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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. For me, observing lunar features is complementary to spotting DSO's. With a big dob (18" in my case), it's very rewarding to meander with medium to high power through the different landscapes along the terminator. At 518x mag, I get that "landing module" impression. Moreover, lunar observations are absolutely immune against any kind of light pollution; and, due to the dob's large exit pupil, problems with age-related eye "floaters" are kept at bay. Stephan
  2. My Rigel finder, bought in 2018: similar smaller scratches on top, probably due to the production process - hey, it's a cheap plastic housing! Just look through it, not at it. (The famous German telescope maker Fraunhofer, 19th century, stated: "My telescopes are made to look through them, not at them", despite the pure shimmering beauty of his perfectly engineered wood-brass refractors). Stephan
  3. Congrats, John, on your observation of the HCG 44 group - a very rewarding target! Last year, Feb. 18th., I was able to make out all four members of HCG 44 under 5.2 mag skies, with my 8" f/4 Hofheim traveldob, 3187 as the faintest member only for seconds with averted vision, but definitely visible; all four of them with mag 133x within a field of 45 arc min diameter; very rewarding (posted the observation here in the Deep Sky section the same day: "An unexpected discovery"). Well worth a try for 12", 10" and even 8" owners! Stephan
  4. Nyctimene

    Hi from Uli

    Hello, Uli, und willkommen! BTM founder? (never been there) Stephan
  5. The afternoon haze and thin clouds had almost disappeared (thanks, Neil, for your good wishes!), when I took out the 18" f/4.5 Obsession for a long planned search for faint galaxies in the background of M 44, the well known Beehive cluster in Cancer. Phil Harrington wrote about those galaxies in his wonderful and inspiring book "Cosmic Challenge" (No. 157). Conditions were not ideal at 21.50 CET: NELM 5.0 (UMi), SQM-L 20.8; but the target was extremely easy to find. Following Phil's suggestions and aided by his excellent chart, I started away from the "heart" - shaped central region of M 44 with NGC 2647(15.1 mag), with V=205x a small, rather easy to find galaxy, appearing for 60% of observing time with averted vision, sometimes for seconds visible directly. A stellar core region showed up once; the shape slightly elongated (?). Easier for me was, at the opposite west side of the cluster, the 14.6 mag 2624, which appeared to me more extended, round, with a stellar core region and visible directly. Close to the E (4 arc min), the smaller 14.5 mag 2625 was visible in the same field; a round, tiny speck. The search for the galaxy pair CGCG 89-56 and for IC 2388 failed - partly due to the dewing up of the 10 mmf Orthoscopic eyepiece; but I'm sure, that they are within reach of the 18" under better conditions, and will give it another try. At least - starhopping is very easy in the star-crowded field of M 44, and I didn't even need SkySafari. Tired, but quite content, and so to bed at 23.10. The three galaxies I've observed seem to be well within reach for a decent 10-12" scope under dark skies, so give it a try! Attached the map from Phil Harrington's book: Thanks for reading Stephan
  6. Well done, Neil , and congrats once more - I was absolutely sure that you would be successful! Very few people have seen, what you have observed last night, and I am sure, that you will return to the quasar more than once. For a while, I took PG 1634+706 and it's visibility with the 18" as an assessment of sky transparency; have to do this again. Hoping to get out this evening for a hunt for galaxies beyond M 44; the brightest one with 14.6 mag; (Phil Harrington's "Cosmic Challenge" No. 157), but the sky is covering with high haze.... Stephan
  7. I've chosen the ES 26mmf/62° LER eyepiece instead of the ES 24mmf/68° for my Skywatcher Heritage 130 P Flextube one and a half years ago, and I'm quite pleased with it. My experiences are mostly congruent with the report on CN by russell23 -sharp, clear and bright images, neutral colour, good eye relief -even when I'm wearing glasses, the whole apparent field of view can be seen. No "kidney beaning", and a calm, relaxed viewing. Very well suited as an overview eyepiece, or, at f/5 in my case, giving a field of 2.5°, for extended objects (NaN or Veil with an UHC). Well corrected up to about 80-85% of the field's diameter, deteriorating beyond with astigmatism, but not annoying, IMO. The view reminds me of my Zeiss Jenoptem 10x50 binoculars - tack sharp in the middle, getting softer outwards, like the natural view with unaided eyes. - Weighs considerably less than the 24/68, and is less expensive. Should work quite well with your C 5. Hth. Stephan
  8. Learn to appreciate the moon on its own. It's the celestial body closest to us, and displays a wealth of beautiful views of geological formations. I'm mostly a DSO observer, but this evening I'll go out and have a look at the Aristarch region still close to the terminator (the light-shadow separation border). You may try to start with the Lunar 100 observation challenge, have a look here: http://www.astrospider.com/Lunar100list.htm Observing the Moon for me is complementary to DSO observing, so I can always make a good use of clear nights. And if you insist on DSO's - look at double or multiple stars, coloured stars (R Leporis, the "Vampire star" is still in reach), open clusters, globular clusters, asterisms, brighter planetary nebulas (the "Eskimo nebula" in Gemini is high up now), planets, minor planets; Iridium flashes.... so much to discover! Enjoy the journey, and - start an astro diary; very rewarding. Stephan
