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Observation log continued; III

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#51 ETXer

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Posted 27 May 2021 - 10:09 AM

Brent,

 Yeah. the astro-imaging thing is less of a rabbit hole, and more of a wormhole! It makes time and money disappear from your universe with no trace.

 I only do imaging of planets and the Moon a couple times each year. I am primarily a visual observer. Don't get me wrong--those who have the resources and enthusiasm to do it can get some great results. However, I don't have the cash to throw at a "proper" imaging rig, nor do I anticipate that being the case in the future.

 I have gotten some decent planetary and lunar images with modest equipment. Most sites devoted to imaging will immediately condemn people who won't or can't invest in these $10k rigs, but it is possible to capture passable images otherwise. Example--I have planetary and lunar images I captured with my 90mm Achromat on the stock EQ mount with a cheap motor drive (single axis), and I think they turned out well. A shaky or less-than-perfect tracking mount can still give decent images when the video is stacked. Just don't expect to get the same quality of images that you often see posted online.

 I have not tried much in the way of long-exposure stuff, other than capturing some stellar spectra a couple times. In my specific case, those imaging sessions always come at the expense of visual sessions. That makes them a little harder to justify for me, especially if the weather is not affording many opportunities for observing.

 So, long story short (too late!), lunar and planetary imaging is nothing to dismiss lightly, even with sub-prime equipment. I usually find it rewarding when I choose to do it. If you ever want more info, you are welcome to PM me.

 

Tony

 

Tony, I'm in exactly the same camp. I'm happy with the equipment I have (being mostly a visual observer as well) and I get a lot of satisfaction in the fact I can get the images that I do out of my classic scopes. They serve as a sort of souvenir/record of my observing sessions, never with the intended goal of winning contests or being published. As long as I'm happy and others get some enjoyment out of it, that's all that matters!

 

 

It truly can turn into an endless rabbit hole.  My fork is nowhere near vibration free.  The best advice I've read is to never touch it while imaging.  That requires a better focuser (or perhaps an electronic focuser).  I have no drive correction on this mount either - it's the original top-of-the-line worm drive in RA only from 1985.  The manual controls are pretty pathetic, so I won't be doing any long exposures where a large target might drift off the tiny sensor in the camera...

 

....

 

...It will never end.

 

I'm going to try really hard to be happy with just lunar and planetary imaging for as long as I possibly can...

 

Exactly, I as well. My 1997 Celestar 8 Deluxe has a lunar tracking rate that seems to work pretty well and its controls are maybe only slightly more precise than your Super C8. I can get rudimentary images of DSOs from my Revolution Imager 2 also, and that's good enough for me.

 

Cheers, Allan


Edited by ETXer, 27 May 2021 - 09:39 PM.

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#52 Studly

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Posted 27 May 2021 - 10:19 AM

I noticed Venus riding high in the sky last evening, and despite still feeling like crap, I grabbed the ST80 and headed out to make some quick observations from my front yard. However, when I later checked the phases against Stellarium, I found my estimates were extremely inaccurate! This disturbs me greatly....

 

 

2021-05-26
Time: 21:30 local time (EDT); 01:30 UTC (05-27)
Cloud Cover: Approximately 15%
Wind: Very Light
SQM Measurement: Not Measured
Temperature: Approximately 75F
Transparency: Fair (2/5)
Seeing: Average (3/5)
Length of Observing Session: 30m
Instrument: Orion 80mm Short Tube Refractor (fl400, f/5)
Mount: Orion VersaGo E Alt-Az
Eyepieces: Vixen SLV

 

Summary: I stepped out to retrieve my mail just after 9pm and noticed that Venus was already very bright. Despite now being in Week 2 of this cursed bronchitis, I grabbed the ST80 and headed out to get some quick views.

