com / apr02 / psa45
C36 gx 9.8 1236+2758 (ngc4559)
C38 gx 9.6 1236+2559 (ngc4565)
C35 gx 11.4 1300+2759 (ngc4889)

cvn / apr07 / psa43
C26 gx 10.6 1218+3749 (ngc4244)
C32 gx 9.3 1242+3232 (ngc4631)
C29 gx 9.8 1311+3703 (ngc5005)
C21 gx 9.4 1228+4406 (ngc4449)

vir / apr11 / psa45
C52 gx 9.3 1249-0548 (ngc4697)

cir / apr30 / psa48
C88 oc 7.9 1506-5536 (ngc5823)

boo / may02 / psa44
C45 gx 10.2 1338+0853 (ngc5248)

nor / may19 / psa58
C89 oc 5.4 1619-5754 (ngc6087)

aps / may21 / psa60
C107 gc 9.3 1626-7212 (ngc6101)

tra / may23 / psa60
C95 oc 5.1 1604-6030 (ngc6025)

dra / may24 / psa31, 51
C3 gx 9.7 1217+6928 (ngc4236)
C6 pn 8.8 1759+6638 (ngc6543)

crv / may28 / psa36
C60 gx 11.3 1202-1852 (ngc4038)
C61 gx 13.0 1202-1853 (ngc4039)

sco / jun03 / psa58
C76 oc 2.6 1654-4148 (ngc6231)
C75 oc 5.8 1626-4040 (ngc6124)
C69 pn 12.8 1714-3706 (ngc6302)

ara / jun10 / psa58
C82 oc 5.2 1641-4846 (ngc6193)
C86 gc 5.6 1741-5340 (ngc6397)
C81 gc 8.1 1726-4825 (ngc6352)

cra / jun30 / psa69
C78 gc 6.6 1808-4342 (ngc6541)
C68 bn 9.7 1902-3657 (ngc6729)

sgr / jul07 / psa66
C57 gx 9.3 1945-1448 (ngc6822)

pav / jul15 / psa70
C93 gc 5.4 1911-5959 (ngc6752)
C101 gx 9.0 1910-6351 (ngc6744)

vul / jul25 / psa62
C37 oc 5.7 2012+2629 (ngc6885)

cyg / jul30 / psa62
C15 pn 9.8 1945+5031 (ngc6826)
C27 bn 7.5 2012+3821 (ngc6888)
C20 bn 6.0 2059+4420 (ngc7000)
C33 sn — 2056+3143 (ngc6992/5)
C34 sn — 2046+3043 (ngc6960)
C19 bn 10.0 2154+4716 (ic5146)

del / jul31 / psa64
C47 gc 8.9 2034+0724 (ngc6934)
C42 gc 10.6 2102+1611 (ngc7006)

aqr / aug25 / psa77, 76
C55 pn 8.3 2104-1122 (ngc7009)
C63 pn 6.5 2230-2048 (ngc7293)

lac / aug28 / psa73
C16 oc 6.4 2215+4953 (ngc7243)

peg / sep01 / psa74
C30 gx 9.5 2237+3425 (ngc7331)
C44 gx 11.0 2305+1219 (ngc7479)
C43 gx 10.5 0003+1609 (ngc7814)

tuc / sep17 / psa80
C106 gc 4.0 0024-7205 (ngc104)
C104 gc 6.6 0103-7051 (ngc362)

scl / sep26 / psa09
C72 gx 8.2 0015-3911 (ngc55)
C70 gx 8.1 0055-3741 (ngc300)
C65 gx 7.1 0048-2517 (ngc253)

cep / sep29 / psa73, 71
C12 gx 9.7 2035+6009 (ngc6946)
C4 bn 6.8 2102+6812 (ngc7023)
C9 bn 7.7 2259+6237 (sh2-155)
C2 pn 11.6 0013+7232 (ngc40)
C1 oc 8.1 0044+8520 (ngc188)

cas / oct09 / psa03, 01
C11 bn 7.0 2321+6112 (ngc7635)
C18 gx 9.2 0039+4820 (ngc185)
C17 gx 9.3 0033+4830 (ngc147)
C13 oc 6.4 0119+5820 (ngc457)
C10 oc 7.1 0146+6115 (ngc663)
C8 oc 9.5 0130+6318 (ngc559)

