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Littleguy80 last won the day on November 12 2019

Littleguy80 had the most liked content!

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About Littleguy80

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  1. Thanks Dom. Completely agree. Just feels nice to be back out and visiting old friends
  2. The unusual circumstances of this year has meant that it's been several months since I've visited my local dark site. There have been some lovely sessions from home though. In recent weeks the planets have proven good entertainment. GRS and shadow transits on Jupiter being particular highlights. Wednesday night gave me the chance to reach dark skies though and, despite an uncertain forecast, I loaded up the car and headed out. It was a little after 10 pm when I arrived. No one else was observing so I had the place to myself. After setting up and collimating, I headed over to Saturn and then Jupiter for a quick check on the finder alignments and to ensure everything was working as expected. Looking overhead, I enjoyed the bright Milky Way. It was wonderful to see it so clearly under dark skies. I took some SQM readings over the course of the night, best coming in just under 21. Not the best for this site but a significant improvement on my back garden. My plan was to take a tour through some Summer favourites, the first of which being the Wild Ducks Cluster. Open clusters aren't normally on the list for dark site trips but they really do benefit from dark skies. The many hidden fainter stars add up to a nebulous glow around the brighter stars in the cluster. My eyes were still dark adapting at this point so the differing colours in the stars was more apparent. I moved further down to arrive at the Eagle Nebula, the views improved considerably with an OIII. The Swan nebula was a real highlight of the evening. The TeleVue Bandmate OIII revealing lovely shading across the nebula. It almost seem to have texture to it and is the best I remember seeing this nebula. Arcturus caught my eye and reminded that Comet Neowise was in Bootes. It was hard to believe the now dim Comet was the same one that shone so brightly just a few weeks ago. It was nice to get a final look in before it travels too far away to be seen. The memories of Comet Neowise are certain to last much longer. A tour of Sagittariuses open clusters followed. I also battled to find a place where I get down low enough to see the Lagoon nebula. I succeeded but the views were just ok on this occasion and a slight disappointment after some really memorable encounters last summer. Looking up towards Cygnus, I spotted several Perseids streak across the sky over the course of a few minutes. During lockdown, I was given a DSLR as a birthday gift. I now set this up to try and catch some meteors against the Milky Way. I left the camera clicking away and with the OIII filter in place, pointed the dob at Cygnus. The Veil showed some fine whispy structure including Pickering's triangle. It was noticeable that there was quite a bit of moisture in the air now and I had to spend some time setting up the dew heaters. The Crescent nebula, similar to the Lagoon, was visible but not spectacular under these conditions. The North American and Pelican Nebulae put up a better show. It was great to trace the edges and look for subtle features within the NAN. The Perseids were putting on a great show and I spent as much time looking up as looking through the eyepiece. The 10mm Delos went into the focuser and I took a tour of some Planetary Nebula plus the lovely little globular cluster, NGC 6934 in Delphinus. The Blue Flash and bright green NGC 6572 were the stand outs of the Planetary Nebula observed. As I considered packing up, I looked over at Mars now rising high. Turning the dob towards the red planet proved to be an excellent decision. I was immediately struck by the well defined polar ice cap. I used the Nagler Zoom and Baader Contrast Booster to gain some image scale and contrast. I spent a long time taking in the Albedo features on the planet's surface. Absolutely amazing and the perfect note on which to end the evening. In fact, it also proved to be the perfect encore. On arriving home, I couldn't resist setting the dob up for another look before making my way to bed.
  3. Great images. It certainly looks like taking images away from LP is a big part of the secret. Thanks for sharing