  9. Was lucky with the weather, and spotted the comet's passage with the 8" f/4 Hofheim traveldob. The moon washed out much of the comet's coma, but it was still clearly brighter and larger than 2903 - very different from the displays in SkySafari and Stellarium. The bright core region was still obvious at 50x mag with a 16 mmf Ortho. The comet passed the galaxies southern edge at 22.30 CET; and I found mdstuarts comparison with M 81/M82 spot on. Stephan
  10. Spotted comet Iwamoto for the first time (after clouded-out months) this morning 02.00-03.00 CET with the Heritage 130 P. Transparency was better than most of the nights in 2018 with a NELM of 5.8 - 6.0 (UMi). The comet was an easy find, still within Leo's sickle, with 25x mag and a TFoV of 2.5°. A rather large object with a coma diameter of about 30 arc min, (compared with the distance HD 85660 to 85932); the brightness I estimated at about 7.5 mag (measured against the defocused HD 86133). DC (= degree of condensation) 3 to 4. At 81x, a prominent core region was obvious, with glimpses of the starlike "false nucleus"; all parameters rather congruent with the Sky and Telescope article. No tail visible; rapid movement, recognizable within 5 minutes, to the west. A nice object, equally in the 7x50 Fujinon binos, and even in my wife's tiny Pentax Papilio II (6.5x21). - Had a short look afterwards at the Leo triplett M 65/66 and 3628, the latter directly visible, and a long streak with AV. - Hoping to observe the extremely close pass (only 3 arc min distant from the center of NGC 2903!) at 22.30 CET; thanks, Fraunhoffer, for the Heads Up! Stephan
  11. Hello, Deb, and a warm welcome from a German stargazer and happy owner of a Heritage 130 P Flextube! No need to upgrade too soon; it's a very capable and versatile scope, that will give you and your family years of pleasure. A clear view to the S/SW and access to a dark sky place is much more valuable than a lot of accessories. You will be surprised, what it will show under dark skies. Did it come with a Barlow and perhaps filters? (A shorty Barlow, e.g. the Baader turret Barlow 2.25x, and a UHC filter would be my suggestions, if some money is left). Enjoy the journey; and Clear skies Stephan
  12. Neil, congrats to your almost successful attempt to observe PG 164+706 - I'm sure, that you will spot it from your dark sky location with SQM values of 21+ mag. German amateur Klaus Wenzel found it in1998 with his 12.5" with direct vision under (then) suburban/rural transition skies, and reports, that another amateur, Zellhuber, was able to make it out with an 8" under alpine conditions. The trapezium of four stars you've marked is similarly my star-hop approach with the 18"; the 13.04 and 14.03 mag stars form a "wimpy" right-angled triangle with the quasar. Perhaps you have to increase the magnification beyond 300x (given that the seeing is good). Give it another go, and let us know; good luck with the hunt! Stephan
  13. Neil, you might try this one; circumpolar in Draco, and rather easy to find due to the close pair of 8 mag stars close by to the NW. No problem to spot it with the 18", but is doable with 10" or even 8". Fascinating with a light travel time of 8.6 billion years - a long time, before the Solar system evolved. http://quasar.square7.ch/fqm/1634+706.html It's position is shown in the Interstellarum Deep Sky Atlas, page 4 (left side, close to the border of U Mi). Good luck with the hunt! Stephan
  14. In his book "Deep-Sky wonders",pg. 217/218, the doyen of DSO observers, Walter Scott Houston, describes a seasonal approach (developed from a school of celestial navigation during WW II). The key constellations are Leo (spring), Scorpius (summer), Pegasus (autumn) and Orion (winter), when looking southward in the evening/early night hours. They don't change their appearance as much as the Ursa Maior's constellation, that circles around the celestial North Pole, sometimes confusing newbies. From there, work your way to the other ones. I've always taken the learning of constellations rather relaxed; and, after some decades of observing, still have to consult the map for fainter constellations, as Lacerta, Monoceros, Leo minor. Stephan
  15. Reasons for my observing hours - mostly between 01.30 and 04.00 am. In the evenings, I'm often too tired to get out (enhanced by some glass of wine); and during the last years, I often awake spontaneously three or four hours later. At that time, all the street lights in our little village are turned off, the security lights are less active; and, with a key switch, I can eliminate the terrace lighting of the nearby hotel. Btw. - spontaneous awaking after midnight, and staying active for some hours, alone or in community, before returning to bed, seems to have been a common sleep pattern in previous times. A fascinating read about this is:"At Day's Close - Night in times past" by A. Roger Ekirch; a short review here: https://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/24/books/review/at-days-close-the-dark-ages.html Something to ponder for us stargazers.... Stephan
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