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Everything posted by Nyctimene

  1. I'm with Olly and niallk - even after five decades of observing, I'm using a planisphere as the fastest way to get an overview what's up there this night. Within a minute I get the answer. Complements perfectly SkySafari and printed guides. (Olly - thanks for the ebay link - the NSOG seems to be out of print atm; no idea, whether there will be a reprint of volumes 1+2). No use of putting my smartphone into a bucket of water - it's waterproof! Stephan
  2. German Hertel+Reuss 8x30 binoculars. Got them as a confirmation present 1966 (cost 165 DM, about an average week's salary at that time). First steps with them at the moon; a solar eclipse (observed in Sweden, projection method), easy DSO's and comets etc. Trusty companion during many travels; have seen the Southern Skies several times. Well kept, and still in use, due the excellent optics (H+R, Kassel, produced top-notch optics close to Leitz and even Zeiss, IMO). Stephan
  3. Keep your eyepiece case inside the house until immediately before use. Close the case again, when you've taken out an eyepiece, so some warmth will stay inside. After inserting the eyepiece into the focuser, leave it's cap in place until just before observing. During short breaks (e.g., when looking things up on a map/app), always put the cap on again. When swapping eyepieces, put the unused one, covered with both caps, in a coat or vest pocket, as mentioned by John. You can even buy a vest-hood combo for this; have a look: https://r-sky.org/en/products/observing-hood Another solution without electricity could be a small, isolated box with lid, warmed by a chemical hand warmer (that can be re-used by putting it into boiling water for some minutes). I've never used dew strips, and an electric hairdryer only for the secondary mirror of the truss tube dobs (rarely). Stephan
  4. Blessed with SQM-L 21+ (= Bortle 4) skies, I'm almost always observing from home. My preferred observing time is during the early morning hours, after some hours of sleep; most of the lights are out, I'm optimally dark adapted, and the acclimated dob is out in a few minutes. Found these hints years ago in CloudyNights; have a look: https://www.cloudynights.com/articles/cat/articles/observatories/refining-you-home-observing-site-r1631 Stephan
  5. Congratulations, Magnus! I bought mine ten years ago, and was always pleased with it. Observing seated will add a half star magnitude to your NELM; so you've added aperture (virtually) to your scope, for a good price. Clear skies, and many happy observing hours with it! Stephan
  6. Nice report! I'm afraid, that the "teardrop" formation is already known as the "smiling cyclops". Have a look: https://skyandtelescope.org/observing/hidden-gems-in-common-objects/ I never miss looking at it, when observing the Double Cluster - once memorized, you can't make it "unseen". Stephan
  7. To quote Mel Bartels: "Comfort at the eyepiece adds half a magnitude to the scope's limiting magnitude ". I'm always observing seated. Stephan
  8. In stock here : https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/language/en/info/p12279_Skywatcher-Dobson-Teleskop-Heritage-150P-Flextube---150-mm-Oeffnung.html A very reliable German retailer. I'm using the scope's smaller brother, the 130 P, and am very pleased. Easy to use, crisp images, can go up to 200x mag without problems, holds collimation well. Very recommendable. Stephan
  9. NGC 7789 in Cas, "Caroline's Rose"; easy to find, a very dense oc, needs magnification and is magnificent; my most loved oc NGC 6811 in northern Cyg, "Hole in a Cluster"; about 6° SE of it NGC 6866, the "Kite Cluster" M 47/M46 in Pup with the embedded planetary 2438 (will need a OIII or UHC filter) M 35 in Gem, with the dense 2158 close W Stephan
  10. +1 for that. The best option, IMO, and hard to beat, when paired with good orthoscopic eyepieces, e.g, the Baader Classic orthos. You want to do lunar and planetary observing, not wide field observing with low power. No false colour, hardly spherical aberration or coma, easy to collimate and handle, tolerant regarding eyepieces,and very affordable. Stephan
  11. Paul, it's easy and self-explaining to use this atlas. The text passages are rather short and refer to partly astrophysics of the object, partly to history and common aspects ("trivia"), so not vital for observing. All the other topics you will found out, I'm sure. When you tap on one of the sliding/changing pictures on your smartphone, or notebook, the movement will stop, and you can investigate calmly. The book is priced here at 39.90€, so not cheap, but it oozes quality. The material is heavy DIN-A 4 paper, almost carton, dew-resistant and glossy, spiral-bound. The layout mirrors all the 30+ years experience of it's author and observer (who made the drawings of all objects once again, using 12" and 10" Dobs under 21.3-21.7 SQM-L skies). You may access the objects using their M number, or planned observing time, or right ascension etc. Symbols are used for types of observing instruments, colours for favourable observing (traffic-light system - green=ok; orange and red=worse) and so on. All very thought-out and immediately useful; and up-to-date (released Oct.2020). The Oculum Verlag will ship to all European countries; just give it a try (oculum.de), or use the tax-avoiding river, if it's too complicated. Stephan
  12. If you don't mind reading some German: https://www.oculum-verlag.de/detailview?no=594 By the publisher of the Interstellarum Deep Sky Atlas - a very thought-out book, detailed and self-explaining, with Telrad circles. Moreover, a similar guide to the best NGC objects is on the way (Crowdfunding). The Big Binoscout is in print and will be available in November. Stephan
  13. I really don't know - never saw it with my 8". Please check Phil Harrington's article linked above; there have been observers who spotted the Propeller with 6" scopes. The designated Dark Sky zone might help a bit. High magnification is needed. Give it a go, and let us know! Stephan
  14. I've observed only 6207 (regularly when visiting M 13), but have never been able to spot IC 4617 up to now. Encouraging, that there are some "brighter" galaxies close by; I'll give it a try, perhaps next year, when Hercules is high positioned again! Stephan
  15. I can make out the star trails/chains slightly "detached" quite well, but not as prominent as in Qualia's sketch. And, yes, these trails are "Herschel's hairs" - to quote his description (John Herschel, btw.): "hairy looking, curvilinear branches". Stephan
  16. Never observed this with my two dobs, that have the secondary flocked (8" f/4 and 5.1" f/5). They rarely dew up, and definitely not starting at the secondary's edges. Stephan
  17. Painting the secondary edge with a black felt tip or paint will still leave some reflexivity, esp. when light hits the mirror under grazing angles. I preferred to flock the secondary's edge (only half of it's circumference can be seen from the focuser) with self-adhesive velour flocking material (D-C-Fix here in Germany). Working in small pieces, I started with making a trapezoidal paper template for the part of the secondary, that points directly at the sky ( - the region of the major axis' exit) and cut it with fine scissors to the correct size and shape. I then transferred the template's outlines with a fine pencil on the velour's paper side, and cut out the part. A small pincette was used to put it into place. The same somewhat fiddly procedure followed with four more pieces (but you have to measure and cut only two templates, that are used back-to-front). The result is shown here with my Skywatcher Heritage 130 P Flextube: You don't have to work with extreme precision - the main point is just to get most of the stray light absorbed. Stephan
  18. Some more ideas here: http://www.roelblog.nl/2019/09/summierian-ii-een-100mm-f-4-babydobson/#more-2809 Stephan
  19. I'm using this observing hood: https://r-sky.org/en/products/observing-hood Not always, but in situations with light pollution (e.g. early in the evening - lots of cars and illuminated buildings), or, in contrast, when observing very faint DSO's. Works really well; only minor downside is the fogging up of eyepieces in winter times. You have to "ventilate" them for several seconds, and can go on with observing. Very good fabric and make quality, reasonable price. Stephan
  20. Thank you, Pixies, for the vivid report, especially for the reminder concerning comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko. It seems to be positioned quite favourable in northern Taurus, and I'll revisit it, perhaps tomorrow morning. A fascinating thought, that Rosetta sent down the lander "Philae" to it's surface in 2014, and that this fridge-sized space probe is still there. According to the 2020 evaluation of it's two "bounces", the comet's surface ice is very soft and fluffy, softer than cappuccino froth or bath foam bubbles. Should be visible readily with the 12" (the comet, of course; neither Philae nor cappuccino ice...;-) )Stephan
  21. It is strange, how the eye/brain team of a DSO's observer can be accustomed to view the faintest light structures on a dark sky background, and, in contrast to that, may have it's difficulties when it comes down to observe dark structures in brighter objects. When I went out this evening 20.00 CEST, the observing conditions were not great; NELM 5.0; SQM-L 20.6; together with a lot of light pollution (cars; two illuminated restaurants close by etc.), so I decided to point the 18" at M 13, without too much expectations. With 164x mag (Docter 12.5 mmf), several star lanes, known as "Herschel's hairs", mostly directed to N, were quite obvious. But up to now I have never been able to spot the dark lane structure known as the "propeller". This time, I spent, in analogy to some DSO sessions on faint objects, about 15 minutes to observe the cluster. Letting the eye wander again and again across the bright, widely resolved cluster, changing from direct to averted vision and back, slowly the dark "Y" pattern, resembling a "Mercedes" logo emerged in the S part of the cluster. One arm was pointing W, the two other ones to NNE and SE. The whole structure took up about 25% of the cluster's apparent diameter. I was not able to view it constantly - it "disappeared" several times, but returned, when I paused for a minute or had a look at the NGC 6207 galaxy close by. I guess, my brain will have stored the view now adequately, and it will be visible more readily the next time when I'm chasing it. A nice, appropriate sketch by Michael Vlasov: http://skyandtelescope.org/wp-content/uploads/Globular-M13-sketch-Michael-Vlasov.jpg An article by Phil Harrison about the propeller: https://www.cloudynights.com/articles/cat/column/phil-harrington-s/cosmic-challenge-m13s-propeller-r3106 Thanks for reading Stephan
  22. A good choice. You don't have to be afraid of the RDF; it works quite well ( - the same one as with my 130 P Flextube). Perhaps you have to shim it a bit to get it aligned to the OTA. If the red LED is too bright (for DSO's), you can reduce it's brightness by putting a small piece of developed 35 mm film across the LED's exit to dim it adequately (works well with several RDF's in use with my dobs). Together with a wide field eyepiece, e.g. the 24 mmf/68° ES, or it's brother, the 26 mmf/62° LER, you will have enough TFoV (True Field of View) for star hopping. A lot of questions are answered in the huge thread about the smaller, but elder brother, the Skywatcher Heritage 130 P Flextube - the same scope; here under the brand name "AWB": www.cloudynights.com/topic/463109-onesky-newtonian-astronomers-without-borders/ Stephan
  23. You could substitute the MDF base for this metal one: https://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/product_info.php/info/p5637_Orion-UK-Dobsonian-mount-for-300mm-aperture-Newtonian-Telescopes.html 13 kgs, so much lighter than a MDF base. Stephan
  24. Counterweights seem to be a quite common enemy. In my case, it was a fixed one, attached to the massive equatorial mount of the 18" Newtonian, the Starkenburg-Sternwarte had been donated months before. In the observatory's completely dark dome, the counterweight was just at the appropriate height, when I went around the scope, to hit my left eyebrow - resulting in a pretty bleeding cut, that had to undergo a surgical treatment at midnight. Lesson learned - my 18" Dob has no counterweights. ( - But wheelbarrow handles, that stay fixed for convenience when I'm observing. I've learned to walk around the scope always at the front side, as you have to do, when approaching a horse.... all went well, up to now!) Stephan
  25. Not so uncommon; the ICS owner is shown here with an accessory for the "Füssener Astrostuhl", allowing you to mount binoculars or small telescopes/spectives (I don't own - up to now; but Christmas is coming...): Stephan
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