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Everything posted by DarkerSky

  1. I've been invited to help out at a solar eclipse outreach event on Friday March 20th in Dunster, West Somerset. Sadly I can't make it. Is there anyone in the Somerset / Devon area who would be interested in going along to impart their knowledge to onlookers that morning? Baader eclipse glasses are being supplied, and there should be a 6" dob with a full aperture solar filter available too. Seb
  2. Just heard the news. Shocked. My thoughts go out to Colin's family, friends and colleagues. From my knowledge he was a driven guy passionate about British space exploration. In January this year I was fortunate enough to attend a talk by Colin's project partner on the Beagle 2 mission. It was a fascinating insight. He will be much missed.
  3. Super sketches Mike. The detail you're capturing is breathtaking. I struggle to see the 'bridge' between M51 and its satellite gx in my skies. I've got a question for you - will PM.
  4. Perfect! Totally agree. I've gone for Mag +10.5 tonight.
  5. Got this for the first time tonight in a 12" dob. Mag+10.5 is my estimate. Seriously bright this one and looks superb! Gives me goosebumps just thinking about the processes that were going on 11.8 mly ago to create this view! Amazing.
  6. Hi AG. The SN in M82 is a type Ia supernova. I think the typical light curve on these is an increase over 1-2 weeks from discovery to max brightness and then a gradual decline over several more weeks / months.
  7. Yes. I've seen white barges on a number of occasions in the past couple of months - 22 December undoubtedly being the best view of two of them shortly after GRS rotated off the disc. Jupiter never fails to delight!
  8. Just viewed this using my 6" full aperture solar filter. An impressive sight.
  9. Good to hear Lovejoy spotters are out despite the Moon. I too was watching Lovejoy last night in near full moon conditions. It is sure moving at a pace. Half an hour at low power through an 8-inch dob revealed appreciable movement against the background stars. Coma has grown and I was getting glimpses of a tail, which I think will look much more impressive once the moon wanes a bit.
  10. Got SN2013EJ visually last night...well, in the small wee hours of the morning when Pisces and M74 were high in the sky, far away from the LP of Luton! M74 is always such a difficult one to pull out, but managed it in my 12" dob. Switched up to x150 magnification and skecthed this view. The SN is marked.
  11. That's a great capture Dave. Definitely keeping an eye on this over the next few months.
  12. Alpha Herculis is in my top 5 summer doubles. Rusty orange primary with a yellow-green secondary. Separation is about 4.8 arc seconds so will look pretty neat in your 200p at a moderate power.
  13. Ah, the gigantic galactic brain! My pet name for the Crescent nebula. Bagged this last year in a 12" scope. You'll need a pretty dark sky with a 4" frac. The easiest part of the nebula to see is a thin ribbon of material pushing out either side of what appears to be a close double star on the north-western side of a diamond-shaped asterism of stars. You'll see it curving up and around, almost joining up two of the stars in the asterism. I used a lumicon deep sky filter on this as I felt it gave me better contrast. Averted vision might bring out the 'brain' structure that envelops the rest of the astersim and further to the east of it. Good luck!
  14. Well spotted. I saw this too. Using the info from ESA and CalSky it looks as if Albert Einstein will be chasing the ISS around until docking on 15 June. Could be quite a special sight on Fri 14 June as I think they'll be within a minute of each other.
  15. Got a fantastic view of M65 tonight with my 16" from a moderately dark sky. Studied it for ages but the SN was beyond me. At Mag 16 it was always going to be an outside chance.
  16. Finally managed to get my first view of Comet PanSTARRS this morning after endless cloud. Watched it rise off the northeastern horizon at 4am BST (3am UT). Being low down the view was quite mucky. I even got a yellow tinge to the nucleus, which I'm putting down to atmospheric distortion as it was a whopping slice of atmosphere I was looking through. The view improved as it rose into the pre-dawn sky. It was an easy catch with a 9x50 finderscope, and looked pretty cool in my 12" Orion Optics at x70 magnification. Here's a sketch: The nucleus brightened to a pinpoint. Around it was a larger wispy mass of light that then trailed off behind it. The dust tail was brightest as it trailed off down the central section. Towards the back end the tail fanned out noticeably as it if was curved towards the east of my field of view. The Moon was casting its light over the sky so I expect I'll see a lot more of the tail once the moon wanes further.
  17. I like the sound of the Lemon Slice. Not had any of those - on my list for March's dark nights!
  18. The GRS has been generally pale since summer 2011 visually. It has got a bit darker in the southern sector of the spot area since Nov 2012. I haven't viewed it since Jan 1st 2013, at which point it was quite dark in its southern segment and looking good to me in a 8" dob.
  19. Now they are great Nick. Well done. I think what I like about them the most is that you've managed to capture the unique visual characteristics of each of these galaxies so well.
  20. DarkerSky


    Super observation and sketch Rik.
  21. Fantastic! I've had a 16" for a couple of years. The views have been astonishing at times - dust clouds on Mars, belts on Saturn, spiral arm detail in M33 and M101, the dark 'eyes' in the Owl Nebula, galaxies down to 15th magnitude - all from a moderately light polluted location - amazing stuff. You'll have a lot of fun with this I bet.
  22. Does anyone know where I can buy some 1mm or 1.5mm thick teflon pads, or a small sheet of the stuff? I just need a small amount of it to help re-align a sloppy focuser in its draw tube.
  23. A breathtaking Jupiter last night with some of the steadiest seeing I've had in ages. Managed to view it just before midnight. The whole widefield scene was superb too. Just looked like Jupiter was jumping over the Full Moon. Amazing! Here's the sketch: 8.5" Reflector x220 magnification Neodymium filter Seeing: AII - AI 23.30 UT to 00.05UT System I: 231 degrees System II: 229 degrees The black dot at top is Ganymede's shadow. Just coming onto the disc at top right was the Ganymede moon itself, shining brightly and obviously as it began its transit. The GRS was just beginning to exit off left. Big changes here in the last few week!! The GRS actually has some colour. Best coloration I've seen in the GRS since autumn 2010. The spread of intensity on the GRS seemed to be uneven with a more intense shading to the south (top) with it graduating to less intensity to the north. The South equatorial belt in which it sits was a mesmerizing display of intricate detail including clumps of dark material and white spots / ovals. Generally the the band is very disturbed right now. Again, a big change form just a few weeks ago! The northern component of the band is much darker than the southern area. By comparison the North equatorial belt is much more subdued. A couple of festoons were seen rising into the EZ, the most prominent of which was on the right hand side (following) edge of disc where the festoon seemed to emanate from a raised platform of material. To the left on the cusp on the EZ was a small bay of lighter material, while in the band itself around that area were some darker barges on the northern edge. All in all, absolutely stunning!
  24. Agree with this. Simply magical from a dark site.
  25. I concur with Steve about the most udeful filters for visual. I've used an OIII for many years on many different objects. M42 is UNBELIEVABLE with an OIII. Words can't describe it. It's also helped me grab more details on many planetary nebula. Some are almost invisible to the eye until your drop in the OIII. I have a Lumicon OIII. The only drawback I've found is that it blocks out a fair bit of starlight at the expense of gaining nebula detail. I believe some other types of OIII aren't as aggressive on blocking starlight. The other filter I'd recommend is the Neodymium. It's a fairly new kid on the block (well, it is to me anyway), but it delivers some awesome contrast on Jupiter and Mars, and also acts a bit like a UHC in that it darkens the background with DSOs to help you see more of the lower contrast details. I wouldn't be without either of these filters.
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