13/01/2022 Mooooooooon! Plus Orion and some doubles.
Bit of a delay in posting this - I'm serious considering whether or not to continue with the blog as I feel a bit conspicuous doing it!
I'm sure very few in the UK missed the clear skies over the past few days....
Got outside about 2130 - the dob had been out there a couple of hours with dust caps on cooling. It was cold and dry and still. No dew on grass or 'scope - weird.
Peeking outside just before I went out there I'd accused LSW (Long Suffering Wife) of leaving a light on somewhere - we rig the house for darkness at the back if I'm going to be observing as the kitchen and bathroom lights in particular light up the back garden like it's daylight. LSW protested her innocence - it was a VERY bright moon.
So I looked at the moon. I've never really properly looked before - I think I pointed my first telescope at it a few times but never the dob. Crikey. It moves FAST and is so bright. I didn't use a moon filter as I wanted the bright moon to stop down my eye a bit and remove astigmatism and this seemed to have worked - I ended up with VERY crisp views and noticeably dimmer vision out of the one eye afterwards! I'd checked collimation earlier and found it was bang on - as long as I put the 2 inch to 1.25 inch adapter flat in the focuser (it looked like it had moved a bit - wups!)
The conditions easily took the 10mm UFF barlowed to give 254x magnification. One crater stood out as it was near the terminator - Gassendi. I could clearly see the rilles and tiny hummocks on the crater floor and a small crater about 120 degrees from Gassendi A - according to maps it's about 2-3Km across which is amazing be able to see at something like 385000Km distance. I did have to blink a number of times to make sure it wasn't a floater.
Looking away and allowing some night vision back I was amazed how much nebulosity was visible in Orion with the moon so near by. I had a quick peek for E and F in the Trap - both visible (F intermittant) at 127x - E just visible at 70x. I'm guessing the moon was washing F out at lower mags.
I seem to be revisiting sights I first looked at when I got my first telescope! This was the star that told me I had a problem with collimation as the barlowed 10mm kit eyepiece I received with the 130ps showed a pair of seagulls rather than a double star. This time round a nice pair of almost resolved Airy disks showed at higher magnifications, but the split was obvious at 50x magnification. I wasn't aware that I may also be able to spot Castor C (I think - anyone confirm?) - something to look out for next time.
I was using Turn Left as a source of easy doubles so I picked off a few in or near Orion.
Easy split as expected at 50x. The smaller star is supposed to be clearly blue - not to my eyes - perhaps I was still a bit blind from the moon or maybe it's just my yellowed, aging eyes...
24mm didn't show the split - a barlowed 18mm did though and moments of calmness showed clear Airy disks and diffraction rings - I so very rarely see them.
Bright! Too low in the sky to even attempt a split - the star was a mess of shapes and colours under magnification - it looked like a multicoloured sparkler! I thought I saw glimpses of a dim twinkle to one side of it a few times - it turned out to be a reflection of either my pupil or retina!
Turned in at 23:15 - didn't feel like I'd actually been out more than a few minutes!
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