It seems that every scope I have ever had, I acquired in the middle of the dreaded Canadian winter, this either means non stop cloud cover or, temperatures far south of freeezing. Over the past month or so I have managed two short sessions, the first came a few days ago during a waxing crescent moon and, the second was this night for an hour.The night of my moon observation it was even colder than today, around minus 10 but, weather app said it would feel like minus 20. Chilly indeed but, the sky was clear and the burning urge to try my scope was too much. After letting the scope sit outside for a good hour, I skipped the star test or the sort as the forecast said in half hour clouds were coming in with a fresh load of snow, time was short.
My favorite eyepiece in my Arsenal of five (quite the arsenal) is my 9mm Baader Morpheus, for lunar this eyepiece presents the moon beautifuly, almost filling the FOV yet leaving enough space to enjoy the moon against a black sky. It was obvious right away that seeing was good, the moon looked tack sharp and, details were steady with very little shimmering. What struck me first was Montes Apenninus, this mountain range appeared to be in 3D the way it seemed to leap off the lunar surface, the base of the mountain revealed what to me, looked like a rock slide, almost like jumbled rocks which came to rest at the base. This feature is one of the most striking of all lunar features and, on a night of good seeing as was this night, I was able to really take in what this range would hide on nights of not so great seeing. It was difficult to pull my eye aways from Appeninus but, as I followed the terminator and crossed paths with one crater after another, I was equally struck by the details I was seeing within them, the play of light and shadow was beautiful. Shadows were an inky black while sunlit zones were bright enough to enjoy without a filter due to its 4” aperture, the light is not overwhelming as in a larger scope like a 10” as we all know. This makes it easier to find details as they are not washed out.
Even at the highest powers I could muster, the details were endless, I challenged myself trying to spot the smallest craterlets, there was no shortage of them. Tiny pot marks which looked like indentations left when one pokes a finger into wet sand, a particular string of craterlets caught my attention, forming a line of equally sized tiny points was an amazing sight, I tried finding them on my moon Atlas but failed to identify them. Unfortunately, as I had such limited time, I was unable to get my moon atlas app going in order to cross reference each crater and feature, I was like a hungry animal gobbling up what I could before it could be snatched from me and, sure enough the clouds were over nearby rooftops. In the last few minutes I circled the lunar edge looking for any signs of color, there was none that my eye could perceive at any power. One thing I did notice was the color temperature comparing to my 115 Eon, the 102 seems to present a slightly warmer colour than in the 115, I enjoy this warmer appearance, I guess it is due to the coatings used? Regardless, it is pleasant.
Tonight is a full moon night, after giving the scope some time, I was eager to have a look at M42 but, with a ful moon I wasn’t expecting too much. Once again using the 9mm I was surprised at what I was able to see, even with the glaring moonlight evident, the Trapezium was beautiful, 4 tiny perfectly focused pinpoints of light while structure in nebulosity was visible, I can’t wait for this target on a moonless night. While observing the trapezium, I was thinking of my next target, Polaris, a star test was imminent even though I felt as though I was insulting the scope. As expected Polaris de focused to perfect concentric rings and, watching them collapse was satisfying, remaining a perfect circle till it snapped into focus. This instrument does this very well, it leaves no doubt about whether or not you’re in focus, it is satisfying, no playing in and out, wondering if it is focused.
Betelgeuse, Aldebaran, Mars, has anyone noticed how wonderful they look tonight? they appear to share identical naked eye magnitudes and, color, and all in a straight line like Pew Pew Pew! laser shots from imperial guns. Betelgeuse was simply stunning, in my 5mm XW it shimmered like fire while remaining tight and, free of any spikes or boiling, it was just beautiful. Aldebaran looked almost identical while Mars was not much larger, actually. Mars is so much smaller than it was this past summer, it appeared as a clean cut disc but, a featureless one at that, it is expected, those three are something to see at this moment, they look identical, naked eye. Before heading in, I had one quick look at a double in Orion which I hadn’t seen before, labeled as V1030 Orionis. This particular double left me puzzled, there are 4 stars in the formation, the faintest of which I could not determine its magnitude via SkySafari, is this a triple or, quadruple star system? the smallest was extremely faint, compared to the other three. Assuming V1030 is the brightest (second from left of the four, then which is the partner? it seems like a quadruple system.
Time to head inside, I should mention that mechanically the scope was a joy to use, the focuser is now 10yrs old and shows signs of wear but, careful adjusting brought it back to good working condition considering the cold stiffened it up quite a bit. There will be many more sessions to come, in warmer weather, I look forward to enjoying this scope very much, it is a wonderful instrument. In retrospect, I have to award Betelgeuse for stealing the show tonight, it’s goldish bronze piercing colour was simply spectacular!.
Edited by Stellar1, 27 February 2021 - 06:11 PM.