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Les Ewan

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About Les Ewan

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    Star Forming

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  1. Not long in after a wonderful 6 hour stint. spent most of the time among the Leo galaxies seeing some for the first time.
  2. HI Chris, I spent half an hour also with my 16" Newt also without success.I left it till Sirius was at its highest (16 deg)but seeing was terriable. I have thought that I have glimpsed Sirius B in the past with 8" and 12" Newtonians but haven't been at all sure and in all honesty have had to admit defeat. Managed Porrima and Izar just after 4am but the seeing was still pretty bad but it was nice seeing Izar's bluish companion through the bubbling glare.
  3. Clear enough but blowing a hooley again unfortunately so no camera work. I've not done recliner and binocular viewing for a while so I may do that and just relax seeking out some open clusters and coloured stars for a while with my 10X60 Lidl specials.
  4. Venus is at it's biggest and most spectacular during its crescent stage as its approaching or receding from inferior conjunction when the crescent is easily seen with with 10X50 binoculars. The draw back then is its closer to the Sun with the inherent risk scanning the sky with the Sun close by. I took this image of Venus on the afternoon of 27 May 2012 with a 8" Newtonian 8 days before the transit.
  5. The Saturn moons Janus and Epimethius have weird orbits they circle the planet every 13 hours in separate orbits so closely matched that every four years or so the meet up swing round each other and swap orbits.
  6. HI Baz, Yes,seeing is to blame. Unfortunately a lot of the time the choice of targets are not up to us as far as seeing is concerned as Stu points out. However I've noticed on crystal clear still winter nights when seeing for high power work is poor things more often than not improve markedly around 3am (assuming it doesn't cloud over that is). Objects you struggle with on one night may stand out easily the next night,and you wonder what all the fuss was about,even on the same night sometimes. I don't observe much on windy nights but I have had some fine views of close double stars in such conditions, I assume because of the lack of the dreaded thermals from the ground, but the massive downside is of course telescope shake.
  7. During clear spell while walking the dog I got the impression Betelgeuse was just a shade brighter last night perhaps magnitude 1.1-1.2. This is not a scientific observation just a impression. There was a gale at the time so the sky was swept clean and very transparent (between the clouds) with no Moon. PS For any newbies out there astronomic observations can be made without a dog!
  8. I'm not great at variable star estimates and don't do many but studying Betelgeuse this evening using Pollux,Castor and Bellatrix I estimate Betelgeuse to be magnitude 1.2-1.3 just now. To me its fainter than Pollux but brighter than Castor and Bellatrix.
  9. Not tonight. This might be hard to believe but its cloudy!!
  10. I remember a close conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn around Christmas 1980 in Leo but the closest approach was in mid January 1981.It was no way near a close as this next one however.
  11. Orion is next to Eridanus a modern asterism can be made of a shopping trolley dumped in a river!
  12. A lot of people would like to see Betelgeuse go supernova now just for the spectacle of a star as bright as the full Moon.Personally I wouldn't it would be like wishing the death of an old friend. After a few weeks when it disappeared from view most of us would really miss it, Orion just would not be the same,although future generations of astronomers may well have a bright new planetary nebula to enjoy.
  13. Don't worry it will come back . The magnitude of Betelgeuse has historically been hard to estimate because of its redness but I've seen estimates of its fluctuations vary from 0.2-1.4 magnitude which is as bright as Capella to as dim as Regulus. To make matters worse during the fainter part of its cycle its spectrum is even redder and the human eye is less sensitive to red light. Its said that Betelgeuse is overdue to go supernova and some Youtube comments suggest that this latest dimming could be a prelude to it exploding ,but given the historic magnitude estimates over the last couple of hundred years I wouldn't write the star off just yet.
  14. Judging by the key errors you made you've had a few.
  15. My last observation session of 2019 was a frustrating one. You know the classic symptoms we all have the T shirt for ,constant dewing and icing which meant I spent as much time defogging than actually observing. When the cloud invaded just after 11pm I was about done anyway.
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