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About Nyctimene

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    Proto Star

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  • Interests
    Stargazing, music (lute, harpsichord, Early Music), reading, gardening, cooking, travelling, scuba diving, sailing
  • Location
    Germany, Odenwald
  1. I've read somewhere, that a DIY modification was done by replacing the three wood screws, that fix the vertical part of the mount to the circular one, with cylinder screws, and threaded inserts in the vertical part. With this modification, all the mount's parts fold nicely flat, and could be taken, together with the OTA, as hand luggage. Might be worth a try, if you have some woodworking skills. Stephan
  2. Hello and welcome from a German stargazer. A decent 10x50 is the stargazers "Swiss army knife", well suited for a lot of wide field views, and an excellent grab and go tool. Have a look at the Auriga clusters M 36, 37, 38; the Pleiades, M 35, the Orion nebula. Download the monthly newsletter. by BinocularSky ("Observing - with binoculars"). Enjoy the journey! Stephan
  3. Nice report. Nothing beats a big dob under decent skies. Worth all the hassles with setting up, using a ladder, small field of view etc. Just being out visual only, the right thyme and plaice (thanks, Peter!) - enjoy your great lifetime scope, and keep on posting! Stephan
  4. Had the same impression this morning at 0h30min CEST under 5 mag skies with the 13.1" Odyssey. Dimmed about 0.5 mags, and the coma diameter seems to be having shrinked as well to 4-5 arc min (but compromised by upcoming haze). Otherwise little change. Clouds rolled in after 15 mins, so I had to stop the search for pn NGC 246, the Skull nebula, well placed at this time. Stephan
  5. Spotted comet P/2018 W2 Africano this morning at 02.30 CEST under 5.0 mag skies with the 5.1" Heritage. Appeared rather faint, about 9.5 mag guesstimated; round, DC=4; coma diameter about 8 arc min. For moments, the "false nucleus", somewhat asymmetric positioned, could be made out. No tail visible. Rather fast movement, visible within 20 min. Incoming clouds, so no further investigation possible. Some fun, always escaping the clouds, with Castor, M 35 and oc 2158 (the latter slightly brighter than the comet), the Auriga Messiers, finally 7789. 26mmf ES; Seben Zoom. Stephan
  6. Interesting question, Gerry. I've been observing with binos and scopes for almost exactly fifty years now, starting with comet Bennett in spring 1970. But there have been many years with only few observations, up to ten/year. The frequency increased with my first Dob, the 13.1" Odyssey, that I bought 1987, having moved a few years before to a very dark location in the deepest Odenwald forests. Numbers climbed to 30 - 40 observations. After retirement, I was able to observe a lot more - up to three digit numbers in 2017 and 2018 (this year, 59 so far). I'll try to get some medical/physiological information about the subject; never heard of it before. Stephan
  7. Excellent report, Neil. Whilst reading, I was with you at the eyepiece. You described the process of finding an elusive object very precisely. (Had similar experiences last evening, locating NGC 891 under 20.6 SQM-L skies...) Stephan
  8. Definitely too big and heavy- moreover, 2" barrels, that won't fit the 11/4" Heritage focuser. I'm quite pleased with the 26mmf/62° ES LER eyepiece when working together with the Heritage. It's somewhat of an Erfle type; very good colour correction, very sharp on axis, slightly deteriorating at 85% of the AFoV. No kidney beaning; calm, relaxed viewing. If you are interested, here a review: https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/579467-26mm-es62-observations/ Stephan
  9. It does, indeed. With a Skywatcher UWA 6 mmf and the 2.25x Barlow, I get a 244x magnification - still usable for tight doubles (I can confirm Stu's Pi Aquilae split with it repeatedly), and Lunar. Stephan
