My Observing Bag: What I Pack When Going Outside.

I always have my observing equipment ready and would like to share what I take when going outside:

1.   Plenty of pencils, including a couple of charcoal’s, erasers, pencil sharpener, note pad, 5 x 8 sketch cards, blending stumps, and an eraser shield.  A 3-inch clear “circular” protractor to assist in the orientation and cardinal points of an object. 

2.   Observing hood to shield ambient light and an eyepatch.

3.   Two (2) Rigel Starlite red observing lights.  I always have two, just in case I should find a dead battery.  I also have a small white light to use when packing up.  The batteries in LED’s last really well, but I normally change at least once or twice per year. 

4.    An S&T “Pocket Sky Atlas” and an Orion “DeepMap 600” folding map.  I also keep my “Sky Atlas 2000” beside of my bag. 

5.   An observing notebook with supporting data, deep-sky objects, Messier’s and Herschel’s. 

6.   Screwdrivers and other assorted tools. 

7.   Gloves, thin and heavy, and always a toboggan.  (Gloves and a toboggan are essential, so be sure to keep them in your bag!)  A toboggan is not a sled, but a knit cap that covers your head and ears.  I thought this was a universal term, but apparently it is colloquial or regional.  There have been many folks wanting to know why I need a sled to observe.  It seems to be a term that is used only in the southern states.  An amateur from New York calls them a ski cap, and this would seem to be a better name…

8.   A magnifying glass for my Sky Atlas 2000. 

9.  Brass rings for various atlases, and finders.  They work really well when used with an atlas for finding those really faint and difficult deep-sky objects.  

10.  Other essentials:  A folding portable observing table, and an adjustable Astro-Chair.  I’ve never been able to observe, sketch and take notes while standing….which I find to be impossible.  

Roger

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