Dec 3, 2020 AP 130GT night session from 1830 to 22:30
-3C, 4 hour session with 3 breaks inside, white/red zone backyard light pollution with 85% moon, seeing 4/5 above average transitioning to average, transparency was initially below average, which cleared up for a while and then clouded over. CSC says average transparency but that is debatable.
I was not going to go outside today as I had my fill of astronomy lately. But I am on days off, and its clear....and when I looked outside my living room window at Mars it looked impossibly perfect, beckoning me to go out. Suspiciously like some good seeing.
So I did go out. The prospect of good seeing is too good to pass up. It is intoxicating like a drug, after your first hit you are chasing that high afterwards.
I placed the scope cooling outside for 30min before setting up about another 15 mins and getting to observing.
The stars were barely twinkling. My suspicions were correct. I tried right away to observe Mars, but thin transparency issues were still plaguing me. Nonetheless, I could clearly see continent details which were Mare Erythraeum and its "foot" like protrusion into Terra Sirenum.
Once the transparency issues went away, I was treated to some above average seeing with just a slightest undulation of the atmosphere in the 3.5mm Delos. I really spent some time with Mars, trying to see as much as I could but besides that dark continent line bisecting the planet, there wasnt much more that it was giving up. I tried using the Lumicon #23A light red filter to bring out the most details.
Even at lower power, in the 12.5mm Noblex, Mars was framed incredibly well with the bright stars in the constellation Pisces. All in all, it might have been my best Mars session to date though, for its stability at such a large image scale. The majority of my evening was looking at Mars tonight.
I split Gamma Aries again. Mesarthim looked like twin white suns, with a dimmer third star that kicked out east in the eyepiece (west in reality). Good seeing really makes double stars shine in the eyepiece.
I enjoyed Cr 69 with the 30 UFF and 17.5 Morpheus as it came up over my house. I split Meissa in Orion, its faint blue companion easily detectable at low power with the 12.5mm Noblex @ 65x due to the conditions. Looked stunning in the 6.5 morpheus, not bad in the 3.5 delos.
I did check out the Auriga clusters although they were quite muted with the near by moon. I split Castor, whitish with a hint of yellow almost with the 6.5 Morpheus and 3.5 delos.
I did notice I still had a bit of stiction issues with this scope and high power eyepiece at 234x, as the DM6 might just work a bit better with a heavier scope (around 25-35 lbs might be the sweet spot?). But the fact I use wide fov now means less moving the mount.
I had a look at M45, no nebulousity seen - but Alcyone's Braid always a treat.
I did take a break on the zero gravity chair and the Canon 10x42L. Dialed them in nice and really enjoyed Hyades and the Davis's Dog asterism above it, which are one of my fav binocular sights. Also swept up M45, Melotte 20, M31...the latter very muted given the near by moon and light pollution.
EDIT: I am now kicking myself on that I didn't try to look at Alrischa or Alpha Piscium again! Doh!
I had a look at the moon, still climbing high but seeing was taking a dive back to average and it was lowish still, could have been higher so not the best. Looking over houses as well doesnt help.
I tried to go after the trap, saw four members but really it was too low to scrutinize Orion. Same goes for Sigma Orionis, had trouble with the 4th faintest member.
Went back at Mars for a bit before packing up due to the return of ugly transparency ending the night.
A few thoughts over this session crept up over me. I am really starting to love this scope. It really just might be perfect.
From the sound of you breaking the vacuum each time you pull out the 2" eyepiece due to the snug fit.
For its no less than 12 knife edge baffles in the focuser draw tube alone.
To the feel of the textured paint as you slide the dew shield up and securely, without the need for a locking screw.
From the laser precision cut focuser knobs and knobs for the tube rings. Each time you feel them, you feel quality.
For its ease of use and set up and relatively quick cool down times. No hernia's here.
It doesnt give up anything to the TOA130, which is amazing since its near half the size yet same aperture. Stars are impossibly small pin pricks everywhere. Surfing around Auriga, Pisces, ect. I notice very little curvature, practically none with all my eyepieces., even the 17.5 morpheus.
I still havent caught good seeing on the moon fully yet. So I will still be going out to check that out.
Also it would be nice to be at the dark site with no moon and above average transparency.
I'll just have to keep going out in the mean time.
Thanks for reading and clear skies.
Edited by Tyson M, 04 December 2020 - 01:49 AM.