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#626 The Luckster

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Posted 11 November 2019 - 11:48 AM

Watching the transit online, cool!

 

Strike one--overcast right now.

Strike two--even if it wasn't overcast, all of my observing gear is stowed away--new carpet tomorrow.

Strike three--nothing yet, but I'm sure something will pop up...

 

CS

 

jason


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#627 B l a k S t a r

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Posted 11 November 2019 - 11:54 AM

SeaBee1.     It will be cloudy. /s 


Edited by B l a k S t a r, 11 November 2019 - 11:56 AM.

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#628 Lister85

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Posted 11 November 2019 - 03:23 PM

11/9/19

14.5" F4.3 Dob

30mm Eyepiece

 

Found some new (to me) objects in the sky with my new (to me) dob Saturday night. The leap in aperture makes a big difference under light polluted skies.

 

The Owl Cluster is pretty cool. Even my wife was impressed! I'll definitely add that to the list of favorites for outreach.

 

The Spiral Cluster also looks quite nice. That's another new one.

 

I can't get enough of the Double Cluster, though. I don't think I can drag out a scope without looking at it.

 

The secondary was in serviceable collimation. It was off, but stars were still sharp. I've corrected the issue, so I'm hoping this improves overall performance. Even if it doesn't, the views are still fantastic.


Edited by Lister85, 11 November 2019 - 04:30 PM.

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#629 NYJohn S

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Posted 11 November 2019 - 06:26 PM

I had a good time today viewing the Mercury transit with Ed aeajr. For those that are new to the thread, he's the one who started it.

 

He had 2 scopes setup with solar filters. I took the shot of the transit through his Meade EXT125 which put up a nice sharp view of it.

 

I hope it's ok to post these photos Ed. One of Ed in the middle, me on the right and Chris on the left. Also shot one of the funnel on the XT6 that was nearby. I thought that was a great idea.

 

There were 2 clubs down there and a lot of scopes setup. I looked through a bunch, even a few HA scopes. That was a first for me. I had to take a shot of the 6" Takahashi that was setup with the Coronado on it. The camera would fire every few minutes. I guess it was capturing Mercury's path as it crossed in front of the sun. A few clouds passed through but it was mostly sunny and around 60ºF.

 

Thanks for the invite Ed. I don't think I would have viewed this on my own and I really enjoyed it. 

 

John

 

Mecury Transit 2019
Mecury Transit 2019 Funnel Projection
Mecury Transit 2019
Mecury Transit Captree NY 2019
Mecury Transit 2019. Not mine, this was setup at the event so I had to take a shot of it.

 


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#630 ETXer

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Posted 11 November 2019 - 10:02 PM

With a day off, and just a high, thin scattered cirrus layer, I was able to get some great views of the transit with my Q3.5 during the third hour of the Mercury Transit. I missed the Venus Transit and as long as the weather cooperated, I wasn't going to miss this one. My wife and son got to get in some views as well. What a great opportunity!

 

49052458426_5fe1de92e7_z.jpg

 

49052470721_54a1fc8a54_c.jpg


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#631 brentknight

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Posted 11 November 2019 - 10:23 PM

I got a really nice view through thin clouds with my ETX-105.  Missed the point where it touched the sun as it was below the nearby houses, but I saw it about 30 minutes later and watched for about 45 minutes.  Had my 10 year old daughter for the holiday and so I got her awake to take a peek too.

 

Beautiful telescope Allan!


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#632 ETXer

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Posted 11 November 2019 - 10:33 PM

Thanks Brent! It really lends itself nicely for solar observation, and I’m sure the ETX105 gets the job done equally as well.


Edited by ETXer, 11 November 2019 - 10:34 PM.

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#633 jklein

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Posted 12 November 2019 - 11:34 AM

Been procrastinating posting my last two sessions, one at the central Texas dark sky site and one at our last Tandy Hills Public star party.

 

I will start off by saying that yesterday's Mercury Transit was a total cloud out, so I watched a bit of it on line. Thanks to those who posted pictures.

 

Saturday 26 October: 73 deg/29%TH. Astropheric promised Above average Transparency; average seeing.

 

All observations were with the 6.3 F/R in the optics path, using the 32mm Plossl and the Celestron Zoom. High power was seldom used because of the breeze and average seeing.

By 1915 the sky was just dark enough to nab Jupiter, but the temp had dropped to 55 deg, with a slight breeze popping up.

Saturn made a better showing than Jupiter.

 

Visited Andromeda, M52, M103.

 

One of my goals was to pick up one of my remaining Messier Objects - M77. First attempt was a bust, so I decided to go on a binocular tour of the Milky way for a while.

 

Came back to look for M77, and there it was/wasn't/was. That faint smear-smudge was not moving in the FOV while a jostled back and forth, so I claimed the sighting.

 

Double Cluster was calling so I went. The reward was a lot of resolution in a really bright display.

 

Revisited Andromeda now that it was past Astronomical twilight. She filled the view, but I could not detect any dust lanes.

 

M57 was shimmering at 160X, but I really enjoy catching this one.

 

I was getting chilly so went inside the observatory to warm up and chat with the guys calibrating the camera on the 24" RC.

 

Back outside for the season's first viewing of the 3Ms in Auriga. M37 was the best of the three; there may have been very high and thin streaky clouds messing with my view.

 

Finally M42 cleared the surrounding trees. The OIII filter heightened the nebula's appearance, but one of the stars in the Trapezium disappeared. Still, the "bat wings" were impressive. 

