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Found 16 results

  1. I recently got hands on my first equatorial mount, a Celestron Advanced VX mount.. And the curse holds true, that after purchasing new gear, you are to bear the burden of weeks of bad weather! So whenever there has been minor holes in the clouds, I've been out practicing star alignment, polar alignment, and just the general behavior of the mount, pointing at any star that would glance through the thin cloud cover. Hope to soon be able to practice drift alignment. A patch of "clear sky" showed itself a few nights ago, so I thought I would try and see how far I could push the unguided exposures (having only done the ASPA). And even though thin clouds would regularly pass over the target, I am at least pleased that I could squeeze this out of the image. +- 1 minute exposures of the center of the noble M45, Pleiades. 5-6 shots later, the clouds came rolling in again... So here I am stuck looking at my mount collecting dust and browsing these forums again Looks like there is some coma that needs fixing too. Scope is the Celestron 130 SLT OTA. Using a barlow right now to achieve focus. Trying to obtain the screws needed to move the mirror. As a bonus, I noticed the presence of a magnitude 17.2 in this one, faintest I've caught yet I think.
  2. From the album: Stargazer33's Album

    Jupiter with Io down to the lower right. Also showing the GRS. C8 XTL, CGEM, Revelation Superfocus 2" R&P focuser, Revelation 2.5x Barlow, QHY5L II Processed in PIPP & RS6

