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

Observation Log - Join Us!

  • This topic is locked This topic is locked
2159 replies to this topic

#351 aeajr

aeajr

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 13,800
  • Joined: 26 Jun 2015
  • Loc: Long Island, New York, USA

Posted 20 September 2019 - 06:19 AM

Thanks, Ed! I sincerely appreciate the comment.

 

I have been trying not to rush myself at the eyepiece. I found last year that I had a tendency to jump from target to target too quickly, not giving myself the chance to eek out the nuances in the views of each. So, I have been actively trying to take it more slowly. This means more verbose reports, but I do find that I am able to see more when I slow down and take my time. This sometimes means hitting fewer targets each night, as well, but I think it is worth the trade.

 

Out of curiosity, does anyone else here find himself rushing between targets too quickly? I am just wondering if I am the only one with this tendency...

When I started, it seemed to be a race to see as many things as I could in one night.  An 80 mm refractor on a Goto may not be able to pick up dim objects, especially in my super light polluted location. But there is still plenty up there to see and I would visit 20 targets in a 90 minute session.  After all, I had never seen any of them with my own eyes.

 

But now the urgency has passed and I can sit on an open cluster or globular cluster for 15 minutes easily, examining and enjoying.  The desire to see other things is still there, but I don't want to miss what there is to see in what is in the eyepiece now.

 

I don't really retain a lot of detailed memory of each target.  I more remember the feeling I felt as I looked at it.  

 

Now, with the large manual 12" Dob I really have no problem sitting on a target.   As my eyes dark adapt at the eyepiece, with a hood over my head, new details appear, moons appear around planets, nebulosity becomes more pronounced and so forth.   It is like it is unfolding before my eyes as my eyes adapt, so it takes time before I really see what is there to see.

 

NYJohn is not far from me but what he can see in his 8" is amazing to me as my location is so full of ground light pollution that my eyes never adapt.   And seeing the Eagle Nebula?  Amazing!  That is something I could sit on for a while, just taking it in. 

 

You will slow down, eventually as the beauty and subtle details become more apparent and more important to you. 


 

#352 aeajr

aeajr

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 13,800
  • Joined: 26 Jun 2015
  • Loc: Long Island, New York, USA

Posted 20 September 2019 - 07:39 AM

9/19/19 – 8:30 – 10:10 pm   Clear sky, lots of sky glow and very few stars.  No Moon, just a lot of ground and sky light pollution.

Az scale on scope aligned to Polaris and angle gauge on the tube for later use if needed but I didn't use these.

Telrad and RACI finder

 

Apertura AD12 12”/305 mm Dobsonian/Newtonian, 1520 mm FL F5 FR
AA         38 mm/70     40X and   1.75 degrees FOV     EP 7.6 mm  2”
ES          6.7 mm/82  226X and    .36 degrees             EP 1.3
ES          4.7 mm/82  323x and    .25 degrees              EP   .94
Baader Hyperion 8-24  zoom    63X to 190X and .79 to .35 degrees

 

I am preparing to go to Cherry Springs Black Forest Star Party next weekend.   As part of that prep I am changing the finders on my scope.   Off comes the dual finder bracket that holds the 8X50 RACI and the RDF.   8X50 goes into the shoe on the scope and I mounted a telrad on the other side of the RACI from the focuser and set it against the rim of the scope, close to the aperture opening. For now it is on its standard bracket, but I do have a 4” extension that I plan to test either at home or at Cherry Springs.   

 

Normally I would do a finder swap during the day but did not have a chance.  Opportunity presented itself tonight so I used Polaris as my alignment target.  Not especially convenient, but it worked.  It took me a while to get the two finders and the eyepiece to agree, but after about 20 minutes I had them aligned.

 

I expected to have some balance problems but a quick move of a few magnets and all was just fine.  No issues as I swapped eyepieces either.

 

I have not used a telrad in the past because there are so few stars in my sky that the star hopping value that it brings is kinda lost on me at home.  The RDF worked fine as a first pointing finder with the RACI taking over from there.  I can see a lot more stars in the RACI, so when I did use star hopping, that was where I did it.  But at Cherry Springs I will have a different situation and I want to see how well the telrad works out at a dark site.

 

Once I had it all aligned with the eyepiece I turned the scope to Mirfak using the Telrad. 

 

Mel 20 – This is one of those clusters that I like best in binoculars, as stated in my last report.  And it can be enjoyed in the 8X50 RACI though it does lose some of that 3D quality that you get from binos.  In the 38 mm/40X and 1.75 degrees, I can see the cluster but it lacks the pop it has in binoculars. Still it is beautiful to behold and I spent some time exploring it. 

 

Double Cluster – I tried to use the Telrad to star hop to the Double Cluster which is about 12 degrees directly above Mirfak.   Using the 4 degree rings of the Telrad was a bit awkward on the Dob and there was not much I could see in the sky that would give me star hopping markers.  I was not successful.    So I went back to Mirfak and used the FOV of the RACI finder (about 5.4 degrees) to do the hop.   That worked and was a lot easier because I could do it seated and I could see the guide stars for the hop.  Found the double cluster quickly and easily. Of course the fact that I have used the RACI in this way before may have contributed to the success.

 

I love the double cluster and, as I have mentioned, a group of stars in the NGC884 cluster that looks like a man to me.  I call him the man in the double cluster.  

 

I switched to the zoom and moved in and out between 24 and 12 mm exploring the clusters.    I spent about 15 minutes on the clusters.

 

NGC 457 – Dragon Fly/Owl Cluster – again, this was an exercise in using the Telrad to star hop. This time I was successful using the Telrad, finding NGC457 in the 38 mm where it sets a very nice shape and image.  I think I am going to try the 4” riser on the Telrad as I am finding it very awkward to use the Telrad and the circles are wiping out any stars I can see even when I have it set very very low.  But maybe if I raise it I will be able to see things more easily.

