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David Levi

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About David Levi

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    Star Forming

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  1. Were you just lucky to see something on that particular night or had you been looking at this star for a while?
  2. Very interesting. Do you have to monitor the star over several sessions to get the readings when the planet passes in front of it? Following on from that, is it possible to continue monitoring and work out the period of orbit of the planet?
  3. Jupiter - Good seeing tonight 20-04-18

    Only three in a row for me and Thursday night was cut short by fog. It's going to be clear again tonight. I'm sure you can make it 6 in a row! Looking forward to some cloud
  4. I apologize for the laugh emoticon but when you have one disaster after another what else can you do but laugh. Thanks for the tip about NGC 2903. I haven't viewed it so it is now on my list.
  5. Assaulted by an AZ4 18/4/18

    As a second year amateur too I also find it a relief. A night's rest is usually enough for me to want to go back to the same objects
  6. Scotland

    Hi Ed, you can use this page to see when astronomical night, twilight etc occurs. https://www.timeanddate.com/sun/@7290043 You type in your location at the top of the page and move the cursor on the graph to the time you want. I notice that between the end of April and mid August the Isle of Mull never experiences astro-night. I'm not saying that it isn't worth taking your telescope as I have no experience of observing under these conditions but the link can be useful.
  7. M for Méchain

    Well spotted @domstar with regard to the elevation. My equatorial mount doesn't like pointing straight up either. To use the straight through finderscope you have to be a contortionist. Luckily my back and neck held out .
  8. M for Méchain

    I went to the Brecon Beacons again last night. You've got to grab these clear sky opportunities when you can. On arrival at the site, the Moon (showing a fair bit of earthshine) and Venus provided a lovely view in the west. After observing the Virgo galaxies on the last two occasions, I decided to start in the constellation of Ursa Major and work my way down to Coma Berenices. The observing was done mostly at 58x magnification with the jump up to 125x if I was feeling hopeful to get some more detail. In general though 58x magnification, as I am increasingly finding, produced the best views with my limited available eyepieces. First on the list was the barred spiral galaxy M108. I started at the star Merak (bottom right of the Ursa Major saucepan) and after a one star hop it came into view. It gives a rather edge on view and therefore appears elongated. The Owl Nebula, M97, was next. It came into view just before M108 left the field of view. Bright, dense, round and of reasonable size I couldn't make out any owl like features even when using my UHC filter and increasing the magnification. However, the combination of these two different objects and a few stars was my favourite sight of the night. Moving across to the star Phecda on the other side of the bottom of the saucepan and the galaxy M109 is not far away. In fact I had to make sure that Phecda was out of the field of view in order to see M109 properly without being blinded by γ UMa. M109 is about 83 million light years away. I haven't checked all the objects that I have observed but this sounds like the furthest object that I have ever seen. Moving south I was on the hunt for the intermediate spiral galaxy M106. This wasn't so easy to get to compared with the previous targets.. 5 UMa was just visible naked eye and once that was in the finderscope field of view I moved down to 3 UMa and then further south again and with a little playing about I located M106. It is a lot brighter than M108 and M109. M94 was next up on my list and I moved to the star Chara, β CVn, to start my search. I found a faint galaxy quite quickly moving east from Chara. This turned out to be NGC4618 and a little further on was the face-on spiral galaxy M94. The core appeared quite dense and bright. I couldn't make out any spiral arms though, just a general haze around the core. I had a look at the spiral galaxy, M63, known as the Sunflower Galaxy, star hopping from Cor Caroli. Cor Caroli was also my starting point for my hop down to the galaxy NGC 4631, known as the Whale Galaxy. It was large and the imagined whale shape was quite obvious with a slightly brighter belly. I can't say that I saw it's little companion galaxy NGC 4627 but there may have been a hint of it with averted vision. What was clear, however, in the same field of view was the galaxy NGC 4656. During this trip through the heavens I had been following in the footsteps of Pierre Méchain. An French astronomer, friend and colleague of Charles Messier who discovered about 25 of the Messier catalogue including M63, M94, M97, M106, M108 and M109. Perhaps the M in the catalogue can also be thought of as standing for Méchain as well. Any initial high hazy cloud had disappeared quite soon after dusk and so I decided to have another go at observing the globular cluster NGC 5053 in the constellation Coma Berenices. Getting to the globular cluster M53 from Alpha Com is quite straight forward. This time I thought I saw a large area to the west of a magnitude 10 star that was slightly brighter than the surrounding space and could be seen by moving the slow motion controls backwards and forwards. Whether this was NGC 5053 I can't really say. The grey smudge, if indeed it was really there, was a lot larger than I was expecting. Before finishing I couldn't resist revisiting some old friends, galaxies M51, M81, M82 and M101. Bode's Nebulae were just stunning - very bright after all those quite faint galaxies. If only all observing sessions were like this. A little Moon that quickly left the stage and a long night at a mild temperature. Clear skies.
  9. 14th April - 12" Dob + Dark Skies = Magic

