Return to the Cloudy Nights Telescope Reviews home page


Observing >> Solar System Observing

Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | (show all)
azure1961p
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/17/09

Loc: USA
Re: Looking for Pluto? new [Re: Rick Woods]
      #5914163 - 06/10/13 10:14 PM

I did get Pluto resolved in my eight inch reflector Rick.

Dont laugh, don't doubt till you've read my account. I've kept this under wraps for so long its mummified. I may not be believed but here is...

It was an unusually warm night for that time of the year when I had seen Pluto resolved. I know for a fact I saw surface detail and more so than Hst's garish attempts. The scope was the 8" of of course and at a magnification scale I can only guess at. Pluto was about the size of a baseball at arms length and Charon was a cherry.

How much to make it that big? I have no idea Rick but belief me when I tell you - they were that huge.

But how through an 8" aperture when he resolving limit I had was incredible as that??

When gravitational lensing first became documented in Einsteins cross and arcs of galaxies higher and hither and yon were being lensed into distortion via emmense galaxy clusters very far away the concept began to dawn on me that lensing was possible here on earth.

Ok right there your thinking I'm going to tell you I gravitationally bent light and that'd be ludicrous. But what changed it all was when I realized gravity need t apply here

I set about making a thermal lens whereby the 8" scope was merely the ocular to my thermal lens construct.

Ok there were pitfalls. Infact for many months it would seem everything was in the cards to make it a thorough impossibility. And I nearly gave up until I realized that there was actually nothing standing in my way but my patience. This was a profound understanding that kept m at it for as long as I did. Sheer chance and odds favored my positive results if only id allow them t unfold.

So herewith is what happens every single solitary clear night.

I waited till Pluto was high in the sky as the ecliptic allowed . I placed my scope in the center of the yard and then the thermal lensing manufacturing system was in place. It was 46 propane barbecue cans the type we are all familiar with arrayed in a giant circle around me in a diameter of 108 feet.
Attached to each propane canister was a heater . Everyone knows the glowing heating attachments for these and this was them.

Well it went like this. I had different configurations and timings but in the end I chose the following:

Run all the heaters In unison with valves servo activated. I'd run a burn for 10 minutes, then as started, so in unison they all shut off.

I wait 96 seconds. It was infact this 96 seconds that afforded me great control. For with the burn an immense plume reminiscent of a mushroom cloud thermal rosť up into the sky where by its curved convex face , aimed skyward created. focal point with my reflectors aperture affording me the resolution of an image hundreds of meters across.

For a few seconds.

Typically what was seen was horrendous defocusing of stars that actually RACED across my field of view. They positively flickered with speed. You'd think this chaotic mess of star bloat and image shift and runaway refraction was a non starter but again I realized in the repeated trying of it all sooner later Id have partial success .

-if even briefly.

When it did happen it lasted for about three seconds. The embarrassment if it was that I had no idea what I was looking at . It looked like an immense Ganymede and about as bright! It materialized seemingly out of nothing and returned just as quick but for those precious seconds the huge refractor lens rising over my home and bending the light down the tube of my reflector opened up resolutions vault and poured fourth a dazzling brilliance such as never before .

You'd think I would have been elated and developed something beyond that - harnessing the example to repeat t and refine it but as it turned out the odds were so steeply against me I never came close. Later on after a fruitless summer of failed attempts and too many barbecues I admitted defeat and a felted the resolution powerball that was handed to me was beyond hope of duplicating in even the most crude sense.

I was beside myself for months.

Now I know what you are thinking and you are going to call be a BSer but ill leave you with this my friend...

I did tell a famous Harvard grad/observer who was writing for a very high profile magazine at the time in Cambridge. Well I drew him a map - outlined the details, how the shape and correction of the refractors thermal lens varies with heat duration and output, how wind causes astigmatic thermal lensing and so forth. Months later he moved to Volcano Hawaii in search of an ever more powerful thermal lens than my design. Apparently his success has been repeated as the volcanos heat output is more robust than my fragile propane plume.

I have only my memories and so many cannisters in the basement.

Pete

Edited by azure1961p (06/10/13 10:19 PM)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
*skyguy*
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 12/31/08

Loc: Western New York
Re: Looking for Pluto? new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #5914202 - 06/10/13 10:33 PM

Quote:



Nope. Nothing to see here, folks. Move on.






"One man's junk is another man's treasure."

