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Everything posted by pjsmith_6198

  1. I viewed Comet 12P Pons-Brooks this evening with my 12 inch dob. It is currently in outburst. TheSkyLive.com had the magnitude at 9.0. That seems about right since it was pretty easy to see at a magnification of 75x. Here is a link to positions and magnitude graphs. The graphs show a large jump in brightness from the original outburst in July. Recently it had another outburst which is why it is currently so bright. This is a good time to catch this comet because it's easy to find since it's so close to Vega. I attached my finder chart below. It will be moving through Lyra into Cygnus between now and January. It looks like the coordinates CentaurZ are correct but the magnitudes are off because they aren't reflecting the outbursts. When it is at it's brightest it will be a morning comet. Phil
  2. I went out this morning to look with my 12 inch dob , but I didn't have much luck. I had a chart from SkyTools 4 and was sure I was in the right location, but it was hazy and very humid. There was a couple of times I thought I might have seen it, but I think it was my EP beginning to fog up. I looked until the twilight was obviously too bright to see the comet. However I did get a good look at Jupiter. I case of bad transparency and good seeing. I'll try again the next clear morning. Phil
  3. Here is some chart info and a magnitudes graph: http://www.aerith.net/comet/catalog/2023P1/2023P1.html It's currently in Gemini and it will go through Cancer, Leo, and into Virgo towards the end of September. According to SkyTools 4 , currently it gets about 20 degrees above the horizon before the morning twilight gets too light. As the comet gets brighter , it will get lower and lower on the horizon and more difficult to see. Don't wait until the comet gets bright to go and look for it. It won't be visible for us to see even if it's mag 2. Try and take a look as soon as the weather cooperates. I may get a clear morning Wednesday. I'll give it a try then. Phil
  4. Comet 12P Pons-Brooks had a 5 magnitude outburst going from mag 16.5 to mag 11.4 on July 20. Sky and Telescope has a good article about this https://skyandtelescope.org/astronomy-news/see-comet-12p-pons-brooks-in-outburst/ . Currently https://theskylive.com/comets lists the magnitude as 11.7, and coma diameter as 1.1' . I was able to view it on 7/22 using my 12 inch dob. The sky and telescope article described the comet as looking almost stellar with low magnification. It was also estimated at mag 11.7 when I observed it but theSkyLive estimated the coma at .8' and it looked like a small but fairly bright planetary nebula. It was much easier to see than comet 2023 E1 ATLAS. E1 ATLAS coma and much more diffuse. It should remain viewable for a short while before the outburst fades. However, it may be as bright as 4.5 in March or April 2024. Here is more information about its position and brightness here: http://www.aerith.net/comet/catalog/0012P/2024.html Phil
  5. C/2023 E1 is very diffuse and more challenging than its magnitude suggests. However, it does respond well to a comet filter. It's one of the few comets I've seen where the comet filter made a difference between seeing and not seeing the comet. If you don't have a comet filter, try using a OIII or UHC filter. The comet filter passes one of the OIII bands plus C2. so either will jhelp see this comet. Phil
  6. Good decision. You'll get a better view plus if the temperatures aren't so bad you can enjoy it longer. Phil
  7. You will still be able to see it. C/2022 E3 has a bright central concentration surrounded by a large coma. I've seen it a few times. The last time on 1/30/2023. The Moon was bright, but the comet was still good. The Moon will diminish the the coma and you won't see any tail, but the central concentration will still be easily visible. It would be like looking at the Orion nebula with a full Moon. It's not as good as no Moon, but you can still visible. A bigger problem than the Moon might be the cold. It's supposed to be very cold where you are. E3 is still going to be bright for awhile . If you can reschedule the Bortle 4 site trip until the Moon is out of the way, E3 would be more impressive than under a full Moon. But you can still see it with the Moon. Phil
  8. My best views of Venus have been through high clouds. Phil
  9. Plus asteroids Juno and Vesta in Aquarius between Neptune and Saturn and Comet C/2017 K2 PANSTARRS in Ophiuchus near IC 4665 and Cebalrai . It doesn't get much better than this. Phil
