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About Nyctimene

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    Proto Star

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    Stargazing, music (lute, harpsichord, Early Music), reading, gardening, cooking, travelling, scuba diving, sailing
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    Germany, Odenwald
  1. Absolutely. I can get down to mag 12. objects with it, so several thousands of targets are within your reach. Very good for widefield views (add an Astronomik UHC filter for the Cirrus nebula in Cygnus etc.). Stephan
  2. If weight/bulk/storage are issues, I'd stick to a 130/650 dobsonian scope. It would moreover serve as a travel scope to escape the light-polluted areas of Belgium. As a seasoned observer and owner of several scopes from 3" to 18", I am very pleased with the Skywatcher Heritage 130 P Flextube. Very versatile, compact, excellent optics, that allow magnifications from 25x up to 180x. Holds collimation well, cools down rapidly. Together with a shorty Barlow, as the Baader 2.25x Turret barlow, it would be well within your budget. I'd avoid the AZI Goto bundle mentioned above, as the primary mirror is not collimatable (and, IMHO, it's better to "learn the ropes" traditionally, without GoTo). I've added a ES 26mmf/62° LER eyepiece for wide field views ( giving 2.5° True Field of View), the Barlow mentioned above, and a 8-24 Zoom (Seben, Celestron), and it's one of my most used scopes, for good reasons. Have a read on this (the One Sky Newtonian of the AWB is the same scope, just the US brand): https://www.cloudynights.com/topic/463109-onesky-newtonian-astronomers-without-borders/ Stephan
  3. Was out yesterday morning with the freshly fine-tuned (barlowed laser method) 18" f/4.5 Obsession in Canes Venatici. Sue French's book "Deep-Sky Wonders" had pointed me to Hickson 68 (pg.148), and described another interesting object close by, the edge-on galaxy NGC 5023 (12.2 mag, 6,2x0.8 arc min) as visible in her 4". It's not listed in the Night Sky Observers Guide, and not plotted in the Interstellarum Deep Sky Atlas/Guide, so I was curious and paid M 51 and it's spiral galore only a short visit. With the 24mmf/82° ES, better with a 16 mmf Ortho, the galaxy displayed, faintly visible directly, more extended with AV, an extremely, N-S orientated streak,without a central bulge or dust lane. Steve Gottlieb, DSO doyen, mentions the galaxy as one of the flattest in the NGC. To spot it with 4" needs real owl eyes. Over, under 5.6 mag/21.2 SQM-L skies, but excellent seeing, to Hickson 68, a lovely and bright group of 5 members (observed by several members of this forum). The brightest, 5353 (10.9) was seen in the 10 mmf Ortho (205x mag) as a 3:1 oval,N-S, close by N it's companion 5354 was contrasting round(er), with a bright core region. 5350 (11.4) appeared fainter, slightly elongated. 5355 (14.0), NE,small, round, could be made out well with direct vision, 5358 (14.8), close to a pair of stars was even smaller, but still visible directly, elongated. All members were visible in the same field of view; a splendid sight together with a yellow-white 6.5 star to the west. 5371 showed diffuse, without structure. Next was the nice pair Arp 84 ("The Heron", from it's photographic shape). 5395,(11.5; 3:1) was easy; the interacting 5394 (12.9) NW of it fainter; the tidal arms between them could not be made out - beginning dawn at 02.35 CEST. Rewarding targets; pleased with the scope's collimation and so to bed after two hours. Thanks for reading Edit: picture of 5023 added (GALEX; Wikimedia) Hickson 68: Stephan
  4. Another vote for the Skywatcher Heritage 130 P Flextube. Very easy to handle, compact, excellent optics, decent mount. Have a look here https://www.cloudynights.com/3109-onesky-newtonian-astronomers-without-borders/page-173#entry10198084 (the One Sky Newtonian is the same scope) Stephan
