What I see in sky - Milky Way, other stars

  • #26
DaveC426913
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In other words - you have much better vision out of the corner of your eye than straight ahead.
It's a trick in amateur astronomy to train yourself to look at a different object in order to see a much fainter one off to the side.
Of course, this is moot when looking at the sky-spanning Milky Way...
 
  • #27
russ_watters
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You could also try a pair of wide angle binoculars...
 
  • #29
mgb_phys
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It's the milky way - as somebody said the curve is an effect of the wide angle lens.
 
  • #30
wolram
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It's the milky way - as somebody said the curve is an effect of the wide angle lens.
So the individual circles of stars is all so the wide angle lens?
 
  • #31
turbo
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There are a couple of small circular/semicircular asterisms in the photo. Those are chance alignments of foreground stars.
 
  • #32
mgb_phys
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There are a couple of small circular/semicircular asterisms in the photo. Those are chance alignments of foreground stars.
I hadn't seen those until I stared at it.
 
  • #33
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This is a somewhat related question, so I figured I'd add it here instead of just starting a new thread.

I'm 26 years old, and I've never seen the Milky Way (meaning the galactic plane) before. I live on the outskirts of Baltimore, so it's just too bright around here. If I drive about 20 miles from the city lights, I can see maybe a few dozen stars out. At my house (2 miles from the city line,) I struggle to see 20-30. From my house, the Pleiades, for example, looks like a fuzzy patch of very pale light that looks like it may not be real at first.

How far away from the city lights do I need to travel to see the Milky Way? Think there would be anywhere within an hour of Baltimore, MD where I could actually see the galactic plane?
Just for your info you live about 4 and half hours away from one of the darkest areas on the east coast, in WV:
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&sou...ejxsr9vk0rCylA&cbp=11,302.71133717992535,,0,5

I've found this light pollution map quite useful.
http://www.jshine.net/astronomy/dark_sky/index.php [Broken]
 
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  • #35
DaveC426913
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Awesome stuff. I wish I could figure out how Google works.

How did you get that split screen? How can I tell if my street has been Google-Street-viewed?
 
  • #36
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I feel your pain on light pollution, I live in South Jersey, it's a 4 hour drive to any green or blue on that map (Catskills). I'll agree with the binocular suggestion. I got some super cheap 7x50 ones for about $10, and I was amazed what I could see from my back yard (normally about 20 stars max). The second number is the more important for star gazing, it's the width of the lens, so it's how much light they'll collect. Magnification isn't as important, the Andromeda Galaxy appears about the same size as the Moon, it's just very dim.

As for Google Maps the street view was actually an accident, I was double clicking on the point to just center it there and it brought up the street view, the split view was the default. You can tell if there is a street view because there is a little person in the upper left (atop the zoom bar). If it's yellow there are street view streets currently displayed, if it's white then no. If it's yellow then drag it onto the map and any streets with street view will get highlighted blue, then just drop it on one. It seems to be pretty hit or miss if your area will be included, I was amazed that rural street in the middle of no where in WV was, yet the major 2 lane state highway by my house isn't. Google seems to change their UI often, I think I remember they used to just have a button in the upper right that let you turn on the street view highlights.
 
  • #37
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I took my kids out a few months ago and had them look through some binoculars at the moon. They were stunned as the one started to fall backwards. (13 and 9 years old) LOL Now isn't that cool. Love the pic of the milkyway, explain to a child that that is our galaxy that we are in that they are looking at and wow talk about questions questions questions. That is why I'm here.
 
  • #38
DaveC426913
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I took my kids out a few months ago and had them look through some binoculars at the moon. They were stunned as the one started to fall backwards. (13 and 9 years old) LOL Now isn't that cool.
Show em Jupiter and the Galilean moons with the binocs. That's what blew my socks off at a star party. Binocs don't magnify that much yet the moons are quite easily visible and their orbital breadth practically fills the viewing area.

It was at that point I realized that it is not how small the moons are that makes them invisible to the naked eye, it's merely how dim they are. To the naked eye, the breadth of the orbits of the Galilean Moons is easily measurable.

The solar system shrank significantly in that moment, and came much closer than I'd ever thought. So I went out and bought my first scope.
 
  • #39
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Isn't it just amazing. I just thought it was neat. I'LL have to do that DAVE. Thanks for the tip. I guess I never bothered with those cause when I was in grade school we looked at Saturn through a descent size scope, wasn't real big but enough to see the rings and I don't think they can hold still long enough. But I will try.
 
  • #40
DaveC426913
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I don't think they can hold still long enough. But I will try.
Now that I think about it, the binocs were mounted on a tripod.
 
  • #41
Noo
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Speaking of the Milky Way, did you folks see the APOD today? Amazing...

http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap090127.html

.

I live in a horrid area of sky-gazing, so forgive the potential naivety of this, but; someone please tell me that is not "naked eye" quality. It has been enhanced with digital wizardry and potions?

Should i be wrong i may consider suicide at the comparatively atrocious skies i have.
 
  • #42
mgb_phys
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please tell me that is not "naked eye" quality. It has been enhanced with digital wizardry and potions?
It is a long exposure so collects more signal than you eye and your dark adapted eye doesn't see color very well.
It also covers a wider field than you eyes (you could only see about 1/2 of that arc at a time)

But in the southern hemisphere on a very dark site the galaxy is bright enough that you would think it was a moonlit cloud.
 
  • #43
Nabeshin
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I live in a horrid area of sky-gazing, so forgive the potential naivety of this, but; someone please tell me that is not "naked eye" quality. It has been enhanced with digital wizardry and potions?

Should i be wrong i may consider suicide at the comparatively atrocious skies i have.
The picture likely has been doctored in one way or another, simply because this is common practice with astrophotography in order to bring out certain wavelengths of light and such. However, the main difference between this and what you would see outside is that this is a picture taken over the course of hours, allowing all the light to accumulate. You certainly would be able to see the milky way from that location, but in nowhere near as much detail as that.

So, it's not as bad as it might seem =)
 
  • #44
russ_watters
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That picutre certianly does not contain hours of exposure. A minute, tops, is all it takes to get something like that if the sky conditions are right. Either way, yes, that's quite a bit brighter than can be seen with the naked eye.
 
  • #45
Nabeshin
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That picutre certianly does not contain hours of exposure. A minute, tops, is all it takes to get something like that if the sky conditions are right. Either way, yes, that's quite a bit brighter than can be seen with the naked eye.
You're right, my mistake. Certainly not hours, but depending on the image stacking and specific type of camera, they could be anywhere from a few minutes to thirty plus minute exposures.

http://www.takayuki-astro.com/film_milkyway.html 35 minutes
http://www.pbase.com/terrylovejoy/image/32742454 30 minutes
http://www.astropix.com/HTML/D_SUM_S/MILKYWAY.HTM 15 minutes
 

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