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Newbies - what did you see in the sky last night? Come say hello...

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#1701 Katharine

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Posted 26 July 2021 - 01:21 AM

Jupiter and Saturn tonight!  I am up too late (again) (insert big surprise here) and had to go outside for something... saw bright moon through the trees.  What's that other bright thing I glimpse?  Ah, Jupiter!  Well, I had to go look.

 

View is not easy that way with the tall trees on the edge of the yard.  So, I was in the parking lot, next to the dumpsters, figuring this late at night nobody was probably going to drive in.  Jupiter was a definite disc!  Though no color bands.  Saw Callisto and that was it.  And found Saturn after a bit of sky sweeping (in my skies I don't star hop, I tree hop...).  It was definitely elliptical in shape!  And.. and... I'm certain I saw the rings, as in, the gap between rings and planet!  It was exciting.  I had a hard time pulling the scope off that teeny tiny oval.  Definitely need to get that 15mm EP fixed up because to try for higher magnification would've been awesome.

 

(I dunno.  Is this the time to consider a .965-to-1.25 adapter diagonal and just switch up to 1.25" EPs rather than replacing the broken .965s I have?)

 

ETA: I forgot I have a Barlow.  foreheadslap.gif  Well, I hate to say this, but I'm not going back out...


Edited by Katharine, 26 July 2021 - 01:24 AM.

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#1702 therealdmt

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Posted 26 July 2021 - 01:33 AM

Well…… last night was a special night. The (almost) full Moon, was bright orange just above the horizon with, thanks to Stellarium, Jupiter and Saturn both able to view.

Out came the Oberwerk 15x70 Deluxe binoculars and ….. wow, we couldn’t believe what we could see.

Jupiter and four of its moons, Io, Ganymede, Europa and Callisto. Although I couldn’t get Jupiter in sharp focus, the moons were beautifully sharp and clear. Unbelievable.

Over to Saturn…… again I couldn’t just get it in sharp focus, we could see the ovality of the rings, without doubt.
First time we’ve seen this and it was so exciting. Started viewing at 2300hrs and put the binos  away at 0030hrs.

I think Santa will be bringing a telescope…….

Fingers crossed for another clear sky tonight.

That’s exactly how I got hooked! Fun stuff, eh

 

Congrats on the special night



#1703 CarolinaBanker

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Posted 26 July 2021 - 04:55 PM

I went out last night and saw Saturn. I didn’t feel like putting my Barlow on so views were at 92x or less, but I saw it, I saw the rings and I was amazed. It looked so small, but it was so much more satisfying then seeing photos.


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#1704 laurelg9

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Posted 27 July 2021 - 03:58 PM

I took my 102 out last night for the first time in over a month.  Light pollution and smoke from wildfires made it hard seeing, but I could see the double double, Albireo, the Coat Hanger. I specifically wanted to see the Dumbbell Nebula, and I was certain I was in the right spot but, man, all it was, was the faintest of smudge in a vague football shape, if in fact that was it at all.  Going to try again tonight.  


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#1705 river-z

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Posted 28 July 2021 - 02:16 AM

Took the Dob out in the backyard for the first time in a while.  Conditions looked like they might be good and sure enough it was great.  Started with some favorite double stars - Double Double, Izar, Albireo.  All good.  Then turned to a list I made of 10 or so doubles in Ophiuchus and they were good too.  The best one was 36 Ophiuchus, which is a beautiful gold pair.  Also managed to split a pair at 0.8 arc seconds which is really tight.  The seeing was exceptional.

 

All that, though, was a warmup for the planets.  Saturn and Jupiter were stunning.  Cassini division was sharp.  Could see 4 of Saturns planets.  Jupiter was streaky/creamy with its stripes and storms.  Red spot visible.  Just amazing.  I went back and forth a few times at 250x.  What a great night.  


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#1706 dave253

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Posted 28 July 2021 - 07:43 AM

I was panning through Scorp and Sag. The bug nebula, NGC6302, is my new favourite object! 


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#1707 kit.kenneth

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Posted 30 July 2021 - 03:32 PM

Guess this is my first post and nice to meet you all!  I am still really new to astronomy and still working through the “Turn Left at Orion,” and last night I was out for a little bit with a small refractor and could split:

 

Mesarthim

Albireo

Gamma Delphini

Delta Lyre

 

But couldn’t split the double-double.  I wonder if a longer focal length would help?

