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About Nyctimene

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  • Birthday 27/07/52

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    Stargazing, music (lute, harpsichord, early music), reading, gardening, cooking, travelling, scuba diving, sailing
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    Germany, Odenwald

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  1. You're welcome! I don't own one (too many other scopes), but I think it's an excellent grab-and-go scope, easy to handle, that could you serve even later on, when you will have upgraded to a bigger dob or gone over to astrophotography. In your continent with it's excellent dark skies, you could take it easily as a travel scope on board of a plane as well. The Southern skies are marvellous; enjoy their wonders (-and add a pair of good 8x40 or 10x50 bins for that!). Stephan
  2. There is a huge thread on the 130/650 Newtonian (Astronomers Without Borders scope) on the CloudyNights forum, that covers a lot of questions (88 pages!), have a look: Stephan
  3. Stu, I'm using almost the same strategy, but I start from Upsilon UMa up to 23 UMa, because both are lined up almost parallel to Dubhe - Merak and point rather exactly at the "triangle". From there, the same way. Stephan
  4. Friday evening, Feb. 24, at 19.30 CET, I was able to make out comet Encke with my 80/400 Vixen FH frac. At 50x, a slightly oval fuzzy disc could be seen with direct vision. Guessed magnitude about 8 to 8.5 mag; coma diameter at 4 arc min; DC about 4. With averted seeing, the false nucleus could be glimpsed. Nothing spectacular, but my first vision of Encke, as far as I can recall. Having observed 1P/Halley in 1986, now number 2P/Encke. 3P/Biela will not be possible - it dissolved 1846, leaving only some brilliant meteor showers. But, during my first observing years, I observed 6P/d' Arrest and some other periodical comets - oh, and the great ones: Bennett 1969 (that got me into astronomy); West; IRAS-Araki-Alcock with it's incredible fast movement; Hyakutake and, of course, Hale-Bopp- splendid memories! Another bright comet is overdue.... Stephan
  5. Many good advices already above. For cloudy evenings, download the star map/planetarium software stellarium: . It's free, and a very good way to continue the learning about constellations and heavenly bodies. The mythological background might be interesting for your daughter as well; there is the story of the princess Andromeda, daughter of Cassiopeia, who is rescued from the sea monster Cetus by young hero Perseus, riding the winged horse Pegasus....and so on. You can display the mythological constellations with stellarium; afterwards, try to find the constellations in the sky. Have fun! Stephan
  6. I'll second estwing and John above. Aperture rules; and I've only once made the mistake to "downgrade" in aperture 40 years ago (from 9" to 6"). A very good allround solution, if you don't do AP, could be a lightweight quality travel Dobsonian, as made by Sumerian Optics. A German stargazer reduced the weight of his 12" Sumerian down to 13 kg (Carbon truss; primary mirror from I'm very happy with my 8" f/4 Traveldob from Hofheim Instruments; it's my "bigger" grab-and-go, and, with it's 8 kg total weight, I can take it out fully assembled and collimated in two minutes. Excellent build and quality optics; have a look at this: (only in German language; Dragan Nikin of Deep Sky Forum wrote a review of it 2013 in English, which is, at the moment, not accessible). They also build 12" and 16" traveldobs; not cheap, but worth every €. (No affiliation with them, of course). If I was allowed to keep only one scope, it would be the 8". Stephan
  7. Here in southern Germany, seven sessions up to now for me (about four or five more would have been possible). 2013: 44; 2014: 72; 2015: 49; 2016: 88 sessions (retiree; purely visual; almost no solar). So, about one observation a week or so - your count doesn't seem to be so far off. Be patient; some day, you'll have a streak of 6, 8 or even 10 clear nights with little or no moonlight, and you'll be lacking sleep and seeking arguments not to go out once more..... have been there August/September 2016 with 38 observations! Stephan
  8. A very interesting program; I'd like to listen to that myself... What about some handouts, e.g. a star map for the next month (downloadable; I think, members from here will support you with some links)? Some internet links might be added; there are even downloadable planispheres available. Many people have binoculars at home, that are never pointed at the sky; so tell them, what they can view with these - moon, Jupiter's moons, brighter DSO's, comets. A few hints to things, that can be observed naked eye at the moment; Venus; later on Jupiter; two or three constellations. Good luck, and have fun! Stephan
  9. As John said above, some planetarys should still be doable with O III or UHC filters, when well above the horizon. Give it a try! Stephan
  10. Wednesday evening ( Feb. 15) , I took out the 18" f/4.5 Obsession once again (after a break of almost four months). Conditions at 19h 50m CET were sub-average (NELM 4.9 mag; SQM-L 20,47; seeing 2-3). First to Sirius; out of reasons unknown even to myself, I never had tried with real consequence to observe Sirius B up to now. Having read the chapter on spotting Sirius B in Phil Harrington's "Cosmic Challenges", I tried to locate it in the East direction, but without success at first, due to the moderate seeing (and possibly some added mirror seeing). So I went over to M 42; always a great sight with the 18" and the 30 mmf 77° Wild Heerbrugg eyepiece, giving a field of 70 arc min. With V=100X (Baader Zoom), the Trapezium components E and F were quite easy; the G star could not be made out . The carbon star W Orionis showed its vivid deep orange colour distinctly; the nearby little galaxy NGC 1762 (12.7 mag) could