A Guide for Viewing Sessions

  • Antony Cooke
Part of the Patrick Moore's Practical Astronomy Series book series (PATRICKMOORE)

There is one ingredient that will greatly enhance those occasions when you are able to take part in your hobby: using such times in an organized and effective manner. This is much more important than it sounds; whenever you fail to organize your sessions, no matter how brief, you will pay a steep price, not only in the productivity of the session, but most notably in missing key objects that lay within easy reach. Regardless of how much time you have to spend, or your observing location, the need remains the same. Just taking a little trouble beforehand will pay large dividends.

Bad planning is even more noticeable when you finally can find time to get away. Because of all that is involved in relocating your equipment, it might entail a full day and night. Regardless, it is never easy to do, and always a hassle. If it is only going to be every so often, then at least you need to make it worth your while. Thus, every time you venture into the wilderness for a night of observing, you should try to have a clear idea of what you want to see, and also some inkling of what to expect. Such an approach will pay huge dividends in the quality of your observing sessions. It is also much more fun than aimlessly wandering among the stars with only a few destinations in mind, and “making things up” as you go. There is nothing worse than fumbling through your collection of field books in the dark (probably also in the cold or damp), seeking out objects to view, while trying to read from the pages with a red light. And then you discover that something wonderful that you could have viewed is now below the horizon!


Image Intensifier Central Star Image Intensification Subtle Detail Conventional Viewing 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

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  • Antony Cooke

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