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Have you ever observed Pluto?

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#26 Special Ed

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Posted 10 March 2019 - 01:30 PM

I'm one of those people who had a hard time making a confirmed observation of Pluto.  I tried with the C8 and then the C14 for 7 seasons at the time when Pluto would be well placed for me.  So don't expect it to be easy and don't give up.  And it helps if you can arrange for two clear nights in a row.  smile.gif

 

I was finally successful in 2015.  To add to my awe and satisfaction, I saw Pluto just two months after the New Horizons flyby.  cool.gif

 

Pluto Observation

 

Edit:  I agree with those who say a good chart is key.


Edited by Special Ed, 10 March 2019 - 01:35 PM.

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#27 BinoGuy

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Posted 10 March 2019 - 01:31 PM

The contortions they twisted themselves in to in order to create the exclusionary language so they could reach their predetermined conclusion was, to my mind, hilarious.  

 

It will always be the 9th planet to me and I look forward to logging it as such one day.  


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#28 *skyguy*

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Posted 10 March 2019 - 01:52 PM

I saw the planet Pluto through my 12" SCT when it was about 14th magnitude and it was a very easy observation. I had earlier prepared a star chart down to about mag 14.5 that was a little larger than the FOV of the eyepiece I planned to use. Fortunately, the planet was located at the end of a "hockey stick" asterism  that made the observation a 100% certainty. Hopefully, you should have little trouble finding this planet when using a 14" scope. Good Luck with your observations.


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#29 Redbetter

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Posted 10 March 2019 - 03:08 PM

I'm pretty sure I found it several years ago when I owned a C14.  I was using a S+T finder chart and manually found the area in the sky above Saggitarius.  The problem was that there were several other dots that were in the area and looked the same.  They must have been stars dimmer than what the finder chart was showing.  So I saw it but couldn't 100% pick out the dot the was Pluto.

 

Bill

 

This is a common problem above about 10" in dark sky.   It is easier for me to ID it with a 10" than the 20", because in the 10" at moderately high magnification stars down to 15 magnitude are typically seen (and with higher power and studying with averted vision somewhere in the 16's is likely although difficult.)  Whereas in the 20" stars 16+ magnitude are easily seen at similar magnification (and low/mid 17's are typical with averted vision/study/higher power.)  The field is so busy with the 20" that there will be more stars not on the chart. 

 

The area that Pluto traverses is busy with faint field stars so identifying a 13/14 mag star pattern can be very confusing; stars a mere tenth or two-tenths fainter might not be plotted. 

 

Depending on latitude and conditions (transparency, light pollution, and seeing) one might find that the limiting magnitude is a good 0.5 magnitude less as well...or even more of a delta than that.  The only way this helps is if it removes some of the fainter unplotted field stars from the picture. 


Edited by Redbetter, 11 March 2019 - 12:37 PM.


#30 grif 678

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Posted 10 March 2019 - 05:30 PM

Pluto use to be a bit closer, brighter, and easier to see and identify.  I've observed Pluto a few times with 4-inch, 5-inch, 8-inch, and 10-inch apertures -- all from dark skies.

 

A pair of careful sketches separated by 24 hours should be sufficient to reveal a noticeable change in position -- assuming an "appropriate" magnification is being used.  I've usually started with one sketch, with Pluto off-centered in such a manner as to allow for additional plottings as the object changes position from night to night.  One cannot always count on the 2nd night to be clear.

 

The currently required aperture depends heavily on the observer and their skies -- among other factors.  The only way to know for sure is to give it a try.

 

I've observed nine planets (one being Pluto) and two dwarf-planets (one being Pluto).  I find it "interesting" that some professionals are searching for the "ninth planet" when I've already seen the "ninth planet"! smile.gif

I along with many others agree with you about seeing the ninth planet. It was that way for many rears, and I do not know what is meant by you being left behind because you think that. Some times people get so greedy for changing things, they will do anything or change anything to try to be smarter than others. Leaving Pluto as the ninth planet is not going to make the universe fall apart, so in my mind it will stay the ninth planet, and to all those who want to get so scientific and try to make me feel stupid, let it rip, I will just ignore it.


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#31 BradFran

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Posted 11 March 2019 - 03:38 AM

Leaving Pluto as the ninth planet is not going to make the universe fall apart, so in my mind it will stay the ninth planet, and to all those who want to get so scientific and try to make me feel stupid, let it rip, I will just ignore it.

 

I like to call them Planetary Deniers, just to get them riled up.


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#32 grif 678

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Posted 11 March 2019 - 04:13 PM

I know I have nothing that would show Pluto, I read in one of my old astronomy books that it takes a 12 inch scope just to see it at all as a dot. But that was back in the 60's, I would guess with the advanced coatings that they have now, which makes things brighter, you might could see it with a 10 inch in dark skies.

