Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

*Clear Nights**

observing
  • Please log in to reply
18 replies to this topic

#1 Sketcher

Sketcher

    Apollo

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 1018
  • Joined: 29 Jun 2017
  • Loc: Under Earth's Sky

Posted 09 January 2019 - 07:30 PM

Last night started out with clouds, but a clear sky was supposed to eventually come my way.

 

Generally, if I don't set up a telescope around sunset, I'm not very likely to take one out later -- after it's gotten dark.  In last night's situation, I didn't judge the sky as clear enough until nearly 2am.  Well, what to do?  I really didn't feel like taking a telescope out, but I didn't want to waste an opportunity either . . .

 

Such nights are perfect (for me) for some binocular observing.  There's no need to take out a tripod and mount.  All I need do is step out and observe 'stuff'.  It had been a while since I had a 'serious' binocular session -- possibly even more than a year.  The sky was dark and clear!  The temperature was a comfortable +10 degrees F.  The only real decision to make was which pair of binoculars to make use of.

 

I decided to go with the 'big' ones, a pair of 25x100s.  Now, living under a dark sky has some advantages.  For binocular astronomy I don't really need to dress very warmly.  The general binocular plan calls for stepping out onto a porch and looking for various objects, followed by returning inside to log what was seen and deciding on the next object or the next set of objects.  Charts, etc. can stay inside.  This approach keeps the binoculars from ever getting cold enough (they're not outside long enough) to dew up on all the trips back into the warmer indoors.  There's no need to change out of my sweat pants and tennis shoes.  There's no need for a hat and gloves.  I'm simply not outside for any 'long' stretches of time.

 

Inside the house all lights are kept off.  While inside I use only my adjustable "astronomer's" flashlight to see by.  So I never lose much of my dark-adaption.  While outside there's not need for any lights of any kind.  Starlight and natural air-glow provide sufficient light to see by.

 

This isn't an observing report, so I won't list each object observed, nor provide any descriptions.  I will give some idea of the session though.  All things totaled, I observed 78 deep-sky objects -- 57 Messier objects and 21 non-Messiers.  All Messier objects from 3hr RA through 14hr RA were observed with a lone exception.  By the time I had gotten to M83, the sky showed signs of clouding up.  The thickest cloud managed to cover M83's location.

 

The non-Messiers observed were mainly those found near the various targeted Messier objects.

 

I was free to spend as much or as little time inside and outside as I wanted -- as long I avoided anything that would compromise my dark-adaptation.

 

By session's end, I was walking on a layer of frost when outside, but never once did I have any problem with frost (or dew) forming on the binocular's objectives and/or eyepieces.  I suppose years of experience have helped in gaining an understanding of how to aviod such issues.

 

Unlike some of my earlier sessions, I heard no Great Horned Owls this time, but there was a distant, brief, 'whimpy' bark at one point in time.  It didn't quite sound like a domestic dog.  Other than that, there wasn't much to take note of.

 

So, why a *Clear Nights** posting?  Well, it just seems that we don't hear about them very often -- at least not here on *Cloudy Nights**.  Sometimes a person can get the impression that few of us actually go out into the darkness and look up.  There's just so much focus on equipment -- buying it, selling it, replacing it, making comparisons, looking for solutions to problems, providing answers to questions, giving excuses for not going out, etc.

 

After your next *Clear Night** session, how about sharing a little about your experience?  Perhaps one such posting every couple of months could be "doable" -- just to give others a taste of what some of your sessions are like.

 

I look forward to reading about your experiences.


  • Asbytec, REC, BFaucett and 12 others like this

#2 erin

erin

    Messenger

  • *****
  • Posts: 465
  • Joined: 27 Jan 2018
  • Loc: MA

Posted 10 January 2019 - 07:59 AM

Thanks Sketcher. This is a great post. You are tapping into what makes this hobby so great to me—it is the whole experience. The gear is great and I love it, but it is part of a whole. The fresh air, the silhouettes of the trees in front of the twilight or dawn sky, the animal sounds or sightings, the smell of firesmoke, etc. Just taking time to enjoy being alive.

 

Here is my clear nights story: Christmas morning, 5am, we were at my parents house and my 3 year old had a wicked bout of diarrhea. So I was up cleaning the mess and sleep wasn’t going to happen, so I did something I rarely do, and enjoyed the pre-dawn sky.

