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Observation log continued; IV

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#51 wxcloud

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Posted 28 August 2022 - 02:39 AM

8/27-28ish/22 a lazy sweep through the Milky Way.

Ended up with a bonus night as clouds actually parted and no floodlight next door! Kind of bummed I didn't set up to try and image or set the maksutov out for some planetary viewing pretty much exclusively, I opted for the dob. A 5 minute set up time and it's ready, too bad optics are still not spot on, probably would have made the session a little better but, hey, it was a session and I'll take it!

Set the dob out to cool right after I got home from work after confirming the thing wouldn't turn into a rain bucket instead of the light pollution bucket it is, cooled for a good hour while I ate, relaxed and looked at Cartes to get a general idea of where things where. Got out about quarter till 11 and decided to see if I could find anything is the sinking fast Sagittarius, what I could see of it in the washed out sky.

Caught a couple nice open clusters and eventually came around a hazy patch, a nebula! It was m17 and to try something a little different I tried the televue oiii filter and the nebula seemed to respond fairly decent to it, might have been a toss up between that and the UHC filter. Some scanning around I evening found M8 again and the oiii filter did okay on it too I suppose. Perhaps a little bit more haze around the roughly circular cluster embedded in the nebula and a brighter patch next to it. Tried the 13mm nagler and actually didn't like the view, almost seemed too much magnification and made things seem like too much going on. This eyepiece and oiii filter was a little bit better on M17 which started to take on the outline shown in Cartes, the checkmark shape. I returned to the 24mm panoptic and went back to see what else I could find. M16 perhaps? I think so, but couldn't make out much with or without the filter. Found the open cluster just okay, I might I've seen more impressive open clusters. Even without the filter there was even less haze. I'm a bit surprised actually. Wonder of the UHC filter would work better? Came across one of the star clouds, I spent a bit of time trying to coax out more background stars. Never a power outage when you want one is there?

I'm also surprised I came up with no globular clusters! Wanted to test that 4mm uwa astrotech eyepiece on one, likely wouldn't have gotten much, focus with that seemed to be razor thin and I couldn't get things spot on. After poking around Sagittarius for a while, I moved onto Saturn again and just couldn't get the details I thought I could get. Bad seeing and transparency? They probably weren't great and I think the optics are just not spot on. Jupiter wasn't much to look at. Maybe I should have fought with the AVX some more with the maksutov. Manually trying high magnification tracking and trying to focus is tough. I moved on.

Wondering my way into Aquila. While I didn't find much in the way of DSOs, I found some interesting star fields, it was fun to just scan around the area and look. After a bit, over to Perseus, my scanning I found my way back to the double cluster. Just impressive and nearby another nice grouping of stars.

Beta And, this time taking a quick pause just to observe the color, still didn't spend much time there, I was after something else, a look at Andromeda which seemed slightly dimmer and grainier than the last view with the dob.

I took a short break as I was closing in on an hour plus session. After my break I figured I was just going to bring the rig in as the day was getting to me, but before I did, I took one more look, upon going back outside I noticed that sparking of a tiny grouping of stars in my garbage eastern horizon, M45, still about 10° or so above the horizon in the murk. Had to look and it was not the best view.. caught a little haze around the central area but being so low still and using the dob, it looked just okay, but first sighting of the year.

I pointed the scope back towards Cassiopeia and found a couple open clusters including once again the ET cluster, what a charming little cluster. At this point, another 10 minutes or so of scanning around I had to call it, so wrapped the session.

It was still a bit too low and knowing my optics being whacked, I didn't give it a telescopic gander, I seen a red star below the Pleiades... This was Mars rising!

The views, possibly because my worn out state, and maybe due to misaligned optics, where a little on the lackluster side tonight, however it was still a productive lazy session, perhaps relaxing. I found myself wanting to take in more of a view and I wanted to keep just randomly scanning to find out what else I could see even though it was mostly star fields, some rather dense. I kept thinking perhaps the refractor or even binoculars would have been the better choice, but nonetheless, it was a nice session!
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#52 Migwan

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Posted 28 August 2022 - 08:59 AM

Opinion;  I think the stars would be better served if Ursa Minor was the left wing of Draco. 

 

8/26/22,  23:30-04:15 EDST,  59>51°,  SE,  RH  70>96%, CSC T 3/5 , S 4/5,  NELM  6 , 2nd level smoke, 0 Moon, P/S 7/10,  LP Map SQM 21.84,  7200’   Roscommon State Forrest

 

Because I couldn’t recall ever having experienced very good conditions when the breeze was out of the SE, I had planned to just pull the scopes out into the yard.  Problem was, when I stepped out at 22:00, the conditions were such that I realized my error and decided on a dark site.   The only negative was that we were under a bit of smoke.   

