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Observation log continued; IV

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#1426 WillR

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Posted 12 February 2024 - 06:54 PM

FIRST VIEW OF MESSIER 79

 

Between the weather and work, it has been hard to get out. I missed last night, even though it was clear. I will go out tonight because I have tomorrow off (for a trip to the dentist).

 

attachicon.gif Messier 79 Jan 27 2024 copy.jpg

 

I read up on Lepus in Sue French and decided to chase Messier 79. It only took a few minutes to find it, faint and small though it was. I drew my sketch first, then when I was inside, I checked French again for the separation of the two stars. I was happy to have been pretty close.

 

Thanks,

Mike M.

Mike, check out that bright mag 3 star near M79. It’s a nice triple, H3752.

 

I’ve looked a M 79 a few times this winter. It’s very far south for me, so mostly a glow with a few stars in averted vision.


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#1427 wxcloud

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Posted 13 February 2024 - 10:57 PM

February 12th Lunar shadow gazing.

 

 

A short session with the 127mm mak tonight as the cold wind and not great (as usual) seeing drove me in, but not before I got just a little viewing in.

 

I started off with Jupiter now starting it descent into the western skies after dark, still pretty high in the sky but not sure that helped. In my mak I've been using the ol Celestron prism diagonal but I'm starting to wonder if it's cut out for higher magnification work (not sure my skies are either for that matter...) I'm fairly sure there was a shadow transit from Io going on but I spotted no indication of it. I had been using the 6mm TPL and this might have been working against things. Views where a little dimmer than I'm used to but I mean this scope is f/15 so that's part of it. I am sure the cold wind and seeing also played a part in the lack of viewing.

 

After a little Jupiter watching I moved onto the moon, just under first quarter using my 6mm TPL and telrad as a finder, it made a quick find though view was slightly dimmer than I'm used to. It was also a little tight due to both the straw like ota and narrow fov of the eyepiece (I'm starting to suspect I got some eyeball smudges on the optics) views where still decent, not quite having the punch I thought I'd be getting but usable.

 

The terminator provided some pretty interesting features and I spent most of my session just making my way around it. On a whim I dropped in the 5mm Pentax XW and started to realize that I was probably right at the atmospheric ceiling and higher magnification was degrading the views. I opted to back off to the 12.5mm TPL, it's now actually getting use! This turned out to be a good idea. There was a lot of stuff to take in, the shimmering wobble of the atmosphere, seeing the long dark jagged shadows, flecks of sunlit mountains and even rims of craters reach up from the shadows, seemingly floating unattached in darkness. Even found a long dark line (can't find the name off hand) near one of the larger craters. I even took it a little further nudging the sunlit side slightly out of view to look into the shadows on the rest of the moon, making out larger outlines of mares.

 

Was kind of different looking at the unexposed area of the moon, almost like one shouldn't be doing so, like it wasn't ready to be seen. Not sure how to explain that.

 

After having my fill of the moon for a little bit, starting to get cold, I made a stop in Orion, first did a quick Rigel split, again with the 12.5mm as the 6mm kind of worked against things. I did notice something curious however and that was a diffraction ring. I did get the split though.

 

The trapezium, still only got the four. The batwing nebulosity was visible, it didn't give up much details, the "wings" did extend just a little bit more however.

Tried to split Alnitak and unsure I did? I did see a faint small star nearby but a little further away than I'd expect? Will need to dig into things more. Also noted a diffraction ring.

Accidentally came across Sigma Orionis during my Alnitak hunt. Of course I had to stop for a moment and look, the group split pretty easy in the 24mm pan.

 

By now the wind got to me so I brought things in. Kind of a bonus session albeit a little on this cold breezy side.


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#1428 N3p

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Posted 14 February 2024 - 08:42 PM

(((; Look at the sky people you might be happy of what you might see one day.


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#1429 birger

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Posted 17 February 2024 - 02:11 PM

Beautiful clear day followed by a beautiful clear evening. The Moon was bright and nicely placed just above the Hyades. My binoculars clearly showed the crater Maginus. The Galilean moons were placed favorably, so I paid them a visit too. Io was the hardest to see, only about 1 minute of arc to the west of Jupiter.

 

I made a quick try with 12P/Pons-Brooks, and to my deep surprise I actually found it, despite it being merely 35° up. Sure, averted vision, but no doubt it was there. I later confirmed it with maps on my computer. I read it is becoming brighter. I hope to be able to see it when the Moon is out of the way, and possibly from a darker location (my home has NELM 5 or so on the best nights).


Edited by birger, 17 February 2024 - 02:13 PM.

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#1430 desertstars

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Posted 17 February 2024 - 09:06 PM

Observations from 14 February 2024
200mm Newtonian on a Celestron AVX Mount
8mm Orion Stratus eyepiece

 

A clear sky following a busy day, but worn out as I felt, I wanted do a little lunar observing. According to the VMA, the Moon was 4.8 days into the current lunation, not quite at 1st quarter. The evening was chilly but calm, with a starting temperature of 58°F (14.4°C) that only dropped four degrees before I was done. For an observing plan I simply followed the terminator north to south. Seeing conditions rated A3 at best, with those quick moments of steadier air that we all live for.

 

I always start these journeys down the terminator as near the north pole as I can, marked by the northernmost feature I can easily identify. On this night that northern feature was the crater Baillaud, which was mostly lit by sunlight. It’s flat-seeming floor was dominated by the smaller crater Baillaud E, and another such – Baillaud B – was perched on the southern wall. That wall seemed lower and broken into large blocks, compared to the rest of the crater outline. While examining Baillaud I got the sense that the rims of Euctemon and De Sitter were catching the morning light, but at that time the seeing being iffy, and I couldn’t be sure of them.