 

By now I was getting really chilled, so I retreated to the car and slept 4 hours until morning. I was a little irritated with myself for wasting so many hours, but I just couldn't stop shivering.

 

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

2 November at Tandy Hills Outreach - 

 

Jupiter, Saturn, and the Moon were the main targets - with Venus appearing at sunset for its return to Evening Star status.

 

Forthe moon, The terminator was right on Theophilus, Cyrillus, and Catharina on the the shore of the Nectar Sea. People enjoyed seeing the formations in the center of Theophilus and the clarity of the craters as we took advantage of the zoom to look at the total moon, then zoom into those three.

Lots of conversations around telescope purchases; where were some good dark sites, how did I (me) get started; how can I (he) get started.

One satisfying comment from a young lad after I explained that the dots on either side of Jupiter were the Galilean moons was, "Hey - we just talked about the Galilean moons in science class!"

 

And now it is really cold for North Texas:  20 degrees this morning (as I hear the snickers from my more northerly friends on this forum). Thank you, Canada, for sending this mosquito killer chill to us so early.


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#634 B l a k S t a r

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Posted 12 November 2019 - 03:07 PM

I had a good time today viewing the Mercury transit with Ed aeajr. For those that are new to the thread, he's the one who started it.

 

He had 2 scopes setup with solar filters. I took the shot of the transit through his Meade EXT125 which put up a nice sharp view of it.

 

I hope it's ok to post these photos Ed. One of Ed in the middle, me on the right and Chris on the left. Also shot one of the funnel on the XT6 that was nearby. I thought that was a great idea.

 

There were 2 clubs down there and a lot of scopes setup. I looked through a bunch, even a few HA scopes. That was a first for me. I had to take a shot of the 6" Takahashi that was setup with the Coronado on it. The camera would fire every few minutes. I guess it was capturing Mercury's path as it crossed in front of the sun. A few clouds passed through but it was mostly sunny and around 60ºF.

 

Thanks for the invite Ed. I don't think I would have viewed this on my own and I really enjoyed it. 

 

John

 

Looks like you folks had great conditions and a good crowd.  Not for lack of trying, I had no success but still shared my efforts posted elsewhere in the forum. Ah well, at least I saw the Venus transit on paper (literally) via small cheap binos. Even have a photo somewhere. Glad to see you saw Mercury!


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#635 aeajr

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Posted 12 November 2019 - 04:47 PM

11/11/19 - Captree Boat Basin - 6 am to 1:30 pm - The transit of Mercury across the face of the Sun.   Next opportunity 2049 so I wanted to be sure to see this one.

 

Meade ETX 80 set-up GoTo with an

  • ES82 6.7 60X
  • ES 82 4.7 85X 

Meade ETX 125 deforked and on a manual mount -

  • ES 82 8.8, 215X,
  • ES 82 14,  135X 
  • 32 mm Celestron Omni Plossl 60X

 

We had clear enough sky all day so that we were able to see Mercury cross the Sun all day. 

 

While both scopes performed well, you could clearly see some chromatic aberration around the edge of the Sun in the ETX 80.  No surprise as this would be expected from any F5 achromatic refractor. But it showed Mercury in fine form.  Also the ETX 80 mount does not have a solar tracking rate, that I know of, so tracking was not perfect.   However it was pretty good.  I just had to bump the arrow buttons now and then to recenter the sun.   I love my ETX 80!   I did try it with the higher mag eyepiece, but saw no value so dropped back to 60X for better context

 

I completed the repair on the drive/GoTo system for the ETX 125 Mak, but didn't have time to test it.   So I ordered a Vixen type dovetail bar which I attached to the ETX 125 OTA.  I put it on the GSkyer manual mount.    The ETX 125 Mak OTA put up a nice image and tracking manually was not that big of a deal.  The image in the F15 Mak was really sharp!  

 

I am very happy I  had the two scopes there to compare.   At one point I put a 14 mm ES 8.8 for 135X and the 8.8 ES 82 in for 215X.  While the black dot was bigger it didn't show any more detail, so I went back to the 32 mm Plossl for a lower power, 60 X with the wider view of the Sun.

 

We had two clubs there.  The Astronomical Society of Long Island and the Amateur Observers Society shared the site.   I would estimate we had about 40 people with perhaps 25 scopes set-up of all types.  And we had public stopping by and passing through all day.

 

A big highlight of the day was having NY John and Chris K there.  Seeing my Cloudy Nights observing buddies is always a joy!  I even got to view some of the transit through Chris's 8" Dob.  It looked great!

 

John posted photos earlier that he took through the 127 mm Mak. John, thanks so much for taking the shots and sharing them here.

https://www.cloudyni...13#entry9764123

 

While the astronomical significance of the event was well known, watching a black dot move across the face of the Sun is not quite the event that a total solar eclipse is.  But being surrounded by so many people who share the same interests and passions was just a huge energizer.   I am so glad I made the time to be there.

 

Cloudy Nights is wonderful!  Meeting people, virtually, is super and this thread is a great example of  how we can form a club, a community of support.  But the best is when I get so meet some of you in person and share the sky with you.

 

I don't know what the next "big" event is, but I hope I get to share it with as many of you as possible.   You have made this "newbie's early observation log" the highlight of my astronomy experience.

 

Clear skies to you all.


Edited by aeajr, 12 November 2019 - 04:52 PM.

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#636 aeajr

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Posted 14 November 2019 - 06:38 PM

Clouds and more clouds. And now deep cold.  :(

 

We were lucky to get the Mercury Transit in with good weather.

