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About Starobserver

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  1. I was considering the classic cassegrain. I had a russian one, the TAL 200K. The views where very good but it was very heavy and it could only use 1.25 eyepieces. So a 150 or 200mm Cassegrain from TS in Germany would be an option. I prefer them over the C6 or C8 because they are an open system. This I guess speeds op cool down time and with you don't have so much problems with dew. I love viewing doubles, so these cassegrains would be good for this purpose. The only thing I am worried about is the smaller field of view (maximum 1 degree) and the fact that you have to follow the object manually with the AYO. I will go to see a friend this winter who was a C11 on the AYO Digi, the bigger version of the AYO, and see how he manages things. He also uses the Argo Navis. What he told me is that he has the C11 on one side of the Ayo and a sort of "handle" he made out of plastic pipes on the other side. He filled the pipes with sand and they have a double purpose, a counterweight and a handle to follow objects manually with the ayo. He could not follow stars or objects at higher magnifications by pushing and pulling the C11. But with the handle on the other side, it would work very well. I will keep you updated on this. Cheers Math
  2. Hi John, Thanks for your reply. It really helped me decide to order the 6 inch OO f/5. I was in doubt wether to buy a TS UNC 6 inch f/6 newton or the one from Orion Optics. But in the end, I already have a 12 inch orion optics dobson since 2006, with a really smashing image quality, I decided to go for Orion Optics again. I love to observe star clusters and the moon with the 12 inch OO but there are quite a few evenings when I want to get out quickly and just for an hour or so, and sometimes I also do not want the hassle of getting the 12 outside. So I was looking far a light-weight option, but with a good quality mount, telescope and setting circles. I ordered the Ayo already, and now the 6 inch orion will be added. I will also use my Argo Navis on the Ayo as well. And in the future I hope to add an 8 inch Cassegrain to it from TS in Germany. This mainly for double star observing. Anyway, thanks again for your advice. Cheers Math
  3. Hi there, I have a question about the Ayo and the OO 6-inch. I ordered the AYO II and was wondering which OO6 inch you have on the mount. Is it the f/5 ? And do you keep clear of the tripod-legs with the scope. I ask this because I am still strugling about what scope to use with the AYO II. A newtonian or a cassegrain-type.... anyway, maybe you can give me some info on your setup. Looks fantastic. Cheers Mat
  4. I could need a little help on this one. I would like to observe and sketch the OB Associations, which are mentioned in some books I have (Observing Open Clusters by Mark Allison and Sky Vistas + Binocular Astronomy by Craig Crossen. The point however is, I cannot find a star-atlas or map where these associations can be found.... What I do have is a list of the OB associations with coordinates... so when looking at the specific area (I also know the rough sizes of these associations), how do I know which stars in the field I am viewing belong actually to the association.... Does anyone have a little more info or is there anyone out there who is experienced in viewing stellar associations? All help is welcome! Cheers Mathias
  5. Hi, Here's a sketch and observing report of the Beehive cluster I made earlier this year. If you want to read more background information about this wonderful object, just follow this link. Observing report M44, also known as Praesepe, is a large and bright open cluster that is very easy to locate. Tonight I can see it as a faint smudge of light just using my naked eyes. Praesepe (also know as the Manger) is clearly visible as a round, or using averted vision, a more oval glow between two 4th magnitude stars, delta and gamma Cancri. In the 4-inch refractor at the lowest possible magnification this large open cluster is very well detached from the background, a wonderful view. This low magnification of 28x is achieved with the 35mm Panoptic, and is also used for making the sketch. M44 is a huge cluster, more than 1 degree, and in the 4-inch refractor with a field of view of 2.2 degrees I count more than a hundred stars. This makes it a rich cluster. The range of brightness of the stars is huge. The brightest stars are of magnitude 6, the faintest of magnitude 12. I see no glow of unresolved background stars or nebulosity. There are many double stars and other geometric forms, like triangles and semi-circles, visible. South of the centre of Praesepe I see 4 bright white stars in an asterism that reminds me of the Keystone asterism in Hercules. Only this keystone hangs upside down. A lot of stars are arranged in chains, and there are definitely empty spaces visible, especially a wide strip running from southwest of the centre to the north. But also to the east and northeast of the centre I can see two large empty spaces. There are two colored stars visible. To the north of the centre of M44 I see a yellow star and to the east of the centre I see a star with a yellow-orange glow. I cannot detect any other stars that show color. I have seen this cluster through my big binoculars many times, but the view through the 4-inch refractor is the best until now.
