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Everything posted by Size9Hex

  1. Wanted to ask for some advice on a possible purchase please, assuming I get permission from the boss... My main scope is a basic 10" dob, supported by a 72mm ED frac. Since getting the frac, the dob hasn’t appealed as much for doubles, lunar and planetary despite usually (but not always) showing more detail. So I’m looking for a bigger ED frac with more horsepower. Current thinking is that a 120mm (ish) would be manageable and a worthwhile step up from the 72mm. But for planetary in particular, would it be worth going bigger, with 150mm being probably the upper limit? I guess I’m trying to balance performance (especially planetary) vs. hassle. A smaller scope might mean a bit more budget for something other than a basic model. But if a 150mm is capable enough to become the planetary scope of choice (rather than the 10" dob) then it’s tempting. Or is this just aperture fever? Either way, a new mount would be needed, with intention to dual mount with the 72mm. All comments, advice and opinion really appreciated. Thanks!
  2. Sorry to hear it. Hope it clears up for you and the new year is still young. Has been super cloudy here too - hard to stay inspired sometimes without some decent daylight or starlight!
  3. Thanks for the tips and encouragement everyone. ? ? I’m keen to try the new H-beta at a dark site from which I think I’ve previously (and just barely) seen IC434 using a UHC. I figured it was worth a punt from home. If you don’t look you’ll never know! @mikeDnight that’s a stunning observation and sketch (as always)! @jetstream , @michael.h.f.wilkinson Thanks for the tips on the Flaming Star. Really appreciated. As well as the suburban skies, part of the problem is really basic - even at a dark site I’m not sure if I’m supposed to be looking for the very large extended emission nebula (sounds like this might be the case from your wide field recommendation Michael, so I’ll give it a go in the 72mm frac) or a few tiny wisps of reflection nebula around the brightest star - which seems to line up with the sketch in the O’Meara Caldwell guidebook. I think I even read a old post saying ‘look for a banana’...! I was using the 10" dob last night, ES82 24mm. Silly question maybe, but what’s the NPB you refer to?
  4. First clear night for a loooooong time last night, so a quick session under suburban skies. Those constellations sure move quickly. I’m not finished with Winter or even Autumn yet, but Leo is already poking its head up early in the evening! One highlight to share was the heart of M42 around the trapezium. To state the obvious, it’s really bright. Pile on the magnification while the detail gets better and better. At 500x and a tiny exit pupil it was still bright in direct vision - it just doesn’t dim out! For filters, the UHC gives a great view, especially for low power at a dark site where the wings curl back full circle. But for the heart at extremely high power, the Oiii won the day, bringing it to life. Stream, filaments, lumps, bubbles and knots. Almost photographic. A stunning sight. Give it a go if you haven’t already! A new H-beta filter revealed the California nebula for the first time from home - only ever seen from a dark site in the UHC previously. I looked optimistically for IC 434 but no joy. The H-beta made some faint ‘dark site only’ features in the extended outer envelope of M42 more obvious too. Failed for probably the 100th time to see anything at all around the Flaming Star nebula. Tips and advice welcome. It is my nemesis... Anyway a nice night. Good to be back out. Hope everyone else got a good look too.
  5. Nice post. I think it’s a terrific list. #33, Adhara / Epsilon CMa has defeated me on a number of occasions. Maybe this season though... ?
  6. Agree this is worth checking. For me, the comet position in SS6 was accurately enough placed to find in binoculars, but badly off in a high power eyepiece. The DB was maybe two weeks old. Updated it and the location was bang on.
  7. Great plans! Thanks for posting; I didn’t know about the eclipse on transit. Fingers crossed for clear skies.
  8. Oops should have checked for similar posts! Lots to be inspired by on the old one too. Sounds like some fantastic plans for you this year. Should be one to remember! All the best for it.
  9. ? That’s an awesome and really generous plan.
  10. Sorry to hear that too. Your post and @Peter Drew‘s get me thinking about drawing happiness from what we have achieved rather than what we feel we haven’t. Some goals are black and white; Either achieved or not. Other goals are different; We could/should be delighted to have achieved the main, most important aspects, even if we haven’t ticked off the nice-to-have’s. If we didn’t achieve those final bits, with time, money and energy levels being so limited, perhaps those final bits aren’t so important to worry about and we should move on to the stuff that gets us excited today, rather than stuff that we thought we were excited about when made the original plans. These are just general thoughts/comments I should add - not to judge or make assumptions about anyone’s specific situation. I hope those dark sky trips go well. I’ve drawn inspiration from your own excellent posts about upcoming faint stuff. And I suppose coming back to the above, have reconsidered some of my own observing goals as a result. Why spend time ticking off a few Caldwell list objects in the southern murk as per my old plans, when I’ve just learned of some awesome new cool thing that’s going straight to the top of the list?