 

M31 – The Andromeda Galaxy – would have been nice, but there was a tree in my way and I did not want to move the scope.   Next time!

 

Saturn – No star hopping here.    Saturn never disappoints.   I had it in the BH zoom and was working in the 10 to 8 mm range, 150x to 190X.   Good clarity and seeing seemed OK at this magnification.   Could pick up two cloud bands and the Cassini division was easily seen.   Using the 6.7 mm/ 226X I could gain some detail.    I picked up Titan, Iapetus, Rhea, Tethys Dione.  I used averted vision to pick up what I think was Enceladus.  I may have others in the view but could not distinguish them from stars.

 

I tried the new 4.7 mm ES 82, 323X.   The eyepiece is nice but this was too much magnification.  Saturn was larger but was less detailed.  So I dropped back to the 6.7.   I have a 5.5 but did not take the time to try it.

 

I was getting tired and things were starting to get damp, so at about 10:10 I decided to pack it up and call it a successful night.  The goal of the evening was to switch over to Telrad from a RDF and get it all aligned.  That was a success.   Next I will try the 4” riser with the Telrad to see if that makes it easier to use.   All activity is focused on getting ready for Cherry Springs next weekend.

 

Clear Skies!


Edited by aeajr, 20 September 2019 - 07:40 AM.

 

#353 brentknight

brentknight

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,669
  • Joined: 29 Dec 2014
  • Loc: Foley, Alabama

Posted 20 September 2019 - 08:05 AM

Very nice report, Ed. Not a big fan of the Telrad, but sometimes its the right tool for the job. Hope it works for you at the dark site.

Just wondering, can you use a Barlow with the zoom?
 

#354 aeajr

aeajr

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 13,800
  • Joined: 26 Jun 2015
  • Loc: Long Island, New York, USA

Posted 20 September 2019 - 08:18 AM

The zoom Barlow's nicely. They sell a 2.25x that is matched to the zoom, but I don't have that one. I have a 2" 1.5x/2x Barlow that I used for the XT8. Never used a Barlow In the 12.

In the XT8 I used the zoom with a 1.5x Barlow as standard configuration to best March it to the FL of the scope and the typical working range, 75x to 225x.

In the AD12 I tend to not Barlow the zoom as it takes me to 190x without the Barlow. After that I go to the 6.7, 5.5 and 4.7 mm 82 degree.


Edited by aeajr, 20 September 2019 - 09:39 AM.

 

#355 brentknight

brentknight

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,669
  • Joined: 29 Dec 2014
  • Loc: Foley, Alabama

Posted 20 September 2019 - 08:31 AM

I'm still on the fence about the zoom.  I think I'd only use it for the planets, moon and maybe double stars.  8x to 24x sounds a little too low power for that, but 4x to 12x might be a little better.  Less hassle swapping eyepieces at high power I suppose.  Is it easy enough to make adjustments without causing too many wiggles?


 

#356 aeajr

aeajr

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 13,800
  • Joined: 26 Jun 2015
  • Loc: Long Island, New York, USA

Posted 20 September 2019 - 08:38 AM

I updated the zoom info. Sounds like the 2.25x Barlow would work well for you. I see a Barlow as a FL/ mag range matching tool.

Edited by aeajr, 20 September 2019 - 08:41 AM.

 

#357 MP173

MP173

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,144
  • Joined: 30 Oct 2015

Posted 20 September 2019 - 09:12 AM

Ed:

Great report.  Here are a couple of star hopping tricks for NGC 457 and double cluster.

 

Center on delta Cass - Ruchbah which is the lower left star in the "W".  Now follow a line from epsilon Cass thru delta in that true straight direction about 2 degrees.  Look at a star chart and you will see what I mean.  Easy to locate in about 10 seconds.  

 

Double cluster - now use delta Cass and the middle star of Cass - gamma to align a straight line and follow the line about 5 or 6 degrees.  The double cluster and Stock 2 will come into view.  

 

Also, just northwest of Ruchbah is M103 only about 1 degree in the opposite direction of NGC 457.  

 

The "W" shape of Cass offers so many easy star hopping paths.  For instance  2/3 of distance between gamma (center star) and alpha Cass are two great doubles....visual double Nu Cass (not really a binary) and eta Cass which is a great binary system.

 

Using beta Cass one can easily locate M52, NGC 7789 and a whole bunch of doubles.

 

The "W" is a great place to spend a few nights.

 

NYJohn - regarding notes/sketching.  Writing up a brief description and adding a rough sketch is a great method of observing for me.  I use a notebook from Bienfang called "NoteSketch" which is vertically aligned with 1/2 of lined for notes and 1/2 for sketching.  I use a green circle template to pre-draw 1.5" circles on the "sketch" section before heading outside.  My sketches leave alot to be desired but are interesting to review a year or two later, or when a new scope appears (such as this year).

 

Regarding double stars - pickup the Cambridge Double Star Atlas  by Bruce MacEvoy and Wil Tirion.  Great charts and plenty of data on 2500 doubles.  Also a nice "textbook" chapter on doubles - a little over my head with math but valuable.

 

BTW...anyone else see the ISS last night.  It passed at about 30 degrees above horizon at 746 here in NW INdiana.  First time I viewed it.

 

ed


 

#358 aeajr

aeajr

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 13,800
  • Joined: 26 Jun 2015
  • Loc: Long Island, New York, USA

Posted 20 September 2019 - 09:42 AM

Great tips Ed. Thanks.   My star hopping skills are pretty limited.   Most of the time I use AltAz coordinates to find my targets or I use the GoTo on the ETX scopes.  But it is a skill I want to develop.


