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Observation log continued; III

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#351 ETXer

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Posted 26 July 2021 - 10:34 AM

It's been since May, but I finally had a clear morning, free of other obligations, and a chance to use the repaired solar filter to do some white light solar observing this morning. The filter is of Baader film in a home-made holder, set over the aperture of a 60mm f/11.7 refractor (the Old Scope). I used a 17mm Celestron SMA (41x) eyepiece for an overall look at the sun, and a 6mm Plossl (117x) for closer examinations. It was a slightly hazy and very warm July morning (21 July 2021 at 8:57am MST; 15:57 UTC). We're in an active desert monsoon season, so although the sky appeared cloudless, the air was less transparent that you might expect for the region. There was also some smoke from fires far to the north.

 

 

In the overall low power view I could see 5 sunspot groups, one of which (region 2847) appeared as a barely visible dark speck. As for the other 4 sun spot regions:

 

 

2842 - In this one I could see one major and two smaller spots. The largest one was surrounded by a noticeable penumbra that, due to the group's proximity to the limb, was visibly foreshortened.

 

 

2845 - Another trio of spots visible with the resolving power of the Old Scope. The largest of this set looked foreshortened, and surely was, but a closer look revealed that it was composed of 3 smaller, closely spaced spots. The arrangement gave it the elongated look I noticed at low magnification.

 

 

2846 - At least 4 small spots that I could see, the largest of which was surrounded by a generous penumbra. I was able to see faculae around all the limb hugging groups, but for some reason they were especially visible around this group.

 

 

2848 - This group was further out on the disk of the sun, not quite in the middle. I could pick out 3 spots almost in a line, with the smallest one not quite centered between the other two.

 

I might have lingered longer at the eyepiece, but the temperature was pushing into the low 90°F, with not a breath of wind, and a dew point almost 70°F. Discomfort quickly overwhelmed my motivation.

Great solar report Thomas, and a great time to do so with the preponderance of activity this past week and it would seem a sign of things to come!

 

I too was out for a rare two days in a row on the 22nd and 23rd to get a look at the no less than 5 simultaneous sunspots (AR 2846, 2842, 2845, 2847, and another unnamed) with my 3.5" Questar, its standard off-axis solar filter, and a Baader Continuum solar filter (540nm). This filter, besides giving an overall green cast through the eyepiece, gives a little better contrast and granularity as well as amplifying those qualities when imaging. 

 

Each spot was a grouping of smaller spots, each surrounded by some chromosphere network highlights and faculae. The most significant was AR2846 which became my chosen target for some imaging attempts each day. The technical details can be found here, but what became noteworthy was the difference in size and shape of the sunspot grouping itself from one day to the next.

 

Here's AR2846 on the 22nd:

 

51329981795_3c49301dd9_z.jpg

 

and then on the 23rd:

 

51330788796_2d10313ebf_z.jpg

 

The orientation is slightly different in each and the image of the 23rd is more "direct" due to the sun's rotation. To me, this is one of the aspects of solar observation (that shares some commonality with lunar observation) that I find fascinating, which is the constant change from one day (sometimes even hourly) to the next.

 

Cheers, Allan


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#352 CowTipton

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Posted 28 July 2021 - 10:52 AM

The skies have been so bad that I haven't been out at all lately.

Jealous of those of you who also do solar viewing.


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#353 aeajr

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Posted 28 July 2021 - 11:19 AM

The skies have been so bad that I haven't been out at all lately.

Jealous of those of you who also do solar viewing.

Same for me.  

 

I keep going out to check the sky only to see clouds or so much haze that only one or two bright stars can be seen faintly shining through the much.   Even the Moon is often hidden behind the veil. 


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#354 Studly

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Posted 28 July 2021 - 12:05 PM

The skies have been so bad that I haven't been out at all lately.

Jealous of those of you who also do solar viewing.

Yeah, I'm in the same boat. Even when the sky is relatively "clear," the transparency and seeing are horrible. I will probably miss the Saturn opposition this weekend because of this. Crap.

 

Tony


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#355 chrysalis

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Posted 29 July 2021 - 03:37 AM

From my backyard here in north central NC on 7-28-21 - a couple of views of the Moon in the sky, first with Jupiter and Saturn, next later on with pinkish clouds near sunrise.

 

#1 - at 5:34 AM EDT (Saturn near setting, bottom right)

 

7-28-21 Moon-Jupiter-Saturn 534 AM EDT IMG-6301 sml.JPG

 

Moon with pink clouds at 6:18 AM EDT (sunrise slated for 6:24 AM EDT) - click to enlarge.

 

7-28-21 Moon-Pink Clouds 618 AM EDT IMG-6302 2800.JPG


Edited by chrysalis, 29 July 2021 - 03:59 AM.

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#356 aeajr

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Posted 29 July 2021 - 09:00 AM

July 29, 2021   Home   Bortle 8  11 - 11:50 pm 

No visible clouds at the start   T 3/5   S 3/5  

Temp - comfortably cool   Humidity - comfortable but grass was wet by end of evening.  No obvious dew problem on the scope. 

 

Astro Tech 102ED Refractor on manual ES Twilight 1 mount.  714 mm FL F7
Resolving power -  1.1 arc seconds

AA SWA 70   38 mm                  19X and    3.6 degrees  FOV   2”
ES 82             14 mm                   51X and    1.6 degrees  

ES 82             11 mm                    65X and    1.2 degrees

ES 82             8.8 mm                  81X and    1.0 degrees
ES 82              4.7 mm               152X  and    .5  degrees

Baader Hyperion 8-24  zoom     30X to   90X   1.6 to .5 degrees
Baader Hyperion 8-24+2XB       60X to 180X
 

The classic unplanned session.

 

I was taking the garbage out when I looked up to see a clear sky with Saturn and Jupiter showing clearly in an otherwise blank sky.  

 

Pulled out the scope, chair and accessories.  Set up on the side of the house to block the 3 bright white LED street lights in front of and next to my house.  frown.gif

 

My RDF was left on from the last session so no finder.   Used the 38 mm eyepiece as my finder, 3.6 degrees.

 

I aligned on my target using the notch on the tube rings, then guesstimated the altitude and just used the slo mo dial to bring the scope up to the planet.   

 

 

Saturn - A beautiful sight.  About 25 degrees Alt. Transparency was OK at best as I was getting a glow around Saturn in the scope, my first view of Saturn in this scope.  

 

Worked it with all the eyepieces listed including the 4.7 in a 2X Barlow which was large but dark.   Not enough aperture to make this worthwhile.   

 

Best view was around 8 mm in the zoom.  I think I could pick up some yellow in the planet.  Looked OK in the 4.7 mm with the ES82 but I felt I was running out of aperture and was losing some detail.  Scope performed well and the TW1 mount handled it nicely.  Could see the separation of planet from the rings and could barely make out the Cassini division.  Hints of a couple of cloud bands but not definite. 