    © Bryan Harrison 2014

  3. I think I jinxed myself. I was taking the abundance of clear skies that is typical here for granted, and couldn't believe the cloudy sky reports I had heard so often from so many star-lovers from across the great pond. I am now in the midst of my own helping of it. It has been a full month now of anything from total overcast to thin clouds covering the whole sky, but have only had maybe 4 nights that were actually clear during that time. Of these, 3 fell during the fuller moon phases. One night I was coming home from the pub with my girlfriend. I glanced up and noticed the dark sky was also about as transparent as I'd ever seen it. I couldn't believe the detail I could see. Of course, I had to work early the next morning and just couldn't get out with the scope, and have been a little bummed about that missed opportunity ever since. I have the bug really bad right now, and really need to get out and allow myself to get lost in the universe again soon. In the meantime, I figured I would share a report of the one good night I did make it out. The sky transparency was decent but not great. When it's cold and humid up here we tend to get a lot of suspended ice crystals in the air, and since my interest in stargazing has increased, I've noticed the impact this had on seeing. Anyway, the night was January 24th. The moon was roughly half full and descending in the west. I snuck away on a work night, determined to hit up an exciting list of targets I had gleaned from reading the forums here. My usual observing spot was no longer accessible due to snowy roads, and I had to improvise with a nearby spot that was slightly more affected by the town lights, but not bad overall. I got my telescope aligned (still using the GoTo regularly) and started with my first target, NGC 2362. This has been referred to as "the finest non-Messier object," and I had never seen it before. I was not disappointed. This open cluster had a great mix of bright and medium stars, and was quite mesmerizing. I definitely rated this one an A+ and would like to spend more time observing it in the future. Next was h3945. Known by a number of other designations (HR 2764 in Sky Safari), this is a beautiful double star that is sometimes referred to as the "Winter Albireo" and is a truly beautiful multi-color binary located near Sirius. It's a fun and easy to remember star hop. From Sirius, head south and there is a triangle of stars that are medium brightness. From the top star (closest to Sirius, called Wezen) look east and there are two pretty obvious wide doubles stretching to the east, each spaced evenly and oriented roughly north to south. From the most eastern of these two doubles, if you follow the line they make to the north they roughly point to this double. It is absolutely lovely, and had become a landmark in the sky for me. I just love this one. I now swung the scope to Orion, more specifically Rigel. This star has become special to me as I named my new dog after him. I have a 6 month old Chesapeake Bay Retriever, and I got him in the midst of the start of my obsession with the night sky. After some consideration of many celestial names, Rigel stuck. Ever since this star has been special to me. Rigel is a binary, and I had never managed to see the companion. I managed this night, and it was lovely. The second star is much dimmer than Rigel, but is located far enough away that it is pretty easily seen outside of the main star when sky condition are good. My next stop was NGC 457, the "E.T" or "Owl" cluster. I have seen this one before, and it is definitely a favorite. Worth a good looking at, and I gave it as much. The next target was another that was new to me. Beta Monocerotis is a triple star (the first triple I've seen), and is another very worthy target. Not far from M42, I had to up my magnification to 231x to make out all 3 stars. Add this one to your list if you haven't already! My list next guided me to M46, M47, and M48. M46 has a nice little planetary nebula within it, which I could clearly make out. M47 has less stars overall but is very bright and a great sight. M48 is spaced more widely and is very bright. I next looked for NGC 2403. The article I was reading described this as a "great galaxy for smaller telescopes". I found it and it was pretty dim, a little washed out by the moon. I would like to revisit this one later on a darker night. I now swung back to Orion, but rather than the usual suspects I visited M78 and NGC 2071. I had never viewed either of these nebula and managed to find both. I would like to spend more time on these in the future. I now moved on to NGC 2360, known as "Caroline's Cluster". This one is more of a medium bright cluster, but has a LOT of stars and is a splendid sight. I next moved along to M36, M37, and M38. M36 is similar to a small Pleiades. M37 particularly caught my attention as it has been described as "a virtual cloud of stars." This did not disappoint, and I didn't have enough time to give this object the time it deserves in the eyepiece. Another for a good revisit. M38 looks like the "Pi" symbol, and is another bright cluster that is well worth a visit. I next moved over to 119 Tau, a nice red carbon star over Orion's head that I have been keen on observing lately. Something about carbon stars has really held my attention lately. I think I just never appreciated the fact that stars came in multiple colors, and I have been trying to pay my dues. My list of missed object includes 40 Eri, a white dwarf that was washed out by the moon. M74, described as "the hardest Messier". Sirius B, "the pup star". NGC 891, an edge on galaxy I would love to see. NGC 1514, a planetary nebula in Taurus. NGC 2202, a pair of merging galaxies that I am very curious if I can make out in my 8" tube. I saw 2 meteors during the night, and made it home by 00:30. It was cold and the seeing was not nearly as good as I have had in recent past, but I was very happy with my list of targets. I have been compiling a new list to add to the highlights of my last. Most of these targets have come from a page that was suggested by a member of SGL, found HERE. This has been a wonderful resource for me. So there it is. I am back under a snowstorm, but the Clear Outside forecast offers hope later in the week. I could sure use a long night out. It's amazing how one can look forward to freezing one's butt off. I hope I get to do so later this week. Clear skies to you all!
  4. 3rd of July 2017 / 21h30 UTC+01:00 / Stargazing Conditions: 80% After much reading and hyping myself so much, I was pretty stunned by the early notification on my phone that yesterday night could potentially be a good evening with good seeing. So I went home after work (with my phone still showing 80% of potential seeing), sat on my desk and prepared myself. I chose to watch the Moon, since I never really observed it, Jupiter, Saturn and search for the Sombrero Galaxy! Last week I searched for a few good atlases and stumbled unto the Interstellarum Deep Sky Atlas. A promising atlas which should arrive this week, but still would let me be without a field atlas, since it is a desk edition... After cramming in the forums I mainly found three downloadable recommendations: 1) The Deep-Sky Atlas 2) Deep-Sky Hunter Atlas 3) TriAtlas I downloaded all of them and browsed through them, noticing that only the Deep-Sky Hunter Atlas exists in a field edition. I printed the normal Version on A3 paper to look if it fits the need and, hell yeah, I really like it so far!! Only downside (for me) at the moment, is that the constellations are in black lines in contrary to the Deep-Sky Atlas. So I think I'll print both of them, laminate them and take them with me on my sessions. (I will have to inverse the colors on the Deep-Sky Atlas though) To round everything up, I figured that I'll need a software too, to plan my sessions a little better and just give me the right impressions on where I will have to search in the sky. A while back I downloaded Stellarum, which seemed to be a great free app, but it simply kept crashing on my laptop... Searching for alternatives I found SkySafari 5 and Starry Night 7. Given the prices of Starry Night 7 and the fact that it isn't to be found on the AppStore, I went ahead and downloaded SkySafari 5 Pro. It is a beautifully simple app which does the job just fine and gives me the needed input to satisfy my thirst for knowledge (at least for now). At this point, I was wondering if someone knows if Starry Night 7 was up-gradable? So let's say I buy the Enthusiast Edition and wanted to up-grade to the Pro or even Pro-Plus version one day. Do I have to buy the App entirely new or does it give the opportunity to up-grade for a few bucks to the next edition? Enough rambling an off to my stargazing site! I arrived well early before sunset, which gave me the opportunity to once check again, if my finderscope was well aligned with the 'scope. It also gave me the chance to let my 'scope acclimatize the same way as last time and so I sat back and waited a little until the moon gained a little on contrast as the sun was setting. The Moon The Moon, being a waxing gibbous, shone bright in the slightly dark blue night sky with literally NO clouds in the sky. I put my 15mm BTS eyepiece in and looked at the beautiful moonscape. It is defiantly the first time I've seen the Moon so up-close and I was in awe by it. I never imagined that it could be so nice to look at all these craters and I began to wonder where they all came from. It is simply a battlefield of craters and each and everyone has its own story to tell... after a good 30 minutes of switching between the 8mm and 15mm eyepiece and lots of "ohs" and "wows", I figured I could try and photograph the Moon with my phone through the eyepiece... what seemed to be a really stupid idea at first turned out to be a really great shot (I think?)! (very little photoshop-magic to increase contrast and sharpness) Jupiter Next on that nights list was Jupiter. I remembered the image last time I looked at it and I was thrilled to already clearly identify Europa from Io through the finderscope. I managed to see Callisto, Ganymede, Europa and Io. I think that Jupiter itself was a little less contrasty as last time BUT I think I could make out the Red Spot which really made me happy! I was so thrilled by the view I even can't write down how I felt... I switched from 15mm to the 8mm eyepiece and focused in... I kept focusing and focusing and focusing but nothing happened... As I looked up in the sky I was shocked... the beautiful cloudless sky had turned into a thick carpet of Cumulus Cumulonimbus... I immediately looked at the horizon on my right to see if there was a slight possibility of clear sky but the enemy had invaded the sky... To make matters even worse at that moment, I met my locations' neighbor, which is no other company then Arcelor Mittal... The sky with the clouds lit up in a bright orange from the molten metal... At that moment I knew it was over for that night... Thanks for reading Abe
  5. From the album: The Moon