  10. Another vote for the Skywatcher Heritage 130 P Flextube. It fits nicely into the boot of my Seat Mii (= VW Up), still leaving enough room for eyepiece case, maps, a small folding stool and some luggage. It's my grab-and-drive set at the moment. With an ES 26mm 62 degrees LER, I get a field (TFoV) of 2,5 degrees. Add a 24-8 Seben/Celestron zoom, and a shorty Baader Barlow 2,25x (giving 183x magnification), and you're prepared for all astronomical targets. Cheap enough, so any damage/loss will not harm too much. Added a picture of it in the boot/trunk of the tiny Mii: and another one, with folding stool, PSA, 7x50 binos, eyepiece case (re-, upcycled physician's case). Still enough space for other things. Stephan
  11. NGC 6811 in Cygnus, "Hole in a cluster". About 1000 stars, with some concentration in the outer regions, thus leaving the impression of a darker center - the hole. View varies with different apertures.; nice to look at and easy to find. Stephan
  12. Just to remember....posted this 9 months ago - a proven method to assess eye pupil diameter: It's really simple! Get a set of spiral drill bits, graded in 1/2 mm steps. Go outside (your pupils will adapt within a few minutes, not so the retina), and look, one eye covered, at a bright star. Hold, beginning with about three millimeters, a drill bit (blunt side up), 15 to 30 cm in front of your eye (you may as well go farther away with it -stars send parallel light rays out of infinite distance). You will see the starlight, passing the bit's edges and entering your eye. Now, work your way up to larger bit diameters; you will still see the starlight. At a certain point, the used bit will block all the starlight, and the star's image will have disappeared. Repeat two or three times; the bit's diameter just below the occluding bit is the diameter of your maximal dilated pupil. Now test the other eye. I've assessed for my eyes 6.5 mm (left eye) and 6 mm (right eye) that way - very satisfying at age 66. It's astonishingly precise, when repeated. Learned this from an article by German amateur Uwe Pilz years ago. Stephan
  13. Observing faint DSO's, or details in brighter ones, is mainly a thing of contrast, i.e. a high signal-to-noise (S/N) ratio. A certain aperture given, the signal strength (amount of photons entering the eye) cannot be increased. So it all comes down to decrease the noise. There are external sources of optical noise, that can be eliminated (observing hood/eyepatch, as you, Neil, already mentioned; observing late, in dark sky areas etc.). But there are also internal ones -the need of small muscular correction movements, when observing standing, contributes to the amount of neuronal "noise" in the brain. Therefore, observing seated is to be preferred. Alcohol increases via raising sympathetic nerve arousal neuronal noise in the same way; sleep reduces it. But in the sensors (=retina) and the processor (=brain) a certain level of "noise" is always present. There are several complex neuronal mechanisms, based on a combination of activating and inhibiting ("lateral inhibition") properties, that enhance contrast perception within the retina and the brain. Practice is also crucial; repeated activation of neurons in the visual system leads to the forming and growth of synaptic connections ("neurons that fire together wire together"), thus increasing the S/N ratio. In August 1997 I observed, together with the very experienced comet hunter, Otto Guthier, the comet C/1997 J2 Meunier-Dupouy through his 16". With a visual mag of 12.2 and 3 arc min coma diameter, we both could make out the comet easily, constant in AV, sometimes directly. Another experienced observer (but not so much in DSO's) tried it again and again, without avail. I learned a lot about the importance of experience that night. Stephan
  14. You might go up to really large apertures.... Dr. Erhard Hänssgens DIY Dobsonian, here shown with it's full aperture of 42". Here's the full read: http://www.cruxis.com/scope/scope1070.htm Stephan
  15. Besides astrophotograpy, an 8" f/6 Dobsonian is the stargazers "Swiss Army knife". Well suited for moon and planets, as well as for a lot of DSO's. Given your location in a less light polluted area, a nice lifetime instrument, not expensive, still portable to even darker skies to the west; have a look: https://www.lightpollutionmap.info/#zoom=11&lat=1143802&lon=8482192&layers=B0FFFFTFFFFTT Stephan
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