and / oct09 / psa03, 02
C22 pn 9.2 2326+4233 (ngc7662)
C28 oc 5.7 0158+3741 (ngc752)
C23 gx 9.9 0223+4221 (ngc891)

cet / oct15 / psa07
C62 gx 8.9 0047-2046 (ngc247)
C56 pn 8.0 0047-1153 (ngc246)
C51 gx 9.0 0105+0207 (ic1613)

for / nov02 / psa06
C67 gx 9.2 0246-3017 (ngc1097)

per / nov07 / psa02
C14 doc 4.3 0220+5708 (ngc869/884)  
C24 gx 11.6 0320+4131 (ngc1275)

hor / nov10 / psa08
C87 gc 8.4 0312-5513 (ngc1261)

tau / nov30 / psa15
C41 oc 1.0 0427+1600 (mel25)

dor / dec17 / psa20, D
C103 bn 1.0 0539-6906 (ngc2070)

col / dec18 / psa18
C73 gc 7.3 0514-4003 (ngc1851) 

aur / dec21 / psa12
C31 bn 6.0 0516+3416 (ic405)

cam / dec23 / psa11, 21
C5 gx 9.2 0347+6806 (ic342)
C7 gx 8.9 0737+6536 (ngc2403)

A.L. Caldwell Program Homepage
Caldwell Telrad Finder Charts
*blog under construction*
[all contents within are free use and may be reprinted with author/website acknowledgement]

COMING SOON:
Glass At A Glance: Orion 25×100 GiantView Binocular
The Mess-Cal Marathon
The Last GoTo Convert
Lucky Ned Pepper (And The Steadiest Hands In The West)

Also see:
Saber Does The Stars
pdf (unformatted)
Recommended Astro Links:

http://www.astroleague.org/

http://www.darksky.org/

http://www.astronomy.com/

http://www.skyandtelescope.com/

http://astronomy.fm/

http://eyesonthesky.com/Home.aspx

http://www.astromax.org/

http://www.ngcicproject.org/

http://www.messier45.com/

http://www.astronomertalk.com/index.php

http://www.iceinspace.com.au/index.

http://stargazerslounge.com/

http://www.galaxyzoo.org

http://www.astronomerswithoutborders.org/

http://www.cloudynights.com/

http://www.spaceweather.com/

http://messier.seds.org/xtra/marathon/

http://pacastronomy.50megs.com/

http://www.saguaroastro.org/

http://10minuteastronomy.wordpress.com/

http://tinyurl.com/sittinginplato1

http://nightsky.jpl.nasa.gov/

* * * * *

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30×80 barska x-trail revisited

30×80 barska x-trail revisited
i watched mare crisium spit out aldeberan after an occultation a few nights ago using the barska 30s. very enjoyable. amazing lunar terminator detail, as always.
everything about it from my initial review years ago still holds true. still aligned, still mechanically sound, eye relief still useable but wanting.

what i did want to ammend is that the fully-coated barska’s color correction may not necessarily be better than that of the fmc 30x orion megaview- but perhaps the brighter image/decreased contrast may simply render it less noticible. this also implies that, in some cases, vivid CA may be a result of better AR coatings- and that those highly offended by false color might be better appeased by fully-coated or multi-coated models.
just an intuitive thought, but i’ll let you be the judge.
the 30s were not my first experience with vivid vs ‘bleached’ CA. while comparing four 8x40s, the fully-coated model also outperformed the other 3 fmc noks on (noticible) CA.

i also still employ and recommend my hi-mag training routine for steadier handheld views thru lower-power binos, whether it’s a 30x warm-up before dropping to 15x, or 15x prior to 8-10x sessions.

anyway, the barska 30x is still providing bang long after the buck. versus my 25×100, the barska not only has the adler index (and easily observed) edge in power, but often gets more use due to its smaller grab-n-go size and light weight.
and the 30x stereo views of saturn and luna alone will always be worth the bargain price.

peace, stephen.