 

However, I now have a new toy to play with, sorta.   I have the ETX 125 OTA on the manual GSkyer mount. So, it is a new combination. 

 

I popped a vixen style dovetail on the ETX 125 OTA for the transit of mercury.   I had never used an F15 Mak on a manual mount before.   It worked well.

 

Now I am looking forward to getting some clear sky, and not such bone chilling cold and wind, so I can spend a little more time with this combination.  All of my other scopes are F4 or F5, so this is my LONG FL scope. 

 

I know it is good on planets and doubles, at least that is how I used it on the GoTo mount.  Now I will have to find them manually, probably using AltAz coordinates. 

 

The ETX Goto mount is ready to receive the OTA, but I think I am going to keep it on the manual mount for a while to play with it.  I will let you know what I think. 


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#637 brentknight

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Posted 14 November 2019 - 07:48 PM

Any pictures, Ed?


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#638 aeajr

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Posted 14 November 2019 - 11:55 PM

Any pictures, Ed?

I presume you mean of the ETX 125 OTA on the GSkyer mount.

 

I removed it from the GoTo system, deforking it.   There are two threaded mount points on the bottom of the black plastic diagonal device on the back of the OTA.   

 

I attached a Vixen style dovetail to the ETS 125 OTA and put it on the mount.   Works just fine. 

Attached Thumbnails

  • ETX 125 on Gskyer Mount Close-up (640x640).jpg
  • ETX 125 on GSkyer Mount viewing mirror (480x640).jpg

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#639 Studly

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Posted 15 November 2019 - 09:50 AM

I presume you mean of the ETX 125 OTA on the GSkyer mount.

 

I removed it from the GoTo system, deforking it.   There are two threaded mount points on the bottom of the black plastic diagonal device on the back of the OTA.   

 

I attached a Vixen style dovetail to the ETS 125 OTA and put it on the mount.   Works just fine. 

Looks good! Sometimes there's a lot to be said for simple alt-az mounts.


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#640 aeajr

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Posted 15 November 2019 - 10:17 AM

I have enjoyed an F5/6 on a manual mount as its wide view makes it easier to find things. Mine go from 1.75 to 4 degrees FOV.

So, F15 with a. 9 low power FOV is a new experience on a manual mount. The 6x30 finder should help. May add an RDF.

And now that I know how to take the Etx OTA off the GoTo fork I can put it back on anytime I wish.

Should be fun IF the clouds clear AND someone turns off the blast chiller.

Edited by aeajr, 15 November 2019 - 10:37 AM.

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#641 TheBigK

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Posted 16 November 2019 - 04:31 PM

I had a chance to go out for a quick session last Saturday night and then again last night for a little longer session. Last night was really fun as the seeing was better than normal and I was able to get split as tight as 0.9" doubles and probably could have gone down to 0.7" or 0.8" on near equal, not too bright doubles. I wish I would have been able to stay out longer, but I was getting tired, my finderscope and Telrad were fogged up, and my shoulder muscle on my right side was tightening up a bit. Oh well, it was a blast while I was out there!

 

As I was looking up a couple of the observer names from the reports below I noticed that there is a lot more data on Stelledoppie than I realized before. I just now noticed the tabs for Notes/Reports/Measures/Images/Neighborhoods/Complete. Very informative!

 

I think I have two short term projects that I will do.
1. I need to build some dew straps/shields and a dew heater controller. I have plenty of diy electronics experience and was a professional programmer and architect for 15 years.
2. I need to redo my base where the xt10i tube connects. Since I'm not using the controller at all, I want to move to more traditional altitude bearings (my current setup is pretty shaky and I have to tighten the bolts too much at times). I already have plenty of leftover Baltic birch, teflon, and most of a 4'x8' sheet of laminate material, but no router. Or...maybe I'll contact Dennis at Dobstuff and see if he can make just the bearings and vertical pieces of the mount...my groundboard works great.

 

Telescope - Orion XT10i

Finderscope - Stellarvue 50mm, 9x, 5.8 FOV

Eyepieces:

Paracorr Type 2 (used at all times)

ES30mm - 46x, 1.78° FOV

Nagler 12mm, Type 4  - 115x, 0.71° FOV

ES4.7mm - 294x, .28° FOV

 

 

Session 1
Saturday, November 9, 2019 9:45pm-11:05pm
Short session, but wanted to get out there for at least a little while.

 

STT485 (V638 Cassiopeiae) - 6.53/10.14, 18.8" @ 48, Cassiopeia - Easy split with the 30. AC is a physical double. Bright star with two dim companions.

 

STT480 - 7.57/8.64, 30.7" @ 116, Cepheus - Bright wide physical double. A couple other bright stars in the fov of the 12.

 

BU436 (Burnham 436) - 7.42/12.00, 19.8" @ 327, Cepheus - Split with the 12. Primary is bright white and the secondary is pretty dim at mag 12.

 

STF2872 - 7.34/8.00, 0.8" @ 296.3, Cepheus - A physical triple! The A, BC is a bright wide double. I can see elongation of the BC, but cannot split it. Probably a little too bright for the separation. The D star is readily seen though. Used both the 12 and the 4.7.

 

BU108 (Burnham 108) - 7.73/10.60, 4.6" @ 6.0, Cassiopeia - Can see the A, B, C, and F stars. According to SD, the AB pair is physical.

 

MRI31 (Martin 31) - 8.06/9.01, 115.4" @ 9.0, Cassiopeia - Another bright, wide, physical double.

