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Observing >> Deep Sky Observing

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Mike Spooner
Vendor (mirrors)


Reged: 08/06/10

M57 central star
      #5307648 - 07/08/12 01:30 AM

Haven't set up the 18" for several months - almost didn't tonight but happy I did now. I've seen the central star in the ring from the Grand Canyon with this scope but tonight I saw it from my backyard in Arizona City - something I hadn't considered as all that likely with neighborhood lights around. It took a while to get the primary mirror settled in as it binds in the cell (really have to work on that some day) but the seeing was pretty nice in the direction of Lyra when i got everything set up and I was using about 800x for the observations (3mm Radian). I sketched several field stars that I clearly saw before checking the charts and they ranged down to 15.7 mag. It was interesting that with a 7mm Nagler and 4mm Radian, the field stars were not as visible and going to the 3mm caused them to 'pop' out clearly. I could see the central star (not just detect it) with the 3mm and really wasn't convinced I even detected it with the other eyepieces. The double-double looked very nice though I saw more of a central core and a couple of fluttering rings vs a solid round Airy disk (the seeing wasn't that good or I would still be out there instead of posting this )
Anyway just a short observing report of a fun night with a fairly mundane object.

Best,
--Mike Spooner


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nytecam
Postmaster


Reged: 08/20/05

Loc: London UK
Re: M57 central star new [Re: Mike Spooner]
      #5307724 - 07/08/12 03:13 AM

Quote:

Anyway just a short observing report of a fun night with a fairly mundane object. Best,--Mike Spooner


Nice report Mike but M57's central star is not mundane but an iconic object My recent shot of field below



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azure1961p
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/17/09

Loc: USA
Re: M57 central star new [Re: nytecam]
      #5307976 - 07/08/12 10:02 AM

I wouldnt call the object mundane at all. Well traveled by amateurs and pros alike but that just makes it a classic. Mundane... I know what you mean but I think theres a different term for it. All that aside, congrats on the catch. Your 3mm making it plain where the others did not is interesting but I would lean on magnification being the hero here rather than the difference in optical design - not to take away from your visual acuity as well.

Nice read!

Pete


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IVM
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 01/07/08

Loc: Western New York
Re: M57 central star new [Re: Mike Spooner]
      #5308360 - 07/08/12 02:14 PM

Very nice. I guess magnifications such as these (upper hundreds) make light pollution irrelevant on star-like objects. After all, the difficulty seeing central stars is often that we look through the nebula - i.e. similar to light pollution, and magnification is the way out.

Now the question, if you don't mind me asking. Is your 18" driven or manual? I find higher magnifications difficult with my undriven Dob; in fact I probably would not even try 800x.


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Scanning4Comets
Markus
*****

Reged: 12/26/04

Loc: Ontario, Canada
Re: M57 central star new [Re: IVM]
      #5308373 - 07/08/12 02:28 PM Attachment (68 downloads)

Nice read!

I have had 863x on a 12.5" on the Eskimo nebula using a 9mm Nagler and two barlow lenses in 1999. The field in arc minutes was only 5.7' but I managed to sketch it. In my liner notes it says that the object and field stars were just flying across the field of view, but I guess I managed to keep nudging and sketching.


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Mike Spooner
Vendor (mirrors)


Reged: 08/06/10

Re: M57 central star new [Re: IVM]
      #5309176 - 07/09/12 12:22 AM

Thanks! Guess I should find an emoticon for tougue-in-cheek concerning the 'mundane' statement. I don't have a drive on the 18" but it has a welded aluminum truss structure and does pretty well if the wind isn't blowing. It's quite a heavy scope and it seems I may have gotten lucky in getting the motions about right for my style of observing. Some of my other scopes didn't turn out so well - but a tracking platform would definitely be a nice addition.

Best,
--Mike

Quote:

Very nice. I guess magnifications such as these (upper hundreds) make light pollution irrelevant on star-like objects. After all, the difficulty seeing central stars is often that we look through the nebula - i.e. similar to light pollution, and magnification is the way out.