 

#359 Studly

Studly

    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 324
  • Joined: 19 Nov 2018
  • Loc: Indiana

Posted 20 September 2019 - 10:00 AM

When I started, it seemed to be a race to see as many things as I could in one night.  An 80 mm refractor on a Goto may not be able to pick up dim objects, especially in my super light polluted location. But there is still plenty up there to see and I would visit 20 targets in a 90 minute session.  After all, I had never seen any of them with my own eyes.

 

But now the urgency has passed and I can sit on an open cluster or globular cluster for 15 minutes easily, examining and enjoying.  The desire to see other things is still there, but I don't want to miss what there is to see in what is in the eyepiece now.

 

I don't really retain a lot of detailed memory of each target.  I more remember the feeling I felt as I looked at it.  

 

Now, with the large manual 12" Dob I really have no problem sitting on a target.   As my eyes dark adapt at the eyepiece, with a hood over my head, new details appear, moons appear around planets, nebulosity becomes more pronounced and so forth.   It is like it is unfolding before my eyes as my eyes adapt, so it takes time before I really see what is there to see.

 

NYJohn is not far from me but what he can see in his 8" is amazing to me as my location is so full of ground light pollution that my eyes never adapt.   And seeing the Eagle Nebula?  Amazing!  That is something I could sit on for a while, just taking it in. 

 

You will slow down, eventually as the beauty and subtle details become more apparent and more important to you. 

Thanks. I have been slowing down, and it is helping a lot. I have supplies to begin sketching, but I honestly do not know if I will pursue that in the near future. Only one of my scopes has a motor drive, so skipping between re-centering a target and sketching it would be a pain. (It's enough of a pain just trying to keep a target centered sometimes!)


 

#360 NYJohn S

NYJohn S

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,261
  • Joined: 14 Feb 2016
  • Loc: Northport, NY

Posted 20 September 2019 - 10:02 AM

NY Ed,  Nice report. You picked the best night so far to get out. I was busy with my wife but got out just before the moon was up. I could see a some of the difficult open clusters that I use to gauge the transparency with binoculars  - NGC 7789 - Caroline's Rose & Collinder 463, both near Cassiopeia. M27 was easy too. Glad you got the finders working. I keep thinking about adding a Telrad so I'm interested in hearing how the riser works. 

 

Indiana Ed, Thanks for the tips on sketching. I really have to give it a try. As you said, having them to look back on for future reference would be nice.

I forgot to check out the ISS pass. It's supposed to pass here tonight at 7:59pm. I may try to get a scope on it. I understand you can see the solar arrays with a telescope. I have been using my 10x50's so this would be something different.


 

#361 Studly

Studly

    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 324
  • Joined: 19 Nov 2018
  • Loc: Indiana

Posted 20 September 2019 - 10:05 AM

Very nice report, Ed. Not a big fan of the Telrad, but sometimes its the right tool for the job. Hope it works for you at the dark site.

Just wondering, can you use a Barlow with the zoom?

I have a reflex site on my Dob, but it is on the list of things to be replaced. It fogs up in a heartbeat, making it almost impossible to use. I will be installing a laser pointer to sit alongside my RACI finder instead.


 

#362 Studly

Studly

    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 324
  • Joined: 19 Nov 2018
  • Loc: Indiana

Posted 20 September 2019 - 10:12 AM

I'm still on the fence about the zoom.  I think I'd only use it for the planets, moon and maybe double stars.  8x to 24x sounds a little too low power for that, but 4x to 12x might be a little better.  Less hassle swapping eyepieces at high power I suppose.  Is it easy enough to make adjustments without causing too many wiggles?

On my Orion Pro Lanthanum Zoom, the adjustment is smooth as glass. And it Barlows very nicely.


Edited by Studly, 20 September 2019 - 10:12 AM.

 

#363 aeajr

aeajr

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 13,800
  • Joined: 26 Jun 2015
  • Loc: Long Island, New York, USA

Posted 20 September 2019 - 10:14 AM

I'm still on the fence about the zoom.  I think I'd only use it for the planets, moon and maybe double stars.  8x to 24x sounds a little too low power for that, but 4x to 12x might be a little better.  Less hassle swapping eyepieces at high power I suppose.  Is it easy enough to make adjustments without causing too many wiggles?

Zooms are not for everyone.   And some people don't like Barlows.   

 

I didn't have access to this info when I made the earlier posts.  Let me share it now.  

 

 

It is easy to match a zoom, any zoom, to your telescope's best working range to enhance your observing experience.  This is about the approach and process rather than the specific eyepieces or barlows. 

 

I am going to use the 8" XT8i as the example here but this applies in exactly the same way for my ETX 80, GSkyer 80 and Orion 100 mm scopes and to my ETX 125.   You can do this using a 2X, 2.25 2.5 or 3X barlow, depending on the FL of your scope.   And some barlows have removable elements to provide 1.5X.

 

I am taking advantage of the removeable nature of the barlow element from the this particular Barlow to expand my options to match my zoom to my XT8.  

 

The XT8i is a 1200 mm FL Dob. With the below set-up the Baader Hyperion zoom was my primary eyepiece for this scope.  And, BTW, this applies equally to the Celestron Zoom as it works in the same range. 

 

Start with 38 mm/70, go to a 20 mm/82, then to the zoom. 