 

HJ1088 (Herschel 1088) - 6.36/9.79, 19.5" @ 168, Cassiopeia - This one was pretty easy to split with just the 30. Prior to this I had been unable to split a few pairs of close doubles, so I needed one that I could. According to SD, this is a physical triple system. Really cool!

 

 

Session 2
Friday, November 15, 2019 8:27pm-10:36pm
Seeing was really great last night compared to more recent sessions. Had a couple of my best splits this year. My best split is 0.8" and last night I split a fairly bright pair at 0.9" separation and a couple other pairs near 1" separation including a pair that had a couple magnitude difference.

 

STT423 - 7.15/9.64, 2.7" @ 76, Cygnus - I tried viewing this double last weekend, but wasn't successful. Seeing is a bit better tonight and I can make the split with the 4.7. Plenty of separation, but still a little tough due to the mag difference.

 

STT414 - 7.42/8.93, 9.9" @ 94, Cygnus - I was able to make the split with the 30 since the pair is wide enough. Watching it drift, it appears as if the secondary is chasing the primary as they drift through the fov... The pair has a pa of 94.

 

STU13 (Sturdy 13) - 7.59/10.13, 27.1" @ 196, Cygnus - Another pair that was viewed with just the 30. Forms almost a trapezoid with 3 other nearby stars. This pair is physical per SD.

 

STT410 (V2130 Cygni) - 6.11/6.83, 0.9" @ 3.4, Cygnus - I made the split! Not 100% of the time, but about 50%. Holy!! Two stars marching side by side across the fov of the 4.7. Very happy. Saw the C and D stars as well. The AB pair is physical and SD has orbital data. Period is 14.08c. I watched this pair for a good 10 minutes.

 

STF2731 - 7.71/9.59, 4.1" @ 86, Cygnus - Easy split with the 12!

 

STF2746 - 7.63/8.71, 1.2" @ 323, Cygnus - Another tight pair that I was able to split tonight with the 4.7.

 

STF2758 (61 Cygni) - 6.05/5.24, 31.8" @ 152.7, Cygnus - I've viewed this pair before, but I didn't know about SD at the time. This pair has orbital data and I believe I've heard there are confirmed planets revolving around them. Very beautiful orange stars. I wonder if there is life there and if there is, what the skies must look like with 2 suns? Note: No confirmed planets, but I think my confusion is that there used to be believed that there were planets revolving around one of the stars.

 

SEI1445 (Scheiner 1445) - 7.34/11.90, 28.0" @ 23, Cygnus - Wide separation, but pretty dim secondary which was tough to see with the 4.7, but I did see it.

 

STT434 - 6.67/9.93, 24.5" @ 123, Cygnus - Nice wide double that was easy to split with the 30. This one is a physical double.

 

STT432 - 7.15/8.05, 1.4" @ 115, Cygnus - Another right pair that was fairly easy to split tonight with the 4.7.

 

STF2820 - 7.46/10.56, 16.0" @ 230, Cygnus - The secondary was a little tough to pick up with the 12, but it was seen. This is another physical double.

 

BU694 (Burnham 694, V1942 Cygni) - 5.59/7.76, 1.0" @ 6.0, Cygnus - An uncertain double, but one I made sure to check out with tonight's better than average seeing. I was able to split it wth the 4.7. This was probably the toughest split so far tonight.

 

STF2902 - 7.46/8.22, 6.5" @ 89, Lacerta - Yellow main star. Near equal double. This was an easy split tonight with the 30.

 

STF2918 - 7.67/9.43, 1.7" @ 238, Lacerta - Took a bit to see the secondary with the 4.7.

 

STF2917 - 8.40/8.56, 4.8" @ 70, Lacerta - Near equal magnitude physical double. I could split with the 30, but the 12 made it really easy. Both stars are yellow to me.

 

ES1028 (Espin 1028) - 7.57/10.57, 6.0" @ 243, Lacerta - Another physical double where the secondary was not real easy to see due the moon. Used the 4.7 to split.

 

HJ1791 (Herschel 1791) - 7.63/9.68, 17.1" @ 59, Lacerta - Physical double, yellow main star, faint secondary with the 30.

 

STF2953 (V453 Cephei) - 7.55/9.52, 8.5" @ 137, Cepheus - Split with the 12. Uncertain double. Fairly large mag difference, but also fairly wide separation.

 

STF2950 - 5.82/7.08, 1.1" @ 271.8, Cepheus - Yellow, almost orange main. Can only split the AB pair about 30% of the time with the 4.7. I can also make out the C component. According to SD, this is a physical triple system! AB orbital period is 804y. Very nice!

 

STF2977 - 6.76/10.33, 1.8" @ 355, Cepheus - A physical double. A tough split even with good seeing and magnification due to closeness and mag difference. Used the 4.7.

 

It's funny, as I write up the observation logs I want to get right back out there right this minute.

 

Until next time...clear skies!


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#642 brentknight

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Posted 17 November 2019 - 12:17 AM

Funny story tonight...  My first opportunity to try out the new 31 Nagler with the 14".  I got everything setup and all that was left was to align the laser with the telescope.  I thought I'd use Polaris and the 22mm.  For some reason, I couldn't focus any stars - I couldn't see any stars.  I thought maybe the mirrors had gotten way out of alignment during the telescope move to the driveway, so I stuck the laser collimator in the focuser and saw the red return dot right on the secondary and a nice red glow on the collimator target.  I tried a couple more eyepieces, pulled out the Paracorr to make sure it was clear - still nothing.  Finally - after about 30 minutes of scratching my head - I pulled everything out of the focuser and looked down the tube.  It was completely black down there!  Oh darn it...  I left the bag on the secondary mirror.  It's truly been way too long since I've taken this scope out...


