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cloudsweeper last won the day on March 26

cloudsweeper had the most liked content!

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About cloudsweeper

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    Brown Dwarf

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    Physics, maths, history (family, military, social), pre-modern architecture.
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    Merseyside, England
  1. With Sirius appearing low early in the morning, I've been waiting for an opportunity to try for its elusive companion the "Pup" in twilight conditions. So at 7.00am today with a clear sky, out I went with the 8SE. It would have been cool (stayed in the shed), but it is not good at giving sharp images of bright stars. I quickly exchanged it for the ED80, which doesn't need much cooling. 7.10 now, and sky quite light, but Sirius still clear in the 'scope. At x80 (and with much fiddling for best focus), I spotted in AV a tiny speck, up a bit and east of the "Dog". Could have been AI (Imagination) of course, but later checking with SkySafari, Sirius B is right where I believed it to be. I'd like to think I cracked it at first attempt.......... Timing is critical - by 7.17, Sirius was not visible, naked eye, and was also lost in the 'scope. Before finishing for breakfast, I couldn't resist the Moon - waning gibbous, high, more or less west, and about to sink below high trees. Quickly moved the 'scope to extend the viewing. What to concentrate on? Theophilus and Cyrillus were near the terminator, looking good. Theophilus: multiple terraces to the east, strong shadow from western wall which showed it is deeper than Cyrillus. Several central peaks were noted. Cyrillus: The prominent sub-crater Cyrillus A at the western edge appeared as a small, bright crescent against the strong shadows further west. Three central peaks stood out, then to the east, a long curved ridge completed the varied features in Cyrillus's floor. x120 used. 7.35am, trees ended the show, so in for breakfast after an excellent start to the day! Doug.
  2. Hi Ruzeen, and welcome! Yes, this a great place for sharing and learning. The hobby wouldn't be anywhere near as enjoyable without SGL! Doug.
  3. Great Stu - is my description now official terminology? Doug.
  4. OK Geoff - just been out and saw 61 Cyg (Piazzi's Flying Star) - quite high in the sky - very like 15 Aql, arguably a bit more orange, and a closer match. Easy split at x20 (4.10deg). A beauty - don't know why I haven't targeted it before! Doug.
  5. Thanks Stu - glad I got it right. I just chanced on the pair, and they stood out appealingly. I should refer to SkySafari more often. 14 Aql - yes, unsplittable visually - according to the approx. formula, you'd need an impossible mag of between x2500 and x3000 to crack that one. Spectroscope required! @Geoff Barnes - 15 Aql was at about 28deg. I believe perceived colour depends on several factors. 61 Cyg is at about 75deg. I'll take a peek next time out. Doug.
  6. Update: 15 Aql is an optical (line of sight) double rather than a gravitationally bound system, and is listed in Haas but not the Cambridge Atlas. No less attractive for that mind you! 14 Aql is not in either volume, but Stellarium has it as a double. I believe it is a spectroscopic double, so cannot be split visually. Doug. [ @StarryEyed - Kevin - I was undecided between that and orangeish/orangeish!]
  7. 7.15pm, clear sky, ED80 ready waiting for me. Nothing planned - just fancied sweeping this fabulous 'scope around the sky. Aimed south, up a bit, and spotted a pair which were conspicuously orangey. Stellarium told me they were 15 Aql, a double with an easy 39" separation, sitting in a lovely arc of stars in a huge 5.7deg of field and x11 mag. The colour was clearer at x24. Sources describe it as yellow/blue or yellow/red, but it was orangey/orangey to me - and very clear and attractive. Mismatched. 14 Aql is also a double, but clouds prevented further investigation at only 7.35. Another case of grabbing any opportunity. Brief, yes, but very satisfying, and recommended - especially to doubles fans! Doug.
  8. Thanks John. The Skytee goes nicely on the AZ4's hefty tripod, so I'd try that first! Doug.
  9. Thanks for all the responses - very helpful as usual! I had considered parting with the 8SE, but even though it's not as sharp as a Newt or frac, I do like the GoTo and tracking, and I can use the ED80 on that mount. Thanks for the warnings re a 127 frac (John, Paz)- longer than the short focus ST120 - but as Gus says, the SkyTee II should handle it well, and the ED80 again could go on there for guiding. What then about the ST120? Well, it's very easy to use. especially on the AZ4 - useful for taking away from home. So it's status quo for the present, with thoughts still on an ED127 - as Dave says, close to being a quality all-rounder. Doug.
  10. Mark - so far I've sold on a 130 Newt, a 70mm frac, and a 127 Mak. I miss that Mak. And Yes - something else will have to go! Doug.
  11. Not done a lot of viewing recently in this continuing poor weather, so I got to thinking how I feel about my 'scopes - usage, performance, preferences even. Current thoughts: 8 Inch SCT on GoTo: Easy to use, good aperture, but (GoTo nothwithstanding) the narrow field can be claustrophobic. Also, brighter stars lack sharpness - this can be a problem when trying to split certain doubles. (Collimation checked - OK!) ST120 Fast Frac: A nice low cost 'scope. Manageable size, at the expense of magnification. Some CA, but that doesn't bother me. Good wide field. The jerky focuser is its weakness - I've greased and adjusted it to minimise this effect, but it persists. (Tried a Crayford, and it slipped a lot under load.) 10 Inch Dobsonian: Good value for the aperture, reasonable FOV, high mag. Collimation is easy. As for use - well, it is a bit bulky to set up, and nudging it for small movements and tracking can be tricky. Star images good. A fine all-rounder, although perhaps just a bit less easy to use than the others. ED80 Apo Triplet: Very easy to use, with super-wide views. Limited mag of course. A big plus is the fact that it can also be used on the GoTo mount, where it almost reaches the zenith. Stars really sharp. Beautifully smooth DS focuser. Because I really enjoy using this instrument, it is currently my 'scope of choice. (It also serves as a guidescope for the SCT when they are both on the SkyTee II mount, with the very convenient slo-mo controls.) Where next? I feel the future is frac - an ED127 Apo would replace the ST120 and fill the gaps in the ED80's performance (mag, aperture). Large FOV, quality views, manageability. Waiting for the rain to stop can get expensive - better start saving! Doug.
  12. 7.10pm, 8SE - Moon waxing gibbous, low, east of south, and a very misty apparition. The Apennine Mountains trailed away eastwards from Eratosthenes near the terminator, with the shadows of the peaks looking like a string of beads. Mag x85. No big deal really, except that detail was good in spite of the thin clouds, and it made me wonder if a little mistiness actually helped in this respect by suppressing some of the glare. Only 30 minutes, but better than nothing, and (if I'm right!) an interesting effect. Doug.
  13. Low, south - Saturn, with Titan easily on show, and a first quarter Moon - nice sight in the widefield frac! Doug.
  14. ^^^^^ Can't say I'd detected any lack of harmony concerning different approaches. Here on SGL we tend to rely on facetiousness and humour when airing our various preferences. There's no answer to para 3 - it's just subjective. But I'd rather see a pyramid than a photo of one. Doug.
  15. 9.45pm - had about 1.5 hours, fancy a coffee and a warm - but seen several nice targets, and it's all still clear! Good luck everyone! Doug. Edit: Easy targets, but nice: Jupiter, Saturn plus a clear Titan, a matched double in Aquila, 2.5" (Sigma 2644), and three globs (M15, M71, C47).
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