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Everything posted by AndyWB

  1. I made it out for a look at the Moon, Jupiter and Saturn last night. It's my first time out with a scope in ages, though only with the 80mm. Jupiter was so clear! The Great Red Spot was right in the middle, and so obvious. It seems it's colour has returned a bit, and it's a bit more clearly separated from the SEB? There were also two dark festoons in the NEB just above it. It was a fantastic sight. The temperate belts I couldn't see at all, so I guess they're pale/narrow/missing at the moment. Also had my first look at Saturn in a while as it scudded between tree-tops. Lovely. And I had a wee gander at the Ring Nebula, which was visible and ring-like in AV, but that just showed how bright the sky still was.
  2. Hi Kevin, only just saw this - I've not been on SGL for a while (house move and other things) I've been bothered by the police a few times. Well, I say bothered - the first time they were looking for someone and wondered if I was them, until they saw the 10" dob I'd hauled out the back of my flats. Then they were mostly interested in what I was looking at (a very dim Leo triplet - too much LP). I think they might've thought I was smoking pot too, but realised that it was my reading torch. Another time I was out in the wilds for a big night out, and I was just packing up when a police 4x4 came up the track. They started with "What're you doing here?", and wound up asking "So, you could get a decent manual scope for a few hundred quid? Might have to tell the wife", and suggesting other dark locations to try. Couldn't have been nicer. Neither pair of them took my details, though. You must look like a scoundrel!
  3. Messier 83 was the hardest for me. It just doesn't seem to get above the murk. Messiers 69 and 70 probably should've been hardest, but I got a lucky clear sky and found them both. I also tend to trawl round Sagittarius a lot during the summer. Messier 68 was my last. It seemed to take lots of planning, and I didn't get lucky with a crystal-clear atmosphere. When I did find it, it was pretty clear, though. M74 wasn't too bad, under a dark sky.
  4. FWIW, I found that a larger aperture's better resolution surprised me on globular clusters - I didn't expect them to change so much between 5" and 10", and there are a fair number that are visible even in my light polluted skies, so that might still be a positive to larger apertures still. However, galaxies are mostly rubbish in town - it's better to drive somewhere dark. My 5" scope somewhere dark beats my 10" in town.
  5. FWIW, I'd suggest an 8" or 10" - though for the Great Red Spot, well, I find my 80mm refractor (3 and a smidgen inch) shows it quite well. I think there was a thread on here where we worked out that 6" is the minimum to resolve the Cassini division in Saturn's rings - though you might perceive it with a slightly smaller scope. I've felt like I could see it in my 5". The reason I'd suggest the 8", though, is for globular clusters. At that kind of size, some of them will start to resolve. When I moved from a 5" to a 10" scope, I didn't expect that - but suddenly globular clusters were so much more exciting. Previously, mostly, they'd been just fuzzy - now they were sometimes great balls of stars.
  6. The bigger aperture of the 150 should also have a better resolution - a Dawes limit of 0.77 arcsec for the 150mm, rather than 0.97 arcsec for the 120mm. I've attached example fields of view, 25mm eyepiece, looking at M45 (From astronomy.tools ). There's not a huge difference. I'd choose the 150 for visual. f/6 isn't THAT fast. Better resolution, better light gathering. .
  7. For what it's worth, I have found M79 from Berkshire with a 5" scope - but it was low, and needed quite a clear night. It did take a few attempts.
  8. Hmm. To me it looked closer to the core than the sketch, but I was at x40, so that might match. Certainly, the angle relative to the long axis of the galaxy looks about right. So maybe!
  9. I was looking at the galaxy NGC2903 in Leo last week, and I found that it looked like it had two bright patches in it - the core, and one away from the core, but still kind of within the fuzz of the galaxy. Looking at Skysafari, I can see there is another NGC within the galaxy shown - NGC 2905. It is, apparently, a bright star cloud within the galaxy. Does anyone know if this is actually visible in a 10" scope?
  10. Was the satellite bright? It wouldn't have been a reflection in the eyepiece? I've had that happen with a bright satellite.
  11. Sagittarius. "...not because they are easy, but because they are hard..." It's much richer than Orion, though hard due to it's altitude. It's worth the effort, though. A summer evening trawling through these low gems - fantastic.