 

Passing south and somewhat east of Baillaud, I found an area of mare-like terrain marked with ridges (likely the unevenly lit rims of other Baillaud subcraters) that aimed me straight at broad, flat, floor-flooded Arnold and Arnold A. The rim of Arnold thins where Arnold A pushes up to it. Arnold F, a craterlet inside the north rim, was a tiny pool of ink. The inner face of the broader western rim was as bright as the outer portion was dark.

 

The dark side of the terminator, in this region, was sprinkled with little points of light as the first rays of the sun to reach there picked out high points. The effect was visible all along the terminator, but especially caught my eye here.

 

Plenty of craters and features were catching my eye, and as these tours are unplanned, many features are there but not taken note of – this time. And so, after the crater Arnold, my gaze fasten on Democritus. It presented a fine contrast between daylight and night. The inner face of the western curve of the way, facing east toward the sun, blazed with silver light. The rest of the crater was a pool of inky black shadows, with no interior features to be seen. Democritus A was a tiny version of the same effect. South to the next major feature brought me to Gartner, which looked rather beaten down and flooded. The eastern rim was an arc of low, blocky hills that faded around to the north and west, with Gartner A interposed, into a collection lumps and bump. I saw no trace of the southern wall, where lava from Mare Frigoris spread in from that direction and paved the crater floor. I could not pick out Rima Gartner, tonight, but Gartner D and F stood out as black pits on a newly sunlit plain.

 

There’s a wrinkle ridge that zig-zags from near Gartner, across the east lobe of Mare Frigoris, all the way to the crater Baily. Tonight it stood out very clearly from the mare, with some portions more prominent that other. There are other such features east of there; I’ve yet to find a refence that actually names any of them. Tonight, “Dorsa Gartner-Baily” stood out brightly on the mare floor.

 

Baily in some ways reminded me of Gartner in miniature. Near it the more complete crater Baily A was bright where it faced east, but dark inside. Burg was under a similar lighting regime, with its lump of a central peak lit like a tiny island in a black lagoon. My eye strayed then to the east, where Keldysh was a wide, simple crater, mostly lit, but showing little detail at the time, due a fluctuation in seeing conditions. Hercules was lit enough inside to show off the slumped inner side of the west wall, as well as the off-set interior craterlet Hercules G, and the smaller impact on the southwest rim labeled in most atlases as Hercules E.

 

At this point I was feeling a little odd, tired and easily distracted in ways that don’t usually plague me while observing. I wrote it off to a busy day, with a long bike ride and an afternoon of gardening taking its toll as the evening wore on. I took in Posidonius, always a favorite, with its fractured interior. More of it was in sunlight than the Virtual Moon Atlas had led me to expect at that hour. As a result, in calm moment, Rimae Posidonius was easily visible. Posidonius A, near the barely protruding “peaks” on the crater floor, was a pit with a bright rim. The collapsed inner wall of the east rim of Posidonius created a shadowed valley.

 

Dorsae Smirnov and Lister were just then fully lit on their east facing slopes, and stood out boldly in Mare Serenitatis, where night otherwise still ruled. Dorsa Aldrovandi caught my eyes, a dorsa that I normally don’t notice very often. This sight led me to look for Catena Littrow, but the seeing conditions didn’t support that observation.

 

As I was working my way south from the embayment that is Le Monnier, and trying to sort out the lit peaks and narrow dark valleys near Mons Vitruvius and Mons Argaeus, my ability to concentrate declined abruptly, and a slight soreness to the soft palate made me wonder if I was catching the cold that has plagued my wife the past few days. I decided to quit while I was ahead and pack it in for the night.

 

The next morning it was official. Laid low by the so-called common cold. Which explains the delay in posting this one.


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#1431 jc482p

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Posted 18 February 2024 - 06:09 PM

It's been either cloudy or I've been tired, or both, but last night I managed to get out to do some observing.

 

Observations done with a F/7.5 Skywatcher 120 Pro ED.

 

2024-02-17

8:20-8:45pm, 18.00 sqm, 27 degrees, first quarter Moon high to the south, clear, average transparency, below average seeing

Iota Boo - Asellus Secundus - double star, sep 38.9" - At 38x (24mm), it was already split into a pinpoint gray dot of a secondary WNW of a big yellow white primary.  Easy split, but it doesn't make it less pretty.

Kappa2 Boo - Asellus Tertius - double star, sep 14.3" - Also at 38x, it was already split.  It was a tighter split than the previous star, but still comfortably split.  The secondary was a pinpoint yellow dot about due east of a big white primary.  Both this double star and Iota Boo fit into the FOV at the same time, making this a double double.

Messier M42 - Orion Nebula.  I saw it at 38x and 163x (5.5mm).  Usually, it looks a bit more dramatic in presentation at the higher magnitude because the magnification makes the background darker, but this time it looked meh at both magnifications, maybe because of the Moon or because of light pollution reflecting off of the snow on the ground and then reflecting again in the moisture in the sky.  I could see four stars in the Trapezium at both magnitications.

 

9:00-9:40pm, 18.47 sqm

Messier M41 - open cluster - At 38x, there were 36 stars in the FOV.  A nice mix of bright and dim stars, with some stars showing up only with averted vision.  The cluster had more of a vertical box shape instead of horizontal.  When I then tried 99x (18.2mm, 2x Barlow), I could only count 28 stars.  I wasn't sure why I was seeing fewer stars until I realized that because time had elapsed, the cluster was now being half occluded by a thin tree branch.

Messier M50 - open cluster - At 38x it was a skinny thin pentagon of 5 stars.  At 163x, there were 10 stars.  This one was kinda lackluster.

