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About timwetherell

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  1. Long focus Newtonians have a well deserved reputation as excellent planetary instruments. I would expect a good 6" Newt to be at least the equal of a 5" Apo, except insomuch as the Apo would also offer wide field views.
  2. Yup, saw just that in Australia, three in an equilateral triangle crossing the sky. I could see stars between them so knew it was a constellation of satellites - otherwise I would have joined the cry of UFO
  3. I use ethanol and soft tissue to clean refractors - including a WO66 I have - and it works really well even with stubborn fingerprints and other mystery gunk. My main rule is one wipe per tissue then discard it and get a new one. that way one minimises the damage done if there's anything slightly gritty or abrasive in the gunk. For the final clean I breathe on the lens to fog it up and wipe with another clean tissue. That way I remove the water soluble gunk and any water residue the alcohol leaves. As others say though, it doesn't need to be done unless it's very dirty.
  4. I tried an experiment recently to see if I could identify the moons just from their appearance. And i could, kinda. Ganymede does look bigger and is by far the easiest to identify, Callisto is second and the little two can generally be distinguished by their colour. I'd expect Io to be redish but actually to my eyes, Io is slightly blue and Europa slightly red. I probably have about a 50% success rate in identifying all 4 in a 7" refractor. I have convinced myself that I could see some markings on Ganymede on occasions but then again, I've also convinced myself that after a couple of brandies my singing's quite good
  5. That's been my experience with filters too. Although when the planet is very low and atmospheric dispersion is a problem, popping in a narrow band OIII or UHC can be very helpful. I've found that great when looking at Mercury a couple of degrees above the horizon
  6. Interesting point! Yes perhaps - especially if one has slightly wonky eyes, stopping them down may help?
  7. Interesting! I think in my 7" frac it looked somewhere in between those two but it's hard to precisely quantify "eggyness" Mostly I was winding up the umph in a desperate attempt to split it as I mistakenly thought it was 0.7" Seeing was pretty good last night in the south west, I was observing jupiter at 300x and it was holding in the steady moments. I was going to do a drawing but it was 11pm and there was a glass of brandy in the lounge with my name on it!
  8. It was perceivably egg shaped in my 180mm at 1100x so may be slightly out of round in the 130 too if you give it enough "welly"! I was expecting 0.7" but if it was 0.7" in 2008 and 0.4" in 2015 maybe more like 0.3" today. Your 15" should do that on a good night? Yes, I hadn't seen Izar before - it's an absolute cracker! I kinda miss Antares which is a real beauty when high in Oz but hard to split lower down. not sure if it can be done from the UK as it never really gets clear of the mush?
  9. Thanks, yes that would explain a lot. I could have convinced myself that it was slightly oval but I've split 0.7" before so I didn't think that could be right. Sneaky little things these double stars, keep getting closer together!
  10. Has anyone observed Zeta Boötis recently? I was just wondering what the current separation was? It's listed as 0.7" in Sissy Hass' double star book which should in theory be resolvable (or at least significantly elongated) in my scope but I wasn't having much luck last night. Might be a seeing issue or it's entirely possible I was looking at the wrong star! Wasn't all bad though, Izar was my "new to the northern hemisphere" discovery of the night. Really stunning - to me the north's answer to Antares
  11. It's clearly visible on Exmoor, but unfortunately the Northern hemisphere doesn't face as bright a section of our galaxy as the southern hemisphere does. It was truly amazing in rural Australia, so bright that it was easily visible even with a 1/4 moon!
  12. Does anyone have any experience with the Altair Astro Starwave 102ED refractor? I'm toying with the idea of buying a 4" ish f6 ish refractor to be a portable scope for wide field dark sky observing. Don't think I want to go to the expense of a triplet, but was wondering if anyone had any experience with this scope or any suggestions for an ED doublet with something like those specs?
  13. Beautiful craftsmanship Andy!
  14. Recently returned from many years in Australia and there are some fabulous objects in the southern sky. For me the pick of the bunch were eta carinae nebula, 47 Tucanae globular (finest in the sky IMO) and the swan nebula. though I'm encouraged to see that the latter will be visible from my new southern England location albeit only about 10° above the southern horizon!
  15. Thanks Mike, I was surprised to see any detail in the spot at all (don't recall ever doing so before) but there was a distinct lighter bit with a hint of a swirl in there