  10. Splitting Antares is very difficult and I've never had any luck doing it. The problem being the separation between primary and secondary is only 2-3 arc seconds and Antares A is much brighter than Antares B (mag 1.2 to mag 5.4). Also being so low above the horizon doesn't help either. So I thought I would try different filters to filter out most of the brightness of the primary to make the secondary easier to see. Antares B is class B2 or B3 which is blue white. So I would use Astronomik OIII, H-Beta and UHC filters to see if any of helped. I was using my 12 inch dob with 10mm/7mm/5mm XW's and 9mm/7mm Fuji ortho's and 10mm/6mm BCOs. I tested different combinations of EPs and filter over 3 sessions. The seeing varied average to better than average but not great. Transparency was average to below average each night. Bad transparency might actually help it helps reduce the glare. My best view of Venus was looking through clouds. Each night I checked and tweaked collimation if needed. Using no filters I failed to split Antares with any of the EP's I was using. Using a 2x barlow didn't help. Seeing was not good enough to go beyond 300x on any night. The performance of the OIII and H-Beta filters were similar. Both tightened up the focus considerably compared to using no filters. Antares was still difficult to split but on the nights of better seeing I was able to tell there were 2 stars there and splitting in moments of better seeing. It was slightly easier to split with the ortho's than the XW's. However I would get more eye strain with the ortho's. The XW's were more comfortable to use. I wasn't expecting much from the UHC filter because along with passing the OIII and H-Beta bands, it passes most of the H-alpha. So if you look at a bright star you see both greenish blue and magenta color. I thought that to much red would pass and Antares A would still over power Antares B. What happened was the image focused to a small bluish point touching a larger magenta point. The blue point was approximately at 8 O'clock position compared to the magenta point. I viewed Arcturus using the same EP/UHC filter. I saw both blue and red but they didn't resolve into blue and magenta points. Just one containing both colors. I viewed the Double-Double Epsilon 1 and 2 in Lyra because they have about the same separation. These resolved with both colors but mostly blue with the same separation and orientation as with no filter. I was harder to split them using the UHC filter than no filter because they were fainter. I split Cor Carli with the UHC but the separation was wide enough that they looked like normal stars with the UHC. No blue and magenta. My conclusion is Antares is easier to split using a OIII or H-Beta filter than using no filter. Antares is easiest to split with a UHC filter which passes the H-alpha band because the stars resolve into a magenta primary and blue secondary. This probably only works for blue and red doubles. Has anybody tried this before? I thought using the OIII or H-beta would help somewhat but I didn't expect the UHC would be so easy. Thanks, Phil
  11. I saw K2 for the first time last night. You're right it does look like an elliptical galaxy. Also nearby are planetary nebulas NGC 6572 and PK 38+12.1 plus a couple of open clusters in addition to NGC 6633. Unfortunately by the time I was observing K2, my EP's and finder were all having fogging issues so I had to stop for the evening. Tomorrow may be clear and I'll be able to see the comet again plus all the other nearby objects. This is going to be good comet to watch all summer. It's going to be fairly bright, in a good viewing position in a part of the sky filled with other targets. Phil
  12. I have the Lumicon comet filter. Most of the time it doesn't help a great deal. But a few times, it was the only way I saw the comet. So I would recommend getting the Lumicon filter. Comets usually shine from a combination of reflected light off dust and ionization. The filter darkens the field and passes the ionization and not the reflected light. It's like using filter's with nebula . A OIII filter will kill a reflection nebula but can work with emission nebula. It doesn't do magic (like OIII with the Veil Nebula) but it's a good tool to have. Phil
  13. Thanks Neil. Comets are my favorite targets also. Another comet you can try is 104P Kowal 2. It's in good position in Orion but it's very challenging. I tried for that a couple of weeks ago with my 12 inch dob but didn't see it for certain. I thought I might have seen something there using my comet filter with averted vision. But I couldn't repeat that. I tried low magnification, high magnification and with/without the comet filter. Looking back, I think I would have had better luck if I would have tried to observe it earlier in the evening when it was higher in the sky. If you look for this, try it as high in the sky as you can. Preferably from your dark site. It's diffuse and won't tolerate any Moon interference. Here are some web sites I use to find visible targets. You are probably familiar with these. I also use SkyTools 4 to find and make eyepiece charts http://astro.vanbuitenen.nl/comets https://www.cometchasing.skyhound.com/ http://www.aerith.net/comet/future-n.html https://theskylive.com/comets Phil