 

The waning gibbous moon was large and bright against the brightening sky as it set in the west. Still casting some moonlight on the ground. I had seen it in about the same place in the eastern sky as it rose that night. Venus was up and glowing brightly in the south. The eastern sky was ablaze with orange and yellow behind the black silhouettes of beautiful tall white pines. Crows and songbirds were starting to wake up and go about their day. It was very memorable, and I was only out for maybe 10 minutes.


Edited by erin, 10 January 2019 - 08:00 AM.

  • REC and Sketcher like this

#3 vdog

vdog

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 938
  • Joined: 30 Aug 2018
  • Loc: California Central Valley, U.S.A.

Posted 10 January 2019 - 10:30 AM

My clear night or rather:  "moment of clarity."

 

After leaving the big dob in mothballs because the forecast called for rain, followed by clouds, I was getting ready to head to bed.  While leaving some food out for our feline yard resident, I noticed the skies had opened and were crystal clear. 

 

These moments happen during this time of year in my area, and the sky is startlingly different from what we get most of the time.  Unfortunately, these moments can be fleeting.  Not knowing how long it would last, I bundled up, grabbed my 10x50s, and headed out. 

 

The contrast was amazing, especially near the zenith.  The OB associations in and about Orion, especially around the belt, were almost photographic in their richness.  I noticed halos around brighter stars like Sirius, and some darkness near the horizon that indicated passing clouds, so I began to think my window was closing.

 

I spent some time just looking naked eye.  Dim constellations that are normally all but invisible (e.g., Cancer, Lynx) were obvious.  The Milky Way, while not visible, was "perceivable."  I wonder, is there a scientific or astronomy term for, "I can't say I 'see' it, but I can tell it's there"?

 

It was then that I noticed the halos were gone.  I decided this was what grab-and-go scopes are for, so I grabbed my 4.5" dob and went.  I'd just gotten a new EP (the Meade UWA 8.8mm) and had an O-III filter I hadn't tried out, so I spent quite some time on M42.  Even at that aperture, my filters revealed quite a bit, including (with averted vision) M43, NGC 1977, and even some of the fainter parts of the nebula opposite the "bat wings."

 

Feeling bold, I decided to hit some targets I'd never observed in my little dob.  Here are few observations / reflections:

  • The Little Dumbbell lives up to its name.  It's not Ring Nebula little, but it's pretty tiny.
  • The Crab Nebula, while visible at that aperture under those conditions, is something I could have looked at a dozen times and never seen when I was first starting out.  I think targets like that require experience, specifically, a brain that has learned to differentiate that hazy dimness from the starry background.
  • M81 and M82 are a beautiful pair, even at that aperture.  Oh, and hey, I can see galaxies in my Starblast! Other than M31, I had tried and failed many times before.
  • A grab-and-go scope is a great thing to have.  Without it, I'd have missed out on this experience.

My "moment" lasted about two hours.  I noticed M81 and M82 getting blurry in the eyepiece and looked up to see thin clouds rapidly covering most of the sky.  I packed up and within 20 minutes, my neighborhood was covered in fog.

 

What a moment.  It was well-worth the two hours of sleep I gave up.  Sorry about the long post, but you asked for it. grin.gif


  • pgs/sdg, brentknight, SeaBee1 and 4 others like this

#4 jcj380

jcj380

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1438
  • Joined: 08 Jul 2014
  • Loc: 42N 88W

Posted 10 January 2019 - 10:43 AM

Temp was heading toward 14 deg F last night, so I set up in my loft, looking through the window to the SE and S.  While not ideal, I had a good look at Orion's sword and belt like I did last weekend from my dining room (another experiment).

 

Unable to see M79, but that wasn't too surprising since it's low in the soup here and pretty faint even when I'm observing outside.

 

Clouds rolled in after about an hour.  It wasn't great, but it was better than watching TV and I spent zero time bundling up.  And no worries about things frosting up!  wink.gif

 

 While I doubt observing inside will be very good for DSOs, lunar observing might be tolerable.  We'll see in a few days...


Edited by jcj380, 10 January 2019 - 10:45 AM.

