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Everything posted by huesmapl

  1. Thanks Brian, It is my third or fourth go at sketching. I've been meaning to do it for some time. From the results of other that I've seen I really need to work on technique. But last night was one of thos magical moment s and had to record it in some wat. The sky is not so great here but once in a while we get a good night. This happens especially in the Spring and fall when the weather becomes cool. On the minus side it is cold but on the plus side there are no mosquitos. I know now I can see Beta Monoceros visually quite easily and that is about magnitude 5 low in the sky(that is a crude estimate but one I can think of now> But it is nowhere near what is possibly in the southwest or even some areas within about a 2 hour driving distance from here. It must be great where you live.
  2. Last Night the Temperature dropped into the 20s for a second night (Cold for you Florida Snowbirds, Warm for my Windy city former neighbors) here in DE. It was very clear though although seeing was about a III-IV out of V. I set up with my C8/Vixen 70S combo. Early evening I viewed M34, Triangulm 6, Almach, NGC 752 and M38 as AUriga was rising above the trees (ca 21:30). Then went back out after midnight and checked out Beta Monoceros. The C8 was having trouble with steady resolution and the same was true with Jupiter both at 180X(11mm Nagler) with a 15mm Panoptic the view steadied and had moments of very good resolution of surface details. Then went back to the 70S at 3.7deg 13X(32mm Plossl) and noticed a familiar U shaped asterism that I had seen close to NGC2392(Eskimo Nebula) a year ago and sure enough looking a little closer I could see it in the same view. So in spite of the cold I had to try a sketch which is attached. The view with the C8 and an 11mm Nagler was also fantastic as the seeing seemed to steady. Jupiter is in the upper right hand corner and NGC2392 is at the center. After packing up and studying my sketch I realized I should have tried a 2 deg field which still should have included Jupiter and the Nebula. I'll check again with the next clear night/probably after Thanksgiving."
  3. MIke, (Sorry for the late follow-up again) Thanks for that data and the original photos that made me look closer! full moon is coming on as well as the Holidays ... hope to get out again and make a better sketch in a couple weeks. Regards, Pete
  4. My Skytools 3 software lists it as a triple with the C component separation as 28.2 arc sec and magnitude 11.59. The software only indicates easy detectability for my C8 and greater aperture. I should make better use of that software. Here is a simple sketch (reverse image since I was using a diagonal). I am just starting out sketching so please for give some mis-alignments and lack of directional information.
  5. Mike, A bit of a late response. Thanks for listing those pics. I had actually observed M103 the night before with my 102mm refractor so I was looking with Google for other observations to make sure I identified Struve 131 correctly. The CDTA does list this as a double star at 7.3 and 9.9 magnitude and 14 arc sec separation. When I saw your post I was puzzled so waitied for the next good night and tried again. Again visually I could not see the third star as in your photo. So I switched to my C8 and could then faintly make out the third star. A few nights later I tried with my C9.25 and it was more obvious. With averted vision it started to pop out like in your photo. I guess this indicates the visibility limitations in my sky here south of Philadelphia. Is that third star an actual companion? May be those making the CDSA had the same magnitude limitations ... hard to believe. Thanks for posting that photo Mike. Pete
  6. Would really have liked to have seen this. We cannot access this content here in the states. Eventually am able to watch episodes of S@N and just finished watching the December "Mercury and the Moon" episode. Sir Patrick Moore looked much more energized than in the previous several episodes I have seen. I liked especially when he said he was sceptical about the presence of water on Mercury and would believe it until he had a glass of water in hand from there.