  5. Was out yesterday morning at 01.00 CEST with the 5.1" Heritage Flextube to get some moonlight. Sub-average seeing, but still usable for moments up to 130-150x. Started with Aristarch, Herodot and Schröter's Valley close to the terminator, went over to Prinz (spotted the western Rima shortly); the two Gruithuisen domes. Once again, a tiny ink-black shadow spot at Promontorium Laplace. Went southward to Schickard, Nasmyth and Wargentin. Close by was Palus Epidemiarum (appropriate to the earthly situation), with the bright crater Mercator A. Consulting LunarMap HD, I suddenly noticed in it the concentric crater Marth close by to the west - clearly depicted in the LRO map, a pleasant view. At the eyepiece, the crater, very small, could be made out well, but not it's inner concentric crater wall. The same applied for the second concentric crater Hesiodus A a few degrees to the east (usually I gauge lunar seeing with the detectability of it's concentricity). I hauled out the 18" to get a better view of both craters, but to no avail, even with 250x mag (zoom 8 mmf). So I had a look at the nice crater Ramsden with Ramsden A and a bright spot in the NW crater wall. At 02.05, suddenly a tiny black speck came into view, that moved continuously to the west, visible for about 30-40 seconds. It was really small - smaller than Marth's size, and I twice lost it's view, having difficulties with finding and focusing again, but clearly visible, before it disappeared behind the terminator. No migrating bird (too slow), no plane, and no floater. Never seen anything similar during five decades of observing. I guess some satellite - but what species? Any ideas are appreciated. Slightly confused to bed at 02.20. Attached a link to a Sky+Telescope article about concentric craters: https://skyandtelescope.org/observing/celestial-objects-to-watch/crazy-about-concentric-craters02252015/ Thanks for reading Stephan
  6. An excellent starter kit, that will serve you for a lifetime - no need to upgrade during the next 1-2 years! You've already downloaded Google's Sky map - a decent, but basic map, good for the first steps. I'd recommend additionally "SkySafari Plus". A mighty tool, that not only allows to identify stars by pointing the device at their location. More important, you can set the phone's display to match exactly the field of view your binos or field scope will show. You can even set the brightness of stars or e.g. galaxies to the faintest objects your optical devices will show. This makes star hopping from a bright and easy to identify star to a fainter object a breeze. A lot of information about the objects is immediately at your fingertips.You will need some time to exhaust all the features of SkySafari, but it's really rewarding (of course, no affiliation etc. here - just a pleased owner). Another recommendation: Start a diary/logbook of your observations (e.g. entries about location, sky conditions, instrument, objects observed....). It's fun to read the entries later in cloudy nights - you can see the progress you've made. Clear skies (I'm blessed here in SW Germany, like you, with Bortle 4 skies) Stephan
  7. Nyctimene


    Welcome, Karen, to this friendly forum. Have a look here : Stephan
  8. SkySafari (the Plus version will be enough for most situations) Lunar Map HD (use the LRO chart). Stephan
  9. Was out this morning with the 8" f/4 near the SE corner of the Dipper's bowl. Slightly sub-average conditions (NELM 5.3 mag) despite 21.2 MPSAS with the SQM-L. Started with M 109, that appeared in the 18mmf/82° ES, giving 44x mag, not impressive (rather low surface brightness), as a 2.5:1 oval, brighter core region. The close by gx 3953 oval (10.1 mag)was almost at par. The faint 5:1 spindle of 3917 (11.7 mag) could only made out with averted vision. Contrasting was 4026, directly visible as 4:1 spindle. In the same field, the Arp 18 group came into view, with the brighter (10.6 mag) spindle 4088 and the faint companion 4085, both "cuddled up" to the side of a conspicuous "Y" of four stars, an aesthetically very pleasing view with 80x mag (10 mmf Ortho). Close by two more spindles - 4157 (11.4 mag; 5:1) and 4100 (11.0; 4:1) All could be made out in the same field of the 18mmf (1.85°). Somewhat tired, I finished with M 81/82, and 3077. Coddington's nebula remained invisible once more (spotted it twice in five decades; the same went with the Encke division in Saturn's rings). Rewarding group of spindles, that I plan to investigate with the 18". Thanks for reading Stephan
  10. Spotted the comet this morning with the 8" f/4 traveldob with 44x mag under 5.2 NELM skies. Easy to see; bright, about 7.5 - 8.0 mag, DC= 5, no tail visible; a quite promising view - way better than comet Y4. Should be visible in binoculars (didn't try). Stephan