 

The image in the 4.7 was larger but not sure it gave me any more detail than the BHZ 8 mm. 

 

Some clouds were starting to come in from the West and would soon cover Saturn so I jumped over to Jupiter

 

 

Jupiter - Bright and beautiful.  About 20 degrees Alt. 

 

I picked it up in the 38 then worked my way up the mag using the ES 82s.  I have a new ES 82 11 mm, so this was its first light.  Like these eyepieces.

 

           e              J    i   g              c  

 

I could pick up several cloud bands and detected some brown in the upper band.   I did not realize the GRS was there and did not notice it, but looking at Stellarium later I see that I missed it.  

 

Scope performed nicely but the transparency was dropping fast with cloud wisps starting to cross the field.  Actually a few times it actually improved the view as it dimmed Jupiter down a bit, so not as much glare.  If I had more time I would have put on an 80a or 82a filter as these have worked well with Jupiter in the past.

 

BHZ was my preferred eyepiece for this one, in the 10 to 8 mm range.  I tried the 14 mm in a 2X Barlow and that worked well too but I think I did better in the zoom. 

 

The clouds kept coming, so it was time to pack-up.

 

Moon - As I was packing an orange moon was rising above the trees.  I might have stayed and gotten some views but the cloud bank was moving fast and would soon eat the Moon too.

 

 

Lesson learned - The AT102ED did well on the planets but I was clearly missing the larger aperture and resolution of the 12" Dob.   I wanted to try the 102 on the planets, but the next time I am going after planets the big dob will come out.  You can't beat aperture!

 

Clear skies guys!


Edited by aeajr, 30 July 2021 - 07:11 AM.

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#357 MarMax

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Posted 29 July 2021 - 03:31 PM

I was out during the same time window as Ed and other than a failed attempt at using SharpCap to do some live stacking of DSOs the real fun was Jupiter and Saturn. I'll skip the camera stuff other than to say that even with a camera (464 sensor) and SharpCap I'm still not able to see M51. Maybe I just missed it, who knows, but I'll try again.

 

The rig for the visual session was the C11 with ADC, CZAS binoviewer and 24mm Panoptics (117x). I've only been at this hobby for about 13 months now and this was the best I've seen Jupiter and Saturn. Nice detail on Jupiter and Saturn and I was able to pull out more banding and subtle features than I've seen before. Yes my kit is greatly improved over a year ago but regardless the viewing was mesmerizing.

 

I must have stared at Jupiter and Saturn for a good 30-40 minutes, just hopping back and forth between the two.

 

The Moon made its appearance and I did take a look but being so low it was a turbulent mess. It is nice to dial out the AD though. Just spin the dial until the bottom is orange, turn the other way till it's blue, then split the difference.

 

If I'd tried some imaging of Jupiter it would have probably turned out nice as well. But the laptop battery was done and I was still a bit frustrated with the camera. Also had two rabbits, a skunk, and a racoon pass by during the session. I thought the skunk was going to ask for directions but he/she finally moved on.


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#358 nof

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Posted 29 July 2021 - 06:09 PM

I went out at about 11:00 PM local time hoping to see Io and Callisto transit Jupiter. But the planet looked like I was seeing it in a boiling pot of water. It was clear, but the air was very turbulent and remained so until 1:00 AM. The best view with a C14 was with a 55mm plossl at 71x. And that wasn't much to look at. But just after 1 AM, when I was viewing the bright fuzzy moon for diversion, I felt like the air was cooling and the seeing was improving. I had a look at Saturn, which previously had looked like a mush ball - and there was something to see. The Cassini division was a bit fuzzy, but it was there. I put on a 20mm eyepiece for 195x and with some effort I could see five moons near the planet: Rhea, Dione & Tethys (all little specks that required some effort) to the east and Titan to the west. Maybe I saw Mimas too, hard to be certain. Encouraged, I went back to Jupiter and there was the sight that I had been seeking, two little dark specks of the moons Io and Callisto against the planet. The GRS was not obvious, but it was there nevertheless. I pushed the magnification up a bit to 230x and the image held up, with some variation. And for a few moments, everyhting was clear and crystal sharp. So it was nice in the end. And sitting outside during the challenging moments was still pleasant. it pays to be stubborn and patient sometimes. Hope you all have some good seeing!

 

I had some other nice viewing sessions the week before, but no time to write anything.


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#359 Migwan

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Posted 30 July 2021 - 06:11 AM

 7/30/21,  04:45-05:30,  60°,   NW 5mph,   RH 82%,   (Clear Skies) Trans 3/5 , See 2/5,   NELM ?,  PS 8/10,   SQM 20.4,   755’,   Home 

 

Due to the predicted conditions, I had no intentions of getting up, but that little inner astronomer in me had other ideas.   As it was the first cool mostly smokeless night in awhile,  I had the AC off and windows open and the air smelled amazingly fresh.    Screw the coffee, the mission was on.

 

Started with Jupiter at 20x thru the 80ED.  Two moons close to the W and another long to the E.  Jumped to 67x and realized that there were three moons to the W, two just needed to be split.   Could just see the GRS was near the meridian.  At 133x (all I had with me) the NEB split into two bands and could see 6 bands total.  Could not see any of the storms above the NEB, which is a goal for the 80ED this year.  The GRS was not very revealing, just there.

 

Swung around to Polaris to check conditions and the central disk was very still and the first ring was full with very little movement.    Clear Skies was off and I have to wonder about the jet stream map, which showed it being overhead.  To late to do a NELM, but transparency seemed like a 4/5.  Clear Skies did show no smoke, while the smoke map showed a moderate amount.   So credit there.

 

Jumped to the moon and found it very crisp to 133x, but too bright for my eyes and didn’t have the moon filter with me.    Masked the aperture to 2” with very little loss in detail.   The highlight for me was a crater near the southern pole that was very dark and just the very tip of the central peak was lit up.  Just a wee dot in a circular sea of black.   I believe it was Cuvier, but not sure.   HERE is a cool NASA link with a Moon Phase and Libration tool that can be set to current phase (near the bottom).

 

Really liking the “go-to” for short use in the home light pollution and have been watching for a 102ED.    As I am also with out solar as of late, I’m thinking Allen’s excellent solar picture might have saved the 80ED.  So Allen, that may truly be a $400+ photo. waytogo.gif

 

Sayonara.


Edited by Migwan, 30 July 2021 - 06:20 AM.