 

Venus: At 25mm (16x), the target appeared bright and clear in the sky. No phase could yet be discerned. At 15mm (26x), the view was considerably sharper, with the planet’s limbs appearing with better definition. Some possible hints of phase became intermittently apparent, with the planet appearing to be slightly flattened along one side. At 10mm (40x), the flattening was confirmed, but was difficult to estimate. With the target sinking closer to the horizon, and combined with its brightness, the best estimate I could come up with was approximately 75% illuminated. At 6mm (66x), the target became somewhat blurred, and began displaying color changes due to atmospheric distortion. The flattening along one side was still visible, but was no easier to estimate. At 5mm (80x), the image degraded, losing further detail.

 

Mercury: At 25mm (16x), the small planet (though not visible to the naked eye) was spotted against the twilight sky. It appeared as a steady point of light. At 15mm (26x), the image resolution improved. I noted a possible tinge of color in the target, but this could have been atmospheric in nature. No discernible phase could yet be seen. At 10mm (40x), the planet still appeared quite small in the view, but some flattening along one side was visible. As with Venus previously, the phase was difficult to estimate, and for the same reasons, but the best guess I could place on it was 50% illuminated. At 6mm (66x), the phase/flattening noted earlier was confirmed. As I watched, the image began to degrade as the planet fell closer to the horizon. At 5mm (80x), the image degradation worsened, with the target shifting apparent size and color due to increased atmospheric distortion. At steadier moments, the approximate phase was still visible.

 

Conclusion: The gnats swarming in my front yard were causing no small amount of grief by the end of the short session. Being ill was also taking its toll. I later checked the observed phases against Stellarium for accuracy, and found my estimates were seriously in error. Stellarium listed Venus at 96% illuminated, and Mercury at only 16%. I am disturbed by the large discrepancy between these figures and what I observed. Venus should have appeared full in the view, and Mercury should have been a distinct crescent. Admittedly, the ST80 would not normally be my first choice for any kind of planetary viewing, but I was not in any physical condition to move any of my larger scopes. The scope combined with the atmospheric distortions must have distorted my views enough to account for this. My next attempt at these targets must be made with a larger scope!

 

 

Well, any good researcher must record his errors as well as his successes, right?

 

Until next time!

 

Tony


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#53 aeajr

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Posted 27 May 2021 - 11:39 AM

I tried downloading the VTA. I have a Mac and it says "This program can also work under Linux with Wine and on MacOs with Wine" I tried it with wine but about halfway through the bottle I was more confused than ever


A technique I must try. 😀
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#54 brentknight

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Posted 27 May 2021 - 01:25 PM

I noticed Venus riding high in the sky last evening, and despite still feeling like crap, I grabbed the ST80 and headed out to make some quick observations from my front yard. However, when I later checked the phases against Stellarium, I found my estimates were extremely inaccurate! This disturbs me greatly....

 

 

2021-05-26
Time: 21:30 local time (EDT); 01:30 UTC (05-27)
:: SNIP ::

 

Mercury: At 25mm (16x), the small planet (though not visible to the naked eye) was spotted against the twilight sky. It appeared as a steady point of light. At 15mm (26x), the image resolution improved. I noted a possible tinge of color in the target, but this could have been atmospheric in nature. No discernible phase could yet be seen. At 10mm (40x), the planet still appeared quite small in the view, but some flattening along one side was visible. As with Venus previously, the phase was difficult to estimate, and for the same reasons, but the best guess I could place on it was 50% illuminated. At 6mm (66x), the phase/flattening noted earlier was confirmed. As I watched, the image began to degrade as the planet fell closer to the horizon. At 5mm (80x), the image degradation worsened, with the target shifting apparent size and color due to increased atmospheric distortion. At steadier moments, the approximate phase was still visible.

 

 

:: SNIP ::

 

Until next time!

 

Tony

 

I got a short view of Venus and Mercury last night too.  By the time I got the AT102ED out the front door though, Venus had set behind the trees.  SS6 showed Mercury was a couple degrees higher, but like you I couldn't see it naked eye.  I didn't notice any phase when I got the TV zoom in but I did notice a burnt orange color to it.

 

I just checked SS6 for the actual phase and this it what it showed:

 

Mercury 2021-05-26.jpg

 

No wonder it was so faint...


