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About Ags

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  • Gender
  • Interests
    Astronomy, computers, programming, photography, buying stuff
  • Location
    The Netherlands
  1. Ags

    Observing goal for life

    Halley 1985 remains the only comet I have seen.
  2. Ags

    Observing goal for life

    I seem to like revisiting old favorites and show very little sign of aspiring to smaller/fainter targets. I try to sustain a high level of incompetence so that even finding the Pleiades feels like a real achievement! Also I only see a couple of hours (angle) of sky from my home location, and it takes a year for everything to rotate back into view, so by then I have forgotten everything I learnt the previous year.
  3. Venus in the Canarian pine trees...
  4. Thanks. I downloaded a trial version of StarTools today to help process my holiday snaps. This is 36 x 5 seconds @ 50mm f1.8 from my hotel balcony (Saturn wandering through the Milky Way):
  5. Ags

    Jupiter's additional Family

    It's the other way round: most of the new moons are retrograde, as is usual for these captured moons. But one has a prograde (normal) orbit, putting it technically on a colission course with the others. But they may have been in those orbits for a long time, I'm not holding my breath...
  6. I didn't think deep sky would be possible from my hotel. I do have a high up room far from the infernal lights around the pool, but I was very surprised by the excellent and instantly recognizable view of the Lagoon. I've never seen it before, and it is only my second emission nebula after Orion (planetaries excluded).
  7. I was doing all the above observing at 138x with a 9.4mm Speer WALER. I revisited some of the targets with my ES 24/68. Much more nebulosity was evident in the Rosette - I could see several dim clouds surrounding the central cluster. I could not see any nebulosity in C76 at lower magnification however. At 1.30am Mars was high enough for my final try of this holiday, and thankfully this time I could make out some very dim and indistinct markings in the southern hemisphere, and some limb brightening at the poles.
  8. Ags

    M8/M20 LRGB

    That's a lot of stars!
  9. I travelled to Gran Canaria for my favorite planet, Mars, but it has let me down this year with its dust storm. After looking at Jupiter and Saturn from my hotel balcony with my Skymax 102 I noticed that Scorpio was fully visible tonight - unlike previous nights where Sahara dust has obscured the views and amplified light pollution. I hadn't researched Scorpio in advance, and the constellation is hopeless from my Dutch city home base. So I decided to simply work through the bright stars in Scorpio and see what I could see. Now I'm in and googling my discoveries. I'll update this post with details but will save incrementally as long posts tend to go missing on my mobile phone! In summary, I "discovered": - Acrab, a nice bright and easy double star; it's the northern star of the 3 head stars of the scorpion - μ1 and μ2 Sco, a wide equal false double (the stars are actually separated by over 20 light years). Find it by walking along the bright stars from Antares toward the sting - it is the third one in the line. - NGC6231 / Caldwell 76 - a small cluster of bright blue stars, possibly some fuzziness about them. Find it by walking 2 more stars toward the tail from μ. South of the cluster is a pleasing group of three equally bright stars in an equilateral triangle, each separated by about .2 degrees. - Not in Scorpio, but I spotted a fuzzy spot near Saturn in my finder scope, which turned out to be NGC6530. Closer examination with the main scope showed a distinct fuzzy patch near the cluster, clearly the brightest bit of the Lagoon Nebula!!!
  10. Ags

    JamesF's observatory build

    I applaud your energy!
  11. I drew a blank last night but will try again tonight.
  12. Ags


    Going back to the original question, big dust storms do make Mars more reflective, both during the storm and for years after, but I don't know if the difference is apparent visually. It's called the Mars dust cycle: after a dust storm everything is covered in a layer of pale dust including the darker regions of Mars so more energy is reflected to space, cooling the planet. A cooler planet has less energy in the atmosphere, so global dust storms can't happen directly after a previous global dust storm. Over the years, Mars winds scrub the dark regions clearing away the dust and making them darker. As they get darker they absorb more energy (warming the planet by up to 1°C). Eventually the planet gets warm enough for another huge dust storm, restarting the cycle. You may recall that a few years ago there was talk of "global warming on Mars" but this was just the temperature variation caused by the dust cycle.
  13. Ags


    I had a long look at Mars last night carefully inspecting the planet vs the prediction on Stellarium. I could not make out a single detail. But it is big! Also, the problem is not just the dust storm, you also have to consider the polar caps are poorly situated this year. @Spengler you don't want night vision for planets, you want to use your daytime color vision.
  14. Ags

    What's your dream telescope/equipment?

    I finally got to see M13 through a 16 inch dob last night (globs being the target that is supposed to benefit most from more aperture) and while it was impressive and very bright, I didn't have a different emotional response in comparison to the view through smaller scopes. Having had more experience of larger scopes, I'm not sure more is more; I wonder if it is ever really beneficial to go above 6-8 inches aperture?

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