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#643 brentknight

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Posted 17 November 2019 - 01:32 AM

The sky tonight was clear, but there was a very thin haze layer that would come and go.  The air temperature got down in the 40's and then the moon started rising around 9:30 or so.  I had the 14" and the 120ST out, and was using the 31 Nagler and the 22 Nagler to find and view the large objects within Cygnus.

 

I really like the new (to me) 31mm much more than the old 30mm ES.  The eyepiece has better balance so it actually feels lighter in the hand than the ES, and the entire true field is much easier to see since the field lens isn't so recessed into the top.  It does tend to mess with the balance on the 14", but once I get the clamps down and use the hand controller, it's not a problem.  It's a complete dream with the 120ST and the LX70 - the scope balance is near perfect and there's absolutely no wiggles when moving the little refractor around the sky.  I only need to clamp the axis when I change out eyepieces or filters.  I get 4.3° at 19x with this combination so the Veil and North America both fit easily in the field.

 

Last night I had similar conditions, but I just had the 120ST out.  I can see the whole Veil in the field with the OIII attached but from my front yard it's not very bright at all.  The same situation with the NA.  This scope just begs for darker skies - hopefully I'll get another shot at these two targets from Big Lagoon before they sink below the horizon...  The last thing I looked at last night before the moon washed everything out was M45.  I've never seen this beautiful cluster quite like this before.  Even with the nearly full moon not too far away, the cluster looked like someone spilled their box of diamonds on a black cloth.  Having a generous amount of background sky really made it stand out - many faint to bright stars sharing the field with the very bright sister stars - many small doubles and multiples and a subtle rainbow of colors from blue to gold to faint red.  This view took my breath away...

 

Tonight I started on the Veil with the 14", the 31mm and the OIII giving me 1.4° at 60x.  No way will the whole thing fit using this telescope, but I could see most of the east and west parts in a single field.  The detail and brightness were much better than with the 120ST with just a hint of the filaments and other little details.  The NA was clear, but not bright except along the coastline of Mexico.  I was able to identify the Pelican around the star 57 Cyg as well as the faint but rich cluster NGC 6996 at about Tennessee.

 

I used the 120ST and the OIII for an attempt on the California Nebula, NGC 1499 in Perseus.  I started at m4.7 Menkib and then identified the faint stars HD 24960, HR 1234 and HD 279281 which seem to define the outer boundaries of the nebula.  I was hoping to see some faint contrast difference while sweeping from 57 to HR 1234, but it really wasn't there.  I did notice some slightly brighter patches (I think) to the east of this line - verified by slowly moving the scope around and watching the patches move.  I've heard that an H-Beta filter will help with this one, but I'm pretty certain it will also require a darker sky than I have - but I think it's possible with the scope.

 

The highlight for me tonight though was the Crescent Nebula, NGC 6888.  I just love looking at this object and I can't remember ever seeing it this well before.  I was able to pick out the entire oval shape of this nebula with the 14", the OIII and the 31mm.  Clearly one side was brighter, but I could connect the shape all the way around with averted vision and even see some nebula in the middle.  The view with the 22mm at higher power and smaller field was not nearly as good.  Having that little extra sky frame seemed to make all the difference.

 

I really love getting new toys and trying them out - and it's great when they actually exceed your expectations and show you familiar objects like you've never seen before.  Orion and Andromeda, your next I hope.

 

Thank you for reading... 


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#644 Studly

Studly

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Posted 17 November 2019 - 12:32 PM

The sky tonight was clear, but there was a very thin haze layer that would come and go.  The air temperature got down in the 40's and then the moon started rising around 9:30 or so.  I had the 14" and the 120ST out, and was using the 31 Nagler and the 22 Nagler to find and view the large objects within Cygnus.

 

I really like the new (to me) 31mm much more than the old 30mm ES.  The eyepiece has better balance so it actually feels lighter in the hand than the ES, and the entire true field is much easier to see since the field lens isn't so recessed into the top.  It does tend to mess with the balance on the 14", but once I get the clamps down and use the hand controller, it's not a problem.  It's a complete dream with the 120ST and the LX70 - the scope balance is near perfect and there's absolutely no wiggles when moving the little refractor around the sky.  I only need to clamp the axis when I change out eyepieces or filters.  I get 4.3° at 19x with this combination so the Veil and North America both fit easily in the field.

 

Last night I had similar conditions, but I just had the 120ST out.  I can see the whole Veil in the field with the OIII attached but from my front yard it's not very bright at all.  The same situation with the NA.  This scope just begs for darker skies - hopefully I'll get another shot at these two targets from Big Lagoon before they sink below the horizon...  The last thing I looked at last night before the moon washed everything out was M45.  I've never seen this beautiful cluster quite like this before.  Even with the nearly full moon not too far away, the cluster looked like someone spilled their box of diamonds on a black cloth.  Having a generous amount of background sky really made it stand out - many faint to bright stars sharing the field with the very bright sister stars - many small doubles and multiples and a subtle rainbow of colors from blue to gold to faint red.  This view took my breath away...

 

Tonight I started on the Veil with the 14", the 31mm and the OIII giving me 1.4° at 60x.  No way will the whole thing fit using this telescope, but I could see most of the east and west parts in a single field.  The detail and brightness were much better than with the 120ST with just a hint of the filaments and other little details.  The NA was clear, but not bright except along the coastline of Mexico.  I was able to identify the Pelican around the star 57 Cyg as well as the faint but rich cluster NGC 6996 at about Tennessee.

