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Everything posted by DHEB

  1. To all variabilists in SGL! AAVSO has recently released an alert encouraging variable star observers to begin closer monitoring of the recurrent nova U Sco before its coming next outburst: Alert Notice 664: Monitoring recurrent nova U Sco to discover its imminent eruption The outburst is expected to occur sometime in the coming 12 months, but can in principle happen any time from now on. U Sco is one of the few known recurrent novae, and is the one with the fastest known recurrent time of about a decade. U Sco is normally about mag 18, but can rise up to mag 7.5 during an outburst. The outbursts of this star are known to be quick, both to rise and fade. This could be a very interesting project for both visual and photometric observers. For us in northern latitudes this will be a difficult star to observe because Scorpious lies close to the horizon for us, and is best seen amidst the summer twilight. In any case I wish you good observing (and reporting)! This is a plot of AAVSO data from last outburst:
  2. Great post, Dave! Nothing better than a nice tutorial to inspire new observers to venture into variable star astronomy.
  3. SS Cyg is experiencing a new outburst since yesterday.
  4. Could not agree more. In my case a grab and go did a lot of difference for my observing frequency. One important aspect is to eliminate as many practical hinders to observing as possible.
  5. Very neat! Congratulations. I never saw them in my 200 mm Newtonian. Will try sometime when I can set up away from the trees. What was the sucess factor? Seeing, magnification? Or perhaps just the Mak?
  6. It seems that you had fun. A 14x70 RACI? How wide is the FOV? Sounds interesting. It seems to be a good season for comets, with also 38P and 46P coming soon.
  7. Just to let you know that the archetypal long period variable star Mira (omicron Ceti) is now nearing its predicted maximum (December 2018) and has reached naked eye visibility. Enjoy!
  8. In general you are always better off investing a little extra £$€ in buying good quality. In the best case you know that you can count on good quality on your side (if the view is ugly then you can know that it is almost certainly not the fault of that specific piece of equipment). If it does not work for you, you can always sell a good piece of equipment for a good fraction of new price. That will not be possible with a cheap thing. I understand you are in a budget so perhaps you want to monitor what's going on in the second hand market. Perhaps you can add a post in the "wanted" forum for a good quality, reasonably priced barlow. Good luck.
  9. Yes, it is a well known phenomenon that going up in magnification darkens the background, therefore by increasing the contrast, some objects become more easily visible.
  10. Personally, I believe it is not a big difference in native magnification, but these eyepieces will possibly deliver different viewing experiences if barlowed, for example. Very good question in any case, I will be watching for answers.
  11. I use a coma corrector for visual observation in a 200PDS f/5. It makes a difference in a 1.5 deg field, not so much in narrower fields. You might want to look for tables specifying the width of the coma free field in different focal ratios to decide for yourself. As far as I understand it will not be necessary in an f/6.
  12. I would not be surprised if, instead of the clutch, it is the 'cup' holding the gear tight that is being loosened by the motor.
  13. I have that telescope too, albeit for visual use only. I find it extremely useful for what I do (visual variable star observing), it is capable yet portable. I find myself using it extremely often. The little but observable chromatic aberration does not bother me, but I understand others may find this undesirable. My recommendation is to buy the optional 10:1 add on to the focuser (see picture below). It is extremely useful. I also ditched the finder, it is a plastic pieces of trash that shouldn't have been manufactured or shipped. This is a short focal relation scope. If you use it at low powers, it will be its own finder.
  14. Hi, short response since I am writing on a smartphone: Observing and estimating the magnitude of variable stars is a scientifically useful activity, also one that is fun and entertaining. You do not need to be a member of AAVSO to submit your observations, but you do need an observing code, which you can get from their webpage if you create a login first. You will need to carefully read the observing manual first, and then go through a period of 'calibration'. There are lots of useful resources out there, books, web pages, etc. Go on a read. Visual observations are one way, CCD and photometer are others. The subject is vast. There is lots of space for everyone, and a lot to do. Welcome! For reference, you might want to visit AAVSO website, also BAA. Modestly, you could also peek at the following post in my astroblog: https://epistulaeastronomicae.wordpress.com/2017/08/13/towards-a-variable-star-observing-program-1-general-considerations/ Good luck and welcome!
  15. Oh yes, I know too well about that. However, there a lot of targets that can be viewed in twilight, like planets, Moon, and some bright variable and double stars.
  16. Agree w all 3 points. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
  17. Indeed. It is a light, portable, yet very capable little scope. The extra 1:10 focal reducer is a very handy addition. I recently started to do some solar observation with it. I tested even adding a 2.5X Barlow in the optical train to see details in the Moon and Sun with acceptable results at 100X and 130X. Of course CA is present in these cases, but it is OK. So far I have no complaints or problems with this instrument.
  18. I only know of a discussion in a German forum, where the results of some tests where posted. As far as I remember, the test showed CA to be comparable to that on a certain SW 80 telescope. I have used this telescope during more than a year. My experience is very positive. There is CA, but it is only a bother around the brightest objects. I use it for as grab and go, and travel scope, for observing variable stars and bright DSO's. In general, as a low power wide field scope, it is excellent.
  19. Variable stars! These stars are fun to observe and follow their variations. It also contributes to science. I make computerized lists of variable stars that I follow before every session. Also DSO in general, particularly clusters. Yes, I keep a logbook. I believe it is very important. A logbook can be extremely simple or very detailed as one wants. It will in all likelihood come handy in the future to recall what you observed, when, with what equipment, with whom, problems, joys, etc.
  20. Nice! It is indeed re-brightening after a magnitude deep.
  21. I would like to bring your attention to some out of the ordinary drama ongoing these days in the skies The symbiotic variable star CH Cyg is undergoing some interesting variations. AAVSO has issued an alert on this: Interestingly, the star seems to have experienced some rebrightening in the last days. CH Cyg is easy to find and observe. Catch a glimpse (and a magnitude estimate) of it next night!
  22. Congratulations on your first observation of the Galilean moons, @Viktiste, hope you continue enjoying the sky in the future. Do not worry too much about the bright summers at our high latitudes. As you already noticed there is plenty that can be done in the twilight, as planetary observing (as you did), lunar and even observations of bright double and variable stars. As has been mentioned, the long days suit themselves very well for solar observing, clouds permitting. Good luck!
  23. I am confident that this description and short story fits many here, myself included.
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