    Great report. It sounds like a really enjoyable observing session. It's surprising how late astro-dark is now. Well after 10pm. On the subject of weather - get your sleep in now as it's going to be clear from Wednesday onwards. Getting excited already.
  10. Trip to a bark site 14/4/18

    Great report! Despite the dog barking and feeling of unease at times, it was a fruitful observing session.
  11. Excellent report! I really like in inclusion of photos to illustrate your targets.
  12. More Virgo Galaxies

    I was back out in the Brecon Beacons last night. The weather forecast a 3 hour window between 9 and midnight however there was high hazy and patchy cloud until about 10pm and high hazy cloud continued to be a pain almost throughout the session. The Leo I Group of galaxies was well placed to start the session. After spending some time with these I moved on to recap the galaxies in the upper half of the Virgo bowl that I had seen last Sunday night. I had remembered well how to navigate them and this time I tried to observe more detail including increasing the magnification from 58x to 125x. The higher magnification didn't bring out any more detail than I originally saw and I preferred the lower magnification views. The aim of tonight's observing session was to move down to the bottom of the Virgo bowl and starting at the star Zaniah, I moved north to 16 Vir from where the galaxy M61 is just a bit further north. What struck me about this search was not the galaxy. It appeared much like any other fuzzy of similar magnitude in an 8" telescope but the double star 17 Vir. It's a really attractive double with a white/yellow primary and a faint dull (perhaps brown?) secondary star. Well worth a visit and an easy split at 58x magnification (21" separation). I then star hopped north east to the galaxies M49, NGC 4535 and NGC 4526. These three galaxies are very close to a small pattern of magnitude 6 stars and the interspersing of the galaxies with the stars provides a pleasing view. As clouds crept in from the south I had a quick look at M13, the Great Globular Cluster in Hercules. At 200x magnification it was a magnificent object with its mix of individual stars and fuzzy core almost filling the eyepiece. After the rushed panic of last Sunday night (the poor weather bringing on the panic with the thought of perhaps missing another galaxy season) this was a far more relaxing session.
  13. I had a look at 2 Comae Berenices last night. A nice split at 125x magnification. I went up to 200x but it didn't add anything to the view. I can't say that I saw any colour other than white in the pair. The smaller star being dimmer. I have noticed that my colour vision isn't great. For example, I can hardly see any colour in Neptune of Uranus.
  14. Skye ,with 10" Dob

    Absolutely fantastic report. Great description, excellent sketches and it's always good to see some photos. I was out at a dark sky site last night but nothing compared with the skies that you must have had. I think that a trip to the Western Isles has to be something to aim at for the future. Wish I was there.
  15. Galaxy Cluster Introduction

    I like using Stellarium when observing. I used to take my computer with me when I travelled to a dark sky site but it used to get very wet, it was just another piece of equipment to carry and it affects your night vision. The zoom function allows me to find where I am in the sky a lot quicker than the atlas. I missed that one. That was the lack of preparation.