Monday, 19 July 2010

Season's new changes...

The summer is coming to an end and it is time to start thinking about the next observing season. This season, the primary focus of observations will be simple, good and solid descriptions of Messier and Caldwell objects as they appear (or don't) under the horrible, bright orange suburban skies of mine. Telescopes used for this will be the good old 8" Orion DSE and the 2 year old 4.7" Sky-Watcher. Secondary focus will be the bright, suburban objects of the Sky Atlas-project.

Sketching will be on hold apart from the few selected targets for the season. Dark skies will be used primarily for possible objects presented in the Tähdet & Avaruus magazine column as well as naked eye observing.

There are other upcoming changes too. The observing template will be changed and updated a bit. These updates include:

Bortle Sky Class
Removed. Useless.

NE Lim.mag and SQM-L
Both measurements will be taken from zenith unless otherwise noted. Preferably "on the spot" measurements will be used, at least with the SQM-L.

Background sky, seeing and transparency
All of these will be, from now on, estimated on 1-10 scale where 1 is the worst and 10 is the best. Transparency and background sky ratings will be based on my own scale modified from the old Finnish 1-5 scale where 1 is the best and 5 is the worst. Seeing will be estimated using the Pickering seeing scale.

Minimum aperture and visual impressiveness
Removed. These two had a "good" run for a while.

Humidity, air pressure and temperature will be recorded on the spot with the mobile weather station. The wind will be estimated by using the Beaufort scale (as it has been on done the last few years) or from the stationary weather station 5 kilometers away.

Notes at the telescope
Added. This will provide interested parties with the whole rundown of the object. How it looked like with different magnifications, original field notes and so on. Time to try this one out and see how it evolves and works.

Additional information
Added. This will talk about what else can be see, what to expect, maybe an astrophysical aspect as well. As above, I'll give this a shot and see what happens.