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Everything posted by cotterless45

  1. cotterless45

    Heads up ! Starcount !

    As there may be a chance of clear skies , a bit of time counting the visible stars in Orion. You can also add suitable comments . Be interesting to report back with some numbers ,Nick. https://www.cpre.org.uk/what-we-do/countryside/dark-skies/star-count-2019?utm_medium=email&utm_source=engagingnetworks&utm_campaign=campaigns-update-2019-jan&utm_content=Campaigns+Update+2019+Jan
  2. cotterless45

    Lighter sights !

    Clearoutside and Scopenights gave massive cloud cover. Listening to radio 4 , I heard "clear breaks" and a touch of frost. Heading out at 10 gave three lovely clear hours . Transparency wasn't up to much , I usually don't look south west , but Gemini looked great and I had one of the best views of NGC 2392 , the "Eskimo Nebula". X216 really brought out the central star the bright core and the dimmer halo. Had a go at Coma Berenices galaxies , M64 ("black eye"), M85 with a star like centre, the faint M88,M91 ,M99 and M100 by averted vision, no great things there ! NGC 4725 at +9.4 did look bright as did the "needle galaxy", NGC 4565. M53 did show as a globular , but not much contrast. Better luck with binaries, very surprised to see the secondary of 35 Coma.b at low power, it opens out into a stunning triple. What secrets these low power views hold ! Cold hovered around zero degrees , no breeze and still clear. Porrima showed as very open at 2.8", a stunning sight. Up to Canes Venatici and a lovely view of "La Superba" one of the brightest red stars , on its way to becoming a planetary Nebula. 25 CNv gave a wide 1.7", a bit wider for Σ 261 . Followed this with a view of the colourful Cor Caroli. Just a few years ago and with less light pollution , I'd scan the remarkable CNv galaxies. Nowadays they are hardly a streak ( "whale galaxy") , plenty of accessible targets , under , Clear skies ! Nick.
  3. cotterless45

    Southern views.

    Kicked off early , then it clouded over. Set up again a few hours later went through to a chilly midnight. Our Italian neighbour must have had escapees , his 10,000 watt security light was on and off . Certainly lights up the sky. Very surprised at getting a super bright view of "Hubble's variable Nebula" NGC 2261. Stayed in Monoceros to get lovely clear views of 15 Mon at the base of the Christmad tree NGC 2264. It's the bright star, look a little closer and there's a faint companion. Beta Mon gave a right bright clear view of this most lovely triples. Managed a great view of Sigma Orionis , the fishhook and the group of iota Orionis. Even a smudge of NGC 2419 showed up in Lynx. Not a night here for galaxies, went for some great open clusters, M 48,M46 and M67. Gave them a bit of magnification to boost contrast to get some dimmer stars. They do look fine in a wide field away from lights. Quite surprised at how high up Hydra is. I tried for the lovely view of Σ1348 and Σ1355 ιn the same fov. Caught the former split easily. Just about make out the head of Hydra when the light went out. Lynx gave some great binaries including the triples 12 and 19 Lynchis. Not a bad session and great to be out at New moon, under Clear skies ! Nick.
  4. cotterless45

    Southern views.

    Hi Ciaran, any black card does . You'll get 4 on an A4 sheet. Recently I found some A5 spiral bound note pads , much more convenient. A4 card I'd great to start out with and not expensive.I prefer black paper , it hides a multitude of mistakes , any errors can be blacked out and darkened in photo shop. Materials. Chinagraph pencil, nice and soft . Draw the circles ( I use a glass ) . Chinagraph Pencil good for nebulae , galaxies etc. Hybrid gel Pentel pen, fine .7mm. Great for writing and stars as dots. Different pressures give you different brightnesses. Use chains and shapes of stars to get several down at a time. Take your time , start with something easy . I use a dim red head lamp. At the ep. You soon get used to looking at drawing and the target. It's very relaxing.Put your target in the middle then work outwards in each direction. Note name , scope , date etc. You'll end up with a personal record which a others like to see. You can add cardinal points by noting the field drift (west). For even number of mirrors , north is anti-clockwise from west ( Newts) . For an odd number (frac with diagonal) , north is clockwise. This'll help compare your picture with others. You'll definately see more detail as your eye is relaxed and intent on picking out detail. Hope this helps , give it a go ! Nick.
  5. cotterless45

    Catching carbon.