  • REC and Sketcher like this

#5 REC

REC

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 11260
  • Joined: 20 Oct 2010
  • Loc: NC

Posted 10 January 2019 - 11:08 AM

Last night started out with clouds, but a clear sky was supposed to eventually come my way.

 

Generally, if I don't set up a telescope around sunset, I'm not very likely to take one out later -- after it's gotten dark.  In last night's situation, I didn't judge the sky as clear enough until nearly 2am.  Well, what to do?  I really didn't feel like taking a telescope out, but I didn't want to waste an opportunity either . . .

 

Such nights are perfect (for me) for some binocular observing.  There's no need to take out a tripod and mount.  All I need do is step out and observe 'stuff'.  It had been a while since I had a 'serious' binocular session -- possibly even more than a year.  The sky was dark and clear!  The temperature was a comfortable +10 degrees F.  The only real decision to make was which pair of binoculars to make use of.

 

I decided to go with the 'big' ones, a pair of 25x100s.  Now, living under a dark sky has some advantages.  For binocular astronomy I don't really need to dress very warmly.  The general binocular plan calls for stepping out onto a porch and looking for various objects, followed by returning inside to log what was seen and deciding on the next object or the next set of objects.  Charts, etc. can stay inside.  This approach keeps the binoculars from ever getting cold enough (they're not outside long enough) to dew up on all the trips back into the warmer indoors.  There's no need to change out of my sweat pants and tennis shoes.  There's no need for a hat and gloves.  I'm simply not outside for any 'long' stretches of time.

 

Inside the house all lights are kept off.  While inside I use only my adjustable "astronomer's" flashlight to see by.  So I never lose much of my dark-adaption.  While outside there's not need for any lights of any kind.  Starlight and natural air-glow provide sufficient light to see by.

 

This isn't an observing report, so I won't list each object observed, nor provide any descriptions.  I will give some idea of the session though.  All things totaled, I observed 78 deep-sky objects -- 57 Messier objects and 21 non-Messiers.  All Messier objects from 3hr RA through 14hr RA were observed with a lone exception.  By the time I had gotten to M83, the sky showed signs of clouding up.  The thickest cloud managed to cover M83's location.

 

The non-Messiers observed were mainly those found near the various targeted Messier objects.

 

I was free to spend as much or as little time inside and outside as I wanted -- as long I avoided anything that would compromise my dark-adaptation.

 

By session's end, I was walking on a layer of frost when outside, but never once did I have any problem with frost (or dew) forming on the binocular's objectives and/or eyepieces.  I suppose years of experience have helped in gaining an understanding of how to aviod such issues.

 

Unlike some of my earlier sessions, I heard no Great Horned Owls this time, but there was a distant, brief, 'whimpy' bark at one point in time.  It didn't quite sound like a domestic dog.  Other than that, there wasn't much to take note of.

 

So, why a *Clear Nights** posting?  Well, it just seems that we don't hear about them very often -- at least not here on *Cloudy Nights**.  Sometimes a person can get the impression that few of us actually go out into the darkness and look up.  There's just so much focus on equipment -- buying it, selling it, replacing it, making comparisons, looking for solutions to problems, providing answers to questions, giving excuses for not going out, etc.

 

After your next *Clear Night** session, how about sharing a little about your experience?  Perhaps one such posting every couple of months could be "doable" -- just to give others a taste of what some of your sessions are like.

 

I look forward to reading about your experiences.

 Wow, what a night you had and it must look great with those giant bino's! Had a similar night last night as well. Perfect transparent skies and just took out my mounted 9x63 bino's. I have a really great set-up that uses a mirror, so I put it on a table and look down in it like you would view a microscope. Just cruised the sky and had a ball!


  • pgs/sdg, Sketcher, Enkidu and 1 other like this

#6 REC

REC

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 11260
  • Joined: 20 Oct 2010
  • Loc: NC

Posted 10 January 2019 - 11:11 AM

Last night started out with clouds, but a clear sky was supposed to eventually come my way.

 

Generally, if I don't set up a telescope around sunset, I'm not very likely to take one out later -- after it's gotten dark.  In last night's situation, I didn't judge the sky as clear enough until nearly 2am.  Well, what to do?  I really didn't feel like taking a telescope out, but I didn't want to waste an opportunity either . . .