 

I also caught my first Messier object, M31 (Andromeda Galaxy).  Granted it was 60% moon so probably dimmer and more fuzzy than normal.  But boy, it’s hard to explain the excitement seeing that for the first time.  I might have seen the Pleiades for the first time but the cloud rolled in before I could verify.


Edited by kit.kenneth, 30 July 2021 - 04:24 PM.

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#1708 Big_Eight

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Posted 30 July 2021 - 04:35 PM

On the night of the 25th in to the morning of the 26th of July was a memorable one for me.

I used my phone adapter for the first time and got some great (to me) shots of the moon's lunar surface much better than I anticipated.

I then swung my scope up to take a glance at Albireo in Cygnus. That double star never gets old!

I then viewed Saturn and Jupiter as the planet viewing was decent. I was able to make out Saturn's casini division and the view was crisp.

I then turned my attention to Jupiter. The bands of Jupiter popped out every so often during those moments of good seeing and it was beautiful.

I then noticed that one of the moons appeared be getting close to Jupiter. A few minutes later I noticed a round dark spot appear on Jupiters surface. This spot started slowly moving across the face of the planet. At that moment I realized I was witnessing the transit of one of Jupiter's moons and sat and observed watching the shadow slowly track across the planet's surface. This is the first time I had ever experienced this and it was breath taking seeing it for the first time. I couldn't believe how well I could see the shadow.

I ran in to the house and looked at my astronomy magazine and sure enough the moon Io was transiting that night.

My scope is a Starblast 6i with a 150mm primary and a f5 focal ratio.

The best seeing that night was at 85x with my 8.8mm ES 82° eyepiece and exit pupil of 1.8mm. The views were great!

I tried it with a Barlow at 170x but the views were just a lot better at 85x.

Anyway I wanted to share my experience I will definitely be paying a lot more attention to Jupiter and when it's moons are expected to transit across its face. All of this from my light polluted back yard.

Edited by Big_Eight, 30 July 2021 - 05:14 PM.

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#1709 river-z

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Posted 30 July 2021 - 06:20 PM

Guess this is my first post and nice to meet you all!  I am still really new to astronomy and still working through the “Turn Left at Orion,” and last night I was out for a little bit with a small refractor and could split:

 

Mesarthim

Albireo

Gamma Delphini

Delta Lyre

 

But couldn’t split the double-double.  I wonder if a longer focal length would help?

 

I also caught my first Messier object, M31 (Andromeda Galaxy).  Granted it was 60% moon so probably dimmer and more fuzzy than normal.  But boy, it’s hard to explain the excitement seeing that for the first time.  I might have seen the Pleiades for the first time but the cloud rolled in before I could verify.

Welcome and well done finding Andromeda and those doubles.  Doubles are great fun.  The double-double is a tough one in small refractor, though with good seeing it will be possible.  Seeing quality depends on how still the air is in the column of sky above you and can change from night to night and even from minute to minute.  Sometimes I'll keep the scope on a double hoping for a few moments of good seeing if I'm close to getting a split.

 

For reference, Gamma Delphini has about 9 arc seconds between the two stars.  The pairs in the double double are about 2 arc seconds apart.  I find that taking a quick look at the double double is a useful way to start a session because you can tell pretty quickly what kind of seeing you're dealing with that night, based on how well you can see the pairs.  

 

Clear skies!


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#1710 jpengstrom

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Posted 31 July 2021 - 12:54 AM

Seeing as it's the first decent night in the last several weeks - smoke and humidity have made the transparency very poor and made it hard to see anything more than the magnitude 1 stars - I started with Saturn and Jupiter and then went in search of M13.  After getting Zeta Herculis in my Quickfinder, then in my finder scope, then in my eyepiece (very slight movements for all of those since I had aligned them earlier in the night) I moved over towards Eta Herculis and thought I noticed the fuzzy blob in my finder.  A quick check of the eyepiece revealed M13!  I know it's an easy target to find, but it still was rewarding to find it by hopping to it.  After spending about 10 minutes marveling at it in my eyepiece I attached my camera and am now in the process of collecting data on M13.  A very rewarding evening!