  11. I really like it. Balances and compares the comet with the Pleiades very nicely. The Pleiades look very close to the view in the eyepiece from a dark site too. It’s great to see just how faint the nebulosity really is compared to the comet which I suppose is fairly bright compared to most faint fuzzies.
  12. I keep glancing over at it, but it sure is taking its time!
  13. Good shout. I think you’ve just added one more to my own list!
  14. Oh dear, that does sound very familiar with me too actually! Good luck for 2019 with it all!?
  15. Motivation levels rise and fall but 2019 is a new year and a chance to refresh. So what are you excited about in terms of astro intentions for 2019? Inspire us all with your plans! Complete that old observing list that’s 3/4ers done but stagnated for the last few years? Tick off a famous bucket list target? Tick of a specific esoteric left field target that has captured your imagination for some reason? Start a new target list? Forget lists completely and just enjoy the freedom? Make a regular dark site trip? Buy a new piece of kit to transform your viewing? Simplify your kit? Sketch more? Start a log book? For me, I think it’s going to be about making an effort to get back into dark site trips, but if at home then ticking less and sketching more. What’s everyone else got in mind?
  16. Here’s a fairly commonly used reference... https://www.prairieastronomyclub.org/filter-performance-comparisons-for-some-common-nebulae/ Above all though, experiment for yourself! Sometimes you find something useful straying from the established wisdom! My mileage varies according to suburban (Oiii often useful) or dark site (UHC often better) even on the same target, so there’s no single "best" even on the same target.
  17. No doubles? Who are you and what have you done with Nick? ? Great report. Those galaxies are more spring than winter for an evening observer like me. A glimpse of things to come! ? Galaxies are rather "tick and move on" from here too sadly. They come alive under the darker skies out of town though. I find that clusters can hold your attention though, even in suburbia.
  18. Fingers crossed for some good weather for you. It’s a nice view in the 250px. Looks like the next few days might be affected by the moon, even if it wasn’t cloudy, but hopefully some clear skies just after Christmas when the moon is out of the way again.
  19. Good observation and sketch particularly with the small scope (small in relative terms - not intended to be critical of the scope). Thanks for sharing it. ? I use it’s big brother, the ST102 with an ES82 6.7mm and 4.7mm for high power. The latter really only for solar white light, with a filter to reduce CA and tighten up the view. Haven’t used the OVL 7mm 82* but from experience with the ES 6.7mm equivalent, I could picture it being a useful eyepiece. I think I’m more with SIDO on a "bit of an improvement" than "help greatly" though, just for setting expectations. The Ring is on its way out for the season. Bring on the Eskimo though! Check it out if you haven’t already! ?
  20. As a visual observer, it’s a terrific little scope in my opinion. With realistic expectations given the aperture, I’ve found it excellent for lunar, planetary, white light solar, DSOs, doubles, high power, wide field - everything really. Feels like a well built quality piece of kit too. I love using it. Full disclosure though, I’d prefer a bit more inward focus travel and as a travel scope, a sliding dew shield and smaller case would be nice to have.
  21. Wow, that’s really something! Thanks for the reply. I hadn’t realised they could be so huge.
  22. Intrigued by comments that 46P/Wirtanen appears as large visually as the full moon, I checked some numbers on Sky Safari. The comet is 12M km away and the moon just 400k km, which would seem to say that the comet is 30 times larger in diameter than the moon - not far off the size of Saturn! Can this really be true? ? Anyway, it was delightful comparing the view in the 72mm frac at 18x magnification against the 10" dob at 180x. They both showed something the other couldn’t! In the frac, the comet was smaller in apparent size as per intuition, but greater in physical extent across the sky - I could see more of it. The heart appeared a little like an out of focus star superimposed on the larger fainter extent of the comet. I initially thought the object was weighted on one side, but it seemed symmetrical on returning to it later, so I suspect this was a mistake. If the comet is as large as the moon, my 6.7mm eyepiece in the dob should have been entirely filled with comet! I saw a fairly large glow, which I now wonder might have been the "out of focus star" at the comets heart that I had seen in the frac. At the heart of this heart was another (almost?) stellar glow. The object was somewhat lopsided at this power, trailing away to the bottom right of the eyepiece. I didn’t get any impression of something that appeared to be there a few nights ago; That of a small wedge shaped glow just behind the brightest part of the comet. Only moderate confidence in that observation of the wedge, although I did later see a sketch on CN with a couple of spikes/jets angled in the same way, so perhaps there was something? Hope everyone else gets some good views too! ?
  23. Nothing groundbreaking, or off the beaten track, but just a couple of quick doubles in the grab and go before the clouds came in. These two doubles are real favourites. Interesting to compare to the star map afterwards and see I’ve sketched Miram’s secondary as fainter than many of the field stars despite being brighter; An effect of the bright primary perhaps? Comment and sketching advice/critique welcome.
  24. Similar here. I was only out until midnight, but similar. Didn’t see much of a show - just one "zinger", although I was mixing it with double stars, so may have a few while looking in the eyepiece.
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