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Alein 1630
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Where's Neptune??!!
      #6011652 - 08/07/13 02:54 PM

This morning I attempted to find Neptune I used the article in astronomy to help me along with my pocket sky atlas. I got the triangle of 42, 38 Aquarii & Iota Aquarii in my finder, than went to sigma Aquarii. Using astronomy's finder chart I looked between those two 7th magnitude stars at 33x and 67x in my 8" Dobsonian. I know it's small so I looked for a unfocused "star". Couldn't find it......help, tips


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brianb11213
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Re: Where's Neptune??!! new [Re: Alein 1630]
      #6011676 - 08/07/13 03:11 PM

At anything under x200 Neptune will appear starlike, it's only a couple of arc seconds in apparent diameter. The pale blueness is the best indication at low power. Slow movement - not apparent during a single night but quite noticeable if making a second observation after a few days - confirms the identity of the planet.

If you have a largish scope (I'd say 8" or over) and the seeing is good enough to support over x200, you should be able to make out that the planet really is a disc. You might be able to see Neptune's satellite Triton, too.


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Alein 1630
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Re: Where's Neptune??!! new [Re: brianb11213]
      #6011740 - 08/07/13 03:46 PM

In Another thread the poster found it at 48x.... I'll try 240x

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blb
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Re: Where's Neptune??!! new [Re: Alein 1630]
      #6011911 - 08/07/13 05:27 PM

Quote:

In Another thread the poster found it at 48x.... I'll try 240x



Yes you can see it at low magnification but it looks like a bluish star. From darker skies than I have at home, I have even seen it with my binoculars but it looks like a dim star. It is only with high magnification that you will see a very small disk. Most people will say there isn't much to see but remember how far away from us it is. Don't give up and I would be willing to bet that you find and see this distant planet.


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Alein 1630
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Re: Where's Neptune??!! new [Re: blb]
      #6012445 - 08/07/13 09:34 PM

I'm going to try that....look for bluish star, than increase the magnification
Thank you!

I guess I underestimated how small the planet is, so far away

Edited by Alein 1630 (08/07/13 09:36 PM)


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kfiscus
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Re: Where's Neptune??!! new [Re: Alein 1630]
      #6012881 - 08/08/13 03:16 AM

Right now very close to sigma as mentioned, about one low-power EP field to west. Quite bright. The color is helpful but subtle. Expect a tiny disk shining steadily.

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Alein 1630
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Re: Where's Neptune??!! new [Re: kfiscus]
      #6013082 - 08/08/13 08:32 AM

2 degrees or 1?

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E_Look
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Re: Where's Neptune??!! new [Re: Alein 1630]
      #6016098 - 08/09/13 03:32 PM

Well, if you stare at it and then glance around the field at low power, often, Neptune will look different than the other points of light. I like to think of it as it "staring back at me", in the sense that it is a rather steady glow instead of the more fluctuational twinkling of true stars. One night, when my tree was still up (way before Superstorm Sandy) I couldn't find Neptune and although I was looking in the right area of the sky. I then noticed a bluer star by a branch and it was just different looking than the othe stars. I centered on it, zoomed in on it and it was Neptune! (Yeah, it was a bit off from where I thought it was, but that was in the days I had to still go back inside and run up and go to my computer to reassure myself that I was pointing the scope in the right direction.) And this is after I tried all the starhopping tricks, though around NYC, starhopping is very hard, at least for me.

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Robert Cook
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Re: Where's Neptune??!! new [Re: Alein 1630]
      #6017468 - 08/10/13 11:42 AM Attachment (35 downloads)

Quote:

Using astronomy's finder chart I looked between those two 7th magnitude stars at 33x and 67x in my 8" Dobsonian. I know it's small so I looked for a unfocused "star". Couldn't find it......help, tips




Neptune should be easy enough to see with your 36mm eyepiece now that you hopefully have a better idea of what to look for, provided that the 7th magnitude stars you're referring to are HD 212396 (HIP 110580) and HD 212741 (HIP 110786). The planet is closer to the midpoint between these two stars than it was a few nights ago, and should now be just within the field of view of your Barlowed 10mm eyepiece from the midpoint. I'd recommend trying to locate Neptune with your 36mm eyepiece first (look for a bluish, practically non-twinkling "star"), and then your 10mm (no Barlow) if that doesn't work.

If you still can't locate Neptune, then maybe you're not where you think you are because it's just not THAT difficult to see. In that case, start over and hop to Sigma Aquarii, centering it in your 36mm eyepiece. Then hop to and center the star indicated by the green arrow in the attached chart. You should now have Sigma Aquarii, the two 7th magnitude stars, and Neptune in your FOV at once. If you imagine a line going through Sigma Aquarii and the centered star, and another line going through the two 7th magnitude stars, then Neptune should be located right about where those two lines intersect.


