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M30 & Jupiter from the City

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#1 JayKSC

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Posted 10 October 2009 - 10:17 AM

Hi all! It's been a long while since I've been active on CN or have done much observing. A couple years ago I moved from the Central Florida suburbs to the South Florida metro-region for career purposes. I never thought that I'd miss suburban skies with limiting visual magnitudes around 5.5 at the zenith! Dismayed, I stopped observing for awhile and left my scopes in Central Florida with a relative since I don't have lots of storage space in my apartment.

Recently, though, I got the observing bug and decided why not at least observe the moon and planets? So I picked up a Borg 77ED so I could have a portable "urban scope". Despite my skies having a limiting visual magnitude of around 4.0 near the zenith, I'm pleasantly surprised by the views I had with my first proper session last night.

M30 was an easy catch by star-hopping from Jupiter. Since I lacked good star charts, I was using a field-sweep method and initially caught M73. With a quick view, M73 definitely looks non-stellar. After being fooled by this asterism, I shortly thereafter found the globular. Despite severe light pollution (faintest stars visible unaided were about mag 3.0 nearby M30), the globular presented a modestly bright hazy core that was occasionally punctuated by a nearly stellar center. An irregular haze of unresolved suns surrounded this core, and the cluster seems to be lopsided. I was able to perceive some mottling during brief instances, especially at 148x, but the perception was quite fleeting. With the lower power, there seemed to be a faint detachment to the cluster's east.

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After spending about an hour with M30, I moved-on to Jupiter. This was my first time observing Jupiter in-detail and sketching the planet. The North and South Equatorial bands were prominent. If I have my directions right, the North band seemed lighter and pinker than the South band. The latter was more irregular. The polar regions both seemed like hazy grey zones. I tried a couple color filters on the planet. A #80A blue filter didn't seem to help too much, but a #12 yellow definitely made the planet's cloud bands seem crisper and better defined. Here's my first planetary sketch - the original was done in the field in b&w. I redid the sketch using my detailed color notes indoors with colored pencil.

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It's great to know that even with a very small telescope and lots of light pollution, there are still fantastic sights awaiting in the starry heavens!

- Jay
South Florida

#2 frank5817

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Posted 10 October 2009 - 10:30 AM

Jay,

These are both wonderful sketches. I for one am happy you decided to come back and post sketches. I was not here when you were posting in the past.
Beautiful work! :bow: :rainbow: :bow:

Frank :)

#3 JayKSC

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Posted 10 October 2009 - 10:51 AM

Thank you much, Frank! I'm very glad to be getting back into "backyard" astronomy (though I don't have a backyard anymore). One thing I'm fortunate for, though, is that despite living in a city environment I have a great observing location right beside a lake. It provides for unobstructed viewing in any direction and a really scenic setting.

I forgot how therapeutic observing and sketching can be.

I look forward to sharing my own sketches and enjoying others over the coming months.

- Jay
South Florida

#4 CarlosEH

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Posted 10 October 2009 - 12:18 PM

Jay,

Excellent observations of M30 and Jupiter. You have recorded both objects very nicely using your fine Borg refractor. Welcome back to the forum. We all look forward to your future observations.

Carlos

#5 JayKSC

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Posted 10 October 2009 - 08:13 PM

Thanks, Carlos! I look forward to contributing in sketch and commentary as I'm able. I've always found my fellow CN sketch-artists to be sources of encouragement and inspiration. It's great to be back!

- Jay
South Florida

#6 JayinUT

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Posted 10 October 2009 - 10:00 PM

Jay,

Wonderful capture of M30. I like the hint of tendrils in your sketch as I see them also. Jupiter is dazzling! I hope your schedule continues you to observe when you can, to sketch and share them here.

Edit: Observation. I haven't met so many Jay's in one spot for a long time if ever!

#7 Jef De Wit

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 07:54 AM

Jay, I know what you're talking about. I started astronomy with the Messier-list with an ETX-70 in suburban region. NELM 4,5 at his best. But I still had a lot of fun doing it (I didn't knew better...). So I hope you will observe and sketch a lot more in the future! And I dit put some nice words from James Mallaney in my signature for all people who had to fight lightpollution: "Bright skies aren't empty skies".

#8 JayKSC

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 11:13 AM

Thanks, Jay! The tendrils were extremely subtle, which doesn't surprise me given that I'm using such a small scope. The globular definitely presented itself as asymmetric. I remember when I first started observing over a decade ago and how all globulars just looked like fuzzy brownish-grey balls to me, and that was with 5-inch and 8-inch aperture scopes!

I had fun with Jupiter, though it was challenging due to having to keep-up with the Earth's rotation. The Hutech alt-az mount I use is a gem for that, as it has nice slow motion controls. I wasn't very satisfied with the black background for the planet, so think I'll experiment with ink or a computer generated dark grey background the next I sketch Jupiter.

Jef - NELM 4 to 5 skies seem luxurious from where I'm at! Thank you for the encouragement. Your quote, too, is definitely spot-on, too: "Bright skies aren't empty skies".

- Jay
South Florida

#9 Jef De Wit

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Posted 12 October 2009 - 07:35 AM

Jay, when I make a black background I work in the same(horizontal) direction all the way (and not round the planet in circles). Maybe an idea you can try for next time.

I mean a NELM of 4.5 at his best. Communication can go wrong sometimes between the old and new continent. Fortunate we don't have to send a probe in space together! Some years ago it went wrong because one half of the scientist worked in inches and the other half in centimeters :foreheadslap:

#10 JayKSC

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Posted 12 October 2009 - 08:37 AM

Thanks for the tip, Jef! I'll try the consistent direction when coloring the sky-background the next I work with the colored pencils.

I recall that miscommunication incident; it was with one of the Mars probes.

- Jay
South Florida






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