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David Levi

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Everything posted by David Levi

  1. Excellent report Geoff. Your enthusiasm is infectious. I wish I was there, it sounds fantastic. I was attempting to get frost bite last night observing in at -4°C.
  2. Thanks @bish. Considering my light polluted, view restricted, suburban location, yes, dark sky trips have been essential for me to see a lot of the Messier list. Like they say, one of the best things you can do for your astro set up is to put petrol in the tank (for those of us lucky enough to be able and have the means to this).
  3. Thanks for the advice Gerry @jetstream, I appreciate it. The telescope is a 7.4 f ratio. I was afraid that my current longest focal length eyepiece , the 24mm Panoptic, wouldn't give me a wide enough field of view. I've been keeping my eye open for some good quality second hand longer focal length eyepieces but the ones I would like (Nagler 31mm and Panoptic 41mm) haven't come up for sale yet.
  4. @jock1958 no problem. We have had a very poor run of weather in South Wales but it's supposed to be clear tonight and tomorrow night, so if you have the chance to observe then good luck with the hunt.
  5. Page 21 (or 23) of the Sky & Telescope Pocket Sky Atlas. 15 Lyn is marked as the double star OΣ 159 (roughly RA 7h, Dec 58°) and 24 Lyn is on the same page marked as 24 off to the left of it at roughly the same declination with an RA of about 7h 40min.
  6. I finally managed to view this comet last night. It was in the constellation Lynx roughly halfway between the stars 24 Lyn and 15 Lyn. I was surprised how large it was at 31x magnification but also surprised to see how diffuse it is. It was a challenging spot in my 6 x 30 finderscope.
  7. I had a go at observing Barnard's Loop last night from a dark sky site in the Brecon Beacons. I was using my 100mm Takahashi refractor with TeleVue Panoptic 24mm eyepiece (giving an approximate 2° field of view) and Lumicon Hb filter. I couldn't detect any change in contrast around the area that Barnard's Loop is located. I tried with and without the filter and even held the filter up to my eye as suggested on another recent post but could not detect the nebula. I imagine that my failure to see the nebula is down to sky conditions and/or filter. I mention the filter because my second hand Lumicon filter says on it that its transmittance is 90.9% whereas I see that Astronomik state a near 100% transmittance of the Hb line. Do these figures suggest that the Astronomik filter would be better for the job of detecting this nebula?
  8. Here's my back garden:- Zenith sky brightness information SQM 19.09 mag./arc sec2 Brightness 2.49 mcd/m2 Artif. bright. 2310 μcd/m2 Ratio 13.5 Bortle class 6 Elevation 14 meters And here's where I went last night and will be going again tonight in the Brecon Beacons:- Zenith sky brightness information SQM 21.76 mag./arc sec2 Brightness 0.213 mcd/m2 Artif. bright. 41.7 μcd/m2 Ratio 0.244 Bortle class 3 Elevation 378 meters It's worth the 1 hour and 20 minute drive.
  9. Mercury is the challenge from my experience. I've seen all the planets bar Mercury in one night but I have only seen Mercury twice, I think, through my telescope.
  10. Thanks Mark. I totally agree. It's not the list that is important (although hopefully you find the objects interesting), it's a tool to get you out and observing.
  11. That sounds like quite a task. I'll look into it. My dark sky site is certainly good enough with regard to horizon to horizon panoramic views.
  12. Thanks Neil. I have thought about the Lunar 100 for a while now as a way to get interested in the Moon and also increase observing opportunities. The list that has recently caught my eye is the one that @cotterless45 highlighted, the Astronomical League 100, as I really enjoy double star observation. Once I print these out I'll be up and running.
