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What did you observe with your classic telescope today ?

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#4351 Bomber Bob

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Posted 25 February 2019 - 07:48 AM

TeleVue & Trapezium

 

Last night I spent over a half-hour studying the Trapezium, and assessing the differences between the Nagler 7mm and the Radian 4mm, in both the APM 152 & Dakin 4.

 

Over the years I've been skeptical of TV eyepieces in vintage long refractors.  I figured that all those lenses had to hurt contrast, and that my old fracs were better served with quality simpler eyepieces.  As usual, my findings present a more complicated view.

 

Since the APM isn't a Classic, all I'll say about it was that I saw 6 member stars A-F, with several eyepieces.  In the Dakin, I couldn't break out E, so I saw A-D + F.  The Nagler gave the better views of the cluster; the Radian gave the most detailed view of the nebulosity.  However, the background sky was blacker in the UO HD 9mm / 6mm & spectros Plossls 7.5mm / 5mm than in the TV eyepieces.  The PL7.5 performed similarly to the Nagler 7 -- much closer than the Orthos.  (For planetary observing, the Nagler is often a better choice than any of my other ~ 7mm eyepieces.  I think the Radian will be the same.)  

 

Hunting faint fuzzies with the Dakin, I used the Meade RG 20mm Erfle to locate both M65/66 & M81/82, then switched to the Nagler 7.  The views were nicely framed by this TV eyepiece (and much better with it in the 6" ED!).

 

Would I plunk down the $$$ for brand new TV eyepieces?  Nope.  Like the Takahashi & Vixen gear, TV are well-made, and the owners tend to take good care of them.  Buying used is the way to go.


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#4352 terraclarke

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Posted 25 February 2019 - 08:02 AM

The wind was blowing a gale here! A nice binocular night, that’s all.
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#4353 Pete W

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Posted 25 February 2019 - 11:15 AM

Finally had a clear night last night.  Took the 60mm f/15 Jason 313 and the 3" Sears 6339a out to the dark skies near Bertram, TX.   Was able to mount the Sears on my G-8 but had trouble balancing it - my counterweight was a just a bit too heavy.  

 

Was able to bag 13 Messier galaxies  with the Jason: the 5 in Leo, the 4 galaxies in C. Venatici, along with 108 & 109 in U. Major (along with the Owl Nebula [M97]), and M98 & 99 in Coma.  By far the brightest was M94 in Canes Venatici - was able to see it in the reflex finder of the Jason.  It looks like a globular!  The most challenging object was M95 in Leo. It could have been because Leo was still low and there may have been some thin clouds in the area.

 

Didn't really use the Sears too much, but did look at the M37 cluster in Auriga - resolved nicely with a 26mm plossl.  And the Orion Nebula was great; long, curving bands of nebulosity extending out from the trapezium.  Also snagged NGC2903 in Leo with the 3", quite obvious and elongated with a slightly brighter center.

 

Still having a blast tracking down the Messiers with the little 60mm refractors!  Currently 53 are in the bag.


Edited by Pete W, 25 February 2019 - 05:32 PM.

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#4354 Augustus

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Posted 25 February 2019 - 06:23 PM

Saw Mercury naked eye for the first time in my life tonight. Too windy to take out the C8 and I have trees here preventing me from getting it anyway.

 

If I go to my girlfriend's tomorrow we might get to see it with her 2080 though, and it's supposed to be less windy.


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#4355 Paul Sweeney

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Posted 27 February 2019 - 06:48 AM

Here in Germany we have been having unusually warm and sunny weather. So Sunday morning I went out with the Vixen 80L to check out the Planets. Unfortunately, the clear weather is also accompanied by heavy turbulence. Jupiter was just about viewable, with some banding and 2 moons visible. Venus was just a white blob. Saturn showed the rings a bit, but mostly it looked like an oval. Made me wonder how Galileo saw it. Was it low in the sky at the time, and if so, I can just imagine him trying to figure out what he was seeing. The moon was the only good target.

 

In the afternoon I looked at the sun, but there were no sunspots to see. It seems to me that there haven't been sunspots for ages.

