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Pluto

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#1 ssmith

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Posted 29 August 2018 - 11:28 PM

Along with observing the parade of the four major planets I have also been tracking Pluto (I know - it’s not a planet) over the last couple of weeks.  It is currently located between Mars and Saturn moving at a rate of about 55” per day.  Composite Photo below:

 

 

0E6D4EAF-2531-4C6E-BC22-8DE7051631EE.jpeg


Edited by ssmith, 29 August 2018 - 11:30 PM.

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#2 epee

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Posted 30 August 2018 - 09:09 AM

Nice work! Thanks.



#3 Bill Barlow

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Posted 31 August 2018 - 09:14 PM

Nice going.  Pluto is one object I haven't seen yet.  I might have seen it once when I owned a C14 5 years ago, but couldn't be sure since it was in a very rich star field.  But your picture gives it some size/brightness perspective compared to the stars around it.

 

Bill



#4 Edward E

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Posted 12 September 2018 - 09:54 AM

I was able to observe Pluto this past weekend.  Its much easier now without a sky chocked full of stars.  I was even able able to see it move ~ 1 arc minute from the evening of 9/7 to the evening of 9/8.  Here is my sketch of Pluto and some of the surrounding stars.  I do not sketch every star in the field of view, just the ones that I use to memorize the field.  I used my 20" f4 Starsplitter Dob of these observations.

 

Pluto_2018090708.png


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#5 grif 678

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Posted 27 September 2018 - 02:47 PM

Thanks for the pictures and diagrams, and your faithfulness in Pluto. Percivel, Clyde, all your hard work is not for naught when I am concerned, long live Pluto, a planet when I was a kid, and still is.


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#6 Dartguy

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Posted 27 September 2018 - 04:59 PM

Nice job, and it is a planet.


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#7 PlanetMacro

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Posted 02 July 2021 - 01:18 PM

Along with observing the parade of the four major planets I have also been tracking Pluto (I know - it’s not a planet) over the last couple of weeks.  It is currently located between Mars and Saturn moving at a rate of about 55” per day.  Composite Photo below:

 

 

attachicon.gif0E6D4EAF-2531-4C6E-BC22-8DE7051631EE.jpeg

Great photo and Pluto is a planet. There are many more planets out there still to be discovered. Scientist can be as ignorant and biased as non scientists. 



#8 ssmith

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Posted 02 July 2021 - 03:25 PM

Thanks PlanetMacro !

 

Pluto wont move into my view this year until the end of July - at least it wont be visible for me at a time when I wont be asleep  wink.gif .

 

I put together a two-frame blink video showing Pluto's movement  from last year (Aug 7 & 8 2020) which can be found at the bottom of my Videos Page.  The brightest star in the frames is at Mag 9.3 (Bottom-right).


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#9 dweller25

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Posted 02 July 2021 - 04:10 PM

Along with observing the parade of the four major planets I have also been tracking Pluto (I know - it’s not a planet) over the last couple of weeks.  It is currently located between Mars and Saturn moving at a rate of about 55” per day.  Composite Photo below:

 

 

attachicon.gif0E6D4EAF-2531-4C6E-BC22-8DE7051631EE.jpeg

Pluto is a planet - well done for capturing it



#10 EricSi

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Posted 08 July 2021 - 05:31 PM

Maybe someday I will try for Pluto. It's bright enough that I should have no problem seeing it with my 14" in decently dark skies, but I find that pattern matching to determine the right faint point source is a lot of work -- I have done that for 3C 273 and for the companion star to Cygnus X-1.



#11 Redbetter

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Posted 09 July 2021 - 12:59 AM

Maybe someday I will try for Pluto. It's bright enough that I should have no problem seeing it with my 14" in decently dark skies, but I find that pattern matching to determine the right faint point source is a lot of work -- I have done that for 3C 273 and for the companion star to Cygnus X-1.

The main obstacle you have is latitude due to Pluto's low declination in the Seattle region.  The annual S&T Pluto finder chart has worked well for the hop over the years, but it helps to examine the chart ahead of time so that you can focus on the field.  From 41 N in dark sky it took my son only 15 minutes to identify Pluto with his 10" Dob as a novice, using the S&T chart a few years ago.  That was purely star hopping, no drive, no DSC's.



#12 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 11 July 2021 - 12:08 AM

The Sky & Telescope chart for Pluto appears on page 48 and 49 of the July 2021 issue.  There's also a finder chart on page 243 of the RASC Observer’s Handbook 2021.  An article on observing Pluto, with a chart for July on page 49, appears on pages 46 to 49 of the July 2021 issue of Astronomy.



#13 Special Ed

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Posted 11 July 2021 - 02:17 PM

With all due respect to veteran observers Alan Wade and Redbetter, I wish people would stop encouraging inexperienced or less experienced observers to use a chart or app on Pluto and call it one and done.

 

Pluto is just a faint point of light in the field of view.  App charts can be inaccurate or incomplete.  PC planetarium programs can be inaccurate or incomplete.  Some people get confused with cardinal directions and inverted or mirror-reversed views.  Optics and conditions vary.

 

I agree, use the best chart (or app) you can find and make sure of your orientation but, unless you are like Alan and Red and have years of deep sky observing and Pluto sightings under your belt, I think one should confirm their Pluto observation with a second observation a day later (or as soon as weather permits).  Make an eyepiece sketch of the field (nothing fancy) that contains Pluto and see if it moved.

 

I think seeing Pluto is tough--a sighting ought to be confirmed to be sure.


