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Everything posted by RichardJBartlett

  1. I was hooked already before I got a small scope, however, I have very fond memories of peering at the Pleaides with a tiny Tasco refractor perched on my window sill, looking east as they rose over the treetops. It was autumn, 1981, and I was ten years old LOL You know how I remember? I used to listen to the Top 40 on a Sunday afternoon and I can remember the songs LOL
  2. I had a squint on Sunday night from Louisville, Kentucky with my small 8x30 binos. Uranus was easily visible. Once you've found Jupiter, Uranus can be seen forming a triangle with 22 and 24 Pisces. Uranus (in binoculars) appears to the north-west (upper right) of Jupiter while the two stars appear to the south of Jupiter (below it) Was pleased that I was able to spot it with binos. Always figured that I'd be able to, but unless you know for sure what you're looking for, it's easily overlooked. With Jupiter so close, it made it extremely easy to identify the fainter planet. Even with binos, it's bluish tint could be seen. You don't quite get stars of that colour but, again, unless you know what you're looking for, it's still easily missed.
  3. LOL I wanna watch just so I can hear him say "Owion"
  4. To answer your question about colour, it really depends on what you're looking at. For example, Almach in Andromeda and Albireo in Cygnus are both examples of double stars with excellent colours. Likewise, you'll see colour in the planets - Mercury adn Venus are usually slightly off-white, Mars usually appears a kind of salmony colour, Jupiter is a very pale vanilla colour (the bands will appear brown), Saturn is a very pale yellow, Uranus is kinda aquamarine and Neptune has a distinctive blue tint to it (which is how I pick it apart from the surrounding stars ) You'll see some colour in a few DSO's too, although it will depend upon your vision, your skies and your equipment. I can easily seen green in the Orion Nebula with my 4.5" XT Dob under suburban skies without a filter but many other faint fuzzies simply appear grey to me...
  5. Was it a green mist and was it first seen at midnight on the 1st of August? If so, H G Wells may have been right - except for having the wrong planet and the wrong century... Seriously, that's pretty interesting... I'm very curious to know what it was...
  6. I lived in Oklahoma for over three years - not quite Arizona but my location wasn't bad. I got some pretty clear skies (could see the Milky Way from my backyard ) and got to see plenty of delicious DSO's I never saw from England Alas, now I'm in Louisville - the 16th largest city in the US - and the skies suck LOL
  7. And so this is Christmas... and what have we done? (Sorry, couldn't resist - oh come on, I could be quoting the Pogues... or Slade... or... shudder... Sir Clifford of Richard) Seriously, I just wanted to wish everyone a (very) merry Christmas and a peaceful new year... may it bring many clear nights!
  8. Oh you lucky people! I wish I could watch this here in the US... is it streaming? Mind you, the 5 hour time difference would cause a problem... *sigh*
  9. Funny how quickly it comes around... on the one hand, you mourn the loss of the night but on the other, frankly, I like seeing the Sun LOL I used to work nights in England, from 9pm to 6:30am. During the Summer I only saw the night during my "lunch" at 1am. On a couple of occasions I went to bed at 4am and woke up at 5:3am in daylight and unable to get back to sleep again. Trying to get through the day on 90 minutes of sleep is NOT fun LOL During the winter, I wouldn't see daylight at all. I would get home at 7am, in darkness. I would go to bed shortly after and get up at about 4pm - again, in darkness. It was actually pretty depressing LOL
  10. LOL I do the same... I'll surf SGL and watch something space-related (like a documentary about the planets) on my media player
  11. I've always had difficulty with M33 - only managed to catch it a couple of times, so don't feel bad. A lot of it has to do with the sky conditions but I could see it with my 4.5" Dob under suburban skies. It didn't look impressive at all, but at least I could say I've bagged it LOL
  12. Here's some more info... you should be able to catch some of it if you need to get up early for work in the UK AstroNews - Total Lunar Eclipse Before Dawn Tues., Dec. 21 - December 16th 2010 AstroNews - Watch a Sky-High Lunar Eclipse Late Monday Night - December 17th 2010 AstroNews - Lineup for Total Eclipse of the Moon - December 17th 2010 (These are press releases but they have links to some very useful pages)
  13. Welcome to the forums, Max. I think you'll enjoy your time here
  14. Many of us have fond memories of a 'scope like that - usually a Tasco LOL I remember having a little 'scope on a tiny tripod. I would open my bedroom window, plonk it on the sill and point it at whatever I could see. My bedroom faced east so I remember looking at the Pleiades in the autumn and Venus and (sometimes) other planets in the early dawn sky
  15. I love Jupiter, myself. Always something to see and it's different every time I would also recommend the relatively easy targets of the Orion Nebula, the Pleiades, Mesarthim (nice double in Aries), M36, M37, M38 in Auriga, M35 in Gemini... NGC 457 (Owl or ET Cluster) in Cassiopeia, Almach in Andromeda (very nice double), the Andromeda Galaxy... Canis Major doesn't get very high in the UK so this might be out of your range, but try the Tau Canis Majoris cluster and/or M41. Those are also quite nice. If you're looking for a beginner's challenge, try the Crab Nebula or M78. Lots of other stuff out there but off the top of my head, that'll do for starters.
  16. There might be more to come tomorrow (Thursday) at the AGU... AstroNews - Updated Press-Conference Schedule; New Session on 'Arsenic Microbe' - December 14th 2010 This is being held in San Francisco so it's 8 hours behind the UK - the session will start at 7pm GMT.
  17. Altair, you're right, Sir Patrick is (if you'll pardon the pun) a star I've met him twice - both times when I was a teenager. He signed my Observer's Guide to Astronomy and I still have it. A publisher friend of the family got him to sign his autobiography with a personal message for my 30th birthday - very happy with that!!
  18. Stellarium is great. I remember reviewing the very first version of it; it got Pluto completely out of place but it looked great and I could tell it had potential. Have been very pleased to see it do well - very much deserved
  19. Congrats! I was pretty pleased when I saw M78 for the first time; I used my 4.5" Orion XT Dob. Nothing better than "discovering" a DSO for the first time
  20. The double cluster is always great... doesn't matter if I'm observing it with the naked eye, binos or my 'scope, it's always a favourite. BTW, chiltonstar, if you read this, the crackling sound wasn't subjective... others have reported hearing a similar sound with fireballs
  21. Seedy... would that be... the infamous MAGIC ROUNDABOUT??? Oh... flashback... LOL If you only knew how I missed it. We don't have anything like that here in the US...
  22. Staffy, I enby you. I hear folks talk about the night sky in those terms and I've never been so fortunate to see anything remotely like it
  23. I'm with Kris and Ursa Minor, however, here at 38 deg North in sunny Kentucky, UMi can be too low... in which case, I'll do my homework beforehand, pick a familiar constellation with some dim stars and look to see which ones are in the mag 4-5 range. I'll go out, wait 30 mins, and look for the faintest star I can in that group. As ozark has said, Pegasus is a good choice for this time of year. I've used Hercules and Ophiuchus in the Spring and Summer. Regarding laptops - download DarkAdapted - http://www.aquiladigital.us/darkadapted/ - great little tool for making your laptop screen red and avoiding the loss of your night vision
  24. If you were observing with your naked eye, I would say you weren't looking at Saturn because it's never way brighter than Jupiter. Also, again, if you were observing with your naked eye, there's no way you'd be able to see Titan... Sorry to disappoint, but I think the others are correct - methinks you were looking at Venus.
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