 

In the evening I was out again to see Mercury. Again, the turbulence was so bad that I could not get a clear image, but at least I found it easily. I also checked out Mars and, though close by, I could not find Uranus.

 

Interestingly, further south the seeing was much better. I could easily split Rigel, and spent some time going through Orion.

 

I wasn't dressed for the weather, though. At sunset, it was in the mid 50's. An hour later, it was in the 20's, and I was freezing. So I wimped out and called it a night. All in all, it was a nice day of astronomy.


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#4356 terraclarke

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Posted 27 February 2019 - 08:15 AM

Saw Mercury naked eye for the first time in my life tonight. Too windy to take out the C8 and I have trees here preventing me from getting it anyway.
 
If I go to my girlfriend's tomorrow we might get to see it with her 2080 though, and it's supposed to be less windy.


It’s at greatest eastern elongation right now. I live on a hill sloping off to the southwest with no buildings in that direction for about five hundred yards. Great view of sunset (and Mercury) right now from my front porch.
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#4357 photiost

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Posted 27 February 2019 - 07:58 PM

Has been clear the past few nights but way too cold (-20C or -4F)  ...

 

It's going to get warmer ...eventually !!  smile.gif


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#4358 Augustus

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Posted 27 February 2019 - 08:04 PM

It’s at greatest eastern elongation right now. I live on a hill sloping off to the southwest with no buildings in that direction for about five hundred yards. Great view of sunset (and Mercury) right now from my front porch.

Didn't get to look at it last night, it was too windy and cold.

 

Guess I'll look for it in June.......



#4359 Esso2112

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Posted 27 February 2019 - 11:23 PM

Warm and foggy in Texas, so no observing anytime soon. More rain in the forecast. Maybe April will have a clear night as I’m not holding much hope for March. 


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#4360 AstroKerr

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Posted 01 March 2019 - 03:51 AM

Towa 339 and worked Orion's Belt & Sword, Mars, Sirius and Beetle-Gee mostly. Dragged out the Vixen A80M & A80Mf  - the 339 holds it's own with the A80M, a80Mf did okay star test on Sirius, but the other two were better w/ the A80M having the best contrast. I'm pretty sure the 339 contrast can match the A80M with just a bit of work.

 

Dragged out the Jason CometChaser 750 and it did okay despite the mount. It doesn't grab as much light of course, but it's not a 'dog'. The SLR is off on it - big ding at the left rear corner of the SLR flange. Have a tube expander coming in, but I'm hesitant to open it up and remove the ding because the views are pretty good thru it and only the SLR aim is affected. Going to have to suss out a better mount for the Jason CCs because despite their small aps and JB design, they do okay. perhaps an Exos Nano or IEXOS-100?

 

Good views thru the Towa & Jason whilst the sky lasted - we quit when the haze thickened enough to take out Sirius.


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#4361 rcwolpert

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Posted 01 March 2019 - 11:41 AM

It was a beautiful, clear, warm Florida night with no wind, so I thought I’d take out my C-8 instead of the Questar, especially since I’ve not used it for many months. First, I had to spray Skin-So-Soft on every exposed part of my body, and then some! Then I had to make three trips down from my 2nd floor condo to get the telescope, tripod, power source, eyepiece case and observing booklets down to the little piece of property that was somewhat protected from the ubiquitous community lights.

The next chore was getting the new finder aligned with the scope, and rotating the setting circles to the coordinates of Sirius (since that was what I was looking at) while holding the red-bulbed flashlight in my mouth (I think it had some Skin-So-Soft on the handle! foreheadslap.gif ). I forgot to look for the Pup, but was once again amazed at how good these 1983 optics are.

 

M42 was the next destination. How many times I’ve looked at this in my 69 years I can’t begin to tell you, but it’s always a treat. The E and F stars immediately popped out, so bright and obvious that it wasn’t even fun trying to find them! Then came the Pleiades, M35 . . . you know, the usual stuff, and all looking absolutely beautiful.