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PJ Anway
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Re: Where's Neptune??!! new [Re: Alein 1630]
      #6019249 - 08/11/13 03:20 PM

Quote:

2 degrees or 1?




It's 1.5 west of sigma. Or 10 south of the water jar. I viewed it a few times last weekend at a starparty in my 4.3" refractor. High power (@200X) will turn it from a bluish "star" to a blue disk.


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Robert Cook
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Re: Where's Neptune??!! new [Re: blb]
      #6021626 - 08/12/13 08:53 PM

Quote:

Yes you can see it at low magnification but it looks like a bluish star.




Well, Neptune looks kind of like a star even at 200X, at least in terms of apparent size.

Quote:

From darker skies than I have at home, I have even seen it with my binoculars but it looks like a dim star.




I observed Neptune last night. From my backyard, I could see it in binoculars as well as my humble 6x30 finder. It was faint in those instruments, but with some concentration it was nearly as easy to see as the two 7th magnitude stars currently flanking it. At 31X in my telescope, it was very easy to see, although the OP probably has to contend with significantly greater light pollution than I do. Perhaps because Neptune was low in the sky it didn't appear as blue as it had in my previous observations--more greenish like Uranus this time around. There was no question that it showed a disk at 246X, in my case, but except for the color and limb darkening, it sort of resembled a moderately bright star in terms of scale--in short, it's tiny.

Alein 1630, have you had any luck in finding Neptune yet? If you can see the 7th magnitude stars near it and Sigma Aquarii at 48X, then you should be able to see the planet. Maybe the hardest part is convincing yourself that it is not a star , but at 240X in your telescope, all of the indications (described above) should be evident.

Edited by Robert Cook (08/12/13 08:56 PM)


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azure1961p
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Re: Where's Neptune??!! new [Re: Robert Cook]
      #6021758 - 08/12/13 09:50 PM

If you are careful you may notice the disk at 70x as I have. Its just big enough to seem like a peculiar star. Further viewing at this power helps you realize its not a stellar diffraction pattern and lacks those artifacts that point sources like stars will show. Neptune appears oddly cleaner and again, just a tad fatter than a star of similar magnitude. Its a queer sighting when it comes to you like this - then it stands apart from the stars and it gets easy to see it for what it is.

For all the work - and its really just a bit of patience - the view is unlike even Uranus. Its got an air of desolate mystique that is unto itself. Uranus is all that too, but the added dimness and much smaller size puts this one in a rather eery realm .

Pete

Edited by azure1961p (08/12/13 09:50 PM)


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Robert Cook
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Re: Where's Neptune??!! new [Re: azure1961p]
      #6022930 - 08/13/13 01:22 PM

Quote:

If you are careful you may notice the disk at 70x as I have. Its just big enough to seem like a peculiar star. Further viewing at this power helps you realize its not a stellar diffraction pattern and lacks those artifacts that point sources like stars will show. Neptune appears oddly cleaner and again, just a tad fatter than a star of similar magnitude. Its a queer sighting when it comes to you like this - then it stands apart from the stars and it gets easy to see it for what it is.




Good point, the differences between Neptune's appearance and that of stars is definitely visible at 70X for those who know exactly what to look for. I noticed the lack of an Airy pattern at 83X the first time that I observed the planet (and at 69X just the other night), and I suppose therefore one could argue that a disk is minimally resolved at that point. I just wanted to emphasize for the OP that even at 240X, where additional indications of its true nature become more visible, Neptune still looks stellar in terms of perceived size. Even at this magnification, it's not going to have a completely obvious disk like Jupiter or even Uranus, for that matter--it's still going to be quite tiny, obviously due to its great distance from Earth. I've seen this trip up a number of people over the years--it may look different from a star, but they still have trouble convincing themselves that they're actually viewing Neptune.


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Alein 1630
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Reged: 01/18/13

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Re: Where's Neptune??!! new [Re: Robert Cook]
      #6033397 - 08/18/13 06:42 PM

Quote:

Alein 1630, have you had any luck in finding Neptune yet? If you can see the 7th magnitude stars near it and Sigma Aquarii at 48X, then you should be able to see the planet. Maybe the hardest part is convincing yourself that it is not a star , but at 240X in your telescope, all of the indications (described above) should be evident.