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#360 Studly

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Posted 30 July 2021 - 10:07 AM

After more than a MONTH of bad sky, the Fates afforded me a brief window to the heavens last night:

 

 

2021-07-29
Time: 22:55 local time (EDT); 02:55 UTC (07-30)
Cloud Cover: Approximately 5%
Wind: Very Light to Light and Variable
SQM Measurement: 20.89
Temperature: 20C/68F
Transparency: Average (3/5) to Poor (1/5)
Seeing: Fair (2/5)
Length of Observing Session: 1h 15m
Instrument: Celestron C6-N Newtonian (fl750, f/5)
Mount: Orion VersaGo II Alt-Az
Eyepieces: NA; Baader Hyperion

 

Summary: A peek out of my rear patio a short time before astronomical twilight revealed an unexpectedly clear sky! Many stars were visible, and the band of the Milky Way was easy to see. With work looming the next day, I didn’t have much time. I grabbed the 6-inch Newtonian and headed out to get a look at the gas giants (since their oppositions are rapidly approaching).

 

Saturn: At 24mm (31x), the planet appeared bright and was clearly visible. The rings were already quite easy to discern, though no details could yet be ascertained in either the planet’s disc or its ring system. Two small, dark gaps (one on either side of the planet) indicated space between the planet and its rings. At 21mm (35x), the view sharpened. Still, no additional details could be seen. Beside the planet, fleeting glimpses of tiny points of light could be seen to the lower-right and above the planet in the eyepiece—possible moons. At 17mm (44x), The dark gaps on either side of the planet’s disc were clearer. Occasionally, hints of a darker colored equatorial belt could be seen. These impressions were very fleeting, however, and could not be positively confirmed. Again, ghostly, momentary flickers of tiny points of light indicated possible sightings of moons near the target. The planet and its rings showed a creamy light beige color. At 13mm (57x), several of the tiny points of light indicating moons could finally be seen with some regularity. Later these were confirmed to be Titan (farthest from the planet to the west), Rhea (closer to the planet to the northeast), Tethys (very close to the planet to the south), and Dione (close to the planet to the west). During steadier moments of Seeing, a single brown equatorial band could be seen on the planet’s disc. There was still no sign of the Cassini Division. At 10mm (75x), the limits of the sky conditions were more apparent. However, an occasional hint of an extremely thin black line could be seen in the outer rings along their eastern side, possibly indicating the Cassini Division. However, this impression was fleeting, and could not be positively confirmed. The previously noted equatorial band on the planet seemed less pronounced now. (At this point, the flashes of heat lightning that had been noted earlier to the distant southwest when the session started were getting nearer and more frequent, causing occasional brightening in the view.) At 8mm (93x), the Cassini Division was confirmed, but only just barely! The target was notably phasing in and out of focus now, a reflection of the limited Seeing. The equatorial band on the planet observed earlier was almost entirely washed out. At 5mm (150x), all detail and color variation was washed out of the target, making it again appear to be one consistent light beige color. The focus shifting appeared almost constant, making it extremely difficult to obtain a decent view.

 

Jupiter: Hoping for better views of a brighter target, I swung the scope around to Jupiter. At 24mm (31x), the target was very bright, with at least one equatorial belt already visible in the glare. All four Galilean Moons were visible. Moving outward from the planet, these were Callisto, Io, and Europa to the west, and Ganymede farther out still to the east. A very nice view. At 21mm (35x), the Northern Equatorial Belt was clearer, with the Southern Equatorial Belt also occasionally visible, but not as dark or as clearly. At 17mm (44x), the planet appeared in an array of rich beiges and browns. The NEB and SEB shifted in and out of focus as the conditions deteriorated, but were beautifully detailed during steady moments. The NEB showed subtle variations in color and width along its length, and almost appeared red in places. At 13mm (57x), the SEB appeared much clearer. During moments of steadier viewing, hints of cloud textures could be glimpsed, especially in the planet’s southern hemisphere. Occasional fleeting sightings of the Southern Temperate Belt were made, but these were too rare to be positively confirmed. At 10mm (75x), the general conditions again limited the view, with focus shifts in the target becoming more pronounced. Still, during rare steady moments, the afforded view was still decent. No sign of the Great Red Spot could be seen, At 8mm (93x), the view remained mostly unchanged, but the color variations noted earlier in the NEB appeared more pronounced, as if strands of darker clouds were woven in among the Belt. At 5mm (150x), the colors grew muted, the Belts appeared faded, and the view grew much softer. Another quick look at the general sky conditions revealed that the Transparency had deteriorating significantly since the start of the session.

 

Conclusion: My limited time—as well as the deteriorated conditions—called an end to the session. Though short, the session felt worthwhile. I am hoping that another such window in the sky might present itself this weekend just prior to Saturn’s opposition on August 2nd. (Holding my breath…)

 

 

Until next time!


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#361 Speedy1985

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Posted 31 July 2021 - 08:45 AM

I've been in the same boat as a few of you as well as far as chances to observe. Between clouds/rain, working OT, and race season, my last good night of observing was in mid June. We have observed many obects for the first time together, but my biggest hope was that my son and I could see Jupiter and Saturn before he goes back to college in 3 weeks. I had been looking at Astrospheric this week and Saturday was looking promising for a trip to our darker B5 site with 360° views down to 20°. Well, true to form lately, that changed and Saturday was now not looking so great, but Friday was looking decent. Of course, we had dinner plans to go out with friends and celebrate my wife's(this past Tuesday) and son's(today) birthdays this week. I knew it would be later when we got home, so a trip to the darker site was out of question and my yard does not offer lower altitude views with the surrounding trees. When we got home, something made me look to the skies as we walked toward our front door. Between the trees, a bright object jumped out at me to the southeast and I knew it had to be a planet. I also noticed that slightly further south and higher in that same gap between the trees was a fainter object. Knowing that the current relative position of both giants seemed to be where I was looking, I thought it had to be them. My son said "what about the binoculars?", so I went in and grabbed the Oberwerk 11x70 LW's. I didn't have them mounted on my parallelogram, but at least they would confirm my suspicions. It became obvious at first glance, if not totally clear and steady. It was pretty breezy out, but knowing that we had the chance to see them, I told my son that I'm wheeling the scope out onto the front lawn, street lights, headlights, collimation(usually stays good), and temp equilibrium be ****(it stays in the garage and it wouldn't be too different). He went in and grabbed the eyepiece case and I pulled the cover off and rolled the scope the 50' out onto the lawn with the modified hand truck and set it up to look between the trees. No wasting time with low power views, I lined it up with the Telrad and jumped right in with the 7mm APM 100°. Jupiter! And it was beautiful. We could make out 2 of the brighter bands and a couple of the fainter bands, as well as it's 4 most prominent moons Io, Ganymede, Europa, and Callisto. I felt so thrilled to finally get that first look at it. The GRS wasn't visible last night, so hopefully we will get another shot. After bumping a few times to keep looking and fine tuning, we turned to the fainter object. And finally, there was that mesmerizing ringed wonder Saturn! I was able to get a nice crisp focus on it, with the edges of the rings and planet well defined. We could not make out the Cassini division though. Perhaps from our other site on a night with better seeing we will. With far from dark adapted vision, we could also make out 2 of its moons. I called my wife out to have a look at both planets and she was just amazed at what she was seeing. My son and I also both had a look with the APM 5mm, but agreed that the 7mm had given us slightly better contrasted and crisp views. On nights with better seeing, the 5mm will hopefully reveal more details. After those 20 minutes or so of observing, we both feel as though we've finally achieved that unofficial astronomical right of passage that we longed for from the day I ordered the scope!


