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Everything posted by Size9Hex

  1. Load of great ideas above. Thanks for pointers everyone. 👍 And absolutely remarkable sketches and models @mikeDnight (and not sure the word sketches quite does it justice for something so beautifully studied across an observing season). I'll be coming back to this when volcano hunting!
  2. That's another great one for the list. 👍 I'd be super excited to see those clouds knowing their connection to the volcano, even if the volcano itself wasn't directly observable. Like hearing a bird singing in the tree tops, and feeling the joy, even though you might not spot the singer. I've always looked for those clouds (and around I think it's Pavonis Mons etc), but not seen them yet. Definitely some dust storms though! 😂
  3. First post for a while with observing having taken a back seat to other things in life recently, but a very inspiring thread with some awesome sights. A handful from me that I don't think I've seen mentioned above: Pillars of Creation. I've looked for it in a 10", but not successfully seen yet. One day! Half illuminated Jovian moon. I think I saw on odd elongated shape to Europa a number of years ago as it emerged from eclipse over the duration of a minute or so. Would love to repeat this and get more confidence. Feels more doable than albedo features on Ganymede which I've definitely never seen (but others have), but that could be another one for someone's list - features on a moon around a planet other than ours. The bright glob (G1?) associated with M31 was a nice bucket list tick as a glob outside our own galaxy. Valles Marineris on Mars. I spent some time looking for it a number of years ago and I think I detected something linear in the right place. From research afterwards I concluded that observing the Valles is implausible, but that the albedo feature surrounding the Valles is plausible. Would love to repeat this and gain confidence. Such an iconic feature in the solar system, even if only observable in a very loose sense as the surrounding albedo feature. The large scale structure of the universe. Spotting lonely galaxies in one of the big voids, or a bright galaxy off in some giant filament somewhere. I've had one or two of these on the list from time to time but can't recall the catalog IDs - and success is definitely hit and miss! I'm completely out of my depth on this topic, but interesting to look for the visible parts of structures that are (1) unfathomably far away and (2) span seemingly across the entire night sky despite this! Evolution of something in the night sky outside our solar system. I've never had the persistence or patience, but would like to feel like I'd seen orbital mechanics at play in a double star system over a few years. Barnard's star comes to mind too. Timelapses of M1 evolving over 2 decades or so - superb effort by the imagers, but I wonder if it's a plausible lifetime project for a visual observer/sketcher! The star associated with Cygnus X1. Easy observation. No sight of the black hole of course, but iconic, and worthy of a place on the bucket list for me. Central Milky Way from a long way south under superb dark and clear conditions. Solar eclipse. Need to plan ahead and make sure I'm in the right place at the right time before I run out of chances! Northern lights. Another one for the future.
  4. Really interesting thread. To me the moon seems slightly warmer than neutral grey and almost monotone. I love Mike's description of a Malteser. It's not quite that warm/obvious to me, but I can understand and relate to it. I've never seen orange around the craters - appreciate the tip on where to start looking @mikeDnight. If I recall correctly two areas have really struck me. Serenity/Tranquility: I think either in isolation would appear neutral grey to me. But side by side it's prominent enough to notice even though I didn't know about it in advance, while also not being something that really jumps out. Serenity leaning towards the yellow and Tranquility towards the blue. I feel Tranquility has a distinctly metallic impression to it. Here's a supercharged image and explanation of it: https://www.space.com/titanium-moon-photo.html. Not claiming I can somehow detect the metal by the way - it's just an impression I get from the colour! Aristarchus Plateau: I don't think I saw colour here until I read about it in the excellent 21st Century Atlas of the Moon. It's described as having a mustard coloured hue to it. Next time I looked, I thought "Yep, fair enough". Several other contrasting areas in the lowlands too, but I think the two above are good places to look. Nice that these both get a mention in the Sky at Night link above too. I don't recall seeing colour mentioned much in the phenomenal Luna Cognita, but it's a big tome to search! I'll definitely be looking out for colour more specifically next time I'm out.