 

   8-24 mm - 50 to 150X
16-5.3 mm - 75 to 225X (1.5X barlow)
12-4 mm - 100 to 300X (2X barlow)

 

Using this 2" GSO 2X ED barlow, I get 2X.  But I can remove the barlow element and use it as 1.5X by directly attaching it to a 2" eyepiece or the 2" adapter that comes with the BHZ. 
https://agenaastro.c...arlow-lens.html

 

These 1.5X/2X barlows provide the same capability in the 1.25” format.

https://agenaastro.c...h-t-thread.html
https://agenaastro.c...arlow-lens.html
https://agenaastro.c...rlow-93640.html

 

With the 1.5X element the BHZ operates as a 16 to 5.33 zoom. For me that results in 75X to 225X which is a perfect range for this scope as I can rarely get over 225X.  Even my single FL 82 degree eyepieces stop at 5.5 mm as I can rarely go above that so I would barlow above that either way.

 

If I want to use the BHZ in the low range, 50 to 150X, or in one of my 1.25" scopes, I just take it out of the BHZ 2" adapter. If I want it in the mid range in the XT8 I put the BHZ into its 2" adapter. If I want to use it in the high range, 100 to 300X, I put the element back on the GSO barlow for 2X,  or I use my 1.25" 2X barlow.

 

Comparing the BHZ image with the 2" GSO element to my ES 82 8.8 and 6.7 and my Meade 82 5.5, I find the image comparable, but of course not as wide. I am no eyepiece expert but, but most of the time I stay with the BHZ + 1.5X. I love those 82 degree eyepieces but in the XT8k I rarely used them unless I need that wide view, which is not often. 

 

Part of the reason for this great image might be that this is a 2" barlow element and I am only using the center 1.25" portion of the lens so I may be working in the sweet spot. But this 2" GSO does get excellent reviews.  And, yes, I have used it with my 2" eyepieces. 

 

Naturally this barlow allows me to barlow my 2" eyepieces at 1.5X or 2X, which is why I purchased this barlow in the first place.  But the BHZ 2” adapter +1.5X element gives me a 1.5X barlow for my 1.25" eyepieces too for a bit more flexibility.

 

I now store the BHZ with the 1.5X element attached to the 2" adapter. I open each session with my 2" 38 mm 70 degree /31.5X and/or my 20 mm 82 degree 60X eyepieces. Then I go to the zoom for anything 75X and above.  Works really well. 

 

I could use a similar techniques with my three 400 mm FL scopes.  For these scopes 2X or the 2.5X barlows that I have seem to be better matches.  

 

ETX 80 F5  Goto refractor - 400 mm FL
GSkyer 80 F5, manual refractor - 400 mm FL
SkyScanner 100 F4 manual tabletop Dob Newtonian– 400 mm FL

 

In these I tend to use the Celestron zoom because it is smaller and lighter and with these the 2X or 2.5X or 3X barlow is a better tool to match the zoom to the targets I am working that night. The zoom goes in the barlow and tends to stay there all night.    Here I start the session with a 32 mm Plossl for low power wide view. 

 

Celestron    32 mm/50      12.6X and   4 degrees FOV   EP 8

 

Then I go to the zoom most of the time using the barlow that matches the zoom to the task 

 

Celestron 8-24 zoom  16.6X to 50X  ( sweeping, exploring, open clusters, large low power DSOs)

Celestron 8-24 +2XB   33X to 100X  (general observing, globulars, double stars) 

Celestron 8-24 +2.5B   40X to 125X  (Planets, doubles, globulars, galaxies)  The swee spot for these scopes

Celestron 8-24 +3X B   50X to 150X  Seeing needs to be really good for me to push these scopes this high.

 

This mag range matching also tends to put you into the wider part of the AFOV range of the zoom most of the time.    

 

Again, this is not about the eyepieces but how to use the appropriate barlow to match the tool to the task.  I don't think people really understand how your can take advantage of a barlow to optimize their eyepieces to the task.   You can do the same thing with single FL eyepieces, creating ranges for them so you are not popping the barlow in and out, but we all use our tools differently. 

 

I am not suggesting everyone has to do this.  Just offering up how I have learned to leverage barlows to optimize my observing experience. 

 

Hope this was useful information.

 

Understanding and using a Barlow Lens
https://telescopicwatch.com/?s=barlow


Edited by aeajr, 20 September 2019 - 10:35 AM.

 

#364 aeajr

aeajr

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 13,800
  • Joined: 26 Jun 2015
  • Loc: Long Island, New York, USA

Posted 20 September 2019 - 10:25 AM

I have a reflex site on my Dob, but it is on the list of things to be replaced. It fogs up in a heartbeat, making it almost impossible to use. I will be installing a laser pointer to sit alongside my RACI finder instead.

I have used that combination and it works very well.   

 

Things to consider:

  • be very aware of aircraft as that laser can cause problems for aircraft and it is a federal crime to point a laser, intended or not, in the area of an aircraft.
     
  • If you visit star parties or other locations where others are viewing, they may not allow lasers.  For examples my planned visit to Cherry Springs.  Lasers are prohibited.  Light one up and the will ask you to leave.
     
  • Most lasers don't work well below about 45 degrees F, and very few will work below freezing. 
     
  • Your laser can really screw up someone's AP session.

You may know this already.  When I had the laser mounted I always had the RDF in the bag in case I needed to change over. I don't use the laser pointer much anymore.  But it does work very well under the right conditions. 

 

You can produce a similar effect by shining the laser into your eyepiece.  The beam will come out the aperture and show you right where the scope is pointing.  I did this last night while aligning my finders. 


Edited by aeajr, 20 September 2019 - 10:37 AM.

 

#365 Studly

Studly

    Ranger 4

  • -----
  • Posts: 324
  • Joined: 19 Nov 2018
  • Loc: Indiana

Posted 20 September 2019 - 10:35 AM

I have used that combination and it works very well.   

