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06/09/2021 No sleep planets session with a few diversions



Started around 2200 - proper dark at last. It was warm - shorts and t-shirt. No wind - total calm. The seeing was weird - wobbles due to the heat, but clear and transparent. Stars were points, not fuzz, but wobbled about. Larger convection cells or something?


4mm (317x) Nirvana misted up in seconds - not impressed! May have been caught by dew - grass was wet.  Put it in my pocket to warm up.  Backed off the mag and tried the zoom at 8mm (159x) but the seeing wasn't great. A band visible on the planet (looked like a cummerbund position wise!), the Cassini division (Cd) was fleeting visible, more on the RHS of the planet for some reason?  Tried 24mm UFF with the barlow (106x) and got a very sharp image - wobbly but sharp. I like the view through this combination - very crisp wide sweet spot for minimal dob nudging.  Cd was visible but the whole planet was shimmering in the heat haze.

Experimentation showed the best views were with 12mm zoom setting with barlow so 6mm (212x)  - a crisp but wobbly planet with the Cd very clear on occasion, and a band of darker tan/brown just below equator. 3 visible moons.


Kept 6mm setting and moved to Jupiter. GRS clearly visible, bands all nice and clear - seeing very good. Jupiter was just clearing fence/lattice so expecting improvement when diffraction effects subside... Noticed "double star" effect of Ganymede and Europa being very close together in view. Tried the contrast booster filter at this point - made no difference really and colour cast annoyed more than last time so removed. Decided to search out some doubles and practice star hopping while I waited for Jupiter to rise to a more useful position.

M2  Glob in Aquarius:

Hopped from Enif which was just visible in the Rigel. 24mm (53x) Just a blob. 12mm - some granularity around the outside, 6mm, diffuse core surrounded by resolved stars. Seemed to move quickly at this mag - conscious of constant nudging. M2 is enjoyable to observe - a real impression of 3d depth and the longer you look, the more you see!

2316 - bye bye Saturn - vanished over neighbours roof.

2320 Jupiter:

Seeing now good! Observing what I think are two barges on surface - one nearer the middle red/brown the other closer to the edge brown/red (dob view). Are these barges? Never had such a clear view of Jupiter so all these features are new!


4mm now warmed in pocket was OK but views best at 200x odd with barlowed zoom set to 12mm.

More star hopping - aiming for Dumbbell Nebula but got lost. Reoriented on Delta Sagittae after some moderate faffing. Nice wobbly but clear Airy yellow disk - seeing therefore pretty good!  Gave up on Dumbbell, thought I'd visit some old faves so pointed at Vega and on to the..

Double Double:

Clearly split both pairs at 8mm (159x). Just split (an honest no really, I can see a black line split) at 18mm (70x). 

Sheliak (Beta Lyrae):

White with very blue quite dim compainion. Striking contrast!

Ring Nebula. I'm sure that the centre looks blue at lower magnifications. Is that possible from a Bortle 5 sky or  is my brain filling in or the red observation light affecting my colour perception? it looked more "filled in circle" and less "ring".

Packed in at 0010 - small child ill so need rest. Check out the light pollution from London..




Awake comforting child - she has now dropped off. Nice! Saw Orion through window so snuck out with binos for a quick peek - first of the year.  All seems to be present and correct - Betelgeuse seems brighter again? Rigel still a double. M42 et al still there. Good! 



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I recall a very similar experience to yours on the same night , I too was mightily impressed with Jupiter , and Saturn for that matter and , like you i got a bit lost looking for DSO's . 

Thats the only thing i find frustrating using a large(ish) dob ... so many stars that its actually quite difficult to navigate the night sky . 

Nice report . :) 


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