  5. Thanks Epick. Great effort on Barnard's Galaxy. 25 degrees above the horizon is about the best we get for this in the south of the UK (and worse in the north of the country of course), but I'll keep at it I'm sure! All the best with the Pillars - will be interesting to hear how you get on. Since writing this report, I've stumbled upon other reports elsewhere that suggest that one finger plus the "base" may be a feasible observation in a 10" as a V shaped feature.
  6. Wise words. For me even a few miles up the road from home makes a good difference, though really dark skies would be a long trip for sure. Hopefully I'll get another chance to try this one before the season changes. Great image too, that must be a stunner to see! 👍
  7. Thank you Estwing, really appreciate your comment. That sounds like a view that would knock my socks off. I certainly didn't see anything at that level of detail or confidence. If I may ask, was that with the 18" in your signature please? From your experience, would you judge it as a feasible target for a 10" (to any extent, e.g. as a dark line/shape even if not recongisable as the pillars)?
  8. Thanks Domstar. I think you’re right about seeing something multiple times being an important test. Seeing enough signal in the noise enough times! 🙂 I’ve never seen Barnard’s Galaxy, although only a couple of tries on it. There’s no hope from home, so dark site only, and not helped by the light skies in summer - needs a very late night indeed, or waiting a month by which time it’s dropping towards the west. Thought it worth mentioning for context in the report that the conditions didn’t seem good enough for this target though - allowing that a more skilled observer might have managed better of course. I’ve never checked the reported surface brightness of this target - I think I need to. I think I recall someone else writing that it’s one of those targets with no hard contrasty edges - nothing for your eye or brain to latch onto - so harder than might be expected from the numbers. The advice I read was for very low power. Good luck with it and let us know how you go.
  9. Thanks Gerry. Great to get your comments. When I did a forum search, the only hit that came up (outside imaging and night vision) was one of your reports. Interested in your experience in the 15". If borderline with that aperture (and your skies too of course), it makes my observation doubtful. But if there was room to spare, then maybe I did see it (or at least worthwhile persisting with it!). Would be great to hear how you go with the 10". I’m thinking a filter slide would have been perfect for this - more time at the eyepiece and less time trying not to drop stuff in the dark while swapping!
  10. Hi, yup that’s the one. It’s a great size for a scope, with fantastic views, although for me it sits alongside a larger one for when more horsepower is needed - I think something with a bit more ooomph would be preferred if it was my only scope. Hope the trip to darker skies works out - the light at the end of the tunnel seems to getting near.
  11. Out last night to see about ticking the Pillars of Creation off the bucket list. I haven’t seen many reports on observing this visually, so didn’t (and actually, still don’t) know whether it would be possible. But if you don’t try, you never know! And I think I read somewhere that the Pillars probably don’t even exist any more, so no time to waste! Would love to hear any other experiences of observing this iconic feature. I’m on the fence about whether I actually saw something of it. Kit of choice: The 10", with 24, 14 and 8.8mm wide eyepieces, plus nebula filters. A bit about the conditions: I felt transparency was average rather than great, and the target region of sky low in the south was also affected by a dome of light from town. The Milky Way showed some structure including the Cygnus Rift, Fish on Platter and Funnel Cloud, but away from the zenith was looking more washed out; The Scutum Star Cloud was visible but I think has been brighter previously. The leading arm of the Aquila Rift was quite subtle. M31 naked eye, with the dust lane immediately and consistently seen in the eyepiece. M33 not naked eye, but the scope showed the elliptical shape and the jauntily angled central bar, but no spirals. M81 bright, but no spiral arms seen. At zenith, the Veil showed itself without filter, with delightful intricate structure seen in the Oiii. I could easily have stayed here for a long time! The North America and Pelican nebulae both nice and bright. Closer to the target, Barnard’s Galaxy was attempted but not seen. So, the headline act: I tried most combos of eyepiece and filter, not knowing what might work best, finding a balance between image brightness and image size. I eventually settled on the 8.8mm eyepiece, in which the Eagle was dim but still visible. After an unsuccessful warm up with the UHC, the H-beta filter didn’t show a great deal. I never glimpsed anything that could have been the Pillars. Back in with the UHC and I immediately sensed a dark feature near two bright marker stars. This came and went, visible maybe 10% of the time. With the UHC showing promise, but not much going on in the H-beta, I tried the Oiii, figuring it’s a UHC minus the seemingly unhelpful wavelengths and might improve contrast. Again I had glimpses of that dark shadow. But I’m not sure I can tick it. I was led to the location by a very good reference image, rather than spotting the dark feature myself and confirming it afterwards, which makes me less confident than I might be. Could just be imagination/hope at work. The dark feature also didn’t quite match the image in either shape or alignment. But in the same way that the Horsehead appears to me to be almost a thin capital letter D with the bottom chopped off, I see how the tiny, low contrast, dark feature might correspond to the image in low resolution averted vision. In fact the whole experience was rather like the hunt for the Horsehead. Except much warmer and with chirping grasshoppers! As above, would love to hear other folks views about observing this iconic feature.
