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About Nyctimene

  • Rank
    Star Forming
  • Birthday 27/07/1952

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  • Interests
    Stargazing, music (lute, harpsichord, Early Music), reading, gardening, cooking, travelling, scuba diving, sailing
  • Location
    Germany, Odenwald
  1. First buy help.

    The 150 p Skyliner in Cannock, mentioned by Ricochet, looks quite promising, and would leave you some money to buy a planisphere (Phillips), the Pocket Sky Atlas (Sky and Telescope) and a red light torch. A simple collimation cap will do. Alternatively, I'd suggest the Skywatcher Heritage 130 P Flextube; with about 149 GBP still in your budget. Very compact, excellent optics, versatile; a lot of good reviews. It would give you pleasure for years, and could serve as a travel scope or grab-and-go scope, if you'd upgrade later. Have a look at Neil's review (you may skip the math part): A Newtonian Travel ‘Scope | Neil English.net Take yourself time with the decision; and download Stellarium to play with (it's free): http://stellarium.org/ Have fun, and keep on asking! Stephan
  2. Hope and Patience win

    "Spes et patientia vincunt" - this old Latin phrase (translated in the title) came to my mind, when I closed the door of the astro shed yesterday morning at 04.00 CEST. The afternoon and evening before had not been promising at all; extremely long airplane contrails of up to 150° and an extended whitish glare around the sun were indicating high air humidity; so the chances for DSO observing were worse than the nights before, and I decided to stay indoors. When I awoke at 01.45, the sky looked somewhat better, and I set up the 8" f/4 for spontaneous observing. NELM 5.6, and SQM-L 21.2 an hour later showed a further improvement. But Scorpius deep south was not brilliant; and the galaxy 5746 in Virgo near 110 Virginis showed no details except it's spindle shape, so I went up to objects near the zenith. M 92 was well resolved at 133x; and for the first time, IIRC, I spotted the small globular NGC 6229 (9.4 mag) forming with a pair of 8 mag stars close by a nice triangle (thanks, Iain, for your hint from March 26th on here!). The cluster was granular,but not clearly resolved. Over to M 102, the "Spindle Galaxy" in Draco. At 9.8 mag, it's 2,5:1 shape could be made out easily with direct vision; a rather "normal" view. I was very surprised, when I followed a chain of three 7.5 - 8.5 mag stars from 102 1°30' to the east to it's neighbour NGC 5907. At 10.3 mag, I spotted it's 11 arc min extended and extremely "edge-on" shape (about 6:1 axis relation!) best at 100x - 133x with direct (and better with averted) vision; a very rewarding sight! This galaxy should be named as the "Spindle Galaxy", not M 102. The small nearby gx 5879 (11.5 mag) followed. I finished with a look at Saturn: the Cassini division could be seen clearly. Mars was a wobbly disc still deep south. At 04.00 a.m., I glimpsed M 8 without optical aids; and the Summer Milky Way showed more and more structures. So, again a rewarding night, and I was glad for not having given up the chance of observing. A picture of 5907 added: Thenks for reading Stephan
  3. 18" trawling for galaxies in Coma Berenices

    I think so. Teleskop Express gives for the 12" values of 27 kgs tube weight and 34 kgs for the rockerbox. Compare this to the 14": 23,5 kgs tube weight and a (monstrous) weight of 50 kgs for the rockerbox. You'll need some kind of trolley or attached wheelbarrow handles to move the 14". I'd stay with your 8" and save up some more money for a more lightweight Dob; the 12" OOUK has a tube weight of 17 kgs and the rockerbox is just at 13 kgs. You could go even lighter; the 12" f/5 Hofheim Instruments traveldob (German maker) is a featherweight of only 12 kgs in total. The Sumerian Alkaid 12" f/5 is somewhat "heavier" at 16.5 kgs - way better manageable, and fun to set up and use. Edit: just to show you, what is possible - a 14" f/4.7 dob with incredible 15 kgs total weight (-ok; horrendous price of 7900€; but state-of-the-art) built by a well known German ATM, Daniel Restemeyer. Website in German only, but have a look at the pictures: http://nauris.de/index.php/de/mechanik/mirrage#Kenndaten Hth Stephan
  4. 10" dob