    Some really colourful red carbon stars around just now. I was lucky enough to get a gap in the clouds , very surprised at how bright and red UU Aurigae looked . Some of these are greatly variable , reports of "Hind's crimson " ( aka "Vampire "star) for example ,depend on catching them bright. I've shown these as show stoppers from being a "wow !" to "where is it ?" Small aperture helps in seeing colour as does , clear skies ! Nick.
  6. cotterless45

    Bright sights, cold night.

    Bright ! Couldn't even see M42 by eye . As the temperature dropped it got brighter , packed in at midnight -3.7 degrees. No benefit of being frozen to the ep. It did give a chance to visit some bright old favourites and low Messier's. No chance of anything faint . Followed by a tour of Leo .Algieba is bright and a stunning sight. Subra (ο ) in the lion's paw,gives a most delicate view, somewhere I had this as a multiple. 90 Leonis is a lovely triple system. Caught both " winter Albireo" sets . Thought that HJ 3945 was just superlative with brilliant glowing orange and sapphire blue. Monoceros gave some stunning clusters, including the overlooked M50 . Dropping down to C Major, caught M41, a bit of magnification giving contrast.M47 gave a beautiful view with a very bright binary foremost in the view. Had another look at the deep red coal glow of "Hind's Crimson " and compared it to the very bright "La Superba" (Y CNv). Very chuffed with the views , lingering over a few and a quick dot to dot attempt adds to the pleasure as does a hot choccy drink, under clear skies ! Nick.
  7. cotterless45

    Cold , but very light night !

    A surprisingly light evening , seeing was ace but I could barely pick out faint fuzzies. Carbon stars provided a range of reds and orange brightness. Open clusters and binaries completed the night. Got down to blooming freezing, starting off with shocking humidity to eyepieces . As the temperature dropped , this eased probably equivalent to freeze drying. Stuck mainly to the Cancer and Canis Minor areas. Carbon. Hind's crimson, (SAO 150058) little luck , it must be waning. UX Draco, very red. RV Monocerotis, next to the cone Nebula , ruddy red. X Cancri SAO 98230 Binaries. Tegmine ( Zeta Cancri) probably one of the best and clearest views of this lovely triple so far Σ1177 in Cancer ,3.5" split 57 Cancri , close 1.5" split (SAO 61125) 14 Can.Minor. Lovely multiple , looks like a small cluster. Clusters . "Hagrid's dragon" NGC 2301 spread wings in Monoceros, along with NGC 2244 and 2264. NGC 2353 in Monoceros , on hit list as no.33 in "Secret Deep". Rightly so, its associated with the Seagull Nebula and the direction of the Canis Major OB1 association. A very active area of star formation following a supernova explosion.This is the area known as Canis Major R1. Wonderfully chilly ! Down parka, Norwegian jumper, down overtrousers and snow boots . Scope completely iced up, kept the eyepieces and drawing pens nice and warm with a hot water bottle in the ep case . Got to be done ! Under clear skies Nick.
  8. cotterless45

    Heads up ! Starcount !

    Some superb informative posts here and surprising results . At 8.30 I managed by recounting 9 stars excluding the frame stars. Only one was above the belt. Our southern sky is over town and bright. West of that are the arc lights of the golf driving range. I shall be putting that in the comments section. Some nights have been better in the early hours ,with a complete Orion bow on view. It might be a flawed survey , comparable to the back garden bird survey. But it does give CPRE a rough idea . In addition it might have got folks outside, although I thought the advice given on the BBC to sit in the garden until your eyes adapted was more an SAS trial than enjoying the sky ! Nick.
  9. cotterless45

    My astronomy pictures

    Wow ! Beautiful pictures ! Nick.
  10. cotterless45

    Skywatcher Evostar ED150 delights!

    You were lucky , we had super seeing against a brightening sky. Sounds like the 150 is spectacular, keep em coming!
  11. cotterless45

    Practical Astro show.

    Of interest ? https://practicalastroshow.com/ Nick.
  12. cotterless45

    It might be windy but what a night.

    Lovely , glad you got NGC 2261. There are lots of hidden treasures up there . Still attracted to NGC 2301 ( Hagrid's dragon, another Hershel discovery . Sometimes I spend a whole evening not moving from Monoceros, yet by eye I can't see a single star of the constellation ! clear skies ! Nick.
  13. cotterless45

    Stoking the passion !