  14. I've observed it a couple of times and it was pretty easy to see. It looked a lot like C/2019 L3 ATLAS, about the same magnitude and condensed central concentration. It's currently in Aires not too far from the Pleiades and moving towards Perseus. It's starting to fade, but it's still mag 9.6 according to https://theskylive.com/comets Phil
  15. I would recommend the PSA. It's small , inexpensive and convenient. The stars go down to mag 7 and pretty much matches what I see through my finder scope. I use a piece of clear plastic with a circle the size of my finder field of view. Makes star hopping easy. Phil
  16. The Sky & Telescope Pocket Sky Atlas is $24.95 at shopatsky.com here https://shopatsky.com/products/pocket-sky-atlas-second-edition I searched amazon and a 30-Mar-2006 version of the PSA popped up for only $136.94. Pretty amazing Phil
  17. I 2nd the suggestion for "Visual Astronomy of the Deep Sky" by Roger N Clark. I was just looking at the link. I wish I had that when I was starting out. The DSO list in section "7. A Visual Atlas of Deep-Sky Objects" is like the best of the best list for viewers in the northern hemisphere.. I suggest looking into getting some astronomy planning software like SkyTools 4 https://skyhound.com/skytools_visual.html It provides just about everything you need for observing DSO's plus current data on planets, asteroids, comets, bright nova/supernova etc. One of the features I use the most is making custom charts based on my equipment. A chart contains a naked eye view, a finder view, and an eyepiece view based on my telescope, finder, and whatever eyepiece I plan on using. It makes finding and seeing faint DSOs much easier. Phil
  18. Besides comet A1 Leonard, comets 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and C/2019 L3 (ATLAS) are brightening and are in easy to find positions. Both near Castor/Pollux but not in Gemini itself. I last observed them 2 weeks ago and they were both easy to see even with the Moon near full. Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is in the same finder scope FOV as Iota Cancri which is a nice blue and gold double star . This is the "Winter Albireo". The observed magnitude for 67P from theskylive.com/comets is 8.6. This is the comet the Rosetta mission visited Comet C/2019 L3 (ATLAS) is in Lynx very close to the globular cluster NGC 2419 - the Intergalactic Wanderer. The observed magnitude from theskylive.com/comets is 9.8. L3 ATLAS is much easier to see than NGC 2419. It's a short hop from Castor and the hop goes through NGC 2419's position. NGC 2419 is challenging. To make it easier to find, there are 2 fairly bright field stars in the EP FOV. They point directly at NGC 2419. Phil
  19. I observed A1 this morning and it's definitely fainter than M3 but it was noticeably brighter than it was last week. This morning it was barely in the same FOV as M3. Good position for comparisons. Telescopius.com lists M3 as Mag 6.3 with a size of 18'. SkyTools 4 estimates A1 as Mag 5.5 and the same size 18'. SkyTools 4 brightness estimate was clearly wrong. The observed magnitude of A1 in TheSkyLive.com was Mag 7.5. That was closer to what I was seeing. I was observing with my 12 inch scope. A1 is pretty large and diffuse with a bright almost stellar central condensation. I saw just a hint of a tail more visible if I jiggled the scope. It was hard to see just how far the coma was going out. Sort of like looking at the core of M31 and trying to see how far the arms reach in light polluted skies. Anyway, A1 is getting brighter by the day and is worth getting up early for. Phil
  20. I was planning out an observing session for the evening of 23 Nov into morning of 24 Nov and looking into the whereabouts of Comet C/2021 A1 Leonard since it's starting to brighten up. Turns out it's flying by in the same 1 degree field field of view as the Whale galaxy and NGC 4656. I attached an eyepiece view from SkyTools 4. That is just a snapshot in time since A1 is a moving target, but they will be close together all evening/morning. SkyTools 4 estimates A1 is mag 7.32 with a surface brightness of 21.0 and coma diameter of 10.4'. TheLiveSky.com shows A1 Leonard as mag 9.3. Either way, that is still pretty bright. There will be some moon light but hopefully it won't be that bad. I just hope the forecast holds and I can see this. If not I hope somebody else can. Phil A1 Leonard - NGC 4631-NGC 4656.pdf
  21. OK. I understand what you are asking now. Maybe it's just bigger barely perceptible objects are easier to see than smaller barely perceptible objects. Phil
  22. The larger the objective, the fainter the objects that can be seen.
  23. I think it's a combination of greater gathering, greater resolution and higher magnification Phil
  24. In addition to collecting 4x more light and magnification, the 8" has greater resolution so you can see more details. On the other hand, the 4" scope has a greater field of view and is much easier to carry around. Phil
  25. Excellent work. Upgrading a focuser can be tricky, especially if you have to perform surgery. I'm glad it worked out so well. Phil
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