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#55 Studly

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Posted 27 May 2021 - 02:30 PM

I got a short view of Venus and Mercury last night too.  By the time I got the AT102ED out the front door though, Venus had set behind the trees.  SS6 showed Mercury was a couple degrees higher, but like you I couldn't see it naked eye.  I didn't notice any phase when I got the TV zoom in but I did notice a burnt orange color to it.

 

I just checked SS6 for the actual phase and this it what it showed:

 

attachicon.gifMercury 2021-05-26.jpg

 

No wonder it was so faint...

Brent,

 Well, it sounds like the color I caught might have been the same as what you noticed. It appeared vaguely orangish-red to me, and was quite subtle. The atmosphere was fluctuating significantly, though, so I can't say that I was able to verify this.

 I won't have another opportunity to try and catch that little sucker until *maybe* Saturday evening. I will have to see where the clouds are just after sunset....

 

Tony


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#56 chrysalis

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Posted 29 May 2021 - 04:35 AM

Clouded out and raining here in north central NC for the Venus-Mercury conjunction - anybody get any images?



#57 ETXer

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Posted 29 May 2021 - 08:07 AM

Same here in Maryland, in fact the weather outlook is pretty dismal for the entire week.



#58 Migwan

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Posted 29 May 2021 - 09:46 AM

It was so close to clearing in time here, as an extensive lower cloud front moved off to the S just in time.  Problem was, a high cloud bank moved in from the south at the same time.   Might have been because I got a cheesy red dot and universal dovetail in the mail, which wasn't supposed to arrive till today.  That or because I had enticed the wife out with me and I needed to be humbled. 


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#59 brentknight

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Posted 29 May 2021 - 12:15 PM

We had quite a variety of weather last evening with clouds at twilight (ruining the Venus/Mercury show), rain and thunder around midnight, and then clearing beautifully around 2am.

 

Not really having much of an idea what I was supposed to do, I still took the new ASI224MC out with the AT72EDII for my first shot at the Moon.

 

02_16_17_001_lapl5_ap693.jpg

 

20210529_115453-sm.jpg

 

Full lunar disk just won't quite fit on the sensor, even with the wide AT72EDII - but it's pretty close.

 

One day I hope to find something a little less bright with this thing...

 

 


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#60 NYJohn S

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Posted 29 May 2021 - 12:36 PM

We had quite a variety of weather last evening with clouds at twilight (ruining the Venus/Mercury show), rain and thunder around midnight, and then clearing beautifully around 2am.

 

Not really having much of an idea what I was supposed to do, I still took the new ASI224MC out with the AT72EDII for my first shot at the Moon.

 

 

 

Full lunar disk just won't quite fit on the sensor, even with the wide AT72EDII - but it's pretty close.

 

One day I hope to find something a little less bright with this thing...

Very nice! The camera looks like it was made for that scope with the red. I guess if you get the flattener / corrector for the scope you could get to full disk but it's nice to be able to come in close for detail as it is.


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#61 brentknight

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Posted 29 May 2021 - 01:34 PM

Very nice! The camera looks like it was made for that scope with the red. I guess if you get the flattener / corrector for the scope you could get to full disk but it's nice to be able to come in close for detail as it is.

Does the flattener/corrector reduce the FOV too?  Do you happen to know what part that is?


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#62 NYJohn S

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Posted 29 May 2021 - 02:09 PM

Does the flattener/corrector reduce the FOV too?  Do you happen to know what part that is?

Here's the part- https://www.astronom...ical-tubes.html

 

According to the description it would make it a 344mm f/4.8 scope. 


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#63 desertstars

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Posted 29 May 2021 - 02:10 PM

Had the chance to observe a few more double stars in Leo last night. I had a clear, transparent sky to work with, but fair (at best) seeing conditions. Some of these duos required a fair amount of patience, waiting for that moment when seeing briefly improved. A mild night, into the bargain, with rare, gentle breezes and a temperature of 84°F (28.8°C). Normal suburban sky, in terms of light pollution (Bortle 8 according to the Clear Sky Chart, but Bortle 7 according to my Sky Quality Meter.)