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#362 kjkrum

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Posted 31 July 2021 - 11:44 AM

Tucson set a new record for rainfall in July, exceeding our total annual rainfall from some years. I keep going out and looking, but my last journal entry is still July 9.
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#363 Voyager 3

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Posted 01 August 2021 - 01:38 AM

1/8/21 

Another unexpected cloud-filled session . 

 

Transparency- Sky was extremely dynamic with moving clouds which turned from clear to milky in few minutes . I would say it was fair at best .

 

NELM - I don't have a SQM , but generally the best nights would allow me Magnitude 3.7-3.8 . Yesterday magnitude 3.1-3.2 was very hard even with averted vision . For example Sulafat (γ Lyr ) was visible only in averted vision . 

 

Temperature high 10s to low 20s ( Celsius !) .

 

Windy , tube was shaking quite a bit later as the night progressed . 

 

It is Southwest monsoon here . So the clouds were moving from northeast towards southwest . Unfortunately Sagittarius-Scorpius region was continuously blocked by clouds . But , I said " I have to seize the moment " and set up my XT8 at 20:00hrs . 

 

 I was just cruising the milky way with my dob around the Lyra - Cygnus region . Wonderful even with a 1° degree field . Literally hundreds of stars were visible . Then started the starhopping . 

 

NGC 7027 ( PN in Cyg ) - This was the failure of the night . I was real close . I used 1° circle in my SkySafari 6 Pro which is very close to what I get with my 25mm Plossl  , which is what I use along with the RDF . Started from Deneb and worked my way to 56 and 57 Cyg . No sign of IC 5070 ( Pelican ) , but that was to be expected with the conditions . Then using triangles and quadrilaterals , I reached HD 199956 , which is inside NGC 7000 ( North American Nebula ) . No sign of gulf of Mexico too . Then to Chi Cyg . I started to notice that the stars were dimming and all other stars except Chi Cyg began to fade away . I was praying , No , No , please don't . But as if the universe was hearing my prayer , Cygnus was behind a huge mountain of cloud  when I saw up . I was disappointed with myself . So I left the telescope and went in for a hearty dinner . 

 

My mother and my cousin's wife joined me after dinner . 

 

So I showed them the showpiece objects like M57 , M22 , M8 , M7 , Albireo , and double double . What shocked me was both my mother and cousin's wife exclaimed M57 as ring shaped and Albireo as blue and gold . My mother had viewed few times before with me but this was her first M57 and Albireo . I didn't say them about the ring and colour contrast but they found it staright away ! Very good eyes ! 

 

Then as a finishing touch I showed them Jupiter and Saturn . My cousin's wife was shocked and was in awe . I told her there was a shadow transit by Io . She was eager but wasn't able to spot it . So I showed her where to look by showing her Jupiter's simulation in SkySafari . I spiced it up by saying it was a "solar eclipse (totality)" in that part of Jupiter's clouds . She was able to spot it then and exclaimed "Wow ! That's beyond imagination " . 

 

So overall a happy night but still quite disappointed with NGC 7027 . Maybe today ...

 

Let your skies be blessed with good transparency and seeing . 


Edited by Voyager 3, 01 August 2021 - 01:41 AM.

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#364 Voyager 3

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Posted 01 August 2021 - 11:28 AM

Follow up : Just now came in packing my telescope . Today too Cygnus-Lyra region was clouded so NGC 7027 will have to wait :-( .

Good to stargaze showed 100% cloud cover ... But Sagittarius region was clear ( for a while ) so I soaked in some starlight by dividing in the M24 region . Now I'm drying myself from starlight LoL . M24 is always a religious experience !
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#365 Studly

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Posted 01 August 2021 - 12:05 PM

I did make it out last night, but unfortunately the conditions were not nearly as good as they first appeared:

 

 

2021-07-31
Time: 23:20 local time (EDT); 03:20 UTC (08-01)
Cloud Cover: Approximately 10%
Wind: Light and Variable
SQM Measurement: 20.92
Temperature: 14C/57F
Transparency: Average (3/5)
Seeing: Poor (1/5)
Length of Observing Session: 55m
Instrument: Celestron C6-A SCT (fl 1500, f/10)
Mount: Explore Scientific Twilight I Alt-Az (Modified)
Eyepieces: NA; Baader Hyperion

 

Summary: Though the forecast had called for considerable clouds, the sky appeared relatively clear. I grabbed the 6-inch SCT (after letting it sit for over an hour to acclimate) and decided to try hunting an object or two in the Sagittarius region.

 

M28 (Sagittarius): At 24mm (62x), the globular cluster appeared as a distinct fuzz ball with a bright core. No stars could be resolved, even with averted vision. At 21mm (71x), the appearance of the cluster remained largely unchanged, but averted vision provoked the impression that it was on the very verge of beginning to resolve periphery stars. At 17mm (88x), the periphery stars were just barely beginning to resolve. The core appeared less bright at this magnification, but retained its somewhat compact appearance. At 13mm (115x), averted vision revealed a peppering of peripheral stars seemingly overlying the compact core. The target still appeared largely fuzzy, with a bed of unresolved stars. At 10mm (150x), some image degradation became apparent, as the quality of the view decreased slightly. It became more difficult to resolve any member stars. At 8mm (187x), the image remained at the same quality, but the background darkening was more apparent. Averted vision, however, revealed a greatly expanded population of periphery stars. At 5mm (300x), the image softened tremendously (as expected), removing the resolved stars from the view. At this point, I feared that the conditions may not be as good as expected, so I decided to abandon the Sagittarius area and move to the planets.

 

Saturn: At 24mm (62x), the planet and its rings were immediately apparent. However, the image was unsteady, making it difficult to maintain any kind of good focus. At 21mm (71x), obtaining a decent focus became somewhat easier, but the target was still showing the focus shifting. During steady moments, a brown equatorial band could be detected on the cream colored planet’s disc. At 17mm (88x), the view became steadier, and a couple of the planet’s moons became visible: Titan some distance to the planet’s west, and Rhea much closer to the southwest. Rhea blinked in and out of existence due to the Poor Seeing. At 13mm (115x), the image became fuzzy and resumed displaying the bad focus shifting noted earlier. Disappointing.

