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About pjsmith_6198

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  1. Both are very small. Under low magnification they look very star like. You may have had them in your field of view. Jim gave excellent advice. Find their exact position with an app. Then increase the magnification until you see them as tiny disks. Uranus is about twice the size as Neptune, but Neptune even under high magnification looks only a little bigger than this period "." Sort of like one of Jupiter's moons. To my eyes, Uranus is kind of grayish green but Neptune is a definite blue. After you see them the first time, it's easier to see recognize them. Phil
  2. The Alt pivot should be located on the OTA's center off mass. So measure from the midpoint of alt bearings to the end of the tube. Then add a couple of inches in case you add a RACI finder and or heavy EP's in the future so you can re-balance the scope. Do you have azimuth bearings? I have a Z10 which I re-built the mount based off the Stellafane.org design here https://stellafane.org/tm/dob/mount/index.html because I added a 60mm finder , a telrad, and used heavy EP's. I couldn't adjust the altitude bearings enough to balance the scope. I found the large bearings worked better than the stock bearings. But if you have working alt bearings and don't have extra stuff on the front end you can just copy the existing mount design as long as you have the azimuth bearings. Phil
  3. I last saw it on 11/25/2019. It's still pretty faint, but I was able to see it with a 20mm EP (62.5x). So it's getting brighter. I first saw it a couple of weeks earlier and it was not visible with the 20mm and only appeared as a small puff of fog in a 7mm or under. On the 25'th, with a 6mm EP it looked like it had 2 central condensations. One was the comet and the other was a mag 13.6 star that it was very close to. I watched it long enough to see the comet move away from the star. I verified with Starry Nights afterwords to confirm what was going on. The coma was not round, but it didn't really look like a tail. It did look very much like a galaxy. I tried a comet filter but it wasn't very responsive to it. It didn't kill it, but it didn't make it easier to see. The SkyLive.com has a observed magnitude of 10.3. It's about a magnitude better than it was. When you find it, try higher magnifications, you can see more detail. Phil
  4. I had a couple of clear nights and decided to give these comets a try. The Sky Live site had these comets at magnitudes 11.4 and 11.6 respectively and I wasn't expecting much but surprisingly both were visible. They were both small faint puffs, but small faint puffs not difficult to see. I thought they were easier to see than Comet Africano. I was using my Z10. They weren't visible with a 20mm EP but started seeing hints of them with my 8mm Delos (156x) and was able to confirm them with 6mm Delos (208x). They are both small, around 2", but are fairly condensed so are fairly easy to see. The Moon will be interfering for the next couple of weeks but they will be around for awhile in very good position. C/20128 N2 is now in Andromeda, is near M31 and will reach perihelion in mid November then start to fade. C/2017 T2 now in Auriga, between M36 and M38 will reach perihelion in early May 2020. It may reach naked eye visibility before it starts to fade. This will be in Auriga for the rest of November, then go through Perseus, Cassiopeia, Camelopardalis and be in Ursa Major in June. There will be 6 months to observe this and it will be in excellent position the whole time. Here is Seiichi Yoshida's Weekly info about bright comets http://www.aerith.net/comet/weekly/current.html . Phil
  5. I think you are right. You were training yourself to see faint threshold objects. The more you observe, the more you will see and the more confidence you will be able to even fainter objects. When I started observing I could only see the brightest DSO's. I started the Messier list, I thought there was no way I could seem them all since I was having trouble with objects like M65/M66, but I kept at it pushing my limits to see these things and I finished the list. And that gave me confidence to do the Herschel 400. The funny thing is, I had more problems with the Messier's than a lot of the Hershel's. Training yourself as an observer is like training as a runner. Some days you train hard doing intervals on the track (or looking for very faint DSO's) and other days are easy runs (or observing your favorite bright DSOs) The important thing is just to run/observe consistently. Phil
  6. I've viewed this this comet 5 times in the last couple of weeks using my Z10. I've found it to be pretty challenging overall but it seems to have gotten brighter without the Moon. John's observation of it looking somewhat fainter that Mirach's ghost was spot on. I was looking at both last week when they were so close together and compared them and I was thinking the same thing. It's tougher than the estimated 8-9 mag indicates unless you have dark skies. The comet is pretty diffuse and in my dark red skies I'm only seeing the central condensation. I think that's why my best views I've had with it have been with my 8mm and 6mm Delos. SkyTools 3 estimates it as mag 8.9 and a size of 6.9'. That's pretty big but I have trouble seeing it with low magnifications. I've tried my Lumicon comet filter and it had a mild response. It didn't make it much easier to see, but it didn't kill it either. The comet is moving very rapidly now. When looking at it with a 6mm EP, you can see it move with repect to the field stars in about 10 minutes Now is the time to look for it because it's at its brightest plus it will be moving south very rapidly. It will be in Pisces Austinus by mid October. Here is some charts and info on it. http://www.aerith.net/comet/catalog/2018W2/2018W2.html http://www.aerith.net/comet/future-n.html https://theskylive.com/comets Phi
