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What constellation is this?

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posted on Aug, 10 2005 @ 11:34 PM
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With in the last few weeks of star gazing, I have been seening an interesting constellation. Its far to dim to see if you look at it directly. You have to look at it from the corner of your eye for it to stand out. The interesting thing is that the stars on the lower end or the tail as I have come to call it seem to trade postions when viewing it. I am hoping one of the brains here can tell me what I am seeing. This is what it looks like thanks to photoshop.



[edit on 10-8-2005 by Whompa1]




posted on Aug, 10 2005 @ 11:47 PM
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I am not familiar with any constellation which looks like that. My guess is what you are seeing is pieces of several constellations.

Now for anyone to help you:

First, tell us where you live (city and state is fine, we don't need an address):

Second, tell us where this constellation is. You need to know in which direction is is, (north, south, east, or west, or any point in between); and how high in the sky it is, e.g. half way between the horizonand the zenith, one third of the way between the horizon and the zenith, etc.

Third, tell us exactly what time it was that you saw the constellation at that particular location. Be sure to say whether it was Mountain Standard Time, Pacific Daylight Savings Time, etc.

If you do this, then any of us who have a star map on our computers (and many of us do) will know exactly where to look and should be able to give you the answers you're looking for within a couple of minutes.



posted on Aug, 10 2005 @ 11:48 PM
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Where is it in relation to any other objects in the sky? (I'd like to go have a gander with a 12" dob sometime this week to see what it is you're looking at.)

It looks a little bit like what M103 looks like in a 6 inch scope. But that's just a haphazard guess, if you could be a bit more specific as to where in the sky you are viewing this (and where you are located, and with what size of scope, and type of scope, you're using) it would make it a lot easier to nail down for you.


[edit on 10-8-2005 by CatHerder]



posted on Aug, 10 2005 @ 11:51 PM
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1. I live in northwest montana close to the canada border. At the head of flathead lake in a town called bigfork.

2. It lies in the Eastern sky. If I am facing in that direction and looking straight across the valley at the moutains its a third of the way up from horizon and zenith of the sky

3. The times I have seen it is anywere between 1 am and 3 am mountain standard time.

Mind you that photoshop job is what I scribbled down on a piece of paper last night. Thats as accurate as I can get it since I can't see if I look directly at it. One thing else. When viewing this I can see no other stars in its general area.

[edit on 10-8-2005 by Whompa1]



posted on Aug, 10 2005 @ 11:56 PM
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Just by going with what you said there, it almost sounds/looks like you're describing the Pleadies. I'll fire up Starry Night and check.



posted on Aug, 11 2005 @ 12:00 AM
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Yup, winter is coming!




posted on Aug, 11 2005 @ 12:03 AM
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So this constellation only shows up at the end of summer I am assuming? How far away is it and what would attribute the tail stars looking like they are changing places? Would that be an effect of scintalation?

I am not using a scope or anything just my eyes.


[edit on 11-8-2005 by Whompa1]



posted on Aug, 11 2005 @ 12:10 AM
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Originally posted by Whompa1
So this constellation only shows up at the end of summer I am assuming?


It's not a constellation, but an open cluster of stars. It's better seen throughout the winter.



How far away is it...


It's about 400 LY away.


... and what would attribute the tail stars looking like they are changing places? Would that be an effect of scintalation?


Crossing and uncrossing your eyes.


Yeah, it's probably just because of scintillation.



posted on Aug, 11 2005 @ 12:11 AM
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Originally posted by Whompa1
I am not using a scope or anything just my eyes.


Hey, you've learned one of the niftiest things about viewing the night time skies though.


You can get a better view of most objects in the sky (especially through a scope) if you do not look directly at them and instead use your peripheral vision.

The retina of your eye has two sets of light-sensitive cells, called rods and cones. The cones are used for normal (well-lit) vision, and the rods are far more light-sensitive (and motion-sensitive) and are used for night vision. (Although rods do not detect color - only cones do. Note also that the rods are stimulated by secretion of a hormone - rhodopsin - and this takes a while to occur) You need to know that the cones are concentrated at the center of your retina, and the rods are distributed outward of the center. This means that when you concentrate on the part of your vision that sees straight ahead you are concentrating on your cone cells, while your rod cells are providing your peripheral vision. In a normally lit situation the cone cells transmit so much information to your brain that you don’t even notice the peripheral vision information your rod cells are transmitting, unless there is motion there.

Now, at night your cone cells can’t see much while your rod cells are actually detecting a lot. You’ve probably never been asked to pay attention to your peripheral vision but at night that’s where your vision is strongest. What this means is when you want to detect a dim deep-sky object through a telescope eyepiece you will see it best if you direct your eye towards the edge of the eyepiece but concentrate your mind on the center. (Note also that you want the object between your eye and your nose - i.e. avert your vision in whichever eye you are using, towards your ear on that side of your head. This is because you have a blind spot where your optic nerve enters your retina, and this orientation will prevent you from placing the celestial object into that blind spot.)

This averted vision feels very unnatural or even unsatisfying at first, because you can’t detect as much detail with your rod cells. But practice this technique - with practice you will find that you can absorb the view in the center of the eyepiece while using this averted vision, and you will find that you can detect dim objects much better this way. You can also get a better feel for the complexity of a dim object with averted vision; for example, you can detect the very faint stars in a star cluster even if you can’t resolve them directly. (more / source)



posted on Aug, 11 2005 @ 12:16 AM
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Excellent! At least I know what I am looking at. Thank you for the help and thank you catherder for the lesson on the human eye and the different avenues it takes for viewing. Very interesting things. I always wondered why it was some stars you can clearly see but others like this one you have to focus on something else for them to come into view.



posted on Aug, 11 2005 @ 12:16 AM
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Great post, CatHerder! I forgot to explain averted vision. Keep up the good work!



posted on Aug, 11 2005 @ 12:21 AM
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Originally posted by cmdrkeenkid
Great post, CatHerder! I forgot to explain averted vision. Keep up the good work!


Just doing my part in keeping up the fraud we perpetrate on mankind with science!


Thanks



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