Jump to content

Stargazers Lounge Uses Cookies

Like most websites, SGL uses cookies in order to deliver a secure, personalised service, to provide social media functions and to analyse our traffic. Continued use of SGL indicates your acceptance of our cookie policy.

  • Announcements



Advanced Members
  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Community Reputation

2,559 Excellent


About cloudsweeper

  • Rank
    Sub Dwarf

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Interests
    Physics, maths, history (family, military, social), pre-modern architecture.
  • Location
    Merseyside, England
  1. Any tips for planning sessions?

    ....yes, good idea, but first take a look at Stellarium (or similar) to see exactly what's in your sky at the time you plan on being out. Then you'll know which parts on the Atlas to concentrate on. The Atlas will give you lots of ideas as to what's on show, but other ideas (of good or easy) targets can be found in any number of books/guides like the following: (Hope this helps, Doug.)
  2. First time using a telescope

    Great report - sounds like you've done a lot of background research! And GRS first outing - wow! - it took me well over two years to see it. You should have no trouble star-hopping to open clusters with the help of Stellarium, and what a treat they are. A Telrad or Rigel (lighter, smaller footprint) is good, and a finderscope gives a more detailed view, wider than the 'scope's. A straight through type shows the same view as your 'scope as well, which can help. Remember to use CTRL ^ V on Stellarium to get the same view as in the 'scope. One other tip - as well as using night vision with Stellarium, a red acetate sheet clipped to the screen also helps hugely. Continue having fun! Doug. NB - at low mag, contrast is poorer because of brightness of the background sky, so increasing it helps for fainter objects. Brighter/extended ones will eventually also get dimmer however.
  3. Forward Planning

    After deliberating for months, I've settled on a 300P Dob for my next 'scope (10" would not be sufficient increase on the 8SE). No idea when I'll get it though (cost, storage, etc.), but I'm working towards its arrival, step-by-step. To that end, the following have just arrived, so the plan is starting to take shape!
  4. Lovely clear sky - got 8SE from shed, set up, aligned on Betelgeuse and Procyon at 7.25pm. As usual, ran a test of GoTo on a familiar target, M67 King Cobra (open) Cluster in Cancer - small, dense, dozens of clear stars (and many more less so), very nice. Target for the evening was Leo galaxies, starting with M105 (face-on elliptical) - a very pale, fuzzy patch, south of HIP 52683 and (to east) the close pair HIP 52744/6. Transparency was getting poorer by now, but AV helped me pinpoint the galaxy, as did moving (with motors) and tapping the 'scope. I then tried for the Leo Quartet (or some of them anyway) - got the right region, west of a parallelogram of stars, so knew exactly where to look for NGC 3190. Tried tapping and AV again, also increasing the mag, and dropping it to x48 for more exit pupil, all to no avail. A glance at the sky showed why: extensive cloud cover! So an encouraging start stalled this time out. But there's usually something on show even with lots of thin cloud about: La Superba, Y CVn, one of the brightest carbon stars - very orange indeed! And.... M35 in Gemini - another compact open cluster, similar in appearance to M67, also very nice, and with NGC 2158 OC immediately SW, comprising about eight stars. Then finished after 1 hour 20 minutes - not quite what I'd planned/hoped for, but still very satisfying. Doug.
  5. .....and while I'm waiting for it (12" S/W) Gus, I've just gone and ordered the collimation tools. (Well, it's a step towards the goal, eh? Or a really, really bad case of aperture fever.) Doug.
  6. Certainly for a truss type 'scope a shroud is a good idea - protection, anti-dewing, contrast. Doug. (Just added a pic of my dewshield - see earlier post.)
  7. A solid tube won't need a shroud as such, Nathan, but the secondary cell might need a dew shield - see how it goes. If required, you can make one out some camping mat. (I've done that for my 8SE.) Doug.
  8. Fever strikes!! Tell me about it - I'm hankering after a 12" Dob now! Doug.
  9. Glad you're having fun, Nathan! Yes, you will need another 'scope for detail and mag, but the ETX80 is good for widefield views (starfields, large clusters), brighter objects, GoTo, and portability. Doug.
  10. Jupiter, Mars, Saturn and Pluto

    Good work Alex! I too have not managed Pluto, although I bagged a different but not-so-distant dwarf planet the other evening (Ceres). Doug.
  11. It was more noticeable than usual, John - I was using my usual "starter EP", the 36mm Hyperion Aspheric (a nice, light, widefield piece of glass) giving just x56. Doug.
  12. That's the one @Stu - Alpha 1, 2 were clear, but not the third component. And as I said, the CDSA, 2015 Edition, page 131, gives the name Zubeneschamali to this system. (It's a great book of course, so we can forgive this! ) Doug.
  13. 4.00am - still, mild, some thin cloud - got 8SE from shed, and aligned on Jupiter, low in south. The Galilean moons were lined up to the west, and the equatorial belts easily seen, but the disc was shimmering, even at low mag, so not a good sign! Also, transparency was poor, the targets low, the waning crescent Moon was low in the SE, and the sky generally not very dark then, so I wasn't expecting too much! Zubenelgenubi (Alpha 1,2 Lib, the southern claw of nearby Scorpius) - located with SAO number - quintuple, but visual triple (3.9 and 4.6 minutes) - very easy with that separation, but only two of the three were evident, no doubt due to conditions. (Incidentally, the Cambridge Double Star Atlas mistakenly names this star as Zubeneschamali, the northern claw. Hope I'm correct here.) Zubenelhakrabi (Gamma Lib) - a binary - orange giant with faint companion at 43". Only the pale orange primary was seen - no companion, or third, unrelated star to south. M13 glob in Hercules - could hardly fail to get a result with this, but M5 glob in Serpens remained a fuzzy patch. (Stellarium calls it the Rose Cluster - the latest version gives many more names to objects). IC 4665, Summer Beehive (open) Cluster, Ophiuchus - about a dozen stars, clear but not very bright (= sharper stars, less scatter, nicer view), a large, loose cluster, with a "HI" pattern. NGC 6633 - open cluster in Ophiuchus - a couple of dozen stars, also clear - a smaller cluster, fairly loose, very pleasing. (Under better conditions, this has appeared as a tighter grouping of many more stars.) Finished at 5.35 with dew on the plate and shield, and a beautiful morning chorus from the blackbirds. Despite unfavourable conditions, a good start to the day! Doug.
  14. Quick Report On Some Easy Targets & The Power of GoTo

    I usually have Stellarium on the go to show targets (planned or otherwise) and to confirm (as far as possible and when necessary) than I am viewing what I think I am. I have it set to night mode, plus I clip a red acetate sheet over the screen, so it shouldn't affect adaptation - no more than the red torch! The Moon probably didn't help matters, but I wanted to be out again and take advantage of the rare, clear sky. Stray light from all over the place is a nuisance, but I use a deep hood at all times to keep that out. Doug.