  6. Hi Andrew, Yours is a great sketch too. The similarity is stunning! Guess this makes us two good sketchers You should try the color, it makes the sketch even more realistic. You can download a complete sketching tutorial from Jeremy Perez's website. I use his technique in Photoshop to get the colors. Just follow this link to get there. By the way, my main target this winter will be a sketch in color of the double cluster. With the 35mm Panoptic it just fits in the field of view of the 300mm f5.3 Orion Optics dobson. I am however planning to mount the tube on my EQ6 for this project. Clear skies Math ps at the moment I'm finishing M44, another very nice cluster.
  7. When you look through the Cassiopeia window you see a lot of open clusters, which actually belong to the Perseus arm, the next spiral arm when looking outwards, away from the galactic centre. One of the clusters is NGC 457, also known as the ET cluster, the Owl cluster and for me personally as the "Number 5 is Alive" cluster. Observing report This striking open cluster is very easy to find and identify. Even with the lowest magnification possible, the 35mm Panoptic (46x and true field of view 89'), it is completely detached from the background. I first tried all possible magnifications but in the end I like the looks through the 22mm Nagler best. It shows NGC 457 nicely with some space left around it. This eyepiece was also used for the sketch. NGC 457 looks like a little "stick-figure" with its arms spread out widely, and he welcomes me to visit his wonderful world. It looks like a very warm welcome. A nice way to start the observation! The shape of the little figure is very obvious. In my 300mm Dobson he stands right up with his feet down in the north and his head with two glittering eyes up in the south. He spreads his arms out to the east and west. A lot of observers refer to NGC 457 as the ET- or Owl cluster, and I understand why, but to me personally, NGC 457 reminds me very much of Johnny, the friendly robot from the movie "Short Circuit" (Number 5 is alive!). On the movie poster he stands with his mechanical arms stretched out to the heavens, while being struck by lightning, and that's exactly the pose I recognize in the star pattern of NGC 457. A pair of bright stars represents the eyes of Johnny. One is definitely yellow with a hint of orange, the other looks plain white with a suspected very faint yellowish hue, but I'm not 100% sure about this. I know there is a magnitude 9 M class star somewhere in this cluster, which should be "red", though I cannot find it. There is no real "central star". However, I do see two small asterisms inside the "body" of NGC 457, which jump right out at me. First of all, going north from the eyes I see three stars forming a little triangle. A bit more to the north, somewhere on Johnny's chest, I see a group of six stars forming a large question mark. There are several chains of stars forming the arms and feet, but there are also dark and empty patches. I see no glow of unresolved stars or nebulosity. It is a sparkling bright cluster but not very rich in stars. While sketching the cluster I counted about 45 to 50 stars, some of them popping in and out of view. I didn't include all of these stars in my sketch. The two bright eyes of Johnny are of magnitude 5 and 7. The other stars magnitudes range from 8 to 13, so there's quite a large range of magnitudes visible. The Cassiopeia window and Phi Cassiopeia If you are interested in a little more background info about the Cassiopeia window and Phi Cassiopeia, maybe the brightest star (or not?) of NGC 457, please follow this link.
  8. Hi Guys, Thanks everyone for the positive replies:icon_exclaim: And Andrew, I will do my best to post some good sketches this winter. At the moment I just finished NGC 457 (the sketch). I will write the observing report next week and hope to post it on wednesday. Thanks again everybody:)
  9. I read a few reports on the Internet in the last few weeks, about U Cygni being a spectacular blood red star at the moment. On the night of the 18th of august it was clear outside, so I decided to go for it! I first tried to locate it with my 15x80 binoculars and the SkyWindow, but without success. But with the 300mm Dobson and the 35mm Panoptic (46x) the dim red star was immediately visible, next to an 8th magnitude white star (HIP100230), a striking pair with a beautiful contrast. U Cygni and HIP100230 are separated by only 1 minute of arc. As usual, I first tried all possible magnifications, but the 22 Nagler showed this little gem at its best. As other observers stated this week, U Cygni indeed was bright red, like a sparkling drop of blood. Simply amazing to really see a star as red as U Cygni with your own eyes. Very impressive! The contrast with its surroundings was somehow optimal with 22mm Nagler, giving a magnification of 72x and a field of view of 68'. A real bonus was that U Cygni fitted nicely into the same field of view with the magnitude 4 bright yellow-orange Omicron 2 Cygni (or 32 Cygni). After observing and enjoying the field the field of view for 15 minutes, I noticed that HIP 100230, the white "companion" of U Cygni wasn't really white, but a bit yellowish. At the end of my observing session I made a sketch. I only plotted the most important starts, because there were just too many field stars visible. For more details about the observing session and this wonderful object, follow this link.