  12. A lovely session with the ED72 last night as the evening blue faded into black, and I waited for the Perseids, with bats swooping overhead against a faint suburban Milky Way. No specific plans other than just making something of the night. It's such a untaxing scope to use. One handed carry from the house and round the garden. With such low power, and a simple red dot finder, just point it and start viewing. Rarely even a need to star hop. Latching onto Vega before the sky was particularly dark, a beautiful split on the Double Double confirmed great seeing. I don't think I've ever had anything other than great seeing in this scope! First view of Jupiter of the season and a real treat as always. Beautifully precise view in the ED72, although less detail than in the Dob of course. I know they're not everyone's cup of tea, but a light blue filter coaxed out the structure more readily and helped with the atmospheric refraction I felt; Subtle though. Saturn naked eye, with some gymnastics to see around a nearby house which blocked the view. Jupiter sure has put the distance into Saturn since the conjunction. Double Cluster enjoyed, but quickly onwards to Stock 2 as a nice target suited to this scope. M13 nicely speckled. The Dob blows it wide open, but the outer structure caught my eye in the ED72 in a way I haven't noticed before. With the summer triangle high and the sky now dark, the 24mm ES82 and deep sky filters come out, although I wonder if a 30mm-ish might suit this scope better. East and West Veil showing their macro structure. Look for the Nimbus 2000! There's a large ragged hook that catches my eye too. Not the same as the dark site fine detail seen in the Dob, but beautiful in a different way. The North America Nebula popped out fairly nicely. The Dob shows this well at a dark site, but I feel the ED72 is a better bet from home. Heart and Soul searched for with various filters, but not conclusively seen. The Pacman nebula jumped out though; I don't recall it being so bright! Seen more as a half disk than the full Pacman with the dark site Dob, but pleasing in a different way among the star fields of Cas. M31 obligatory, and M33 always nice to catch, if only as an unstructured bright spot in the suburban sky. ED72 again beating the Dob on M33 under home skies. Higher power again, for M34 in Perseus which I haven't seen for a while. The Ring Nebula small but delightful and elegant. A quick tick of star like Neptune out there on the edge. The binos revealed RS Oph. My first view of it, and fainter now than when first reported I felt. I judged RS Oph beyond mag 6, but noted the comparison star next to it was fainter than expected (confirmed as variable too), muddying the water a bit. Thanks to those on SGL that wrote about this nova for everyone's awareness. The Perseids weren't as good as I recall on other years, but nice to saw a few, including one absolute belter through the square of Pegasus.
  13. Nice to hear about a couple of successful sightings and see your photos @tripleped and @Stu. Your second photo looks very similar to the view I had through my binos Stu, including the cloud scooting through! Beautiful sight. Didn't quite recognise yours tripleped, until I realised it was a day later - nice to see how it has moved on. I wasn't optimistic given the blanket of cloud, but it lifted at just the right moment. Really happy to got a sighting and not to have fallen onto the driveway while leaning too far out of an upstairs window to get a view. 🙂.