 

Two things to consider:

  • be very aware of aircraft as that laser can cause problems for aircraft and it is a federal crime to point a laser, intended or not, in the area of an aircraft.
     
  • If you visit star parties or other locations where others are viewing, they may not allow lasers.  For examples my planned visit to cherry springs.  Lasers are prohibited.  Light one up and the will ask you to leave.
     
  • Most lasers don't work well below about 45 degrees F, and very few will work below freezing. 
     
  • Your laser can really screw up someone's AP session.

You may know this already.  When I had the laser mounted I always had the RDF in the bag in case I needed to change over. I don't use the laser pointer much anymore.  But it does work very well under the right conditions. 

Yep, already aware of these facts. (Two? Looks more like four.... LOL)

 

I don't take my scopes to any public events of any kind, so no problem there. No one around me is doing any AP. (I live ten miles from the nearest suburb or population center, surrounded by fields on all sides.) I do have to be mindful of aircraft, so I only leave the lasers on for a couple seconds to get a general bearing.

 

I haven't tried using one in colder weather, so this winter will be the test of that. I have spare 6x30 finders that I can swap out on any scope when needed also.


Edited by Studly, 20 September 2019 - 10:36 AM.

 

#366 B l a k S t a r

B l a k S t a r

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1,256
  • Joined: 02 Dec 2017
  • Loc: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Posted 20 September 2019 - 12:39 PM

First light for my Celestron NexStar Evolution 9.25". I had it set out all afternoon but sunset called in lousy conditions of seeing, transparency and hazy swaths of cloud. After several attempts of stepping out I just decided to manually track to the ring nebula at 59x. Really nice despite the conditions and only appearing in very averted vision. This is the magnification scale I've been missing and the whole reason for this new scope. Very distinct ring with a seemingly graduated radial hue or perhaps density in the band. 

 

Solid cloud sent me to try for (the now to be known by me as) the Dragonfly cluster, formerly the Anorexic Owl, and never the ET cluster. Beautiful bright and fairly populous despite conditions it seemed to fill the field but probably was a half field view. Positively gleaming.

 

Not the first light I was hoping for but a great anticipatory viewing, however brief.


 

#367 Kid_A

Kid_A

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 117
  • Joined: 24 Feb 2016
  • Loc: Austin, TX

Posted 20 September 2019 - 01:10 PM

Had a few minutes to spare on Wednesday night, so I went to try out my balcony setup- a OneSky 5" reflector on a vintage Vixen Polaris set to Alt-Az mode in a white zone. It's been a while since I've done city observing, living in Texas it's easy enough to drive 45 minutes for a marked improvement in darkness, so I'm definitely spoiled. Having my new balcony that faces south is a great opportunity so I started my list of observable objects from the city. Let me tell you, it was HARD. Many stars are missing from familiar constellations and it felt like I was starting over learning the sky again. I check my pocket sky atlas and Cr 399 was directly overhead and I hadn't realized it was the coathanger asterim, Brocchi's Cluster, until I checked some data in Stellarium. Perfect target to start out with, as I'm suddenly a beginner again. It looked great with my 28mm Edmund plossl at around 23x. All of the stars fit in view, and about 20 were visible in the field. Honestly, it was pretty exciting to be able to find it with such limited guideposts and a wonky red dot finder that's impossible to calibrate. I felt the same excitement as I did as a beginner, and that sense of accomplishment of completing a challenge, which is ironic for such an easy to find object in decent skies. It doesn't matter that the light pollution is awful, I'm still seeing beautiful stars strewn far away from me in the galaxy from my balcony. Never lose that initial enthusiasm and always take stock of the fact that you are seeing things no human ever could before the invention of the telescope and that part of the reward is in the challenge and tenacity it takes to pursue this most excellent of hobbies.


Edited by Kid_A, 20 September 2019 - 01:11 PM.

 

#368 aeajr

aeajr

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 13,800
  • Joined: 26 Jun 2015
  • Loc: Long Island, New York, USA

Posted 20 September 2019 - 01:17 PM

Thanks. I have been slowing down, and it is helping a lot. I have supplies to begin sketching, but I honestly do not know if I will pursue that in the near future. Only one of my scopes has a motor drive, so skipping between re-centering a target and sketching it would be a pain. (It's enough of a pain just trying to keep a target centered sometimes!)

I don't think of sketching as artwork.  If I did, I won't not have a note pad near me as I have zero talent that way. 

 

I look at it as a way to enhance my notes.   For example.

 

Jupiter is a circle.  I make some lines were I see the bands.  maybe I shade it a little.  Then I mark where I saw the moons.  That's it!

 

Saturn - circle.  Some terrible representation of a ring around it.   Mark where I see cloud bands and the Cassini division.  Then some dots where I think the moons might be so I can compare to Stellarium when I come in to write up my observing report.

 

If you want to get more involved than that, great!  But you can start with simple stuff, as I do.  Then, if the mood moves you, spend a little extra time on the sketch.   No pressure.  No one is going to see it but you.  But when you look back a  year from now you will remember a lot more about that session if you have that "sketch".

 

Give it some thought. 

 

Ed

 

Clear skies!


 

#369 Jeffmar

Jeffmar

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 998
  • Joined: 18 Mar 2012
  • Loc: salt lake city, utah

Posted 20 September 2019 - 02:06 PM

What telescope (I mean spaceship) were you using?

I was using a C14. I thought it would do well with Neptune and it did. After reading Tyson's post about using an 8 inch mak I feel a little bit silly about not looking for Neptune in my smaller scopes when I didn't have my big scope.


 

#370 Jeffmar

Jeffmar

    Viking 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 998
  • Joined: 18 Mar 2012
  • Loc: salt lake city, utah

Posted 20 September 2019 - 02:08 PM

I am going to try out my binoviewer with my big scope on Neptune to see if it works this weekend.