not be seen (too small?) Over to the Collarbone planetary nebula NGC 2022; an old favourite. With 170x, the slightly oval disc with darker center and some brightening of the north edge was quite obvious. The central star was too faint this evening. Meanwhile the seeing conditions had improved, and Sirius was located at the meridian. So another try to spot the White Dwarf; after about 10 minutes of staring patiently with V= 250x the Pup got into view, for 1-2 seconds, disappeared again in Sirius' glittering glare, and reappeared about 15 seconds later for another 2 or 3 seconds, at exactly the same location. This fleetingly appearance continued for the next 20 minutes; at that time, I had gotten really convinced, that I had spotted the Pup! Really proud about this (albeit with a rest of doubt; I'm no expert in splitting doubles, and will have to repeat the observation for reconfirmation). I ended the session 1 1/2 hours later with some bright showpieces in the Blue Penguin (Infinity 76) - M 42, M 45, Hyades, M 35; with 15x a good substitute for bins. Afterwards, I celebrated the success with an excellent Grappa Chardonnay; encouraged to have a try on more "cosmic challenges"; and so to bed. Stephan
  11. There is a rather easy way to get to M 57 with bins. Start from Beta Lyrae. About 20 arc min North-East, you will find a 8.7 mag star, from which, running South-East, a chain of four more stars, all about 8.5 mag to 9 mag, points to M 57. They are like stepping stones with a distance of 10-15 arc min. from each other.The last one will show itself not pinpoint sharp, but somewhat "defocused"; that's M 57. Really easy in my 14x100 Wachter vintage binoculars, but should be doable with (mounted) 10x50. I've attached the Uranometria 2 map with pointers. Good luck for hunting down M 57! Stephan
  12. Hello and welcome! You have got a scope, which may give you both fun for years. Many newcomers have problems with finding objects in the sky; so go at first for the bright, easy to locate heavenly bodies - Moon, Venus, Jupiter, Pleiades, Orion nebula (M 42). Download Stellarium, as Dave mentioned above, the Virtual Moon Atlas (both free), and play with them. You can try to locate some of the Messier objects and find them later with the scope; have a look at the sticky "Collimation and Star- hopping" by moonshane (Getting started with observing forum). Get a Telrad/Rigel or Red Dot Finder (later on you may add a Right Angle Correct Image = RACI finderscope) and a star map; many members on here use the Pocket Sky Atlas. I'd suggest that you take yourself time, as far as new eyepieces are concerned, and, as was suggested above, look through the club's members scopes and eyepieces, until you decide. So you can avoid filling the drawer for unloved eyepieces..... Keep on asking here, and share your observations - we love them! Stephan
  13. Many have been there before..... ! Problems with Venus seem to have developed along with urbanisation; have a look at this text (from Garrett Putman Serviss: "Astronomy with an Opera-Glass"; New York, 1890; the whole book is still an enjoyable read; link below) "A singular proof of popular ignorance of the starry heavens, as well as of popular curiosity concerning any uncommon celestial phenomenon, is furnished by the curious notions prevailing about the planet Venus. When Venus began to attract general attention in the western sky in the early evenings of the spring of 1887, speculation quickly became rife about it, particularly on the great Brooklyn Bridge. As the planet hung dazzlingly bright over the New Jersey horizon, some people appeared to think it was the light of Liberty's torch, mistaking the bronze goddess's real flambeau for a part of the electric-light system of the metropolis. Finally (to judge from the letters written to the newspapers, and the questions asked of individuals supposed to know something about the secrets of the sky), the conviction seems to have become pretty widely distributed that the strange light in the west was no less than an electrically illuminated balloon, nightly sent skyward by Mr. Edison, for no other conceivable reason than a wizardly desire to mystify his fellow-men. I have positive information that this ridiculous notion has been actually entertained by more than one person of intelligence. And as Venus glowed with increasing splendor in the serene evenings of June, she continued to be mistaken for some petty artificial light instead of the magnificent world that she was, sparkling out there in the sunshine like a globe of burnished silver. Yet Venus as an evening star is not so rare a phenomenon that people of intelligence should be surprised at it. Once in every 584 days she reappears at the same place in the sunset sky— "Gem of the crimson-colored even, Companion of retiring day." " So you are not alone... Stephan
  14. For about three months, I'm using an even smaller scope, the Skywatcher Infinitiy 76 N, that houses a 76/300 = f/4 parabolic mirror, and have got some really surprising good views of the moon and some DSO's (postings on that here tagged with "skywatcher infinity 76"). With the additional 20 mmf eyepiece, I get about 3.5° true field of view, and it's nice to use, even on desk top indoors through double glazed windows, for observing Auriga's and Cassiopeia's clusters, asterisms and other wide field objects. Sometimes I'm missing a real good focuser for the use with ordinary 11/4" eyepieces, and the extra aperture. But, as a second grab-and-go, my "Blue Penguin" is quite nice! Stephan
  15. Henry David Thoreau, the author of "Walden", wrote a romantic essay titled "Night and Moonlight" in a less known part of his work. It is the last chapter of the collection of several walks named "Excursions", which, in my opinion, are all well worth reading. "Excursions" can be downloaded from the commons "Project Gutenberg": You have to scroll down almost to the end (or start from there). Enjoy the read! Stephan