 

I used the 120ST and the OIII for an attempt on the California Nebula, NGC 1499 in Perseus.  I started at m4.7 Menkib and then identified the faint stars HD 24960, HR 1234 and HD 279281 which seem to define the outer boundaries of the nebula.  I was hoping to see some faint contrast difference while sweeping from 57 to HR 1234, but it really wasn't there.  I did notice some slightly brighter patches (I think) to the east of this line - verified by slowly moving the scope around and watching the patches move.  I've heard that an H-Beta filter will help with this one, but I'm pretty certain it will also require a darker sky than I have - but I think it's possible with the scope.

 

The highlight for me tonight though was the Crescent Nebula, NGC 6888.  I just love looking at this object and I can't remember ever seeing it this well before.  I was able to pick out the entire oval shape of this nebula with the 14", the OIII and the 31mm.  Clearly one side was brighter, but I could connect the shape all the way around with averted vision and even see some nebula in the middle.  The view with the 22mm at higher power and smaller field was not nearly as good.  Having that little extra sky frame seemed to make all the difference.

 

I really love getting new toys and trying them out - and it's great when they actually exceed your expectations and show you familiar objects like you've never seen before.  Orion and Andromeda, your next I hope.

 

Thank you for reading... 

Very nice report!


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#645 Studly

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Posted 17 November 2019 - 12:37 PM

Well, I had a very long day yesterday, and didn't get home until almost 2am. But, the sky was clear, so I powered through my fatigue as best I could:

 

 

2019-11-17
Time: 02:00 local time (EST); 07:00 UTC (11-17)
Cloud Cover: Clear at start, but increasing to about 15%
Wind: Very Light
Temperature: Approximately 23F
Overall Viewing Conditions: Poor
Length of Observing Session: 45 minutes
Equipment: Celestron Skymaster 25x70 Binoculars

 

Summary: After a *very* long day, I was feeling like absolute crap. However, when I got home late, I saw the sky was clear. I knew I wouldn’t last long, so I brought out the tripod-mounted binoculars for a quick session. I could at least get a look at the Moon, if nothing else.

 

Moon (Waning Gibbous): The Moon stood prominently and high in the southeastern sky. At approximately 21 days old it was past full and waning. Not far removed from the northern polar region, two craters stood out very well—Aristoteles and Eudoxus. Though not sitting on the terminator, their rims cast distinctive shadows, making them appear quite prominent. To the east, and sitting right on the terminator between Mare Serenitatis and Lacus Somniorum, Posidonius was a beautiful sight! The shadow play on this feature was spectacular. Southeastward and adjacent to Posidonius, the crater Chacornac and Montes Taurus contributed to a *very* rough terrain—a nice compliment to the larger crater. Following the terminator south, crater Theophilus sat gloriously on the southern edge of Sinus Asperitatis. The crater’s eastern rim was very brightly lit, but its interior was black as pitch—an awesome sight! Southwestward, and adjacent to Theophilus, Cyrillus was plainly visible, with its central prominences easy to see. South of there, Catharina’s broken ring of mountains was clear. Again following the terminator southward, a cluster of craters was thrown into sharp relief by the deep shadows—Zagut, Rabbi Levi, and Riccus; nestled adjacent to them was Lindenau, nearer the terminator line, with its central prominence catching the light—very nice. To the west, crater Tycho showed its bright ejecta ray system—always neat to see. Nearer the south polar region, the terrain was dotted with myriad smaller craters, creating a detailed and interesting view.

 

M42 (Orion): Before calling it quits, I wanted to check a couple brighter deep sky objects. The Great Orion Nebula was the first. Acquiring the target, I could make out five stars, ranging from moderately bright to very dim, all surrounded by a nebulous haze. The effect was nice, but the view was muted due to the moonlight flooding the sky. Even averted vision was not revealing much more than this.

 

Double Cluster (Perseus): This favorite pair of targets was now in the northwestern sky. The stars were bright and clear, but again the moonlight flooding the sky had removed a great number of the dimmer members of both clusters. Still, I never tire of watching this pair of open clusters.

 

Conclusion: The conditions were quite poor tonight. The unsteady atmosphere was making stars shimmer considerably throughout the entire sky, and I even experienced difficulty obtaining a passable focus on the Moon with the binoculars, which is very unusual. The bad conditions were not surprising, as tonight’s gap in the recent cloud cover was predicted to be short. However, this looked like my only chance to do any observing for at least the next week or so. I might have stayed out longer, despite the conditions, if I had been feeling better, but that was not going to happen.

 

 

Until next time!


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#646 TheBigK

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Posted 18 November 2019 - 10:41 PM

I made it out for two short sessions on Saturday and Sunday nights. That made it three nights in a row! I decided to see how many of the CDSA2 Cygnus doubles I could see since I've seen quite a few up to this point. I now have 17 remaining CDSA2 doubles in that constellation, of which there a few I will not be able to split with my equipment.

 

Telescope - Orion XT10i

Finderscope - Stellarvue 50mm, 9x, 5.8 FOV

Eyepieces:

Paracorr Type 2 (used at all times)

ES30mm - 46x, 1.78° FOV

Nagler 12mm, Type 4  - 115x, 0.71° FOV

ES4.7mm - 294x, .28° FOV

 

Session 1
Saturday, November 16, 2019 7:33pm-8:49pm

 

STF2707 - 7.92/9.45, 21.8" @ 29°, Cygnus - First double of the night is a nice easy one. All components split with the 30. Not a physical system. Two brightest stars look blue white.

