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Moonlight session

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#1 Bigzmey

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Posted 01 June 2020 - 07:16 PM

5/30/20

 

Location: Anza desert, Bortle 4.

Equipment: Stellarvue SV102 F7 ED doublet on SW AzGTi mount. Set of Vixen SLV EPs.

 

Have you ever started a session with low expectations, but it turned into a memorable experience? The forecast was for partially cloudy skies with close to 100% humidity and half Moon on top. I almost did not go, but then figured out that in any case I will enjoy the scenic drive and some fresh air. A few doubles before optics dews out will be the cherry on top. :)

 

I arrived to unseasonably cool desert. I do enjoy the spring this year. The wildlife was plenty. Hares, rabbits, quails and ground squirrels scattered in all directions upon my arrival, thinking what this nut is doing here on a Moon night? :)

As predicted, there were high clouds but with large patches of blue sky, this is when I started to feel good about the evening. The clouds stuck around but left southern sky clear. They brought nice sunset colors

 

Anza-053020b.jpg

 

and were beautiful in moonlight at night. I was mesmerized by their dance across the sky. Stars sparkling between snow-white clouds, intricately highlighted chaparral standing motionless in the crisp night air, blanket of fog forming in the valley below, sounds of night, even some coyote howls (finally!) – all added to the magic. Half Moon was amazingly bright, flooding the desert with light and casting strong shadows. This created wonderfully weird sensation that I am splitting doubles during the day.

 

Humidity was high, all equipment was dripping wet in no time, nevertheless extra long dew shield kept the scope from dewing. Transparency was bad but seeing good. Below is selection from doubles I have observed this night. As always, I skip trivial and report only challenging, interesting and/or nice-looking binaries.

 

Hydra
BU 212 – 7.8, 8.3, 1.6”, yellow, orange – secondary popped to view at the moments of better seeing. Vixen SLV 2.5mm (286x).
27 Hya (SHJ 105) – 4.9, 7.0, 11, ab 229.1”, bc 9.1”. – Rich orange-gold prime and cold white secondary are best presented at low power, SLV 25mm (29x). Needed to dig deeper to pick dim but sharp silver dot of C at the moments of better seeing, SLV 6mm (119x).
STF 1347 – 7.3, 8.3, 21.1”, yellow pair. Nicely framed in SLV 25mm (29x).
STF 1348 AB – 7.5, 7.6, 2.0”, yellow pair. Tight clean split in SLV 6mm (119x).
STF 1355 – 7.7, 7.8, 1.8”, yellow pair. Shifted from figure 8 to split by hair as seeing changed. SLV 6mm (119x).
STF 1357 – 6.9, 9.9, 7.9”. Spent considerable amount of time playing with EPs, because I thought it is well within the reach of my scope. FAILED. It was pretty low to horizon; I may hit a cloud there.
STF 1365 – 7.4, 8.0, 3.4” – unequal yellow pair. SLV 6mm (119x).
STF 1367 – 7.9, 9.0, 5.2”, yellow, bluish. SLV 6mm (119x).

 

Libra
HJ 4727 – 8.5, 8.5, 7.5”, yellow pair. SLV 15mm (48x).
Iota 1 Lib (H 6 44 AB) – 4.5, 10.9, white, navy – nice contrast. SLV 25mm (29x).
LV 6 – 7.9, 10, 16.7” – faint grayish dot with averted vison next to bright orange main. SLV 6mm (119x).
I 1269 – 8.7, 8.8, 0.7” – I thought no chance here, but the white airy disk was clearly elongated at 286x.
HJ 4769 – 7.9, 9.7, 9.8”, pale orange, navy. SLV 15mm (48x).
HJ 4774 AC – 7.0, 9.6, 9.7”, yellow, navy. SLV 6mm (119x).
S 672 – 6.3, 8.9, 11.5”, lemon, blue. SLV 15mm (48x).
LAL 123 AB – 6.9, 7.0, 9.3”, white pair. SLV 15mm (48x).
Gamma Lib (GOL 1 AB) – 4.0, 11.2, 42.5” – bright golden main and faint gray dot of secondary with averted vision. SLV 6mm (119x).
BU 122 – 7.7, 7.7, 1.7”, yellowish pair - clean tight split with SLV 4mm (179x).
Kappa Lib (Eng 54) – 4.9, 10.5, 169.9” – rich copper colored main and faint silvery secondary. SLV 25mm (29x).
BU 35 – 7.3, 8.7, 10.7, ab 2.4”, ac 123.4”. AB – pale yellow pair, partial split at 286x. C – silvery dot in a distance at 48x.
BU 354 – 7.3, 9.3, 5.9”, pale yellow, silver – nice contrast. SLV 6mm (119x).
BU 620 – 7.6, 7.0, 9.0, ab 0.7”, ac 50.5”. AB – lemon color, elongated air disk at 286x. C – smaller silvery star wide apart from AB at 29x.


