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About Nik271

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  1. Here is a comparison of the the positions of Vesta on 18 Feb: And on 22 February:
  2. I also spent an enjoyable hour at 8pm watching the Moon. The seeing was poor, so I stayed below 100x with Mak 180 with binoviewers and a pair of 32mm Plossls. One extra bonus of the binoviewers: they cut the glare of the Moon by half I particularly liked the shadow that promontory Laplace was casting from the tip of Montes Jura on Sinus Iridum. I think I can even see it in the image by @paulastro above Then I hunted down Hagrid's dragon NGC 2301 in Monoceros. Hadn't seen it until now, at 100x it was framed very nicely, and despite the moonlight looked very good indeed with big spr
  3. Actually I did not use a mount at all, just a basic tripod. The key is to use a fast lens and take multiple exposures which are then stacked in a program called Deep Sky Stacker (DSS). You can find tutorials about it in the imaging section. But actually you don't even need to use DSS to show the stars up to 7-8 magnitude, DSS is needed to reduce the noise and show up faint nebulosity which otherwise will be lost to the noise. The particular detail of the above photos are: Canon EOS 250d camera with 50mm F1.8 lens. I took 9 exposures of 4 seconds each at F1.8 and ISO 400 and stacked them.
  4. Any observing session is better than a cloudy night. 520x on Moon is very impressive! I have never gone beyond 450x in my Mak but a 12 inch scope should be capable of this and more. Must be a beast on the planets. Last night I stayed below 180x as there was some high cloud and only the Moon was punching through it. It was still worth it - Copernicus looked lovely near the terminator. This evening seems more promising ...
  5. Indeed, there is something magical about watching the sky, an image just does not convey the 'here now' moment for me. I can compare it to a listening a recorded piece and going to a live concert. The recorded music is usually better quality but the concert has an extra dimension to it which is very difficult to describe. Same with visual astronomy, it has a connection to the cosmos I just can't get from images.
  6. Just to give illustration of the dramatic difference the altitude of the target makes, compare these two photos. I was trying to photograph Vesta in Leo yesterday and spot its movement. First photo is at 8pm and the second is at 10:20pm. Sadly Vesta did not move visibly but compare the level of detail visible. In the 10pm photo I can even spot the faint Leo triplet. At 8pm: and at 10pm:
  7. I was looking at M94 and M97 at 10pm. The moon was lower and behind a tree which helped. My biggest difficulty with DSO is actually not so much the sky but the ambient light around me which makes dark adaptations almost impossible. Its so bright that I can read a large atlas in the ambient light So I use a thick towel draped over my head, which helps quite a bit
  8. An update from 18 February. Vesta is moving North -West still close to 88 Leonis. This is an image with 50mm F/1.8 on Canon 250D, stacked 18x 4s exposures. The time was 10pm on 18 Feb. The bright star in the lower left is Denebola.
  9. Yes, they should be visible. Last night was very clear here. I saw M94 and even the Owl nebula M97 which had eluded me until now. I used an 7 inch Mak, which is not really a DSO instrument, a 6 inch Newtonian will be ideal.
  10. I found that the Seyfert galaxies are easier to spot from light polluted skies with a 5 inch scope. These galaxies have a very bright core, which makes them easier to see as opposed to more diffused galaxies. From the Messier list M51, M66, M77, M81 and M88 are Seyfert galaxies.
  11. Last spring I observed M94 on multiple occasions with a 5 inch Mak. I agree it is relatively bright and stands some light pollution. My skies are Bortle 5 bordering on Bortle 6. It's a nice target indeed! While you are in the area check out M63, another relatively bright galaxy close to Cor Caroli. It makes a right angled triangle with M94 and Cor Caroli:
  12. Don't underestimate the effect of atmospheric extinction especially in light polluted skies. You should try to discover in which direction you have darkest sky and look for galaxies there. South will be best of course. To illustrate I was looking at Vesta in Leo last night around 10 pm. Right now it is at magnitude 6. I saw it in 20x80 binoculars and I could see the mag 6 stars around it, but not much else. The bins should be able show me stars up to mag 10 and even the Leo triplet which was nearby but I didn't see even a hint of it. Had I waited until midnight when the Leo triplet passe
  13. I managed to observe Vesta yesterday with 20x80 binoculars at 10pm. It is just over 6-th magnitude and was roughly halfway between Denebola and Chertan (Theta Leonis), close to the 6-th magnitude star 88 Leonis. Here is a sketch: I'll try to follow it over the next month whenever weather allows, it should get even brighter in a couple of weeks.
  14. Well done, this is an excellent set up. The 127 Mak is very versatile and portable. Almost any eyepiece will perform well with it because at F12 the light rays converge very slowly and don't demand expensive corrective optics. My advice is to get something with as wide field of view as you can at your budget. For example the 15mm StellaLyra has 68 degrees FoV and is well priced by FLO. I often use a 10mm aspheric Svbony (63deg FoV) with my Maks which performs surprisingly well.Can be found for under £15 on eBay. Just stay away from the 6mm EP from that line , it's not good.
  15. I would say that the camera sensor is the least important issue, people get good results even with 10 year old DSLRs. The key is for improving deep sky image is to get enough light on the sensor. You either need to expose it for longer (so you need a tracking mount like the EQ5 or the Star Adventurer) or you can use a very fast lens, for example I have used 50mm F1.8 Yongnuo lens to get reasonably good images of extended objects e.g. the Pleiades, or whole constellations. With 50mm you can achieve 5-6 second exposures on a fixed tripod without star trails which at F/1.8 mea
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