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Everything posted by Talitha

  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
  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 happe
  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
  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 m
  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.
  15. Mark, i'd been using scopes with tracking for over 10 years and was really worried about the 'nudge factor', especially for sketching. But to be perfectly honest, it's not bad at all.. even when using fairly high power (261x with the 7mm Axiom, and 366x with the 5mm Nagler). Yes, there have been times when i wished the 16" Lightbridge had tracking, but the views more than make up for the slight inconvenience. I love this scope so much, that it's been used exclusively since i bought it last July, with the exception of a 2 hour session with the 120ST last Autumn (and the only reason i did that
  16. Hi Frank, nice to meet you. Instead of sunglasses, you might want to try a variable Moon filter. Hold it up to your eye and twist the adjuster till the 'noisy' stars are blacked out.
  17. The surface brightness is quite good and i had no problem seeing it with the 120ST refractor. It's just below a magnitude 8.2 star (see attached sketch), and at low power it may appear to be stellar. Keep looking, you'll get it.
  18. Why has no one ever contacted earth? Actually, they were on their way to pay us a visit but got lost. A back-seat driver insisted they 'turn left at Orion'. (i'll get my coat....)
  19. Congratulations, that's wonderful news! Save the pics, they'll go well with the story you'll tell your lovely Daughter some day.
  20. Just tea for me, food might attract animals.
  21. Hi Starjust, the best way to gain an understanding of the lunar phases is to watch the Moon for a month. A few days after New Moon, go out at sunset and look towards the horizon where the Sun has just set. You'll see the Crescent Moon trailing a bit behind the Sun, with the sunward side illuminated. Every day, the Moon travels about 13 celestial degrees, so on the next night and every night after, you'll see that it's further and further away from the Sun, and a bit more illuminated. We call this a 'waxing' Moon. Full Moon marks the end of the first half of the Moon's monthly journey around
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