  4. Many thanks for the heads up on this Chris. I respotted my dob with the Catseye triangle centre spot and cleaned the primary mirror yesterday. A couple of trips in to get the mirror clips adjusted to removed astigmatism from pinched optics. The work was rewards with some lovely views of the shadow and Europa appearing at the limb. The GRS looked stunning in the moments of good seeing. Saturn was looking particularly good. Put my mind at rest with regards to the dob working as it should following it’s maintenance. Some of the best views of the planets I’ve had this year.
  5. Sorry to hear that, Marv. Hope you have better luck tomorrow!
  6. Fantastic, Stu! A well deserved success and a really enjoyable write up. Hope you’re enjoying a good sleep in
  7. I think you’re in good a night, Marv. I observed Jupiter, Saturn, the Moon, Uranus, Neptune and Mars. Fab views of Mars and the GRS on Jupiter earlier in the evening. Just watched Venus rise from the bedroom window. Tempted to stay up for Mercury but my bed is calling!
  8. Nicely done, John. It’s definitely there in those images. It was below the Moon here. I’d really love to see an ISS transit of the Moon or Sun.
  9. Best of luck, Marvin. I’ve had a few failed attempts. I did have a go at Pluto myself but it’s a bit low and skies aren’t that dark at home particularly in that direction. Looking forward to hearing of your success
  10. Thanks Iain. I didn’t want to miss the opportunity but the 4am alarm wasn’t pretty. The 10mm Delos at 120x is a good starting. If seeing is good I go to the 7mm Meade Research Grade Ortho (170x). If it’s excellent, the Nagler zoom or one of my BGO’s for 200x plus. I’ve also been using a Baader Contrast Booster which is proving a good Mars filter.
  11. Thank you. They’re really well placed for it at the moment. Go for it
  12. Hehe oh no. Now I’ll have to do it all again! Only kidding, I did of course manage to tick off that elusive eighth planet!
  13. Thanks Stu and thank you for the heads up that this was a possibility!
  14. Last night the challenge of seeing all seven planet in one night was once again on my mind. I started my session around midnight after spending some time fiddling around with the collimation on my dob. With the Moon lighting up the sky, the largest planet, Jupiter was my first target. Despite some poor seeing, I enjoyed the equatorial bands and the neatly spaced Galilean moons around it. Although not a planet, Comet Neowise was next to be observed. It has dimmed significantly since I last observed it. The core has a lovely green glow to it but the tail is much harder to spot but certainly still there. I felt a slight sense of loss for the bright comet that I've enjoyed observing and photographing so much in recent weeks. The dob was carried around to the front of my house to allow me to continue searching for the planets. Starting from Mars, I slowly star hopped my way into Aquarius, where I found Neptune. With the Nagler zoom, I slowly increased the power to reveal a tiny blue disc. I watch as it passed through the eyepiece, hoping to spot it's moon Triton but it was not to be. Another short star hop through Aires, led me to the other ice giant, Uranus. A slightly larger green disc was the reward this time. From ice giants to gas giants, after another brief look at Jupiter, I set my sights on Saturn. Who doesn't love this planet, even with poor seeing it's a special sight with it's rings. The sharp 10mm Delos showing some of the small moons floating around the planet, as well as brief glimpses of the Cassini Division. One final bright planet was awaiting my attention. Mars seems brighter every time I see it and has already shown some nice features in recent weeks. It was more of a struggle with the poor seeing on this occasion but none the less, the red planet became the fifth to be ticked off the list. I packed up and settled down for a couple hours sleep on the sofa. Rising at 4am with bleary eyes, it took me a moment to remember why I'd set an alarm. I looked out the window to see a fair amount of cloud kicking around. Not good. I grabbed the binoculars and began to scan the horizon. A break in the cloud allowed Venus to shine through and I quickly ticked this off with my binoculars and then my 80mm refractor. I began searching with the binoculars again, soon a golden point of light caught my eye in the binoculars...Mercury. I popped the dob out front quickly and enjoyed some quick views of the little planet before it was swallowed by cloud. On the 17th December 2018, I first saw Mercury and proudly reported that I'd now seen all seven planets with my telescope. One response to that report said words to the effect of "now you need to see them all in one night!". It seem far fetched at the time. Now after more than one failed attempt, I can finally report that I've completed the seven planet challenge!
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