Looking at Pluto means far more to me than just seeing a faint speck of light. It represents the determination and perseverance ... with no guarantee of success ... of its discover, Clyde Tombaugh. I have been inspired my entire life by his story and for me ... Pluto will always be the 9th planet!


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Rick Woods
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/27/05

Loc: Inner Solar System
Re: Looking for Pluto? new [Re: *skyguy*]
      #5914273 - 06/10/13 11:06 PM

Pete,

Diabolically clever!

Skyguy,

Quote:

for me ... Pluto will always be the 9th planet!




For me too, bud. Dwarf planet - bah!


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Sarkikos
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 12/18/07

Loc: Scotophobe Maryland, USA
Re: Looking for Pluto? new [Re: Rick Woods]
      #5914585 - 06/11/13 07:08 AM

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


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
blb
Post Laureate


Reged: 11/25/05

Loc: Piedmont NC
Re: Looking for Pluto? new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #5914692 - 06/11/13 09:20 AM

Quote:

for me ... Pluto will always be the 9th planet!



And for me too Skyguy, it will always be the 9th planet.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
blb
Post Laureate


Reged: 11/25/05

Loc: Piedmont NC
Re: Looking for Pluto? new [Re: blb]
      #5914698 - 06/11/13 09:25 AM

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


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Dave Mitsky
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 04/08/02

Loc: PA, USA, Planet Earth
Re: Looking for Pluto? new [Re: blb]
      #5915036 - 06/11/13 01:00 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.org/Astro_C5/Articles/PlutoVisualLog.htm

Dave Mitsky


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
David Knisely
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 04/19/04

Loc: southeastern Nebraska
Re: Looking for Pluto? new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #5915132 - 06/11/13 02:04 PM

Quote:

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.


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Sarkikos
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 12/18/07

Loc: Scotophobe Maryland, USA
Re: Looking for Pluto? new [Re: David Knisely]
      #5915194 - 06/11/13 02:42 PM

David,

Quote:

Quote:

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?

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

Mike


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
MikeBOKC
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 05/10/10

Loc: Oklahoma City, OK
Re: Looking for Pluto? new [Re: Sarkikos]
      #5915485 - 06/11/13 05:20 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.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Rick Woods
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/27/05

Loc: Inner Solar System
Re: Looking for Pluto? new [Re: MikeBOKC]
      #5915667 - 06/11/13 07:07 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.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Sarkikos
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 12/18/07

Loc: Scotophobe Maryland, USA
Re: Looking for Pluto? new [Re: MikeBOKC]
      #5915778 - 06/11/13 08:14 PM

Quote:

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


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
azure1961p
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/17/09

Loc: USA
Re: Looking for Pluto? new [Re: blb]
      #5916129 - 06/12/13 12:03 AM

Quote:

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




But it really did happen!!!!

Pete


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
kfiscus
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/09/12

Loc: Albert Lea, MN, USA
Re: Looking for Pluto? new [Re: azure1961p]
      #5916162 - 06/12/13 12:23 AM

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.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Tom and Beth
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/08/07

Loc: Tucson, AZ
Re: Looking for Pluto? new [Re: Rick Woods]
      #5916300 - 06/12/13 03:21 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!


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Rich (RLTYS)Moderator
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 12/18/04

Loc: New York (Long Island)
Re: Looking for Pluto? new [Re: Tom and Beth]
      #5916476 - 06/12/13 07:56 AM

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

Rich (RLTYS)


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
azure1961p
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/17/09

Loc: USA
Re: Looking for Pluto? [Re: Rich (RLTYS)]
      #5916652 - 06/12/13 10:21 AM

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

Pete


Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
urassner
sage
*****

Reged: 07/08/12

Re: Looking for Pluto? new [Re: azure1961p]
      #5946941 - 06/29/13 05:26 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.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Rick Woods
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 01/27/05

Loc: Inner Solar System
Re: Looking for Pluto? new [Re: urassner]
      #5947079 - 06/29/13 07:37 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!

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
kfiscus
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 07/09/12

Loc: Albert Lea, MN, USA
Re: Looking for Pluto? new [Re: Rick Woods]
      #5965179 - 07/11/13 04:25 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.

Post Extras: Print Post   Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | (show all)


Extra information
5 registered and 4 anonymous users are browsing this forum.

Moderator:  Rich (RLTYS), star drop 

Print Thread

Forum Permissions
      You cannot start new topics
      You cannot reply to topics
      HTML is disabled
      UBBCode is enabled


Thread views: 2451

Jump to

CN Forums Home




Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics