8/19/19, 22:00-01:00 67°, RH 65%, wind calm, SQM 20.41, Bortle 5, Clear Sky; Transparency 3/5, Seeing 3/5 expected improvement for both after 01:00. GOES East shows mid blue moving into area.
Yep, out 2 nights apart with good conditions. This time, before everybody’s second love, Luna, got to high. Clear Sky suggested better seeing at dark site, but for dearest, I stayed home. Must say, transparency seemed better than given.
Targets; Jupiter, Saturn, M51a&b, M31/32/110, NGC6826, NGC7662
Started off with Jupiter. Not much happening at first. Though I don’t dispute seeing, features were not as clear as I had hope for. It is definitely low, but I could not see much shimmering. I went off to Saturn and M51 and then came back later. At that time there was a knot on the North Equatorial band near the right edge. Being a little daft, it took me a bit to realize it was a shadow transit. The edges of the shadow were fuzzy or not well defined. Highest useful mags was 230x with CPC and E13. I compared that to a 17Plossl with the base of a shorty barlow attached (1.5x). Pretty dark and some color lost.
Saturn was a bit sharper than Jupiter, though highest useful magnification was unchanged. The usual banding, pole and Cassini Division were visible. As with Jupiter, I left for M51 and came back later. Did not see any change in detail on return.
M51 a&b is sliding off to west now. Caught at around 45° and at 200x (CPC & barlowed APM30) could clearly see the extent of spiral arms and involvement between a&b. Was unable to spy spiral arms clearly in either direct or averted vision. I was able to to see them in partial by moving my eye back and forth from the EP. Not very effective as I could never see much of the whole by doing this. I switched off the power switch (barlow), but could not pick the arms up with this or averted technique.
M31/32/110 initial view demonstrated the power of our dear lady Luna. Washed the heck out. Could easily M31 core and M32, but M110 was absent. I powered up the ST120 with E13 (46x 1.76°) and couldn’t find it. Also looked for it thru CPC with APM30 (100x .9°) and also failed to find it.
Moved on to NGC 6826 Blinking Planetary which was just west of zenith which is best part of home skies. Very sharp image and was able to take it to 333 & 666x (CPC, M9mm & power switch barlow). At this point I would say that seeing was definitely up to 4/5, if not better while transparency was at least 3/5. The dwarf as sharp, but was having trouble seeing any internal structure even with averted vision. I played at this for quite some time and was finally able to pull some structure in with my non dominant left eye by moving the nebula just right of center and looking just left of the object. Felt that I could probably sketch the entire edge of the outer structure and the left edge of the inner structure. The remainder of the inner structure faded in and out and was too indefinite to think that could be sketched. I tried the same technique with the right eye, going back and forth between them till finally I did see some structure with the right eye, though never quite as well as with the left eye. Odd?
Lastly I looked at NGC7662. Still unable to spy dwarf, but was able to see some slight internal structure with left eye and given technique. Was unable to spy that structure with right eye and never got enough definition to think it could be sketched. Just fading in and out too much. Mostly out.
Seems that Phils cosmic Challenge to see the spiral arms of M51 have really helped my viewing abilities. More effort does correspond to better results.
Good night. Would have been even better if I could have found Posidonius. Hope I didn’t miss an episode.