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Neptune and Phi Aquarii

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#1 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 05 September 2019 - 12:57 AM

Much to my surprise, I was able to capture Neptune (magnitude 7.8) and Phi Aquarii (magnitude 4.2) afocally with my hand-held iPhone while observing them through the 17” f/15 classical Cassegrain at the Naylor Observatory. Neptune is passing very close to the class M1.5 III star tonight and will eventually come within a mere 13 arc seconds of it.
 

At 116x, the pair somewhat resembled the colorful binary star Albireo. I've included a screen capture from Stellarium (with north up) showing the two very different objects and a field star. Triton, Neptune's brightest satellite, is also shown to the immediate right of the planet. I was not able to see Triton (magnitude 13.5), however, even at 432x.

 

Dave Mitsky

Attached Thumbnails

  • Neptune & Phi Aquarii September 5.jpg
  • Neptune  Phi Aquarii September 5.PNG

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#2 Redbetter

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Posted 05 September 2019 - 01:11 AM

They were a nice color  contrast pair last night.  I didn't have any trouble with Triton even at moderate power, somewhat to my surprise with a bright star so near.  Seeing was mediocre and I was in dark sky, although I was losing about 0.2 MPSAS vs. a good night due to poor transparency before cloud finished it off.   I don't think I have ever failed to detect Triton in the 20" when targeting Neptune.   However, in very poor seeing Triton is not nearly as obvious and looks at least 1 magnitude dimmer than normal, perhaps as much as 2.



#3 Sleep Deprived

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Posted 05 September 2019 - 01:24 AM

Good job, Dave, but I don't see the correlation between your shot and the Stellarium screenshot.  In your shot, I see 2 specks - one being Phi Aquarii (?) and the other, fainter, one being Neptune, supposedly.  Could the smaller speck be the field star seen in the Stellarium view?  Is the field of view of the sky in your pic much smaller than the pic itself?  Is the timing of the Stellarium shot much different than the actual time of your shot?  Or is the field star much, MUCH fainter in real life compared to what is implied by the Stellarium view?



#4 greenstars3

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Posted 05 September 2019 - 02:20 AM

I was looking at this tonight and could not see Triton in a 180 Mewlon (no surprise with turbulence in the atmosphere ). Nice phone shot.

 

Robert  



#5 Redbetter

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Posted 05 September 2019 - 04:06 AM

I took another look tonight with the 80ED and then the 10" Dob in town to remind myself how Neptune's disk appears in smaller apertures.  Skies were about 18.9 MPSAS (red/orange transition) and about 4/10 Pickering in the 10". 

 

The strong color contrast was even noticeable in the 80, although there Neptune was more of a slate gray at 150x rather than a more obvious blue.  Even at 100x I could tell that Neptune was a tiny, barely resolved, soft disk.  At 150x and 200x there was some interesting comparison with the ~9 mag star to the south.   While Neptune's disk scaled larger in size, the comparions star had a noticeably smaller, more intense (but overall less bright) spurious disk.  Neptune was also more steadily seen compared to the fluctuations in brightness of the central spurious disk of the stars. 

 

The 10" made Neptune brighter and easier to discern as a somewhat sharper disk at 208x, more so at 250 and 313x.  The blue was more readily seen than in the small scope.  Triton was visible with certainty after a bit of study at 250x.  It was less readily seen at 208, equally well seen at 313x with greater separation, and more difficult at 417x due to seeing disruption impact on the faint moon.



#6 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 05 September 2019 - 11:15 AM

Good job, Dave, but I don't see the correlation between your shot and the Stellarium screenshot.  In your shot, I see 2 specks - one being Phi Aquarii (?) and the other, fainter, one being Neptune, supposedly.  Could the smaller speck be the field star seen in the Stellarium view?  Is the field of view of the sky in your pic much smaller than the pic itself?  Is the timing of the Stellarium shot much different than the actual time of your shot?  Or is the field star much, MUCH fainter in real life compared to what is implied by the Stellarium view?

North is NOT up in the iPhone shot.  I didn't have a way of rotating the image, which was inverted by the telescope, at the time.  The ninth-magnitude field star was either too faint to be recorded by the iPhone camera or was simply not picked up due to the angle at which I was holding the phone at the time.  



#7 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 05 September 2019 - 12:01 PM

Here's a rotated version of the  iPhone shot.

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  • Neptune and Phi Aquarii September 5 Processed.jpg

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#8 Sleep Deprived

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Posted 05 September 2019 - 01:54 PM

Thanks for setting me straight, Dave.  In your photo, the fainter 'star' has the distinctive Neptune blue.  No question about that.  I am a relative newbie (in adulthood, anyway) and one of my 'goals' (when the clouds clear - this summer has been horrendous here, seeing-wise) is to catch a glimpse of Neptune.  I have a new 5" ED scope.  I believe my goal isn't unreasonable, but we will have to wait and see.

 

Thanks for sharing!


Edited by Sleep Deprived, 05 September 2019 - 01:54 PM.