NGC 2362 - open cluster - At 38x, there was a very bright star Tau Canis Minoris in the center of 9 other dimmer stars, a few only visible with averted vision.  At 163x, more of them showed up with direct vision, and there were about 12 stars total.  This one looked better than M50, despite not many more stars than M50, because the stars in NGC 2362 were concentrated more tightly together in the FOV.

Messier M44 - Beehive Cluster - At 38x, it filled the FOV with 17 very bright stars and around 70 stars, bright and dim, altogether.  Looked great.


Edited by jc482p, 18 February 2024 - 06:53 PM.

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#1432 wxcloud

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Posted 20 February 2024 - 01:35 PM

February 20th mid morning solar crankiness?

 

 

This was another one of those bonus sessions enabled by a grab and go rig, my typical AZ 5 mounted DS LUNT ls50tha and Pentax XW 7mm (was I missing something? I Did have a little fomo without the TPLs, but the comfort and fov of the XW won out).

 

Naturally, seeing wasn't great but good enough. The details slowly started to show up as scope thermals leveled out some and I managed to get the tuning closer to band. Views where relatively modest, seemingly quiet. A few filaments latched onto the disc and curved around as if being doodled on with a French curve. A few prominences danced around the rim, a couple small surge proms and a somewhat more larger dominant one but most where just small and just looking like they where enjoying their outings.

 

Massive sunspot and active region, AR3590 making it's way into view. The curvature of the disc and nearby plasma and filaments made the AR seem like it was making a depression and causing a wave on the disc. Got to love those 3D views and the way textures cause the eye to wonder.

 

For a little bit early in the session the giant sunspot seemed ho hum and just hanging out but a little bit later on my eye was drawn to a bright patch nearly the same size next to the spot. It peaked and slowly dimmed over the course of a few minutes. It didn't get nearly as bright or seemed so as others, I think it let out a moderate flare.

 

As I drew my little h-alpha session to a close, I focused my attention back on the larger prom, taking on as a shape shifter, now it reminded me of a dog standing on the rim and barking at a short nearby surge prom. These little bonus sessions are nice.


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#1433 Studly

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Posted 20 February 2024 - 07:02 PM

Observations from 14 February 2024
200mm Newtonian on a Celestron AVX Mount
8mm Orion Stratus eyepiece

 

A clear sky following a busy day, but worn out as I felt, I wanted do a little lunar observing. According to the VMA, the Moon was 4.8 days into the current lunation, not quite at 1st quarter. The evening was chilly but calm, with a starting temperature of 58°F (14.4°C) that only dropped four degrees before I was done. For an observing plan I simply followed the terminator north to south. Seeing conditions rated A3 at best, with those quick moments of steadier air that we all live for.

 

I always start these journeys down the terminator as near the north pole as I can, marked by the northernmost feature I can easily identify. On this night that northern feature was the crater Baillaud, which was mostly lit by sunlight. It’s flat-seeming floor was dominated by the smaller crater Baillaud E, and another such – Baillaud B – was perched on the southern wall. That wall seemed lower and broken into large blocks, compared to the rest of the crater outline. While examining Baillaud I got the sense that the rims of Euctemon and De Sitter were catching the morning light, but at that time the seeing being iffy, and I couldn’t be sure of them.

 

Passing south and somewhat east of Baillaud, I found an area of mare-like terrain marked with ridges (likely the unevenly lit rims of other Baillaud subcraters) that aimed me straight at broad, flat, floor-flooded Arnold and Arnold A. The rim of Arnold thins where Arnold A pushes up to it. Arnold F, a craterlet inside the north rim, was a tiny pool of ink. The inner face of the broader western rim was as bright as the outer portion was dark.

 

The dark side of the terminator, in this region, was sprinkled with little points of light as the first rays of the sun to reach there picked out high points. The effect was visible all along the terminator, but especially caught my eye here.

 

Plenty of craters and features were catching my eye, and as these tours are unplanned, many features are there but not taken note of – this time. And so, after the crater Arnold, my gaze fasten on Democritus. It presented a fine contrast between daylight and night. The inner face of the western curve of the way, facing east toward the sun, blazed with silver light. The rest of the crater was a pool of inky black shadows, with no interior features to be seen. Democritus A was a tiny version of the same effect. South to the next major feature brought me to Gartner, which looked rather beaten down and flooded. The eastern rim was an arc of low, blocky hills that faded around to the north and west, with Gartner A interposed, into a collection lumps and bump. I saw no trace of the southern wall, where lava from Mare Frigoris spread in from that direction and paved the crater floor. I could not pick out Rima Gartner, tonight, but Gartner D and F stood out as black pits on a newly sunlit plain.

 

There’s a wrinkle ridge that zig-zags from near Gartner, across the east lobe of Mare Frigoris, all the way to the crater Baily. Tonight it stood out very clearly from the mare, with some portions more prominent that other. There are other such features east of there; I’ve yet to find a refence that actually names any of them. Tonight, “Dorsa Gartner-Baily” stood out brightly on the mare floor.

 

Baily in some ways reminded me of Gartner in miniature. Near it the more complete crater Baily A was bright where it faced east, but dark inside. Burg was under a similar lighting regime, with its lump of a central peak lit like a tiny island in a black lagoon. My eye strayed then to the east, where Keldysh was a wide, simple crater, mostly lit, but showing little detail at the time, due a fluctuation in seeing conditions. Hercules was lit enough inside to show off the slumped inner side of the west wall, as well as the off-set interior craterlet Hercules G, and the smaller impact on the southwest rim labeled in most atlases as Hercules E.