  12. FWIW, with my SW 130p (the 650mm focal length one - I think there's another one?), I can normally only see the two main bands, and sometimes hints of the temperate belts - but it takes time, patience, and a cooled scope. Usually I'd be using a 5mm BST Starguider as the eyepiece. However, much depends on the conditions. Sometimes, that 5mm is just too much magnification. Then at other times... well, I did one remarkable night use a 4mm eyepiece, and have a fairly sharp view of Jupiter, with the Great Red Spot coming around. That was a rare night, though. I also find that, for some reason, Jupiter seems to look good through a slightly hazy air. If conditions are a bit hazy I think maybe the air is more stable? I'm not sure, but I've read others make the same observation. Personally, I don't get on well with Barlows. I'm sure good ones do their job with little fuss - but I'm just not willing to fork out for a good Barlow. Poor ones can degrade the view. Using my 10" scope on Jupiter, though, can be a revelation. On a night of bad seeing, it doesn't really help all that much. On a night of good seeing, though, I can watch Ganymede pass in front of the planet. I can see shadow transits, and the Great Red Spot is easy. Multiple bands are visible, with details on the equatorial bands. It's resolution just knocks spots off the 130p. And I don't think I've had a magnificent night with it, yet. What I would say is that night shows Jupiter at that kind of size. It's still small, but smaller and with detail is better, I think. Normally, I use magnifications of x130 in the 130p, and x200 (if the night will support it) in the 250px.
  13. Hmm. Feb 2013 - Heritage 130p Oct 2013 - Skywatcher 250px Jan 2014 - Lunt 35 April 2105 - Equinox 80 And I still have all of them. Suddenly I feel hard done by.
  14. To be honest, I don't bother with a find on my little refractor; with a low power eyepiece it has such a wide field of view I don't think that it need a finder scope, not when I'm using the Rigel Quickfinder too. It's a nice looking setup.
  15. Ghost of Jupiter Nebula? Messier 46, and the planetary nebula NGC2438 within it?
  16. Off topic, but out of interest, is the 31 aspheric roughly parfocal with the rest of the Hyperions?
  17. I also found that an 8mm EP showed E and F when a 5mm didn't - this was in my 250px, so at x150.
  18. Yup, I managed it in my 10" dob last year - 28mm Maxvision and an Astronomik O-III filter. I found it bigger than the field of view, and that I first spotted it by 'scanning' over where it should be. You could see the stars background get brighter, then dimmer, with a slightly darker patch in the middle. I tried again a few days later and it was much more obvious - and a few days after that I couldn't see it at all. As noted, it needs a good clear sky (which there has been a shortage of around here for the last few months...)
  19. Nope, I doubt it will fit in a suitcase. It's still 5" across, and the base is bigger, and an awkward shape. If suitcase size scopes is what you're after, I'd consider an 80mm refractor, and a tripod. A good strong camera tripod might do. That said, it is a fairly dinky scope - it doesn't take up my entire car like the 10" dob does.
  20. Try increasing magnification, if you can - that will also make the image dimmer, which might help.
  21. Shane gave me that advice a couple of years back, and I found that I couldn't see E or F with a 5mm BST (in my 1200mm focal length 250px), but with an 8mm they popped right out. Less is more, I guess.
  22. I find that my Heritage 130p never reallly needs collimation - it seems to hold very well. I mean, I don't exactly take it running with me or anything, but I've not needed to in ages. It's one advantage of smaller mirrors. I would say that the step up between 6" and 8" does have a marked changed beyond just 'more light'. The larger scope also has a better resolution, and this becomes apparent with Globular Clusters. In short, in a 6" scope most of them are still "fuzzy, but on the edge of resolving", but an 8" scope shows them more as "a dense ball of individual stars". That said, the 8" is much bigger, and at nearly the same size you can get a 10". I'd suggest that the 6" is a better idea to start with. Jupiter's moons will be visible, and on good nights so will shadow transits on the surface of Jupiter - but they'll be as little points, not discs. Jupiter should show nicely, with the main bands being evident (the number varying with conditions), and the Great Red Spot being visible too (though it's not as obvious, or as red, as you might thing).
  23. I think you mean this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_TC3
  24. I went to a very interesting talk by a chap whose subject was asteroid detection. This is what I took away: He made the point that all the really big asteroids - the things that could wipe out civilisation - have almost certainly all been detected. There's seems to be broad consensus on that. However, there are a lot of smaller asteroids - the sort of stuff that could destroy a city - that haven't been detected yet. The mission now is to try to find increasingly small asteroids, and plot their orbits. And the thing that gave him pause were comets. Unlike asteroids the can come barreling in from who knows where, and can be big and fast enough to do serious damage. To be honest, I found it rather reassuring, rather than alarming. His view was that yes, you need to keep monitoring, but that there's no civilisation-ending threat for the foreseeable future.
  25. Yes - you can get tube rings that let you remount the OTA from your dob onto an EQ mount. I'm sure I've read about that before, here.
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