 

Observations made with the Three-legged Newt (Orion 200mm f/5 reflector) on a Celestron AVX mount, and Orion Stratus eyepieces: 21, 8, 5, and 3.5mm focal lengths. (48x, 125x, 200x and 286x respectively.)

 

My first try was a miss: 2 Leonis. The data I have gives a separation of 0.6” so I didn’t expect much, especially with mediocre seeing conditions. Even with the 5mm eyepiece there wasn’t even a hint of duplicity. The seeing conditions at that time were such that I pushed the magnification no higher.

 

I had better luck with STT 215, with patience and magnification. The 5mm eyepiece gave me glimpses of dark between the pair of stars, something that was more obvious in calmer moments with the 3.5mm. It proved to be a really challenging observation, and most of the time it was a cosmic peanut shape, but in time I could honestly say I’d split it. Both stars were white and appeared to be of very similar magnitudes. They are listed as magnitudes 7.2 and 7.5, so my impression of the pair was correct.

 

39 Leonis was another miss. The separation should have been within the limits of the Newt, but my sky was simply too bright to reveal the magnitude 11.4 companion.

 

STF 1426 proved to be an easier target that my first selections. I could just make out the space between the AB-C pair with the 21mm eyepiece. I ultimate settled on the 8mm for studying this one. AB was a gentle yellowing color that faded in and out of prominence with changes in the seeing conditions. C was considerably dimmer than the primary. (8.0 vs 9.4). There was enough color contrast to please the eye of this beholder.

 

Sky brightness worked against me again when I moved to STT 216. The magnitude contrast (7.4 vs 10.3) and the tight spacing (1.9”) conspired to give me only a hint that the fainter companion was there. Since that might not be what I was seeing, I’ll put this one on the ever-growing list of objects to revisit on a better night.

 

49 Leonis was another of the night’s almost-but-not-quites. Also another tight one (2.1”) with a significant magnitude contrast (5.8 vs 7.9). Seeing conditions had remained in the fair range, but that wasn’t good enough for this one, and the companion star was lost in the flickering glare of the brighter star.

 

S 617 was something of a relief after the spotty success of this outing. It was an easy split with the 21mm and made a fine sight in the 8mm eyepiece. The difference in magnitudes was significant, 6.3 and 8.7, with the brighter of the pair golden yellow and the dimmer pale blue. This was the standout pair of the night, and very gem-like with those colors.

 

Last of all was 54 Leonis. I could just see it as a double star in the 21mm eyepiece, but the best view of both the split and the colors was obtained by using a lot more magnification (5mm). What I saw for colors doesn’t match what I’ve read of 54 Leonis, but that’s happened before. The magnitude 4.5 primary star was sparkling white with a touch of warmth to it. The magnitude 6.3 companion appeared off white to my eye. I’ve seen them described as banana yellow and sapphire blue. Well, not with this eyepiece-eyeball-brain combination. No worries. This isn’t the first time I've seen colors that differ from published descriptions. And it won’t be the last.


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#64 ETXer

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Posted 29 May 2021 - 08:16 PM

We had quite a variety of weather last evening with clouds at twilight (ruining the Venus/Mercury show), rain and thunder around midnight, and then clearing beautifully around 2am.

 

Not really having much of an idea what I was supposed to do, I still took the new ASI224MC out with the AT72EDII for my first shot at the Moon.

 

attachicon.gif02_16_17_001_lapl5_ap693.jpg

 

attachicon.gif20210529_115453-sm.jpg

 

Full lunar disk just won't quite fit on the sensor, even with the wide AT72EDII - but it's pretty close.

 

One day I hope to find something a little less bright with this thing...

Brent, great result on your first outing with the ASI224! It's making me think about trading up from my ASI120, but that would just bring me further down that rabbit hole, so for now I need to be happy with what I have. ;) What app did you use for the capture?


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#65 brentknight

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Posted 29 May 2021 - 10:08 PM

Brent, great result on your first outing with the ASI224! It's making me think about trading up from my ASI120, but that would just bring me further down that rabbit hole, so for now I need to be happy with what I have. wink.gif What app did you use for the capture?