#9 GoFish

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Posted 06 September 2019 - 10:35 AM

I had the privilege of observing the phi Aqr - Neptune “pairing” last night. Really an amazing view.

 

I was using a SV102ED Access from my light polluted driveway, with streetlights and porch lights in all their glory. Best view was using SW UWA 5mm eyepiece at 140X. An ES 82 6.7mm at 105X was also nice. 

 

Two things stood out for me:

  • The color contrast between phi Aqr (creamy, pale yellow) and Neptune (blue) was impressive! I’d agree with Dave’s description of it being Albireo-like. 
  • Neptune was obviously a small disk (2.4” according to SkySafari) and not a point. It looked very calm and serene compared to the small diffraction pattern displayed by its brighter stellar companion. The planet was less affected by moments of poor seeing than was the star. (At mag 13.6 I did not see any sign of Triton, as expected). 

A little later I moved to Uranus. It was quite obvious that Uranus is both larger and brighter through the eyepiece than Neptune. The pale green dot was virtually all alone in the field of view, though, so not quite as visually interesting as Neptune. 


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#10 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 12:08 PM

I observed Neptune and Phi Aquarii again last night using the 17" classical Cassegrain at 259x.  The ice giant planet was now positioned to the west of the star.  Once again, I was unable to see Triton.

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  • Neptune & Phi Aquarii September 6.PNG

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#11 rjaszcz

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Posted 08 September 2019 - 11:11 AM

Nice shot. I was able to view Neptune last night using my 8 inch SCT at home in San Antonio, TX. First time I was able to view it. Completes my tour through the main planets of our solar system. I was very happy to see that little blue disc, I couldn't see Triton though. Cheers



#12 Rich (RLTYS)

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Posted 09 September 2019 - 09:02 AM

Took this image of Phi and Neptune with the Slooh remote observatory. Wind was a problem last night.

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  • Neptune and Phi Aqu T2wf 9-9-19r.png

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#13 azure1961p

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Posted 11 September 2019 - 11:09 AM

Nice Dave.

 

Pete



#14 GoFish

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Posted 11 September 2019 - 01:13 PM

During an EAA session Monday night I took a look at phi Aqr and Neptune. 

 

OTA:  6” f/5 Newt (Omni XLT 150)

Mount:  Orion Atlas, EQMOD control 

Camera:  ASI294MC @ -5C, gain 350

Scale: 1.27 “/px

Capture:  SharpCap Pro, image “saved with adjustments”, no post processing (converted png to jpg in PS).

 

First, the full frame, 43 frames @ 4 sec = 172 sec total. Neptune is the small blue dot to the right (west) and slightly below (south of) phi Aqr (phi Aqr is close to center of frame). North is up. 

neptune-Stack_43frames_172s.jpg

 

Next, a tight crop of same image showing phi Aqr (upper left) and Neptune and Triton (lower right)

neptune-cropped-Stack_43frames_172s.jpg

 


Edited by GoFish, 11 September 2019 - 05:01 PM.

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#15 CarrieTN

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Posted 11 September 2019 - 03:49 PM

 Very cool!  We just got our scope fixed and hope to view!!



#16 Tyson M

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Posted 11 September 2019 - 09:08 PM

I am going to attempt this observation tonight.  The moon will be fairly close to the pair though at certain times.



#17 Aquarellia

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Posted 12 September 2019 - 04:15 AM

Nice post!

 

Here my contribution - Date 20190907 21h30 UTC

Mewlon 250 CRS f10 EP 7mm (360X)

 

neptune20190907b_l.jpg

 

Sketch made on white paper at the EP with shape and color definitions.  The day after, on same paper, watercolor and inverted after scanning

 

Clear sky to you all

Michel


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#18 GoFish

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Posted 12 September 2019 - 08:59 AM

Nice post!

 

Here my contribution - Date 20190907 21h30 UTC

Mewlon 250 CRS f10 EP 7mm (360X)

 

attachicon.gif neptune20190907b_l.jpg

 

Sketch made on white paper at the EP with shape and color definitions.  The day after, on same paper, watercolor and inverted after scanning

 

Clear sky to you all

Michel

The eye sees this better than the camera. Nice. 


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#19 Tyson M

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Posted 12 September 2019 - 12:11 PM

I was too busy messing with my EQ mount and got clouded out at my dark site unexpectedly.  I missed this :(



#20 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 20 September 2019 - 01:16 PM

I observed Neptune again last night using the 17" f/15 classical Cassegrain at the Naylor Observatory at 116 and 259x.  Neptune was farther from the fourth-magnitude star Phi Aquarii than the last time that I had observed it but both objects were still within the 26 arc minute field of view of a 56mm Meade Super Plössl (116x).

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#21 Tyson M

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Posted 22 September 2019 - 08:27 PM

I observed Neptune on Sept 17, 2019.  First time for me! 

 

From the backyard the seeing let me push the magnification to 250x, which is rare for me.  Still small image scale, but a perfect little blue marble in the 8" mak.  




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