 

At this point I was feeling a little odd, tired and easily distracted in ways that don’t usually plague me while observing. I wrote it off to a busy day, with a long bike ride and an afternoon of gardening taking its toll as the evening wore on. I took in Posidonius, always a favorite, with its fractured interior. More of it was in sunlight than the Virtual Moon Atlas had led me to expect at that hour. As a result, in calm moment, Rimae Posidonius was easily visible. Posidonius A, near the barely protruding “peaks” on the crater floor, was a pit with a bright rim. The collapsed inner wall of the east rim of Posidonius created a shadowed valley.

 

Dorsae Smirnov and Lister were just then fully lit on their east facing slopes, and stood out boldly in Mare Serenitatis, where night otherwise still ruled. Dorsa Aldrovandi caught my eyes, a dorsa that I normally don’t notice very often. This sight led me to look for Catena Littrow, but the seeing conditions didn’t support that observation.

 

As I was working my way south from the embayment that is Le Monnier, and trying to sort out the lit peaks and narrow dark valleys near Mons Vitruvius and Mons Argaeus, my ability to concentrate declined abruptly, and a slight soreness to the soft palate made me wonder if I was catching the cold that has plagued my wife the past few days. I decided to quit while I was ahead and pack it in for the night.

 

The next morning it was official. Laid low by the so-called common cold. Which explains the delay in posting this one.

Excellent report!


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#1434 Nankins

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Posted 20 February 2024 - 09:43 PM

One hour session tonight. Atmosphere was better than it's been in a while and the temps are in the high 30s - mid 40s so it wasn't bad (I could take my gloves off for a long period of time). Before sunset, around 4:50, I viewed Luna a bit and found that high magnification is not a good idea during the daytime.... I found that roughly 150x was the most comfortable. I could see most, and sometimes all (I was switching back and forth between eyepieces in a Barlow lens) of the Moon. Mare Marginis and Mare Smythii were completely visible (libration is south and east, making these normally nominally visible mares quite largish and outstanding in their own right). I could see along the Moon's western limb above Mare Marginis two bumps that were not atmospheric turbulance. I looked them up later on my phone and found that they are the mountainous edges of a crater near the Moon's far side. Pretty interesting. Some of the details in the center of the viable Moon also provided something of interest, and I'm very sure the daylight helped with that.

Went back out at 7:30, and Luna was now too bright to enjoy, so I started off with Jupiter. I pulled out my Orion Set of 4 color filters which I hadn't touched in a long time. Experimentation showed that Jupiter looked horrid in the red filter, while the blue nominally brought out the cloud bands a bit more. The yellow and green filters were the best, and best viewing was at around 130 - 160ish x. Both yellow and green filters brought out more detail in the cloud bands and yellow especially made the Equatorial bands stand out. The green showed more overall detail in the entire planet, and the small storm that was visible jumped right out. I also went looking for Uranus with the blue filter on but with the Moon and not using my phone (Stellarium for referencing) I was completely defeated there. Changed out eyepieces and went to M42, which was hurting from the moonlight but still looked ok. 4 stars in the Trapezium. Running Man Nebula just above M43 (below in the view of the dob) was nominally hinted at. Since I wasn't using my phone I was using my Uranometria and found that there were some open clusters in Canis Major and Monoceros that looked worth chasing down. I was defeated here too, because although I got to the right spot for at least two of the three, I didn't see them. Presumable this wasn't just the moonlight but the fact that I have no clue what they look like and didn't have my phone available to look them up. So I went over to Rigel to see if I could split it. I could see the main alpha star shining quite brightly, and a fainter star a few arc minutes to it's left. Just a few arcseconds to the alpha star's upper side I did for a few seconds see a much fainter star very close to the other one. I don't know if they are related or not. Happy with this, I went over to Sirius to try the Pup again. No luck. So down to M41 to have a look. M42 filled the FOV of the 30 mm Barlowed, and same with the Barlowed 18 mm. Beautiful. This was all for the night since I didn't have any good excuse to observe the Moon (no phone for id'ing features).
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#1435 Olimad

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Posted 21 February 2024 - 04:19 PM

19.02.24 - from 21:00 to 22:30

 

37°4' N
3°23' O
Height 2.200 meters
Observation site : from apartment balcony. South-east.
Given Bortle 4 from light pollution map.
However Moon at 81%, around 70° alt.
Scope : newtonian 4" F4.

Lot of stars seen naked eyes but limited access to sky due to the balcony.
Session partly with my kid.

 

The moon - Since it was there without any doubt, he wanted to see it.
He found it in the eyepiece, and for fun we looked at it with different filters and got the blue moon, the greenish moon etc...
We pushed to 240x and we looked at Plato. He couldn't believed that there is Teneriffe there too, "is there El Teide volcano too?", he asked...
A small tour of mare imbrium, montes apenninus, alpes, mont blanc, archimedes... We looked then at different craters and then moved to Orion.

 

Orion - with the UFF 18mm (22x, 3,1°), i got the whole belt in my FoV and enjoyed, despite of the moon, much more stars in the field than with my usual sky. My kid was bluffed to get the 3 stars he saw in the sky naked eyes inside the eyepiece, with all these stars around.
From there he moved to the sword. Nice view  of it in the eyepiece. M42 seemed more extended than usual. At 50x he got the 4 stars in trapezium and then moved around the different stars cluster.
We moved to Betelgeuse to see if the supernova is there. Not yet, at least not seen yet.... He pursued stargazing around it.