 

The problem for me last night was the effort of the setup, the wiping the fog off my glasses every two minutes from the energy expended and the resulting sweaty forehead, and then packing up all the equipment and trudging it all back up to the 2nd floor. All of this left me exhausted. I needed a 3rd shower of the day to remove my body of the Skin-So-Soft (at my wife’s insistence) and two glasses of Maker’s Mark to finally relax.  What I think I’m saying is that it was not that much fun visiting my “old friends” with this telescope. The Questar is so much easier. Thus, it’s become painfully clear to me that considering my living conditions, it’s time to let go of the C-8 and all of its ancillary equipment, and at least one of my two remaining refractors.undecided.gif

 

I’ve got to be realistic. I love where I live, but it’s just not conducive to amateur astronomy. I miss the days in NY when I had the domed observatory in my back yard, or in PA when I had a roll-off roof observatory right on my back deck, or when I lived in CA with the telescopes always setup and beautiful skies over 300 nights of the year. I even miss the cold, dark nights when I lived "up North".  Now I have the time, but lugging all the equipment to a dark sky location is just not my idea of fun (except for special occasions like Stellafane). I think the Questar and a grab-and-go refractor are about to be the final remnants of my collection of classic scopes.


Edited by rcwolpert, 01 March 2019 - 11:41 AM.

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#4362 terraclarke

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Posted 01 March 2019 - 11:53 AM

It was a beautiful, clear, warm Florida night with no wind, so I thought I’d take out my C-8 instead of the Questar, especially since I’ve not used it for many months. First, I had to spray Skin-So-Soft on every exposed part of my body, and then some! Then I had to make three trips down from my 2nd floor condo to get the telescope, tripod, power source, eyepiece case and observing booklets down to the little piece of property that was somewhat protected from the ubiquitous community lights.
The next chore was getting the new finder aligned with the scope, and rotating the setting circles to the coordinates of Sirius (since that was what I was looking at) while holding the red-bulbed flashlight in my mouth (I think it had some Skin-So-Soft on the handle! foreheadslap.gif ). I forgot to look for the Pup, but was once again amazed at how good these 1983 optics are.
 
M42 was the next destination. How many times I’ve looked at this in my 69 years I can’t begin to tell you, but it’s always a treat. The E and F stars immediately popped out, so bright and obvious that it wasn’t even fun trying to find them! Then came the Pleiades, M35 . . . you know, the usual stuff, and all looking absolutely beautiful.
 
The problem for me last night was the effort of the setup, the wiping the fog off my glasses every two minutes from the energy expended and the resulting sweaty forehead, and then packing up all the equipment and trudging it all back up to the 2nd floor. All of this left me exhausted. I needed a 3rd shower of the day to remove my body of the Skin-So-Soft (at my wife’s insistence) and two glasses of Maker’s Mark to finally relax.  What I think I’m saying is that it was not that much fun visiting my “old friends” with this telescope. The Questar is so much easier. Thus, it’s become painfully clear to me that considering my living conditions, it’s time to let go of the C-8 and all of its ancillary equipment, and at least one of my two remaining refractors.undecided.gif
 
I’ve got to be realistic. I love where I live, but it’s just not conducive to amateur astronomy. I miss the days in NY when I had the domed observatory in my back yard, or in PA when I had a roll-off roof observatory right on my back deck, or when I lived in CA with the telescopes always setup and beautiful skies over 300 nights of the year. I even miss the cold, dark nights when I lived "up North".  Now I have the time, but lugging all the equipment to a dark sky location is just not my idea of fun (except for special occasions like Stellafane). I think the Questar and a grab-and-go refractor are about to be the final remnants of my collection of classic scopes.


And don’t forget binoculars! I’m using mine more and more!
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#4363 rcwolpert

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Posted 01 March 2019 - 12:04 PM

“And don’t forget binoculars! I’m using mine more and more!”

 

Yes! Good point!


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#4364 davidmcgo

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Posted 01 March 2019 - 12:43 PM

If your C8 is still on the fork, don't forget you can just use it alt az manually on a sturdy picnic table or such.  