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#1711 Dobs O Fun

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Posted 31 July 2021 - 01:16 AM

I posted in another forum....but tonight was my first with M13. Then clouds and haze shut me down. :(
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#1712 jpengstrom

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Posted 31 July 2021 - 01:24 AM

I posted in another forum....but tonight was my first with M13. Then clouds and haze shut me down. frown.gif

Sorry about the clouds and haze.  I've been there quite a bit over the last couple weeks. I hope you get some clear skies soon.


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#1713 radiofm74

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Posted 31 July 2021 - 05:51 AM

I'm still at my rural location and having some good time under the stars. Three nights ago I had a little "star party" with my kids and a friend of theirs. We reviewed some great classics and loved it: M8, M20 and M24 (in binos… they were too low for my telescope), then beautiful M17 and M16, M11. Every once in a while we'd look at the sky in amazement, with the Milky Way above us and all its star clouds clearly visible naked eye. When the kids had enough, I observed the Western and Eastern Veils in Cygnus. Both were very clearly visible and two of the most beautiful DSOs I've laid eyes on. I look forward to observing the Veil again! Then my younger kid came around again and we observed magnificent M13 together and the planets (they've been a favorite, although on that night seeing was not super). 

 

Two nights ago I learned again that impatience achieves nothing under the stars. I got out later than I wished, set up in haste, did not bother to screen the lights out well, to remove the horrid cigarette butts of my in-laws… I tried for tough objects (M108, M109, M97), failed, got nervous… the saving grace was to turn to easier objects: I sketched M52 and M103 and enjoyed all of their neighbors. M7789 (Caroline's Rose) and M663 (Lawnmower) were beautiful and IMHO more beautiful even than the Messiers.

 

Yesterday I spent a good part of my day re-planning in light of what I can and cannot see from my balcony, and took all the necessary time to set-up. It was a delightful evening. I managed to sketch M97 – not much detail there, but a very clear "blob" of light with an OIII filter. Tried to spot elusive M109 and sensed something there. Then went for faraway Draco galaxies: NGC6503 (Lost in Space galaxy), M102/NGC5866 (Spindle) and nearby NGC5907 (Splinter Galaxy). They're all beautiful, but the Splinter galaxy is the most beautiful of the three. It's not an "easy edge-on" as stated in the Finest NGC observing program, not in my book. It's rather faint but it's entrancing: a razor-thin, vertical shard of light from millions of light years away. Seeing Cassiopeia and Andromeda quite high, I ended the session with the Double Cluster and Andromeda Galaxy & Co – beautiful, and my main object for one of the coming nights. A peek at the rising moon, and I was off to bed – not too late, and happy.


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#1714 jiblet65

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Posted 31 July 2021 - 09:50 AM

Guess this is my first post and nice to meet you all!  I am still really new to astronomy and still working through the “Turn Left at Orion,” and last night I was out for a little bit with a small refractor and could split:

 

Mesarthim

Albireo

Gamma Delphini

Delta Lyre

 

But couldn’t split the double-double.  I wonder if a longer focal length would help?

 

I also caught my first Messier object, M31 (Andromeda Galaxy).  Granted it was 60% moon so probably dimmer and more fuzzy than normal.  But boy, it’s hard to explain the excitement seeing that for the first time.  I might have seen the Pleiades for the first time but the cloud rolled in before I could verify.

Cor Caroli is another easy double to find. While you're there check out Chara. It's supposed to look like what our very own Sun looks like if an observer somewhere out there were observing it. Also when you get a chance to look at the Pleiades look at them with your binos. To me it's one of the star clusters that looks better in binos. Same with the Hyades cluster. So last evening I could see Venus blazing to the west and set up the Meade 395. I was hoping to get a shot at Saturn but it was still too low. My wife and I looked at Albireo and the Coathanger cluster. In that short amount of time I was drenched in sweat and the bugs were starting to attack my wife which means I was next. Have I mentioned I can't wait for fall?
 


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#1715 therealdmt

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Posted 31 July 2021 - 09:51 PM

July was saved by the bell as I was able to get my second at least halfway decent session of the month in starting in literally the last hour (11:00 p.m., July 31). I kept going until 2:30 a.m., so hopefully that constitutes a more promising start to August! One decent session in June, one decent session in July (tonight) and one good session in July, plus getting a few basically crappy minutes in two or three other times comprise the entirety of my last two months’ observing. Man, things had been really rolling back in early-to-mid spring… Oh well.  When I started out last fall the conditions were typically good, especially for planetary (there was often a high, thin haze, but that can actually be good for the bright planets), so I’m looking forward to better days (err… nights) ahead.

