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David Levi

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About David Levi

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    Star Forming

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    Cardiff
  1. I didn't experience the effect last night but I had the problem, if you can call it that, last month. Like you, it happened looking at the heavily cratered area around Clavius. It was so bad at one stage during that particular night that I had problems seeing the craters as concave. They just kept jumping back to convex at almost every viewing after looking away. A curious and confusing at first optical illusion. The mind plays tricks eh.
  2. I've packed up now and didn't see your report about the rille on the floor of the Alpine Valley until now. A challenge for the future. I agree that the Moon was looking fantastic tonight. Spectacularly crisp and clear. The highlight for me was Hesiodus A crater. The two concentric craters showing up well with a half shadow across the craters but with the inner crater rim just about visible all the way around. Other notable views were of the ejecta around Copernicus, the Davy Crater Chain and Lambert R. I had to drag myself away or I would be good for nothing tomorrow. I was bino viewing with the 100mm refractor so I couldn't give an accurate magnification that I was using. Somewhere between 250 and 300x I would imagine.
  3. That's a very neat job. It looks great. Funnily enough, I made a little aluminium plate for my Skywatcher 6x30 finderscope yesterday. First time that I have ever drilled and tapped a hole. In the plate, not the telescope of course. Much more comfortable with the 90 degree finder when I used it last night on the Moon. The adjustment screws on the Skywatcher are so much easier to use than the Takahashi ones.
  4. Yep, stunning shots. Good enough for a sky guide book. Beautiful detail.
  5. Great report. I enjoyed M51 last night as well. Looking through someone else's telescope!
  6. I had a lovely session last night out in the Brecon Beacons. The transparency wasn't brilliant but I've come to expect that recently. There always seems to be some sort of high level haze or passing thin clouds. The Milky Way was visible but not particularly distinct low in the sky. I was using my 8" reflector. As it was still rather light at 11pm, I decided to start with some bright targets and although it was in the west I had some nice views of the open clusters in Auriga M36, M37 and M38. I had a quick look at the Ring Nebula, M57, in Lyra. Very bright and as always benefitting from flicking the eye between direct and averted vision. In the constellation of Hercules, M13 was looking fantastic at 200x magnification and this led to a bright globular cluster feast. All at 200x, I then observed M92 also in Hercules, M3 in Canes Venatici and M5 in Serpens Caput. I've been tempted by ever more challenging targets as I've become a more experienced observer and I think that I may have neglected some of these bright globular clusters. I was completely wowed by them especially M5 (again). Better than M13? Possibly. It has a more pleasing distribution of well defined stars. Not that I didn't then go for some difficult targets. The globular cluster M68 in Hydra was a faint grey smudge, but fairly large. Even fainter was the galaxy M83, again in Hydra. I was wiggling the controls and using averted vision to see this galaxy. It was at it's meridian when I spotted it having failed to do so earlier in the session. An observing buddy had their 12" dob out and I observed the spiral arms in the Ursa Major galaxies, M51 the Whirlpool Galaxy and M101. I did try to look at them with my telescope, for comparison purposes, but they were too vertical for my equatorial mount. This was one of the highlights of the session having never seen any of this detail in them before. I couldn't resist taking in the Leo Triplet, all in the same field of view. This seems to attract me in every observing session in the Spring. I had a good look at the northern galaxies in the Virgo cluster. Starting at Vindemiatrix, I galaxy hopped to Markarian's Chain. Observing M60, M59, M58, M89, M90, M91, M88, back down to M87 (still couldn't see the black hole), before moving across to the bottom of Markarian's chain, M86 and M84 with the Eyes just to the east of M86 and the other faint galaxies trailing northwards from there. I took in broad views of of these galaxies at 42x magnification. A much better session than earlier in the week when dew started to form after about an hour. Last night there was no condensation in three and half hours.
  7. Lovely report. I was cruising that area as well. I took ages to reacquaint myself with galaxy hopping from Vindemiatrix and only saw and identified a few of the galaxies. Like you I tried for the black hole in M87 but only saw a reasonably bright fuzzy galaxy. I now realize that if you couldn't see it with your 12" reflector then I stood no chance with my 8". Perhaps better skies or a 14" scope? ?
  8. That was a very interesting read. It's good to have a new starter's point of view. I was surprised by how many targets weren't great. GavStar's picture of Orion with Barnard's Loop is seared into my brain. After reading a few NV reports I see there is mention of a 'gain' adjustment. Would adjusting this have given better views on some targets even from your light polluted site? Whatever it is the gain does for NV.
  9. Whether that black circle is central or not depends on the telescope. Here is a link to the document that is very popular as a guide to Newtonian reflector collimation:- http://www.astro-baby.com/astrobaby/help/collimation-guide-newtonian-reflector/ Provided those cross hairs in the picture are centred on the primary mirror centre dot then your collimation looks ok to me, for a fast Newtonian reflector e.g. f5. A star test when you get the chance will show you how good it is.
  10. An interesting event happened while I was observing Jupiter this morning. A moon which was nowhere to be seen at 4am suddenly appeared to the west of Jupiter after 5am, as if it had just emerged from behind the planet, only to disappear again behind the planet about 10 minutes later. What had in fact happened was that Europa had been in the shadow of Jupiter and then briefly came out of the shadow before disappearing behind the planet. I was moving between observing the Moon and Jupiter and was not expecting this or I would have payed more attention to it. I need to check http://www.shallowsky.com/jupiter/ more often.
  11. The almost last quarter Moon and Jupiter will be within 2° of each other tomorrow morning for those with insomnia or really keen. Clear skies
  12. I don't have a solution to the problem but I just wanted to say that it was a good effort to try and get out and observe. I was being buffeted by the wind with my 8" reflector on Tuesday night. Luckily the wind died down after an hour and the session was a good one. But there's nothing more frustrating than looking through an eyepiece at stars jiggling about, especially when the atmosphere is really clear.
  13. Yes, I saw the lightening in the background just behind the top of the rocket before launch. The sea was really choppy for the landing as well.
  14. Well, that was a great way to start a Saturday. I still find the landing of the first stage rocket incredible.
  15. I was out in the Brecon Beacons last night with Barnard's Loop being my first priority target. Armed with two new second hand long focal length eyepieces and an Astronomik 2" H-beta filter to fit them, I was hopeful that I would be able to see this elusive emission nebula. The eyepieces in question are the TeleVue Nagler 31mm and the Vixen LVW 42mm. In my 100mm refractor these give respectively a TFoV of 3.2° and 3.6°, an exit pupil of 4.2mm and 5.7mm and magnifications of 24x and 18x. Using the Vixen LVW 42mm eyepiece and moving up from the star Alnitak in Orion's belt to M78 I looked to the north and east (right in my scope view using a star diagonal). I could just make out some cloudiness arcing around M78. As my eyes became more accustomed to the view the nebulosity became more obvious and more extensive. I could move further away from this location up and down Barnard's Loop almost tracing out it's whole length. It was not as prominent further away from the initial search location and often I lost the track of it and had to go back to the densest part to start again. I spent at least half an hour doing this, changing between the two eyepieces before concluding that the 42mm Vixen gave the clearest views. The wider field meant that it was easier to see the nebula in context against a larger area of darkness.
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