Thanks Allan.

 

I used SharpCap - it just looks a little easier to use than FireCapture.  Then I used AS!3 for stacking.  Basic picture processing with Microsoft Photo Editor.  I use all these terms lightly as I was just pressing buttons and hoping something happened.  I just installed Registax and have no idea how to effectively use that one.

 

Boy, this stuff looks really fun though...

 

I almost pulled the trigger on the corrector/flattener for the AT72ED as John suggested, but then realized I need something that will track at least 30 seconds fairly well to get any sort of DSO imaged.  I tried piggybacking the telescope to the C8, but even though the 72mm is a very small telescope, it completely throws off any hope of balancing with that mount.  I fear a SkyWatcher EQ6-R Pro is in my future...


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#66 BFaucett

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Posted 30 May 2021 - 12:37 AM

 

Boy, this stuff looks really fun though...

 

 

down-the-rabbit-hole-400x.jpg

 

Bob F. grin.gif wink.gif


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#67 ETXer

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Posted 30 May 2021 - 07:14 AM

Thanks Allan.

 

I used SharpCap - it just looks a little easier to use than FireCapture.  Then I used AS!3 for stacking.  Basic picture processing with Microsoft Photo Editor.  I use all these terms lightly as I was just pressing buttons and hoping something happened.  I just installed Registax and have no idea how to effectively use that one.

 

Boy, this stuff looks really fun though...

 

I almost pulled the trigger on the corrector/flattener for the AT72ED as John suggested, but then realized I need something that will track at least 30 seconds fairly well to get any sort of DSO imaged.  I tried piggybacking the telescope to the C8, but even though the 72mm is a very small telescope, it completely throws off any hope of balancing with that mount.  I fear a SkyWatcher EQ6-R Pro is in my future...

 

I agree about SharpCap vs. Firecapture... it seems most that do imaging on a regular basis use FireCapture; I downloaded it and as difficult as SharpCap seemed at first, I thought FireCapture was even worse, so I've just always been using SharpCap.

 

And yes, Registax looks completely unintuitive at first, but after you use it a few times it actually starts to make sense. Here's a great tutorial that helped me get started with the Moon:

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=JkTiVdx30CQ

 

And here's another one that was a great help last fall when Mars was at perihelion opposition:

 

https://www.astronom...viewv6paul.html

 

It gets better, and the more you do it, the easier it gets... and it's all about experimentation and trial and error, so there'll be plenty of false starts with the successes. Good luck!


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#68 brentknight

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Posted 30 May 2021 - 07:32 AM

Jupiter this morning

 

Jupiter.png

 

And Saturn - with Titan showing a tiny disk, and a trace of the Encke Gap 

 

Saturn-01.png

 

Its pretty amazing what the stacking does.  I had no idea there was that much detail in the raw video.  These were 3000 frames and I kept 30%.

 

 


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#69 NYJohn S

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Posted 30 May 2021 - 07:37 AM

Its pretty amazing what the stacking does.  I had no idea there was that much detail in the raw video.  These were 3000 frames and I kept 30%.

They look great. I remember watching someone capture video of Jupiter while we were observing and thinking it looked terrible. when they showed me the processed image I was amazed at the detail. 


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#70 BFaucett

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Posted 30 May 2021 - 07:59 AM

I think we've lost Brent to the dark side of the Force. Jedi.gif   lol.gif

 

Seriously, I think those are some great images; especially for just starting out. waytogo.gif

 

Cheers! Bob F. 