Not yet due to and now the moon
But as soon as both are gone ill be back out

I did try once a couple of days ago but, like you said, I must have been convinced it was a star


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Alein 1630
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Re: Where's Neptune??!! new [Re: Robert Cook]
      #6033411 - 08/18/13 06:53 PM

Quote:

Quote:

Using astronomy's finder chart I looked between those two 7th magnitude stars at 33x and 67x in my 8" Dobsonian. I know it's small so I looked for a unfocused "star". Couldn't find it......help, tips




Neptune should be easy enough to see with your 36mm eyepiece now that you hopefully have a better idea of what to look for, provided that the 7th magnitude stars you're referring to are HD 212396 (HIP 110580) and HD 212741 (HIP 110786). The planet is closer to the midpoint between these two stars than it was a few nights ago, and should now be just within the field of view of your Barlowed 10mm eyepiece from the midpoint. I'd recommend trying to locate Neptune with your 36mm eyepiece first (look for a bluish, practically non-twinkling "star"), and then your 10mm (no Barlow) if that doesn't work.

If you still can't locate Neptune, then maybe you're not where you think you are because it's just not THAT difficult to see. In that case, start over and hop to Sigma Aquarii, centering it in your 36mm eyepiece. Then hop to and center the star indicated by the green arrow in the attached chart. You should now have Sigma Aquarii, the two 7th magnitude stars, and Neptune in your FOV at once. If you imagine a line going through Sigma Aquarii and the centered star, and another line going through the two 7th magnitude stars, then Neptune should be located right about where those two lines intersect.






1) That picture in going to be an huge help!!
2)Now I really cannot wait to get out!
3) how'd you make that??

I know it's not hard to see at all it's just I keep assuming it will be a little bit bigger than than what I have in mind. I just need to use the finder chart that you graciously made for me , look for a blue star, and increase the x's

I know that I've been staring at it the whole time....just haven't realized it yet


Ohhhhh I cannot wait to see it.....the relief that will follow !!!!!!!!


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Alein 1630
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Re: Where's Neptune??!! new [Re: PJ Anway]
      #6033416 - 08/18/13 06:57 PM

Quote:

Quote:

2 degrees or 1?




It's 1.5 west of sigma. Or 10 south of the water jar. I viewed it a few times last weekend at a starparty in my 4.3" refractor. High power (@200X) will turn it from a bluish "star" to a blue disk.






Great! Thanks!

That's about 3/4 field at 33x and 1.5 field at 67x



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Alein 1630
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Re: Where's Neptune??!! new [Re: Robert Cook]
      #6033422 - 08/18/13 06:59 PM

Quote:

Quote:

If you are careful you may notice the disk at 70x as I have. Its just big enough to seem like a peculiar star. Further viewing at this power helps you realize its not a stellar diffraction pattern and lacks those artifacts that point sources like stars will show. Neptune appears oddly cleaner and again, just a tad fatter than a star of similar magnitude. Its a queer sighting when it comes to you like this - then it stands apart from the stars and it gets easy to see it for what it is.




Good point, the differences between Neptune's appearance and that of stars is definitely visible at 70X for those who know exactly what to look for. I noticed the lack of an Airy pattern at 83X the first time that I observed the planet (and at 69X just the other night), and I suppose therefore one could argue that a disk is minimally resolved at that point. I just wanted to emphasize for the OP that even at 240X, where additional indications of its true nature become more visible, Neptune still looks stellar in terms of perceived size. Even at this magnification, it's not going to have a completely obvious disk like Jupiter or even Uranus, for that matter--it's still going to be quite tiny, obviously due to its great distance from Earth. I've seen this trip up a number of people over the years--it may look different from a star, but they still have trouble convincing themselves that they're actually viewing Neptune.






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David Gray
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Re: Where's Neptune??!! new [Re: azure1961p]
      #6036387 - 08/20/13 12:22 PM Attachment (31 downloads)

Quote:

If you are careful you may notice the disk at 70x as I have. Its just big enough to seem like a peculiar star. Further viewing at this power helps you realize its not a stellar diffraction pattern and lacks those artifacts that point sources like stars will show. Neptune appears oddly cleaner and again, just a tad fatter than a star of similar magnitude. Its a queer sighting when it comes to you like this - then it stands apart from the stars and it gets easy to see it for what it is.

For all the work - and its really just a bit of patience - the view is unlike even Uranus. Its got an air of desolate mystique that is unto itself. Uranus is all that too, but the added dimness and much smaller size puts this one in a rather eery realm. Pete




Neptune in tricky conditions.
Hope its ok me jumping in here, but part of a very good night: given below!

I tend to give Neptune a miss when the moon closes in on it; not to mention the streaky cloud this night. But as I was awaiting Uranus getting higher; I thought, with this thread in mind, what the heck I like a challenge! A challenge it certainly was and it took me at least half a dozen attempts before I got it! After a bit of exasperation I resorted to a reconnoitre with the 12x65s then with the 10x50s which more match the view in the 10x50 finder.