 

After an abortive early session that had to be abandoned due to clouds and mosquitos, I went back out at 11:00 and things started unexpectedly clearing up. Very humid and transparency was poor, but I got some good views in of Saturn and particularly Jupiter. With Saturn, there was nice contrast in the cloud bands, some of my best views ever for that, but I could only continually see Titan among the moons, with occasional hints of Rhea. The Cassini division was almost always visible but I couldn’t make out much of the planet’s shadow on the rings, perhaps just due to the angle of illumination? With Jupiter, like Big Eight above, I caught Io’s transit and shadow transit. I didn’t follow it continuously for long (and I couldn’t see it when I came back later), but as Io began its transit, I was able to clearly see the moon’s disk as it crossed in front of Jupiter — a first for me. Pretty cool! I’d been wanting to see that - had never been able to make out any of the moons in front of the planet before. I also had my best/clearest view of the Great Red Spot ever. I don’t think it was so much the greatest night for seeing as it is that I’m just getting a bit more experienced and so perceiving details I couldn’t make out before.

 

Got a few other firsts in, too. I found and split Achird in Cassiopeia for the first time. A bright white main star (apparently quite like our own Sun) with a dimmer, dull dark-red companion, a color combination I hadn’t seen before. And I got one new Messier object, finally getting M103, also in Cassiopeia. Spent a lot of time on that one, verifying that it was in fact the intended target. Briefly tried for M52 behind Cassiopeia but it’s a bit of a star hop and I can see I’ll have to be better prepared for it than I was in that impromptu attempt. The last personal first was visiting the double Mesarthim in Ares, which is comprised of two similar white stars.

 

Revisited Albireo, M11 (not a good view, unfortunately, due to poor conditions), M2, M31, Almach and did my customary wasting of a half hour trying to see the Triangulum Galaxy M33 (I’ll get you someday!).

 

Wrapped up with some dramatic views along the terminator of the half-lit Moon, which started to come up over the trees around 1:30. 
 

As I was packing up, I saw a new bright star rising over the trees to the northeast. Hmm, what’s that one? Capella. Wow, welcome back. The wheel in the sky keeps on turning…


Edited by therealdmt, 01 August 2021 - 09:31 AM.

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#1716 therealdmt

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Posted 31 July 2021 - 10:10 PM

I did not bother…to remove the horrid cigarette butts of my in-laws…

lol.gif

 

 

Your star party sounds great. So cool that you can share astronomy with your kids. Quite a list of clusters and galaxies you’re getting in, too. The Milky Way must be quite the sight out there


Edited by therealdmt, 31 July 2021 - 10:13 PM.

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#1717 kit.kenneth

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Posted 01 August 2021 - 12:31 PM

Welcome and well done finding Andromeda and those doubles.  Doubles are great fun.  The double-double is a tough one in small refractor, though with good seeing it will be possible.  Seeing quality depends on how still the air is in the column of sky above you and can change from night to night and even from minute to minute.  Sometimes I'll keep the scope on a double hoping for a few moments of good seeing if I'm close to getting a split.

 

For reference, Gamma Delphini has about 9 arc seconds between the two stars.  The pairs in the double double are about 2 arc seconds apart.  I find that taking a quick look at the double double is a useful way to start a session because you can tell pretty quickly what kind of seeing you're dealing with that night, based on how well you can see the pairs.  

 

Clear skies!

 

Thank you for the welcome and for the tip.  I haven’t thought of setting up known standards to gauge seeing condition so that’s a good tip.

 

It was slightly cloudy last night so I didn’t get to try that out, and I decided to observe with a pair of 10x binoculars instead.  In between cloud cover, some of the highlights I was able to observe:

 

Alpha Persei cluster
M7
M24
Algedi

 

I find that the wide-field of the binoculars was really helpful for me to trace the constellations and learn the sky.  But the 32mm diameter of the binoculars seemed to limit how much color I could perceive (i.e. Colors of Albireo didn’t stand out comparing to my 60mm refractor).  I am still constantly amazed at how much I could see even with the heavy light-pollution sky (Bortle 8).