Now the question, if you don't mind me asking. Is your 18" driven or manual? I find higher magnifications difficult with my undriven Dob; in fact I probably would not even try 800x.




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IVM
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 01/07/08

Loc: Western New York
Re: M57 central star new [Re: Mike Spooner]
      #5310007 - 07/09/12 03:31 PM

I see! My 16", on the contrary, performs like a champ in fairly stiff winds we get here on some of the best nights. This in fact was one of the reasons I bought this ATMed structure from a local observer. Also, there is absolutely no way to upset its balance. But tracking at high (>400x) magnifications is too much of a pain - such are its motions. I guess it is always a compromise with a Dob, but with a non-Dob we can't have these apertures...

Furthermore, to really make use of tracking with a platform at high (>400x) magnifications, I would need to do something with the mirror mounts. The Lightbridge mounts of the primary and secondary on my scope make fine collimation a pain, and there is little point in magnifying over 400x if the scope is only approximately collimated.

So, again, I really enjoyed the report - this is truly making the most of the manual altazimuth Newtonian. Same goes to Mark's 863x sketch.


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Starman1
Vendor (EyepiecesEtc.com)
*****

Reged: 06/24/03

Loc: Los Angeles
Re: M57 central star new [Re: IVM]
      #5313102 - 07/11/12 05:54 PM

I tried for years to see the central star with 8", but never did.
I finally did spot it with my 12.5" on the first night out with the scope--4.7mm eyepiece, 388X.
It's one of those objects that requires fantastic seeing conditions, as a little turbulence makes it hard to spot against the nebulosity in the center of the Ring.
It's the lack of contrast that does it, as fainter central stars in other planetaries can be much more easily seen.
You just might say this is one of those "Holy Grail of Observing" objects.


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azure1961p
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/17/09

Loc: USA
Re: M57 central star new [Re: Starman1]
      #5313660 - 07/12/12 01:08 AM

The central star has always been three tenths of a magnitude too dim for me with my 8". Thats when the skys were darker back at that particular site. Now I have to drive farther and gas has gone up so its presently severa tenths of a magnitude too faint and about 10 dollars worth of gas too far.

Pete


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Feidb
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 10/09/09

Loc: Nevada
Re: M57 central star new [Re: azure1961p]
      #5313981 - 07/12/12 09:56 AM

I saw it one time in the mid 90's at Okie-tex with my home-built 16" f/6.4 with I forget the magnification, but it was high. Just a fleeting glimpse. I've tried many times since but seeing was never good enough. I try at least once a year just for a hoot. It's about that time again and I'll be sure to let everyone know here if I nail it. I might have caught a glimpse of it one more time but will have to go through my notes again to be sure.

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blb
Post Laureate


Reged: 11/25/05

Loc: Piedmont NC
Re: M57 central star new [Re: Feidb]
      #5314064 - 07/12/12 10:45 AM

I saw the central star in M57 for the first time two years ago from the Blue Ridge Parkway in western NC. It was one of those great nights and I decided to use a magnification of 300x and see what I could see. Well surprise, surprise, I found out I had never used enough magnification before. At 300x with my 10" dob stars were visible to mag 15.6 and the central star was visible about 60% of the time. It takes dark skies, high magnification and steady seeing for this observation.


Quote:

The central star has always been three tenths of a magnitude too dim for me with my 8". Thats when the skys were darker back at that particular site. Now I have to drive farther and gas has gone up so its presently severa tenths of a magnitude too faint and about 10 dollars worth of gas too far.

Pete




I hear you Pete, My dark sky site is about $30 away from me now, so I don't know how often I will get to go there now.



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Americal
sage
*****

Reged: 09/14/07

Loc: La Verne, CA
Re: M57 central star new [Re: Mike Spooner]
      #5314136 - 07/12/12 11:36 AM

I finally got it last month at Grandview C.G.( with the O.F.L.I hooligans) on the last night. I had tried the 2 previous nights with no joy. Now the qualifiers 1.) I could not hold it constant, pop in and out about 1/3 of the time. 2.) 400X, TMB 7mm in the C11. 3.) Phenomenal sky, NELM probably 7.5 and 4/5 seeing. All things that night were just a little better.

