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Everything posted by mapstar

  1. Nice write up Neil. Always a challenge to verify what you've seen. I like to be sure but some targets and seeing conditions make it more difficult. On a side note NGC891 is just stunning in the right skies and the 22" brings out so much detail. Impressive and one of my personal favourites.
  2. Agreed, life is too short and if you can do it why not.
  3. As Ian says it's only 10mins to wigtown Co- op and Newton Stewart has Sainsburys and an Aldi too about 20mins away. There's an undercover BBQ area at the top of the site which me and Ian have used for the last few years. Well sheltered from the prevailing south westerly breeze. Mike is always obliging with a cuppa and a chat.
  4. Three beautiful clear nights this weekend with the brightest full moon ever!!
  5. I looked out last night and the thin crescent moon was a lovely sight as it set. Dark clouds to the west over the usual viewing spot put paid to me getting out as I thought it would blow over further and ruin the clear skies I that may have been there. By 11pm it had so was a good call. Glad you got some nice views Nick. The setting crescent moon helping the contrast.
  6. Cheers guys and more to come when shifts and weather permit. I have seen the blue in it, im putting it down to the amount of moisture in the air meant the transparency suffered and why all the targets I viewed were mushy.
  7. Cheers all. It was a good starter session but Hickson 7 not sure I've viewed that Mark. Would've been behind the clump of trees and through more mist on monday so probably not observable.
  8. I'd worked the bank holiday weekend and finished at 7pm on the Monday with the temperature still in the mid 20Celsius range. The drive home in the evening sunshine persuaded me it may be a good night to take the scope out for a shake down before the nights really draw in. The moon being a waning crescent and not up while the early hours was conclusive. I had a Quick bite to eat and packed the car, my power tank unfortunately wasn't charged and looked decidedly ready for a new battery only reading 9V on the meter when I switched it on. I would have to fore go the dew heaters. The drive to the local spot by the reservoir was a quiet one and dusk had set in so by the time I arrived (just gone 9pm) I was setting up in the dark. The car park had one other car in it a guy out walking his dog who reappeared 10mins after I'd opened the boot. The scope set up was done in about 20mins and no hiccups after 4 months of it not seeing the stars. Collimation was a smidge out and took me no time to adjust. In went the de-rigueur 13mm Ethos and I settled the scope down to near the horizon and lined everything up on Saturn. The view in the fading heat was a wobbly one although good to see the moons with Rhea and Dione directly above and Enceladus and Tethys below at the 4 and 5 pm position. Titan was floating off to the west side of the view way out. I spent probably 3/4 hour just letting the planet drift through the eyepiece whilst settling my eye into the view. It calmed quite a bit as the scope and surrounding land cooled more. I moved on after a few glimpses of the Cassini division. I swung the scope onto M51 but it hung in the light pollution above Manchester to the north west so the views were unspectacular. I was just able to make out the spiral arms but really poor view. I span the scope around and settle it on Sadr in the middle of Cygnus as it hangs directly overhead. As I looked a meteor streaked down the western side of the constellation heading south with a healthy tail on it. I quickly landed on M29 and the familiar cooling tower asterism this small group makes. NGC6888 the crescent neb was my next view and my mind instantly went back to the views at Skye late last year. Hmmmm quite a difference and as though someone had dimmed the lights on it. I struggled to pick it out without a filter and even with the filters the filaments that make this such a beauty to look at just weren't there. Looking at my star chart I moved onto another Skye target NGC6894 the Diamond ring neb in the south west area on Cygnus. The nebula slid into view although as before didn't pop. Well at least my star hopping skills were working and my eye was definitely in. I headed further towards the southern horizon jotting down the small open cluster NGC6885 on the way to the Blue flash Neb NGC6905. Not so much a blue flash as a small grey fuzz with some structure in the core. Drifting now into Sagitta I tried for a good 5mins to pick out NGC 6886 and small nebula but it eluded me? I gave up and pulled M71 out instead. lovely to view a glob and the core stars had the usual 3D effect you get on these in the 22". A galaxy next up and NGC6906 which was a struggle to draw out of the hazy view which I admitted in my notes (difficult averted vision) An owl cried out and some other bird in the distance and I jotted down another meteor for the night from Cygnus towards Ursa major. I carried on and bagged another Glob NGC6934 which was small but still giving up its core stars to the aperture. Things were getting hazier but checking everything the scope was wet through with Dew (where's my battery!!!) and I decided to call it not long after midnight. I started to pack away and with the LED torch pointing skywards the moisture in the air showed itself to be heavy. With the scope safely stowed for the journey home I stood looking skywards and picked out a pair of separated satellites on the same trajectory heading north east after brushing Altair. Quite a strange sight. I left wishing for more but the Dew and lack of anything to combat it had put an early end to it. As I climbed the hillside the car headlights picked out the mist which cleared as I topped the crests. Must find higher ground away from the reservoir next time so may have to have a recce if I'm staying local. if not I shall probably head north and try Sutton bank again for the next session. Anyway it's always good to get out and I enjoyed the relaxing at the eyepiece in peaceful surroundings. Until the next eagerly awaited session clear skies all. P.s. at least there wasn't many midges which are far worse than the dew!!!
