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Everything posted by Astroman

  1. Very sad news-I received news today that Brian Marsden, master of the shallow sky and most other things astronomic, passed away today of complications of lukemia. His knowledge, charm and wit will be sorely missed.
  2. Helen, I have used many filters in attempting this object, H-A, H-B, UHC, OIII, colored glass, aka Wratten, Johnson V, Johnson B, Johnson R and so on ad nauseum. Scopes used have been everything from my trusty C8, 10" Lourie-Houghton, (in which we were easily seeing globulars in M31), 12" Newt, 6" Takahashi, 17" F/6 Newt, on up to a 22" Dall-Kirkham, (SP?) and a 25" F/5 from the Naval Observatory outside Flagstaff, not to mention a couple other professional scopes. It's quite clear to me now that I have seen it, probably many times, but have managed to overlook it. As I describe in my re
  3. Andrew, I've heard of observations of the HH with small scopes too, but I remain somewhat skeptical of these, especially having failed myself in larger instruments. I suppose "averted imagination" plays a part. The naked eye limiting mag here at Stone Haven is ~6th magnitude. I haven't done a careful estimate through the 20" eyepiece yet. Janos, if you know what to look for, I'd imagine the HH is possible in a 16". I think Andrew got it right, though, "One of those things you see for what it is rather than what it looks like".
  4. Weather conditions were just about ideal one weekend late in Jaunuary. A cold front had passed through on Thursday with rain and high winds. Clouds were threatened for Sunday, but that was no problem as I'd intended to try again for the horsehead nebula on Friday and Saturday. Friday was great, but Saturday was better. When storm systems line up over us as they do, the time between can bring amazingly steady skies, even on the desert floor. I set up the 20" F/4.5 newt on the platform just to the south of my garage. I only had one target, so it didn't seem useful to move it all the way o
  5. When I say, "pressed", I simply mean I ask "Which direction did you move from Alnitak when you made this observation?" It's not like I interrogate them. I could believe someone could photograph this object with a 6" Newt, given an excellent mount etc, but I refuse to believe they could actually see it with one. It's flat impossible, just from a resolution aspect. A 6" is simply incapable of resolving it sufficiently for the eye to detect. Go ahead and suggest it's me, but it's not just me. Have you been observing from Arizona? Anywhere? If I can't see it through a 22" Newt with excellet optics
  6. TBH, I can't understand why you've never been able to see the Horsehead... my friend Jeremy (in Flagstaff AZ) has bagged it using a 6" Newtonian. I often hear from folks that claim to have seen the HH, (Barnard 33 and IC 434). When pressed, they almost always discover they've actually seen the Flame Nebula, (Ngc 2024). 2024 is east of Alnitak, HH is south. And it's not just me. It's the operator of the respective scope as well. We can all recognize the field stars, but none see the actual nebula. I tried it once again Saturday night with the 20". Freshly cleaned mirror, meticulously collimate
  7. There's an old saying re details on Venus: "If you think you see them, you don't". The composition of the atmosphere of Venus causes it to reflect light almost entirely in the ultraviolet. I can see, (and have) how you may think you see details, and a #47 violet filter may help, but I find it interesting that people here confirm what others may be imagining they see. I believe myself to be a very experienced and careful observer, and try as I might, I've never seen two things: the horsehead nebula and details on Venus, and I've tried through instruments ranging from small refractors to large,
  8. That's a great feeling, isn't it? I still get it every time I locate something new. If we were to observe together, you'd hear, "THERE you are!" virtually every time. Clear skies.
  9. ChrisEdu and lightbucket are correct-it would take thousands of years for the Earth to "freeze solid". The oceans would remain liquid for millions of years for reasons stated, just as Europa and Titan's oceans are believed to be liquid, even further from the Sun. Orbiting bodies do so because of their relative masses. The Sun influences the Moon's orbit about the Earth comparatively little. Currently, the Moon is moving away from us at about 2cm/yr. If "something bad" happened to the Sun, that rate may increse measurably, but not noticable. (We'd surely have bigger fish to fry!) I like to ask
  10. I think the coffee grinder noise of a slewing LX200 is rather a trademark, much like the "potato-potato-potato" rumble of a Harley Davidson motorcycle. Best of luck.