 

Jupiter: I had little hope of any better experience viewing Jupiter, but I decided to stay out for a little longer and give it a try anyway. At 24mm (62x), it was clear that the Seeing still sucked, but all four Galilean moons were visible. Working outward from the planet, Ganymede and Europa appeared to the planet’s east, while Io appeared to the west, with Callisto to the far west. The North Equatorial Belt, South Equatorial Belt, and the North Temperate Belt on the planet were readily visible. At rare steady moments, the South Temperate Belt could be glimpsed as well, but it was a difficult observation. At 21mm (71x), the two equatorial belts became clearer. The rich brown color of the NEB was very pronounced. At 17mm (88x), the crappy Seeing asserted itself once again, causing the limbs of the planet to shimmer fiercely. Yep, I’m done.

 

Conclusion: Though the Transparency was decent, the Seeing was crap. Ugh. To the naked eye, things appeared much better than they actually were. I came away from the session with no small amount of disappointment. I plan to have a crack at imaging Saturn tomorrow for its opposition; I only hope conditions are better than tonight.

 

 

Until next time!


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#366 Speedy1985

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Posted 01 August 2021 - 12:52 PM

I did make it out last night, but unfortunately the conditions were not nearly as good as they first appeared:

 

 

2021-07-31
Time: 23:20 local time (EDT); 03:20 UTC (08-01)
Cloud Cover: Approximately 10%
Wind: Light and Variable
SQM Measurement: 20.92
Temperature: 14C/57F
Transparency: Average (3/5)
Seeing: Poor (1/5)
Length of Observing Session: 55m
Instrument: Celestron C6-A SCT (fl 1500, f/10)
Mount: Explore Scientific Twilight I Alt-Az (Modified)
Eyepieces: NA; Baader Hyperion

 

Summary: Though the forecast had called for considerable clouds, the sky appeared relatively clear. I grabbed the 6-inch SCT (after letting it sit for over an hour to acclimate) and decided to try hunting an object or two in the Sagittarius region.

 

M28 (Sagittarius): At 24mm (62x), the globular cluster appeared as a distinct fuzz ball with a bright core. No stars could be resolved, even with averted vision. At 21mm (71x), the appearance of the cluster remained largely unchanged, but averted vision provoked the impression that it was on the very verge of beginning to resolve periphery stars. At 17mm (88x), the periphery stars were just barely beginning to resolve. The core appeared less bright at this magnification, but retained its somewhat compact appearance. At 13mm (115x), averted vision revealed a peppering of peripheral stars seemingly overlying the compact core. The target still appeared largely fuzzy, with a bed of unresolved stars. At 10mm (150x), some image degradation became apparent, as the quality of the view decreased slightly. It became more difficult to resolve any member stars. At 8mm (187x), the image remained at the same quality, but the background darkening was more apparent. Averted vision, however, revealed a greatly expanded population of periphery stars. At 5mm (300x), the image softened tremendously (as expected), removing the resolved stars from the view. At this point, I feared that the conditions may not be as good as expected, so I decided to abandon the Sagittarius area and move to the planets.

 

Saturn: At 24mm (62x), the planet and its rings were immediately apparent. However, the image was unsteady, making it difficult to maintain any kind of good focus. At 21mm (71x), obtaining a decent focus became somewhat easier, but the target was still showing the focus shifting. During steady moments, a brown equatorial band could be detected on the cream colored planet’s disc. At 17mm (88x), the view became steadier, and a couple of the planet’s moons became visible: Titan some distance to the planet’s west, and Rhea much closer to the southwest. Rhea blinked in and out of existence due to the Poor Seeing. At 13mm (115x), the image became fuzzy and resumed displaying the bad focus shifting noted earlier. Disappointing.

 

Jupiter: I had little hope of any better experience viewing Jupiter, but I decided to stay out for a little longer and give it a try anyway. At 24mm (62x), it was clear that the Seeing still sucked, but all four Galilean moons were visible. Working outward from the planet, Ganymede and Europa appeared to the planet’s east, while Io appeared to the west, with Callisto to the far west. The North Equatorial Belt, South Equatorial Belt, and the North Temperate Belt on the planet were readily visible. At rare steady moments, the South Temperate Belt could be glimpsed as well, but it was a difficult observation. At 21mm (71x), the two equatorial belts became clearer. The rich brown color of the NEB was very pronounced. At 17mm (88x), the crappy Seeing asserted itself once again, causing the limbs of the planet to shimmer fiercely. Yep, I’m done.

 

Conclusion: Though the Transparency was decent, the Seeing was crap. Ugh. To the naked eye, things appeared much better than they actually were. I came away from the session with no small amount of disappointment. I plan to have a crack at imaging Saturn tomorrow for its opposition; I only hope conditions are better than tonight.

 

 

Until next time!

You basically wrote the same report I would have.

 

My son and I decided to go to a nearby open field in the hopes of seeing the giants again and some more DSO's. I felt the same way about the forecast, with seeing shown as above average and transparency poor, yet the sky appeared to be much better. It wasn't. I worked mostly with my 13 and 7mm on the planets, and strictly with the 13 on trying to locate everything else, mostly globulars. The turbulence in the atmosphere was readily apparent on the fringes of Jupiter, though the view itself was basically similar to your observations of the moons and visible bands. We were hoping to see the GRS but it hadn't come around yet. Saturn was a little better a few degrees up. Andromeda, placed low in the northeast, couldn't have been in a worse spot. Right in the light dome of NYC, along with anything else in that direction. But anything else below 35° or so was a no-go as well. We couldn't even sniff out any globulars other than M13, which still looked very impressive, despite the poor conditions. 