    Hmmm, quarter to two , it's freezing and the occasional gust of wind brings a shiver. All of a sudden thinks "wouldn't be anywhere else doing anything else". The eq6 has gone into shutdown mode twice , just reset to factory settings. Now it's game on , looking at my notes and the dark sky , there's no security lights or other lights. Mount's hitting home with 13.3v input .Now I have galaxies , ancient globular clusters and hundreds of binaries to observe. Just nip inside for a divine hot choccy. Live for those precious hours , get togged and tooled up. Stoke the passion under , clear skies ! Nick.
  14. cotterless45

    Deep sky fest !

    Early set up and the wind was shaking everything . Packed up and at 11.00 the wind had dropped , four hours soon whizzed by giving some surprising deep sky views from the edge of town. The galaxies I gleaned from "The Secret Deep" , a great readable source. Showing what a difference aperture and conditions matter , I returned to the open cluster NGC 2420 in Gemini. What a difference ! A beautiful central sparkle held me for some time. It's a Trumpler I1r, moderately rich . It's also old at 2 Billion years, there are few of this age. It lies above our galactic disc and has similar star material to our Sun. It either got ejected from the disc or is a left over from galaxy cannibalism. Such great targets out there ! NGC 4147 a globular cluster in Coma Berenices , again an interesting history of post core collapse and blue stragglers. I was very lucky to get the other galaxies , temperature hovered just above freezing with the occasional draught ! I returned to Tegmine in Cancer. Giving a beautiful clean bright split , a delightful end before the Moon climbed too high, under Clear skies ! Nick.
  15. cotterless45

    Full sky haul !

    Beautiful dark and clear sky , the wind dropped and we got to just below freezing. Sky packed full. Orion glided westwards leaving a clear open Monoceros. First shock was a superb view of NGC 2261, "Hubble's variable Nebula" must have been at the peak of brightness , lovely view. Not seen this one before , worth catching. Caught a lovely bright disc of Uranus in the south west. Trawled through the open clusters of Monoceros . The best I have highlighted, NGC 2232 gave a very bright large "fish " shape , really lovely. Had a look at "Hinds crimson " star in Lepus , but not so bright just now. Then some overlooked Messier's, M41, M67, M48, and M46. Leo was quite high and a lovely view of the bright streak of NCC 2903. Ursa Major gave a very surprising bright view of the galaxy NGC 2841, between Talitha and theta. Sight of the night was a very tight binary , Struve 1338 (SAO 61411) in Lynx. This has closed to 1.0" . It took several changes of eyepieces and moving the star around the fov , before I got a clean split with a hair width between them . That was at x240 using a Vixen LVW. That's some decent seeing ! That's a distance of 43AU up there. Light cloud started up , a really lovely session , under clear skies ! Nick.
  16. cotterless45

    Worthy stars.

    I put together this short list of most interesting stars. You might have read or heard of their names . Be it their age , size or appearance , they provide some entertainment , even under light polluted , but clear skies ! Nick.
  17. cotterless45

    Skywatcher eq5 goto.

    Lovely Eq5 goto. It's light and accurate. Mount plus counterweights and tripod. Upgraded bolts . Illuminated polarscope unit. Spare 8 pin DIN cables. Top line of handset doesn't light up . It's perfectly useable as " MM/DD/Y" inputs still come up. Includes SW wifi unit and direct USB to pc cable. You can pick up handsets from Astro boot etc reasonably. Includes wooden ep tray and an arrow showing which way to put your scope on. That way you won't be pointing at the ground to get Arcturus. Collect from DE11 only. Just selling as Eq6 has landed. Been right mucked around by a buyer on fleabay for a week. Just no offers , come and see it at work ! Get into GOTO for £290. For any further info , pm me ! old Nick.
  18. cotterless45

    Cloudy Skies every night

    Don't take any notice of weather forecasting . They couldn't find their backsides with both hands ! I've had 4 sessions this year by going out and looking . Last night , despite the forecast of doom,I had a clear couple of hours. For some time I just stood and looked at Gemini and Auriga . Thinking " I know what's up there and where they are !" Our weather might have changed to become more variable and drastic , but forecasting just can't keep up. old Nick.
  19. cotterless45

    Taurus delights.