  14. Looks like a nice conjunction next Thursday. Mercury at maximum elongation from the Sun, with the a slim crescent moon 3.5%, WNW, just after sunset. Close enough for a low power scope or binos, and a nice chance to locate the elusive Mercury.
  15. Thank you @rkelley8493, that's a really helpful perspective on it. That top lens in the ES92 12mm is immense! I find it interesting that you haven't equated longer eye relief with being easier to use. I had assumed, probably wrongly in retrospect, that more eye relief in the ES92 would automatically be more comfortable. And in fact, I should have known better. A couple of long focal length EPs I've used have very generous eye relief, but it extends further out than rubber eye cup - and they took quite a bit of getting used to. One of these was absolutely transformed by fitting an extended eye cup. Other long eye relief eye pieces I've used have the eye cup absolutely spot on, and have been brilliant. I think you've hit on something of importance in saying the presentation is completely different. I'll have to compare a few of my existing porthole / long eye relief eyepieces again to see if it helps the decision, or hopefully find a chance to look through an Ethos/ES92 first. There was a 13mm Ethos in the for sale section recently which I perhaps should have taken a punt on. Thanks again. 👍
  16. Thanks Paul, I had somehow missed that this was happening. Great reminder 🙂
  17. I had a quick peek this morning and, as above, the activity earlier in the week was rotating out of view. There was a tiny sun spot that I didn't notice initially. In common with nocturnal observing, a relaxed and patient approach can reveal details that weren't immediately apparent. With the sun, taking a slow careful look around each part of the disk will sometimes reveal something you'd otherwise miss. The highlight of the view this morning for me was a nice tangle of faculae around the spot (at 4 o'clock in this image https://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/data/realtime/hmi_igr/1024/latest.html). These are easier to see when they are towards the edge of the disk standing out slightly brighter against the darker background of the edge (a phenomenon known as limb darkening). Even when the sun is quiet you can see granulation too. Unlike a large sunspot, these features are all a lot more subtle. Nice article here: Fun in the Sun: A White-Light Guide to Our Nearest Star - Sky & Telescope - Sky & Telescope (skyandtelescope.org) You've got into this at a good time though. The sun is starting to get more active again after a quiet spell.
  18. Size9Hex


    Thanks Chris. Repeating a little from the message I just sent, but I'm going to miss the ST102 and I hope it brings you the same enjoyment it brought me. Carrying it to the Post Office under one arm made me realise again what a nice light portable scope it is - great for trips to dark skies or for just grabbing for a quick look at the stars with minimal fuss. Clear dark skies to you.
  19. Thank you Neil, that’s a great perspective on it. I have a similar experience with orthos at shortly focal lengths. They just squeak out that extra bit of texture on Mars, pull out slightly fainter/closer double stars, and scatter less light. Made me realise I value optical purity at short focal lengths more than wide fields. I didn’t get on with a longer focal length ortho though - even though it was a lot more comfortable to use than the short ortho, I think I value wider fields more at longer focal lengths. But around 10mm (give or take) I think there’s a transition. Overall, thanks to everyone who has responded. Lots of personal preference involved, which is nice to see. 🙂
  20. Thank you again Piero, useful perspective on it. Apologies I didn’t put the question in the context of my existing eyepieces originally - although I view these as somewhat fluid, as viewing personal preferences and observing styles become clearer or change over the years... and finances allowing of course. Sadly I’ve never tried a 100 degree eyepiece. My largest is the 82 degree 24mm at almost 900g. You make a good point. I was pretty shocked when I first saw the size and heft of it, although I’m very happy it now. I’m not sure when (or if!) I might replace the 14mm yet. Short of a lottery win, it might be one for when the summer Milky Way returns, which would give me time to look second hand. Hopefully the world will be in a better place by then too, with more chance to share the views with others. 🙂
