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David Levi

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About David Levi

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    Star Forming

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  1. Recording Observations

    I have great admiration for those observers who are disciplined enough to record their observations in whatever form they have decided upon. @mikeDnight's sketch books look amazing. However, to put an alternative view to those already expressed, I don't record anything. I may write an SGL observing report immediately afterwards if I've really had a good session that I would like to share. I enjoy my time at the eyepiece discovering new objects and revisiting favourites. That seems to be enough for me. No doubt there are many explanations why people feel the need to record their sessions and all of them are valid of course.
  2. Uranus

    I saw Uranus last night with my 200mm reflector as a clear grey disk at 125x magnification. Before starting if you haven't already got the free planetarium program Stellarium then it would be a good idea to download it onto your computer. I use Stellarium to locate the planet. Before you start to look for Uranus or any other object for that matter it's a good idea to be familiar with the specific constellation in which you are observing by recognizing the main stars naked eye just looking up at the sky. I try to memorize the position of Uranus from Stellarium in relation to significant stars in the constellation of Pisces and then go to the telescope and locate it in the finderscope before looking through the eyepiece. Uranus is easily visible in my 9 x 50 finderscope and once you know it, there's something different about it even at this magnification compared to stars. I've practiced this routine quite a bit but with new targets I might have to return to Stellarium to revise the location and then go back out to the finderscope until I recognize the object in relation to the surrounding star field. Perhaps the hardest part is lining up the telescope so that you know which star you are viewing when looking through the finderscope. This is where knowing the shape of the constellation helps as if you are unsure about which star is in view you can swing the telescope about and star hop around the main stars of the constellation. The shape of the constellation should transfer to the movements you make with the telescope. When you can star hop around the constellation while looking in the finderscope then you can locate the correct star from where you can start your search for Uranus. I hope this helps and good luck with your planet hunt.
  3. Double stars in Pisces to start 2018

    That's some statement so I checked it out tonight. Looking through the finderscope the star looks faint and uninteresting. Then I looked through the eyepiece. Wow! No doubt about it - the reddest star you are ever likely to see. The colour is fantastic. It really is shockingly crimson. The colour didn't fade even at high magnification x200.
  4. Into Cetus.

    I had a look at these four double stars tonight. Conditions weren't ideal for double star observing as the telescope was taking quite a buffeting from the blustery wind. Kaffaljidhma (γ Ceti) was a challenging split. Not only is the separation tight at 1.9" but the secondary star is faint compared with the primary (magnitude 3.5). The secondary appeared to be orange. Split at x166 when the wind stopped for a minute. Couldn't spilt Σ186 or even see any elongated shape. Got up to x200 magnification. 66 Ceti was an easy split if I was looking at it properly. A yellow and dull blue star. According to the Eagle Creek Observatory website the separation is 16.2" but Stellarium if I read it right says that the separation is a minuscule 0.022"! 42 Ceti has a small separation at only 1.6" but the split is helped in that both stars appear to be of similar magnitude. Thanks @cotterless45 for once again inspiring observing some great targets.
  5. Attention fellow South Wales Astronomers.

    Hello @Ryan_86 here is the link to the Usk Reservoir car park at Pont Ar Wysg. Let me know if it doesn't work. https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Usk+Res+Parking/@51.9301653,-3.7175796,18.06z/data=!4m13!1m7!3m6!1s0x486e4c9ceee1a11d:0xcbe238cfda82411a!2sPont+ar+Hydfer,+Brecon+LD3+8YE!3b1!8m2!3d51.934789!4d-3.658851!3m4!1s0x0:0x96ddbdf3f880e8d1!8m2!3d51.9301679!4d-3.7176339?hl=en We had clear skies on Friday until midnight. We packed up just in time as we had a sleet shower just after leaving.
  6. Attention fellow South Wales Astronomers.

    Not really an answer to your question but last night I went with a fellow astronomer to the car park at Pont Ar Wysg not far from Usk Reservoir. Maybe you already know the location. The site offers great panoramic views and the sky darkness you will know from the reservoir site. There are no lights around but you do have to put up with the odd car passing on the Trecastle to Llangadog road. In three and a half hours last night 7 cars went north to south (not much of a problem due to the geography) and 2 cars travelled south to north (you get quite well illuminated for a few seconds but I just closed my eyes until the cars had gone). You can set up about 10 to 20 metres from the road but the site is very open. The ground is compacted hardcore - quite flat and very firm with no pick up on equipment or shoes. We were the only people there but we did get a visit from a local farmer come game keeper who was looking for poachers/people fishing without a license. His car accounts for 2 of the recorded vehicles. It was my first time at this location and I enjoyed it a lot. I will definitely be going back there. I haven't been to the Usk Reservoir yet due to the reported ongoing works there. It's only a hour and a half from Cardiff compared with 2 and a half hours to the Elan Valley (I don't drive fast). The site is darker than the Brecon Beacons visitor centre at Libanus but not as dark as the Elan Valley. If future visits live up to my observing session there last night then it wins over Elan Valley due to time and panorama. The site that I observed from on my only visit to the Elan Valley had a hill on one side that restricted the view in that direction. I will be going back to the Elan Valley but only on special occasions or for clear skies if it's cloudy further south.
  7. Seeing Red

    Y CVn (constellation Canes Venatici) is a lovely variable red star. Someone thought that it was so lovely that they gave it the nickname La Superba.
  8. This is a very interesting star system. Some people may also know the A star by the name Keid.
  9. Another 'wow' moment - reading your report! Absolutely fantastic.
  10. M33, a first for me!

    Well done on seeing M33, the Triangulum Galaxy, for the first time. Your experience is reminiscent of mine on first seeing M33 - I had to use the slow motion controls to see a change of contrast against the surrounding space. I also felt the same way as you about the Andromeda Galaxy - very underwhelming, until I saw it from a dark sky site. A dark sky site really shows M33 as a large easily seen galaxy and M31 seen under dark skies is one of the best objects in the night sky.
  11. Copernicus Looking Good

    Sinus Iridum on the edge of the Mare Imbrium stood out for me. The surrounding mountains were incredibly craggy. I'm back inside now but I didn't think that the seeing was great tonight. I only went to 200x magnification and there was a bit of turbulence to be seen. The view was still great though.
  12. JUPITER!!!

    Nice report and great to see a photo. It looks like a fantastic observing location.
  13. 25Nov Big Dob exposes the delights of Orion

    Fantastic report again Alan. I dream of a big dob so maybe in a few years time.
  14. Congratulations on viewing a long time elusive target! An excellent report and good read with lots of detail for us newcomers to astronomy illustrating how to combine techniques to view a difficult object.
  15. Night 2 & 3 at Winterfest SP 2017

    Thanks @Tim and @Uplooker. Apologies for confusing you both.