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Neptune near Phi Aquarii

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#1 tchandler

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Posted 23 August 2019 - 01:13 PM

For the next few weeks, Neptune will be close to the faint, but naked eye (4th mag.) star Phi Aquarii. 

In fact, on September 6, the two will be less than 20” apart. 

 

Phi makes a handy guidepost for anyone who’s never before observed the remote corner of the solar system. 

 

Note - The asterism known as the Y of Aquarius is a good guidepost to finding Phi! 

 

Good luck! 


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#2 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 23 August 2019 - 09:11 PM

Here's part of the section on Neptune from the upcoming September Celestial Calendar:

Neptune is located seven arc minutes east of the fourth-magnitude star Phi Aquarii on the first day of September. By September 5th, the ice giant planet lies just 42 arc seconds east of that star. As the day begins on September 6th, it is a mere 13 arc seconds from Phi. Neptune subtends just 2.4 arc seconds, shines at magnitude +7.8, and lies at a distance of 4.0 light hours when it reaches opposition on September 10th. At that time, it is six arc minutes west of Phi Aquarii. As the month ends, Neptune is positioned 40 arc minutes from the star.

 

Dave Mitsky



#3 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 24 August 2019 - 11:25 AM

The Y-shaped asterism in Aquarius, the Water Bearer, is known as the Water Jar or the Urn.



#4 tchandler

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Posted 26 August 2019 - 10:37 AM

Thanks for the addendums Dave.

 

At Starfest this past weekend, we used a 6” APM refractor and 24” f/3.9 reflector to observe Neptune’s pale bluish disk. About six planet diameters below Neptune was Triton. Is was a challenge, but with a 6 mm EP (with the reflector) the little moon could be seen directly. A first for me!! Triton is a dim bulb at mag. +13.6. 

 

Also took in Uranus, Jupiter and Saturn. 


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#5 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 27 August 2019 - 02:11 PM

I took a peek at Neptune at 170 and 259x on Sunday night using the 17" f/15 classical Cassegrain at the Naylor Observatory.  As should be expected, the planet's disk was still rather small even at 259x.  The planet exhibited its characteristic bluish hue.  The transparency was mediocre but the seeing was fairly good.  I also observed Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus, along with a number of DSOs.  

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#6 tchandler

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Posted 28 August 2019 - 05:55 PM

That’s quite a piece of hardware, Dave. Nice. 17” seems an unusual dimension. 

Any hint of Triton? 



#7 Joe Eiers

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Posted 29 August 2019 - 05:52 AM

 I also enjoyed looking at Neptune with it's nicely colored disk in my C11 GPS.  My seeing was pretty good, sure seemed like I could see atmospheric dimming... Is that possible?  It was fun to have a bright star nearby.

   Joe


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