 

S755 (South 755) - 6.63/9.72, 59.9" @ 278°, Cygnus - A nice wide physical double star. Main star is white. Split easily with the 30.

 

AC17 (Alvin Clark 17) - AB 6.03/10.55, 4.4" @ 82°, AC 6.2/12.6, 84.8" @ 9, Cygnus -  Saw the A, B, and C components. AB was split nicely with the 12 and is a physical double.

 

STFA46 (16 Cygni) - 5.96/6.23, 39.8" @ 133.2°, Cygnus - Bright physical double. SD has lots of good data on this one in the notes section. The B component has a planet orbiting it. It looks like their is preliminary orbital data too.

 

STF2663 - 8.17/8.66, 5.4" @ 324°, Cygnus - Finally one I can split. I keep coming across doubles that would've been splittable last night, but not tonight. Split with the 12 after a few in a row that were not splittable.

 

STTA214 - 6.32/8.64, 57.4" @ 185°, Cygnus - Physical double, bright and easy to split... Really wide double.

 

HJ1676 (Herschel 1676) - 7.63/11.01, 29.6" @ 136°, Cygnus - Faint secondary star. Moon not up yet, so was able to see the 11th magnitude star easily enough with the 12. This is a physical double system. Yellow looking main.

 

STF2832 - 7.71/8.32, 13.1" @ 212°, Cygnus - With the 12 I was able to see all 4 components. Only the AB pair is physical though. That pair looks great, near equal and widely separated.

 

BU369 (Burnham 369) - 7.61/11.8, 16.0" @ 31°, Cygnus - AB is physical. The B star was tough to see at mag 11.8, even with the 4.7.

 

STF2789 - 7.67/7.87, 6.9" @ 113.9°, Cygnus - Nice looking, near equal mag pair. This is a physical double with orbital data. Period is 180c. Yellowish stars. Was able to split with the 30.

 

SKF346 (Skiff 346) - 7.61/11.11, 55.9" @ 305°, Cygnus - This is a physical double per SD. An asterisn above and below it in the 12 mm.

 

 

Session 2
Sunday, November 17, 2019 7:32pm-8:48pm

 

STT403 - 6.8/7.64, 1.0" @ 171°, Cygnus - Ahh, yes... Seeing is good again! Could not come close to splitting this last night, but can tonight with the 4.7. Tight split at 1.0". Equal magnitude helps a lot.

 

A382 (Aitken 382) - 7.05/9.49, 1.7" @ 96°, Cygnus - Another one that was impossible last night. Orange coloring A star with the B star trailing behind it as it drifts across the fov. A physical double. In my 30 mm fov, this is the upper right side star in an trapezoid shaped asterism.

 

HO128 (Hough 128) - 6.25/8.82, 1.4" @ 358°, Cygnus - This one was tough, but I can split it about 30% of the time.

 

NGC6819 - Can make out 12 or so dim stars in this cluster using the 4.7.

 

HO588 (Hough 588) - 6.92/8.89, 51.1" @ 298°, Cygnus - Physical double. The AB pair easily split with all three eyepieces. Can't quite see the C component though.

 

ARY48 (Argyle 48) - 8.18/8.76, 53.3" @ 41°, Cygnus - Another physical double, easy split with the 30 since they are widely separated and near equal in magnitude. Quite a few bright stars in the fov.

 

STT419 - 7.21/9.97, 1.6" @ 23°, Cygnus - Really tough even with the 4.7. I can see the B star maybe 10% of the time. Confirmed that the B component was where I was seeing this star.

 

HO603 (Hough 603) - 7.48/9.82, 80.6" @ 251°, Cygnus - AB pair is a physical double and widely separated. BC is not and is pretty tight. I actually had the best view of the BC pair with the 12 and could clearly see the C component and verified after I estimated the pa.

 

STT437 - 6.23/7.42, 2.5" @ 17.9°, Cygnus - AB pair is physical and SD has orbital data. Looks like the pair is slowly separating. The seeing is degrading a bit which made this a bit difficult to split. C star seen with the 4.7 and is just visual to the pair.

 

STF2741 - 5.59/6.79, 2.0" @ 25°, Cygnus - Saw all three components with the 4.7. Only the AB pair is physical though. Wasn't sure I would be able to split this one, but did almost 100% of the time. Blue white stars to my eyes.

 

STF2757 - 7.59/9.24, 1.9" @ 264°, Cygnus - The B component was tough to see, but once I did see it it was there most of the time. I estimated the pa before looking at the numbers and confirmed that I did see it. Uncertain double.


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#647 The Luckster

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Posted 18 November 2019 - 10:43 PM

I have enjoyed an F5/6 on a manual mount as its wide view makes it easier to find things. Mine go from 1.75 to 4 degrees FOV.

So, F15 with a. 9 low power FOV is a new experience on a manual mount. The 6x30 finder should help. May add an RDF.

And now that I know how to take the Etx OTA off the GoTo fork I can put it back on anytime I wish.

Should be fun IF the clouds clear AND someone turns off the blast chiller.

 

Still, very doable...I speak from experience. 

 

I suggest three things to make your f/15 Alt/Az experience a little easier. 

 

1: A good RDF, well, even a crummy one.  Just spend a little more time calibrating your RDF before your session, get it "spot on" with a 6 to 8MM ocular.  Makes things a lot easier. 

