Welcome to the Backyard Novice program

Welcome to the Backyard Novice program

Postby rene-gedaly » Sat May 18, 2013 5:38 pm

from a Netslyder email by Debbie Moran to the HAS, posted here as background and history
Welcome to the Backyard Novice program. First of all, thanks to Rene Gedaly for the idea and to her and web master Jeffery McLaughlin for the technical support getting it set up on the HAS Forum. The aim is to help orient you to the sky, familiarize you with objects that can be seen in a light polluted sky and get you comfortable with using binoculars and a telescope near the comfort of your home. Each new entry will have observing goals for naked eye, binoculars and telescope. Don't worry if you do not yet own a telescope. Becoming familiar with the layout of the constellations and being able to find a few things with binoculars first will make using a telescope much easier in the future. Also, I highly recommend that you try out different telescopes either through the loaner program or by looking through others in the club before investing in one.

For All Observing, you may use either a planisphere to orient you to the sky or print out a current evening map from http://www.skymaps.com. If you use a planisphere, use the outer index to line up the time of night (in standard time, you will have to use an hour earlier if it is daylight saving time) with the date. If possible, find a planisphere designed for our latitude of 30 degrees north. Otherwise the more easy to find 40 degrees north version will be close enough. If you use skymaps, their northern hemisphere map is exact for 40 degrees north or about the latitude for New York, so for us, constellations to the north will be somewhat lower in the sky and constellations to the south will be higher. You may also use the map in the May issue of Sky and Telescope magazine.

Program Challenges. For each program installment, we will have three challenges: Naked eye, Binocular, and Telescope. Choose one, choose all, and have fun spotting these objects knowing you are in the company of others in this virtual community of observers.

Post Your Observations. Share your experience with other observers by posting to the topics in the Backyard Observing forum. To do this, log in to the front page of the website http://www.astronomyhouston.org, not the Forums.

Details about how to do this are provided by our webmaster Jeffery McLaugllin here: http://www.astronomyhouston.org/content ... procedures.
Rene Gedaly, Forum Moderator
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