 

#371 aeajr

aeajr

    Voyager 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 13,800
  • Joined: 26 Jun 2015
  • Loc: Long Island, New York, USA

Posted 20 September 2019 - 02:19 PM

I was using a C14. I thought it would do well with Neptune and it did. After reading Tyson's post about using an 8 inch mak I feel a little bit silly about not looking for Neptune in my smaller scopes when I didn't have my big scope.

Since we are talking about Neptune,  Neptune is out there tonight.   According to Stellarium, tonight it will be about Mag 7.8.   At 10 pm it will be about 140 degrees AZ and 35 degree Alt, just as a quick reference.  Naturally that changes constantly, but for those of you using Alt/Az coordinates and angle gauges, you can find Neptune. 

 

Naturally the GoTo scopes can find it.   As reported below, I have seen it in my 5" ETX 125. 

 

 

Observing reports for Neptune from 2017 from the Newbie Early Observation Log thread.  This is why I started posting observing reports. 

 

Binoculars and XT8i

 

Posted 02 January 2017 - 01:48 AM
1/2/2017 - 6:30 PM - about 45 degrees and not much wind
Celestron 15X70 on monopod and Orion XT8i, ES 70 25mm, Celestron 8-24 zoom, ES 82 8.8 and 6.7 mm, Meade HD60 4.5 mm

I have been reading about Neptune being near Mars so I looked at Stellarium this afternoon to see where I would look for Neptune.  It was about 1 degree toward the Moon.

I then went out around 6:30 pm and used my 15X70s on the binocular monopod to look for Mars and Neptune in the SW sky.  Note that SW is about the worst part of my sky for light pollution.    I found Mars and just slid about 1/2 a FOV (about 2 degrees) toward the moon and there is was. I was able to identify Neptune by the fact that it did not twinkle like a star.  But other than that it was just a pinpoint of light.   If not for the discussions here I would never have thought I was looking at Neptune.

I then pulled out my XT8i telescope and did confirm Neptune at 48X through 266X.  Even at 266X it was very tiny but clearly not a star. A tiny disk with some faint blueish color.  At 266X it was faint.   I tried to barlow it to 360X but the image was too degraded.

 

Also saw it in my ETX 125

 

8-27-17  11:30 pm to 1 pm -   Meade ETX 125, 127 mm GoTo Mak.   I used GoTo.  

31 mm Celestron Plossl, Celestron 8-24 Zoom

Clear, 55 F, no wind.   No moon.    No clouds, seeing 3/5 but transparency was 2/5    I ran a list in Tonight's Sky for bare eye and binocular GC and OC.   I looked at Stellarium and noted that Neptune was up.  

There were very few stars visible and the ones that I could see were dim.   More on this in the report.   For most of these objects the best view was with the 32 mm Plossl/60X, which is my lowest power and widest view for this scope, about .88 degrees.   A very narrow view compared to my other scopes.  In most cases adding more magnification either did not enhance detail or the object fit best in the 32 mm Plossl. 

My primary targets were Globular Clusters, GC, and Neptune.   I wanted to see what the 5" Mak could do on these.

11:50 pm - Aligned scope on Vega and Altair.   Then did a test GoTo to Albireo and it hit it right on the money.   Albireo looked great in the 32 mm/60X eyepiece.

snip...

 

Neptune - put it in the hand control and hit GoTo - It found it.  At 237X it was a small blue dot.  No detail but I was happy to find it.  Not sure but I think this is the first time I have seen Neptune.

 

 

Note that both scopes are computer assisted. I did not star hop to locate Neptune.  But I did star hop, or should I say planet hop, to find it in the binoculars.  lol.gif  

 

Uranus will also be out tonight.  At 10 pm it will be due East about 20 degree Alt.  Mag 5.7, so you guys at the dark locations should be able to see it naked eye and certainly with binoculars.


Edited by aeajr, 20 September 2019 - 03:07 PM.

 

#372 NYJohn S

NYJohn S

    Vanguard

  • *****
  • Posts: 2,261
  • Joined: 14 Feb 2016
  • Loc: Northport, NY

Posted 20 September 2019 - 03:20 PM

First light for my Celestron NexStar Evolution 9.25". I had it set out all afternoon but sunset called in lousy conditions of seeing, transparency and hazy swaths of cloud. After several attempts of stepping out I just decided to manually track to the ring nebula at 59x. Really nice despite the conditions and only appearing in very averted vision. This is the magnification scale I've been missing and the whole reason for this new scope. Very distinct ring with a seemingly graduated radial hue or perhaps density in the band. 

 

Solid cloud sent me to try for (the now to be known by me as) the Dragonfly cluster, formerly the Anorexic Owl, and never the ET cluster. Beautiful bright and fairly populous despite conditions it seemed to fill the field but probably was a half field view. Positively gleaming.

 

Not the first light I was hoping for but a great anticipatory viewing, however brief.

Congratulations on the new scope Brian! I looked though the CPC 9.25" that someone had at the beach a while back. We had a nice view of M27 with it. It's a nice optical tube. I was impressed. 


 

#373 B l a k S t a r

B l a k S t a r

    Apollo

  • -----
  • Posts: 1,256
  • Joined: 02 Dec 2017
  • Loc: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Posted 20 September 2019 - 07:10 PM

8:04. SkySafari just informed me to go see the ISS pass from SW to E through the trees until it passed within 1/2 a fingers width of Saturn just visible in the V slot of my southern tree line. Cleared the SE trees and shone absolutely brilliantly.  One of the best views yet. Many times brighter than Vega at zenith.

 

Nice night but but alas I am under the weather, intermittent bino glimpses only tonight.

 

edit sp.


Edited by B l a k S t a r, 20 September 2019 - 07:12 PM.

 

#374 MP173

MP173

    Apollo

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,144
  • Joined: 30 Oct 2015

Posted 21 September 2019 - 08:38 AM

Sept 20, 2019 - session 35

SS 651, MR 1034pm 66%

T 79, DP 67, H 70%

AT102ED

EP:

32mm - 22x, 2.9 fov

26mm - 27x, 2.3fov

20mm - 36x, 1.9 fov

16mm - 44x, 1.2 fov

9mm - 79x, .65 fov

 

Trans - "below average, Seeing Above Average

 

Had a very nice outdoor dinner at a local restaurant with a nice open view to the south.  As twilight arrived, Jupiter was in view.  My wife asked "science tonight?"   I replied "probably".

 

Set up and was outside at 755.  Incredible late (very late) summer evening with 79 degrees.  The "Astropheric" website indicated "below average transparancy" and "above average seeing".  Still trying to figure that out.

 

I viewed Saturn with several eyepieces and was able to barlow the 9mm - 158x with very good results.  The outer Cassini ring was obvious.  The outer ring appeared almost to be 3D like.  Outstanding view of the planet, perhaps my best ever.  Equalatorial band was obvious.

 

Sagitarrius had not been viewed so I headed west about 10 degrees, stopping at M25 - even with the severe light pollution, it was well represented with about 45 stars visible at79x.    Hard to determine where the boundaries are with the is open cluster as reference indicates there are only 25 stars.  

 

Moved west to the M 24 - Small Sgr Star Cloud.  Again the light pollution was a factor.  One needs a wide field of view but the wide angle eyepiece brings more background light to the party.  Outstanding double sh 264 was observed - 6.9/7.6, 18" @ 51.

 

Moved back to Delta Auriga and used that as a hopping off star.  Had difficulty finding it in the scope - no finder scope and I am using the "aim down the barrel" and use a 32mm method.  It took perhaps 15 minutes.  Perhaps a finderscope is warranted.

 

By now the constellation was approaching a tree line so I rapidly located STF 2498 which is at the bottom of a 1 degree line of NS stars.  8.3/8.9,12" 65 degr.  Used 20mm - 

 

North 1.5 degrees to STF 2497 - 7.7/8.5, 30" @ 356 degr.  

 

NGC 6773 was next.  Not much there - dark skys required.  I knew exactly where it was and there was a bit of overall light puncuated by 4 - 10-11 mag stars. 

 

Quickly moved to NGC 6755 which would have been a better object than 6773 but it had moved into the trees.  Maybe next time.

 

Dropped south 9 degrees to outstanding double sh 286, also 15 Aquilla - 5.5/7, 40" @ 211 degrees.  Colorful double with yellow/orange with a purple companion.  

 

Located Lambda Aquilla and moved east 3.5 degrees to STF 2501 - 7.7/9.7, 20" @ 21 degrees. The transparancy issues were apparent.  While the 9.7 was picked up, it was dimmer than should have been.

 

I had enough of the southern light pollution so moved to the northeast, the darkest sky for me.

 

Almaak in Andromeda, also known as gamma And and STF 205.  One of the best doubles in the sky.  The colors pop with this AT102ED so much better than the old ETX90RA.

 

Moved due south to NGC 752 a very big and bright open cluster.  I used the 20mm and was able to see 50 stars.  There are two bright stars to the south (56 Andromeda) are not a part of the open cluster, but are a very wide double star - binocular pair - 5.8/6.1, 202" @ 298.  There were at least three sets of double visible in the cluster....I have no idea of catalog numbers.  This is an outstanding small scope FOV....highly recommended.

 

Moved east 2 degrees to 58 Andromeda - STF 222 - 6.1/6.7, 17" @ 36 degrees.  A bit of controversy as Cambridge logs this as 58 Andromeda and STelle Doppie lists as 59.  Whatever it is, seek this double!  Blue primary and white companion with near equal magnitudes.  

 

M31/M32 were next.  This is perhaps the first time that M32 was observed.  I used all eyepieces to step up the power.  No great detail was observed on M31 other than the central concentration, but M32 became very obvious at higher powers.  Another Messier object added to the list.

 

Next was the challenge of the night (and this morning).  Again, I have no finder scope.  When a bright star is used for target, then usually no problem.  Pi Andromeda was shown as a double in Cambridge Double Star Atlas and I sort of aimed for it.  Couldnt find it, but I did stumble on to two sets of doubles in my 20mm FOV which were unidentified by CDSA.  What did I see. 

 

One appeared to be a triple.  I sketched the FOV and then located a "Vee" shaped group of stars to the east.  Sketched that also.  

Inside at 1033.

 

This morning I used iDSA to locate the "vee shape" which is just across the border in Pisces.  This includes bright star 68 Psc and is located at 0h55, N 29 degrees.  The two binaries are  STFA 1 and STTA9ABC - yes a triple.

 

Data - STFA 1 is near equal mag - 7.25.7.43 (I couldnt distinguish which was brighter), 48" @ 47 degrees.

STTA 9AB - 7.5/8.8, 117"  @ 244 degrees

9AC - 7.5/10.3, 122" @ 316 degrees.

 

I used the 16 and 9 mms to view these systems and pickup the triple in STTA 9.  

 

A finderscope is going to be needed to view darker regions of the sky.... I struggled twice with finding objects.  Great night even with the challenges.

 

Now, it is time to go harvest my sweet potato crop.

