Home Up


Tips on Observing Deep Sky Objects

Observing the deep sky is a learned art. Here are a few tips from Rich Neuschaefer neuschaefer_rich@tandem.com

bulletKeep observing.  You will get better with practice. Your brain learns to see more as you do more observing.
bulletSometimes if you are very tired you won't see as much. Some drugs can make seeing dim objects more difficult.
bulletTry to observe in a comfortable position.  It really helps if you aren't straining your neck (or anything else) when you are trying to observe.
bulletIf you will be looking at very dim objects try to keep your eyes protected from bright light the day before you observe.
bulletTry looking a little off to the side of the object.
bulletTry tapping the scope so that the image will move a little in the field.  Some objects are very large (M31) so you may need to move the scope just to see the whole thing.
bulletTry different magnifications. Sometimes using more power when looking at a galaxy will make it easier to see.
bulletWhen looking at emission nebulae try using a narrow band or line filter nebula filter. (A Lumicon O-III filter is excellent)
bulletMake sure your telescopes optics are clean and well collimated.  Make sure your eyepieces are clean. Try different eyepieces some work better than others.
bulletSome nights are better than others. Seeing and transparency can change a lot even on the same night. Try to find the darkest site possible.
bulletTry a bigger scope. ;-)
Really, if you're at a star party and you can look through a larger scope it can help give you a better idea what the object looks like and then it can be easier to see in your smaller telescope. If you know were to look when trying to see structure in a Deep Sky Object it can be a big help.
bulletIf you don't have access to a larger telescope find a photo of the object. Just remember the detail will be much more subtle through the eyepiece.