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#1718 radiofm74

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 09:44 AM

Yesterday I had the gear-related fright of my life. In the morning I woke up to a howling wind. The previous night I had left my scope under a cover outside… in a sheltered spot but still. I rushed to see what was what, and found it upside down! My heart skipped a beat as I uncovered it, but thankfully nothing was broken. A cracked mirror or corrector plate would effectively have ended my observing season… Whew! I might have to tweak collimation a little, but the lesson might have been a lot sharper and has been well-learned. "Celestino" now resides safely in the garage for the night.

 

After the big fright, I had a good night. Now that the moon is out of the way (sorry, luna!) it's a DSO-fest.

 

First I was in Cygnus:  

- Cygnus Loop again! I'm starting to make out the brighter sections of Pickering's Triangle. The two Veils enclosing it are just about the most beautiful objects I've seen in the sky, and not terribly difficult with a good filter. My sky is good, but not one of the more experienced members around this forum would call it anything special, and yet the two Veils stand out very well. 

- First look at NGC7000, the North American Nebula: fainter, a little more amorphous, but with some striking features… for a first approach: try to dark adapt as best as you can (one look at a red screen and the Nebula was gone for several minutes!), put on your narrowband filter, center on Xi Cyg and go westwards slowly. You'll see the "coasts" pretty well, especially "Florida". I'd love to see it with a larger Field of View, but it's very nice taking it in sections all the same.

- as I was in Cygnus I visited again NGC6940 (Mothras cluster) and confirm that it's a choice open cluster, worthy of Messier's list, both with a telescope and binoculars. 

 

After Cygnus, I've been around Vulpecula and Sagitta (M71, so nice, and interesting NGC6802), then have explored Pegasus already high in my Eastern sky. The highlight was a first peek at M2 and M15, which I found to be very bright and beautiful both – intense cores and well-resolved crowns of stars. There's many Fall Messiers that are ready for logging and sketching!

 

The Milky Way must be quite the sight out there

At least as beautiful as the many objects I can see with the telescope, and the more I look the more detail I can see. It's a big change from the city!

 

About M33: you'll get it, I'm sure! From my notes, I remember it as large, faint and rather featureless. This time of the year, you need to wait for it to go sufficiently high, especially if you're under urban or suburban skies.


Edited by radiofm74, 02 August 2021 - 11:55 AM.

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#1719 therealdmt

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Posted 03 August 2021 - 04:26 AM

I had a quick but rewarding session on Sunday night. It had been raining on and off a bit during the day and early evening, but it's been cumulus clouds with scattered patches of blue (later starry) sky mixed in. Then the wife called me on her way home that evening to come meet her at the shore because the sky looked "weird" in that direction. As I could have guessed, it was a bunch of ships with LED lighting lighting up the underside of the irregular cloud deck. Then on the way home, we saw a laser light show light up the sky in the other direction, lol. Well, it was cloudy and semi-raining, so it was just water off a duck's back, so to speak. I'm good (Om mani padme hum, om mani padme hum...), really.

 

Well, I did notice Tarazed, Altair, Alshain through a gap in the clouds, so I staged my scope in the foyer so it'd be ready if a pre-bedtime check showed promise. Conditions were looking a bit better around 11:00 with Jupiter and Saturn occasionally showing, and then for last check at 11:40 there were Jupiter and Saturn and the whole surrounding area in the clear, over the deck to the east. Cool. 

 

Brought my stuff out onto the wet, streetlight-lit deck, set up so I was standing in a dark corner and had a go at the two planets. Seeing wasn't great and the views were okay but a bit substandard. However, the air was so clean from the rain that I could see more stars than usual -- in fact, I could even see many of the stars of Aquarius and Capricornus, which is definitely better than usual. Well Capricorn was already moving behind the house and I'd have to reposition out into the lit part of the deck to have much of a go at the Sagittarius-ward side of it, plus my eyes weren't too dark adapted yet to try for M72/M73 which I wasn't able to get on my one previous attempt, but I saw that M30, below and in between Jupiter and Saturn on the Aquarius side of the constellation was available, clear of the house, clear of clouds and in a gap in the trees.