  7. I’ll have to give that one a try. I’ll probably need a darker site. If I’m able to see that, I may be able to see Pluto in Sagittarius. That is about mag 14.3 but it’s low on the horizon. Not too far from Barnards galaxy Phil
  8. I saw on March 16. My log entry - In Bootes fairly close to Arcturus. Easy to see. Bright (mag 7.15) between 2 sets of double stars. Here is my chart. Pallas_3_16_2019.pdf I will re-visit this the next clear night. Phil;
  9. Here's a link to an article and a list of 12 quasars that are currently visible. I just observed 3C-273 for the first time about a week ago and was looking for others to find then this just comes out. What luck. Seven of them are mag 14.1 or under so these seem to be do-able. The furthest is HS 0624+6907 mag 14.0 in Camelopardalis 4.56 billion light years. That's probably the farthest thing I'll ever be able to see with my Z10. The light from that is from back when our solar system was forming. Pretty amazing. Anyway, here's the link https://www.skyandtelescope.com/observing/12-quasars-for-spring-evenings/ Enjoy Phil
  10. When the Moon is too bright for most DSO's, I like to observe asteroids. For this I need a detailed star chart print from a planetarium program such as Starry Nights. That will identify the asteroid in my EP FOV. The are always asteroids magnitudes 8 to 10 to observe. I was checking Starry Nights what is bright now and discovered that tonight (US) the Moon will pass pass 0.6 degrees south of M44. I'm sure that would be occulting stars and very cool to see. Unfortunately, it's going to be cloudy where I am. Here is StarryNight chart of that. It's near the asteroid Julia. Here is a partial list of asteroids, their magnitudes, and constellation that are viewable now. Juno - 8.16 - Taurus Hebe - 8.64 - Orion Eros - 8.61 - Orion Eleonora - 10.11 - Orion Sappho - 11.05 - Orion Themis -10.71 - Gemini Hamburga - 11.5 - Gemini - near Kappa Gem Bamberga - 10.32 - Gemini - Argentina - 12.42 - Gemini Antigone -10.66 - Leo Dembowska - 10.06 Herculina - 8.47 - Leo Isis - 11.42 - Leo Kreusa - 11.134 - Leo Julia - 10.24 - Cancer Aemilia - 11.67 - Cancer Niobe - 11.67 -Auriga Phil Moon_M44_2_17_2019.pdf
  11. I observed the comet for the first time last night. Visually it looked very much like Davey-T's photo, only fainter and no color. Theskylive.com/comets listed the observed magnitude as 6.8 but it didn't seem that bright. Part of the issue with that was it was pretty close to a field star and was affected by glare. It responded somewhat to a Lumicon comet filter, but it looked best without at higher magnifications of 150x to 200x. At those magnifications the central condensation was visible and it looked like the photo. After observing it for about 30 minutes it moved away from the field star causing the glare and became easier to see. It's moving very fast now but it should stay in a very observable position but the Moon is going to become an issue soon. Phil
  12. I saw comet Wirtanen for the first time last night. I live in a dark red zone and was expecting the comet to be very difficult to see because it's supposed to be very large and diffuse since it's passing close to earth. However, it has a very bright false nucleus which is easy to see. I was able to easily see it in my finder. I looked at it from magnifications from 60x to 189x. The higher mags didn't seem to add much. Paul's photo shows it pretty much as I saw it through the 20mm XW. I could see only a little of the coma surrounding the core. From a dark site, it would have been much bigger. However, it's pretty bright now, about mag 4 and it's easy to see even from a dark red zone. So nobody has to go to a dark just to see it.
  13. As long as it's covered, an unheated garage is a great place to store your scope. You get the added benefit that your optics will be very close to the outside temperature and you will have very little if any cool down time before observing. I have a Z10 I keep in my garage sitting on a dolly. All I have to do is open the garage door and wheel it out. I am observing in minutes. You can do the same thing and have a 12" grab and go scope. Not having to drag a big telescope out of the house and set up makes short observing sessions of an hour or less worthwhile. Which means more time out with the scope Phil
  14. You might want a sky atlas like S&T’s Pocket Sky Atlas and planesphere’s are always useful.
  15. I gave it try this morning but no luck. In addition to the Moon being 1 day from full, it was hazy and humid with passing clouds when I got out. M65 and M66 were visible but hard to see and there was no hint of NGC 3628 being visible. I didn't try to use my 102mm refractor to get a 3 or 4 in the view because conditions were bad and I'd be lucky to see the comet with the Z10. Finding the correct location for the comet was very easy. I was using a SN6 chart with a EP FOV and the comet made a equilateral triangle with other stars and other field stars made identifying the location easy. But try as I might, I just couldn't pin it down. The Moon at this time was pretty low and behind trees, I think if the transparency were better I could have seen it. It seemed just barely beyond seeing. No matter, I'll try again later.
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