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#2 VanJan

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Posted 02 June 2020 - 12:01 AM

Thank you for this wonderful report! Mesmerizing and entrancing scene setting -- with a photo! but it is your words that enabled me to put myself into the picture and feeling of the location. waytogo.gif 

 

Very discerning of you to get an elongation of I 1269 and BU 620. Such observations are a very gratifying confluence of seeing, scope, and skill.

 

As far as STF 1357, I did manage to see the secondary with my 90mm refractor, but my notes include the word "difficult." Which means it took a lot of eyepiece time with various magnifications to convince myself of the verity of the secondary's sighting. SC 2 lists the magnitude of the secondary as 10.4, so if it appears fainter than its measured magnitude, any cloud obscuration or amount of horizon hugging could well have prevented your sighting of the secondary. I'm positive you'll succeed with better conditions, given the quality and astuteness of the other observations in your fine report. Thanks again! bow.gif 


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#3 Bigzmey

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Posted 02 June 2020 - 01:34 PM

Thank you for this wonderful report! Mesmerizing and entrancing scene setting -- with a photo! but it is your words that enabled me to put myself into the picture and feeling of the location. waytogo.gif

 

Very discerning of you to get an elongation of I 1269 and BU 620. Such observations are a very gratifying confluence of seeing, scope, and skill.

 

As far as STF 1357, I did manage to see the secondary with my 90mm refractor, but my notes include the word "difficult." Which means it took a lot of eyepiece time with various magnifications to convince myself of the verity of the secondary's sighting. SC 2 lists the magnitude of the secondary as 10.4, so if it appears fainter than its measured magnitude, any cloud obscuration or amount of horizon hugging could well have prevented your sighting of the secondary. I'm positive you'll succeed with better conditions, given the quality and astuteness of the other observations in your fine report. Thanks again! bow.gif

Thanks for the kind words VanJan! Glad to hear that you have split STF 1357 with 90mm, this confirms my suspicion that it was atmospheric conditions rather than scope limitations. 


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#4 nerich

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Posted 02 June 2020 - 04:05 PM

Terrific report, Andrey. Very fine observing work and most excellently narrated! 


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#5 Bigzmey

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Posted 02 June 2020 - 04:21 PM

Terrific report, Andrey. Very fine observing work and most excellently narrated! 

Thanks Nick! Glad you liked it. :)


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#6 flt158

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Posted 02 June 2020 - 05:11 PM

Hi Bigzmey. 

I probably will never split any of these wonderful doubles of triples. 

These constellations are just that bit too low for me. 

That is unless I get to the local mountain car park 20 miles away once the corona virus is behind us. 

I have split doubles in Hydra and Libra in the fairly recent past with some difficulty, but none of these. 

 

So I do take off my woolly warm astronomy hat off to you. lol.gif  

Your dedication is second to none! applause.gif applause.gif 

 

Well done, my friend. 

You've got a good and great scope. 

 

Clear skies from Aubrey.  


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#7 Bigzmey

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Posted 02 June 2020 - 05:48 PM

Hi Bigzmey. 

I probably will never split any of these wonderful doubles of triples. 

These constellations are just that bit too low for me. 

That is unless I get to the local mountain car park 20 miles away once the corona virus is behind us. 

I have split doubles in Hydra and Libra in the fairly recent past with some difficulty, but none of these. 

 

So I do take off my woolly warm astronomy hat off to you. lol.gif  

Your dedication is second to none! applause.gif applause.gif

 

Well done, my friend. 

You've got a good and great scope. 

 

Clear skies from Aubrey.  

Thanks Aubrey! Most of our nature parks are still closed due to COVID, which makes no sense to me since quite few of fashion shops, bars and casinos are already open. Luckily, the desert site I observe from is a private property owned by our astronomy club. I can go there and enjoy night sky and piece of mind. :)


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