  9. Nice to go a bit wild occasionally and read like a peaceful evening save for the 8 legged intrusions. Bet they were some really nice views and thanks for a pleasant read about the evening. Looks like a fantastic site wish I could get the main scope up there.
  10. Was the same over my way Nick with that much heat in the brick and concrete it was still radiating heat at 2am. Lovely last night too just a shame I can't get out due to early working. May try tonight if the weather holds up.
  11. Yeah good nearly able to get my workshop up and running. 14" build coming soon
  12. Lovely efforts there Pete and really well thought out. Almost too nice to use. Look forward to the you tube vid and keep up the good work.
  13. I some times find the rigel rings a bit difficult to get your head in the right place to find them. Telrads are easier to work with using the long body as a reference. Other than that they are small and light which helps with balance and also stands off the tube higher which can help.
  14. Nice read Nick. It's getting near that time again when I can get the scope out although I'll probably wait until the full moon has abated. May give the scope a run out just as a pre autumn/winter shake down on Saturn and Jupiter.
  15. Lovely and a Nichol mirror set for the icing on the cake. Looking forward to the reports off it.
  16. Nice little session on the gas giants Nick.
  17. It's a proper giggle when I forget to remove it and stick the collimation laser in
  18. I'm sure Mark will as I get hints of turquoise and purple although i find it depends upon seeing conditions
  19. I have an old beanie hat on mine
  20. When I first saw the new scope Mark I instantly recognised the dark star colour. Sounds like the views are living up to expectations. I have a 14" mirror made by the same guy waiting for me to build the shell for it. Will keep an eye out for your reports
  21. A nice session but not up to your usual transparency. A little bit like over here by the sounds of it. We seem to suffer from quite a lot of poor transparency but I'll admit I've not been out for quite some time so the sky conditions may have changed. Hopefully this upcoming winter season will be a good one. Hickson 55 should be a nicely placed target in Draco and a great challenge which I'm sure you'll tick off. A personal favourite.
  22. Lovely report Gerry and as though I was there with you . Seyferts was a good test of the optics and as Mark points out the cluster around NGC7331 is fabulous. Next time I head for galaxies I'm going to have to try a couple of new eye pieces. It does strain on the eye sometimes but I've had a few brilliant 12 hour sessions when the eye is good. Hopefully the weather is kind and we'll read more of your sessions and thoughts on the scopes performance soon.
  23. Fantastic stuff Gerry wish we had your skies over here. Galaxies really jump out with the larger apertures. I would be interested to see what the optics perform like on targets like hickson 55 and 57. M57 central star straight away must be nice as I've only glimpsed it once and it was a maybe at that. Struggled quite a lot the last two seasons with getting the weather and transparency. I don't sketch but use a home made dimmable 12v led strip light fashioned like a bankers light to read my star charts. I don't have a pic of it to hand but it works really well going down to nothing. Spent quite a few hours chasing the galaxies in Hercules and it has a great mix of targets in there for shape and magnitude variations.
  24. Totally agree Gerry. Smooth figure on the mirror with no zones
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