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Great Night, Despite Many Clouds

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#1 butsam

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 09:25 PM

I decided to risk it. Being a beginner (although with a decent knowledge of the sky with the naked eye), I knew I could be setting myself up for disappointment...but it was over 50*F and there were *some* holes in the clouds!

Any night where I have to align with Betelgeuse and Rigel (due to clouds moving on and off other stars relatively quickly,..and virtually nothing I could see North and West) I know not to get my hopes up too much! But, a chance at warm-weather shots at Jupiter at least, until the scattered clouds got too frustrating!

But, I did it; I saw the GRS! That made it worthwhile! I risked it when I had a decent-sized opening in the clouds and went up to Barlowed 13" EP, and I could see a small bulge in the southern band, (apparent) a bit left of center, and noted the time as 1952 EST. (I was using star diagonal, so it was actually on the right side, but south of equator was the correct area). After calling it a night (after some other viewing that I'll get to later in this post), I looked on Stellarium and confirmed GRS was expected to be at that location at the time I noted! I'll admit it was a bit tough to tell whether it was just a big swish in the band or whether it was the GRS, but it looked too big to just be a "random"-structured swish...and I was right about it! Woohoo!!! :)

Also, I must give kudos...I was absolutely STUNNED when at one point, some thin clouds passed over Jupiter--but the clouds were thick enough to make it so I couldn't see Jupiter with the naked eye anymore. Even then, with the 25" EP, I could still see Jupiter with the bands (although obviously not as clearly -- not something I recommend doing, but there is a point where even with Jupiter completely blocked from naked eye viewing, and with luck that the cloud wasn't too thick to obscure the entire 'scope view, I could not just still see *something* there, I could still see the 2 most prominent bands!) All 4 Galileans also clearly visible when not in clouds or in thin clouds, too. This scope is amazing!

Also, tried for Andromeda Galaxy but clouds interfered. Tried for M36-M38 a few times, and persistence paid off because I finally had a small opening in the clouds, and discovered M37 is now my favorite of the (very few) Open Clusters I have seen, at least from light-polluted skies! Also, got to see M42 more clearly; trapezium was very easy to pick out (when clouds weren't in the way), and the mist could be seen even in my light polluted area.

Overall, a great night, despite all of the clouds that made it limited, and forced me to pack up earlier than I would have liked. Can't wait for another night when there are fewer clouds (although it will probably be a night back out in full regalia with gloves and everything...oh well, can't win 'em all, right?!)

#2 CelestronDaddy

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 09:43 PM

butsam - Very nice report! Congrats on the GRS it's a good catch. Sounds like your 8SE is doing a good job for you. I like M37 also and last night I was able to get a good view of it and M36, M38 in Auriga. At some point I'd like to get an 8" OTA to switch out with the 6SE. Good job and you were rewarded for you persistence... Tony

#3 butsam

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 10:05 PM

Thanks :)

I'm in fairly heavily light-polluted skies (border of an "orange" zone with a "yellow" zone, and 2 prominent street lights relatively close including one in my front yard, and lots of houses so lots of rooftops), and even with snow on the ground (and reduced patience of kids out there with me at the time), I was able to see roughly magnitude-12ish stars, and according to cleardarksky the seeing conditions were poor at that time.

Tonight, I didn't pay as much attention to magnitude of the stars I saw, as I was trying to catch things before the clouds overtook them, but I could tell the seeing was even better than it was then...and it still wasn't great, of course.

Not sure how that would compare to the 6" OTA, but that's what I've noticed so far with my beginner eyes.

#4 azure1961p

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 10:08 PM

It is neat how telescopes can peer through cloud cover far beyond naked eye resolution. Obviously it only goes so far but it is an impressive display of resolving power. Next time you are out with the scope and the image isn't too soft from seeing, put in a 10mm ocular for 200x and you may be surprised to find out your scope can resolve all four moons as certain discs of varying sizes.

Pete

#5 butsam

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 08:03 PM

That is awesome!!! I am going to zoom in on the moons next time -- great idea, thank you! :) I also wonder how long I can follow Saturn during sunrise...may make a good experiment one of these early mornings that is actually clear, and not a workday... :) (And I also wonder...if I get the alignment done right, can I shift from Saturn to Jupiter during dawn, even though I can't see stars/planets with the naked eye anymore? I don't know if I'll try that...don't want ANY chance of it going past the Sun when slewing...but it's an interesting thought experiment! Of course, the alignment and initial Saturn views would be done before dawn.)

#6 Midnight Dan

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 08:31 PM

Hi butsam:

Great report! You've got guts, going out with all those clouds! Glad to hear it paid off! :bow:

-Dan

#7 butsam

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 10:37 PM

I dunno, I think I'm a wimp, picking a 50*F night...lol ;) No gloves required! It was a cloud-dodging effort, but it's easier to be patient in that weather than the usual below-freezing this time of year... :) Thanks Dan!

Sam

#8 WaterMaster

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 11:44 AM

Hi Sam,

You should definitely target Saturn and Jupiter in the early morning hours if possible. Both of them are visible in scopes after the sky becomes too light for naked-eye resolution. I love seeing them on a faintly 'blue' background. :ubetcha:






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