PVAA member Matt Wedel who has a blog http://10minuteastronomy.wordpress.com/ has proposed a new observing program. His idea is to observe all 110 Messier objects from a suburban location with a small telescope that a beginner would start out with. He has chosen a 90mm mak for all of his observations and I am still contemplating on which scope I should use. The 14″ and 8″ is out, as well as the 6″, so that leaves me with my 70mm (2.75″) or my dad’s 41/2 inch reflector. Also, I could wait and finish my telescope which should have already been about finished at this point. 4 inches is probably something that a beginner would start out with.
There are many other factors that you have to put in, like using a run of the mill Kellner style eyepiece, of using Tele Vue’s Ethos or Nagler types. In my project, I am just going to use regular inexpensive plossl eyepieces. All of my plossl’s come from Orion telescopes.
Another factor that I have really thought about is the use of filtering. I mean, would an average beginner really own a UHC filter? It is still something I am thinking about. Another factor is the use of finder scopes. They vary from optical gun sights red dots, lasers, the list goes on and on. But, once again, this brings up the telescope I am using. I am reluctant to use the 70mm, because it is a small aperture for all of the Messiers. So I am just going to go with my gut and choose the 4 inch, but it is a rather risky move because it hasn’t even been made yet. I got as far as the blanks and grinding stand, but still haven’t ordered the grits. That’s because our internet has been down for about a week, which is why I haven’t blogged.
Another question, how will observe and record the observations I take? I am going to find it with a Messier chart, take extensive notes, and make a sketch. Something else I have thought about is magnification. It would be a good idea to use the same magnification on all of the observations because then the relative sizes of the objects can be documented.
I am assuming that Matt is going to observe all 110 of the Messiers, but I am thinking about doing his older version, which brings the total to about 104. Some of those later Messiers are going to be a huge challenge, on an average night at my house, M51 (whirlpool galaxy) is just barely seen with the 14″. So its going to be a challenge.
I would love to get this started right now, but I am currently working on AL’s Messier Program. The telescope is also not finished. So, let’s go over everything I am going to try to do. I am going to observe 104 Messier objects and document them with a sketch included, find them with run of the mill star charts, use average eyepieces (Plossls), and use regular finder scopes. The one I have chosen to use is a 6×25 finder scope from a Tasco telescope made in the 1960s.
There is one other thing, would you like to join me? I have already chosen to observe with Matt, but If you’ve got a telescope, why don’t you try it yourself? There are no hard set rules, so you can tweak and change them as you please. I am trying to replicate the beginners observations so they would know what to expect.
If you have any other reccomendations of other rules I should add it not, tell me. Happy observing!