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About mikeDnight

  • Rank
    Sub Dwarf
  • Birthday 04/02/62

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Interests
    Lunar & planetary , binary stars & comets.
    Visual astronomy in general and an advocate of sketching as an aid to observing.
    I also have a passion for refractors and optics in general, and have a deep interest in the history of amateur astronomy, the astronomers and their scopes and observatories.
  • Location
    East Lanc's

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  1. Great report Mark! Ever thought about writing an observing book? Mike
  2. I didn't say it was the only option, I said its hard to beat, and its resolving power would be vastly superior to that of any smaller high end refractor. The SCT is a truly excellent imaging instrument and although in the Cassegrain design there is a X5 amplifying secondary, it is essentially the same beast as the Schmidt camera.
  3. Hi Alan, May be you could try your scope on a Vixen GP mount if someone near you would be willing to help out. They are solid and if there's any vibration it would be from the tripod. It might just tell you where exactly the problem lies. I feel certain that your scope is not flexing, so it is either the mount or tripod where the movement is coming from. The dovetail clamp is a prime suspect, but other weak points may be the tripod head or even the altitude axis moving within the mount head. The length of the altitude arm is another possible weak link where vibration might occur. Even micro movements at any of these points will be amplified many times in the eyepiece. Mike
  4. Thats a seriously nice image of Jupiter showing how it really appears! Thanks for posting! Mike
  5. For a visual lunar and planetary observer, a good refractor is hard to beat. However, if your main interest is imaging the Moon and planets, then probably a Schmidt Cassegrain would be the instrument to go for. The Schmidt was originally designed not as a visual scope but as a camera, and its here where its real strength lies, and few other scopes can compete. Mike
  6. That's an excellent report Chris and one that will inspire others to try for those objects. Superb!!! Mike
  7. Hi Alan, A 127 Mak is an amazing scope that would probably be less affected by tremor, though you'd need a dew shield that would still catch the wind. You could also mount the scope on a pier embeded in concrete, or better still, build a small observatory to shelter you from the wind. A Hargreaves strut would definitely dampen any vibration in the tube caused by wind, and it would be the cheapest option. Mike
  8. Last night wasn't as steady as the previous two nights and detail was more difficult to see much of the time. To get a sharp view of the detail on show paulastro allowed me the use of his Baader zooms, which permitted me to fine tune the magnification to the seeing conditions. The angle of the binoviewer meant that South is shown at the top and preceding is towards the right, despite using a diagonal. Thanks for looking! Mike
  9. Excellent drawings Shane!
  10. Hi Stu, The festoons I saw were also subtle, as was much of the belt detail. It's always difficult to replicate the exact eyepiece view in a sketch, especially as the sketch represents an intensive study over 20 mins or so. I usually observe Jupiter for at least ten mins before putting pencil to paper and then it takes ten mins to sketch down that detail as accurately as possible, so it represents features on the disk but not necessarily seen easily. Much can be border line detail that can be washed out by seeing conditions. Mike ☺
  11. The rough eyepiece sketch, made in low light and without my glasses on take about ten minutes, and often look like a mass of confused scribblings. I usually make a cleaned up version of the sketch as soon after the observation as possible, so the observation is still fresh in my mind. The cleaned up sketch can take around 30 mins to complete. Mike
  12. The second night in a row with super stable seeing conditions! Mike
  13. Attached is a sketch of Jupiter that I made on the 22/5/17 under very poor seeing conditions. This was a sketch that was never going to be posted, but ive changed my mind as it illustrates how much the seeing can influence the detail seen. The detail in the first sketch was very difficult to obtain! In the second two sketches, both from 24/5/17, the seeing was simply stunning! Again, the detail was difficult to draw but for a different reason, "There was simply too much of it!" Jupiter rotates at such speed that an observer has roughly ten minutes to record the view before the scene changes and features are displaced. The two sketches from last night's observations really don't do the real life view justice. The GRS was well placed and a wealth of detail followed in its wake along the SEB. The NEB was strewn with festoon and garlands. The drawings are pretty self explanatory so I'll shut up now! Thanks for looking! Mike
  14. I dont sketch on every occasion and sometimes I will make two sketches on one night, but on average I will normally make only one sketch per session. I've just counted 72 sketches in my most recent sketch book, since the 26th Feb 2017, so call it 3 months. 90days ÷ 72 sketches = approx 1 observation every 1.25 days. This tells me there are plenty of opportunities to observe, even if conditions are not all that good. It seems many folk talk themselves out of observing if the moon's on show or there's a cloud in the sky, or its too misty or not dark enough, or .......! I don't know what my number would be but it would be far more meaningful than the duck egg Drake equation.