  7. KevUU, I am not sure how the used equipment market is in the UK but here in the states I've gone to obtaining most Astro-Items used. At first, when I became more serious about Amateur Astronomy I bought a GOTO Meade LX90 8" but found I preferred a manual or RA driven setup and a star hopping mode of viewing. So the following are just based on my personal preferences but may be similar to yours right now. I have found for manual observation with a longer focal length telescope I prefer a GEM mount since once you have the mount polar aligned and the object in sight, you can just track manually, or with a simple RA drive, by moving the RA control. I bought used both a C9.25 and C8 and eventually sold the C8 which I now regret as I get older because the C8 is considerably lighter and easier to set up with a lighter mount. For a mount I prefer and use a second hand Vixen GP(Great Polaris) mount with a single MT1 RA drive and SD-1 controller. You can get these with a simple clutch that allows you to switch between manual and tracking mode. With the narrower FOV(Field of View) that you have with a C8 versus your 80mm scope(Great scope) I think you will want to have the motor for tracking eventually. The older Vixen mounts are great (the SP Super Polaris or the GP), and here in the states you can often find them for $250 to $400 dollars used. Note: For quick setups I also use a manual Alt Az Mount and for my C9.25 I use a GEM mount made by Losmandy (G-11) which hs a great push-to clutch mechanism (But this would cost 3 to 4X a GP mount and is not required for a C8. If you had and wanted to spend more a lighter version of the G11 is the Losmandy G-8) A used C8 can be found for $300 and up here depending on the vintage. I prefer the ones made in the mid to late 90s. You will want a flexible dew shield and as mentioned you will want Eyepieces in the 15mm to 32mm range which are also fine for wider field of views with your 80mm scope. One thing to consider ahead of time is the time you plan to spend during a night of viewing and your climate. The 8" SCT requires more time to cool down to get a stable view and the amount of time required increases with aperture. If you want to be set up quickly and view for just one to two hour periods at a time, for example, you might prefer an 100 to 125 mm refractor in the f/8 to f/10 focal ratio range(my preference now). The targets I find where a larger aperture SCT or reflector is preferred are faint Nebulas and Globular star clusters. If you want to check out the extensive arguments between refractor, reflector and SCT enthusiasts check out the equipment forums on www.cloudynights.com, It can be informative and also amusing. The C8 is a great scope and personally I am working slowly to reduce my equipment down to a 90 to 100mm refractor and an 8"/200mm SCT (most likely a C8) as I approach retirement. I still use my 8" LX90 occasionally. The best thing to do at his point would be to become more involved in your local astronomy club and check out other equipment in person. I wish I had done this earlier and it would have saved me time and money. Regards, Pete
  8. Do you have access to StellarVue in the "HighLands"? They make a nice series of finder mounts(and finders). Recently I bought a used "Baader MQRF IV Finder Bracket" and it is the best bracket I've seen. You would need to change the foot however, but the foot that came with mine looks fairly unversal. Regards, Pete
  9. Rory, Still on a steep learning curve here in Delaware. Saw this great report. I'll look for these NGC targets next time out. On the 14th/00:30 I did get my quick setup(90mm f9, alt-az manual mount) out since it was a work night but the sky was brilliant. Just tried to catch a couple basic double stars on my list starting with 118 Tauri (mag 5.8, 6.2, sep 4.8 sec). From my Notes: Started from zeta ζ-Tauri passing M1 ( I had the hardest time for a long time finding it but now I find it almost without trying: I see it as a pink smudge) to 121 Tauri and then within 5 deg to 118 Tauri along an arc of 4 stars. Saw the Primary as white and the companion as gray to bluish-green. The split was obvious from 65x to 166x but looked best at 116X (7mm UO Ortho). Next looked for Chi χ-Tauri and started from Epsilon ε-Tauri to the group K1,K2,ν,72-Tauri to 62 Tauri and then Chi χ-Tauri: Overall about a 7 deg Hop I think. This is a 5.5, 7.6 mag pair with reported 19.4" separation; A very beautiful Yellow Primary and red companion as seen with 12.5 and 7mm (65 and 116X) Ortho lenses. So much to see in Taurus that I've overlooked for so long. Regards, Pete Wilmington, DE US
  10. After obvious objects in our solar system (the Moon, Saturn and Jupiter), then M42 and M57. For Deep Sky objects it is best to have additional information to impress: light years away, something about the actual size(compared to our solar system) ... facts that I usually do not have at hand! Sometimes double stars such as the double double or Alberio I find get a very positive reaction. Like the stated above, a large aperature is best for globulars.