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#367 MikeHC8

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Posted 01 August 2021 - 01:19 PM

I set up yesterday around 5; I have to places that I put my telescope at my home and this time I mark north before putting up the scope.  This work great and also used a used pier and the mount was rock solid.  I put a little time with Venus with the binoculars until about 10 minutes after sunset.  Turn on the scope and used Vega for my Alignment and Altair, which work out good, but still off by few degrees, no problems.  It was about 45 minutes pass sunset and went for the ring nebula (M-56) which came into view with 32 mm eyepiece.  I switch a few eyepieces around and found no problems with any, the 17 mm was the best for today.  It was clear and even with the City Lights it stood out, I was a little surprise at how well it look.  I moved the scope around and had very little effect on this object.  It has a little detail and yes it was fuzzy ball with a small darker center.  Very enjoyable and spent about 30 minutes on it, I was hoping to see the center star but no luck.  I found my next target M-29, I used goto and it was in my FOV, I wonder why Mr. Messier would think this as a comet, maybe bad optics not sure.  It had 6 stars that were easy to spot even with 40mm.  It was a nice object and counted the stars around this area, which I got around 24.  I used 32 and 26 mm and all views was enjoyable nice target to spend time on, it had box display with 4 stars and I like the description of stubby dipper.  Now I was rewarded with Saturn, I slew over and it is always a great site.  I could see Titan clearly, I also could see possibly 3 to 4 more moons but I have not done my homework about locations.  I could see the Cassini division but not completely, I also look at the space between Saturn and the beginning of the ring.  I really like how Mr. Dobson describes this area, he said that a earth moon could be put into the Cassini Division with some extra space and Saturn to the beginning of the ring you could put Earth with Venus in this space.  This helps me a lot to understand the size of this great planet.  I could see 4 or so bands, but I think one could have been the ring shadow.  I feel this is one of the crown jewels’ for visual astronomy,  I never get tried of looking at this fine place.  Then who came to visit Jupiter and with 4 moons very visible.   It was very bright and had some effect on my observation, I was going to put a filter in, but did not want to take the time to add, wanted to observe and could detect around 8 or so bands.  I was fighting heat from the roofs, which caused some problems with shimmering.  The large band I could see some detail but not enough to bring into focus, just teased me and I keep on it for about 20 minutes but no luck.  I went to my favorite star Deneb and got into the FOV when my scope flip around to the other side, as I waited I was rewarded by a meteoroid coming from north east to south west at 10:46, very bright and you could see some color at the front it.  I would estimate between 25 to 35 degrees in length.  I tried for one more M-56 and failed, was a little distracted by some dogs but making no excuses.  I take my time to observe and was rewarded this night with many great objects, not all are listed today only the ones that make me so happy that I have this hobby.


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#368 brentknight

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 04:00 AM

Saturn at Opposition.  The weather actually cooperated and let me grab this one shot.
 
Saturn at Opposition - 2021.png
Taken with the Super C8 and ASI224MC
 

 


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#369 NYJohn S

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 04:10 PM

 

Saturn at Opposition.  The weather actually cooperated and let me grab this one shot.

Very nice image! Looks like you've learned a lot in a short time. 


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#370 Studly

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 04:23 PM

I did capture some footage last night, but I still need to process it to see what kind of images are produced. My sky conditions were not great, but we'll see what I end up with....

 

Tony


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#371 brentknight

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Posted 02 August 2021 - 05:01 PM

Very nice image! Looks like you've learned a lot in a short time. 

Thanks John.

 

I looked at the raw exposures before I stacked them.  They were horrible and I thought the whole night was a bust.  I did 5,000 frames and kept 50% of them and then some post with Registax (8Gb of data captured to my drive in about a minute).  Those applications are like miracles for pixels.


Edited by brentknight, 02 August 2021 - 07:51 PM.

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#372 Migwan

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Posted 03 August 2021 - 09:43 AM

7/31/21  Tried to make it 2 nights in a row, but got smoked.   At 21:30 I passed the 1st exit N of town and could see a very heavy bank of smoke.  Turned around at next exit and drove back to town and headed W, where I soon found a similar bank of smoke.   The evening had been clear on the farm and both Clear Skies and the smoke map showed it was going to be smokeless.   Deb later told me the local yocal said in his 6 o’clock weather report that smoke would be moving in for the night.  Oops.

 

8/2/21, 23:00-02:15,   56-49°,   Calm,   RH 82-92%,   (Clear Skies) Trans 3/5 , See 4/5,   NELM 6.35,  PS 7/10,   SQM 21.84,   1124’,   Dark Site 


I would like to thank the good Canuks of Hudson Bay for sending the northern lower peninsula some fresh air.   Don’t know where they got it from, but I sure appreciate the loan.   The jet stream map showed a pocket of trapped air bordered by the jet doing an S curve around it.   Sunday’s forecast for Monday night had predicted clouds with a chance of rain, so I was counting my lucky stars. 

 

Forgot to do condition’s till around 01:00 so my NELM stars were rather low and directly W of Polaris.  Also forgot to grab the Barlow so Pickering was done on 21 Umi with the C11.  Solid but jumpy central disk and fully formed first ring with some slight flaring.   


Warmed up on NA Nebula and spent 7 satellite passings there.   5 SE to N seemingly in the same line and 2 NW to SE which also seemed on a same line.   I reckon that would be about 25 minutes.   So 2 satellites comparing the NPG with the  24ES68 (27x) and the OIII with the 30UFF (20x) thru the ST120.   Another satellite was spent on comparing them in the C11 with the 24 reduced to 87x and the 30 giving 70x.   The exit pupil on the 30 won out in the ST120, but it seemed a draw in the over powered C11.    I spent the last 3 satellites on locating the Bird’s Nest, having a casual look see around there and then over to the Pelican. 

 

Over at the Crescent I realized I’d been there before,  recognizing the long curving chain of stars that were almost cluster like in number and covered a couple of degrees or more.   Last time I just figured that I wasn’t seeing any of the nebula and that the chain of stars was associated with the nebula.  After all, it was crescent shaped.    Thanks to John’s description I knew better this time.   The actual nebula was rather an elongated egg shape and was framed nicely in the C11 with the 30 at 2x for 200x and 0.36° using the OIII.   The filamentary structure showed best at 100x.  There are a number of fairly bright stars within it’s confines and I could see just a spot of nebula just off to the east.   Though quite small in the ST120, it showed itself quite well at 20x with OIII and 46x with NPB filters.    Without the filters, not so much. 


Spent some time just naked eye on the Milky Way at Sagittarius.   I then visited the Large and Small Sagittarius Star Clouds, Lagoon Nebula and Swan Nebula using the telrad rather than the go-to.  I hit the LSSC by mistake trying for the Lagoon.  Good miss and had a look around this massive body of stars before moving up to the Lagoon, Swan and SSSC.   The Lagoon and Swan were both beauties without filters, but boy,  the filters do enhance an I had usable powers up to 239x.  Best seemed to be at 181x with NPG.  After the SSSC, hit the go-to for the Wild Duck Cluster.  Still my favorite OC.    This was when I realized that I hadn’t done NELM or a Pickering Scale, so I got that out of the way.

 

Saturn, being close to the meridian, it got worked over by the C11 with usable powers to 667x and best overall at 461x.   Really tried for the Encke Gap and did get an averted illusion of it in the upper half on the east side of the rings.    What I could see was four distinct bands outside the Cassini Division.  The first was a creamy white similar to the main body of the ring, just outside the division.  The second a middle grayish band.  The third band is a bit darker than that, and comprised of two strips split with a small light gray strip.  The fourth band was back to middle gray at the edge of the rings.  This at 667x.   At 461x the illusion of seeing the gap was due to the two darkest strips in the third band converging to where they appear as a single line in the top half on either side of the rings in averted vision.   I couldn’t hold that illusion for more than a second or two, but it was repeatable.  So, the mystery of why I thought I saw the gap just after joining this now infamous Ed’s Gang, is fully resolved.  At least to my satisfaction.  