 

Did the star hop and found M30. Funny thing was, somehow I'd had it in my head that this new-to-me object was supposed to be an open cluster. Kept looking and looking at it. I mean, I knew I wasn't too dark adapted, but that sure looks like a glob... Eventually I teased a few stars into hints of resolution. After I got back inside I read up on it and sure enough, it was glob lol.gif Kinda funny - thought I was going crazy there. Turns out it's in retrograde motion around the Milky Way, likely captured from another galaxy. I dunno why, but I like this one. For one, it was on my little list of Messier objects that, due to low elevation, local light pollution and the object not being very bright, I might not be able to see without traveling off the island we live on. The sky down that low is almost completely starless to the naked eye, a brownish-gray wash, and not much better through the scope. But conditions were good and I was able to add another Messier (M30) to my list before the clouds moved in.

 

Finished up by revisiting the double Achird I'd first seen the night before. Super easy to get back to, and very enjoyable as it's notably different than the other double star pairings I've seen. I'd tried for it (after reading about it on this thread) a few times last winter but couldn't find it because I was having trouble making sense of Cassiopeia in the limited FOV of my finderscope. Now though, with Cassiopeia finally back in position and myself more experienced, it was quite straight forward.

 

And then the view dimmed. Looked up and the sky was a uniform gray. Party's over, time for bed, tomorrow's another day. A good if quick night though and a good weekend overall with two new Messier's (M103 the night before and now M30), a new double seen twice and, again from Saturday, my first ever view of Io transiting and my best ever view of the Great Red Spot.  


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#1720 therealdmt

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Posted 03 August 2021 - 11:09 AM

Yesterday I had the gear-related fright of my life. In the morning I woke up to a howling wind. The previous night I had left my scope under a cover outside… in a sheltered spot but still. I rushed to see what was what, and found it upside down! My heart skipped a beat as I uncovered it, but thankfully nothing was broken. A cracked mirror or corrector plate would effectively have ended my observing season… Whew! I might have to tweak collimation a little, but the lesson might have been a lot sharper and has been well-learned. "Celestino" now resides safely in the garage for the night.

OMG 


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#1721 radiofm74

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Posted 03 August 2021 - 11:40 AM

I had a quick but rewarding session on Sunday night. It had been raining on and off a bit during the day and early evening, but it's been cumulus clouds with scattered patches of blue (later starry) sky mixed in. Then the wife called me on her way home that evening to come meet her at the shore because the sky looked "weird" in that direction. As I could have guessed, it was a bunch of ships with LED lighting lighting up the underside of the irregular cloud deck. Then on the way home, we saw a laser light show light up the sky in the other direction, lol. Well, it was cloudy and semi-raining, so it was just water off a duck's back, so to speak. I'm good (Om mani padme hum, om mani padme hum...), really.

 

Well, I did notice Tarazed, Altair, Alshain through a gap in the clouds, so I staged my scope in the foyer so it'd be ready if a pre-bedtime check showed promise. Conditions were looking a bit better around 11:00 with Jupiter and Saturn occasionally showing, and then for last check at 11:40 there were Jupiter and Saturn and the whole surrounding area in the clear, over the deck to the east. Cool. 

 

Brought my stuff out onto the wet, streetlight-lit deck, set up so I was standing in a dark corner and had a go at the two planets. Seeing wasn't great and the views were okay but a bit substandard. However, the air was so clean from the rain that I could see more stars than usual -- in fact, I could even see many of the stars of Aquarius and Capricornus, which is definitely better than usual. Well Capricorn was already moving behind the house and I'd have to reposition out into the lit part of the deck to have much of a go at the Sagittarius-ward side of it, plus my eyes weren't too dark adapted yet to try for M72/M73 which I wasn't able to get on my one previous attempt, but I saw that M30, below and in between Jupiter and Saturn on the Aquarius side of the constellation was available, clear of the house, clear of clouds and in a gap in the trees.

 

Did the star hop and found M30. Funny thing was, somehow I'd had it in my head that this new-to-me object was supposed to be an open cluster. Kept looking and looking at it. I mean, I knew I wasn't too dark adapted, but that sure looks like a glob... Eventually I teased a few stars into hints of resolution. After I got back inside I read up on it and sure enough, it was glob lol.gif Kinda funny - thought I was going crazy there. Turns out it's in retrograde motion around the Milky Way, likely captured from another galaxy. I dunno why, but I like this one. For one, it was on my little list of Messier objects that, due to low elevation, local light pollution and the object not being very bright, I might not be able to see without traveling off the island we live on. The sky down that low is almost completely starless to the naked eye, a brownish-gray wash, and not much better through the scope. But conditions were good and I was able to add another Messier (M30) to my list before the clouds moved in.