    IMHO, the most important point - weight and bulk of the scope. I'd stay with a 10", preferably a lightweight construction, e.g the 10" Sumerian with a total weight of 12 kgs, or something similar: https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p8530_Sumerian-Optics-Alkaid-10--f-5-Dobson-Teleskop.html Not cheap, but such a scope, a "lifetime instrument" would be used often and could be transported easily to other dark sky areas. We all know about aperture fever; it's "residual syndrome", aperture fatigue, is less known, but insidious, discomforting, and expensive, and thus should be avoided ;-) If I were allowed to keep only one scope, it would be the 8" f/4 Hofheim Instruments traveldob. Stephan
  5. Was out this morning (01.00-03.15 CEST) with the 18" f/4.5 Obsession in Coma Berenices. NELM 5.6; SQM-L 21.19. Starting from the rather bright (9.8 mag) galaxy NGC 4494, I paid a short visit to the Queen of the edge-ons, 4565, again a really spectacular view and filling the 1° field of the 24 mmf/82° Maxvision to almost one third. The dust line was obvious and passing the bulge asymmetrically. 4559 was 3:1 elliptical, with a small triangle of 12 mag stars in its southern part. Passing 4448 and the faint 4375, I came to the nice chain of three 4278 (10.1 mag, round), 4283 (12.1) and 4286 (with 14.5 mag only to spot with averted vision). The 10.4 mag oblong 4274 was in the same field of view. The 40' ENE located galaxy 4314 (10.6) perplexed me. SkySafari 5 Pro showed this object as round, whereas I saw a distinct 3:1 NW-SE elongated galaxy of almost 4' diam., with a brighter central region and a 13 mag star 2' NW. First I thought of a misidentification, but the surrounding star patterns showed clearly that I was observing 4314. Later on, the NSOG (Night Sky Observer's Guide) gave the info, that the galaxy is a barred spiral (SB (rs) a), and it was actually the bar, that I had observed. The round outer shell ( that SkySafari shows) seems to be really faint and observable only with AV in large scopes under good conditions. I finished with 4414, which appeared very similar to 4314. Mostly I used the 24/82 Maxvision (85x mag) and for details the 12 mm set of the Baader Zoom Mk III,giving 170x mag. A nice haul, very pleased, and so to bed. Thanks for reading https://dso-browser.com/picture/view/19931/deep_sky/NGC/4314/galaxy/by-tedelaney2009?from=dso&dso_id=5355 Stephan
  6. looking up

    Yes, indeed. During the last Stone Age period, the Neolithic era, solar observatories like this one in Goseck, seem to have been widespread throughout Europe: http://www.sonnenobservatorium-goseck.info/ The German archaeo-astronomer Wolfhard Schlosser gave another hint: "What is displayed in the constellations? - persons (men, women, gods...), animals, objects/tools. No plants. What can you see in the cave paintings, dated to the late Stone Age in Europe and Australia? - persons, animals, objects. No plants". Something to think about... Stephan
  7. Another +1 for the 3" to 4" frac with an 45° or (better) 90° RACI zenith prism - wide fields and an image easily comparable to a star map will make the start easier. AltAz mount anyway. Perhaps a pair of 8x40 to 10x50 binos to add. If the bug bites, an 8" f/6 may be swapped or added as an upgrade, depending on storage/transport and energy issues. Stephan
  8. New location - new opportunity

    Have a look at the "Overlay legend" in lightpollutionmaps toggle menu. Your location's radiance value (the amount of ground based energy/light radiation, as measured by the satellite; lower values are better) of 0.36 means, that you are observing from a "dark blue" coded area - just second to the best (black). I'm glad with my "dark green" site. Taking out the 18" dob with already attached wheelbarrow handles, and rolling it down a small ramp to it's place, takes exactly three minutes (and I'm 1,70 m with a weight of 61 kgs "soaking wet in my clothes", (to quote Kriege/Berry)). So laziness is a somewhat slim excuse I cannot accept thoroughly....;-) Stephan
  9. New location - new opportunity

    Yes, indeed; a very supporting wife, a lot of space, rural skies, and 32 years time to accumulate (I just cannot part with any of my scopes; each one tells so many stories; e.g. the 8"f/4 Hofheim traveldob was signed by John L. Dobson himself during his visit to Germany 2006... ..and so on ;-) ) Stephan
  10. New location - new opportunity

    +1 for that. With a bigger dob, you have to deal with thermal inertia due to the large mass of glass (mirror seeing/distorted views - or dewing up with rising daytime temperatures). An unheated room or garage with good ventilation would be a better solution IMO; a trolley or attached wheelbarrow handles, and you can take out the scope within a few minutes and start observing immediately. My 5 dobs (4.5" up to 18"; 3 plywood, 2 particle board mounts; the 13.1" 's tube made of Sonotube cardboard!) are living in a room within an old barn, and don't show any signs of deterioration due to moisture after 8 years. Best Wishes for you and your dad. I was in a similar situation a few years ago; and looking up at the stars was always a recreation and consolation for me. Congrats to your observing site: https://www.lightpollutionmap.info/#zoom=10&lat=7278457&lon=-274289&layers=B0TFFFFFTF Stephan
  11. Book suggestion - Your favorite read