 


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#71 ETXer

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Posted 30 May 2021 - 08:16 AM

Fantastic results Brent! It's all in the magic of lucky imaging. lol.gif


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#72 desertstars

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Posted 30 May 2021 - 11:50 AM

lol.gif


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#73 Migwan

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Posted 30 May 2021 - 12:07 PM

I would like to dedicate this post to Brent and would like to drop the following message down there to him.   ( waytogo.gif  waytogo.gif )

 

 

5/29/21,  23:15-02:00,  45>32°,   N 5mph>calm,   RH 61>94%,   (Clear Skies) Trans 5/5 , See 3/5,   NELM 6.5,   IR Band Delta 17,   PS 6,   SQM 21.4  Dark Site,  Elev. 1122’

Power switch                            Reducer        Barlow  
1100    30mm     100x  .72°      70x     1°       200x  .36°
            22mm     136x  .60°      95x   .86°      272x  .3°
            13mm     239x  .42°     181x  .55°      461x  .22°
              9mm     333x  .23°     233x  .31°      667x  .11° 
           6.5mm     461x  .17°     323x  .24 °     923x  .08 °


120      30mm     20x    3.6°
            22mm     27x    3.0°
            13mm     46x    2.2°

Clear Skies spot on.  Had frost on the truck by 00:30.  Good thing I was pretty much dressed for winter complete with proper boots.    


Spent some time trying to sketch a direct vision view of Markarian chain.  Where I had thirteen in a 3.6° fov with the 30mm on the ST120, I only had a 3° fov on this sitting.  It seems someone left the 30mm in the 80ED and had to us a 22mm.   As such I lost M89, 90 & 92.   I showed 89 and 90 on the sketch outside the field of view for perspective, as they were seen by bumping the scope in that direction.  

Had plan to try and sketch a couple other targets, but decided not to bother.


Also spent some time trying for the dwarf in the Ring.  I tried 461x, but 333x was significantly sharper.  No dwarf.  I could see that blotch near the center in averted vision again down to 136x.  It’s not stellar, at least directly.  It’s slightly larger than that and not round, having what seems to be a couple of protrusions.  Very difficult to lock onto well enough to see the size and shape as it’s just a brightening over the background.   I can see why myself and others have thought they saw the dwarf when they surely didn’t have enough aperture.

I had my best look at the North American nebula trying both the NPB and OIII and through both scopes.  The better view was definitely through the ST120 with the 22 and OIII filter.  Still, nothing to brag about.  To me, this nebula is still a mountain to be climbed. 

 

I also looked at the Swan with the OIII and managed what appeared to be a couple of star forming regions, but nothing of the 800-900 stars said to be within.  The buggers are hiding.  The overall shape of the nebula looked better without the filter, but more of it was visible without.

 

As the moon started to rise I split a few doubles, featuring Epsilon Lyre, which was a nice end to the night.

Attached Thumbnails

  • markarian2.jpg

Edited by Migwan, 30 May 2021 - 12:08 PM.

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#74 Syks7

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Posted 30 May 2021 - 01:02 PM

I would like to dedicate this post to Brent and would like to drop the following message down there to him.   ( waytogo.gif  waytogo.gif )

 

 

5/29/21,  23:15-02:00,  45>32°,   N 5mph>calm,   RH 61>94%,   (Clear Skies) Trans 5/5 , See 3/5,   NELM 6.5,   IR Band Delta 17,   PS 6,   SQM 21.4  Dark Site,  Elev. 1122’

Power switch                            Reducer        Barlow  
1100    30mm     100x  .72°      70x     1°       200x  .36°
            22mm     136x  .60°      95x   .86°      272x  .3°
            13mm     239x  .42°     181x  .55°      461x  .22°
              9mm     333x  .23°     233x  .31°      667x  .11° 
           6.5mm     461x  .17°     323x  .24 °     923x  .08 °


120      30mm     20x    3.6°
            22mm     27x    3.0°
            13mm     46x    2.2°

Clear Skies spot on.  Had frost on the truck by 00:30.  Good thing I was pretty much dressed for winter complete with proper boots.    


Spent some time trying to sketch a direct vision view of Markarian chain.  Where I had thirteen in a 3.6° fov with the 30mm on the ST120, I only had a 3° fov on this sitting.  It seems someone left the 30mm in the 80ED and had to us a 22mm.   As such I lost M89, 90 & 92.   I showed 89 and 90 on the sketch outside the field of view for perspective, as they were seen by bumping the scope in that direction.  

Had plan to try and sketch a couple other targets, but decided not to bother.