 

Finished up by revisiting the double Achird I'd first seen the night before. Super easy to get back to, and very enjoyable as it's notably different than the other double star pairings I've seen. I'd tried for it (after reading about it on this thread) a few times last winter but couldn't find it because I was having trouble making sense of Cassiopeia in the limited FOV of my finderscope. Now though, with Cassiopeia finally back in position and myself more experienced, it was quite straight forward.

 

And then the view dimmed. Looked up and the sky was a uniform gray. Party's over, time for bed, tomorrow's another day. A good if quick night though and a good weekend overall with two new Messier's (M103 the night before and now M30), a new double seen twice and, again from Saturday, my first ever view of Io transiting and my best ever view of the Great Red Spot.  

 

A night with a new Messier is a good night in my book waytogo.gif . And I'm on the hunt for the GRS, too… seeing has been pretty bad around here but for the sake of decency I will not complain! Yesterday I had a long observing and sketching session with Andromeda and its satellites. What an amazing object (… said the mote of dust to the 150'000 LY-spanning galaxy lol.gif )! There are still details to see in there… I plan to return to it over and over again in coming months.

 

If you're into nice doubles at the moment, I just discovered one: Xi Cephei/Kurhah. Easy to spot: mag 4… naked eye on the best nights in my city sky and in any case right in the middle of Cepheus' "square". Goldilocks double: tight enough to be fun, easy enough to be an enjoyable ride. White primary with very marked orange companion. it has entered my favorites list along with other recent Cepheus discoveries (lovely triple Struve2816, the beautiful Garnet Star nearby…).  

 

Before I forget. For anyone interested in the North American nebula, read this: https://skyandtelesc...DSW_Oct2004.pdf . It should make my blundering abound a lot more structured next time I observe it, and it's also encouraging reading. If you have a good filter, the Nebula is not impossible under skies with moderate light pollution, says the author. But to anyone venturing in Cygnus for nebulae, I'd suggest too first observe the Veil(s)…

 

OMG 

My very own strangled words when I saw my baby legs up and teeth in the ground, figuratively speaking! lol.gif

 

The good side: I was finally forced to learn checking and adjusting collimation on my SCT. "Measure twice, cut once" seems to be the golden rule in the matter. "Le mieux est l'ennemi du bien" another important by-word!


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#1722 river-z

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Posted 04 August 2021 - 03:09 AM

Nice night in the yard splitting doubles in Hercules.  Best one was Raselgathi (stf 2140).  It has an orange primary and greenish secondary.  The star isn't actually green but the contrast effect makes it look that way.  It's fun to see what color it looks like to you.

 

My double star star hop took me close to a planetary nebula I'd never seen (NGC 6572) so I went over and found it.  It was an intense ball of fuzzy light and fun to zoom the heck out of it (500x) and try the filters (which worked). 


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#1723 therealdmt

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Posted 04 August 2021 - 03:42 AM

A night with a new Messier is a good night in my book waytogo.gif . And I'm on the hunt for the GRS, too… seeing has been pretty bad around here but for the sake of decency I will not complain! Yesterday I had a long observing and sketching session with Andromeda and its satellites. What an amazing object (… said the mote of dust to the 150'000 LY-spanning galaxy lol.gif )! There are still details to see in there… I plan to return to it over and over again in coming months.

If you're into nice doubles at the moment, I just discovered one: Xi Cephei/Kurhah. Easy to spot: mag 4… naked eye on the best nights in my city sky and in any case right in the middle of Cepheus' "square". Goldilocks double: tight enough to be fun, easy enough to be an enjoyable ride. White primary with very marked orange companion. it has entered my favorites list along with other recent Cepheus discoveries (lovely triple Struve2816, the beautiful Garnet Star nearby…).

Before I forget. For anyone interested in the North American nebula, read this: https://skyandtelesc...DSW_Oct2004.pdf . It should make my blundering abound a lot more structured next time I observe it, and it's also encouraging reading. If you have a good filter, the Nebula is not impossible under skies with moderate light pollution, says the author. But to anyone venturing in Cygnus for nebulae, I'd suggest too first observe the Veil(s)…

My very own strangled words when I saw my baby legs up and teeth in the ground, figuratively speaking! lol.gif

The good side: I was finally forced to learn checking and adjusting collimation on my SCT. "Measure twice, cut once" seems to be the golden rule in the matter. "Le mieux est l'ennemi du bien" another important by-word!

