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Everything posted by AndyWB

  1. I think I managed to split Sirius on Friday with a Vixen SLV 6mm in my 10" dob. I say think because it wasn't as definite as, say, Rigel, but I sat and watched and every so often this little star of light appeared out of the glow of Sirius. It wasn't as dim as I thought it might be, and it wasn't visible for most of the time - but every so often it appeared. Looking at the Proper Angle afterwards, it would appear to be in the right place. I'm not sure if I should record it as split as it wasn't as definite as, say, Sarin or Beta-MON - but it was in the right place, and Friday night was the most stable sky I've had in a long time (Jupiter was crystal clear!)
  2. I was out on Friday too, and was struck by the lack of dew too. It was very squelchy underfoot, and the temperature low (but not really freezing) so I was sure after 2-3 hours my secondary would dew up - but it didn't. Despite being in town, I found myself nebula hunting with my 250px, and an OIII filter - and I got a number of new ones. An unexpected highlight was catching IC434, though it was fairly faint, and I couldn't make out the Horse Head. However, I could definitely see the edge of the nebula. M1 looked good, too; it felt like it was on the edge of given a bit of detail beyond just 'a fuzzy patch'. And toward the end of the evening, Jupiter - lovely. Like you say, dark swirls in the belts; it felt like a very stable and sharp image.
  3. I looked at this on Friday; I didn't see filaments, but I did see like a star with a brighter nebula around it, then a darker ( but not dark ) ring, and then a pale and slightly brighter outer ring. Sort of like the second of these two sketches. http://www.perezmedia.net/beltofvenus/archives/000493.html It's only the 3rd or 4th time I've looked at the Eskimo Nebula, but it was easily the most detail that I could see. This was at x200 in my 250px, using a Vixen SLV 6mm and Astronomik OIII filter. From a light polluted town centre, too.
  4. I bought SkySafari for my Mac - it was on offer. I have since removed Stellarium. I just found that Stellarium's user interface - the buttons, dialogs, etc. - were very hard to understand. SkySafari was much easier to user. For the stated purpose of displaying the night sky, though, I reckon they're pretty much equally good.
  5. I stumbled across 145 CMa - the Winter Albireo - by chance on Friday night. And it's lovely at low power. I saw it as copper/blue, and I think it is my favourite coloured winter double, so far.
  6. This is normal! I find looking at the Moon "blinds" me at night, so I always leave the Moon until the end of a session. Don't panic - you won't fry your retina (as looking at the Sun would). Yup, at higher magnification the image gets dimmer. I think of this as the light being gathered by 'scope being more spread out to give me a larger image. As John suggests, I tend to increase the magnification if the brightness is bothering me (but it doesn't, much). Regarding UHC and OIII filters and so on - note that these only help with some deep space objects. Things like emission nebulae and planetary nebulae tend to emit very specific frequencies of light. A filter like that can let through those frequencies, while rejecting other frequencies, which increases contrast. Also, those rejected frequencies may be light pollution, so it can help with seeing faint nebulae under conditions where you wouldn't see them otherwise. So I would describe it as a filter like this decreases brightness, but improves contrast, and therefore the quality of the image. However, some deep space objects do not emit specific frequencies of light. This includes stars, mainly - and therefore open clusters, globular clusters, and galaxies - and also reflection nebulae. Filters just can't really help with those. I use an Astronomik OIII filter in my 10" reflector, and while it does dim the stars quite a lot, it really does help at picking out detail in nebulae. Even so, don't expect photographic levels of detail.
  7. Actually, this thread may be relevant at the moment (similar question): http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/231736-skywatcher-heritage-130p-heavier-eyepieces/
  8. I found this on Bad Astronomy: Moon Phase and Libration 2015 And there is a 'south up' edition for those of us with reflectors. And if you click on the image it'll let you down load a hi-res TIFF file (warning- 20Mb or so) which has labelled terminator craters. Apart from the size of the TIFF file, that's a really nice tool! Kudos NASA
  9. Is this a Heritage 130p? Just it matches those numbers too, and if so, the weight of a lot of zooms might be a bit much for the plastic focusser thing. It'd be up to the likes of the Lunt 7-21 zoom eyepiece I've got (though never tried in the Heritage) - but the Hyperion Zoom is a much bigger (and better) beastie. If it's not a Heritage 130p, please ignore this post!
  10. If you've a bad back, you'll probably want a table or something to set the Heritage 130p on. I use mine sitting on the ground, and then sit next to it on a camping seat, but it does involve an amount of leaning over. Alternatively, if you have something like an AZ4 mount, it fits nicely on that. The Heritage 130p doesn't take a Telrad / Rigel / RACI though - no space to fit one - but the red dot finder is okay to use, and with a 30mm eyepiece you'll get a 2 degree field of view, so it's only about being roughly accurate... That said, I think if funds allowed it, I'd be thinking of small refractor with a diagonal on an alt-az, though.
  11. FWIW, I stumbled on this the other day - a useful search interface for the Washington Double Star Catalog: http://www.virtualcolony.com/sac/wds_search.html But mostly I use the Sissy Haas book.
  12. Okay, it might be a bit sacrilegious but I just ticked things off (and sometimes wrote my own notes) in Turn Left at Orion. But it's a big book for a kid, and maybe too hard depending of their age...
  13. I agree with Paul, a couple of cheaper-end eypieces won't go amiss, and the NPL recommendation is good. I reckon the Vixen NPL 30mm is my most used eyepiece with my 130p. I'd also recommend something like a 5mm BST Starguider. This will give you a nice 'low power/high power' range. I don't think 'buy another scope' is necessarily the only valid route to upgrade, and having bought a much bigger scope, it's worth noting that there are things the 130p can do that it can't. In particular, the field of view on the 130p can be fairly wide. The Pleiades and the Andromeda galaxy can look better in this than my 10" scope, which simply can't fit them in the field of view. The weakness of this scope (and they all have at least one!) is the focusser. Some are a bit stiff, others a bit sloppy. It's made of formed plastic, so it's all about how well they really fit. However, a bit of teflon based plumbers tape on the focusser thread seems to help them greatly (if it's a problem. Mine wasn't, but a friend's was a bit sloppy) As to the scope's capability? Well, under dark skies you should be able to see all the items on the Messier catalog; I've clocked up 70-odd objects on it with mine. Yes, bigger scopes will show you more. Yes, better eyepieces will show you more. Don't worry about that - it's an excellent scope for the price, and a good way of seeing where your astronomy interests lie. They are quite a popular scope round here. My 130p still sees more nights out than my 250px, just 'cos of it's portability.
  14. Managed a number of doubles last night. Thinking that I might start my own catalog :)