  11. Or, just sell it and buy a Celestron. There's a reason my wife calls hers "T-Rex".
  12. Just happened to observe Ngc 3628 in the 20" New Year's Eve, (actually, well into New Year's Day). Got all three in the 40mm EP, with tons of detail in M65 & 66, and a faint smudge across 3628. The 8.8mm SWA showed oodles of structure, but not the entire galaxy. The most pleasing view was in the 19mm SWA. Lovely! i like the way it's perpendicular to the nearly parallel M65 & 66. It was a great target at Grand Canyon last year, too. (The triplet, that is.)
  13. M79 is a bit smaller and denser than M56, but yes, they are fairly close in dark skies. This was one of the last Messier's I found first time through, so it can be tricky. I use the two central stars in Lepus as a guide. They point almost directly at M79, which is just about the same distance from the bottom one as the stars are from each other. Just a tad east, and there you are. In the C8, about 220x shows a nice dense core with a cloud of outlying stars. The 20" shows it resolved to the core at 350x and very complex, 3d type viewing. Go get it!
  14. Great report, Davo! Next time you're looking at Algeiba, swing straight east about 1/2 degree. There are two, very faint, interacting galaxies there. I've seen them in my C8 and now the 20". They should be pretty good in a 12". Good luck, and let us know how you do.
  15. The book I mentioned is Satellites Of The Outer Planets:Worlds In Their Own Right by David A. Rothery. ISBN 0-19-512555-X Published in 1999, it was state-of-the-art and I found it a great read.
  16. I have a good one on moons of our gas giants, but can't think of it at the moment. I'll get back to you. Wonderful discussions on differentiation and exotic ices. It's a bit old, (1999?), but most of it should still hold.
  17. My favorite EP's for the C8 are my 32mm Plossl, in which I locate just about all objects, then I move to my 18mm Celestron Ultima. "Faint fuzzies" depend on observing skills. The more you look, the more you'll see. Take some time to really look at the objects. Look for patterns or shapes in open clusters, slight variations in brightness in nebulae and galaxies, and try to slowly resolve the centers of globulars. MHO is a 2" EP is a waste of money on an 8" SCT. Given the central obstruction, you can hardly help to get severe vignetting and the shadow of the secondary being prominent. Unless you
  18. I use it all the time. In fact, it's a link in my signature.
  19. Resolving globulars is as much training the eye as it is aperture related. When I show globs, I give people the following procedure; The first thing you'll see is the globular as a fuzzy ball. Start around the edges. Look carefully and slowly until you see individual stars. Slowly move your sight toward the middle and keep looking until you see more individual stars. Do it in little steps until you reach the center and resolve individual stars. Then, back out again and you'll see the globular as a large collection of thousands of stars, rather than a single clump. It works great! I like to
  20. Here's a fun one! I'd think the gun would definitely fire in a vacuum. Your problems would not be just the reverse velocity imposed by the firing, but the rotational vectors as well. As one tends to fire a weapon closer to the top of the body than the middle, the bullet leaving the muzzle would introduce pitch, (up/down) rotation. The venting of the combustion gasses, if deflected in some direction, could introduce yaw. And finally, the spent shell ejection, (for a semi-automatic), could introduce roll. Final result-a "flat spin" in all directions which would certainly continue until acted upo
  21. Hello Joe! i live south of Phoenix, south of Maricopa. Drop me a PM and maybe we can get together. Light pollution in Phoenix is disgraceful, given the laws in place, (unenforced), and the complaints from every observatory in the state, (quite literally). My entire northern horizon, fully 120 degrees, is awash in the Phoenix light dome. Don't get me started. Welcome anyway, Joe!
  22. I managed to see it in my C8 in Arizona, but it was very small and unimpressive. Somewhat better in a 10", but not much. Haven't seen it in the 20" yet, but may next time I'm out.
  23. I just remembered mentioning the Bortle scale at a star party once. I could see people rolling their eyes in the dark. Where would that appear on the scale?
  24. I'm with those that said this is not a very good scale. My vision is simply not good enough to split even Alcor and Mizar, much less see M22 naked eye, but my skies are certainly mag. 6 or better, with the orange dome of Phoenix killing much of my northern sky. I'm with Helen on this one, rating my skies from 1 through 5. Hardly accurate.
  25. Wow, that one didn't last long. :?
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