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Looking for Pluto?

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#26 blb

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Posted 11 June 2013 - 08:25 AM

Pete,
That's a great story. I thoroughly enjoyed it. :goodjob:

#27 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 11 June 2013 - 12:00 PM

Pluto's apparent magnitude is currently +14.1 (+14.05).

Cloudy Nights member David Knisely had a successful sighting with a 10" Newtonian stopped down to 94mm.

Other sightings with small apertures are listed at http://www.pietro.or...toVisualLog.htm

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#28 David Knisely

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Posted 11 June 2013 - 01:04 PM

There does seem to be a prejudice among some planet/lunar officianados that unless the observer resolves an object or a surface feature, they have not seen it. You can see this especially in the Lunar Forum when the discussion comes around to "seeing" craterlets, in Plato for instance. Unless you can resolve a definite crater shape, you have not seen (read "resolved") the crater. Of course, by these strict standards, none of us have ever "seen" a star (Sol excepted), and most who have earned the H400 Certificate will have to return their pin in shame.

Mike


I haven't really encountered this much. However, on the subject of lunar craterlets, if the craterlet does not have a bright floor or a notable ejecta blanket, it usually won't be visible even as a dot under a high sun the way some of the larger ones in Plato may appear in small scopes near the full moon. In that case, you do need to use a somewhat larger aperture to see them. I can sometimes see the central craterlet in Plato as a tiny lighter dot in an 80mm f/5 "short tube" refractor, but under a lower sun angle, it rarely appears. In any case, it never appears as the true craterlet form in that aperture rather than just as a tiny albedo feature. To get the "big four" craterlets in Plato to appear consistently as the true pits they are usually requires something around six inches of aperture (and really good seeing). To resolve cratelets in their true form as pits half filled with shadowing, a very approximate guideline is that their diameter in miles is equal to 9/D, where D is the aperture of the telescope in inches. Thus, a nine inch aperture would probably be able to show craterlets under moderately low sun angle down to about a mile across or so (and sometimes maybe a bit better than this). However (getting back to the original topic), in the case of Pluto, a number of years ago, I once detected it in my 10 inch Newtonian when it was stopped-down to 3.7 inches, so it may not require as much aperture as some books and other sources tend to indicate. Still, the larger the aperture you have available, the easier Pluto will be to see. Clear skies to you.

#29 Sarkikos

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Posted 11 June 2013 - 01:42 PM

David,

There does seem to be a prejudice among some planet/lunar officianados that unless the observer resolves an object or a surface feature, they have not seen it. You can see this especially in the Lunar Forum when the discussion comes around to "seeing" craterlets, in Plato for instance. Unless you can resolve a definite crater shape, you have not seen (read "resolved") the crater. Of course, by these strict standards, none of us have ever "seen" a star (Sol excepted), and most who have earned the H400 Certificate will have to return their pin in shame.

Mike


I haven't really encountered this much.


Really? :thinking:

Just kidding. :grin: Thanks. I always appreciate the extensive - and useful - knowledge you bring to threads on CN. :waytogo:

Mike

#30 MikeBOKC

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Posted 11 June 2013 - 04:20 PM

"Resolving" and "seeing" are two different words, at least as I apply them to visual observations. I can "see" some of the spiral arm structure in a number of galaxies as faint, wispy, cloud-like forms, but I don't consider them "resolved" unless I observe actual structure. Same with Mars -- can always see it as a reddish disc when it is up, but resolving to me means observing at least some surface features. Of course one can always ask "how many and in what detail?" to which I would answer that we aren't talking degree here, but kind. Bottom line, I am not keeping score; seeing PLuto is cool; resolving PLuto probably an unattainable goal from the surface of the earth, at least with most equipment. Makes no difference to me . . . but I do think the word "resolve" is precise enough to have its own distinct meaning in observational astronomy.

#31 Rick Woods

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Posted 11 June 2013 - 06:07 PM

I think whoever made the initial post about resolving Pluto with an 8" was just confused, most likely about what I said I had done. We don't really have to go over the distinction between detecting and resolving.

#32 Sarkikos

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Posted 11 June 2013 - 07:14 PM

Makes no difference to me . . . but I do think the word "resolve" is precise enough to have its own distinct meaning in observational astronomy.


Yes indeed. And when an observer says that they "see" an object, it should not immediately be assumed that what they meant to say - or should have said - was "resolve."

Mike

#33 azure1961p

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Posted 11 June 2013 - 11:03 PM

Pete,
That's a great story. I thoroughly enjoyed it. :goodjob:


But it really did happen!!!!

Pete :grin:

#34 kfiscus

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Posted 11 June 2013 - 11:23 PM

Back to the OP's question- I've never seen it but will be finding it this summer. I'm using the finder charts that are in the current issues of both Sky&Telescope and Astronomy mags.

#35 Tom and Beth

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 02:21 AM

As already mentioned, Pluto may not be as awe inspiring as Saturn, but the challenge of just locating Pluto is what floats my boat. Then try to find it with smaller instruments over several nights. It's also why I like double Stars and Asteroids.

After 40 years, I still get giddy like a kid on this stuff, and all from the backyard!

#36 Rich (RLTYS)

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 06:56 AM

Remember, the whole idea on observing Pluto is the thrill of the hunt.

Rich (RLTYS)

#37 azure1961p

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 09:21 AM

Yeah but sometimes yuh need a little game on the table to show for it!!!

Pete

#38 urassner

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 04:26 PM

I have never seen it or imaged it, but want to try soon. I will be using skysafari pro (an Ipad and iphone app). This program has served me well and has shown transits of Jupiters moons accurately to the minute (with position and timing of the shadow). You can superimpose FOVs of finders or eyepieces on the star map, which makes it much easier to visually navigate.