But wait, there’s more.  While at 667 and 461x I was surprised at how broad and showy the M band was.   It’s actually broader than the shadow of the rings on the planet.   Couldn’t see that against the planet’s brightness,  but it was evident on each side of the shadow.   And, with that examination came a southern band on the planet origination from beneath the ends of the shadow and wrapping the planet on both sides.  Rather faint, clearly visible in averted vision, but hard to hold in direct vision for more than a couple of seconds at a time.  

I think I strained my right eye on Saturn.  I was looking at Jupiter while the C11 panned and thought I could see a moon naked eye.  Close my right eye and no moon.  Lunch break.  When I got back I couldn’t pull the texturing in the southern hemisphere I saw on the 9th, so just concentrated on trying to see the storms floating just above the NEB.  There was two seen at 461x in direct vision.  One 6/8 of the way to the western horizon and the other just approaching the meridian.  I kept getting the impression of a third storm quite close to the first and very near the western horizon in illusory vision.  Couldn’t prove it.   Backed off to 136x and managed to see the one approaching the meridian for moments in direct vision.  I was using the left eye at this point so not sure, but still hopeful I can get these with 80ED.  Hopefully I’ll get that chance.   Had planned to go home early and make that attempt when I got home, but decided otherwise. 

 

Very good night and I apologize if I’m too pumped.   Seems I can’t get enough of good seeing and might be an addict.


Edited by Migwan, 03 August 2021 - 09:44 AM.

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#373 Studly

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Posted 03 August 2021 - 11:48 AM

I had a fantastic visual session last night!

 

 

2021-08-02
Time: 22:50 local time (EDT); 02:50 UTC (08-03)
Cloud Cover: None
Wind: Very Light
SQM Measurement: 20.93
Temperature: 11C/52F
Transparency: Average (3/5)
Seeing: Good (4/5)
Length of Observing Session: 2h 15m
Instrument: Orion XT10 Plus (fl 1200mm, f/4.7); Paracorr Type 2 (effective fl 1380)
Mount: Dobsonian
Eyepieces: Explore Scientific, Meade PWA and UWA, and Vixen SLV

 

Summary: The sky forecast was actually accurate for a change—no clouds, very light wind, and good conditions. I wanted to hit a couple targets in Scorpius and Sagittarius, then get a good visual look at Saturn and Jupiter if time permitted.

 

M7 (Scorpius): At 40mm (34x), Ptolemy’s Cluster was readily spotted. Approximately 40 stars were visible; the Cluster appeared loosely arranged. I noted three lines or gentle curves of stars running roughly east-west in the cluster, all composed of some of the Cluster’s brightest members. The northernmost arc consisted of five stars, and was very obvious in the view. The target filled about 40% of the field of view (at 68 degree AFOV). At 28mm (49x), the quality of the view improved. I counted about 50 stars, most of which were strong and steady—a testament to the Good Seeing. Most the brightest member stars seemed to shine with a very subtle blue tint, save one that shone distinctly reddish at the cluster’s northwestern edge. At 20mm (69x), the extra magnification definitely enhanced the view. Still approximately 50 stars visible, but the Cluster filled about 50% of the field of view (at 82 degree AFOV). The stars in the Cluster still shone with a rock-steady light. At 14mm (98x), the Cluster was framed very nicely in the field of view. I spent some time here just simply admiring the view. The red-tinted star in the Cluster’s northwest was quite prominent. I decided against pursuing greater magnification, since this would likely provide a less-pleasing view without the space around the target to provide context for the Cluster.

 

M6 (Scorpius): At 40mm (34x), the Butterfly Cluster was easily acquired. The target appeared to be composed of mostly dimmer stars, but had one brighter red star on its eastern edge. The curving arcs of the member stars were arranged in a manner that suggested its namesake. However, my immediate impression was not of a flying insect, but rather a fireworks burst. At 28mm (49x), the target’s member stars remained rock-steady. The extra magnification, though, diminished the butterfly-like outline the Cluster suggested earlier. However, more stars could now be seen, making for a beautiful view. At 20mm (69x), the Cluster was nicely framed in the view. The red star on the target’s eastern edge seemed to shine like a bright beacon—the brightest star visible in the Cluster. Very cool. At 14mm (98x), the Cluster was beautiful. Approximately 80 stars were counted, with the target filling about 65% of the field of view (at 82 degree AFOV). Spectacular. Again, I decided against pursuing higher magnification for this open cluster.

 

M22 (Sagittarius): This large globular cluster was easily spotted at 40mm (34x). Even at this low magnification, the cluster was breathtaking, appearing as a milky ball of stars. Many member stars were already resolved, especially the dimmer members along its extremities. The target displayed a large core area. At 28mm (49x), the greatly increased number of visible stars literally caused me to gasp. The core remained large in appearance. Averted vision showed countless stars—incredible view! At 20mm (69x), the target provided an amazing view. Brighter member stars appeared to overlay a dimmer bed when using averted vision. These brighter stars resembled spilled diamonds. At 14mm (98x), the “spilled diamonds” effect was now directly visible. Averted vision further enhanced this impression. The core still appeared large and bright. At 8.8mm (156x), some darkening was noticed in the view, but the target remained a splendid sight. The sheer number of stars visible in the field was staggering! At 5.5mm (250x), the additional darkening of the view removed some of the dimmest members from sight, but the view remained impressive nonetheless.

 

M28 (Sagittarius): At 40mm (34x), the target was spotted. The globular cluster appeared quite small and fuzzy—the polar opposite of the prior target. No stars were resolved; the cluster almost looked more like an elliptical galaxy than a globular cluster at this magnification. At 28mm (49x), the target’s small, compact nature remained unchanged in the view. Averted vision was only just *barely* beginning to show resolved stars in the cluster’s periphery. At 20mm (69x), the cluster still appeared small and compact. Only a few member stars could be directly resolved, while averted vision revealed many tiny points of dim light scattered amidst the cluster’s periphery. The core remained fuzzy and unresolved. At 14mm (98x), additional stars were resolved in the target’s periphery, while the core remained an unresolved fuzz. All resolved stars appeared dim. At 8.8mm (156x), the target finally took on the more characteristic attributes of a globular cluster. The angular size of the cluster remained small, but a few stars in the core area could now be resolved. Additional stars in the periphery became visible, but never strayed far from the core. At 5.5mm (250x), the image darkened considerably and caused significant loss of detail.