 

Ed


 

#375 brentknight

brentknight

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,669
  • Joined: 29 Dec 2014
  • Loc: Foley, Alabama

Posted 21 September 2019 - 08:53 AM

Sept 20, 2019 - session 35

SS 651, MR 1034pm 66%

T 79, DP 67, H 70%

AT102ED

EP:

32mm - 22x, 2.9 fov

26mm - 27x, 2.3fov

20mm - 36x, 1.9 fov

16mm - 44x, 1.2 fov

9mm - 79x, .65 fov

 

Trans - "below average, Seeing Above Average

 

Had a very nice outdoor dinner at a local restaurant with a nice open view to the south.  As twilight arrived, Jupiter was in view.  My wife asked "science tonight?"   I replied "probably".

 

Set up and was outside at 755.  Incredible late (very late) summer evening with 79 degrees.  The "Astropheric" website indicated "below average transparancy" and "above average seeing".  Still trying to figure that out.

 

I viewed Saturn with several eyepieces and was able to barlow the 9mm - 158x with very good results.  The outer Cassini ring was obvious.  The outer ring appeared almost to be 3D like.  Outstanding view of the planet, perhaps my best ever.  Equalatorial band was obvious.

 

Sagitarrius had not been viewed so I headed west about 10 degrees, stopping at M25 - even with the severe light pollution, it was well represented with about 45 stars visible at79x.    Hard to determine where the boundaries are with the is open cluster as reference indicates there are only 25 stars.  

 

Moved west to the M 24 - Small Sgr Star Cloud.  Again the light pollution was a factor.  One needs a wide field of view but the wide angle eyepiece brings more background light to the party.  Outstanding double sh 264 was observed - 6.9/7.6, 18" @ 51.

 

Moved back to Delta Auriga and used that as a hopping off star.  Had difficulty finding it in the scope - no finder scope and I am using the "aim down the barrel" and use a 32mm method.  It took perhaps 15 minutes.  Perhaps a finderscope is warranted.

 

By now the constellation was approaching a tree line so I rapidly located STF 2498 which is at the bottom of a 1 degree line of NS stars.  8.3/8.9,12" 65 degr.  Used 20mm - 

 

North 1.5 degrees to STF 2497 - 7.7/8.5, 30" @ 356 degr.  

 

NGC 6773 was next.  Not much there - dark skys required.  I knew exactly where it was and there was a bit of overall light puncuated by 4 - 10-11 mag stars. 

 

Quickly moved to NGC 6755 which would have been a better object than 6773 but it had moved into the trees.  Maybe next time.

 

Dropped south 9 degrees to outstanding double sh 286, also 15 Aquilla - 5.5/7, 40" @ 211 degrees.  Colorful double with yellow/orange with a purple companion.  

 

Located Lambda Aquilla and moved east 3.5 degrees to STF 2501 - 7.7/9.7, 20" @ 21 degrees. The transparancy issues were apparent.  While the 9.7 was picked up, it was dimmer than should have been.

 

I had enough of the southern light pollution so moved to the northeast, the darkest sky for me.

 

Almaak in Andromeda, also known as gamma And and STF 205.  One of the best doubles in the sky.  The colors pop with this AT102ED so much better than the old ETX90RA.

 

Moved due south to NGC 752 a very big and bright open cluster.  I used the 20mm and was able to see 50 stars.  There are two bright stars to the south (56 Andromeda) are not a part of the open cluster, but are a very wide double star - binocular pair - 5.8/6.1, 202" @ 298.  There were at least three sets of double visible in the cluster....I have no idea of catalog numbers.  This is an outstanding small scope FOV....highly recommended.

 

Moved east 2 degrees to 58 Andromeda - STF 222 - 6.1/6.7, 17" @ 36 degrees.  A bit of controversy as Cambridge logs this as 58 Andromeda and STelle Doppie lists as 59.  Whatever it is, seek this double!  Blue primary and white companion with near equal magnitudes.  

 

M31/M32 were next.  This is perhaps the first time that M32 was observed.  I used all eyepieces to step up the power.  No great detail was observed on M31 other than the central concentration, but M32 became very obvious at higher powers.  Another Messier object added to the list.

 

Next was the challenge of the night (and this morning).  Again, I have no finder scope.  When a bright star is used for target, then usually no problem.  Pi Andromeda was shown as a double in Cambridge Double Star Atlas and I sort of aimed for it.  Couldnt find it, but I did stumble on to two sets of doubles in my 20mm FOV which were unidentified by CDSA.  What did I see. 

 

One appeared to be a triple.  I sketched the FOV and then located a "Vee" shaped group of stars to the east.  Sketched that also.  

Inside at 1033.

 

This morning I used iDSA to locate the "vee shape" which is just across the border in Pisces.  This includes bright star 68 Psc and is located at 0h55, N 29 degrees.  The two binaries are  STFA 1 and STTA9ABC - yes a triple.

 

Data - STFA 1 is near equal mag - 7.25.7.43 (I couldnt distinguish which was brighter), 48" @ 47 degrees.

STTA 9AB - 7.5/8.8, 117"  @ 244 degrees

9AC - 7.5/10.3, 122" @ 316 degrees.

 

I used the 16 and 9 mms to view these systems and pickup the triple in STTA 9.  

 

A finderscope is going to be needed to view darker regions of the sky.... I struggled twice with finding objects.  Great night even with the challenges.

 

Now, it is time to go harvest my sweet potato crop.

 

Ed

Ed,

 

I would strongly recommend a green laser pointer for your finder on this scope.  I share one between all my scopes here and use a pair of binoculars to help direct the laser to the proper location (I don't have any optical finders attached to the telescopes).  It's a very simple and easy process.  The best are from a company called Z-bolt because they will allow you to use the GLP when it gets cold outside (most lasers will not work in the cold).

 

Enjoyed your report and the science tonight...


 


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






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics