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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. Nyctimene

    What's your favourite observing time?

    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
  2. In his book "Star Testing Astronomical Telescopes", Harold R. Suiter describes meticulously the use of artificial light sources for testing (Ch. 5.2), including the application of a reflective sphere instead of a pinhole (5.2.3; pg. 88-93). Stephan
  3. For DSOs: Skywatcher Heritage 130 P Flextube. Total weight of about 7 kgs, can be easily separated into two parts. Excellent optics, decent mount, versatile, holds collimation well. Many pleased owners here on. Best bang for the buck. Huge thread on Cloudy Nights forum (One Sky Newtonian = same scope) in the Beginners section. Stephan
  4. Excellent decision; you will be very pleased with it; enjoy! Stephan
  5. Nyctimene

    Tell us your sky quality

    Coordinates 49° N/ 9°E: SQM-L values of 21.2 (own measurement) and 21.35 (Light pollution map value), according to Bortle 4. (Never really got on with the Bortle scale - seems, IMO, to be made for less humid climates). Stephan
  6. Nyctimene

    What`s your favourite constellation?

    Scorpius - always a harbinger of summer for me, when I spot it's shape and orange glowing Antares at the end of a Virgo galaxy session in those clear March and April nights. Not to mention the splendid view of it in summer 1998 near zenith from the Seychelles island Praslin with my 8x30 - the sounds and smells of surf and tropical wilderness adding to the great impression. Second, Orion; the Winter companion. (And, not to forget - Davis' Dog, the asterism between Hyades and Pleiades!) Stephan
  7. Nyctimene

    How Did You Fare In 2018?

    114 observations - my highest score ever (2016: 88; 2017: 101); due partly to the extreme summer and autumn weather conditions here in SW Germany (40 km NNW from Heidelberg), partly to the increasing use of my smaller scopes (8"; 5.1"; 80/400 frac) and binos for shorter grab-and-go sessions. Usual mix of DSO's and Lunar sessions. Best Wishes to all in 2019, and Clear Skies Stephan
  8. Nyctimene

    New to the sky

    Thanks for the correction - of course you are right (and my knowledge of the English language has still to be improved...) Stephan
  9. Nyctimene

    New to the sky

    Hello, and welcome to the forum! Start in twilight with aligning your scope and the finder. Put the 20 mm eyepiece ("lens") into the focuser and point the scope at a distant (1-2 km) conspicuous object, e.g. an aerial, church tower, or tree. Try to focus the object, and to bring it in the middle of the field of view. Next, switch on the Red Dot Finder (=RDF), and, using the two adjustment screws (for horizontal /vertical movements) bring the red dot to exactly the object displayed in your scope. When done, you can start searching for bright (naked eye) celestial objects; first of all the Moon; the Pleiades, the Double cluster between Perseus and Cassiopeia; and (in Orion) the Orion nebula. In the dawn, you can observe the planet Venus, showing it's nice, moonlike crescent form at the moment. I'd stick with the 20 mmf eyepiece, that will give you a magnification of 50x (1000mm divided by 20 mm = 50x); the 4 mmf will give a blurry image (your scope will allow magnifications of up to about 120x, due to it's construction - a "Bird-Jones" type, presumably). An additional eyepiece of 10 or 8 mmf would be adequate. The 3x Barlow will, as I guess, not be an adequate substitute for this. Get a planisphere for planning your observations; a decent star atlas (e.g. the Pocket Sky Atlas), and the book "Turn left at Orion". Enjoy your first looks through the scope; keep on asking; and don't forget to switch off the RDF after use. Hth. Stephan
  10. How about an "in-between" solution - the ubiquitous Skywatcher Heritage 130 P Flextube? Folds down to an extremely compact scope, that can be separated easily from the Dobsonian mount. Excellent optics, that allow magnifications beyond 230x; holds collimation well; many pleased owners in this forum. Would fit comfortably into the trunk of your car; shown here is it's place in my tiny Seat Mii (= VW Up!). You could, as a tinkerer, even make the mount collapsible/foldable by replacing the three screws, that hold the vertical arm to the rotating disc, with threaded inserts. Stephan
  11. Nyctimene

    NGC 7789 Caroline's Rose

    Never seen it naked eye under approx. 21 mag skies, but in all my binos and scopes. It's very rich and dense, more "milky" than "grainy", but reacts good to increased magnification, revealing the "petal" structure elements. Splendid in the 18" with the 30mmf/77° Wild Heerbrugg military surplus eyepiece! Stephan
  12. Nyctimene

    Hello from Texas!

    Hello and welcome, seanq1, from a German stargazer and Dobsonaut (visual only)! If you are willing to drive up to three hours (a real dedication!), have a look at this; there are some nice dark sky areas along the coastline and to the NE and W: https://www.lightpollutionmap.info/#zoom=6&lat=3581697&lon=-10635461&layers=B0FFTFFFFFT If you enable, in the toggle menu, the "SQM/SQC overlay and filters" setting, you get, color coded, exact measurements of the sky brightness for several spots (e.g. the Kisatchi National Forest; near Nachitoches). Happy hunting; and enjoy! Stephan
  13. Nyctimene

    A reliable green laser?

    Do some research on "direct diode green laser pointer". They work at a wavelength of 515 - 520 nm and seem to be much more reliable in cold temperatures. Here's a link: https://www.everyonetobuy.com/520nm-green-laser-pointer-light-pen.html The Z-Bolt Emerald Galaxy XT, that Buzzard 75 mentioned above, seems to be one of this type (515 nm wavelength). No own experience with this type of lasers. Stephan
  14. Nyctimene

    Measuring dark adapted pupil

    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. Hth. Stephan
  15. Owning a Heritage 130 P for now 18 months, I cannot quite understand your problems with it. It's extremely compact and lightweight, can be carried around with one hand, and fits nicely in the trunk of my tiny car, a Seat Mii (= VW Up!). And it's light grasping capability is considerably better than that of an 80 mm frac (goes more than 1 mag deeper); not to speak of the images completely free of chromatic aberration. And with a 24 - 26 mmf eyepiece you get a field of view of about 2.5 - not much behind a small frac. Here is a comparison of the Heritage with a 5" f/12 frac; have a read: http://neilenglish.net/5-inch-shootout-5-f-12-refractor-vs-a-5-1-f-5-reflector/#comment-928461 I'd consider to put the Heritage on a AltAz mount, e.g. the Vixen Porta II, for more convenience, when observing seated, and tracking (no own experience with that), instead of buying another smaller scope, that will not quite deliver on planets and DSO's. Ok; terrestial viewing.... but there are binos for that purpose! Just my 2 cts.. Stephan

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