 

Then Cancer was available, and we went to the Beehive. We tried to compare what we saw, and it seemed that he saw some fainter stars that i wasn't able to.
I then try to find M67, a target that I havn't found in my usual sky (inner city sky) and forgot to see when i was at better sky. I thought that the moon would be a problem, but in the end I found (at 22x) 3 bright stars in a small equilateral triangle form and close to them a faint elongated-nebulosity-like object with a bright star oposite of the equilateral triangle stars. Must be something. With 10mm UFF (40x) I began to resolve some stars, with a BCO 10mm I saw more. Best view was with my 8mm Plössl (which was my lowest EP in my set for this session), I saw 20 stars. Really different of other open clusters.
EPs with less lenses performed better with my scope on this object, but since i do not have really premium brand EPs to compare with, I can not conclude anything.

 

We stopped there to go sleeping and to get ready for the next skiing day.


Edited by Olimad, 22 February 2024 - 04:02 PM.

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#1436 weis14

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Posted 23 February 2024 - 12:02 AM

Went out tonight under a nearly full moon for a 90 minute double star session.  Temperatures were incredibly mild for February (mid-40s at the start) and I was comfortable in a sweater and stocking hat (my normal summer gear!).  Observing went well with a few challenging doubles split and the showpiece doubles really standing out.  Open clusters were greatly washed out by the nearly full moon, so while I looked in on a few, I mostly stuck to my double star list.

 

Scope: 92mm f/6.65 refractor
Mount: Rowan AZ100 with motors
Eyepieces: 10mm Delos, 6mm Delos, 4.5mm Delos; Swarovski W Zoom (9.2-18.4mm) w/ APM 1.8x barlow
Books/Charts: SkySafari 5, Cambridge Double Star Atlas
Observing Site: Midland, Michigan
Transparency: Average; Seeing: Above Average

 

After aligning on Sirius and Regulus, I moved to my first target star, Castor.  The split between A and B was easy at 136x, but C was washed out by the moon and I can't be sure I saw it (a repeating theme tonight).  Next, I moved to Beta Monocerotis, which was easily split into its three components at 136x.  All three components had a similar white color with little or no hue to my eye.  Epsilon Monocerotis was next, and its components were easily split (12.3") with a noticeable difference in brightness between the magnitude 4.39 primary and 6.72 secondary.

 

I next moved to Sirius, which had moved west of my neighbor's roof and was in as good of position as it gets from my house.  I threw all the magnification I could at it (4.5mm Delos, plus APM/TMB 1.8x barlow for ~245x) and watched intently for ten minutes.  Occasionally I thought I saw something where the Pup should be, but I can't be 100% sure I saw it.  Mu Canis Majoris was elongated at 136x.

 

While I was in the neighborhood, I quickly looked at a couple of open clusters to gage whether they would be viable targets.  NGC 2353 was unimpressive, with only the few brightest stars showing.  M50 was likewise lackluster with maybe 20 stars showing through the bright background at roughly 60x.  

 

Getting back to doubles, I moved over to STF 1126, which shares a low power field of view with Procyon.  This object was too close to split in the Stowaway with a separation of only 0.9", but there was some elongation at 136x.  STF 1095 in Canis Major was an easy split at 61x (10.3"), but faint with both components being around 8 or 9th magnitude.  STF 1103 in Canis Minor was another pretty split at 3.9".  This looked best in the Swarovski Zoom with the 1.8x barlow attached for roughly 125x.  Wasat in Gemini (5.3") was split in the same eyepiece with the magnitude 3.5 primary nearly washing out the 8.2 magnitude secondary.

 

I was starting to get cold at this point, so I moved east to two finish with two more showpiece doubles.  Tegmine in Cancer (5.9") was an easy split in the zoom with the secondary appearing to be slightly more yellow than the primary.  Epsilon Hydrae (2.9") was another pretty split with the components clearly separate at 245x.  While in the area I also stopped briefly at M48 and M67, but there was far too much light from the moon to make either interesting.  

 

February observing sessions are usually rare for me, but this is the fourth one this month with almost a week to go.  That is almost a record!    


Edited by weis14, 23 February 2024 - 09:57 AM.

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#1437 Migwan

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Posted 24 February 2024 - 02:04 PM

2/21/24,  20:15-23:30,  38°,   SW 3-4mph,   RH 67%,  Baro 30.2  (Clear Skies) Trans 3/5, See 2/5,  98% Moon,   NELM 4ish,   PS 4/10,  Jet 70-80mph, moving off,   LP Map SQM 20.4,  755’,   Home,  f6.3 C11 & ST120

 

Another night.  Should have brought some lipstick.  

 

Surprisingly, the moon managed 352x, but preferred a little less.  It framed well at 135x.  After wandering around for awhile,  I scanned just off the edge to look for stars.   No luck.   I expected more glare just off the moon due to having the R/C on.   It was better controlled than in the ST120. 

 

I tried for some tight doubles.  All 1.3” of separation or less.  Didn’t manage one clean split.   I had thought seeing would get better than forecasted.   Took a break, went in and picked some new targets.  

 

Back out with some doubles, triples and quadruplets with AB separations from 1.4” to 6”.  Much better, but I couldn’t manage to see any stars beyond mag 11.   Luckily, the only target stars beyond that were either C or D stars.   196x seemed to show the lowest magnitude stars the best.  271x was next best.

 

The only remarkable target was SAO 13031 (Cam).  Not because it was a quadruple, but because it landed me in the open cluster, NGC1502.   Very nice well organized cluster with definable borders of some 30 magnitude 4-6ish stars.  What really ate me up was that beyond these stars, helping to form the borders of the cluster, were very many little gray spots, just visible in averted vision.  They appeared to be in direct vision until I tried to resolve one from another.   Couldn’t quite do that well enough to count a few.   Still, did not appear to be the usual old mottling.  They were clearly separate from each other when viewing the cluster as a whole.

 

SAO 13031 supposedly has separations of 5/23/12” with magnitudes of 7/10.5/10.1/12.9.   The 12.9 was beyond anything I seen all night, but with all the gray spots, whose to say.  I am left wondering what magnitude all those were.  Will have to look at NGC1502 on a more transparent night from a darker site.