* * * * *

saber does the stars at:
tinyurl.com/saberdoesthestarz
tinyurl.com/c14isawesome

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Saber’s Beads: Evolution

Saber’s Beads: Evolution

“The broken arc of lights eclipse contact resemblance peaked in deep twilight with the infant crescent moon hanging 2° above the horizon on a steep ecliptic at a solar elongation of 12.2°. By this time I was fully immersed in the imagery of a total solar eclipse- as if in the next few moments I would either be basking in our suns corona or forced to turn away from its glare. Low altitude scintillation added a surreal dynamic to the experience.” -Stephen Saber (May 2006)
After his abbreviated report on this young moon sighting, the described visual aspect was almost immediately dubbed “Saber’s Beads” by his colleagues, and gained popular use by other lunar observers and websites.
The term has since continued to virally spread to other cultural venues as well, including:

Existential: SouledOut (2007)
Saber’s Beads is represented as symbolic of increased perspective and open-mindedness.

Life Experience: Blogger (2009) The author’s blog titled Saber’s Beads documents her own personal uplifting experiences as ‘staggered brightness peaks’ along life’s journey.

Literature/Fiction: Cailyn Vature’s ‘Raven’ (2009) Saber’s Beads initiate a fabled window of time surrounding new moon that allows those souls in limbo to return to earth.

Music: Sophie Hutchings (2012)
Saber’s Beads is released as an instrumental classical piano track appearing on her album ‘Night Sky’.

Nature: (Faulkner 2014) A breed of flower is officially catalogued as Saber’s Beads due to characteristic random bright patches at the petal tips.

Gaming: Perfect World (2015)
Saber’s Beads is introduced as a powerful defensive weapon sought to be collected during play.

Sports: Horse Racing/TabGold (2015) The 3-year old racehorse, named Saber’s Beads, takes 3rd place in his first appearance at Scottsville Downs.

Jewelry: Lunerias Luneras (2016)
The Saber’s Beads necklace is introduced, featuring detached points of brightness and color.

Even with Saber’s passionate forte for popularizing the night sky, this level of ‘outreach gone wild’ was an unexpected bonus, and he mentions being especially pleased that the epiphany-related term had not remained confined to the world of astronomy.
For a chance to experience the astronomical Saber’s Beads the equipment requirements are as simple as the sighting conditions are serendipitous. Standard binoculars provide the minimum magnification. However, the necessary logistics and sky conditions to follow an extremely young lunar crescent down to a clear horizon (or an extremely old crescent up from the horizon) while still in deep twilight are few and far between. But for those who persevere Saber’s Beads remains a beautiful sight not to be missed.

[reprinted with permission/J. Sorenson, KSCA Meridian June 2016]

*****

raw image credit: maurice collins/ltvt

tinyurl.com/saberdoesthestarz
tinyurl.com/c14isawesome

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i was a teenage exit pupil abuser

i was a teenage exit pupil abuser
9×63, 10×70, 11×80. there was a time i couldn’t get enough wasted light. spraying it like a firehose from the eyepieces of my binoculars during nights on end of gluttony and laughter. after all, i had convinced myself, there was a free and neverending supply. i crashed numerous star parties- aiming the back of my noks at nearby dso observers, and giggling as they flinched from my venomous stray light intruding on their precious night vision. i scoffed criticisms from my elders that there were children starving for light in cloud-covered cambodia. cursing disapproval, several others would often swarm behind me to catch and splash the spewing overflow of photons in their eyes that would otherwise bounce without purpose off the grass and onlooking sheep behind me.
but exit pupil laws were becoming increasingly strict, and my freewheeling cowboy lifestyle finally caught up with me. at one event i was hauled off the field by the national ExP guard and brought before a judge. sentenced to 5 years of hard labor, poor transparency, and a harshly restricted 30×50, i spent many tearful nights repenting the tomfoolery of my youth.

* * * * *

[epilogue: bino exit pupil is often overrated. like aperture, more is always preferable to not having enough. eye placement is less critical with large ExPs as well. iow, don’t let an oversized ExP override your enjoyment of the night sky.]

peace, stephen.

tinyurl.com/saberdoesthestarz
tinyurl.com/c14isawesome

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