  13. It was a good start to 2019 last night with my first visit to a dark sky site since October. I took both my telescopes but having started with the 200mm reflector in order to view my last two remaining Messier objects I couldn't be bothered to change set up to the refractor. Orion was already high in the sky by the time I arrived about 9pm. As I hadn't used the telescope for at least a month I was slightly worried about collimation but a quick check showed that only the usual slight adjustment to the primary was required. As a test of the conditions the Orion Nebula M42 was my first target of the night and even at my lowest magnification x41.6 I could make out the E star in the trapezium. That seemed pretty good to me. At x77 magnification using the 13mm Ethos eyepiece the view was incredible. It's the first time that I have viewed M42 at a dark sky site with this eyepiece and I could have lingered on it all night. It was amazing. The Fish's Mouth was blacker than I have ever seen it before and the nebulosity was brighter and extended further. I then located M78. This reflection nebula was a Pierre Méchain discovered object. I could just about make out some fuzziness in my finderscope before observing it through the eyepiece. The two nucleii were clear and there was a small amount of diffuse cloud extending back from them. Then down to the constellation Lepus. The dense compact globular cluster M79 is quite bright and was a fairly easy spot not far from the double star h3752. I spent the last hour of the session failing to find comet 46P Wirtanen. It was practically straight up at the zenith and even with my brilliant impersonation of a limbo dancer (on a very muddy surface) I couldn't hold my posture long enough to locate the star 15 Lynx from where I was hoping to find the comet. There were too many stars in view as well to add to the confusion. So with M78 and M79 that's the Messier List complete for me. All that's needed now is to do it all again.
  14. I have two objects left to complete the Messier list so that's at the top of my observing priorities for 2019. They should have been visible by now but I have given up any hope of seeing them this year with the atrocious weather we've been having in South Wales.
  15. Fantastic restoration project. Great to see what can be done with a bit of dedication and skill.
  16. Brilliant report Neil! Congratulations on observing those challenging targets. It was an inspiring read.
  17. And don't forget the obligatory crew cut. I still sport that style but these days it's more out of necessity than fashion statement Really enjoyed the NASA broadcast yesterday evening. I watched it with a mixture of nerves and excitement. Much better than normal tele.
  18. Excellent mega session, Neil, with a great write up. Don't you just love the dark evenings. Early starts and enough time for plenty of sleep as well. The weather isn't playing ball in the west at the moment.
  19. I use a 210W 12Vdc hairdryer (£12 something from ebay last year) with my reflector. The secondary mirror and the finderscope usually need to be cleared of condensation after a few hours. I haven't had cause to use it yet on my new refractor. It only ever blows lukewarm air at best. I can't see how it would dry anyone's hair. It hasn't been a problem with my reflector and I can't imagine that it would be a problem with the refractor either. It really is quite weak but still good enough to clear the dew. One important point to note is that you need to check that the cigarette lighter socket is rated to cope with the current drawn by the hairdryer. My one draws 210/12 = 17.5A. The socket on my battery pack is only rated for 10A so I took the cigarette lighter connection off the hairdryer and having marked the + and - wires I connect it direct to the clamps connected to the main battery terminals.
  20. Hi Dom. I was using my 200mm reflector. I star hopped using my finderscope (9x50) from delta Aqr (Skat) to the approximate position of the Helix Nebula. I'm sorry but I can't remember if I had to increase the magnification after my initial look at 58x. I don't think so. The nebula was large and diffuse and I wouldn't have said that I had seen it without using the OIII filter.
  21. Nice report. Glad to hear that you finally got M74. I saw the Helix Nebula for the first time earlier this week. Strangely (?), the OIII filter made it just about visible for me from my back garden.
  22. That's a good challenge. I'll try it from the Brecon Beacons this winter with my 100mm refractor. What do I hope to gain? To see the object (might be a bit difficult) and hopefully in the process become a better observer.
  23. Great reports. I've just come in after a night of failures with my 8" reflector so sounds like you've got the right scope out to me. Failures include: Mirach's Ghost, M110, M33 and comet 64P. Mars was shimmering quite a bit at 200x magnification but there were grey smudges on its surface as well as the south polar cap. There seems to be a slight discrepancy with the location of comet 64P/Swift-Gehrels between Stellarium and The Sky Live website but that's academic at the moment as I couldn't see it in either location. I could do with better skies.
  24. Hi Luke @lukebl. I tried to look at this visually last night and failed, of course, with my Sky-Watcher 200P reflector. I've just read your report on this camera and it is very interesting. I have a question, I hope it's not a daft one. Do you use this camera with a tracking mount or is the exposure so quick that it doesn't matter?
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