  11. I have an LX90 GPS for about 8 years. I still use it once in a while when I need GOTO features. I only do visual observing myself. For AP I would go another route. The clearance of the visual back at zenith is very tight and I had to get a TV shorty 2" 90 deg diagonal and adapter for 2" lenses. So any extensive set ups for AP would not be viable aproaching Zenith. The Optics are fine however and when/if the drives die I will de-mount it and use it on my GM-8 mount.
  12. " Baseball fan?" Dana Twins and Phillies? I have some family in Minnesota and they are Twins fans of course ... I live near Philadelphia so I am gradually converting from a Yankee fan to a Philli Fanatic ... We go to about 6 Phillies games a year. Regards, Pete
  13. I am embarassed to say M33. I have tried star hopping from Triangulum and I am sure I am at the correct location. More recently used the GOTO on my LX90 after slewing to other targets to verify the set-up ... there I thought I moght be seeing it but cold not be definite. I have not tried at one of our semi-dark sky locations in the area. It is a binocular target I think both in Sir Moore's Winter Marathon and a past issue of "Sky and Telescope" ... Argh. I had some trouble with M1 as well for a long time but now have no trouble getting there from zeta Taurus ... although I just can see a pink smudge. I think the problem here and M33 is having the beautiful Hubble and other images imprinted on my brain.
  14. Thanks again for all the welcomes. Jake - Regarding "Sandy" we were pretty lucky and the worst part of the storm passed to the North through New Jersey. James - Yes, retiremeant is still a bit of a dream for myself as well but it is one of those double edge swords ... more time to star-watch and other favortie endeavors but also closer to the final act. Sim - I will check into that Sky at Night subscription ... although I may be asked by my better half why I need another supscription after "Astronomy" and "Sky and Tesescope". Matthew ... were you there when Sir Patrick and the Sky at Night team visited the Baker Street Irregulars in London or the more recent episode (I think September) at their star party in the country side? CLouds here tonight following a week-end of glorius clear nights ... time for bed. Regards, Pete
  15. OK, I am impressed! Nice to see so many "welcomes" ... and really great to see the multi-nationality. As a Chemist for a "Major Science Company" I've had the opportunity to travel quite a bit but mostly before I became more involved in Amateur Astronomy. I've traveled quite a bit to Japan, China, Korea, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Brazil, Argentina, Italy, Belgium and England. Now it is great to see this forum so internationally entrenched. So, from England, are there any Baker Street Irregulars on the Forum? A colleague turned me on to "The Sky at Night" and Sir Patrick Moore. We don't get the show directly in the US as far as I can tell (I keep searching PBS) and we cannot download the viseo from the web site. I can get find a copy of a show here and there on the Web but would rather subscribe direct. If anyone has info on this great! Well, "Hi ho, Hi ho, I Owe, I Owe so its off to work I go" ... Regards, Pete
  16. Came by this forum Sunday while looking for some basic information on element configuration in Eyepieces and decided to join. I am strictly a simple visual observer and while I have acquired a couple SCT's and too many refractors, I mainly observe with an older FS-102 on a GM-8. When time allows I'll set up a C9.25 or Old AP 5" Superplanetary. I try to make star gatherings at local Dark Sky sites with friends but due to a fairly busy work schedule (Good to have work here these days although I am closing in on retirment quickly) I mainly observe from my Patio. The light polution from my Patio is typical and mainly view South to Zenith but still manage to have some really good nights. I like finding all objects but currently working through double star lists (Astronomy League's list of Double Stars). I look forward to participation in this forum. Regards, Pete
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