 

I carry mine in a Pacific Designs case which has a side pocket that fits my 1.25" original diagonal and several eyepieces (32mm and 20mm Erfles, 12, 9 mm Kellners), and the scope lives with a 6x30 right angle vintage finder on it.  So mine can be a one trip out if I just use the slow motions for tracking and don't need setting circles.

 

Dave


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#4365 Mike W

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Posted 01 March 2019 - 01:40 PM

TeleVue & Trapezium

 

Last night I spent over a half-hour studying the Trapezium, and assessing the differences between the Nagler 7mm and the Radian 4mm, in both the APM 152 & Dakin 4.

 

Over the years I've been skeptical of TV eyepieces in vintage long refractors.  I figured that all those lenses had to hurt contrast, and that my old fracs were better served with quality simpler eyepieces.  As usual, my findings present a more complicated view.

 

Since the APM isn't a Classic, all I'll say about it was that I saw 6 member stars A-F, with several eyepieces.  In the Dakin, I couldn't break out E, so I saw A-D + F.  The Nagler gave the better views of the cluster; the Radian gave the most detailed view of the nebulosity.  However, the background sky was blacker in the UO HD 9mm / 6mm & spectros Plossls 7.5mm / 5mm than in the TV eyepieces.  The PL7.5 performed similarly to the Nagler 7 -- much closer than the Orthos.  (For planetary observing, the Nagler is often a better choice than any of my other ~ 7mm eyepieces.  I think the Radian will be the same.)  

 

Hunting faint fuzzies with the Dakin, I used the Meade RG 20mm Erfle to locate both M65/66 & M81/82, then switched to the Nagler 7.  The views were nicely framed by this TV eyepiece (and much better with it in the 6" ED!).

 

Would I plunk down the $$$ for brand new TV eyepieces?  Nope.  Like the Takahashi & Vixen gear, TV are well-made, and the owners tend to take good care of them.  Buying used is the way to go.

Over the years I've tried them all and my final set is a 24 pan, 18, 14, 10, 8, 6, Radians and some smoothie plossls. Love the Radians!


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#4366 Bomber Bob

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Posted 01 March 2019 - 09:37 PM

Tonight, I got a whopping 27 minutes at the eyepiece.  2019 is looking a lot like 2018 -- 75% cloud cover during prime time just about every night, and/or rain...

 

A successful test of my 1950s Edmund 4" F15 on the Goto Model 106 EQ mount + Edmund maple legs, so not a total loss.

 

While it lasted, seeing was 8+ / 10 (yep, fate is a cruel taunter!).  I saw a couple of markings on a 5" Mars at 200x amidst tangerines, pinks, and whites.  Dropped to 43x with the RKE 28mm, and swept east to Orion's arm -- talk about full of stars!  Follow the trail that's just west of north, and M35 fills the field.  

 

So much to see in just this small patch of sky.  Too bad it didn't last...


Edited by Bomber Bob, 01 March 2019 - 09:39 PM.

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#4367 grif 678

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Posted 02 March 2019 - 12:37 PM

The inside of the lens cap is the only thing that can be observed with the rain we are having. I have never seen the soil this saturated, more rain on the way, it is scary if it is going to be this way all year like they say.



#4368 AllanDystrup

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Posted 04 March 2019 - 02:12 AM

.

     The past nights, I've been doing some wide field observations of spring galaxy groups in the Leo constellation, mostly using my 4" classic refractor:  https://www.cloudyni...ield/?p=9182961 and following posts.

 

     My plan is to continue this wide field galaxy survey with the groups in our "Local Sheet" of galaxies, from UMa through Virgo and down to Centaurus, as everything starts coming up roses and the blackbird starts singing in the dead of night...

 

     -- Allan


Edited by AllanDystrup, 04 March 2019 - 03:02 AM.