Also spent some time trying for the dwarf in the Ring.  I tried 461x, but 333x was significantly sharper.  No dwarf.  I could see that blotch near the center in averted vision again down to 136x.  It’s not stellar, at least directly.  It’s slightly larger than that and not round, having what seems to be a couple of protrusions.  Very difficult to lock onto well enough to see the size and shape as it’s just a brightening over the background.   I can see why myself and others have thought they saw the dwarf when they surely didn’t have enough aperture.

I had my best look at the North American nebula trying both the NPB and OIII and through both scopes.  The better view was definitely through the ST120 with the 22 and OIII filter.  Still, nothing to brag about.  To me, this nebula is still a mountain to be climbed. 

 

I also looked at the Swan with the OIII and managed what appeared to be a couple of star forming regions, but nothing of the 800-900 stars said to be within.  The buggers are hiding.  The overall shape of the nebula looked better without the filter, but more of it was visible without.

 

As the moon started to rise I split a few doubles, featuring Epsilon Lyre, which was a nice end to the night.

This may be an silly question but how do you do a sketch like this?  Are you using a red light and alternating between the eyepiece and drawing?


  • Studly likes this

#75 brentknight

brentknight

    Gemini

  • *****
  • Posts: 3,360
  • Joined: 29 Dec 2014
  • Loc: Foley, Alabama

Posted 30 May 2021 - 02:14 PM

I would like to dedicate this post to Brent and would like to drop the following message down there to him.   ( waytogo.gif  waytogo.gif )

 

 

5/29/21,  23:15-02:00,  45>32°,   N 5mph>calm,   RH 61>94%,   (Clear Skies) Trans 5/5 , See 3/5,   NELM 6.5,   IR Band Delta 17,   PS 6,   SQM 21.4  Dark Site,  Elev. 1122’

Power switch                            Reducer        Barlow  
1100    30mm     100x  .72°      70x     1°       200x  .36°
            22mm     136x  .60°      95x   .86°      272x  .3°
            13mm     239x  .42°     181x  .55°      461x  .22°
              9mm     333x  .23°     233x  .31°      667x  .11° 
           6.5mm     461x  .17°     323x  .24 °     923x  .08 °


120      30mm     20x    3.6°
            22mm     27x    3.0°
            13mm     46x    2.2°

Clear Skies spot on.  Had frost on the truck by 00:30.  Good thing I was pretty much dressed for winter complete with proper boots.    


Spent some time trying to sketch a direct vision view of Markarian chain.  Where I had thirteen in a 3.6° fov with the 30mm on the ST120, I only had a 3° fov on this sitting.  It seems someone left the 30mm in the 80ED and had to us a 22mm.   As such I lost M89, 90 & 92.   I showed 89 and 90 on the sketch outside the field of view for perspective, as they were seen by bumping the scope in that direction.  

Had plan to try and sketch a couple other targets, but decided not to bother.


Also spent some time trying for the dwarf in the Ring.  I tried 461x, but 333x was significantly sharper.  No dwarf.  I could see that blotch near the center in averted vision again down to 136x.  It’s not stellar, at least directly.  It’s slightly larger than that and not round, having what seems to be a couple of protrusions.  Very difficult to lock onto well enough to see the size and shape as it’s just a brightening over the background.   I can see why myself and others have thought they saw the dwarf when they surely didn’t have enough aperture.

I had my best look at the North American nebula trying both the NPB and OIII and through both scopes.  The better view was definitely through the ST120 with the 22 and OIII filter.  Still, nothing to brag about.  To me, this nebula is still a mountain to be climbed. 

 

I also looked at the Swan with the OIII and managed what appeared to be a couple of star forming regions, but nothing of the 800-900 stars said to be within.  The buggers are hiding.  The overall shape of the nebula looked better without the filter, but more of it was visible without.

 

As the moon started to rise I split a few doubles, featuring Epsilon Lyre, which was a nice end to the night.

I'll always prefer a well executed sketch showing what the eye is actually able to see.  I really need to get motivated and jump down the sketching rabbit hole too.  At least it's cheaper than AP...


  • ETXer, Migwan, Studly and 1 other like this


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