  10. Eta Cassiopeia is a strikingly colourful pair of stars. Eta's primary is bright yellow, while its dim companion looks deep orange with a hint of red. This attractive couple lies within an asterism that, using the right magnification, looks like a small dolphin (see my sketch for details). The dolphin asterism consists of 13 stars, oriented southwest northeast, with eta Cassiopeia situated at the tip of the tail fin. Eta Cassiopeia was allready easily split in the 22mm Nagler. After trying all possible magnifications, I liked the view of both the double and the asterism best using the 12mm Nagler T4, giving a magnification of 133x and a field of view of 37'. For more details on this interesting couple of yellow and red main sequence dwarfs, its discovery, the place on the main sequence etc. please follow this link for the full report.
  11. For years I've been trying different ways to make and order my notes, and right now I use my Ipod as a voice recorder. I transfer my recorded notes to my computer (into iTunes) and I can type them out later, when making my final report. To get a little structure in my observation I made a kind of "Question Card" that I laminated for outdoor use. This question card is divided into two main components. First I have to answer some general questions about the instrument used, the observing location, condition etc. Then I move on to the object-specific questions. To show you what I mean, I attached the card I use as a word-document. If you have any questions or suggestions, please let me know! Clear skies Math 00 Definite Question-card.doc
  12. Hi, Here's my sketch on NGC 6910, a small and compact open cluster in Cygnus. When observing this open cluster you see bright yellow stars, that are in fact B-stars. So they should appear white. What causes the yellowish appearance is explained an article on my website (click on this link) . I got some great help from Professor James Kaler, author of some of the best books on stars, and Dr. Franz Gruber, who sent me a few magnificent deepsky images of the Cygnus area to illustrate the high degree of nebulosity in the Cygnus area.
  13. Hi Amanda, Here's a little on my experiences with light pollution filters. I have both the Lumicon Deepsky filter and the Baader Skyglow. I observe from my lightpolluted backyard most of the time (about 95% of my observations, so I was very interested in these filters at first. What they both do is make the overall view a bit darker, but to be honest, on all deepsly objects, including galaxies and globulars they don't have any effect visually. I have not used both for more than 2 years. However there are two filters that work definitely, the UHC and the OIII, but they only work on emmission nebulae and planetary nebulae. And they work in both light polluted areas and real dark sky areas, but again there is a difference. In the light polluted areas these filters make the difference between not seeing the objects at all or very faint, and just sseing them. When used at a dark place, the objects sometimes jump out at you when using a filter. So they seem to work better in dark places. And what do I think of all these filters in the end. Well, to be honest the UHC, OIII (and for very few objects the H-Beta) bring out more details, show some parts of the nebulae better, and I use them every now and again, but......... aesthetically, I prefer the unfiltered view in most cases, however that's very personal of course. Steve Coe, who wrote a few books on deepsky observing, stated in one of his books, that he tried all the lumicon filters, but did not like to use them at all. So thats all I can tell you, and from my own experience I can say: try them before you buy them. Hope this helps.
  14. Hi, Have a look on this site: The Nine Planets Solar System Tour
  15. Hi astromerlin, I would definitely go for the EQ6. Mine is about 5 years old now, and it takes a 10 inch f4.8 newton or a 11-inch Celestron (C11) very well. The eq6 is absolutely transportable, but I give you one advice, buy (or when your a handy man make it yourself) decent crates and bags to pack everything for transport. For the EQ6 head I use a big aluminium crate lined with very strong foam. The tripod fits nicely in a padded bag that normally is used for transporting a large refractor OTA, and for the counterweights I got a small crate againg lined with very heavy foam. This way your equipment and your car will not be damaged during transport.
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