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michael.h.f.wilkinson

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michael.h.f.wilkinson last won the day on October 29 2019

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About michael.h.f.wilkinson

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    Neutron Star

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  • Website URL
    http://www.cs.rug.nl/~michael

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Interests
    Astronomy, computer science, photography, wildlife, cookery, life the universe and everything
  • Location
    Groningen, The Netherlands
  1. I used to have a homemade 6" F/8 Newtonian, and M13 was generally visible as a bright glow, with what I like to call "diamond dust" sprinkled over it. Faint pinpricks of stars best seen in averted vision. A really beautiful sight, both at just 48x and at 133x When I got my 8" Schmidt-Cassegrain, I turned it immediately to M13, and the view was jaw dropping, with a myriad stars visible.
  2. My ASI183MC (non pro) has a T2 thread and came with a T2->1.25" nosepiece. I am not sure the Pro version is any different in this respect. The manual can be found here: https://astronomy-imaging-camera.com/manuals/ASI183_Manual_EN.pdf
  3. It is very difficult, I needed very transparent skies, had little or no light pollution, and an extra 10 mm aperture. Even then it was a difficult, averted-vision only object.
  4. Cheers, Mark. M101 is generally one I use to test sky transparency. It is such a diffuse object, that can be very hard when there is the slightest haze, and then some nights suddenly spiral arms can be spotted in the C8.
  5. I have spotted it twice now, both times with the big 16x80 binoculars. First I spotted it near Algol as a tiny glow where there shouldn't be any DSO on the night of May 20. Very faint in the pale grey sky near Capella last night. I couldn't be bothered setting up the imaging gear I had brought along. Disappointing indeed, but still another comet bagged
  6. I don't have a Quark, but my Solar Spectrum 0.3 Å combined with a 4x Baader TZ-4 tele-centric gives similar focal length and bandwidth on my APM 80 mm F/6. I have tried a TV 25mm Plössl, and a Vixen 25 mm orthoscopic, and both perform really well. The Vixen SLV 15 mm does a good job as well
  7. DEET is pretty nasty (still beats getting malaria, so I used it in Uganda), but I find eucalyptus oil actually works very well indeed.
  8. Drove over to Aduarderzijl, north of Groningen again yesterday evening and arrived early enough to spot Venus close to the horizon. I got out the 16x80 binoculars and could easily make out the crescent, but it was quite distorted by atmospheric refraction. I then picked up Mercury, and admired the crescent moon with earthshine. I then took some photos with, first with the phone and as can be seen, the conditions were rather better than a few days ago I then shot some more with the camera which I will share later. When more stars came out I got out the binoculars again, and started hunting some Messiers, starting with M3, followed by M13, M92, and M65 and M66. I then admired the moon a bit more, before returning to the Messier hunt, quickly bagging M5, M4, M10, M12, and M14 (it was really turning into a night of globulars). Just to get a little sequence of of Messiers from M10 to M14, I also hunted down M11, which is of course an open cluster, but almost looks like a globular in bins, it is so compact. Moving to Sagitta, I got M27, which was a real stunner in these big bins, and M71 (small, but neat little globular). I tried M57, and could spot the nebula, but not really resolve it. Moving to Ursa Major and environs, I had a go at M81 and M82 (very nice indeed) and M101 (easy despite the skies not being fully dark), and of course M51. I tried NGC 2903, close to the moon, so I had little hope, but I could actually make out a faint glow in the right spot. Skies must have been really transparent, because even M4, which was low in the sky with some city lights interfering, and which is one of the more "anaemic" globulars was really easy. Between these observations, I tried finding coment C/2020 F8 SWAN a couple of times. and each time I thought I spotted a faint haze in the right spot, but it was too faint to be sure. Towards 0:35, after a quick look at the Double Cluster, NGC 663 and M103, I returned to the spot to the right of Capella, and could make out a fuzzy haze with ceertainty. Quite small, no tail apparent, and a far cry from the naked eye comet some had expected, but definitely there. As it was really turning could, with quite a string wind from the north, I decided to call it a night and packed the gear up, and drove back home.
  9. I prefer to use tropical level insect repellent, as I don't smoke. Note that nicotine has an inhibitory effect on rhodopsin, so impairs night vision (temporarily).
  10. Just finished a long binocular session at my favourite spot north of the city. Started out with Venus, Mercury, and moon. Spotted many Messier objects, mainly globular clusters, and a few galaxies. Ended up on Comet C/2020 F8 (SWAN). Not brilliant, but definitely a hazy patch in the right spot.
  11. Great catch! I would actually go for a red filter, rather than the 80A, as it cuts down the blue of the sky, and the longer wavelengths are less susceptible to seeing effects.
  12. Got a second battery today, a 12V 20 Ah replacement for the (dead as a doornail) battery in my SkyWatcher PowerTank. The charging circuits are shot, but otherwise it works, and you can readily charge it though the red and black jumpstart cables. Saves me creating a box with plugs etc. It also delivers 6 V and 9 V outputs, which can be handy
  13. It probably weighs more than the entire mobile set-up, unless I bring multiple mounts and scopes. However, the 105Ah version was on offer, and cheaper than some of the smaller options, so I thought I might as well get some extra grunt in the battery. Especially if I want to run the laptop and dew strips from it as well
  14. Was delivered in an appropriate container this morning by courier. It weighs in at 23.1 kg (just over 50 lb).
  15. A bit boring, perhaps, but I am rather pleased with the 12V 105 Ah deep-cycle battery that has arrived, which should happily power my mobile setup
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