    1. ronin


      Is it to the the AWB Double Star Catalogue or just the AB Double Star Catalogue. AWB sounds better.

  15. For future information for anyone finding this, yes, split ring dew heaters are too big for 250pxs and, I suspect, 200ps also. I'm going to look into stalk heaters. I know there is a small air gap to the mirror; I may also be looking into thermal conducting paste like you put on computer CPU heat sinks...
  16. Pac-Man: Nebula! Plage Inc. Angry Bollides I'm a bit bored at work.
  17. It's possible that the adjustment screws have been too tight on the back of the secondary stalk, and left dimples in the metal. I reckon that happened to mine. You can make washers to help fix this; it seemed to help with mine. http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/223522-collimation-secondry-mirror-washers/
  18. +1 for this. I looked at Jupiter at about 10 degrees up last week, and couldn't make out any bands. Normally, when it's high, I can see bands, etc. with my 5" scope. +1 for Olly's point about seeing too - sometimes when the jetstream is overhead I can't make out any detail either.
  19. Um, yeah, pretty much that it's dewing up sometimes. Dewed up after about 2.5 hours a few weeks ago. It's not always by any means, but sometimes. And I've recently found that the travel hairdryer approach means starting my car before it supplies power to it - and starting the car generates a lot of light. If it's a lot of hassle, well, I might not do it, but I wanted to investigate.
  20. Hi, I'm thinking about trying to lay my mitts on a Kendrick split secondary heater for my 10" dob. However, I'm stuggling to figure out what size! Looking at this page - http://www.kendrickastro.com/newtonian.html#Split - it seems that none of these split secondary heaters are small enough to my secondary (though my measurements are a bit rough - I didn't take the mirror off, and the measurements were 'tricky' with it mounted). Even the smallest seems a fair bit longer than my secondary mirror. I'm figuring this must be muppetry on my part. Has anyone ever tried fitting a kendrick split heater to a 10" f4.8 skywatcher? Which heater did you use? Or does anyone happen to have the exact dimensions of such a secondary mirror? Thanks for any help, Andy
  21. M46 is worth another look - see if you can spot NGC2438, a little planetary nebula in the midst of it (Though it's actually a foreground object)
  22. Yes, storage location and portability are important things to think about. A 200p is a fairly large thing; the boss might not like it living in the corner of the living room...
  23. Well, I use a 6mm Vixen SLV as my primary planetary eyepiece in my 250px, which is the same focal length as the 200p, so I reckon having a 6mm available is good - a nice x200. In good conditions Jupiter looks lovely. So I'm going to plump for the 12mm BST. It's my favourite of the BSTs (followed by the 5mm), whereas my 8mm feels a little soft, though I know others who really rate it. And like you say, 12mm and a x2 barlow is a useful power.
  24. No kidding. I'd have been happy last night with " 2 dots - 1 dot - 2 dots ", but Jupiter was low, and I was looking over Reading, so the seeing was rubbish. Bad enough, in fact, that I didn't stick around the hour or so I reckon it'd be before I'd spot a difference. The good news is, plenty more opportunities, and Jupiter is getting higher!
  25. Hi all, I used this site ... http://www.imcce.fr/hosted_sites/saimirror/nsszph515he.htm … to generate a list of mutual events of Jupiter over the next few months. I've put all these into a spreadsheet, just in case anyone finds this useful. Excel version: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/11571964/Mutual%20Events.xls … or CSV file is attached: Mutual Events.csv
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