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Everything posted by chrisrnuttall

  1. That's a lovely observation, I had kind of given up on Mars but you are still getting quite a lot of detail there, i remember from previous apperitions how good it is to see the planet receed from earth, phase defect increasing and diamter shrinking, you are also seeing the season change too. Is your OD300 new? I suppose it is a little easier to handle than the 16"?
  2. completely cloudy here, I stayed inside and watched the Tele! Tethys and Dione are both going to produce shaddow transits at the same time tonight, they are both a little smaller than Rhea (about 70% the diameter), and therefore that bit harder! Tethys is from 22:20-01:05, and Dione from 22:40 - 01:40. I have tried and failed with Dione before but i might have a go if i am not too knackered later I reckon the next Rhea Shaddow transit is May 2nd-3rd, 21:45 - 00:45 Then there is a double shaddow transit of Rhea and Tethys on May 11th-12th Tethys 22:10-01:00 Rhea 22:50-01:40 Enceladus' shaddow will also be there making a tripple but it is academic as it will definately be too small to see. Actually these events will continue right through summer, I think i might have a go at one of the doubles, that would look great!
  3. here are a couple of images from Starry night 22:20 bst 23:20 bst
  4. jet stream looks calm for it; Unisys Weather: 4 Panel (1-2day) GFS 300 mb Plot for Europe and you lot down south look to have clear skies for it too if the bbc/weather is right. have fun!!
  5. ok according to starry night (which was sopt on with my observations last week) Rhea's shadow enters saturn's disc at 20:50 BST mid shaddow transit is at about 22:20 BST Rhea leaves Saturn's Disc at about 23:20 BST The shaddow of Rhea leaves satrun's disc at about 23:50 BST so saturn will be at its highest by the time it ends which scope are you going to use Seb? I reckon a bigger aperture should help.
  6. just looking at starry night for you, hang on....
  7. Russ Yes it is transiting again tonight, not sure if there will be any more next month but at some point this year we will have the last one for a long time, so definately worth a go! You will need good seeing to detect it, the seeing on my ob was good but not perfect and i struggled to confirm to myself that i had actually seen it for about half an hour. Most of the time there was not a trace of the shaddow at all, then sometimes i would detect a very pale grey cloudy area which seemed to come and go and i wondered if it was just my eyes playing tricks on me. I started to think i was having myself on but then that pale grey whisp tightened up into a tiny little dot just for a second and i knew what i had seen was real. I noted the position and went inside to compare it to the view on starry night and it was in exactly the right place. I carried on observing saturn, concentrating on the right area, and the indistinct fuzz i had seen earlier kept returning but somehow it seemed slightly tighter now, the seeing was getting better and i had seen it once so i knew what to look for, over the next twenty minutes or so i had a couple more definate glimpses of the shaddow, and then again once Rhea had left the disc, which is what i drew. Good luck, i really hope you get to see it too it's nice to share it with someone, it's the kind of silly insignificant little dot only an astronomer would apreciate, especially when the best you can hope for is to glimpse it for a second at a time!
  8. I must check this galaxy out, i have had a look at a few of the vigo cluster this spring and they were all just fuzzy shapes with no details. Seeing a dust lane would be cool! thanks for the sketch
  9. just noticed that i have written 14th of march on my sketch, oops!
  10. Here is a sketch of saturn from the evening of the 14th April. I have tried to see Dione in shadow transit before but failed to see even a hint of it, i gave it up as impossible since it is only 0.19", then i saw Paul Abels sketch of that very event also using an eight inch newtonian and decided to try again sometime since it must be possible. I recently read in AN that rhea (which is 0.25") was going to shadow transit twice this month at reasonable times and that it and Titan were the only transits considered to be 'viable' for visual observers. So I got myself outside with a cooled and aligned scope when Rhea was at mid transit, it took half an hour of continuous observing to detect a definate glimpse of it but the seeing was improving all the time and once i had my eye in i got a few more very brief imressions that there was a grey blurry pinpoint on the disc of Saturn. After a few of these 'sightings' i finally got a definate view of the shadow when one time the soft grey point resolved slightly further into a dark grey tiny dot. Great! I tried a bit more and decided to go in for a nice cup of tea! I came back out in time to see Rhea - tiny, dim and grey - emerge from its transit of Saturns disc, by now the seeing was a little better still and i was able to get two more good views of the shadow, having Rhea as a marker slightly helped me focus my attention on the exact spot where the shadow would be. by the time i finished my eyes felt like this This was an extremely difficult observation and after my failed efforts to see Dione i think i have been quite lucky with the still conditions of late giving great seeing despite the low altitude of the planet. It is definately one i will remember! And after seeing me doing my sketch, my 6 year old son now wants to see Saturn too! Chris
  11. that's a really helpful sketch to see, i am suposed to be getting out tonight to take my first look at these galaxies (I only got into deep sky a couple of years ago and i have always been looking elsewhere in the spring) but there is a thin veil of cloud hanging over york at the moment, the kind you can see the stars through but nothing else!