    +1 for Arthur Koestler's "The Sleepwalkers", a fascinating read about the errors and crooked ways of science and scientists, that led to our model (Newtonian) of the universe. Joseph Ashbrook's "The Astronomical Scrapbook" (Cambridge University Press, 1984). Contrasting to Koestler, 83 chapters filling 450 pages on very various subjects (e.g.: "The era of long telescopes"; "Observing very thin lunar crescents"; "Algol and scientific conservation"; "Mizar, Alcor, and a planet that wasn't" (= Sidus Ludoviciana)). Nice to read, especially when you want to make use of a short break, or need a bedtime read not too long. In German language only: Rolf Riekher: "Fernrohre und ihre Meister"; a very comprehensive work about the telescope's evolution up to 1950. Stephan

    Why do you want to resist? If it's clear outside, there's a nice first quarter moon to look at. You'll find it even when the finderscope isn't lined up exactly, just release the mount's clutches and point the scope roughly into the moon's direction; then with the lowest magnification (=widest field) follow the light and you'll spot the moon. Enjoy the view; and this friendly forum - welcome! Stephan
  13. Janssen area

    Thanks, Eastman, for your kind reply! I'm very pleased with the shorty Baader 2,25x Barlow (for 1,25" focusers). It works indeed very well with the Heritage 130 P Flextube, giving very crisp, undistorted views without inducing any chromatic aberrations (despite the fast f/5 aperture ratio). Comparing the optical quality to my Zeiss Abbe 2x Barlow, it is not much behind. Tiny, lightweight, and cheap. I bought mine from Teleskop-Express: https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p5503_Baader-1-25--Q-Turret-Barlow---1-3x-und-2-25x---HT-Multiverguetung.html Combined with the Seben 8x24 Zoom, you get a variety of magnifications between 27x and 183x; a very good combo. I've added a ES 26mmf/62° LER eyepiece, to get the maximal TFOV of 2.5° (cheaper and more lightweight than the praised ES 24mmf/68°, and, moreover, giving a slightly larger exit pupil - good for views of faint, extended nebulae under dark skies). A small set, good for grab-and-go, and for traveling. Stephan
  14. At 2.45 CET, under a 5.5 mag NELM sky, I was out with the 5.1" Heritage Flextube for a spontaneous visit of "Markarian's Chain" in Virgo. Once more, I found the Chain, observed with a "smallish" aperture, somewhat "underwhelming" and could not get the views of it with the 18" out of my mind. So I went to the eastern border of the Virgo cluster and found, a little more than 2 degrees to the NW of Epsilon Virginis (Vindemiatrix), a nice pair of galaxies, NGC 4762 and 4754. The (about 10 mag bright) galaxies showed, observed with 81x mag, very different shapes. 4762 appeared as a distinct spindle, NE-SW oriented, about 5:1, with a stellar core. The slightly fainter 4754, about 10 arc min to the west of the former, showed, in contrast, almost "face on" as a slightly elliptical diffuse patch of light with a brighter core region; I could not make out more details. In a German Observer's Guide I found for this pair of galaxies the label "Spindel und Wollknäuel", which I've tried to translate in the title. Quite a nice view, and easy to find so close to Vindemiatrix. - Mars was close to the Lagoon nebula. - After an hour of observing (-8°) to bed. Thanks for reading Edit: attached a picture Stephan
  15. German amateurs (Sternwarte Laupheim; Hans-Jürgen Merk) are measuring the infrared radiation temperature with a simple infrared thermometer to gauge transparency. Space temperature is -270° C; within the atmosphere, the temperature increases due to the clouds emission of infrared radiation. H.-J. Merk gives these values: dense cloud cover +6°; partly cloudy -12°; hazy - 17°; clear, good transparency -20°, clear, very good conditions -24°. The second graph in the link to the Sternwarte Laupheim shows from left to right partly cloudy sky, clouded out sky and clear sky: http://www.wetterwarte-sued.com/v_1_0/aktuelles/himmelstemperatur.php No own experience with this way of transparency prediction and evaluation, but it seems to be a simple way (in combination with SQM-L measurements) to get some objective data of sky transparency and light pollution levels. Edit: just found this - a DIY Peltier element cloud detector, based on the same principle: https://www.noao.edu/staff/gillespie/projects/cloud-detector.html Hth Stephan