#39 Rick Woods

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Posted 29 June 2013 - 06:37 PM

I found it easily enough in my SCT on 6/17, using the excellent map in the June S&T. I plan to try again to night. I used the coordinates from the Astronomical Almanac, which took me right to it. I buy that book every year; it's good to get some use out of it from time to time! :p

#40 kfiscus

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 03:25 AM

Found it. I used glob Palomar 8 to guide me to it, as per the Sky & Telescope article, June 2013, pages 52&53. Nothing to see, but possibly my proudest find.

#41 blb

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 07:57 AM

Way to go Ken! Good job. :bow: :bounce:

#42 mich_al

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 06:01 PM

Remember, the whole idea on observing Pluto is the thrill of the hunt.

Rich (RLTYS)



Well, for me so far this year I haven't yet seen it after about half a dozen good attempts. It's mag is right on the edge of what I can expect from my scope. I'll be back at it after the Moon goes away.

#43 Tyranthrax

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Posted 30 July 2013 - 11:47 AM

I spent some time checking charts and trying to locate Pluto. Unless I was seeing somethign that wasn't in the chart, the camera is really sensative, I could see a pinpoint of light with averted, I double checked and I am very certain this is it. it was between the two sets of recognizable star patterns. got it centered, cranked the gain to full throttle ultra mega zoomed and had a hard time getting registax to track it, but I found the golden frame I think. COmpaired my results for levels and curves to photos and was surprised the color was pretty dead on. This look right to the rest of you who have seen it?

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#44 Rick Woods

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Posted 30 July 2013 - 12:27 PM

If that's it, nice job! It sure doesn't look like the Pluto I saw, though; that was the averted pinpoint you mentioned.

What kind of scope/camera did you use?

#45 Tyranthrax

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Posted 30 July 2013 - 12:43 PM

Thanks rick, I used a celestron 6se, with the orion deep space video imager II, I had to locate th pinpoint of light that was so small and tiny, I've had good luck with centering the objects I look for, then center it in teh camera, crank the gain to max sensativity and leave the electronic shutter wide open. once I get that centered, I put the barlow in, reinsert cam, center, then zoom, Orion said it's zoom is the equivilent of a 5mm eyepiece, so put that in a barlow and let the programs do thier magic after about a min and 1/2 of recording.

Other objects I can see pretty good and know for certain what I am seeing this one I am pretty sure, just took forever consulting charts and making sure I was seeing what I was seeeing.

The color is all from letting the programs do auto adjustments for RGB and auto once. It's been pretty good for results so far in other pics. I am pretty certain this is not a star becuase my other pics of stars I have evr gotten look, more illuminate with definate color. this had weird speckles in it, granted the picture is prolly a few pixles accross I have never had that occur in star photos.

#46 azure1961p

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Posted 30 July 2013 - 11:04 PM

This is a very interesting image - and the first Ive ever seen where the image is blown up to that degree. Its really quite engaging. It'd be neat if the color from the upcoming sat view was spot on with what you've recorded. Its interesting that the stars which are effectively point sources to a Tekescope appear different than Pluto which subtended a greater angle even if it too was unresolved in this sense.

Pete

#47 Tyranthrax

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 12:22 AM

This is a very interesting image - and the first Ive ever seen where the image is blown up to that degree. Its really quite engaging. It'd be neat if the color from the upcoming sat view was spot on with what you've recorded. Its interesting that the stars which are effectively point sources to a Tekescope appear different than Pluto which subtended a greater angle even if it too was unresolved in this sense.

Pete


Does that mean its good? I'm not sure what that means honestly.

#48 David Knisely

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 01:49 AM

This is a very interesting image - and the first Ive ever seen where the image is blown up to that degree. Its really quite engaging. It'd be neat if the color from the upcoming sat view was spot on with what you've recorded. Its interesting that the stars which are effectively point sources to a Tekescope appear different than Pluto which subtended a greater angle even if it too was unresolved in this sense.

Pete


Does that mean its good? I'm not sure what that means honestly.


The image of Pluto you have was probably somewhat out of focus (if it did indeed capture the planet itself and not just some field star in the area). Pluto should appear as a very faint dot of light identical to the stars of similar brightness in the field. Pluto is currently magnitude 14.1 and only about 0.1 arc seconds in angular diameter, so in most scopes (and with exposures long enough to record it), it would not really be resolvable in the way your image seems to show. Clear skies to you.

#49 azure1961p

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 06:51 AM

A slightly out of focus Pluto would explain the slightly darker center where the silhouette of the secondary just begins to emerge. Interesting color though. It'd be something off that were accurate.

Pete

#50 Tyranthrax

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Posted 31 July 2013 - 09:33 AM

The Dot you see is approximatly 9 pixles accross. I just focus the best I can, record it and go through registax. it was faint enough that most fo the frames I selected as the set point wouldn't track the dot. I have really dark skies in the high desert and have more good nights than bad, its been nice and cool this year. I am confussed when people say you can't capture something. I've been told you shouldn't be able to capture certain things I honestly think they don't try or just live in a bad area. On one hand some say you can't capture something, but if you did it would look a certain way but that's how it looks. As a comparison, here is a picture of a star, you will see it is vastly different. ALl my dubs or star pictures have very bright centers, not the 180 degree opposite. I could drop the video to youtube and you could try it and see what you come up with. I just found the best results is sitting with a cup of coffee and picking the bet frames to use as the referance, make notes, and then pick the best of those. I use the worst of the best as my limit.

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