  12. The lower contrast of the features on saturn will need a scope performing at its best to bring them out, couple that with the lower altitude of saturn making the seeing worse, then the larger aperture AND the central obstruction of the 8" could both become a significant hinderance......
  13. thanks Bish i don't think there was much left that i could have got on the night. There is pretty much an hour and a half of solid staring in the sketch, i find it hard to do it any quicker!
  14. Paul I will post them. misty nights here too near york, but saturn is lower every year now. Could try Austrailia, I've heard it's lovely!
  15. That's funny! firstly because Mrs D did better than you, and secondly because the tak got shown up by the newt. everyone likes an underdog (sorry Mrs. D - no offence meant!)
  16. Thanks for that link Paul, i will enjoy reading that report it looks like there is loads of good info in there, i find observing much more rewarding when you know about the object in the eyepiece! I have only looked at saturn once this aparition, and it was over next door's house, lower than mars and decidedly blurry. I thought the disc seemed much more subdued than i have ever seen it, (which i think is now 11 years). I will be observing saturn more in the coming weeks since my view of the western half of the sky is unobstructed, but an object to the east of the meridian is pretty much out of bounds for me, and i have two young kids and a job involving long hours, so getting to bed at a sensible hour is paramount! I was surprised to see in your recent sketch that it is possible to observe a shaddow transit of a moon other than titan on saturn. I tried to see Dione in April of last year, but the seeing was not great like i remember it being when saturn was really high a few years ago, and i detected no sign of it. I will have to try again if there is another transit. I am hoping to exploit my western horizon by continuing with mars until it is tiny, i find the seasonal chages fascinating.
  17. paul I have noticed that in a lot of your drawings the fine details seem to be very well defined, obviously you have a good eye and plenty of experience, and I think i have read that your scope in in an observatory which must help with the seeing/cooling issues, what eyepieces do you use?
  18. Paul I just opened the two drawings in separate windows next to each other, its' quite good fun to compare them, we've got exactly the same features, but an hour apart. I am interested to see you have rendered the equator quite pale and bright too, any ideas what causes this (clouds clearly but why at the equator? sunlight acting on the atmosphere?) Incidentally i thought i saw the feature to the right of niciliacus looking forked as you drew it, but the seeing was so poor i couldnt be certain.
  19. Dweller, the polar cap is shrinking still, and that is when the notches and things apear, so maybe it's new? or maybe it is the conditions as you say.
  20. a cool, very clear and dark night, frost on the telescope but not on the lawn. seeing a little below average, but variable with fleeting steady spells. I used the dark red filter to record the majority of the dark areas, but it was hard work and the image frequently became blurred or jumped about, so then tried the light red, which gave a crisper image but with lower contrast and i was able to glipmse erythraeums knobbles including margarifiter sinus and Juventae fons, and also solis lacus and aurorea sinus later on. Also used no filter to look at the over all colours on the disc, and a dark blue to check for other clouds. sinus meridiani showed little detail before rolling over the limb, there were two brighter arcs to its south on the limb, next to erythraeum, i think one is argyre. For the first time i saw a notch in the polar cap, it appeared to be an extension of mare acidalium, and was very dark. Bright white clouds seemed to form on the eastern limb as i observed ( or maybe i didn't notice them at first), the equator seemed bright again, more so in the chryse area, and the western limb had white/blue-ish mist over it. I have also attached the page from my note book after seeing Andrew's 'Entry from last night's journal'. I thought it was a nice idea. Chris
  21. I saw that notch last night, i'm impressed you could see it in a 128mm albeit a top notch refractor.
  22. that's great! I still have my view of mars from monday in my mind, and your sketch is so similar to that view, but you have rendered it in a way which I think displays the delicate subtlety of the various levels of albedo really well. I like the acidalium area, it looks very similar to how i saw it on monday, darker and hooked at its southern end; and the knobblyness of the mare erythraeum , and the same brighter area on the souther limb. I also agree about he white on the western limb seeming very slightly blue. But i am slighlty jealous of all that low contrast stuff you can see in the redder areas, it's just not there with my 8". Keep em coming, it's very enjoyable to look at them. I am out again tonight - well that's that plan anyway! I just noticed you used no filters, do you prefer the unfiltered view?
  23. yeah, seems to make it more personal somehow, I like it. maybe I'll put my damp smudgy field sketch up next time along side my finished drawing,
  24. i thought my mount had a problem too on monday night, mars was jumping about an arcsecond or two, it eventually stopped doing it..... Silly air!
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