Kurhah just added to my list of doubles to check out. That was weird — I was literally going back and forth between two star maps (one a PDF chart, the other a phone app) which depict the constellations differently from each other, trying to figure out how Kurhah (which I’d just noticed on one of them and had never heard of before) was depicted on each in relation to the outline stars. I’d run into that name while trying to plan my star hop for M52 which I hadn’t found in a quick impromptu attempt this past weekend. And then right immediately after that I read your post recommending Kurhah…

Well, hopefully I’ll know that whole area much better shortly.

Enjoy M31; that’s one of my favorites, too. I’m always trying to tease some detail out of it and seeing if I can see M32 and M110, too.

"Le mieux est l'ennemi du bien" - the story of my life lol.gif ‘Cept now in French! grin.gif

Glad to hear your scope survived the fall ( shocked.gif ) and is back in working order. I’ve almost dropped my scope twice in the last two weeks in the process of tilting the scope/tripod to retract the tripod legs whilst on a wet wooden deck. That kinda thing’ll wake a guy up quick, that’s for sure

Nice night in the yard splitting doubles in Hercules. Best one was Raselgathi (stf 2140). It has an orange primary and greenish secondary. The star isn't actually green but the contrast effect makes it look that way. It's fun to see what color it looks like to you.

My double star star hop took me close to a planetary nebula I'd never seen (NGC 6572) so I went over and found it. It was an intense ball of fuzzy light and fun to zoom the heck out of it (500x) and try the filters (which worked).

Raselgathi just added to my list of doubles to check out. I’ve read people mention it a few times now, so it must be a pretty good one!

What filters did you use on that planetary nebula? OIII? Pretty cool that you just ran into it

Edited by therealdmt, 04 August 2021 - 05:14 AM.

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#1724 radiofm74

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Posted 04 August 2021 - 07:36 AM

Rasalgheti is wonderful, one of my all-time favorite multiple stars. Challenging enough – tight and asymmetrical – with beautiful colors. FWIW I see the secondary as pale blue, and the star reminds me of Izar, another one of my absolute favorites.

 

@RealDMT: M110 is extremely difficult in a bright sky, but M32 should show well. It may well be the most concentrated, high-surface-brightness galaxy I know and is the Messier galaxy with the highest average surface brightness after el Sombrero. If you see M31, chances are you also see M32. The actual problem is to tell it apart from field stars at very low power. Next time you look at M31, look for a trio of relatively bright "stars" to the SW of M31's core. The southernmost "star" is M32. It will look a little out-of-focus but will clearly show its galactic nature only if you push magnification a little. Good luck with it!


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#1725 therealdmt

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Posted 04 August 2021 - 08:18 AM

@RealDMT: M110 is extremely difficult in a bright sky, but M32 should show well. It may well be the most concentrated, high-surface-brightness galaxy I know and is the Messier galaxy with the highest average surface brightness after el Sombrero. If you see M31, chances are you also see M32. The actual problem is to tell it apart from field stars at very low power. Next time you look at M31, look for a trio of relatively bright "stars" to the SW of M31's core. The southernmost "star" is M32. It will look a little out-of-focus but will clearly show its galactic nature only if you push magnification a little. Good luck with it!

I should have said, I’ve gotten both.
My experience with M32 is as you describe. It’s rare that I notice it as a galaxy more than just star-like, but there have been a few times (4 or 5?) where it’s much more of a tight, somewhat nebulous ball. I always check and didn’t see it as a ball this past weekend. Meanwhile, I’ve seen M110 twice. The first time was last year in the late fall, the very first time I particularly looked for it! And then I saw M110 again a few weeks ago, during my one good night in July. Really stood out (relatively speaking). It’s weird how the sky can be so much better some times than others. Last weekend, looked above M31 and, like usual,…nuttin’.

 

And speaking of nuttin’, that brings us back to M33. That one and M1 have been my nemeses. For some reason, I really want to see those two, preferably from home so as to reward my stubbornness laugh.gif


Edited by therealdmt, 04 August 2021 - 08:20 AM.

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