 

Such nights are perfect (for me) for some binocular observing.  There's no need to take out a tripod and mount.  All I need do is step out and observe 'stuff'.  It had been a while since I had a 'serious' binocular session -- possibly even more than a year.  The sky was dark and clear!  The temperature was a comfortable +10 degrees F.  The only real decision to make was which pair of binoculars to make use of.

 

I decided to go with the 'big' ones, a pair of 25x100s.  Now, living under a dark sky has some advantages.  For binocular astronomy I don't really need to dress very warmly.  The general binocular plan calls for stepping out onto a porch and looking for various objects, followed by returning inside to log what was seen and deciding on the next object or the next set of objects.  Charts, etc. can stay inside.  This approach keeps the binoculars from ever getting cold enough (they're not outside long enough) to dew up on all the trips back into the warmer indoors.  There's no need to change out of my sweat pants and tennis shoes.  There's no need for a hat and gloves.  I'm simply not outside for any 'long' stretches of time.

 

Inside the house all lights are kept off.  While inside I use only my adjustable "astronomer's" flashlight to see by.  So I never lose much of my dark-adaption.  While outside there's not need for any lights of any kind.  Starlight and natural air-glow provide sufficient light to see by.

 

This isn't an observing report, so I won't list each object observed, nor provide any descriptions.  I will give some idea of the session though.  All things totaled, I observed 78 deep-sky objects -- 57 Messier objects and 21 non-Messiers.  All Messier objects from 3hr RA through 14hr RA were observed with a lone exception.  By the time I had gotten to M83, the sky showed signs of clouding up.  The thickest cloud managed to cover M83's location.

 

The non-Messiers observed were mainly those found near the various targeted Messier objects.

 

I was free to spend as much or as little time inside and outside as I wanted -- as long I avoided anything that would compromise my dark-adaptation.

 

By session's end, I was walking on a layer of frost when outside, but never once did I have any problem with frost (or dew) forming on the binocular's objectives and/or eyepieces.  I suppose years of experience have helped in gaining an understanding of how to aviod such issues.

 

Unlike some of my earlier sessions, I heard no Great Horned Owls this time, but there was a distant, brief, 'whimpy' bark at one point in time.  It didn't quite sound like a domestic dog.  Other than that, there wasn't much to take note of.

 

So, why a *Clear Nights** posting?  Well, it just seems that we don't hear about them very often -- at least not here on *Cloudy Nights**.  Sometimes a person can get the impression that few of us actually go out into the darkness and look up.  There's just so much focus on equipment -- buying it, selling it, replacing it, making comparisons, looking for solutions to problems, providing answers to questions, giving excuses for not going out, etc.

 

After your next *Clear Night** session, how about sharing a little about your experience?  Perhaps one such posting every couple of months could be "doable" -- just to give others a taste of what some of your sessions are like.

 

I look forward to reading about your experiences.

It's nights like that, that keeps me sane!


  • Sketcher and erin like this

#7 MikeP

MikeP

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 17
  • Joined: 27 Apr 2007
  • Loc: Louisiana USA

Posted 10 January 2019 - 06:45 PM

Great report, Sketcher! I had really clear conditions last night and spent time with my 20x80 binoculars which are perched on a tall Tiltall tripod. I must have looked like a slow radar set scanning the skies from end-to-end. I didn't take notes, but my session was full of spectacular sights, the kind that make this hobby so endearing to me. 


  • Sketcher likes this

#8 zleonis

zleonis

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 192
  • Joined: 27 Mar 2018
  • Loc: Richmond, VA

Posted 11 January 2019 - 11:26 AM

Thanks for the thoughtful post, Sketcher!

 

We've had a run of pretty good weather around here, it's been clear several nights over the past week or two. Last night I put out my scope to cool as soon as I got home from work, and was able to get in a couple hours observing after the kids went ot bed. I was mostly working off of a Sue French column (I got a copy of  Wonders of the Deep for Christmas), and spent most of my time in Auriga seeing what I could see of some clusters (NGC 1893, 1931, M38) and mostly failing to see any nebulae (I didn't have high hopes). Although the backstory of AE Aurigae (possibly ejected from the Trapezium!) made it an interesting observation even though the surrounding nebulosity wasn't visible (with or without a narrowband filter). I was able to see a fuzzy patch within NCG 1931. If you include asterisms and objects that I targeted without successfully observing, I observed 8-10 objects over the course of 90 minutes. That's about my average pace when I'm observing DSO (for me, that's mostly star clusters and planetary nebulae).