For those not familiar with California's White Mountains the C.G. is at 8500', the air is typically <15% relative humidity, and with the CG on a ridge the air drainage is usually good( if not windy). It's long way from anywhere( right Neil) but worth it for that kind of night.


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Matt2003
Post Laureate


Reged: 04/22/10

Re: M57 central star new [Re: Americal]
      #5314914 - 07/12/12 07:37 PM


And Gas prices just went up too Buddy.
Don't the oil companies know we astronomer's have to travel too? LOL

Clear skies,
Matt


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azure1961p
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/17/09

Loc: USA
Re: M57 central star new [Re: Matt2003]
      #5315190 - 07/12/12 10:28 PM

I would be less bothered about driving to a dark site if i could count on not being hassled by police, drunks, lovers or what ever. It cazn be a real hassle locally just to get private spot for planetary.

Pete


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E_Look
Post Laureate


Reged: 03/06/08

Loc: near New York
Re: M57 central star new [Re: azure1961p]
      #5316200 - 07/13/12 03:10 PM

*chuckle*

"Mundane" for a celestial object... it's like we have warp drive with mega-super-high-resolution scopes sticking out the side of the spaceship.


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mwedel
Works with Sauropods
*****

Reged: 12/16/07

Loc: Claremont, CA
Re: M57 central star new [Re: E_Look]
      #5319759 - 07/16/12 02:28 AM

I checked my log and it turns out I have seen the central star in the Ring. It was dead easy, too. But then, I was using the 60-inch telescope at Mount Wilson.

It is on my "life list" of things I want to see with one of my own scopes.


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nytecam
Postmaster


Reged: 08/20/05

Loc: London UK
Re: M57 central star new [Re: mwedel]
      #5319804 - 07/16/12 05:35 AM

Quote:

I checked my log and it turns out I have seen the central star in the Ring. It was dead easy, too. But then, I was using the 60-inch telescope at Mount Wilson.


Yep - big scope makes it easy as I recall from my 1980 visit to Lowell but can't remember if Perkins 72" RC or more probably Hall 42" RC at Anderson Mesa - the detail was amazing with a wispy nebula around the bright central star extending as a spike in one direction that I've never seen in pics - memorable

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Matt2003
Post Laureate


Reged: 04/22/10

Re: M57 central star new [Re: nytecam]
      #5320601 - 07/16/12 03:26 PM



ROFLOL Yep, some poor aliens got hijacked by some crazed astronomers who took off in their ship with scopes in hand.
I think I have had dreams like this! <g>

Clear Skies,
matt


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jeff heck
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 01/16/06

Loc: stl,mo.
Re: M57 central star new [Re: Matt2003]
      #5327169 - 07/20/12 04:39 PM

I finally got the central star last night from a green site with the 16". The seeing and transparency were very good but could not see it at 322x. I waited a few hours until M57 was directly overhead and cranked the scope to 522x. There it was, popping in and out of view every few seconds. Twice the star was easy to spot but most views were fleeting. I observed it for about 20 passes thru the FOV to comfirm the sighting. A first for me, very cool!!!

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Astrodj
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 08/24/11

Loc: Missouri
Re: M57 central star new [Re: jeff heck]
      #5329063 - 07/21/12 11:16 PM

Quote:

I finally got the central star last night from a green site with the 16". The seeing and transparency were very good but could not see it at 322x. I waited a few hours until M57 was directly overhead and cranked the scope to 522x. There it was, popping in and out of view every few seconds. Twice the star was easy to spot but most views were fleeting. I observed it for about 20 passes thru the FOV to comfirm the sighting. A first for me, very cool!!!




Jeff,
Glad to hear your Teeter is giving you such nice views. I had your old 10" I bought from you out last night trying to see how much I could see of M57. Red/White zone, decent night. Of course no central star but hey, I had to try!

That scope is a real gem by the way. Sometimes I find it hard to believe what I can accomplish with it. Just thought you might like to know.

Hope I can get a look through your Teeter someday...

Dale


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