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What happens when excellent Seeing and excellent Transparency meet in southwest Florida

Celestron DSO Observing SCT Visual
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#1 GGK

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Posted 26 June 2022 - 09:33 PM

Three nights ago, I decided to set up the C9.25 SCT and try for Omega Centauri one last time. I still had the Crayford focuser on resulting in a focal length of about 2525mm.

 

Moon was down, Seeing average, but transparency was only fair with a lot of reflection brightening the sky - SQM of bout 20.85 - much brighter than I had hoped for.

 

Well, I was able to see Omega Centauri, but the atmosphere was so thick, I could barely resolve any stars.  I swung over to M13, which was better, but still not great.  I decided to try M3 since it's closer to Zenith, and things improved a lot, but I was still limited to about 250X

 

Then I moved to M5, and just as I started to observe the cluster, the sky blackened and became very clear and steady.  I quickly grabbed the Leica zoom (with 1.8X Extender for down to 5mm) to see how much I could push the power.  I was able to push to the max 500X right away and had room to continue.  But the Glob  was filling the 75o AFoV view and I needed more field size.  So, I grabbed the 4.7X Ethos and went to 540X at 0.2 degrees TFoV and what an image it was.  I have never seen so many resolved stars in any globular.  M5 was in its glory. I spent 20 minutes staring at that amazing image.

 

Then I decided to try for 630X using the 10mm Ethos and 2.5X Barlow when it happened.  Dew came crashing down and wet-out the corrector, my papers and me.  Yep, that's southwest Florida in the wet season.  I'm always ready for this so all my gear is protected.  I was using a dew shield, but did not have my heater plugged in.

 

It was late so I packed it up, still very happy that I had the best view of M5 in my life that night.

 

I hope your nights go as well.

 

Gary


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#2 Alex Swartzinski

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Posted 26 June 2022 - 10:24 PM

M5 is such an incredible globular cluster and I'm sure the view was fantastic!

 

It's always surprised me how steady Florida skies can be since the weather seems so temperamental down there, but not having the jet stream really helps!  Up here in Michigan, jet streams gives us great transparency occasionally, but with terrible seeing. 


Edited by Alex Swartzinski, 26 June 2022 - 10:25 PM.


#3 GGK

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Posted 27 June 2022 - 07:00 AM

M5 is such an incredible globular cluster and I'm sure the view was fantastic!

 

It's always surprised me how steady Florida skies can be since the weather seems so temperamental down there, but not having the jet stream really helps!  Up here in Michigan, jet streams gives us great transparency occasionally, but with terrible seeing. 

We can definitely get some very good sky conditions here below the Jet Stream and by the Gulf of Mexico, but this is my first experience with skies as good as those 20 minutes the other at night.  Even on the best nights I'm usually maxing out at 350X and if pushed to 400X the image is going soft. The other night, though, was just incredible.  It's the first time I've ever put an eyepiece below 5mm in an SCT. It showed M5 with detail I've never seen before. Hopefully it's not a once in a lifetime event. 

 

I thought about the dew afterwards.  The 20 minutes of clear sky must have really cooled everything on the ground and my scope.  The humidity was low for a June night and I wasn't expecting dew when I set up.

 

Gary


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