But some have good eyes, I read where about a 10 inch scope is needed for visual of the Horsehead, but on a thread started here months ago, some have claimed to have seen it visually with a 5 inch.


Edited by grif 678, 11 March 2019 - 04:15 PM.


#33 Redbetter

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Posted 11 March 2019 - 05:47 PM

I know I have nothing that would show Pluto, I read in one of my old astronomy books that it takes a 12 inch scope just to see it at all as a dot. But that was back in the 60's, I would guess with the advanced coatings that they have now, which makes things brighter, you might could see it with a 10 inch in dark skies.

But some have good eyes, I read where about a 10 inch scope is needed for visual of the Horsehead, but on a thread started here months ago, some have claimed to have seen it visually with a 5 inch.

That isn't really so and is the very sort of pessimism that prevents folks from even trying.  Unfortunately, there is a lot of bad information out there about Pluto and the Horsehead--the older astronomy guides are very unhelpful in this regard.  Much depends on the eye, the skies, and latitude.  If one can see stars up to about mag 14.5 to 15 with a given scope & site then Pluto is within reach.  Many folks don't realize how deep they can actually go for telescopic limiting magnitude. 

 

As noted in this thread, an experienced observer in dark skies might have a shot at Pluto with a 4" refractor even now.  But it will likely require more like a 6" or 8" for most.   I don't find it challenging with a 10" and my son was able to knock it out in about 15 minutes as a novice using his 10" at GSSP on his first try.  I came over to check from the 20" and he had nailed it.


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#34 BinoGuy

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Posted 11 March 2019 - 06:59 PM

So the way I'm going to approach this challenge is to emulate of' Clyde, only I have the advantage of modern technology to create my Blink Comparator.  

 

Step A) obtain a solid alignment with the GoTo mount.

Step B) locate Pluto (well, the general area).

Step C) look through EP and know that one of the dots is Pluto.

Step D) replace EP with camera and take some frames

Step E) repeat for several days, weather permitting, subsequent days not necessary.

Step F) create a movie file of all of the good frames.  Could use either a traditional stack or a track and stack, if I can find the software.

Step G) watch movie, looking for the dot that visibly moves across the frame.

Step H) call it a win, given my time and resources and location.

 

https://airandspace....link-comparator

https://en.m.wikiped...link_comparator



#35 Rich (RLTYS)

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Posted 13 March 2019 - 06:57 AM

I've imaged it but never observed Pluto.

 

Rich (RLTYS)



#36 Steve Cox

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Posted 13 March 2019 - 09:45 PM

Yep, observed it on three consecutive nights around 5 years back.  It's now checked off my list and I can move onto things more interesting.



#37 Giorgos

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 10:20 AM

Yes with my old orange Celestron 8 from Parnon Mountain southern Greece years ago. Starhopped to the filed of the PLANET (oh yes it is a planet) with maps prepared with the Sky IV software the day before. It was difficult with my old C8 (uncoated corrector). Last summer easily "observed" it live with cheap cctv camera on Skywatcher 102/500 refractor riding EQ6 mount from Evia island (5.5mg skies).

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#38 gfeulner

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 09:03 PM

Around 1996 I observed Pluto in 6th mag skies when it was about 13.7 mag in my 6 inch refractor.
Gerry

#39 tchandler

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Posted 14 March 2019 - 10:07 PM

Only in the planetarium. But never in the flesh.

The president of our astronomy club has tho, and it is an thoroughly impressive achievement.  

 

 

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#40 Tropobob

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Posted 15 March 2019 - 04:24 AM

I have seen it through the 12.5" Dob that I once owned.   

 

It was about a magnitude or so brighter than the faintest star shown.   Nevertheless, it was a starry field and it took me about an hour of star hopping and chart consulting to establish which was Pluto. 

 

Once was enough.  That was approximately 25 years ago and I have never tried again. 



#41 satellitespotter

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Posted 18 March 2019 - 10:01 PM

I haven't done it myself, but I've heard that the hardest part about it is distinguishing Pluto from the stars around it. I've heard that if you image it on two different nights, you can see the movement of it, as it differs from the stars around it.

-Nick



#42 Edward E

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Posted Yesterday, 10:21 AM

My best view and definite confirmation of Pluto occurred late last Summer.  Over two nights I was able to see Pluto move against the background stars.  Pluto was not hard to see in my 20" Dob (not motorized or goto).  It was a real thrill to see Pluto after many years of trying.  Here is a link to a sketch I made showing Pluto's motion over two nights.  https://www.cloudyni.../631504-pluto/.


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