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About Talitha

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    Main Sequence
  1. Absolutely!!!! Makes no difference, as long as you get to see what you want to see.
  2. It seems we all have different AV 'sweet spots'. Objects pop in much better for me when i look to the lower right of the target. I've also noticed that our eye's natural blind spot can make things suddenly vanish in the eyepiece... now you see it, now you don't.
  3. If i wanted to merely impress someone, i'd show them Saturn. But if i wanted to lure them into becoming a eyepiece-addict, i'd definitely show them the Moon.
  4. Here's the supernova announcement from my email... sure looks hopeful. "A mag 14.5 supernova (2011by) has been found in NGC 3972 The position is about 5" east and 19" north of the galaxy's center. Spectrum indicates it is a young event. On April 27th at 5 UT it matches a previous supernova about 10 days before maximum. It's expected that the supernova will become much brighter before peaking." Great images, BTW!!
  5. Glad to be able to help. The 'odd thing' flashes that i and others have experienced seem to happen only after hours of being dark adapted. They happen with such infrequency that it's difficult to pin down any one thing that could possibly be causing them like fatigue, eye strain, etc. Small world, David... i lived in Twin Lakes (Kenosha County) for about 5 years before drifting up to Tomahawk. Speaking of mystery flashes, here's another one. Soon after i became an Amateur, i noticed the low clouds in the SW sky intermittently flickering, like a flourescent light that's old and needs to be replaced. Then a few nights later the same thing happened, but there were no clouds.. it looked like the air itself was flickering. A few nights went by without it happening, and then it happened again. This time, i got into the truck and drove around the back roads till i found out what it was... extremely bright light from welders at the gravel pit about 3 miles away. The pit is in use during the day, so the best time to service the equipment is at night.
  6. What you experienced sounds like heat lightning... it happens here occasionally in warmer weather when there's a frontal system hovering on a far horizon. As you said, the Iridium flares build and then fade, but i experienced a surprise flare a few years ago which was right overhead and it produced the same effect as heat lightning. I looked up and was able to catch the fade-out, and checked Heavens-Above the next day... IIRC it was a magnitude -5. Speaking of sky flashes... I've experienced an 'odd thing' similar to heat-lightning quite a number of times during the last decade, and it happens when it's not summer.. or even warm out. Heat lightning definitely lights up the surrounding area momentarily, but this 'odd thing' seems to be more of a 'sensation' (good word to describe the experience, btw) than an optical experience. In various forum discussions through the years, others have also said they've experienced it and someone suggested that maybe it is indeed an optical experience, but caused by something in our eyes and not something in the sky. Maybe it happens all the time but we need to be in total darkness to be aware that it's happening. I'd better go before the Men in Black bring me a tinfoil hat.
  7. I agree.. at low power The Ring is quite unimpressive and looks like a diffusely buffed star. Kick up the magnification and you'll see a ring... kick it up some more and you'll see an oval.
  8. Have you tried NGC 3242? It's the Ghost of Jupiter planetary nebula in Hydra... quite a lovely shade of blue. Although a bit low in the sky, it has a fairly good surface brightness and is quite large, too (40" compared to the Blue Snowball's 17").
  9. The only one i've seen so far was SN2011B in early February. Hopefully there will be another bright one soon.
  10. You sound just like me when i first started out. Don't be discouraged, frustration is perfectly normal for those of us who haven't had any art training. Eyepiece sketching is a skill, and it takes time to develop it, just like it took time to learn how to walk, ride a bicycle or drive a car. Take a look at my lunar sketching tutorial and use it to practice with if you'd like. (Check your PM inbox too, i'll send you an expanded version of the tutorial's text directions... hope it helps.)
  11. Nice report, i'm glad you were finally able to get an observing session in. Hubble's Variable is a little cutie pie, it looks like a miniature comet. You mentioned a hazy sky... i'm guessing it bleached out the nebula. Here's a sketch done with the 120ST (no filter). The aperture isn't much larger than what you used, but my transparency was 'average' that night. Try it again, you should be able to pull it in with the 4". From what i understand, the changes in nebulosity were discovered by Hubble when he was comparing photographic plates... i honestly don't know whether the difference can be noticed visually or not, but it's worth a try.
  12. Hi Scotty, nice to meet you. Basically i do what Steve (swamp thing) does. In addition to regular astro-notes, my logbook contains thoughts, moods, nightnightsounds like Wolves, Coyotes and Owls, and even the smell of the fog as it rolled up the hill. If you'll mainly be observing planets and the Moon, i'd recommend making sketches to supplement the text notes in your logbook. For planetary observing it's fun to make a rough sketch with some surface detail, and also mark the placement of any moons you see. Write the time of the observation, and then check Stellarium afterwards to see which moons they were. If it's a lengthy session, make a few sketches and you'll be able to track the movement of the moons. You can do something similar with observations of our own Moon. Make a very rough sketch of the entire disc, and mark the place of interesting features you see. Make side notes regarding their appearance, and then look them up later in the VMA and label them in your logbook. (The 14MB 'Expert' version at the bottom of the page is more than sufficient.)
  13. I use the smaller scopes for birdwatching... mainly Osprey, Bald Eagles, Hawks, Loons, and Great Blue Herons.
  14. Mine are M22 and M4, i'd love to get a better view of them sometime from a lower latitude. M22 is positively massive, and M4 has quite an interesting 'spindle' running through the center.
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