 

Overall, it was a rewarding session. The NGC clusters were a bit challenging, but in an engaging way. Plus, they made the Messier objects really shine in comparison. I was observing Auriga right at the zenith, which was a little disorienting in my manual dob, but local/regional light pollution gets much worse as objects enter the western half of my sky so I didn't want to miss my chance. After I packed up, I spent half an hour with just my eyes, mostly around Gemini, Auriga, and what I could see of Leo. 


  • SeaBee1, Sketcher and Enkidu like this

#9 rowdy388

rowdy388

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3352
  • Joined: 09 Apr 2013
  • Loc: Saratoga County, NY

Posted 11 January 2019 - 12:05 PM

Sketcher,

Just curious if you were hand holding those 25x100's or are attaching them to some mount already

set up on your porch. I can't image hand holding those. I'm happier hand holding a much smaller pair

for longer, steadier views.


  • Sketcher likes this

#10 Sketcher

Sketcher

    Apollo

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 1018
  • Joined: 29 Jun 2017
  • Loc: Under Earth's Sky

Posted 11 January 2019 - 04:04 PM

Sketcher,

Just curious if you were hand holding those 25x100's or are attaching them to some mount already

set up on your porch. I can't image hand holding those. I'm happier hand holding a much smaller pair

for longer, steadier views.

I have a home-made mount for the 25x100s, but I no longer use it unless I intend to more closely study (and possibly sketch) an object.  I dislike the weight and bulk (along with added set-up time, etc.) of using a mount for binoculars.  I started out (years ago) using my 20x80s exclusively with a mount.  I use to make sketches of sunspots and lunar features using mounted 20x80s.  A mount was necessary for those purposes.

 

When I first bought the 25x100s I built a mount for them -- and then decided to try the 20x80s handheld.  I've never gone back to using a mount with the 20x80s -- and the 20x80s see much more frequent use now as a direct result.

 

After discovering so much increased use and pleasure using the 20x80s handheld, I tried it with the 25x100s.  My first reaction was; "no way" am I going to be using these handheld!

 

Well, after a bit of practice, I figured out how to make good use of the 25x100s handheld!  I can hold them up and accurately point them quickly enough that I'm not having to deal with their weight for any unreasonable lengths of time.

 

So, my "binocular philosophy" changed!  I now look at mounts/tripods for binoculars as "balls and chains".  They unnecessarily complicate things and make binoculars more difficult to use -- at least for deep-sky purposes.

 

I do find mounts to be pretty much indispensable when it comes to observing fine detail -- careful lunar observations for example.  But for deep-sky objects (my primary use for binoculars now) I see only advantages for handheld use -- even when the binoculars are 25x100s.  Rock-solid steadiness isn't a concern for DSOs -- after all, some people claim that 'jiggling' a telescope can make it easier to detect faint DSOs.  I can't hold the binoculars "rock-steady", but I can hold them steady enough to keep any desired object very close to the center of the field.  Frankly, I never really notice any jiggling.  For DSOs, that's perfectly adequate.

 

My dark sky probably helps.  There are enough naked-eye stars to make it easy to pinpoint where the binoculars need to be pointed for any given object.

 

The final clarification:  Each time I stepped outside, it was just me with the binoculars in hand.  I didn't even bother with my zero-gravity chair -- an accessory that I sometimes use with binocular sessions.  The chair isn't so convenient when my plan involves 'jumping' all around the sky.

 

Thanks for a great question!


  • rowdy388 likes this

#11 rowdy388

rowdy388

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3352
  • Joined: 09 Apr 2013
  • Loc: Saratoga County, NY

Posted 11 January 2019 - 07:26 PM

...and thank you for a very thorough and enjoyable (if unexpected) response!

 

My 20X80's are standard tripod mounted and have seen limited use. Basically 30

degrees down to the horizon plus some terrestrial. Maybe I need to set them

free and try viewing the whole sky in very brief sessions. I know the sky well enough

to shoot from the hip. 

 

It's amazing what 8X42's, 10X50's, and 12X50's can see. Each size up can go a bit

deeper. The monster binoculars take it to the next level.


