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Getting In The NexStar Groove

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#1 JonNPR

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 06:08 PM

Hello all. I am new to Cloudy Nights although I've learned a lot by lurking recently. Like many others, your wealth of information and support and friendliness pushed me over the edge to purchase an 8SE just a few weeks ago. Although I have been observing since about 1960, my 10" Mel Bartels Dob was getting a bit too bulky and heavy to haul out as frequently as years ago. Besides greater ease in portability, I have lusted after tracking in order to concentrate more on details I know I had been missing. After a couple of more social viewing with friends in the excellent Eugene Astronomical Society, last night I was able to spend some "Quality Time" getting better acquainted in private with the new scope.

Although the late afternoon skies looked iffy Thursday, I packed up and drove a short distance out of town in hopes of maximizing May's moonless nights. Sure enough, by 10 the sky was nearly 100% clear. Virgo Super Cluster time once again!

I have fond memories of seeing Markarian's Chain for the first time, those giant ellipticals anchoring and spirals and ellipticals strung out through intergalactic space almost in pairs, like no other cosmic sight. M84 and M86 were big and bright last night; the Virgo Cluster is placed well right now, and skies were cooperative. Got in a couple hours of observing in very comfortable temperatures. The M3 globular cluster is always a stunner, and last night was no exception. Wound up the night studying the extensive M64, the Black Eye galaxy, with its prominent dust lane, and a quick view of M104, Mr. Sombrero Galaxy. Another well known prominent dust lane galaxy, but it appears smaller for me than M64.

A fine night! The next week or so is prime May observing time, prime intergalactic real estate is available, and the weather forecasts look remarkably cooperative. heading to our club's dark sky site in the foothills to the Cascade Mountains this evening.


Jon

#2 Midnight Dan

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Posted 03 May 2013 - 07:15 PM

... pushed me over the edge to purchase an 8SE just a few weeks ago.


We've been know to push many people over the edge! :grin:

Welcome to the forum! If you have any troubles with the 8SE , let us know. We're here to help.

-Dan

#3 Peter9

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 03:02 AM

Over the edge and beyond, but they always seem to find their way back...thankfully. :roflmao:

Welcome to the forum Jon. Hope you continue to enjoy your 8se.

Regards. Peter.

#4 Tel

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 03:49 AM

Hi Jon,

Welcome to CN ! May you have many a happy hour with your 8SE ! :bow::bow:

Best regards,
Tel

#5 hopskipson

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 05:22 AM

Hi Jon,

Welcome to CN ! May you have many a happy hour with your 8SE ! :bow::bow:

Best regards,
Tel


Welcome to the forum :bow: :bow:!! I would leave the scope home during "happy hour" you may get funny looks from the bartender. :roflmao:

#6 ben2112

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 06:54 AM

Welcome aboard!!

You will enjoy your new scope. I love my 8SE.

#7 JonNPR

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 01:59 PM

Thank you all very much, it means a lot to hear from people from whom I have learned and enjoyed so much.

Last night was hard to beat. Our club's dark sky site is roughly 3600' or more above sea level. Jerry Oltion brought along his innovative 10" Track Ball (whisper quiet!), and we compared views throughout a session lasting until 2a.m. Seeing was mediocre at first, but steadied by local midnight. I worked my way through a long list of galaxies in Virgo, now able to tease out details that I always had hoped and intended to in the past, perhaps due to a slight amount of "organic" integration enabled by a steady, tracking view.

We often paused to simply look up and take in the fresh spring sky. Or later, a hint of summer skies as Scorpius was rising and the Milky Way crept above the horizon.

The NexStar 8 SE is providing me with the ease of getting out the door that I had hoped for, along with (finally!) tracking. After a couple of dry runs on my severely limited deck at home, this was my fifth actual observing outing with the new scope. The rush of the new has not worn off yet!

Jon






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