When I finally got it a very good disk with obvious limb-shading and fleeting detail the drawing shows my best attempt at this. Surprisingly I kept catching Triton with av, and this was later confirmed with S&Ts Triton Tracker; and Sky Map Pro 11 ruled out any rogue stars! Very helpfully at x535 the field was very dark in spite of the moonlight, and of course the good seeing pretty much essential here for getting faint satellites.

As Pete indicates you can see/sense something non-stellar with Neptune (also certain asteroids I find) at powers usually considered too low, and so it was here with my 76mm refractor (first scope 1961: now the D-Ks 2nd finder)

Later I caught Uranus also a bit challenging in that sky but here too I was able to see Ariel, Titania and Oberon and with dv. Ariel in particular turned out the easiest Im not the first to consider this brighter than stated magnitudes: all the way back to W.H. Steavenson when he made it 13.9. Also banding on the planet was quite evident.


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Robert Cook
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Re: Where's Neptune??!! new [Re: Alein 1630]
      #6042369 - 08/23/13 07:15 PM Attachment (21 downloads)

Quote:



1) That picture in going to be an huge help!!
2)Now I really cannot wait to get out!




I sure hope that it will help, but you have to keep in mind that Neptune is a moving target, so that chart is only good for that day. I've attached a revised chart that centers on the star I recommended that you hop to from Sigma Aquarii (marked by the green arrow, as in the last chart), and shows the positions of Neptune (purplish dots) tonight and on 8-31--depending on when you are able to search for it, Neptune will be somewhere between those two positions, inclusive, for the remainder of August. And just to be clear, the two 7th magnitude stars we've been talking about are marked by magenta arrows. See how far Neptune has moved already? It's no longer between those two stars, although it will remain within the field of view of your 36mm eyepiece for a little while yet.

Quote:

3) how'd you make that??




I simply grabbed a screenshot from Cartes du Ciel, added some markup manually in Windows Paint (I have more sophisticated tools, but they aren't necessary here ), cropped it, saved it as a PNG file, and attached the file to my post.

Quote:

I know it's not hard to see at all it's just I keep assuming it will be a little bit bigger than than what I have in mind.




To clarify, I'm not chiding you, I'm just trying to be encouraging in my own ham-fisted way.

Quote:

I just need to use the finder chart that you graciously made for me , look for a blue star, and increase the x's




To tell you the truth, Neptune doesn't look as bluish to me as it had in the past, for some reason, so don't get too hung up on the color. It may not have much color at low magnification anyway, and may only appear pale green at higher magnifications. I'm not sure why, but that's what I saw when I observed it recently.

Quote:

Ohhhhh I cannot wait to see it.....the relief that will follow !!!!!!!!




I know the feeling well. Enjoy the sense of relief and accomplishment until the next "white whale" comes along, and I expect that it will. I have several going as we speak.


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Robert Cook
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Re: Where's Neptune??!! new [Re: Alein 1630]
      #6042893 - 08/24/13 03:09 AM Attachment (11 downloads)

Quote:

I know that I've been staring at it the whole time....just haven't realized it yet





This is most likely factually true. Don't feel bad, though, because this very thing has been happening ever since the dawn of telescopic astronomy, starting with Galileo himself. I recall it taking me a while to accept that I was looking at Neptune the first time I observed the planet--I was sure that I had the correct object, but the doubt and surprise came when I increased the magnification and it didn't change much at all.

The sky finally cleared up tonight, so I took another look at Neptune, and for whatever reason it appears a bit more bluish than it did the last time (but still fairly greenish overall). It may well just be my perception and/or memory playing tricks on me, or it may have something to do with how high Neptune happens to be in the sky when I observe it; come to think of it, Neptune has generally been higher when I've observed it as being bluer, for what it's worth. Or it may have something to do with the brightness of the background, or a combination of all of these potential factors.

By the way, Galileo did take note of Neptune while observing Jupiter (there was a close conjunction at the time) and seemed to realize that it was moving relative to the background stars, but thus far there hasn't been any hard evidence that he realized it was a then-unknown planet orbiting the Sun. Perhaps he considered it a potential moon of Jupiter, but then didn't know what to think of it later when it went off on its own...or perhaps somebody will someday discover a manuscript or anagram that indicates that Galileo did theorize that it was another planet. To illustrate, here is a simulation of what Galileo saw during one of his observing sessions in early 1613 (January 6):

Edited by Robert Cook (08/24/13 03:20 AM)


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