 

Saturn: I debated with myself whether or not to remain to view the planets, but I could not pass up the opportunity for viewing them in such good conditions. I switched to the Vixen SLV oculars to coax as much detail from the targets as possible. At 25mm (55x), the ringed planet was already a beautiful sight. The rings were obvious, and several moons were already apparent. These included: Rhea close to the planet to the north, Dione to the west, Tethys to the southwest, and Titan a little farther out to the north-northwest. Some dark cloud banding could already be seen in the planet’s northern hemisphere. At 10mm (138x), the moons were confirmed. Several dark cloud bands could now be seen on the planet, and the Cassini Division was easily seen. Beautiful! At 9mm (153x), the cloud bands on the planet’s disc were more pronounced. The Cassini Division in the rings appeared darker, and was even easier to see. At 6mm (230x), the first signs of atmospheric distortion became apparent in the view, but was not bad. Aside from the increase in magnification, the view remained largely unchanged—still incredible! At 5mm (276x), the focus began shifting in the view, but occasionally still afforded a fantastic view. I caught glimpses of what appeared to be additional grooves in the planet’s rings, inferior to the Cassini Division. These must have been coloration differences between different bands of the rings. Outstanding!

 

Jupiter: At 25mm (55x), the North Equatorial Belt was already clearly visible. The Southern Equatorial Belt was sometimes visible through the planet’s glare. (I considered getting out filters to draw this out, but it was getting late and I needed to bring the session to an end soon.) Three of the Galilean moons were visible to the planet’s west. Moving outward from the planet, these were: Io nearly hugging the planet’s western limb, Ganymede some distance outward, and Callisto farther out still. At 10mm (138x), the NEB appeared incredibly detailed, showing various shades of brown throughout, and even appearing red in places. The North Temperate Belt was also now visible, and the South Temperate Belt was revealed in occasional glimpses. At 9mm (153x), a distinct dark spot was seen just north of the NEB, along its western region, separated from the Belt by the thinnest gap—very cool. The detail apparent in the different cloud bands was nothing short of amazing. The Zones between the belts showed up very well, especially between the NEB and SEB, where it took on a tan color, with striations and variations throughout. At 6mm (230x), the view showed the first signs of softening, but the view remained impressive. No new details could be drawn out.

 

Conclusion: This session ran longer than wisdom dictated it should (especially with work looming the next day). However, it was still time well spent. The Good Seeing is something I don’t encounter very often, and I am glad to have taken advantage of it. My only regret is the necessary premature end to the session; if I had not had to work the next day, I would have stayed out all night!

 

 

Until next time!


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#374 Studly

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Posted 03 August 2021 - 10:05 PM

I finally got around to processing the footage I captured of Saturn and Jupiter this last Sunday night. The results are...okay, but not spectacular. This was my first time using this camera with this scope, so it was definitely a learning experience. I made some mistakes along the way--mistakes I did not fully discover until trying to process these. The cropped images are very small, so if they are enlarged at all they will become blurry very quickly. Also, the conditions were not that great, either.

 

These were captured with a Meade 8-inch LX85 ACF on an LX85 mount, using an ASI224MC camera. Footage was captured in SharpCap and processed in Registax.

 

Saturn 2021 08 02 01 13 07 1 (at opposition, LX85, ASI224MC, 30 percent Of 3931 frames)
Saturn 2021 08 02 01 20 06 (at opposition, LX85, ASI224MC, IRCut, 30 percent Of 3275 frames)
Saturn 2021 08 02 01 13 07 2 (at opposition, LX85, ASI224MC, 15 percent Of 3931 frames)
Jupiter 2021 08 02 01 58 37 (LX85, ASI224MC, IRCut, 20% Of 8234 frames)
Jupiter 2021 08 02 02 04 04 (LX85, ASI224MC, IRCut, 15% Of 7925 frames)

 

I was actually hoping to get back out tonight to have another crack at these, but the conditions returned to be super-crappy. <Sigh>

 

Tony


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#375 NYJohn S

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Posted 04 August 2021 - 11:29 AM

7/31/21  Tried to make it 2 nights in a row, but got smoked.   At 21:30 I passed the 1st exit N of town and could see a very heavy bank of smoke.  Turned around at next exit and drove back to town and headed W, where I soon found a similar bank of smoke.   The evening had been clear on the farm and both Clear Skies and the smoke map showed it was going to be smokeless.   Deb later told me the local yocal said in his 6 o’clock weather report that smoke would be moving in for the night.  Oops.

 

8/2/21, 23:00-02:15,   56-49°,   Calm,   RH 82-92%,   (Clear Skies) Trans 3/5 , See 4/5,   NELM 6.35,  PS 7/10,   SQM 21.84,   1124’,   Dark Site 


~SNIP~

 

Over at the Crescent I realized I’d been there before,  recognizing the long curving chain of stars that were almost cluster like in number and covered a couple of degrees or more.   Last time I just figured that I wasn’t seeing any of the nebula and that the chain of stars was associated with the nebula.  After all, it was crescent shaped.    Thanks to John’s description I knew better this time.   The actual nebula was rather an elongated egg shape and was framed nicely in the C11 with the 30 at 2x for 200x and 0.36° using the OIII.   The filamentary structure showed best at 100x.  There are a number of fairly bright stars within it’s confines and I could see just a spot of nebula just off to the east.   Though quite small in the ST120, it showed itself quite well at 20x with OIII and 46x with NPB filters.    Without the filters, not so much. 

Nice report. Glad to see some are getting out. I made it back to the Crescent Nebula on Sat night. Never got around to posting a report but I got a new scope, an AD10. I was comparing the XT8 to it and revisited the Crescent Nebula. I could see the filamentary structure you referred to with the 10". I thought is was interesting. A little extra aperture made quite a difference.

 

I had a fantastic visual session last night!

 

 

2021-08-02
Time: 22:50 local time (EDT); 02:50 UTC (08-03)
Cloud Cover: None
Wind: Very Light
SQM Measurement: 20.93
Temperature: 11C/52F
Transparency: Average (3/5)
Seeing: Good (4/5)
Length of Observing Session: 2h 15m
Instrument: Orion XT10 Plus (fl 1200mm, f/4.7); Paracorr Type 2 (effective fl 1380)
Mount: Dobsonian
Eyepieces: Explore Scientific, Meade PWA and UWA, and Vixen SLV

 

Summary: The sky forecast was actually accurate for a change—no clouds, very light wind, and good conditions. I wanted to hit a couple targets in Scorpius and Sagittarius, then get a good visual look at Saturn and Jupiter if time permitted.

 

~ SNIP~

 

Until next time!

Great report! I enjoyed reading it. I still haven't spent much time on the objects in the southern sky. Hopefully it will clear up here while the Moon is out of the way.


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