 

NGC7635;   Once again, small and barely able to see.  The surrounding nebula is for me, more visible than the bubble itself, which presents to me as only a slight absence in a very slight nebula.  I managed to get the impression of a bubble in averted vision, but that is not readily repeatable nor held for more than a couple of seconds when it did occur.  Have to admit to munching on crow again.  After the last viewing at a darker site, I thought I couldn’t see it without a filter.  With this viewing, the opposite seems to be true.

 

NGC7538;  As expected, much better view than at home.  The first thing noticed was the open cluster of faint stars that the nebula is associated with.   Roundish significant collection of very similar magnitude.  Can’t believe I missed that.  Not an OC man, I guess.    As mentioned in response to Brent, the nebula was much more extensive than I previously noted.   Seeing it is like seeing mottled dark on dark.  No real brightness.  I could tell that it is made up of various odd curving structures, but somehow without visible edges.  The only edge I could see is the dark lane I mentioned in last viewing, but what I could see of that was a little shorter than what I suggested.  I could only see two stars in the lagoon and am left wondering if the third star was some sort of neural aberration.    This nebula definitely benefited from from OIII filter, but at the cost of losing the cluster.

 

NGC7538;  Attempted the “northern lagoon”, but had lost the mood for difficult.

 

NGC7023;  The “Iris”  has a little bit of bluish gray brightness.   Bravo!   Pictures show a double that I managed only a Dawes limit figure 8 @333x.  At 461x I could get a bit of a line between them in averted vision that was repeatable, but couldn’t be held. 

 

NGC7027;  Small fuzzy PN  that @333x, is not much like the photos.   I get the shadow across the center, but see the whole as a greenish blue Dutch shoe.   Didn’t see a dwarf.

 

Saturn;  Showing only three moons, some banding, a Cassinni Division with a nice dark edge and some  visible banding on the C ring @333x.  Tried 461x.  It was almost doable.    Hindsight, I need something around 400x.

 

Jupiter;  Gotta love it when Jupiter is showing it’s stuff.  The SEB was as dark as the NEB and was showing a split down the middle like structure to the right (east).  The NEB had some kind of storm that at times I thought had a white barge and extension out of the band.  The color contrast was just not enough to lock it in, but occurred often enough to be nearly undeniable.  There were thin reddish band above and below both EB s.   Best of all, there was a five of six wavy bands visible below the SEB.   I couldn’t see any white barges in there, but there were some gaps in the waves that were visible, here and there.  Especially just below the SEB. 

 

M31;  Uncomfortably near zenith,  (eyepiece too near the base of the mount.), but worth it.   End to end extent in 3.5° TFOV in ST120.  Could pan for something over 4°.  The foreground extent was well past M32.  The extent to the side away from M32 seemed to show some warping, but difficult to tell from the Milky Way.  Don’t tell me if that is the correct side.  I want to try to see it for myself.   Dark lanes were somewhat visible in averted vision.   NGC206 was an easy to find in C11.  Took some time to find G1, so definitely out of practice. 

 

M33;  Still not visible to my eyes alone.  I thought I had it a couple of times, but no claims yet.    NGC604 and extent of that arm, easily visible in ST120 at 46x.  Able so see two HII regions below core in C11 at 136x in C11.   Some fog started to rise and my eyelids were trying to surrender, so packed it in.    Not too bad a night.


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#53 Jehujones

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Posted 28 August 2022 - 11:49 AM

We made the hour long drive to our dark(er) sky site last night arriving as twilight was ending.

We watched the sky darken as I pointed out all the constellations to my wife.
Naked Eye Limiting Magnitude was not verified.

I've only started making an effort the last few months since I realized that the light pollution website data for our region isn't always accurate.

From our supposed Bortle 5 backyard it's a simple matter to find the faintest star visible in the gray sky.

That's not so easy from our supposed Bortle 4 site.

 

Here's the best I can describe for transparency...
The Sagittarius Star Cloud was visible above the light dome to the south.
The Scutum star cloud was very easily seen.
I'm pretty sure I could see the NGC 6633 cluster halfway between Delta Aql and Alpha Oph like an out of focus star.
There was a distinct star cloud around Theta Cyg.
I forgot to check for M13 after it got dark and I didn't see any Globular Clusters by eye.
For those of you who are familiar with the summer milky way that should give you an idea of NELM.

 

I was excited to try out the new AT 28mm UWA eyepiece for navigation.

This would also be the first time for some other items that have not seen dark(er) skies yet:

GSO coma corrector
8.8mm Meade 5000
GSO 2.5x 3-element Barlow

 

On the observing menu for the night was Planetary Nebulas.

There are so many at this time of year and invisible from home.
Our session was interrupted and I never got a chance to look through the scope.

This year we were forced to find a new site and thought we found one on a rural road north of Lake Casitas.

The road dead-ends into two properties, we've only seen a vehicle once before leaving the property.

Last night a small convertible drove to the end, turned around, pulled over and parked about 300 yards behind us.

It was too dark to see anything but it sounded like 2 or 3 guys in the car when it drove by.

My wife heard a car door shut and got nervous so I quickly packed it in and we left.

Driving home I told her we either need to buy a property or join the Pinos crowd.

I've always been a loner when it comes to observing and this website is the closest I've come to joining a club.

That's mainly because the clubs around the LA area typically have their sites 3 hours away.

I guess we're just getting old. shrug.gif


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#54 wxcloud

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Posted 28 August 2022 - 06:08 PM

I think that's one reason I'm hesitant to find dark skies. That club option sounds like the next best thing. Most are far away and the world schedule and weather are often inconvenient. Heck sometimes my backyard irks me. Usually have someone up and or nearby while I'm out.

Edited by wxcloud, 28 August 2022 - 06:09 PM.

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#55 Haris Desdenova

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Posted 29 August 2022 - 06:37 AM

I went out yesterday after the rain, with my ten-inch, in my dark place, about bortle 3-4, and despite the moisture the sky was very nice. I started with the easy Graphia split, I hadn't broken it all summer and thought I'd do it yesterday. I took a look at red Antares and continued to M22, probably my favorite star cluster, went on to the lagoon nebula, where the uhc filter works wonders, went up to the trifid and from there up to the swan nebula. The truth is that I didn't spend much time on them because I had watched them recently. I sat for a while to admire the milky way since slowly and due to the weather it  will become difficult. I went on to M13, which has a special place in my preferences since it was the first of the Messiers I had seen. From there a stop on the M92 and then since I hadn't made a plan for the evening, I went across to admire Andromeda and her companion the M110. After messing around a bit on sky safari I decided to go to M15 to Pegasus and from there move down to M2, both of which I had seen before, I enhanced magnification on both to get a better look and then continued to Capricornus , first the M72 and then the M73 which made it a little difficult for me, I zoomed in on sky safari to know what I'm looking for, and finally the M30, for some reason these three had eluded me until today. I then looked for a couple of ngcs before calling it a night. NGC6543 cat's eye nebula, I have no idea why they called it that, I had a herd time with it but I increased magnification and made sure I found it, I wandered around the area a bit randomly and came across NGC6503, a faint (maybe not so much) galaxy. From there I went to NGC 6572 which I had read about its green color, it is true that you can make it out. By now I was tired so I went to close out the night on the planets, first Saturn, it had risen quite high and before I even looked through the eyepiece I knew it would pick up high magnification, I saw Cassini easily, I tried up to x400, overshot, closed with Jupiter a very good night.


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#56 justfred

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Posted 29 August 2022 - 08:30 AM

Despite the iffy forecast I made the hour drive to our club’s darkish site on Saturday. I set up my 89mm Mak and waited for the sun to set.

 

There were low clouds and the afternoon thunderheads  way off to the South and drifting my way but i would have a couple of hours. The shadow of the horizon moved up the thunderheads and it finally got dark enough for a quick polar alignment.The clouds moved in quicker than I liked but I still had time in between the bands to take in M57, Alberio, M27, Izar, and several other of the Summer showpieces. 

 

In the meantime there were several of Elon’s satellites and a distant cloud-to-cloud lightning show. Never got close enough to hear it thunder. 

 

I got tired of feeding the mosquitoes and packed up around 10:30PM.

 

Was it worth the drive? Yep.

 

Fred

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#57 Migwan

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Posted 29 August 2022 - 08:53 AM

I went out yesterday after the rain, with my ten-inch, in my dark place, about bortle 3-4, and despite the moisture the sky was very nice. I started with the easy Graphia split, I hadn't broken it all summer and thought I'd do it yesterday. I took a look at red Antares and continued to M22, probably my favorite star cluster, went on to the lagoon nebula, where the uhc filter works wonders, went up to the trifid and from there up to the swan nebula. The truth is that I didn't spend much time on them because I had watched them recently. I sat for a while to admire the milky way since slowly and due to the weather it  will become difficult. I went on to M13, which has a special place in my preferences since it was the first of the Messiers I had seen. From there a stop on the M92 and then since I hadn't made a plan for the evening, I went across to admire Andromeda and her companion the M110. After messing around a bit on sky safari I decided to go to M15 to Pegasus and from there move down to M2, both of which I had seen before, I enhanced magnification on both to get a better look and then continued to Capricornus , first the M72 and then the M73 which made it a little difficult for me, I zoomed in on sky safari to know what I'm looking for, and finally the M30, for some reason these three had eluded me until today. I then looked for a couple of ngcs before calling it a night. NGC6543 cat's eye nebula, I have no idea why they called it that, I had a herd time with it but I increased magnification and made sure I found it, I wandered around the area a bit randomly and came across NGC6503, a faint (maybe not so much) galaxy. From there I went to NGC 6572 which I had read about its green color, it is true that you can make it out. By now I was tired so I went to close out the night on the planets, first Saturn, it had risen quite high and before I even looked through the eyepiece I knew it would pick up high magnification, I saw Cassini easily, I tried up to x400, overshot, closed with Jupiter a very good night.

welcome.gif

 

Despite the iffy forecast I made the hour drive to our club’s darkish site on Saturday. I set up my 89mm Mak and waited for the sun to set.

 

There were low clouds and the afternoon thunderheads  way off to the South and drifting my way but i would have a couple of hours. The shadow of the horizon moved up the thunderheads and it finally got dark enough for a quick polar alignment.The clouds moved in quicker than I liked but I still had time in between the bands to take in M57, Alberio, M27, Izar, and several other of the Summer showpieces. 

 

In the meantime there were several of Elon’s satellites and a distant cloud-to-cloud lightning show. Never got close enough to hear it thunder. 

 

I got tired of feeding the mosquitoes and packed up around 10:30PM.

 

Was it worth the drive? Yep.

 

Fred

welcome.gif


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#58 MrRoberts

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Posted 29 August 2022 - 09:54 AM

The summer monsoon season near the end. Although the sky's looked clear there is still a lot of humidity. All of us down here are thinking about getting ota's ready for another season.

I put the C-6 out last night with the night vision system and had a great time with a few of the Messiers.

Decided to try a couple of other ep's with Saturn. Although low, with the 10D the view was very forgiving.

 

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#59 KWB

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Posted 29 August 2022 - 10:03 AM

It's nearing the end at my location in Colorado. I've been keeping track over the years and we usually see the last of the monsoon around September 6 or 7.

 

I thought it lasted a good deal of the month of September in s.e. AZ?


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#60 weis14

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Posted 29 August 2022 - 10:28 AM

Hoping to get out a few nights this week to take a look at the growing moon.  There were a couple of good nights weather wise here in the last week, but I've been fighting a cold and didn't go out.  I enjoy reading everyone's reports in the meantime.  


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#61 DirtyRod

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Posted 29 August 2022 - 10:55 AM

I took advantage over here in the west valley. It opened up on Friday and my rig has been outside ever since. Finished up 14 hours on the Lobster Claw last night and planning for the Lion for the next two days. 

 

Watch out for the mosquitos though. They are vicious!



#62 RTLR 12

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Posted 29 August 2022 - 11:57 AM

I’ve lost almost 4lbs to the mosquitoes the last few nights. Never give up. Never surrender. I’ll be out there tonight as well. Still looking for the right defensive.

Stan
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#63 DirtyRod

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Posted 29 August 2022 - 12:24 PM

I’ve lost almost 4lbs to the mosquitoes the last few nights. Never give up. Never surrender. I’ll be out there tonight as well. Still looking for the right defensive.

Stan

I'll be out too. I've got repellent lotion, candles, Thermacell, and a can of Off. They have been extra vicious these last few days. 



#64 FXM

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Posted 29 August 2022 - 01:58 PM

Setting up for a night of astrophotography was surprise to see (in photos only) what I thought were Aurora borealis in Athens, PA near the New York border.

Although now hearing it might of just been airglow?

 

 

We could not see visual the display although at one point we did see some “clouds” were faintly crossing the sky which might have been the aurora. Uploaded a video of a time lapse,  you can really see the display.

 

Started around around maybe 12 or 1AM EDT?

 

Nikon D7000

Nikon 10mm Lens

ISO 3000

25" second exposures

 

Anyone else happen to see or capture the event?https://www.youtube....h?v=kAEqekK66Dk

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Edited by FXM, 29 August 2022 - 02:13 PM.

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#65 Voyageur

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Posted 29 August 2022 - 08:35 PM

Beautiful video. The best view I ever had of the Milky Way was in that part of the world, about 25 years ago at a cabin near New Albany,just a little ways south of Athes down 220. Truly a lifetime ago.
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#66 Phil Cowell

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Posted 30 August 2022 - 12:52 AM

Athens is about 30 minutes west of here.


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#67 wxcloud

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Posted 30 August 2022 - 01:25 AM

8/29/22 those sneaky clouds!

Was clear most of the day today though with some haze from wildfire smoke. I figured it likely would be somewhat of a factor for this evening should I give a go at setting up and trying to observe. I already boxed the idea of doing imaging and it's probably a good thing I did.

Had a couple objectives tonight and that was some high magnification tracking of Saturn and Jupiter, so onto the AVX mount the 127mm maksutov goes and instead of the optical finder, I pilfered the telrad base of the edge and taped it to the skymax. It helped a lot, made finding stuff so much quicker. With Saturn behind the tree still I opted to use Vega as my one star alignment. Once again that telrad really helped even though I almost needed to sit on the ground to find the star.

Once star aligned, I slewed the scope to M11 and wow, the skies are bad and the slow f ratio of the scope, I barely spotted the cluster in the 24mm pan. Took a little bit of a look then went inside to wait for Saturn to pop into view.

About a half hour later it was show time, had the mount point over to the planet from the wild duck cluster which surprisingly was still for the most part in the eyepiece fov. Not bad for just plopping the mount down and doing no polar alignment. Obviously the planet was out of view, the telrad made short work of getting it in the eyepiece. Once framed in the pan, I swapped in the 7mm penny and found focus. Noted a couple moons nearby and actually noticed from previous viewings, the moon system does seem to change up some I think. Anyway the view was okay but I think the atmosphere wasn't great. Made out some banding across the planet, rings kind of had a little detail but things seemed off a little. But still acceptable considering the sky quality.

I decided to push it and popped in the at 4mm uwa which brought the planet up real nice, gave a bit of 3d effect with the rings passing in front but still couldn't get great details and focus was razor thin and possibly at the limit of the atmosphere.

I decided to cut away and do some random poking around with the wrong telescope to do so, but I was waiting for the next objective to get a little higher in the sky. I started just inputting a few off the top of my head DSO objects,

M16 a faint hazy blotch with the cluster.

M8 I busted on for some reason, maybe it was just too washed out, I thought I seen the circular cluster embedded in it but no nebulosity.

M22 barely visible from the background it was surprisingly dim and I'm actually wondering if it was another dimmer glob in the area I ran across missing the cluster. Couldn't really resolve much.

M27 wow, actually found it! Rather dim but noticable round puffy haze.

M57 another I couldn't believe I saw it, a smaller round patch of haze. Tried to increase the magnification with the 13ml nagler and didn't get much.

M15 a bust. The scope pointed where I didn't expect...

Wow, a couple clouds moving in, or was it smoke from fireworks? Nope clouds and they where packing in fast! I cut my random "can I see it" DSO search and pointed towards Jupiter still on the low side.

Had some trouble getting much in the way of details here, it was a little bit of a frying pan type of seeing, probably from the clouds moving in even though I did see actual clouds at the time just yet, I'm sure thin high clouds where there along with the smoke. Got some details, no GRS just yet, think it was close to coming around the limb but didn't see it. It's four moons off to one side.

I tried waiting the clouds out for a half hour but decided to call it. Was going to swap out the mak for the refractor but with it getting late and clouds rolling in and work tomorrow decided not to. Also didn't get a chance to mount the binoculars.

Before packing the gear in, I showed my mom through the Pentax 7 mm xw both planets. She seemed impressed with Saturn.

Wrapped it up on that note. Guess I can't complain about the clouds I mean I snuck in a bonus night earlier in the week.
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#68 Studly

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Posted 30 August 2022 - 08:28 PM

I finally got a chance to process footage of Saturn and Jupiter I took on 8/26. The results were mixed, but I was able to land a couple good (at least for me) captures.

 

Basic Saturn shot:

Saturn 2022 08 26 23 07 37 (LX85, ASI224MC, IRCut, 5% Of 10178 frames)

 

Saturn with the Powermate, didn't get the color balance right again:

Saturn 2022 08 26 23 19 57 (LX85, ASI224MC, 2.5xPM, IRCut, 2xBin, 1% Of 10044 frames)

 

Jupiter, with all four moons:

Jupiter 2022 08 26 23 51 05 (LX85, ASI224MC, IRCut, 30% Of 10047 frames)

 

Jupiter with the Powermate:

Jupier 2022 08 27 00 19 32 (LX85, ASI224MC, 2.5xPM, IRCut, 2xBin, 10% Of 10028 frames)

 

All right, enough pictures. Back to the visual observations!

 

Tony


Edited by Studly, 30 August 2022 - 08:28 PM.

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#69 wxcloud

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 01:01 AM

8/30/22 if you want to call it a session.

Looked forward to dragging the scope out tonight after work all day until I did. Once off, I did a quick glance at conditions, looked fairly good, decided to pull the dob thinking it was a quick setup and flexible, so went outside to drop the cardboard I use to put the base on, I noticed the neighbors where arriving home and was in the backyard. I run back inside to grab the base to start setting up and they flipped their flood light on, so I moved the scope over to another location and opted for star fields and perhaps planets.

Well, the place I set the scope up wasn't the best. It was usable kind of but the angle of ground and some movements of the scope it would tip. Great. I left things be while I went inside to eat and let the scope cool off (or probably warm up...) And went back out later. To my surprise, the flood light was off. Whew. I should have moved the scope back to the usual spot but didn't.

I spent a little time poking around just to see if I could see the helix and came up empty. Checked into Cassiopeia, found an open cluster I couldn't get much details from in the 13mm nagler so went back to the 24mm pan. Spotted the owl cluster a short time later but just scanned the area some.

Just couldn't get into it tonight. Missed M31 in the dob and a short time later I changed my mind, went inside and grabbed my 15x70 binos and tripod. Sigh, I mounted them wrong on the tripod so was limited on how far I could pan up. Ended up taking them off the tripod and did some shaky wobbly handholding sweeps.

Cassiopeia and Perseus showed some nice star fields, the double cluster looked very different in the binos than the telescope. The area around Mirfak was pretty nice however, spotted a nearby open cluster I couldn't get a bunch of details on I'm thinking was M34 which was cool to see.

I did find M31, but just a smudge with no details but the core.

I noticed while panning around in both the telescope and binos in the southern skies there wasn't much to look at, almost a complete wash, bright patches of sky devoid of stars. Think this was one reason I just couldn't get into the session tonight. The binoculars even though hand held offered a little something however.

Tonight was one of those nights where the reality of the local light pollution just knocked me down some.
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#70 weis14

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 08:09 AM

Last night ( August 30) was my first night out in several weeks.  The weather here has been uncooperative and I've had a fairly severe bout with a cold/allergies that has really limited my energy.  Still, I was prompted to go out last night by a FedEx delivery of an old C9.25 that I found for a good price in the Classifieds and couldn't pass up.  Somewhat amazingly considering the arrival of the new scope, last night was clear (though the seeing and transparency were both below average) and tonight is forecast to be similar.  The session was a short one with the main goal of verifying that the C9.25 didn't suffer major issues during shipping.  I was out by 9pm and in by 10:15.

 

Scope: Celestron C9.25 SCT; Telrad
Mount: AZ100; Nexus DSC Pro
Eyepieces: 24mm Panoptic (98x); Swarovski Zoom (121-240x); 
Books/Charts: Pocket Sky Atlas
Observing Site: Midland, Michigan

Transparency: poor (NELM 19.3 at zenith; 18.4 towards south)

 

I didn't have an observing list or other major goals for this session.  My thought was to quickly observe 3-4 bright DSOs during late twilight and early evening to get a rough idea of the scope's condition and potential need for collimation.  

 

I started with Polaris, which is my favorite alignment star for alt-az mounts due to its lack of motion.  It was an easy split at 98x and I stayed on it long enough to dial in the Telrad and get the focus set.  Next, I moved over to Arcturus in the west to finish the alignment of the Nexus DSC.  

 

The first DSO I went to was M27.  It was still late twilight at this point, but the dumbbell shape was apparent, even if significantly washed out as compared to the view in my Stowaway or CFF160 under a dark sky.  From there, I moved south to look at M11, which is one of my favorite objects.  The "duck" shape of this cluster was fairly apparent and the bright foreground star I've noted in the past stood out sharply.  I next moved south to find M69 and M70 in Sagittarius, both of which are globulars that I have trouble seeing at home due to the light pollution in that direction.  They were both readily visible at 98x, though neither showed any details.

 

My last DSOs were a pair of globular clusters.  M3 was starting to set in the west and was relatively unimpressive in the Swarovski Zoom.  On the other hand, M13 was quite impressive due to its higher position in the sky.  I used a variety of magnifications, but it looked the best at roughly 125-150x.  

 

By this time, Saturn was above the trees in the southwest.  It was still at fairly low altitude and the view was boiling due to atmospheric effects and seeing.  I didn't get any really sharp views, but I can definitely tell the potential is there.  After an hour of observing, I called it quits and went in.

 

Overall, I was fairly happy with the old C9.25.  It needs to be collimated, which is not surprising after a cross-country trip in a FedEx truck, but otherwise appears to be a solid performer.  I need to wrap it with insulation, upgrade the dovetail to the Losmandy standard (it has a Vixen dovetail) and do a few other things, but it is in really nice shape considering its age, which is probably 20 years or more.  

 

It was also nice to get some observing in, even if it was just for an hour with targets I've seen a bunch of times.  Tonight I might take the Stowaway out for a short lunar session if the weather cooperates.  


Edited by weis14, 31 August 2022 - 12:08 PM.

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#71 Observer1980

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 12:34 PM

I accidentally posted in the newbie thread while meaning to post here.  I have deleted the post in the newbie thread.

 

I was out on Sunday morning at 3 am and viewed Jupiter through my 8" dob at 240X.  The detail was amazing.  Jupiter was high in the sky and there was no mirage heat waves that have plagued me when viewing it in the past.  I could easily see filament structures in the belts as well as the northern / southern hemisphere.  No red spot was visible.  I viewed Mars since it was up and could make out polar ice cap shading, but that was it.  There were some darker splotches on the planet, but I couldn't discern any more detail than that.  I wrapped up the morning with viewing the Pleiades at 30X and then headed inside.  Sunday night:  I headed out for some sky sweeping at 30X 2.2 degree TFOV and lazily enjoyed the sky as I waited for Saturn to rise decently above the muck.  I enjoyed the Wild Ducks cluster, Dumbbell nebula with and without UHC filter, and Albireo.  While I was glancing up at the sky towards Hercules constellation an extremely bright meteor streaked through headed West Southwest.  After it's passage, the trail remained visible for about one second or so.  Brightest meteor from naked eye viewing that I can recall.  I performed some "naked" eye astronomy with a planisphere trying to learn the constellations with lower magnitude stars that are difficult in the suburbs.  I finished the night viewing Saturn at 240X.  Seeing conditions were ok, but not good enough to discern the Cassini division.  A few weeks ago, they were that good, and I could easily to observe it at 120X.  Alas.  I finished with a view of Jupiter through the muck low on the horizon and called it a night.  Good sessions.


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#72 Migwan

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 08:33 PM

Last night ( August 30) was my first night out in several weeks.  The weather here has been uncooperative and I've had a fairly severe bout with a cold/allergies that has really limited my energy.  Still, I was prompted to go out last night by a FedEx delivery of an old C9.25 that I found for a good price in the Classifieds and couldn't pass up.  Somewhat amazingly considering the arrival of the new scope, last night was clear (though the seeing and transparency were both below average) and tonight is forecast to be similar.  The session was a short one with the main goal of verifying that the C9.25 didn't suffer major issues during shipping.  I was out by 9pm and in by 10:15.

 

Scope: Celestron C9.25 SCT; Telrad
Mount: AZ100; Nexus DSC Pro
Eyepieces: 24mm Panoptic (98x); Swarovski Zoom (121-240x); 
Books/Charts: Pocket Sky Atlas
Observing Site: Midland, Michigan

Transparency: poor (NELM 19.3 at zenith; 18.4 towards south)

 

I didn't have an observing list or other major goals for this session.  My thought was to quickly observe 3-4 bright DSOs during late twilight and early evening to get a rough idea of the scope's condition and potential need for collimation.  

 

I started with Polaris, which is my favorite alignment star for alt-az mounts due to its lack of motion.  It was an easy split at 98x and I stayed on it long enough to dial in the Telrad and get the focus set.  Next, I moved over to Arcturus in the west to finish the alignment of the Nexus DSC.  

 

The first DSO I went to was M27.  It was still late twilight at this point, but the dumbbell shape was apparent, even if significantly washed out as compared to the view in my Stowaway or CFF160 under a dark sky.  From there, I moved south to look at M11, which is one of my favorite objects.  The "duck" shape of this cluster was fairly apparent and the bright foreground star I've noted in the past stood out sharply.  I next moved south to find M69 and M70 in Sagittarius, both of which are globulars that I have trouble seeing at home due to the light pollution in that direction.  They were both readily visible at 98x, though neither showed any details.

 

My last DSOs were a pair of globular clusters.  M3 was starting to set in the west and was relatively unimpressive in the Swarovski Zoom.  On the other hand, M13 was quite impressive due to its higher position in the sky.  I used a variety of magnifications, but it looked the best at roughly 125-150x.  

 

By this time, Saturn was above the trees in the southwest.  It was still at fairly low altitude and the view was boiling due to atmospheric effects and seeing.  I didn't get any really sharp views, but I can definitely tell the potential is there.  After an hour of observing, I called it quits and went in.

 

Overall, I was fairly happy with the old C9.25.  It needs to be collimated, which is not surprising after a cross-country trip in a FedEx truck, but otherwise appears to be a solid performer.  I need to wrap it with insulation, upgrade the dovetail to the Losmandy standard (it has a Vixen dovetail) and do a few other things, but it is in really nice shape considering its age, which is probably 20 years or more.  

 

It was also nice to get some observing in, even if it was just for an hour with targets I've seen a bunch of times.  Tonight I might take the Stowaway out for a short lunar session if the weather cooperates.  

Congrats on the C9.25.
 


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#73 desertstars

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 08:40 PM

It's nearing the end at my location in Colorado. I've been keeping track over the years and we usually see the last of the monsoon around September 6 or 7.

 

I thought it lasted a good deal of the month of September in s.e. AZ?

It can, although it's highly variable. This year looks like its fading early, although that remains to be seen. 


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#74 desertstars

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 08:47 PM

30 August 2022, Tucson, AZ

 

200mm Newtonian Reflector/Celestron AVX Equatorial Mount
Unihedron Sky Quality Meter

 

Tele Vue Visual Imaging Paracorr Type-2

Orion Stratus Eyepieces: (1.15x Paracorr factor)
40mm Paragon (29x)
21mm (55x)
13mm (89x)
8mm   (144x)

 

At this point every summer, as the desert monsoon starts to lose its momentum, observing opportunities become increasingly frequent. And while I don’t want to see the summer rains end prematurely, which it seems may have happened this year, I confess to experiencing no guilt in taking advantages of a clear night this time of year. After all, it’s been since early July that I last rolled the Three-legged Newt out into the open.

 

As I did on my two previous outings, I took a long nap and then went out after midnight to take advantage of the modestly darker skies Tucson presents when the city turns down its lights. Before midnight, my average SQM reading in the back yard is 18.65 magnitudes per square arcsecond. Last night at the start of the session, the reading was 19.05 mag/arcsec2.

 

It was otherwise a fine, calm, warm night, 26°C (79°F) with good seeing conditions and transparency that started out fairly good – but didn’t stay that way for long.

Once again, I worked off the list I’ve extracted from the late Tom Trusock’s Small Wonders series. Working the lists of objects Trusock discussed in his writings is a sort of private memorial to his influence on me as an amateur astronomer, begun shortly after his untimely passing. Since he aimed the Small Wonders essays at beginning and intermediate observers, I frequently find myself visiting old friends as often as I see something new. And because he so often included the stars themselves on these lists, I usually find myself starting one of these sessions with looks at brighter stars that mark out constellation asterisms.

 

Working the early morning shift, it was the stars of autumn dominating the sky overhead, with the Great Square of Pegasus spread out just on and west of the meridian. Markab (α Peg) was a bright, blue-white diamond of a star. Algenib (γ Peg) was similar in magnitude, but appeared a warmer shade than the diamond glitter of Markab. No less pleasing to the eye, for all of that. Scheat (β Peg) was a little less bright, but a lovely pale yellow-gold. I observed these stars using the 21mm eyepiece (55x)

 

Enif (ε Peg), oddly, is listed in the Pegasus Small Wonders essay, but not discussed. It’s a double star (S 798 AC) with a 2.5 magnitude primary star, with the distant (145”) C component coming in at 8.7. There’s some color contrast between the two, with A being yellowish, and C a barely discernable, washed-out blue.

 

M15 was the only deep sky object on the list for Pegasus that worked out for me. (Tried for some of the galaxies listed, but didn’t see anything I could be sure of.) At any magnification I used (settled on 89x, with high power adding little to the view) the globular cluster appeared as a hazy gray sphere with a distinctly brighter core. I’ve seen hints of stars resolved in this one in the past, but didn’t see anything of the sort this time.

 

Switched my attention to Andromeda, starting with Mirach (β And), a pale yellow 2nd magnitude star. It’s best known for its “ghost,” the galaxy NGC 404, so near it in the field of view that it might be mistaken for a reflection in the eyepiece. For this session, I had to be satisfied with a pretty yellow star. I can usually see Mirach’s Ghost from my backyard, if the transparency is good. It was at this point that I noticed small clouds passing overhead, and realized transparency wasn’t as good as I’d first thought.

 

Almach (γ And; STF 205 A,BC) is a fairly close (9.8”) double star that some compare favorably to famed Alberio in Cygnus. I don’t share that impression, but it is an attractive double star. There is significant magnitude contrast to be seen, 2.3 and 5.0 respectively, and it was simple enough to split at low magnification (55x). However, at lower powers, I usually don’t pick up on the color contrast so often reported. At 144x, however, the colors are quite obvious to me, with A being a clear yellow with a golden tint, and the BC pale blue.

 

The core of M31, when I sent the Newt over for a look (55x), was clear enough, though between light pollution and the haze between increasingly common patches of small clouds, that was all I could see. M32 was detectable, reminescent of a pale globular star cluster. Of M110, nothing was seen. A set of objects to view again under darker skies where, in the past, 200mm of aperture have revealed significant detail.

 

NGC 752 is a cluster I’ve viewed a time or two, but according to old notes, didn’t see much to impress me. That lack of impression held when I viewed it with the 21mm eyepiece. However, sometime since my last visit to the open star cluster, I acquired a 40mm Paragon (29x), and so this time I made us of its generous FOV. Completely changed my opinion of this cluster. Set in that field, it’s easier to appreciate the numerous pairings and tiny asterisms (a square and a tight triangle with a golden star at one corner) that make up this wide-flung scatter of stars of various magnitudes. As a bonus, the wider field encompassed the wide double star STFA 4AB (a.k.a. 56 And), a pair of nearly matched, yellow-orange stars. Very eye catching, and a pair that would likely be very rewarding in smaller apertures.

 

There were objects in Perseus on the list, but the clouds were ganging up on me, and I really don’t dig viewing through sucker holes. I managed to revisit M34, and again the 40mm Paragon proved its worth. Not as bright and splashy as NGC 752, this is still a beautiful open cluster, a pinch of stars that landed in pairs and trios. The majority of the stars have a blue tint, but three or four yellowish stars added some colorful variety to the view.

 

At this point, weather was truly becoming a problem. I took a quick look at Mars (144x), and can only say that it was distinctly gibbous. Saturn was lost in a tree, but Jupiter (144x) on this early morning of pretty good seeing put on quite a show. The timing was wrong for the Great Red Spot, but bands and belts and polar region shadings required very little patience on my part. All four Galilean satellites were seen, with Io to the west and Ganymede, Europa, and Calisto strung out with wide spacing to the east. One of the best looks I’ve had at the King of Planets in years, and I was still gazing at it as astronomical twilight came on.


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#75 Migwan

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Posted 31 August 2022 - 08:58 PM

I finally got a chance to process footage of Saturn and Jupiter I took on 8/26. The results were mixed, but I was able to land a couple good (at least for me) captures.

 

Basic Saturn shot:

 

 

Saturn with the Powermate, didn't get the color balance right again:

 

 

Jupiter, with all four moons:

 

 

Jupiter with the Powermate:

 

 

All right, enough pictures. Back to the visual observations!

 

Tony

The disturbance on the NEB in the last photo looks to be what I tried to see with averted vision the other night.   Thanks, especially for posting that one.
 


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