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(IAAC) Re: (meteorobs) LM Star Count vs Milky Way Perception



[Wow! Finally a topic worthy of being cross-posted to both the meteor and 
deep-sky observing lists. :>]
I've noticed a conundrum myself, particularly when observing with non-meteor 
folks... I start to teach them how to count stars the IMO way, and they 
INVARIABLY come up with numbers way lower than mine. This is even from 
observers I *know* have faint-light sensitivities similar to mine.
One thing to keep in mind, I think, is that detecting faint extended objects is 
a VERY DIFFERENT animal from detecting faint point sources... Most deep-sky 
observers are familiar with this strange difference from trying to see "bright 
nebulae", versus trying to see "faint" stars, at the eyepiece.
And of course, regardless of how good your vision, the Milky Way can always be 
considered an extended (i.e., unresolved) object to the naked eye.
I've also seen a similar effect to George's in my OWN observing: the Milky Way 
is often visible to me from dark sites, EVEN when haze, moonlight, etc. causes 
my Limiting Magnitude at that site to degrade below 5. However, on even the 
*darkest* nights from my backyard (with LMs down as low as 6.0 on rare 
post-coldfront occasions) the Milky Way has never been visible!
Anyone else with stories to tell (or maybe actual science to relate) about this 
effect - either naked eye or at the eyepiece?
Clear (DARK!) skies,
Lew

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