  • Sketcher likes this

#12 Jon Isaacs

Jon Isaacs

    ISS

  • *****
  • Posts: 77202
  • Joined: 16 Jun 2004
  • Loc: San Diego and Boulevard, CA

Posted 11 January 2019 - 08:16 PM

Last night looked to be clear so I set out the 22 incher to cool and went out to dinner with my neighbor.  On the way to eat , I saw that the valley over the ridge to the west was filled with low level haze/fog .

 

When we got back from dinner,  it was no longer clear and the scope was dripping with dew . I reluctantly bolted the wheel barrow handles on and rolled the scope back in garage and toweled it dry.  I went inside and eventually laid down and went to sleep .

 

About 11 pm,  nature called,  I got up and took care of business and went outside to check on the skies . It had cleared up and was just stunningly dark . I went inside .  Took some time to wake up,  got bundled up and went outside , opened up the garage..  

 

Which scope was the question , the 16 inch which is easier or the 22 inch which goes about 0.7 magnitudes deep.  I measured the sky brightness , 21.48 at the zenith,  21.40 at 45 degrees to the north , east and south . I rolled out the 22 inch. .

 

It was a marvelous night , best in months.  FIve and a half hours..  I was observing near alpha Lyncis and the 15th magnitude galaxies were popping , i finally just quit and moved on .. Identifying them and logging them was taking too much time. 

 

I went inside about 3:30 for some hot cocoa,  checked on Cloudy Nights,  read about the comet C/2018 Y1 and when i went back outside,  it was my first target . It was not difficult despite being less than 25 degrees above the horizon. . An unexpected treat. 

 

I could have just gone back to sleep but instead I had a night for the ages .

 

Jon


  • Asbytec, Cames, BFaucett and 8 others like this

#13 REC

REC

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 11260
  • Joined: 20 Oct 2010
  • Loc: NC

Posted 12 January 2019 - 12:12 PM

Last night looked to be clear so I set out the 22 incher to cool and went out to dinner with my neighbor.  On the way to eat , I saw that the valley over the ridge to the west was filled with low level haze/fog .

 

When we got back from dinner,  it was no longer clear and the scope was dripping with dew . I reluctantly bolted the wheel barrow handles on and rolled the scope back in garage and toweled it dry.  I went inside and eventually laid down and went to sleep .

 

About 11 pm,  nature called,  I got up and took care of business and went outside to check on the skies . It had cleared up and was just stunningly dark . I went inside .  Took some time to wake up,  got bundled up and went outside , opened up the garage..  

 

Which scope was the question , the 16 inch which is easier or the 22 inch which goes about 0.7 magnitudes deep.  I measured the sky brightness , 21.48 at the zenith,  21.40 at 45 degrees to the north , east and south . I rolled out the 22 inch. .

 

It was a marvelous night , best in months.  FIve and a half hours..  I was observing near alpha Lyncis and the 15th magnitude galaxies were popping , i finally just quit and moved on .. Identifying them and logging them was taking too much time. 

 

I went inside about 3:30 for some hot cocoa,  checked on Cloudy Nights,  read about the comet C/2018 Y1 and when i went back outside,  it was my first target . It was not difficult despite being less than 25 degrees above the horizon. . An unexpected treat. 

 

I could have just gone back to sleep but instead I had a night for the ages .

 

Jon

Wow, that was a long night! Glad it proved out for you. For 21.48 that's pretty good for where you live. I'm in a red zone and best I get ia about 19.5 and on a great night, I can just make out a mag 5 star at zenith.



#14 Tyson M

Tyson M

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3313
  • Joined: 22 Jan 2015
  • Loc: 53 degrees North

Posted 12 January 2019 - 04:29 PM

I love this idea, and some of us regularly do this in thread "A Newbie's Early Observation Log - Join me!"

 

Although I am not really a newbie, I enjoy sharing my experiences with others like myself who actively try to learn the sky or share our experiences with others.

 

On Thursday I went out.

 

Jan 10th, 2018   White/red zone. clear skies, average to poor transparency, average to poor seeing. Approx 1.5 hours or so ending at 20:00

 

Equipment used: brand new Skymax 180 mak cass (first light) on AVX and Vixen ED100SF on Vamo and phototripod

 

I set up two set ups in the backyard.  Conditions were not conducive to the long focal length Skymax 180 but I wanted to set up anyways.