    Neq6 pro, holds the C6r really steady . We have been really lucky with gaps in the weather . We often get stuck in a middle England trough ! Old Nick.
  20. Just a couple of hours to enjoy riding Taurus from a comfy seat . Quite surprising seeing , getting down to 1.2". Σ7 and Σ401 appear closed towards each other . SAO 75970 H 1V 98, a bright pair of eyes , facing another pair. SAO 111698 Σ559, a nice close even pair . SAO 94002 Σ749 , close at 1.2". At 05h37.1m. +26 55' β87 , close with a faint companion,1.9". SAO 76571 Σ517, close with a lovely delicate companion. SAO 111705 88 Tauri, a wide view , yellow and red. At 04h35.7m. +10 10' Σ479, a fine triple with differing magnitudes , lovely view at 04h00.9m. +23 12'. Some lovely views , under , Clear skies ! Nick.
  21. Having used Eq5pro (belt drive) and Eq6 mounts for some time, it has been a source of puzzlement why every time I get different accuracy results. The following have been the same ; power supply , regulated bench supply. levelling and balancing , rigorous. All bolts snipped up before use. Some of those extension pillar bolts have a dance of their own. position, tripod leg bases positioned into drilled out holes in paving. Home position marked on the mount . Time , date , long /lat , time zone , BST all ok. Polar alignment (not a factor in alignment , but useful for settling a view), as close as possible. Synscan versions , 03.39.03 and 04.39.04 alignment stars , either one star if studying one area of the sky. Two stars , low , east and west . Three stars , zenith , then east and west. Aligning, ending in "up" and "right" using a 12mm illuminated reticle. scopes , set accurately on the dovetail . ok , some nights , first star, nearly there . Other nights , about six degrees out . Second star , some nights it's very close to the reticle. Other nights , it might be a degree out. Ok. Alignment done, now goto. some nights , targets are to one side of a x50 fov. Once corrected by the handset , performance is great. Some nights from the start , it'll bang targets centred at x200. Now , in no way am I complaining or moaning . It's just puzzling . I spend a lot of time on binary stars and these are pretty obvious in the fov, so a bit of leeway is ok. Every time I switch on , I don't know what to expect . It certainly comes to a head when my friend with his AVX called Synscan rubbish ! Luckily at outreach or star parties everything behaves ! The only thing that I can think of is ambient temperature acting on poor tolerances of man versus machine ! Any other Synscan dice throwers out there ? old Nick.
  22. cotterless45

    Synscan , so what are your results ?

    The AVX doesn't seem to have the odd variations. I was not tempted , extension pillars aren't off the shelf, the payload is a bit lower than the 5pro, it's noisy ( less so than his previous Coffee Grinder 5)and you can get just about everything you need for SW mounts pretty easily. I also found Nexstar a right pain ! Very surprised to see that other users are getting variation , Nick.
  23. cotterless45

    A bit of research !

    Blithely observing and listing sky objects can be greatly enhanced by a small amount of reading up. I was always intrigued by the central star of the Eskimo Nebula. A short excursion provided the background to white dwarf stars and the evolution of stars in general. It is still miraculous to me that we can not only observe features such as NGC 2419, but find out about its age , distance and theories of both globular clusters and galaxies. It's also a great addition to outreach events ,especially when most folk have not looked through or a telescope or the whole night sky. I'm no scientist and pretty forgetful clumsy chap , but certain things stick better when you've seen them and taken a bit of effort to find out more. I was explaining the 11 year solar cycle , suddenly remembering the rebooting and subsequent contortions of the solar magnetic field. Hopefully such things will encourage others to look deeper into what we see, under clear skies ! Nick.
  24. Pretty shabby evening , with damp murk arriving . Just a spin around Auriga and the best view of θ Aurigae (Bogardus) SAO 58636, yet. The tiny companion was evident at low power. Giving it x200 gave a remarkably clear view. This companion is +7.2 compared to the A at +2.65 at a distance of 4". This corresponds to a distance of 185 Au apart for the pair. There is a visual third star here at 52". Good enjoyable view for clear skies ! Nick.
  25. cotterless45

    Super Bogardus.

    Dunno, wrote it in my book and used it ever since .Probably from my main source of misinformation , Wikipedia . Can't remember Mahasim , too many stars beginning with M , Nick.

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