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#14 Redbetter

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Posted 11 July 2021 - 08:12 PM

With all due respect, multiple sightings for confirmation is not a requirement.  I leave multiple sighting confirmation up the discretion of the observer.  If a person is unsure of sighting then they should repeat it if possible.  That is the same practice I use/encourage with anything:  asteroids, dwarf planets, supernovae, moons, galaxies, etc.  If I am not satisfied with what I saw then I repeat the observation another night and hope that others will as well.

 

From my perspective, the problem with Pluto is not making it seem too easy, it is that for too long folks have made it seem too hard.  Putting another obstacle in the way of observers, who frequently are not keen on spending much time on a faint point of light in the first place, seems counterproductive to me.  Many folks describe having few opportunities to observe under dark sky conditions and some for only a single night at a time, which is a major consideration for Pluto. Suggesting that their observation won't be valid unless they can do it over multiple nights is not helpful.   Better to encourage someone to make the attempt, even if it is only a single attempt, rather than telling them they must see it multiple times.

 

The same principle applies to other difficult objects.  I didn't hunt down 17th magnitude dwarf planets Makemake or Haumea with the belief that only multiple sightings would be valid.  That would have discouraged me from making the attempts since getting the conditions is not so easy.  I did do confirmation early with Makemake, because the seeing and position was so marginal originally that follow up seemed necessary.    Haumea was by its lonesome and in good seeing the following year, nothing else close enough to be mistaken for it.  I can't remember if I got another opportunity for it that year or not, I know I observed Haumea again this year in good conditions again.

 

I first viewed Pluto as a novice with an 8" SCT using the same type of charts, and it wasn't that difficult.  It was about 0.7 mag brighter then, but the concept is the same.   No surprise then that a 10" would render it similarly to my son a few years ago.  There have been times I had doubt about which point was Pluto, it depends on the field it is in at the time, as well as conditions. 

 

If folks don't explore the envelope, then their observing skills can end up stuck in a rut.  We each have different limits, but we don't know what those limits are until we try them.  I will continue to encourage folks to press their perceived limits.


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#15 Special Ed

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Posted 12 July 2021 - 06:03 AM

With all due respect, multiple sightings for confirmation is not a requirement.  I leave multiple sighting confirmation up the discretion of the observer.  If a person is unsure of sighting then they should repeat it if possible.  That is the same practice I use/encourage with anything:  asteroids, dwarf planets, supernovae, moons, galaxies, etc.  If I am not satisfied with what I saw then I repeat the observation another night and hope that others will as well.

 

From my perspective, the problem with Pluto is not making it seem too easy, it is that for too long folks have made it seem too hard.  Putting another obstacle in the way of observers, who frequently are not keen on spending much time on a faint point of light in the first place, seems counterproductive to me.  Many folks describe having few opportunities to observe under dark sky conditions and some for only a single night at a time, which is a major consideration for Pluto. Suggesting that their observation won't be valid unless they can do it over multiple nights is not helpful.   Better to encourage someone to make the attempt, even if it is only a single attempt, rather than telling them they must see it multiple times....

I agree with most of what you say here.  And I am not trying to discourage anyone from attempting a Pluto observation, but I think it is well known as a challenge object for most observers (with all that word implies).  When you see Pluto, it's just a faint point of light amid many other faint points, so you really have to want to see it.  Many don't even bother because they have heard the sight is underwhelming.

 

If someone wants to look at a field full of faint stars and say, Yes, that one is Pluto, and then move on to the next thing and are satisfied with that, then God bless 'em.  And getting two clear nights in a row is arguably tougher than spotting Pluto.  lol.gif   But the thing about the planets/dwarf planets/KBO's is that they move.  That was what the ancients noticed about the original five.  I would tell a first time Pluto observer--don't shortchange yourself.  See it move.  Then you can say, Yes, that's Pluto.


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#16 PeterDob

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Posted 12 July 2021 - 06:16 AM

Sometimes you get lucky too. Last Friday, Pluto was close to a particular asterism in an otherwise nearly empty field of view. Identifying it was a piece of cake and here's my sketch.

 

I do agree that one should be cautious and it's easy to get confused with all of the other (faint) stars in the FOV, but sometimes it isn't hard at all to identify it with absolute certainty.

 

Peter

 

 

Pluto (binoscope).png


Edited by PeterDob, 12 July 2021 - 06:29 AM.

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#17 Special Ed

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Posted 12 July 2021 - 12:39 PM

Peter,

 

I think you did more than get lucky (maybe lucky with the weather while Pluto was near that asterism).  Your observation and sketch were a result of good planning and skillful observing.  I saw that asterism on the chart in the July issue of S&T with few stars nearby and that was a perfect time to look for Pluto.  waytogo.gif


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#18 EricSi

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Posted 13 July 2021 - 05:13 PM

The main obstacle you have is latitude due to Pluto's low declination in the Seattle region.  The annual S&T Pluto finder chart has worked well for the hop over the years, but it helps to examine the chart ahead of time so that you can focus on the field.  From 41 N in dark sky it took my son only 15 minutes to identify Pluto with his 10" Dob as a novice, using the S&T chart a few years ago.  That was purely star hopping, no drive, no DSC's.

It is unfortunately very true that a lot of great stuff is fairly low above our southern horizon. Maybe when/if I retire I'll move to Arizona or New Mexico. And one of these years I'll have to do a southern hemisphere observing trip so I can see Omega Centauri and Eta Carina and some of the other things that are never visible from here.


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#19 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 14 July 2021 - 03:13 PM

There's an online article on observing Pluto this month posted at https://astronomy.co...ition-this-week



#20 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 16 July 2021 - 07:04 PM

Pluto was the subject of yesterday's episode of StarDate.

https://stardate.org...gram/2021-07-15



#21 novax

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Posted 16 July 2021 - 11:01 PM

very nice joblaugh.gif




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