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About cotterless45

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    " Look up at the stars and not down at your feet."
  • Birthday 18/06/52

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  1. 15.12.17 Double stars observing report

    Can't get better than that ! Triples , colour and the eternal delight of observing binary stars , Nick.
  2. Double Delights - Lyra, Camelopardalis

    Super report ! For those with light pollution, binaries and clusters are very rewarding . Small , bright planetary nebulae are also easy to spot , NGC 1501 ( the "blue oyster") is next to NGC 1502, clear skies ! Nick.
  3. "Leaps of the gazelle".

    Lalande 21185 is the brightest red dwarf visible in the northern hemisphere. At 8.31 light years away , it's also one of the nearest. Once thought to have two giant planets ( 5.8 and 30 year orbits) . At +7.5 , it's a binocular object, with an annual motion of 4.78" , it's a star that grabs the imagination at the foot of UMa. SAO 62377 at 11h 04.3m. +35 52'25". As we're in the area, notice Alula Borealis ,nu,(Σ 1524), a binary 400 light years away. The companion taking 1200 years to orbit at a distance of 950Au.(SAO 62486), splits at 7.8". Alula Australis,xi,(Σ 1523), a binary 25.7 light years away. It has a separation of 2", two bright stars that I managed with the 102. This was the first binary discovered , by William Herschel and the first to have its orbit calculated. Always something of interest up there , under Clear skies !Nick.
  4. A good session after all

    Great report ! I had a few hours, but the paving around the scope turned into an ice rink ! Wonderful night , Nick.
  5. Early evening in the snow and a dash to Perseus, giving a comfy seating at the scope. Theta Persei (SAO 38288) shows a wide triple group, tease out the hard to see +10 companion . η Persei (SAO 23655) , Miram gives a colourful orange and blue , always worth finding. Σ 331 (SAO 23765) gives a 11.9" split. Σ 336 (SAO 56095) gives an orange primary. A few more in Taurus , before eyepieces fogged up, hoping for more Clear skies ! Nick.
  6. The Sky at Night

    Sorry , but sky at night is getting as irrelevant as deep sea trawling is to coarse fishing. It's such a shame , a few useful guides on what's up there and how to get prepared to observe might give folk the nudge they need. It's doubly disappointing that the S@N magazine has got to the state where I can't understand the first half and I'm not going to looking for galaxies and planetary nebulae with a 16" scope ! Theres so much interest out there , it seems the Beeb are missing an opportunity, old Nick.
  7. Beginners with an equatorial mount

    Wise words Stu ! I've never found anything with a finderscope, any red dot finder or Telrad is much easier to use. There are also free Telrad maps available for downloading, these can be printed out and make a great start to observing , Nick. http://www.astro-tom.com/messier/messier_finder_charts/messier_maps.htm
  8. Another session ruined by insecurity blights

    We have security lights from neighbour's each side and to the back . We have 9 streetlights around and now we have tacky flashing christmas decorations. Once again my extended washing line posts with clipped on heavy dark throws , make for wonderful observing . I also close one eye when leaving the enclosure , to keep night vision. It's no use explaining what we do , or how important dark adaptation is. My neighbour asked me , "have you seen any little green men ?" Your eyes take 20 Minutes to adapt, it's a chemical change , anything that can preserve this is worth doing, Nick.
  9. Very interesting article . I use a Baader semi apo filter, as well as controlling ca, it cuts down glare and helps particularly with greatly contrasting close diffraction rings. In my opinion , it's boosted the performance on binaries (and planets). Theres a decent comparison of Baader fringe , semi apo and contrast booster on the Baader - planetarium uk website (PDF). Nick.
  10. The NGC/IC project.

    Here's wealth of information to look through , until we get those , Clear skies ! Nick. http://www.ngcicproject.org/default.htm
  11. Ursa Minor. It's small , but of significance as Kochab rotates anti-clockwise around Polaris , giving us the off set time for polar alignment. Under darker skies , it does appear as a mini plough.Here are some favourites, Polaris, a wide binary at 18.4" h 2682 A lovely triple at x150, quite wide and delicate. I did get the third element here. Σ 1798, a very delicate companion at 7.3",Caught at x150. 5 UMa, a wide and very delicate companion picked out at x150. Σ 1972 , lovely at low power with another double. A very challenging Σ 2034 (SAO 2625), 1.1",caught at x216. Nick.
  12. Mark your eq mounted Newtonian.

    Ah, the good old days !
  13. Stars of Leo.

    A few more off the grid, done a few years ago when we got more than one clear night in a month !
  14. Leo The pan of UMa, if it leaked water would get Leo wet. This great constellation holds much more than those faint fuzzies , so elusive from town. All these have been enjoyed from the edgeof town. Here are my favourites. Regulus (α)a wide 176”, great contrast here to the companion. Algieba (γ)close 4.6”,plenty colour here described between grapefruit orange to greenish red. Denebola (β)a wide blue and red. 6 Leonis (SAO 117751), red with a wide delicate companion at 37.1" at x50. 7 Leonis , this wide pair 41.0" gives three doubles in a wide fov. Σ 1399 at 30.5" ΟΣ 215, a challenging 1.5" , but near twins at x100. Σ 1431 (SAO 118292),3.6" at a bright x160. Σ 1447 (SAO 81415) 4.4" at x100, lovely contrast here. Σ 1448, orange colour at 11.1". 49 Leonis, a delicate split at x216 at 2.1". 54 Leonis (SAO 81583) , yellow and blue at 6.7". Σ 1521 (SAO 81740) 3.7" split. Iota Leonis (SAO 99587), a 2.2" split in this "beautiful object", stunning. 81 Leonis 55.2" yellow and red. 83 and τ Leonis (SAO 118864) a parallel double double here at x50. 88 Leonis (SAO 99648), a delicate secondary 15.4" at x50. 90 Leonis (SAO 99673) a triple ,3.4" and 67". Σ 1565 (SAO 99718) 21.7" at x50. Above Leo to UMa is the triangular appearance of Leo Minor, I'll add this yellow and delicate blue, Σ 1374 (SAO 61629) at a narrowing 2.8" split. Clear skies ! Nick.
  15. It's a fairly easy task to mark your Newtonian ota and rings. It makes setting up and observing much easier. Firstly mark inside the rings ( I use White stickers) on a line straight in line with the focuser. Turn the ota and move the mount until its pointing north , about Polar star height. Ensure that you can comfortably reach and look through the focuser (ep). Mark the rings "N" where they meet the white stickers. Repeat for the East . You should be able to judge where the ota needs to be spun around to get South or West. You can then set up ,for example north east or south west , between the ring marks. I also use a long hose clip on cable conduit plastic. One ring of this at the top ring holds the tube in position when the loosen the rings and stops the dreaded slippage. I tend to observe one area on the sky with a Newt , especially on a goto mount . It's easier to align and observe. If you have a small ota , it's often the case that by getting the counterweight bar opposite the focuser , you should be able to observe most quadrants without falling off a chair. Nick.