  21. Thank you everyone for all of the latest replies and help. @michael.h.f.wilkinson Do you mind me asking whether you wear glasses with the ES92 please? Trying to get a sense for how many of the ES92 fans are non-glasses wearers. @Piero Thanks that’s an interesting point you make. I wondered about a 10mm Ethos. For me, it feels like this focal length is around the boundary between two observing styles. Longer than this is big wide relaxing and enjoying the view and less than this is getting into coaxing out tricky detail - and generally small detail, not requiring big fields of view. My current closest EP in this range is an ES82 8.8mm. It’s not a hard boundary and it’s a bit of a generalisation though, and longer term I’m not sure whether I see this focal length being super wide or not. Agree that the 10mm Pentax would be stonking though! 🙂 A 10mm (assuming I sell the 14mm) would give me a big gap down from the 24mm. I’ll have a look at the true FOV though - it feels important that this EP will be wide enough for star hopping to ensure it’s the relaxing low faff eyepiece that lives in the focuser. Thanks for your advice on it! 👍
  22. Thank you Louis, John, Paul, Iain and Don. It’s absolutely brilliant to be able to draw on such experience and advice. @John I don’t have a coma corrector, and perhaps naively, hadn’t thought about it in association with going with an even wider eyepiece. I’ve not found coma bothersome in my 24mm which has a lovely accessible 82 degrees - although in this EP, I’m usually nebula hunting which perhaps doesn’t draw attention to coma in the way other targets might. I suppose if I study the coma at the edge of the 14mm more critically I might get a better idea of how it would be. When you say coma will be an issue, would you expect a corrector to be essential at 92 to 100 degrees? Thanks for the extra ideas on the Delos and Morpheus which I hadn’t really considered. Look like they would definitely tick the comfort box. Interested to know whether folks still experience the "It’s full of stars!’ view on these - I love your quote @Louis D! This is what I’m hoping I might be able to get in this eyepiece choice - it’s my go-to for most of the showpiece open clusters for example. That’s really good feedback on the usable eye relief on the ES92 too - thanks. 👍 Would love to hear any other perspectives too. Thanks again! 🙂
  23. Hi everyone, I would welcome your experience and advice on an eyepiece decision please: In short, which eyepiece for my "lives in the focuser" DSO sessions? Ethos 13mm, ES92 12mm or should I stick with my existing ES82 14mm or something else? Main scope is a 10" f4.7. I'm wondering if one the alternatives might give me a more comfortable view with more of the field visible. Slightly more: I realise I'm lucky to have an ES82 14mm. It's a great eyepiece that I've been using for years. Mid power DSO viewing, high quality view, wide enough for star hopping, but deep enough for great views of the showpiece objects - just thoroughly enjoyable observing that isn't pushing equipment or observer or sky quality to the limits! I'm only questioning the ES82 14mm because of the ergonomics and because if there was a single eyepiece I really wanted to optimise, it would be the one in this niche. The ergonomics of the ES14mm are such that I can either view comfortably with about 60-65 degrees visible or I go almost within eyelid touching distance to get about 75 degrees with the field stop needing a slight head turn in either case. The latter isn't uncomfortable, but it could be more comfortable...! The Ethos or ES92 are of interest if the the wide field is more accessible/comfortable. Seems odd, but I briefly dwelled on a Delite given how much time I spend at ~60 degree distance from the ES82 anyway! 🙄 . I love those big wide starfield views at this focal length though. Do other ranges open up the accessible AFOV? Interested in any and every experience and opinion on it. 🙂 Thanks!
  24. Little Sagitta is a new one to me. Looks pretty cool. Another one to add to the list! 👍
  25. Nice one Kerry. Great to hear that you’ve split it. Sterling effort! Glad I’m not the only one to view it as a nemesis! For no good reason, it’s bugging me in a way that others (e.g. Sirius B ) aren’t. Thanks for your comment about a previous attempt on it too. It’s nice to hear of another similar experience on this.
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