 

Here are the other SAOs I was able to view.  SAO 80807, 99032 (Leo)  14479, 43750, 15470 (UMa).  Had a couple in Leo that were just to close too the moon.   SAO 99032 reportedly had an AB separation of 1.4”,  so seeing had either improved or that separation wasn’t correct.   Kinda think the latter.


Edited by Migwan, 24 February 2024 - 02:56 PM.

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#1438 Migwan

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Posted 24 February 2024 - 03:24 PM

Went out tonight under a nearly full moon for a 90 minute double star session.  Temperatures were incredibly mild for February (mid-40s at the start) and I was comfortable in a sweater and stocking hat (my normal summer gear!).  Observing went well with a few challenging doubles split and the showpiece doubles really standing out.  Open clusters were greatly washed out by the nearly full moon, so while I looked in on a few, I mostly stuck to my double star list.

 

Scope: 92mm f/6.65 refractor
Mount: Rowan AZ100 with motors
Eyepieces: 10mm Delos, 6mm Delos, 4.5mm Delos; Swarovski W Zoom (9.2-18.4mm) w/ APM 1.8x barlow
Books/Charts: SkySafari 5, Cambridge Double Star Atlas
Observing Site: Midland, Michigan
Transparency: Average; Seeing: Above Average

 

After aligning on Sirius and Regulus, I moved to my first target star, Castor.  The split between A and B was easy at 136x, but C was washed out by the moon and I can't be sure I saw it (a repeating theme tonight).  Next, I moved to Beta Monocerotis, which was easily split into its three components at 136x.  All three components had a similar white color with little or no hue to my eye.  Epsilon Monocerotis was next, and its components were easily split (12.3") with a noticeable difference in brightness between the magnitude 4.39 primary and 6.72 secondary.

 

I next moved to Sirius, which had moved west of my neighbor's roof and was in as good of position as it gets from my house.  I threw all the magnification I could at it (4.5mm Delos, plus APM/TMB 1.8x barlow for ~245x) and watched intently for ten minutes.  Occasionally I thought I saw something where the Pup should be, but I can't be 100% sure I saw it.  Mu Canis Majoris was elongated at 136x.

 

While I was in the neighborhood, I quickly looked at a couple of open clusters to gage whether they would be viable targets.  NGC 2353 was unimpressive, with only the few brightest stars showing.  M50 was likewise lackluster with maybe 20 stars showing through the bright background at roughly 60x.  

 

Getting back to doubles, I moved over to STF 1126, which shares a low power field of view with Procyon.  This object was too close to split in the Stowaway with a separation of only 0.9", but there was some elongation at 136x.  STF 1095 in Canis Major was an easy split at 61x (10.3"), but faint with both components being around 8 or 9th magnitude.  STF 1103 in Canis Minor was another pretty split at 3.9".  This looked best in the Swarovski Zoom with the 1.8x barlow attached for roughly 125x.  Wasat in Gemini (5.3") was split in the same eyepiece with the magnitude 3.5 primary nearly washing out the 8.2 magnitude secondary.

 

I was starting to get cold at this point, so I moved east to two finish with two more showpiece doubles.  Tegmine in Cancer (5.9") was an easy split in the zoom with the secondary appearing to be slightly more yellow than the primary.  Epsilon Hydrae (2.9") was another pretty split with the components clearly separate at 245x.  While in the area I also stopped briefly at M48 and M67, but there was far too much light from the moon to make either interesting.  

 

February observing sessions are usually rare for me, but this is the fourth one this month with almost a week to go.  That is almost a record!    

I'm trying to think of some way to describe this winter and failing miserably.   Warmer and cloudier overall. 

 

Yet lately, some opportunity I have been unable to take advantage of.  Not to mention I didn't see this morning coming and could have set the alarm.   Wow. 

 

Glad you caught some better air.


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#1439 weis14

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Posted 24 February 2024 - 03:50 PM

I'm trying to think of some way to describe this winter and failing miserably.   Warmer and cloudier overall. 

 

Yet lately, some opportunity I have been unable to take advantage of.  Not to mention I didn't see this morning coming and could have set the alarm.   Wow. 

 

Glad you caught some better air.

It is definitely warmer than most and I think some of the weirdness might be due to less ice cover and/or warmer water on the Great Lakes.  We have had a lot of nights this winter when there is a dense cloud band visible to the northwest that just sits there, with everything above 20 degrees elevation being fairly clear.  Looking at various weather apps, many of the nights that I've observed from home would have been cloudy just 25 miles away.  

 

I should have got up this morning too, but I was up with sick kids later than normal.  


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#1440 desertstars

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Posted 24 February 2024 - 06:08 PM

A clear night with better than average seeing conditions, and comfortable temperatures into the bargain. Not a night to resist the urge to indulge in eyepiece time. Except, of course, for the fact that it was less than a day from Full Moon. In this case, however, that was to my advantage. I've been hoping for a clear calm night with a Full Moon, hoping to try something out. In Garfinkle's Luna Cognita there is a mention of using a #47 violet filter to cut the glare and bring out details in lunar rays. I finally had a chance to test this last night.

 

It worked very well, as a matter of fact. Tycho was my main target, and at 125x with the #47 filter showed texture and detail in the rays that I've never seen before. The systems around Copernicus and Kepler were equally impressive. The so-called Bessel ray was brought out clearly, as was the broad, almost flat pair of bright rays from Proclus. The twin rays shooting west from Messier A were easily seen.