2: Get or fabricate a longer arm for your mount's Alt movement (also helps in AZ), this will give your more delicate control when moving your scope in Alt/Az.  I did this with my Twilight Nano, which comes with a small lever and is prone to sharp and jerky movement.  Yes, a long arm lever may get in the way, or you may smack it now and again, but it's worth it in my opinion. 

3: Never use a zoom ocular with this set-up...!!! (Optional) wink.gif  

 

I digress: My Celestron Zoom had a home in my accessory case, until my ocular case expanded, thus moving my TV Barlow into the Celestron's once home.  It is now relegated to it's plastic case within it's original box, stashed away in a plastic bag with my MA oculars and plastic diagonals...

 

Seriously, I've been getting quite comfortable sans a powered mount, regardless of focal ratio.  Furthermore, star-hopping is quite exhilarating, even when the hop ain't going so well.

 

CS

 

jason


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#648 aeajr

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Posted 19 November 2019 - 08:23 AM

Funny story tonight...  My first opportunity to try out the new 31 Nagler with the 14".  I got everything setup and all that was left was to align the laser with the telescope.  I thought I'd use Polaris and the 22mm.  For some reason, I couldn't focus any stars - I couldn't see any stars.  I thought maybe the mirrors had gotten way out of alignment during the telescope move to the driveway, so I stuck the laser collimator in the focuser and saw the red return dot right on the secondary and a nice red glow on the collimator target.  I tried a couple more eyepieces, pulled out the Paracorr to make sure it was clear - still nothing.  Finally - after about 30 minutes of scratching my head - I pulled everything out of the focuser and looked down the tube.  It was completely black down there!  Oh darn it...  I left the bag on the secondary mirror.  It's truly been way too long since I've taken this scope out...

A learning moment that likely won't be forgotten soon.   

 

Glad that is all it was. 


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#649 aeajr

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Posted 19 November 2019 - 08:35 AM

Still, very doable...I speak from experience. 

 

I suggest three things to make your f/15 Alt/Az experience a little easier. 

 

1: A good RDF, well, even a crummy one.  Just spend a little more time calibrating your RDF before your session, get it "spot on" with a 6 to 8MM ocular.  Makes things a lot easier. 

2: Get or fabricate a longer arm for your mount's Alt movement (also helps in AZ), this will give your more delicate control when moving your scope in Alt/Az.  I did this with my Twilight Nano, which comes with a small lever and is prone to sharp and jerky movement.  Yes, a long arm lever may get in the way, or you may smack it now and again, but it's worth it in my opinion. 

3: Never use a zoom ocular with this set-up...!!! (Optional) wink.gif

 

I digress: My Celestron Zoom had a home in my accessory case, until my ocular case expanded, thus moving my TV Barlow into the Celestron's once home.  It is now relegated to it's plastic case within it's original box, stashed away in a plastic bag with my MA oculars and plastic diagonals...

 

Seriously, I've been getting quite comfortable sans a powered mount, regardless of focal ratio.  Furthermore, star-hopping is quite exhilarating, even when the hop ain't going so well.

 

CS

 

jason

I do plan to add an RDF, but thanks for the suggestion.

 

A longer arm?   Will keep that in mind. This one is pretty long.

 

Zoom?  We will see.  The zoom has been an integral part of my eyepiece set.   This is my eyepiece set for the ETX 125:

 

ETX 125 1900 mm FL, F15  Mak
Celestron   32 mm/50       59X  and  .84 degrees FOV    EP 2.1
Meade       26 mm/52       73X  and  .71 degrees             EP 1.7
ES              14 mm/82      135X and  .6 degrees               EP  .93
ES                8.8 mm/82   215X and .38X degrees            EP  .58
ES                6.7 mm/82   283X and  .28 degrees             EP  .44
Celestron    8-24 zoom     79X to 237X and .5 to .25 degrees
Baader        8-24 Zoom    79X to 237X and .6 to .28 degrees

 

My experience with this scope on the GoTo mount was that 237X was about as high as I care to take it on most targets, but I was often able to reach that mag.  But on a manual mount I may find that too high.  I will have to see. 

 

Of course I would need a clear sky. So far I have either had clouds, rain or sub freeing and high winds.   So I have not had it out.

 

Wednesday may be possible.


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#650 CosmoNewt

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Posted 20 November 2019 - 04:03 PM

It's been a slow couple of months.  Beginner error, I was NOT planning my sessions.  It is hard to read books and guides with a dim red light to find new targets and it became more cumbersome than enjoyable, so I stopped and went based on memory and visited some of my summer favorites and explored with binoculars. 

October 18th-

Double Stars:

I finally split the famous epsilon lyrae double double with the dob at 218 X.  Just barely discernible, one pairing left/right and the second pairing in an up/down orientation.  Really cool.  I previously attempted this with my AT102ED at 175X, I was able to see the pairings in a "8" shape making me believe it was just starting to split but I didn't have the eyepiece to make it possible. 

Gamma Andromedae-   This was recommended in this thread by one of you.  Absolutely beautiful, on par with Albireo.  I enjoy these colorful doubles, "Winter Albireo" is next, I will definitely look for some other double/multi pairings while observing in the city.   

Kembles cascade- never been better, just a spectacular asterism

Ring Nebula, Dumbbell nebula, Veil nebula, Andromeda galaxy and M33 Triangulum are always enjoyable.

 

Hopefully Friday into Saturday is clear and I can start gearing up for some winter sessions.  I invested in wool base layers and reusable heating pads to make it possible to take on the cold.

 

Clear Skies! 


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