|Ryukyu Astronomy Club Newsletter
|Volume 1, Issue 6||August 2002|
Next Club Meeting - August 10th
Maeda is a very good site with a nice parking lot, restrooms and vending machines with drinks. Just 20 minutes drive from our meeting place at the Hospital, this is likely as good as it gets without driving a much greater distance. The only true disadvantage of the site is the scuba divers coming in and out of the parking lot with their car lights on. A map to the site has been posted on the Meeting page of our web site. Thanks to Ron Locker for finding this site.
At Maeda we had Mike Swanson's 11 inch computerized goto scope and Tommy McGee's 80mm computerized goto scope. Both were in fine form, locating objects quickly for all to view. Highlights of the night included the globular clusters in Hercules - M13 and M92. Open clusters M6, M7, and M11 made a big splash in the wide field of Tommy's scope. The Trifid Nebula (M20) and the Whirlpool Galaxy (M51), two quite faint targets, were tough to spot, even in Mike's scope. We ended a great night with a high magnification view of the Ring Nebula - M57.
Things to See This Month
Other happenings in our neighborhood of the galaxy are the well-placed viewing of the far-out planets: Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. Uranus and Neptune can be spotted in a small scope from a dark location. With magnification of about 100x (Uranus) and 150x (Neptune), each presents a disk that is easily distinguished from background stars. Pluto is hard to make out in anything less than an 6" scope. Even then, you will need a good star atlas to help you discern the faint star-like point of light that is Pluto.
Deep sky objects of interest include:
For more objects of interest and the locations of those listed above, download the latest chart from www.skymaps.com or visit www.SkyandTelescope.com and customize the online star chart for Okinawa's general location of 128 degrees East longitude and 26 degrees North latitude.
A comprehensive approach to recording an observing session includes noting the following in your log:
You certainly will not want to spend much time writing grammatically perfect notes while you are out under the stars, so try this instead. Take a small notepad (or loose paper on a clipboard) out with you and leave your 'official' logbook inside. Start by noting the location, date, and time on the notepad. Then simply jot notes about each object. Later that night, or perhaps in the next day or two, refer to your notes to record complete entries in your real logbook.
Besides providing a permanent record of your nighttime adventures, a logbook also helps you to see more. In your quest to record what you observe, you concentrate on small details and really see the object. Some observers include sketches of objects in their logbook. More than anything else, drawing will truly help you to see more detail than you thought possible.
Even if you don't continue your log throughout your viewing career, you will find that maintaining a logbook for your first year will really help you to improve in your observation abilities and will build a firm foundation for a lifetime of enjoyment. Plus, the initial wonder of it all will be reflected in your log entries and skimming through your logbook on cloudy nights can recapture that 'new' feeling from when you first started out.
Visit the Downloads section of the Ryukyu Astronomy Club web site to find loose-leaf log sheets for printing.
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