 

There was a lot more detail to be seen - the rays from Menelaus are visible only on the side away from Mare Serenitatis - but the charts I currently own don't really do justice to ray systems. Need to see if I can track something of the sort down and repeat these observations. Seeing familiar sights in a new way is always rewarding.


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#1441 weis14

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Posted 24 February 2024 - 06:19 PM

A clear night with better than average seeing conditions, and comfortable temperatures into the bargain. Not a night to resist the urge to indulge in eyepiece time. Except, of course, for the fact that it was less than a day from Full Moon. In this case, however, that was to my advantage. I've been hoping for a clear calm night with a Full Moon, hoping to try something out. In Garfinkle's Luna Cognita there is a mention of using a #47 violet filter to cut the glare and bring out details in lunar rays. I finally had a chance to test this last night.

 

It worked very well, as a matter of fact. Tycho was my main target, and at 125x with the #47 filter showed texture and detail in the rays that I've never seen before. The systems around Copernicus and Kepler were equally impressive. The so-called Bessel ray was brought out clearly, as was the broad, almost flat pair of bright rays from Proclus. The twin rays shooting west from Messier A were easily seen.

 

There was a lot more detail to be seen - the rays from Menelaus are visible only on the side away from Mare Serenitatis - but the charts I currently own don't really do justice to ray systems. Need to see if I can track something of the sort down and repeat these observations. Seeing familiar sights in a new way is always rewarding.

Sounds like an excellent observation and interesting technique for me to try.  I really need to get a set of colored filters.  I only have UHC and neutral density.



#1442 mikemarotta

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Posted 25 February 2024 - 06:21 PM

Thanks, Will.

Mike, check out that bright mag 3 star near M79. It’s a nice triple, H3752.

 

I’ve looked a M 79 a few times this winter. It’s very far south for me, so mostly a glow with a few stars in averted vision.

 

It looks about the same to me from my urban skies: I can identify it as a globular cluster, but not much more. I did see the "double" star in the Sky & Telescope Pocket Atlas (circle bisected) but never found that while scanning near M79. I noted the stars given by Sue French, but not H3752. (Googling now, it is often cited as a double.)

 

h3752 (AB pair — 5.4 + 6.6, 3.5″, 91° and AC pair — 5.4 + 9.3, 60″, 104°): A gorgeous triple star discovered by John Herschel located a little more than ½° southwest of the globular cluster M79. John got the small "h," while doubles found by his father, William, bear a capital "H."

At low magnification you'll first notice the widely separated primary and tertiary, but crank up the power to 150× and the primary star undergoes celestial mitosis to become a beautiful, close pair. The brightest of the three appears pale yellow, the others colorless to my eye.

https://skyandtelesc...lepus-the-hare/

 

 

Anyway, I will look for it tonight (or the next best time - star party this coming weekend).

 

11 February 2024 1930 Hours

Sketched Lambda Orionis region. 102 arc mins with Meade 5000 14 mm and ES 102 f/6.47

Meissa Lambda Orionis.jpg

 

24 February 2024 

Jupiter

Messier 42 

Messier 41

Messier 44 - no joy; too early and Full Moon rising.

Castor - sketched PA.

 

Thanks,

Mike M.


Edited by mikemarotta, 26 February 2024 - 06:31 AM.

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#1443 Jehujones

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Posted 25 February 2024 - 10:48 PM

Thanks, Will.

 

It looks about the same to me from my urban skies: I can identify it as a globular cluster, but not much more. I did see the "double" star in the Sky & Telescope Pocket Atlas (circle bisected) but never found while scanning near M79. I noted the stars given by Sue French, but not H3752. (Googling now, it is often cited as a double.

 

Anyway, I will look for it tonight (or the next best time - star party this coming weekend).

 

11 February 2024 1930 Hours

Sketched Lambda Orionis region. 102 arc mins with Meade 5000 14 mm and ES 102 f/6.47

attachicon.gif Meissa Lambda Orionis.jpg

 

24 February 2024 

Jupiter

Messier 42 

Messier 41

Messier 44 - no joy; too early and Full Moon rising.

Castor - sketched PA.

 

Thanks,

Mike M.

Good sketch Mike waytogo.gif



#1444 Jehujones

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Posted 25 February 2024 - 10:50 PM

Feb 24, 6:40-7:45pm (local)
SQM 18.36-18.40 (7pm)
127mm F12.1 Maksutov-Cassegrain
EQ3 mount-RA Drive

Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks

 

Easily found about halfway between Beta Pegasi and Lambda Andromedae, large, round. fairly bright.

No visible tail. Stellar nucleus with averted vision.
Best views were using a 29mm 74° Modified Erfle at 52x.
The comet was initially found using a 31.5mm Speers-Waler.
Using a 18mm ES 82° did not reveal any detail.

The aperture could not support the 11mm ES 82°.

Movement among the background was negligible.

 

 

12P_PB.png


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#1445 weis14

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Posted 25 February 2024 - 11:19 PM

Feb 24, 6:40-7:45pm (local)
SQM 18.36-18.40 (7pm)
127mm F12.1 Maksutov-Cassegrain
EQ3 mount-RA Drive

Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks

 

Easily found about halfway between Beta Pegasi and Lambda Andromedae, large, round. fairly bright.

No visible tail. Stellar nucleus with averted vision.
Best views were using a 29mm 74° Modified Erfle at 52x.
The comet was initially found using a 31.5mm Speers-Waler.
Using a 18mm ES 82° did not reveal any detail.

The aperture could not support the 11mm ES 82°.

Movement among the background was negligible.

 

 

attachicon.gif 12P_PB.png

I like the sketch, how did you make it?  Did you draw it on a phone or tablet in the field or was it hand drawn and processed afterwards?


Edited by weis14, 25 February 2024 - 11:19 PM.