  11. Almost 15 years after my first observations of the Abell cluster AGC 1367 in Leo, I revisited with the 18" f/4.5 Obsession this group of about 60 galaxies, all located within a 1° field of view. Conditions were slightly sub-average (NELM 5.2 mag), but the seeing was, despite the strong wind, rather good. Starting from the easy to find star 93 Leo, the brightest member 3842 (11.8 mag) showed readily in the 30 mmf/77° Wild-Heerbrugg eyepiece. I swapped to the trusted 10 mmf Ortho, giving 205x mag, and worked my way around. The brighter galaxies could be made out with direct vision along a S - N line, beginning with the small, round 3837 (13.2 mag), followed by the bright, round 3842 with a brighter core region. Very close by 3841 (13.5 mag), and the fainter 3845 (14.0 mag). To the west, the 5:1 spindle of UGC 6697 (13.5 mag) was visible readily with AV, at right angles to it, the 13.9 mag 3844 appeared fainter. N of both, the 13.9 mag 3840. Moving to the east, the 12.6 mag 3861 A was visible directly as a 2:1 oval. Following a line through the 7.5 mag star HD 102122, the nice close pair of 12.8 mag 3873 (round, directly visible) and the adjacent faint 5:1 spindle of 3875 (14.0 mag; AV only) appeared. 3862 and 3867 followed. After 11/2 hours, I slowly got tired. The observation was somewhat similar to the observation of the Virgo cluster with an 8" - wherever I looked, another faint galaxy came into view, and at midnight I stopped trying to identify all those pesky specks..... - . SkySafari 6 Pro was very useful, as was the Interstellarum Deep Sky Guide and the ancient Volume Nr.5 of the Webb Society's Deep-Sky Observer's Handbook. All in all, a rewarding target for scopes up from 12"; quite pleased, and so to bed. Attached a picture (Sky+Telescope, April 2017): Thanks for reading Stephan Edit: added the link to the excellent S+T article on Abell 1367 by Bob King (the photo is taken from it): https://skyandtelescope.org/observing/are-you-ready-willing-and-abell/
  12. Thanks to Gerry's (jetstream) suggestion above, I observed the 3607 group last evening with the Heritage 130 P under 5.2 mag skies. 3607 rather bright, round, with a brighter core region. 3608 N close by, elongated. The 12 mag 3605 could not be made out; but I spotted the equally faint, but larger, 3599 several seconds at the limit of AV.The rather bright 3632 followed (it's not listed in the IsDSA). Relaxed finally with the Leo triplet. Stephan
  13. Spotted the Intergalactic Wanderer this morning with the 5.1" Heritage Flextube. Nick's (cotterless 45) description was spot on: "a fish hook of stars and a sparkle at the end". Under 5.2 mag skies not a sparkle, but a faint glow, about 2.5 arc min diameter, round, constantly seen with AV and mags of about 130-150x (Seben Zoom+2.25x Barlow), directly perceived for about 50% of observing time. Not that difficult - experience helps!
  14. Was out last night with the Heritage 130 P Flextube under average 5.6 mag skies, slight haze. Started with the ES 26 mmf/62° LER and found easily the small, round gx 4494, that showed a brighter core region, as a stepstone to the famous spindle galaxy 4565, that was visible with direct vision as a marvellous 5:1 spindle. Next was the Koi Fish galaxy 4559, directly visible, but with rather low surface brightness. Three embedded field stars. The Whale galaxy 4631(8.9 mag) followed; beautiful spindle; the 9.5 mag companion galaxy 4656 not as conspicuous as expected and only visible with averted vision (AV). Over to the Silver Needle Gx 4244 (9.8 mag); a 6:1spindle, best seen at 50x mag with AV (Seben Zoom). 4214 (9.8 mag) directly visible, round. The Cocoon galaxy 4490 followed; 3:1 elongated, even the very close by 12.0 mag gx 4485 could be made out with AV (61x mag). 4449 E-W elongated. Finished with the bright (8.3 mag) 2,5:1 spindle of M 106, that showed the brighter core region quite well. After rewarding 11/2 hours I ended the session, once again very pleased with the capable and easy to handle Heritage 130 P - a lifetime scope! Thanks for reading Stephan
  15. Almost always, I'm observing in the early morning hours, after 3-4 hours of sleep. No street lights; better seeing; rested; and no dark adaption needed. Never been able to observe more than three hours; mostly 11/2 to 2 hours. Works as a retirement schedule for me during the whole week. Before only on weekend. Stephan
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