 

I had a look at the double cluster with the 40mm eyepiece and the mak.  Cant quite frame them both but close.  NGC 869 was particularly nice.

 

I had a look at the falling crescent moon in the south east with the 100mm scope. Low at roughly 14 degrees above horizon and over top of my neighbor's garage and not the greatest view.  I do like observing this moon at such a small crescent, at this point 20% illumination.  Earthshine was apparent which my gf thought was very cool to see.  I could not view the moon with the mak from my position in the yard which was a bit of a letdown as it was too low in the horizon.

 

I had a look at M45 which I could not frame with the mak, I could with the Vixen refractor.  The blue sapphire diamonds that I regularly love to admire.

 

With the 180 Mak and the 27 panoptic, I split Meissa, Castor and saw four stars barely of Sigma Orionis, which the faintest member looked red.  I tried with a 17.3mm EP but the sky was not good enough for that magnification for my tastes.

 

I pulled out some 10 x 50 binos briefly when the gf came out to view briefly and checked out Orion rising over the houses in the east. Scanning this constellation with binos is one of life's joys.  Nice cluster of stars under Bellatrix and shield area.  Cr69 and Cr70, and that glorious sword. 

 

It was a nice winter session.  I love observing this time of the year.


Edited by Tyson M, 12 January 2019 - 04:52 PM.

  • BFaucett, flt158, IMB and 2 others like this

#15 Asbytec

Asbytec

    Guy in a furry hat

  • *****
  • Posts: 15157
  • Joined: 08 Aug 2007
  • Loc: Pampanga, PI

Posted 16 January 2019 - 08:11 AM

So, why a *Clear Nights** posting?  Well, it just seems that we don't hear about them very often -- at least not here on *Cloudy Nights**.  Sometimes a person can get the impression that few of us actually go out into the darkness and look up.  There's just so much focus on equipment -- buying it, selling it, replacing it, making comparisons, looking for solutions to problems, providing answers to questions, giving excuses for not going out, etc.

 

I wish there were more monster observing threads, like the "Plato Challenge" and "Some Thoughts on a Transit of Io". Those were some hard core observing experiences. So much fun to engage in and discuss. To learn from. Pushing man and machine. Turns out, the Galilean moons are not just discs, anymore. But, how many folks realize that? 

 

https://www.cloudyni...lato challenge

https://www.cloudyni...f-io/?p=5097788


  • Enkidu likes this

#16 Tyson M

Tyson M

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3313
  • Joined: 22 Jan 2015
  • Loc: 53 degrees North

Posted 29 January 2019 - 11:11 PM

Jan 29, 2019  20:30 to 21:30 

 

Sky conditions were listed as poor transparency and poor seeing (2/5), but clear?   Minus 13 C, backyard red/white zone.

 

I brought out the refractor and eyepiece bag to cool down, and headed out 30 mins later.  Sky conditions were almost completely covered in cloud. 

 

I decided to not set up the refractor, and just stuck with handheld binoculars to do some sucker hole viewing.  The Fuji's have seen a lot of this kind guerrilla-observing usage

 

I soaked up the usual winter favorites, Hyades and burning yellow Aldebaran and surfed up to the blue El Nath.  Had a look at Almach and Algol, it appeared to somewhat match magnitude so nothing unusual with the demon star tonight.

 

I found yellow Capella and the asterism kids, which consists of Al Anz, Hadus I and Haedus II.  Beautiful color trio with the 6th brightest star in the sky complimenting them.

 

Up from Capella I found Mirfak and Melotte 20.  This was one of the best views of the night.  Stars everywhere, like in the 80-100 range.

 

I scanned Orion.  Had a look at Cr69 and Cr70.  The belt was another stellar view, tied for best view of the night in the sucker holes.

 

M42, a couple trap stars, nothing remarkable here in the poor transparency.

 

I decided to pack it in, making the most of out a night that might otherwise have been a bust.

 

Thanks for reading and clear skies!


  • IMB and Sketcher like this

#17 vdog

vdog

    Viking 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 938
  • Joined: 30 Aug 2018
  • Loc: California Central Valley, U.S.A.

Posted 10 February 2019 - 10:17 AM

It was one of the nights that make it all worthwhile.  A few fails, but many rewards.

