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pjsmith_6198

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About pjsmith_6198

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  1. This is the time for trying to find Mars Moons. I think Phobos is too close to Mars to see but Deimos is further away, maybe about 2 Mars diameters away. It's a bit faint at about 11.8 magnitude. I've tried a few times but I haven't been able to see it. It was in a position where it was trailing Mars and I was hoping as Mars left the field of view I would have have a couple of seconds without the glare to be able to see it before it to leaves the FOV. Maybe with a little better seeing I'll have better luck. Phil
  2. Fran, Thank you for the kind words. Good luck on your project. It's a very good design and you will have a n excellent telescope. Phil
  3. Hello FranTeryda, You've been given a lot of good advice already. When you buy The SW Explorer 200P are you buying the telescope only or the telescope plus the equatorial mount? Using the rings to attach the scope to altitude bearings is a nice feature. I made a new dobsonian mount for my Zhumell Z10 based on the "instructions for building a Dob" that Louis D provided. That's a very well known site that's helped a lot of people. I made the adjustable cradle th site describes. Once finished, the new larger bearings where much better than the original. Your ring system would take the place of cradle. Give the site a good read it will explain why large bearings are better than small, proper bearing placement, how to balance the scope and basically everything you need to know. Using your ring system and large altitude bearings your design will look very close to the Bresser design that Louis D also provided. Which looks like your original design but modified for larger bearings. AstroSystems have PTFE bearing kits (https://www.astrosystems.biz/pivot.htm) can ship over seas. Click on the Secure Order link the to see if that will work for you. Other alternatives are HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) and there's fiber glass material used in boat repair. Experiment with other materials. Lack of teflon is not a show stopper. The height of the rocker box depends on the balance point of the telescope. The bottom of the telescope needs to be able to clear the base when it's vertical. Add a little more room so you can re-balance the telescope if you add extra's such as RACI finder, telrad, heavy EP etc. Getting an adjustable chair when observing is a good idea. It's more comfortable and you can see more details than when hovering over the eyepiece Phil
  4. Thanks for the excellent write up John. Lots of interesting information there. It must have taken awhile to put together. NGC 2419 is indeed challenging. It took me 3 observing sessions to be able to see it. Only when I saw a photo of it in the DSO-Browser did I see it's location in the EP FOV. The two bright field stars pointing to it. Previously I was focusing on the faint star above it on the sketch above. There was something there but it was popping in and out of visibility. I assumed that was NGC 2419 but under higher magnification it looked stellar. It was right in front of me but I was looking at the wrong target. Once I knew the 2 stars where pointing to it, I was finally able to see it. Phil
  5. I saw it again last Friday 4/10, and it was noticeably fainter than when I saw it a week earlier. I was expecting it to be brighter and easier to see since the Moon wasn't up yet. Instead it was difficult to see. This comet is pretty diffuse and doesn't take magnification well. I didn't see any fragments, just fainter. Phil
  6. A telrad and a 50mm RACI is a very powerful combination for star hopping if your telescope is big enough to handle both. Under my skies which aren't very good, the 9x50 will pretty much match the stars shown in the S&T Pocket Sky Atlas. I have a clear plastic overlay with a 5 degree circle matching the PSA scale so what I see within the circle matches what I see through the finder. That combination has helped me more than anything I can think of. You can do the same thing with the 6x30 finder but you may lose some of the fainter stars but it's still way better than not having a RACI, Phil
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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;
  15. 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
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