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#1446 Jehujones

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Posted 26 February 2024 - 09:12 AM

I like the sketch, how did you make it?  Did you draw it on a phone or tablet in the field or was it hand drawn and processed afterwards?

Are you kidding? that would require talent that I don't have.

No, nothing as grand as that.

After I came back inside, I looked up the position of the comet on TheSkyLive.com using their Live Position Tracker.

Then I plotted the position in Stellarium, set the limiting magnitude to 10 and clicked on the appropriate eyepiece view.

Oh, first I positioned the sky to match the visible sky.

The eyepiece view for that telescope is set to flip the image.

After I took the screenshot I simply used a basic Paint3D to create the comet with brush tools until it appeared about the size I remembered.

That sure sounds like more work when I write it out but it wasn't really much effort at all.


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#1447 Jehujones

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Posted 26 February 2024 - 09:19 AM

BTW... I've never spent any time trying to estimate magnitudes so that's why that info is missing.

I will say that it was substantially brighter than M77 which was my next target after the comet left my sight.

M77 was barely detectable and if I didn't have years of experience with galaxies, I would not have picked it out.

The comet was more than obvious, but by no means would I say it was striking.

I'm sure my wife would have looked at it and said "That's nice" and walked away...lol.


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#1448 mikemarotta

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Posted 26 February 2024 - 08:27 PM

BTW... I've never spent any time trying to estimate magnitudes so that's why that info is missing.

 

I have the same failing. I am sure that many of the longtime observers here are much better at it, intuitive even. I did find helpful Sue French's description of two 9th magnitude stars on either side of Messier 79. That's about my actual limit. (Theoretically, it is 12.5.) Like Sirius is 1; Arcturus is 1; Antares is 1...  Everything else is 4. If you can't see it is below 6. I mean, not to be a total idiot, but with the city sky being what it is, standards are hard to come by.

 

Tony Flanders has a recent article in Observing about his Naked Eye Sky.

https://www.cloudyni...aked-eye-stars/

I printed it out. I only have not memorized its lessons.

 

Thanks,

Mike M.


Edited by mikemarotta, 26 February 2024 - 08:30 PM.

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#1449 Nankins

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Posted 27 February 2024 - 08:03 AM

I decided to go out yesterday evening despite the wind and the partly cloudy conditions, just because I got the itch and also the temperature was really warm for February (60s). Jupiter was the first target. During twilight, I could see three Galilean moons (Callisto was so far out in it's orbit that I thought it was an unrelated star until later when I looked at Stellarium and it was labeled). The GRS was also visible much of the time. In twilight it was pretty faint and hard to see, but in later observations it was easy to see and nicely set in the center. The Equatorial bands were nicely dark colored and mottled in appearance.

I tried for Rigel, and was able to easily see the faint B star just arcseconds above the bright A star. Then I tried for Muliephain (Beta Aurigae), which I probably split however I struggled to find which star was the B star... So on to M42, which suffered greatly from the increasing clouds and wind, and M81/82, which were still low but high enough to view. I was able to fit them in the same FOV in the 18 mm. Back to Orion, and I tried for NGC 1999, which was easy to see as a relatively faint circular reflection around a star south of Orion's sword. The rest of the session was pretty much spent trying to get Iphone images of Jupiter, some bright stars, M42, and the Hyades.
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#1450 Nankins

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Posted 27 February 2024 - 08:54 PM

Wind and some clouds tonight but the temperatures are still nice so I pulled the scope out for an hour. Looked at Jupiter and it was sort of boiling, so I didn't look very long. No GRS tonight. Two moons to the left and two to the right, I couldn't ID them.

My target tonight was R Leporis, and after failing first and then having to wait for a cloud to clear from the area, I managed to find it. Of course while I was waiting I went and looked at the double cluster for a second, M41, M31, M32, and M110 (which was incredibly visible in the windy twilight!). Once the cloud had completely cleared, I went back to the area. After using the finder scope and the 30 mm eyepiece I got to the right spot and didn't see it. Panned around a bit, and finally I see a rather faint but quite red star. I enjoyed the view for a moment, then switched to the Barlowed 18 mm. Better view, once I found the star again. It was a nice deep red star. Despite the wobbles from the wind, it was actually rather nice.
From R Leporis I moved on to Orion's Sword. I just wanted to bask in the glory of M42 for a bit, but had a hard time getting there (try doing it in an 18 mm eyepiece with a Barlow lense). Got it in the finder scope and then in the eyepiece. The main Trapezium stars embedded in the core looked stunning, and M43 and the Fish's Mouth were prominent. Some outer nebulosity was also visible. I panned down to NGC 1999, which again looked like a faint round circular smudge around its star. I figured that with tr way things looked I would attempt NGC 2024 next to Alnitak. Went there, and with a little bit of scope wiggiling, amazingly, NGC 2024 was visible despite the windy conditions! And not just a super faint smudge either. I could see without a filter the shape and the main dark trunk. Used the Barlowed 18 mm. This greatly encouraged me that I might manage to get the Horsehead Nebula. So I consulted my Uranometria so I could see at what angle the Horsehead sits from the Flame Nebula. Following the star chart, I actually managed to get to the right area. I couldn't believe it when I realized the circular fuzzy around a star was NGC 2023 and not atmosphere conditions. This was a first for me, so I knew the Horsehead may be in reach. For the first I know of, I did have it in the FOV because I was able to get to the right spot. And honestly, I am VERY sure that twice I got a super faint glimpse of the emission nebula (I sort of barely detected a line where the sky got a little lighter). And once I did think I saw something very briefly where the Horsehead should be.

I think this was possible due to the bad atmosphere conditions being lower atmosphere only. Sirius and other bright stars were not twinkling badly.
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