 

The transparency was not exceptional, but it was definitely above average for my area, limiting the effects of a crescent moon.  There were some sparse clouds drifting from the west when I began, so I worked with a sense of urgency.

 

NGC 1807 and NGC 1817 were first on the list after I couldn't pick them out of the soup the other night.  Found them with ease this time.  Interesting double cluster; will return to these on a moonless night for an even better look.

 

I also acquired NGC 2158 for the first time.  This had long bedeviled me because I thought it should have been easier given its proximity to M35.  However, when I saw how faint it was even under the conditions that night, I realized why it had been so difficult.

 

NGC 2903 was next on the list, also because of the other night.  Although I had observed it that night, it was very dim.  I blamed the soup, but later realized I had left my nebula filter on the eyepiece I was using.  Rookie move. This time, using AV, I really got a sense of how big it is.  Framed by a quadrangle of stars, it fills a lot of that frame.

 

The clouds moved in fast and filled the sky.  I had to take a break for about an hour until they cleared.  But I had made up my mind. No M42 tonight.  I was in the mood for hunting fuzzies.  And--with a few exceptions--they fell like dominoes.

 

M105 and NGC 3384 were much fainter than the last time I saw them.  Nearby, I found what I thought was M95.  I later realized this was M96.  As a result of my misidentification,  I went looking in the wrong place for the fourth member of this quartet and whiffed on M95.  This group has been a bit of a challenge for me.  No worries, though, I'll be back.

 

Ursa Major beckoned, but it did not begin well as I could not reaquire M51 and NGC 5195. I don't know why as I picked them up with ease a week or so ago.  Somewhat disappointed but undaunted I sought out and easily acquired, in rapid succession, M63, M94, and M106.  Wow, what a difference a little transparency makes in the ability to acquire targets like these.

 

Emboldened, I sought out two previous fails, M109 and M108.  Using a little AV, there they were, right where they were supposed to be.

 

Getting really crazy, I thought about M101, but it was getting pretty late, so I decided to save it for another night and pack it in.  Reflecting as I went to bed, I realized I had spent almost the entire night on the dimmest of objects, and what a night it was!

 

I love this hobby.  Thanks for reading.


  • IMB, Sketcher and Enkidu like this

#18 Astro-Master

Astro-Master

    Ranger 4

  • ****-
  • Posts: 393
  • Joined: 09 May 2016

Posted 14 February 2019 - 07:09 PM

Living in the Burbs of San Diego in Lemon Grove,  Bortle 7 zone, I'm limited to clusters, double stars, and planetary nebs, for DSO'S.  I have to carry my scopes up a flight of stairs to the upper yard to clear the trees.  I have an 18" Obsession that I take to the desert for dark skies, SQM 21.3 to 21.6, but its to big for the stairs at home.

I bought a new ES 6" Mak- Newt F4.8 for my grab and go  on Jan 1, 2019, and it rained for 3 weeks.  Finally on Jan 25th I had a few hours before the moon came up to try it out at home.

SQM was 18.44, clear skies seeing 4/5.  First object was the double cluster with the 17 Ethos, 43x with a 2.3* FOV.  It looked pretty nice for city viewing, but with 100* AFOV the sky seemed washed out.  I knew I needed more power to darken the background, so I used my 2" AP Barlow converted to 1.74x, with the 17 Ethos for a power of 75x and a 1.33* FOV.

  WOW,  what a difference, the cluster came alive with diamonds on a dark grey background.  The cluster was framed very nicely, and the fainter stars really popped into view.  It was wall to wall pinpoint stars across the whole field of view!!  

It was the best view of this cluster from by back yard, and I can hardly wait to try the scope out under a sky full of stars in the Anza Borrego Desert!


  • vdog likes this

#19 RBaerwald

RBaerwald

    Lift Off

  • -----
  • Posts: 21
  • Joined: 27 Dec 2018

Posted 22 February 2019 - 03:28 AM

Hi folks, I live in the Florida Keys. The "Keys" are considered semi-arid rather

than tropical. Also no light pollution and stable atmosphere.  Friendly

weather at night  for astronomy,most of the time. I live at ground level,

so just carry my 6se out the front door and then back in again when

done. So, "clear nights" happen most of time down here.

 

Roy




CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: observing



Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics