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Observation log continued; IV

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#726 Jehujones

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Posted 09 February 2023 - 10:25 AM

2/8/2023

7:15-7:55pm (PST)

SQM: 19.59 (phone app-zenith)

Wind: calm

Temp: 50 something

Clouds: no

Moon: not yet

Eqpt: 80mm f7.5

 

Comet C/2023-E3-ZTF

 

Transparency tonight was good but local glare was bad so just a quickie to check on the comet and to check the adjustments I made to the focuser.

I have been giving the comet about 5° movement a day and been pretty good at guessing where to scan with 7x50s but I forgot to grab them on the way out.

The comet was found easily near Iota Aurigae and just out of curiosity I put a 18mm ES82 in.

Not bad but could be better. Next I swapped in the 29.5mm 74° MEr and that looked real nice.

For me, I really enjoy seeing the comet against a large background of stars at lower power.

High magnifications just seem to take the personality away and it's just another comet to me.

It's still a bright comet but I couldn't hold the nucleus in direct vision, probably because of the glare from the surrounding lights.

After I packed it in, I realized that it was getting very high in the sky now and I didn't have to use the front yard anymore  foreheadslap.gif

 

Tonight I plan to use the Coulter if I can drag it out to the balcony without scratching the bedroom floor.

If clouds move into SoCal then it's my fault and I apologize now.

Can't wait to see it with some aperture dancey.gif


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#727 ETXer

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Posted 09 February 2023 - 11:05 AM

With nothing but clouds or clear (but just too cold) weather, last night provided a narrow window of clear skies and mild temperatures just before moonrise. I was finally able to snag Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) before the clouds resumed and it gets too far away.

 

I set up my Celestar 8 Deluxe knowing that would give me the best chance of any view at all and in addition made use of my Revolution Imager 2 for an EAA view. I started with the standard Halloween 26mm Plössl for a 78x view. I used the Lumicon Sky-Vector DSCs, which after a near-perfect alignment, brought the comet quickly into view. Through the eyepiece, the comet appeared as a nebulous fuzzball, as if it were an unresolved globular cluster. At this point, I mounted the RI2 and connected its associated DVR for some quick video captures.

 

With the RI2, a more defined shape was present with a hint of a green hue. Virtually no tail was present, if anything what looked like a faint star trail where a tail should be. The core was quite bright, nearly devoid of color. In all, I was quite happy to have finally been able to view the comet after reading so many great reports here and that a viewing opportunity occurred before it gets too far away. Sure enough, there's little chance of clear skies here in the DC area for the upcoming week.

 

Since I had a little time before moonrise and the impending clouds, I quickly slewed over to M42. The view in the RI2 monitor was amazing, with well-defined nebulous clouds sweeping downward and away from the Trapezium. Stars within and throughout the nebulosity were plainly visible. My 14 year-old son, just back from swim team practice came out for a quick view and was quite impressed (a result sometimes hard to achieve with a 14 year-old!).

 

Here are a couple quick smartphone snapshots of the RI2 monitor.

 

Here are the final image results from processing the DVR videos, each were 15-second captures.

 

A great evening and especially satisfying to view the comet!

 

Cheers, Allan

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Edited by ETXer, 09 February 2023 - 11:17 AM.

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#728 Studly

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Posted 09 February 2023 - 04:26 PM

With nothing but clouds or clear (but just too cold) weather, last night provided a narrow window of clear skies and mild temperatures just before moonrise. I was finally able to snag Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) before the clouds resumed and it gets too far away.

 

I set up my Celestar 8 Deluxe knowing that would give me the best chance of any view at all and in addition made use of my Revolution Imager 2 for an EAA view. I started with the standard Halloween 26mm Plössl for a 78x view. I used the Lumicon Sky-Vector DSCs, which after a near-perfect alignment, brought the comet quickly into view. Through the eyepiece, the comet appeared as a nebulous fuzzball, as if it were an unresolved globular cluster. At this point, I mounted the RI2 and connected its associated DVR for some quick video captures.

 

With the RI2, a more defined shape was present with a hint of a green hue. Virtually no tail was present, if anything what looked like a faint star trail where a tail should be. The core was quite bright, nearly devoid of color. In all, I was quite happy to have finally been able to view the comet after reading so many great reports here and that a viewing opportunity occurred before it gets too far away. Sure enough, there's little chance of clear skies here in the DC area for the upcoming week.

 

Since I had a little time before moonrise and the impending clouds, I quickly slewed over to M42. The view in the RI2 monitor was amazing, with well-defined nebulous clouds sweeping downward and away from the Trapezium. Stars within and throughout the nebulosity were plainly visible. My 14 year-old son, just back from swim team practice came out for a quick view and was quite impressed (a result sometimes hard to achieve with a 14 year-old!).

 

Here are a couple quick smartphone snapshots of the RI2 monitor.

 

Here are the final image results from processing the DVR videos, each were 15-second captures.

 

A great evening and especially satisfying to view the comet!

 

Cheers, Allan

Allan,

 Nice pics. Like you, clouds (and/or full Moon) have kept me from viewing the comet. However, Saturday evening promises a relatively clear sky. I am holding my breath that it bears out and I can finally see this thing!  bounce.gif

 

Tony


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#729 jc482p

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Posted 09 February 2023 - 06:16 PM

2023-2-8

Skywatcher 120 ED F/7.5

 

6:40-6:45pm, 48 degrees, 18.04 sqm, Moon not up yet, clear, avg trasparency, below average seeing

Mars - At 200x (4.5mm), it was a bright orange gibbous disc.  (OK, I'll admit it.  I'm only posting this report because being in gibbous phase and being that color, Mars looked like a football set upright on a tee, and it's Super Bowl weekend.)  Up north it looked whitish, so maybe that was a polar cap.  There was a distinct dark marking in a C shape to the southeast; apparently that was Syrtis Major.  I didn't think I'd still see features on Mars, especially since it's getting smaller and a week ago when I observed Mars it was just a small boiling orange egg.

 

7:05-7:30pm, 45 degrees

Comet C/2022 E3 ZTF - mag 5.6.  At 28x (32mm), I could see it as one point in a fat triangle, the other two points of the triangle being HD 31233 and Iota Aurigae (as Jehu Jones noted above).  It was just a formless fuzzball.  At 49x (18.2mm), I could see a concentrated center distinct from an outer halo.  No tail.  I tried 163x (5.5mm) for more detail, but I couldn't even locate it any more at that magnification.

 

9:10-9:15pm, 42 degrees, 18.11 sqm, gibbous Moon low in east, poor transparency, below average seeing

Sigma Orionis and STF 761 - two multiple star systems.  At 163x, Sigma Orionis was split into two smaller components to the left and one big component to the right.  In the same field of view to the NE, STF 761 was split into one component N and two components together to the SE.  As I was observing, STF 761 was really faint and getting fainter.  It was because the sky was becoming overcast, so I ended my session there.


Edited by jc482p, 09 February 2023 - 06:16 PM.

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#730 ETXer

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Posted 09 February 2023 - 08:59 PM

Allan,

 Nice pics. Like you, clouds (and/or full Moon) have kept me from viewing the comet. However, Saturday evening promises a relatively clear sky. I am holding my breath that it bears out and I can finally see this thing!  bounce.gif

 

Tony

Thanks Tony, and good luck, I hope it works out, looking forward to your report! It should be getting pretty close to Mars by then I believe. At the end of last week, the viewing would have been great in my area but I didn't have the fortitude to withstand 2-degree wind chill factors. Other than that, yes it was always overcast skies and the rising Moon.

 

Cheers, Allan


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#731 Jehujones

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Posted 10 February 2023 - 09:30 AM

Phenomenal night last night with the comet, can't put it down now. Gotta go to work so I'll leave you all hangin until later shocked.gif lol.gif


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#732 chrysalis

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Posted 10 February 2023 - 11:18 AM

In Dominican Republic on vacation. I always make it a point to look for Canopus. Easy last night walking back from dinner. Showed it to my beautiful bride of forty years . Predictably: “It’s just another spark of light.”


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#733 TheChosen

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Posted 10 February 2023 - 07:04 PM

Haven't been at our 'summer house' the last couple of weeks or so, which is a pity because the skies have been pristine. On the other hand, temperatures have been in the minus degrees so not much observation would have been done anyway as I would 've frozen pretty fast.

 

Today my friend pinged me that he had finally gotten his Telrad and thanked me a lot for recommending it to him. He was finally able to find the Comet with his 10 inch and observe it. I said I've been stuck in the city and just watching the Moon at least from my balcony with my 100mm spotting scope, which was the main reason I got it for Christmas. He told me that the comet is easy to find right over Mars today and if I can see it with it.. so after I put the kids to bed I gave it a try:

 

  • Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) - At first before we put the kids to bed I picked out my 40mm binos and set the magnification to 8x and looked over Mars. There was a hint of something there but I could not make a definitive observation that it is indeed the comet. With a magnitude of about 6 it should be observable, but then again I am in a Bortle 6 area. Around midnight I took my spotting scope outside of our apartment building, sat on the bench and sure enough got a nice observation of the comet. It was not easy to see in our Bortle 6 skies with lots of street lamps nearby, but it was definitely right where it should be. Played around with the magnification but the best observation could be done with about 30-40x.
  • Spent also some time observing Mars, but no features could be made as my exit pupil with the zoom eyepiece tops at 1.25mm, which means Mars is too bright and too small.
  • Went over to Orion to have a look at the Nebula. It is amazing what a nice small 100mm refractor can do. I could easily see the core of the Nebula. I have been watching it this week every night so knew exactly where to look at.
  • To finish things off, I also managed to get a peak of the Pleiades. At about 27x magnification they were really splendid. Of course it can't compare with my 8 inch DOB 40mm 2 inch eyepiece at 30x magnification but hey, it also didn't take me 20 minutes to assemble/dissasemble the whole thing.

Mission accomplished, now I can say I didn't miss the comet. 

 

IMG_7979.jpg


Edited by TheChosen, 10 February 2023 - 07:10 PM.

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#734 Jehujones

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Posted 10 February 2023 - 08:59 PM

2/9/2023

7:00-9:00pm (PST)
SQM: 19.75 (phone app-north of zenith)
Wind: 10-15mph, 20mph gusts
Temp: 60s
Clouds: no
Moon: not yet
Eqpt: 10" f4.5

 

Comet C/2023-E3-ZTF

 

As soon as I got home from work I started on getting the 10" out to the balcony. I was able to tip it back and forth to get a rug under it and I dragged it across the room to the sliding door and out to the balcony.

It was windy but the house was working as a shield so it wasn't an issue. The temps were pleasant and not falling as quickly as the last few weeks.

After letting it acclimate for about 90min it was time to start observing.

 

Wow, it was worth the effort. I had to align the laser and that took longer than anything because I had cannibalized the mount to use on the 80mm.

 

After getting that done I held three fingers out for distance and it put me roughly halfway between Iota Aurigae and Mars.

Before I could get the comet in the field, I noticed the most beautiful red star I've seen in a long time.

I started to scan and immediately found the comet.

It was near a little steeple-shaped asterism with an east-west orientation.

 

The sky was fairly dark for my backyard and after blocking out the glare from the lights in the valley, my eyes started to adjust.

As I looked at the comet my eye kept getting drawn to that red star and when it did the comet would get brighter and brighter.

I was able to hold the nucleus in direct vision very easily and with averted vision I was seeing the fan shaped coma turn into a tail.

The fan shape was extending to the northeast, stronger towards north, I could easily see it extending about 30-40' in length.

Then I started to catch a definite spike pointing east about 20' in length. The east edge of the spike was clean and the spike feathered out on the west side.

Soon I was detecting a slight greenish tint to the coma along the southwest edge of the nucleus.

 

Every time I looked at the red star and went back to the comet, I could tell an obvious shift in position.

Pretty soon it was getting closer to the "steeple" and I thought for sure it would occult the star that would mark the peak of the "roof" but it missed.

I watched it pass within 30" of that little mag 11 star. What an exciting night.

 

ZTF-020923.JPG

 

ZTF-020923b.JPG

 

 

... and that RED star was probably...

 

image_2023-02-10_175909423.png

 

 


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#735 Nankins

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Posted 10 February 2023 - 10:53 PM

I don't normally just copy and paste my notes for the observing session, but here they are since I really don't want to retype this all in.  I am really surprised that I managed to get some of these objects, including the reflection nebulosity in the Running Man Nebula, which was actually obviously a faint haze that covered an area not much smaller than M42 with averted vision.  And the Rosette Nebula's nebulosity was also a new and surprising thing, given even Sirius was twinkling badly.  But that seems to be high atmosphere conditions, since down here it was cold with no wind. Not kidding, I did not even begin to get dark adapted before the Milky Way was obvious, even down into the top of Puppis.  The fact that I saw as many open clusters as I did, even faint and small ones, plus the Crab Nebula testifies to the excellent conditions.  They made me wish the telescope could be pulled outside (I just put a handle on it, and therefore the glue needs to finish drying until at least tomorrow afternoon to be useable).

 

Also, I apologize for the the double spaces in odd spots.  I like to make my observation log look neat and so I hit the 'tab' button to line up my paragraphs and center them.  Makes for lots of extra spaces when the sentences get changed or shifted.  

 

Temperature: COLD!
Time:  Evening
Location:  Home, Warren County, Indiana
Equipment:  12x50 Vortex Diamondback binoculars.
Objects observed:  C/2022 E3, M62, NGC 1647, NGC 1746, Rosette Nebula,                   M82 and 81, M1, M42 and 43, M41, M45, The Beehive          Cluster, M31, M32, various open clusters. 
C/2022 E3 was the main reason I went out.  In conjunction with bright red Mars.   Showed a big fat coma with a stellar-like nucleus, and fan-shaped dust tail was    also evident.  Ion tail might have been glimpsed near the beginning of the     session.  Comet moved appreciably between observation times. 
M62 in Orion's shield area was possible seen.  There was a faint group of stars    dense enough to be an open cluster, and in the right spot.  As M62 had been a    moderate sized open cluster in the telescope when first observed (I was using a    30mm wide-field with a 2x Barlow then), it can be safely assumed that this was    a first binocular observation of M62.
M42 and 43:  M43 was obvious as a small coma-shaped faint area next to large    and bright M42.  Noted that most of the nebula was visible except for a good    deal of the faint areas not too far from Hatsya.  More of the nebula was visible    with the UHC filter placed over one objective lens, placing the OIII filter over one  objective lens did not help the nebula at all.  Also, reflection nebulosity just north  of M42 in the region of the Running Man Nebula was hinted at with direct vision,  noted with averted vision, on the last plain observation of M42.
M31 and 32:  M31 lowering towards the West.  Most of the galaxy was visible in    the binoculars, and naked eye showed as well but avert vision for the first time    ever began to show me just how big the galaxy really is in the sky.  M32 was    looked for and seen as a small and sort of faint stellar-like glow. 
NGC 1647 and 1746:  These two large open clusters also seen as sparsely    populated faint glows in Taurus, 1647 in same FOV as Aldebaran and 1746 in    same FOV or at least close by Mars. 
M45:  Big and bright.  Looked only very briefly.
M1:  First binocular observation.  Pretty faint small ovals glow not far from the    end star in Taurus' southern horn.
M82 and 81:  Not yet their best.  M82 a faint ovalish glow and obviously a    galaxy, and M81 a faint elongated glow of the same (or roughly the same)     magnitude as M82.  M81 possibly showed a slight hint of its dust.
Rosette Nebula:  Only the open cluster in the core visible without a filter.  This    open cluster was also visible to the naked eye as a faint stellar glow in     Monoceros.  UHC filter showed a faint nebulosity that almost blended in with the  rest of the sky.  OIII filter showed an obvious faint grey rose shaped glow around  the open cluster, fairly sizable.  Worth seeing with the telescope.
M41 and the Beehive Cluster:  Both open cluster are large and visible to the    naked eye.  Both were similar in appearance, but with the Beehive Cluster much    much larger and fully resolved with the naked eye.  Both have similar shapes.     M41 also naked eye visible, but not as well as the Beehive Cluster and also    much smaller. 
Other open clusters:  Panned the sky, mostly the Milky Way.  Wow!  Open    cluster after open cluster popped out at me, and I did not really take the time to    do identifications or get locations.  Majority were new for me.  Most were big    and bright, but a few were faint enough that they definitely will require a look    with the telescope.  M38, 37, 36 and the other cluster (NGC ????, I forget the    number) in the area were possibly all nearly visible to the naked eye.  They were    very impressive despite the twinkling stars that indicated high atmospheric   conditions were not very nice.  Also, a large cluster seen between Taurus and   Puppis, definitely not the Tau Canis Majoris Cluster which is much smaller.     Another bright open cluster that was nearly fully resolved was also seen not too    far from the top of Orion's head, probably in Taurus.  Very cool to pan the Milky   Way and see lots of open clusters (Saw at least 15, probably a lot more).


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#736 Nankins

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Posted 11 February 2023 - 10:41 PM

Atmosphere is still excellent!  I actually managed to see a few new things that I had never seen before and some of them were obvious in the eyepiece.  

Temperature: COLD!
Time:  Evening
Location:  Home, Warren County, Indiana
Equipment:  Apertura AD10.
Objects observed:  C/2022 E3, Rosette Nebula, NGC 2024, M78, M34, M35,        M46, Mars, Jupiter, M31 and 32 and M110, M33, NGC         2438, another open cluster in Canis Major or Puppis.             
C/2022 E3 was closer to Mars than the night before, and because I was using    the telescope the fan shaped dust tail was obvious and the ion tail may have    been spotted with averted vision.  Nucleus and coma looked big.  Definitely my    best view because of no moon and no clouds.
Mars:  Mars was nice and red, but having some issues with optics so was not    very nice.  Did see some dark albedo features. 
Jupiter:  Two moons on the left and two on the right.  Showed the bands but not  very good due to optics issue and getting low in the sky.
Rosette Nebula:  Obvious as a grey puffy fuzz around the central star cluster    without a filter.  With the 2x Barlowed 30mm wide-field it spilled outside the FOV,  moving down to just the 30mm wide-field showed the entire nebula but it was    not as obvious to me.  The UHC filter this time offered the best views, letting me    be able to better tell where dark sky was and the nebula began.  OIII was similar    but not as much detail.
M31, 32, and 110:  Just looked because they are there and easy.  M31 was    stretching across most of the FOV unbar lowed 30mm wide-field EP, and could    obviously see fluffiness near the edges.  M110 was large but faint, and M32    could be seen as a much more compact and small stellar-like patch.  Thought I    saw a dust lane in M31 for a moment, and took a look with the Barlowed 30mm    wide-field that confirmed that I didn't. 
M42 and 43:  Nice and bright.  M43 was nice and obviously had some dust    structure, and M42 was mostly bright.  The Trapezium stars were nice and    stable.  The Fish's Mouth was pretty well detailed, and at first observation I    again though I could make out a good deal of dust between M42 and M43. 
The Running Man Nebula:  First time observing this with my telescope.  Optics    were obviously beginning to fog up (or was it just the residue from fog last time I    used the scope?), but I could tell that there was reflection nebulosity there.     Thought I could make out a little bit of the dark nebula portion as well. 
M34:  Nice big open cluster in Perseus.  The stars were full of color, and was    obvious in the finderscope.  Worth visiting again.
M35:  Did not realize just how big this cluster is.  Very impressive, with lots of    little nuances here and there and plenty of star color to see.  Worth visiting    again.
M78:  First observation ever!  Very bright reflection nebulosity with a circle shape  that obviously had a dust lane at one side.  First observation with averted vision    seemed to show me the reflection nebulosity on the other side of the dark lane    as well.  Also got a feeling that the nebula does sort of cave in around that lane    as well.  Finding it for the second observation showed me that it was also visible  in the finderscope.
NGC 2024:  First ever observation!  I was VERY surprised to see it.  As I was    starting my first star-hop to M78 I looked at Alnitak in the eyepiece and saw lots    of fog.  I moved the scope around a little as I have been trying to see the Flame    Nebula (and I admit, the Horsehead too) for a while and since I was at the spot, I   would try again.  This time there was some "fog" that moved out of the FOV    along with Alnitak and also was not the right shape to be light from the star.     When I realized that I looked harder and saw that indeed, there was a butterfly    shaped nebula there.  I say butterfly shaped because I could not see the true    shape very well, and the dusty trunk split it in two pretty good.  I honestly did    not realize how large the nebula is.  I observed it two more times, and both times  noted that a little towards the bottom right of the FOV there seemed to be an    area where more of the nebula was visible.  This was also noted on the final    observation.  Also on the final observation I was able to better tell that this was    in the shape of a flame because a bit more of the structure flickered into sight.     Really cool!
M33:  Observed very quickly at the end because I knew it was there and thought  I had seen something in the area with the naked eye.  It was barely seen in the    finderscope, but the now definitely fogged up EP showed that yes there was a    faint grey oval.
M46:  I panned in Canis Major and Puppies looking to see some new clusters    that I could just have fun with.  Unexpectedly I came across a large open cluster    that was very pretty.  I then saw that in the lower right hand corner of the cluster,  close to the same area of the FOV, there was a large faint patch that looked like    an out-of-focus star.  I realized this was the planetary nebula in M46.  I was able    to get glimpses of the ring-shaped structure, which became more evident at    higher magnifications.  The ring structure appeared a little more open and fainter  on one side than on the other.  I was excited that this faint little nebula was very    easy to not only find, but see structure in, tonight. 
I also came across one other open cluster about between Canis Major and    Puppis that was much smaller and a little more sparsely populated.  It had a    group of stars that reminded me a bit of something with a wing or two stretched    out towards the right hand corner of the cluster, as seen in the EP.  Could not    identify it.


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#737 Cfeastside

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Posted 12 February 2023 - 07:48 AM

Astronomy has had to take a back seat lately but i was able to find the comet with my orion 10x50 binoculars last night.  It was easy to find the dim whitish fuzzy below mars in my b4 backyard.  Hoping to do some eaa this week and see it through the scope as well.  


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#738 weis14

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Posted 12 February 2023 - 09:42 AM

February 11, 2023

 

Other than a few naked eye or quick binocular sessions, this is my first outing of the year.  It has been cloudy nearly every night since the beginning of December, but last night was forecast to be clear with relatively mild temperatures (low 30s F) at my dark site.  My mom had expressed some interest in seeing “the green comet” and since her house has Bortle 3/4 skies, I decided to head up and get a few hours of observing in before the moon rose at 12:20am.  To make sure I had the firepower to see the comet, I took my C9.25 in addition to the Stowaway.  This meant that I had to take the AZ100 and heavier tripod, but the AZ100 is such a joy to use that I didn’t mind.

 

The comet was easy to find as described below and we had a fun night of tracking down a number of other objects.  Most of the items I observed were objects I have seen before, but it is always nice to revisit some old favorites.  There were also a few new ones.  It has also been a few years since I’ve used a bigger scope on these targets and some of the observations in the C9.25 were excellent.  For a winter observing session, the weather wasn't too bad and I stayed out for roughly 3 hours.  

 

Scope: 92mm f/6.65 refractor; 9.25” f/10 Schmidt Cassegrain
Mount: AZ100
Eyepieces: 22mm Nagler (28x in Stowaway); 35mm Panoptic (67x in SCT); Swarovski Zoom + 1.8x APM Barlow (102x);
Books/Charts/Software: SkySafari 5; S. French, Deep Sky Wonders (for planning)
Observing Site: Au Gres, Michigan
Transparency: Average, improving to above average; Seeing: Average,; SQM-L 21.17 at zenith.  
Weather: light wind (5mph), Low 30s F, low humidity

 

Since my mom was with me and wanted to see C/2022 E3 (ZTF), that is where we started the session.  I knew that the comet would be between Mars and Aldebaran and quite close to magnitude 4.3 τ Tau.  Armed with this information, I used the green laser on the Stowaway to point at a naked eye object that was either the comet or τ Tau.  When I looked in the eyepiece, the comet was obvious at 28x with a faint tail pointing northeast.  The C9.25 showed the comet more brightly, but there were no additional details.  I preferred the wider field in the Stowaway on this object.  My mother was happy to see it, but clearly underwhelmed. 

 

The next two targets were the two best DSOs in the sky.  First, we went to the Pleiades (M45).  The entire cluster just fit in the FOV of the Stowaway/22mm Nagler combination.  The stars were pinpoint sharp and noticeably blue with hazy nebulosity around many of them.  The C9.25 showed even more nebulosity and there was so much that I checked to make sure that the corrector wasn’t starting to dew or frost over (it wasn’t).   I look at the Pleiades almost every time I’m out.  The view in the Stowaway tonight was among the best I’ve ever had.

 

The Orion Nebula (M42/43) was the next object.  Again the view under dark skies in the Stowaway was magnificent.  After observing a few other objects for a while, I came back with higher power in the Stowaway.  Using the Swarovski Zoom and 1.8mm Barlow (max ~120x) all four main Trapezium stars were visible.  The C9.25 did a good job of showing the intricate details of the nebula. 

 

M79 was the next target and is a globular cluster in Lepus.  It is an easy star hop following a line through Alpha and Beta Lep south.  Despite it being very easy to find, I’ve never logged this object.  The cluster itself is unremarkable and had only a hint of resolving at 69x in the C9.25.  More power would have helped, but this object was moving behind a tree, so I decided to be happy with the low power observation and checking off another Messier.

 

I went back to Orion to try to make a run at the Horsehead with the C9.25.  I figured that I had the skies, but probably not the aperture.  This was correct.  The Horsehead was not visible and IC434 might have been just there in averted vision in the C9.25.  I really needed a nebula filter for this object, but don’t have one.  NGC2024 was distinct with direct vision in the C9.25 and had dust lanes running through it.

 

Moving to Canis Major, M41 looked great in the Stowaway with probably 75+ stars visible.  The image in the C9.25 showed more stars, but they were not as pinpoint sharp, so I preferred the view in the Stowaway.  The wider FOV also helps to frame these clusters and make them stand out.  I used the goto on the AZ100 to find NGC2283, but it was an unremarkable oval galaxy in both scopes.  My mom noted that there was a reddish star on the hind leg of the dog.  This turned out to be σ C. Maj.  It was noticeably orange in the Stowaway and roughly magnitude 4.  It is not on the Astronomical League’s Carbon Star list, but is an interesting star nonetheless.

 

Next I hit a few more open clusters.  M50 was a compact clustering of stars.  I made out the coil noted by Sue French in Deep Sky WondersNGC2244 was pretty like always, but none of the Rosette Nebula was visible.  Again, I need a nebula filter for this object.  M46/M47 made a nice pair close to each other and there was a conspicuous set of five stars in the center of M47 that looked a lot like the five dots look on dice.  M47 was a naked eye object.  I also looked at the pair of M35/NGC2158.  This pair is always a nice contrast at low power with the much closer M35 filing the FOV and the distant NGC2158 hanging off its southwest edge. The C9.25 did a nice job resolving NGC2158, which turned into a smattering of faint stars.  I also observed another old favorite, M44.

 

The last objects I looked at were the Leo Triplet, which was rising in the east and deserved a quick look as a preview of spring.  Just before I packed up, I noticed that the Double Cluster was a naked eye object in the northeast, so I quickly swung over for a look through the Stowaway.  This is another of my favorites and it was nice to get another last look for a few months before it comes back around in the east.

 

Finally, there are two naked eye objects worth noting.  Mel 111 (the Coma Star Cluster) was visible as a faint smattering of stars just above the horizon, which really showed how transparent the sky was.  It got ever more distinct as it rose.  The waning gibbous Moon made a nice companion out my car window as it rose on my trip home.


Edited by weis14, 12 February 2023 - 09:44 AM.

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#739 Jehujones

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Posted 12 February 2023 - 01:12 PM

[Snip]

...M46:  I panned in Canis Major and Puppies looking to see some new clusters    that I could just have fun with.  Unexpectedly I came across a large open cluster    that was very pretty.  I then saw that in the lower right hand corner of the cluster,  close to the same area of the FOV, there was a large faint patch that looked like    an out-of-focus star.  I realized this was the planetary nebula in M46.  I was able    to get glimpses of the ring-shaped structure, which became more evident at    higher magnifications.  The ring structure appeared a little more open and fainter  on one side than on the other.  I was excited that this faint little nebula was very    easy to not only find, but see structure in, tonight. 

I also came across one other open cluster about between Canis Major and    Puppis that was much smaller and a little more sparsely populated.  It had a    group of stars that reminded me a bit of something with a wing or two stretched    out towards the right hand corner of the cluster, as seen in the EP.  Could not    identify it...

Nice job on M46 waytogo.gif

 

I agree that area is a nice place to just wander around.

 

 

"...My mom noted that there was a reddish star on the hind leg of the dog.  This turned out to be σ C. Maj.  It was noticeably orange in the Stowaway and roughly magnitude 4.  It is not on the Astronomical League’s Carbon Star list, but is an interesting star nonetheless..."

The color of Sigma is especially noticeable when you get it in the same field with Epsilon with about a 2° field. The contrast is striking.


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#740 Jehujones

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Posted 12 February 2023 - 01:37 PM

The last two nights have been a bust for me, partly cloudy and I missed the comet passing by Mars frown.gif

 

2/11/2023

6:45-11:40pm (PST) - intermittent
SQM: 17.89-18.12 (phone app pointing at the openings in the clouds)
Wind: 2-4mph
Temp: 54-39F
Clouds: scattered
Moon: no
Eqpt: 50mm f5

 

Comet C/2023-E3-ZTF

 

After completing the focuser swap on the 80mm it was apparent that I had summoned the clouds so I thought that I would just experiment.

I mounted the AT50 on the 80mm and observed with that while trying to snap photos through the 80.

 

The comet was barely discernable in the AT50.

I tried several EPs ranging from 27mm down to 6mm and the comet was most visible at 13x using a 20mm 70°.

Nothing much to report and none of my photos came out either.

 

Glad to see some really great reports from you guys waytogo.gif


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#741 chrysalis

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Posted 13 February 2023 - 10:01 AM

Last morning in Punta Cana  - got out before sunrise and saw Alpha and Beta Centauri and Scorpius in such an odd orientation from 18 degrees north!

 

Last night after late dinner (2-12-23) saw Canopus too.

 

Always try for gems of the southern sky when I can.

 

Missed Crux though.


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#742 CowTipton

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Posted 13 February 2023 - 11:32 AM

02/10/2023

Front driveway (bortle 7 I would guess.)

22:00-23:15

Winds calm

Temps in high 20's F dropping to low 20's

Seeing - Good

Transparency - Good

Skywatcher 14" dobsonian

Baader MkIV zoom, Morpheus 6.5mm, 12.5mm, and 17.5mm, APM 20mm XWA, ES 24mm 68°

 

 

Quite a good night, even though it was a short session again.  Best seeing conditions in a long time.

 

-Rigel was an easy split with the BHZ.  It so cool to see the little companion just pop out when twisting the eyepiece to zoom in.

-M42 and M43 looked great despite not being very high in the sky, 5 Trapezium stars visible (F was elusive.) 

-First time seeing Sirius B.  Again with the BHZ.  Zoomed into 8mm and there it was a faint little white dot at about the 4:00 position (newtonian orientation) just below one of my diffraction spikes.  To be sure, I switched to the Morpheus 6.5mm and it was still there.  The glare from Sirius was confined to a pretty tight space allowing the Pup to be seen quite clearly just outside of that bright zone.  Very cool!  Confirmed position again with Sky Safari/Stellarium.

-First time seeing planetary nebula NGC 2438 in M46.  After successfully spotting the Pup, I figured it was time for another first so I had the mount slew over to M46 and popped the DGM NPB filter onto my P2 with the 20mm XWA eyepiece.  The PN was very obvious among the stars of the open cluster.  A dim fuzzball without the filter and a thick, defined circular ring with somewhat more hollow core with the filter in place.  I decided to A/B/C test the 20mm XWA, ES24mm 68°, and the Morpheus 17.5mm as they all occupy about the same place in my eyepiece lineup.  Conclusion:  They're all great.  I was expecting the 24mm to be weak compared to the other two but honestly it's a great eyepiece.  The eye relief may be a little tighter than the 20mm and the FOV a lot smaller but it still gives great views.  Now I'm torn on what to keep.  The 17.5mm is just glorious.  I can't see myself letting that one go.  Decisions decisions.

-M81 and M82 with the 12.5mm Morpheus.  M82 looked like a dim sliver of fuzzy light with tapered ends.  I thought I could see a little bit of disruption toward the middle but it may have just been my imagination.  M81 was quite bright at the core and the surrounding section.  I could see just bare hints of light around that central portion of the galaxy.  I snapped some pics in hopes that I could capture something.

-M51 appeared as two bright fuzzy cores with the 12.5mm eyepiece.  Not much contrast to see more detail as the moon (~75% waning gibbous?) had now risen from behind the house to my East.  I tried to snap a few pics before shutting it all down and bringing the scope back into the garage.

 

On Sunday I decided to remove my secondary and give it a light cleaning as my Rigel Systems wifi Aline had indicated that it was not centered under my focuser perfectly anyway.  For good measure I cut up some new milk jug washers as well.  I'm hoping to get that put back in and everything aligned this evening before another night of clear skies (forecasted anyway.)

 

 

Thanks!


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#743 weis14

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Posted 13 February 2023 - 01:54 PM

02/10/2023

Front driveway (bortle 7 I would guess.)

22:00-23:15

Winds calm

Temps in high 20's F dropping to low 20's

Seeing - Good

Transparency - Good

Skywatcher 14" dobsonian

Baader MkIV zoom, Morpheus 6.5mm, 12.5mm, and 17.5mm, APM 20mm XWA, ES 24mm 68°

 

 

Quite a good night, even though it was a short session again.  Best seeing conditions in a long time.

 

-Rigel was an easy split with the BHZ.  It so cool to see the little companion just pop out when twisting the eyepiece to zoom in.

-M42 and M43 looked great despite not being very high in the sky, 5 Trapezium stars visible (F was elusive.) 

-First time seeing Sirius B.  Again with the BHZ.  Zoomed into 8mm and there it was a faint little white dot at about the 4:00 position (newtonian orientation) just below one of my diffraction spikes.  To be sure, I switched to the Morpheus 6.5mm and it was still there.  The glare from Sirius was confined to a pretty tight space allowing the Pup to be seen quite clearly just outside of that bright zone.  Very cool!  Confirmed position again with Sky Safari/Stellarium.

-First time seeing planetary nebula NGC 2438 in M46.  After successfully spotting the Pup, I figured it was time for another first so I had the mount slew over to M46 and popped the DGM NPB filter onto my P2 with the 20mm XWA eyepiece.  The PN was very obvious among the stars of the open cluster.  A dim fuzzball without the filter and a thick, defined circular ring with somewhat more hollow core with the filter in place.  I decided to A/B/C test the 20mm XWA, ES24mm 68°, and the Morpheus 17.5mm as they all occupy about the same place in my eyepiece lineup.  Conclusion:  They're all great.  I was expecting the 24mm to be weak compared to the other two but honestly it's a great eyepiece.  The eye relief may be a little tighter than the 20mm and the FOV a lot smaller but it still gives great views.  Now I'm torn on what to keep.  The 17.5mm is just glorious.  I can't see myself letting that one go.  Decisions decisions.

-M81 and M82 with the 12.5mm Morpheus.  M82 looked like a dim sliver of fuzzy light with tapered ends.  I thought I could see a little bit of disruption toward the middle but it may have just been my imagination.  M81 was quite bright at the core and the surrounding section.  I could see just bare hints of light around that central portion of the galaxy.  I snapped some pics in hopes that I could capture something.

-M51 appeared as two bright fuzzy cores with the 12.5mm eyepiece.  Not much contrast to see more detail as the moon (~75% waning gibbous?) had now risen from behind the house to my East.  I tried to snap a few pics before shutting it all down and bringing the scope back into the garage.

 

On Sunday I decided to remove my secondary and give it a light cleaning as my Rigel Systems wifi Aline had indicated that it was not centered under my focuser perfectly anyway.  For good measure I cut up some new milk jug washers as well.  I'm hoping to get that put back in and everything aligned this evening before another night of clear skies (forecasted anyway.)

 

 

Thanks!

Seeing Sirius B is always a great accomplishment.  I did it with a 160mm APO I used to have, but I'm going to try it again tonight with my C9.25 and Stowaway.  I think both of these scopes are going to struggle.  

 

I'm also going to add NGC 2438 to my observing list for tonight.  It sounds like a great target.


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#744 aeajr

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Posted 13 February 2023 - 03:18 PM

02/10/2023

Front driveway (bortle 7 I would guess.)

22:00-23:15

Winds calm

Temps in high 20's F dropping to low 20's

Seeing - Good

Transparency - Good

Skywatcher 14" dobsonian

Baader MkIV zoom, Morpheus 6.5mm, 12.5mm, and 17.5mm, APM 20mm XWA, ES 24mm 68°

 

 

Quite a good night, even though it was a short session again.  Best seeing conditions in a long time.

 

-Rigel was an easy split with the BHZ.  It so cool to see the little companion just pop out when twisting the eyepiece to zoom in.

-M42 and M43 looked great despite not being very high in the sky, 5 Trapezium stars visible (F was elusive.) 

-First time seeing Sirius B.  Again with the BHZ.  Zoomed into 8mm and there it was a faint little white dot at about the 4:00 position (newtonian orientation) just below one of my diffraction spikes.  To be sure, I switched to the Morpheus 6.5mm and it was still there.  The glare from Sirius was confined to a pretty tight space allowing the Pup to be seen quite clearly just outside of that bright zone.  Very cool!  Confirmed position again with Sky Safari/Stellarium.

-First time seeing planetary nebula NGC 2438 in M46.  After successfully spotting the Pup, I figured it was time for another first so I had the mount slew over to M46 and popped the DGM NPB filter onto my P2 with the 20mm XWA eyepiece.  The PN was very obvious among the stars of the open cluster.  A dim fuzzball without the filter and a thick, defined circular ring with somewhat more hollow core with the filter in place.  I decided to A/B/C test the 20mm XWA, ES24mm 68°, and the Morpheus 17.5mm as they all occupy about the same place in my eyepiece lineup.  Conclusion:  They're all great.  I was expecting the 24mm to be weak compared to the other two but honestly it's a great eyepiece.  The eye relief may be a little tighter than the 20mm and the FOV a lot smaller but it still gives great views.  Now I'm torn on what to keep.  The 17.5mm is just glorious.  I can't see myself letting that one go.  Decisions decisions.

-M81 and M82 with the 12.5mm Morpheus.  M82 looked like a dim sliver of fuzzy light with tapered ends.  I thought I could see a little bit of disruption toward the middle but it may have just been my imagination.  M81 was quite bright at the core and the surrounding section.  I could see just bare hints of light around that central portion of the galaxy.  I snapped some pics in hopes that I could capture something.

-M51 appeared as two bright fuzzy cores with the 12.5mm eyepiece.  Not much contrast to see more detail as the moon (~75% waning gibbous?) had now risen from behind the house to my East.  I tried to snap a few pics before shutting it all down and bringing the scope back into the garage.

 

On Sunday I decided to remove my secondary and give it a light cleaning as my Rigel Systems wifi Aline had indicated that it was not centered under my focuser perfectly anyway.  For good measure I cut up some new milk jug washers as well.  I'm hoping to get that put back in and everything aligned this evening before another night of clear skies (forecasted anyway.)

 

 

Thanks!

Nice report.  Looks like it was a fun observing session.

 

When I first started splitting doubles I frequently became frustrated because I could not see the split.  Turned out I had already split them and didn't realize it.

 

When I got the Celestron zoom and split doubles I could see the split.  Never went back to my fixed FL eyepieces.   When the Baader Hyperion cam along it became my primary splitter in my 12" Dob and 102 mm refractor.

 

I still like the Celestron in my rarely used 127 mm Mak.  Just seems to feel better on that scope.  

 

Now I always split with a zoom or zoom plus Barlow.


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#745 Studly

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Posted 13 February 2023 - 03:53 PM

This is a little late getting posted, but the following is a recap of my session from last Friday night:

 

 

2023-02-10
Start Time: 19:15 local time (EST); 00:15 UT (02-11)
End Time: 21:45 local time (EST); 02:45 UT (02-11)
Length of Observing Session: 2h 30m
Cloud Cover: None
Wind: Light
SQM Measurement: 20.62
Temperature: -5C/23F
Relative Humidity: 77%
Transparency: Good (4/5)
Seeing: Good (4/5)
Instrument: Zhumell Z12 (fl1500, f4.9)
Mount: Dobsonian
Eyepieces: Explore Scientific and Meade PWA/UWA

 

Abstract: The main goal during this session was to observe the comet. Afterwards, to perhaps hit a few deep sky objects. The chosen instrument was the Zhumell Z12; this would be the first session since recollimating the scope again.

 

Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF): A quick scan with binocular confirmed that the target was in the area anticipated. At 40mm (37x), the comet was easily located, not too far to the north-northeast of Mars. Even though the sky was not yet fully dark, the target appeared as a faint haze, resembling a nebula or galaxy at first glance. Careful viewing, however, showed that more of the nebulous haze appeared on the target’s northeast side than its southwest. A definite bright nucleus was visible, but not resolved. At 28mm (53x), the nucleus appeared more pronounced—almost stellar. Two or three background field stars could be seen shining through the wispy tail of the comet. The uneven distribution of the haze around the nucleus also appeared more pronounced. Averted vision showed a moderately well-defined, broad, fan-shape to the tail. This seemed to sweep along approximately 70 degrees along the circumference of the nucleus to the northeast. The sky continued to darken, making the broad sweep of the tail easier to see. At 20mm (75x), the target appeared reminiscent of an egg-shaped cocoon with a bright concentration near its internal southwestern edge. The resolution of the nucleus appeared slightly degraded for some reason. The curve of the “bow-shock” where the solar wind was pressing against the nucleus appeared to cover an angle of approximately 90 degrees. With averted vision, this appeared to widen to approximately 120 degrees. At 14mm (107x), the target appeared very bright. The hazy tail and bow-shock were brighter in the view. The nucleus regained its previous resolution. At moments, the solar wind shock appeared composite, with an outer and inner contour, but this impression (though repeated) was fleeting. The sweep of the tail and bow-shock appeared to stretch around approximately 150 degrees. Incredible. At 8.8mm (170x), the target began to soften in the view, but the bright nucleus remained very well resolved. The leading edge of the bow-shock was blurred and very difficult to delineate. The overall view was somewhat degraded. At this point, I reinstalled the 28mm ocular (53x) and conducted two quick and dirty sketches.

 

NGC 2420 (Gemini): Gemini appeared well-positioned in the sky, so I swung the scope into that region to hit a couple targets. At 28mm (53x), this open cluster was readily located. The target appeared to be composed of dimmer stars, with brighter field stars arranged around it—almost as if they were hemming it in or keeping watch to ensure that none escaped! The overall appearance of the cluster was that of a compact and dim arrangement. At 20mm (75x), the cluster members appeared more clearly defined. Perhaps 15-20 of the brightest members were easily resolved. Averted vision provided no improvement. At 14mm (107x), the cluster appeared mostly unchanged when viewed directly. Averted vision, however, revealed a fine sprinkling of dim points underneath. The cluster also showed an irregular overall shape. At 8.8mm (170x), the first signs of image darkening were noted. Averted vision still showed some of the underlying stars in the cluster, but the visible number was reduced.

 

NGC 2392 (Gemini): Beginning at 14mm (107x), I began scanning for this planetary nebula. This took some time, and I ultimately discovered why: I was holding the star chart in the wrong orientation! Ugh. After correcting this (and looking in the correct area!), it was finally located. At first glance, it appeared as nothing more than a bloated star with a uniform circular halo. Averted vision showed a homogeneous milky-white circle; it was easy to see the target was not stellar. At 8.8mm (170x), the direct view showed the “stellar” bright center, but this impression was lessened from that of the lesser magnification. The surrounding halo, however, appeared filled with swirls of nebulosity that outlined variations in brightness or concentration. Averted vision did not completely remove the “stellar” central spot, but it did allow glimpses of internal darker areas or gaps of lower concentration. The target’s overall shape remained circular. At 5.5mm (272x), the swirls in the nebulosity became visible directly, with some areas of lesser concentration apparent along the inner circumference. Averted vision revealed fine tendrils throughout the plantary—spectacular view! A slight central brightening was still noted. At this magnification, the target appeared slightly out-of-round. At 4mm (375x), I expected a view degraded beyond usefulness, but the target bore the magnification excellently. The tendrils noted earlier were now resolved into a complex texture, resembling white felt or fur—hence the planetary’s common name (the Eskimo Nebula). Despite this, no sign of a “face” was present in the view, as the slight central brightening noted earlier still remained, even though reduced. Beautiful view!

 

NGC 2331 (Gemini): At 40mm (37x), numerous attempts were made to obtain a positive identification on this cluster. (And, yes, I made certain I was holding the atlas in the correct orientation!) The cluster is very loose and easily blends in with the field, so it is no surprise that I was unable to positively acquire it.

 

M42 (Orion): At this point, the cold was numbing my feet (despite multiple layers of clothing). But, I could not end the session without a quick look at the Orion Nebula. At 40mm (37x), the target was nothing short of glorious! The nebulosity was amazing, with bright streaks and puffy concentrations within. The Trapezium stars were already resolved. NGC 1973 and NGC 1980 fit into the same field.

 

NGC 1973 (Orion): At 40mm (37x), the dim nebulosity of this cluster north of M42 was visible. The dark dust lanes within could be seen outlining the Running Man. This was only *just barely* visible, but definitely there. Awesome view!

 

NGC 1980 (Orion): South of M42, this cluster also showed some minor visible nebulosity. Very nice.

 

Conclusion: At this point, my feet were literally throbbing with the cold, so the session had to end. I regretted not being able to stay out longer, but the session was an unmitigated success. Also, the recollimation of the Z12 appeared to pay off, as this session provided the best views obtained with it so far.

 

 

Until next time!


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#746 Nankins

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Posted 13 February 2023 - 09:38 PM

Here's a quick one with the binoculars.

 

Temperature: 40 degrees
Time:  Evening
Location:  Home, Warren County, Indiana
Equipment:  Naked eye, 12x50s.
Objects observed:  C/2022 E3, M78, M34, M35, Mars, M31 and 32 and M110,       M47, M46, other Canis Major and Puppis clusters, M36,       M37, M38 and companion clusters, M81 and M82.
M46 and M47 sitting right next to each other, obvious as faint smudges with   M47 having some brighter stars. M35 naked eye and resolved in the binoculars.  M34 glimpsed, fully resolved most likely.  M31 large, but low enough that it was still not at its best, M32 and M110 possibly seen as well.  Mars was looking red.  The comet had moved a lot and was near NGC 1647, which was seen as a large and very faint cloud not far from the comet.  Comet was headed towards Aldebaran and could fit both in the same FOV.  Comet smaller in apparent size than last observed, nucleus still obvious but dust tail less so.  M78 verified as binocular visible, seen as a largish faint patch that looked like an out of focus star.  M82 and M81 glimpsed barely. Southernmost object that I have seen visually confirmed.  NGC 2451, known as the Stinging Scorpion Cluster, seen very nicely despite the light pollution.  One very red star stands out near the top of the FOV in the binoculars.  Very neat cluster, and not too long afterwards discovered that it is naked eye visible right now!


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#747 CBM1970

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Posted 13 February 2023 - 11:30 PM

Ok - I feel the need to memorialize this one - 

 

Location: My backyard in Southern Maine

Date/time: Saturday, Feb. 11th, 6:20 - 7:40 pm, EST

Temperature: 34 degrees F

Seeing: 3/5 on Astrospheric (seems optimistic).

Transparency: average

Equipment: My Starblast 6 reflector, a 25mm xCel eyepiece, a 9mm Svbony redline and a 2x shorty barlow. 

 

The forecast called for a clear night, and the day was sunny and unusually mild, so I decided to trust the forecast. Knowing it was going to be a quick and early session, during which I'd keep an eye on my kids inside the well lit house through the sliding glass door, I accepted that it would not be a great night for DSOs.

I was still pretty excited though - enough to make me shovel the three week old snow and ice off the back porch, so I could set the telescope & table down somewhere.

 

I let my scope cool for an hour. I hoped to get a last view of Jupiter for this season. At 6:20 it was about 29 degrees above the horizon. I used the 9mm at 83x and could see the 2 eq bands ok. Before getting to comfy, I had to go back inside to attend to my childrens' dinner related needs. Just 10 minutes later, Jupiter was at around 25 degrees, and my view was a lot worse though I still got the 2 bands at 83x. 166x with the barlow did me no favors, but I expected none. 

 

I began a starhop to Uranus. The 3/5 seeing forecast made me think I might be able to get a small green disk. With the lights from indoors shining in my eyes, it was very hard to do this starhop, and turning lights off was not an option, so I gave up on Uranus  for now.

 

This was to be my final attempt on C/2023 E3. I tried two other times, (one being four days earlier and one on January 29th). I was dark adapted on those nights but I got no more than "averted possibiliy" from the comet, and spent the remainder of those sessions viewing a few bright DSOs. 

 

This time around I KNEW I wasn't going to see it (especially due to light pollution), but if it were close enough to other stars of appreciable brightness I might get a through the eyepiece phone picture with the night mode on my phone. Not much to see, but it DID work and now I have it for posterity. 

 

Moving on, I went to Mars with hopes that the seeing would be good enough. Mars was small and bright, and flasing/pulsing a bit. I moved up to the barlowed 9mm I wanted to see what I could get with the seeing. 

 

This was definitely the pleasant surprise of the night.

Mars, at 9.5 degrees, in between the flashing and pulsing that was going on 75% of the time, looked quite good. I was actually able to see dark areas covering the right side of the disk (upside down view).

 

I looked at Mars for a bit and then switched back to the 25mm and found the Pleiades. They were lovely as always with beautiful stars. I wanted to end the session on a high note, and the Pleiades delivered. It was stunning - even with loads of lights on around me.


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#748 WillR

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Posted 14 February 2023 - 10:23 AM

Wonderful night last night. Lots of new targets as well as the night before. I'll post some of those when I have more time.

 

I just want to say last night was the best context yet for the comet. I have seen it every clear night since late January- 7 nights. 

 

Scanned with 10x50s to find the comet last night just 1° south of NGC 1647 in Taurus. I had to make sure I was not looking at NGC 1647. They were close enough that I went and found a 50mm eyepiece I rarely use and just managed to squeeze the comet and most of the cluster in the same FOV.

 

I hope someone got a good photo of this. I may make a drawing or simulation.  I should have drawn it at the eyepiece. Comet still brighter than almost all DSOs.


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#749 weis14

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Posted 14 February 2023 - 10:59 AM

Yesterday was a beautiful day for February in Michigan with daytime temperatures in the 40s F and nice blue skies.  I made the decision that I would observe for a couple of hours in the early evening and set up on my patio.  My setup was in a location close to my house so I could position the telescopes out of the glare of my neighbor's recently installed garage lights that illuminate my entire backyard.  

 

Overall it was a fairly good session, though I was fighting some equipment issues by the end.  One problem was a potentially faulty dew heater strip for my C9.25, which frosted up fairly quickly and the other was a strange connection issue with my AZ100 that appeared to cause some issues with the altitude motor near the end of the session.  I'll have to recreate that issue indoors tonight and see if I can resolve it.

 

Scope: 92mm f/6.65 refractor; 9.25” f/10 Schmidt Cassegrain
Mount: AZ100
Eyepieces: 22mm Nagler; 35mm Panoptic; Swarovski Zoom; 14mm Delos, 10mm Delos, 6mm Delos, 4.5mm Delos; 1.8x APM Barlow; 24mm Panoptic with Baader UHC-S filter.
Books/Charts/Software: SkySafari 5; S&T Pocket Sky Atlas
Observing Site: Midland, Michigan
Transparency: Average; Seeing: Average; SQM-L 19.37 at zenith. 
Weather: light wind (5mph), Low 30s F, significant frost by the end of the session

 

After aligning on Sirius and Aldebaran, I started the session with the crimson star TT Tau.  The goto of the AZ100 put it dead center in the C9.25/35mm Panoptic combination and the star had a noticeably reddish hue.  The view in the Stowaway was less red (as expected with a dimmer star), but the star stood out.

 

Next, I moved over to the Pleiades to evaluate whether any nebulosity could be seen in the C9.25 from my light polluted back yard.  A small amount of the nebula was visible with averted vision near Merope and Alcyone.  In the Stowaway I thought I might have saw a hint of nebula near these two stars as I varied the magnification in the Swarovski Zoom eyepiece.

 

One of my goals for last night was to try to split Sirius with either scope.  I was unsuccessful despite running the magnification up to fairly high levels in the Stowaway (244x) and C9.25 (over 250x).  The image in the Stowaway had a picture perfect airy disc at 244x, but I could not tease Sirius B out.  An occulting bar might be necessary to achieve this split.  The image in the C9.25 was mushy and the scope probably needed to be collimated better to have a chance at this split.  I was able to split Rigel in both scopes, but it is higher in the sky and was west of my neighbor's roof, which makes a big difference.  

 

Several recent observing reports have mentioned observing the planetary nebula NGC2438 within M46.  Using the C9.25 and 35mm Panoptic, I thought I might have saw it, but couldn't be sure.  I switched to the 24mm Panoptic with a 2" Baader UHC-S filter installed on the 2" to 1.25" adapter and the nebula jumped out as a small circle with a brighter outside edge.  I rarely use this filter, so I decided to use it on M42 next.  A lot of detail was present with the filter attached, but the image was not as good as the image under darker skies last Saturday.  Four stars were visible in the Trapezium and despite using 244x on the Stowaway, I could not make either the E or F star visible.  Next, I moved up to M74, which is a small nebula in Orion.  With the 22mm Nagler in the C9.25, it was visible with averted vision.  Going back to the 24mm Panoptic with the UHC filter made it a direct vision object.  

 

A couple of objects in Monoceros wrapped up the night.  First, inspired by Sue French's Deep Sky Wonders article titled "Copeland's Lost Trigon", I checked out STF 939.  The chevron of stars mentioned by French was easily visible in the 14mm Delos/Stowaway, which had pinpoint stars.  By this time, the view in the C9.25 was suffering from frost on the corrector and starting to get mushy.  I next moved over to NGC2264, which is an open cluster sometimes called the Christmas Tree Cluster that I've seen before.  The triangular shape was readily visible and the brighter stars did look a bit like ornaments on a Christmas tree.  I didn't see any new details and, if anything, I was underwhelmed compared to my memory of observing this object in past years. 

 

By this point it was nearly 11pm and the corrector of the C9.25 was 75% frosted over.  The AZ100 was also suffering from some issue with its altitude motor, but in hindsight this could have been a balance issue.  For the last two objects in Monoceros, I used the mount as a push-to, which is one of the benefits of this particular mount. 


Edited by weis14, 14 February 2023 - 11:42 AM.

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#750 CowTipton

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Posted 14 February 2023 - 12:05 PM

Quick informal report:

 

I was out from 21:30 until 23:30 last night and it was a beautiful night.

Not too cold, barely any wind, seeing and transparency were decent.

 

I went back and hit some of the same targets as Friday night.

 

Sirius B was again visible and I snapped some video with my iPhone attached to the BHZ set at 8mm.

https://www.dropbox....G_6695.MOV?dl=0

 

You can just make out Sirius B hugging the bottom of the diffraction spike at the 4:00 position.  It's right at the outer edge of the central glare.

This was my first target for the night so I suspect my mirror hadn't fully cooled yet.  I probably should have waited another 20 mins or so.

Through the eyepiece visually, it was much more obvious.

 

Slewed over to M42 where six trapezium stars were clearly visible.  A-F were all nice little points with a little bit of the twinkle dance exhibited by the larger four.  The nebulosity in that trapezium section was beautifully quilted.  No filters used.

 

From there I took a few peeks at some of the open clusters like M35,36,46, and 47.  Also some double observing with MizarA+B/Alcor, and Rigel.

I sat on M81 for a while trying to tease out as much detail as I could with the BHZ at different focal lengths before attaching my DSLR and snapping pics of the galaxy some of the open clusters from this night.

 

A most enjoyable evening for this hungry stargazer.  The winter has been exceptionally cloudy until now.

 

Thanks!


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