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#4369 Bomber Bob

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Posted 05 March 2019 - 06:48 PM

Finally...  Gonna be clear & a million tonight -- and below freezing after midnight (may have 15* F wind chill before dawn!).  I won't be out there that late, or that long.  Got both Edmund 4" F15s chilling in the shed.  4 days ago, I drove the Mustang with the top down.  Gotta love The Swamp's schizophrenic weather!  Anywho, Edna is on the Goto 106, and Little Red Riding Good (the Cass) is on the Mizar AR-1.  Which will show anything on mini-Mars, the old frac or the newer compact?

 

Short but sweet.  Perfect DSO night, so why not use 2 small F15 scopes?  Turbulence wrecked Mars, though both managed a sharp pink-orange disk -- and I was surprised.  Castor:  clean split in the Cass @ 30x w/ spectros 50mm Big Kellner; and at 53x w/ 28mm RKE.  East from there to check & compare my Cancer Doubles -- not just in the Edmunds - the 50mm F12 Towa got to play, too.  The Beehive's stars were prettiest with Edna, but M44 was a cluster at 30x in the Towa with a .965" spectros KE20.

 

The cold wind drove me in early, but at least I got to see something.  As expected, the Goto 106 on its Unitron 142 legs carried the 4" F15 as smoothly as the Dakin; and, a bonus, is that I can tote the whole enchilada - safely!


Edited by Bomber Bob, 05 March 2019 - 08:36 PM.

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#4370 Bomber Bob

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Posted 05 March 2019 - 09:15 PM

Castor in the Edmund / 3B 4" F15 Cassegrain at just 30x got me thinking that I really need to have a side-by-side with it and my 1958 Questar.  As the scope is now, the Q has better contrast, but resolution...  With additional baffling and internal blackening, this scope will be a $100 Wonder.  Got some glare while observing Mars.  If I'd had time, I would've tried different diagonals in it besides the Baader 1.25" prism.  My Edmund 4" F15 refractor had significantly better contrast & darker background sky -- but I've put a lot of work in it.

 

Based on PMs I've received, these 3B mirror sets have unreliable quality -- maybe like Towa.  I haven't DPACed this one,  but the star tests and sky tests have been very good so far.  (Check the Saturn photo earlier in this thread.)


Edited by Bomber Bob, 05 March 2019 - 09:21 PM.

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#4371 Compressorguy

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Posted 05 March 2019 - 10:47 PM

FINALLY! a clear albeit cold night here in central NC. Nice steady night to try out my new to me TV 18mm Radian eyepiece in the brass Renaissance. Took in the usuals, M42, trapezium, M36, M38, Behive, Pleiades and Sirius. All were absolutely beautiful in the new 18mm. The 3D effect or depth of the field was amazing. Also popped in the 8mm Radian for follow up and finished with a vintage circle V Celestron 4mm ortho with 2X Barlow to check collimation once the scope was sufficiently acclimated. Dead on to my eyes. Truly amazed with the 34 year old Renaissance and the wide, flat views it gives all the way to the edge! A great night!


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#4372 Augustus

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Posted 07 March 2019 - 09:43 PM

Took out the FC76 tonight and looked at M42, M41, M45, M51, M108, and M44 with my new 28mm RKE. Clouds rolled in after 45 minutes.

 

I think I was just able to see NGC 5195 and M97, as well.


Edited by Augustus, 08 March 2019 - 02:46 PM.

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#4373 Augustus

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Posted 09 March 2019 - 07:19 PM

Looked at the Moon, Mars, and M42 with the FC76. The Moon looks fantastic and the scope held up even at 240x. Mars at 240x just showed a hint of an albedo feature.


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#4374 rolo

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Posted 09 March 2019 - 07:38 PM

Looked at the Moon, Mars, and M42 with the FC76. The Moon looks fantastic and the scope held up even at 240x. Mars at 240x just showed a hint of an albedo feature.

That's where that scope excels! Wait till you see Jupiter on a good steady night. 


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#4375 terraclarke

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Posted 11 March 2019 - 07:56 AM

That's where that scope excels! Wait till you see Jupiter on a good steady night. 

I had mine on Jupiter on a perfect night a year ago last May and it did 300X and held a beautiful image! I was amazed.


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