    Canon 550D, 250mm, f/13, 1/250, ISO 800, , MAK celestron C90
  6. The noctilucent cloud is in the upper right of the image, hovering over some beautiful pink and purple-tinged lower level clouds just after sunset during last year's autumnal equinox. A single 1/1250s exposure at f/5, 155mm, shot with a Nikon D50. No processing. One of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen! Reggie
  7. Noticing a break in the cloud late evening on my 'Weather Channel' app; I decided to practice my new polar alignment skills on my wonderful sturdy AVX mount. Armed with my weapon of choice - the sensational Altair Starwave 102 F/11 Achro Frac which never fails to give me crystal clear and colourful views, I made my way onto the lush green grass of my girlfriends reasonable dark, edge of town garden lawn. It's fair to say that when I started it was very cloudy and it proved quite entertaining trying to catch alignment stars teasing me by peeping out between the white stuff. Last week I treated myself to an illuminated reticule which has turned out to be a fantastic addition to my armoury. Talk about centering stars in the field of view (perfect). Also following a suggestion from a practical friend I utilised my zoom EP for the first time when honing in on centering stars. Chuffed to bits with my new found polar alignment skills and equipment I proceeded to observe. I confirmed alignment by pin point precision by capturing some obvious targets. I then selected my 12mm Meade HD-60 and decided to whizz through some doubles and trust the handset tour to provide some interesting objects, using that EP gave me 100 x magnification. I actually think it was a great tactic as I didn't have to change my EP once (unit the end) So at 100x on everything. M11 the Wild Duck Cluster literally blew my pants off...! I acknowledged a smile when seeing 95 Her and 61 Cyg I noted as kind of yellow orange… Sissy Haas marks those as Amber Yellow so I was bang on :-) lovely! M57 The ring nebula was a Wow moment... Probably my imagination and my brain filling in what I knew was there but it looked in colour and so ‘ring like’ it was brilliant... M76 little dumbbell wasn't so clear but at least I could make it out ok. Delta Cep and Alberio were lovely and got me all double excited. 17 Cyg - Great and of course Zeta Lyra - lovely NGC 869 & ngc 844 The Double Cluster was sweet! I mean - really sweet and filled my field of view. Andromeda (was there) it's more what it is, that excites me more than what it looks like when you’ve seen it a few times (don't get me wrong I'm not under selling this great target). ‘Just to see Gamma Delphini is worth the price of a telescope’ So says Sissy Haas in the rather nice book 'Double Stars for small telescopes'. So I checked it out and can confirm that; Gamma Delphinium was amazing! like two tiny gold circles in the 102 so for this I decided to select my 6.5mm Meade for a closer look - and at 184x Gamma Delphini was stunning... I then did a few single stars which is good fun in that 102.. I love the sharpness of that frac. The AVX is such a solid mount and was really nice to set up. The 2" tripod is although heavy, very solid! Aligning with that illuminated reticle is brilliant and fair play to the sec suggesting the zoom EP for hunting initially. Last night felt like the damp is on it's way, although the kit stayed nice and dew free... I packed in not long after 11 as I had achieved my objective of super successful polar alignment and got to see some wonderful objects… As I cleared away the milky way gave me a farewell wave before being engulfed in the white stuff again. Great night, great timing and worth noting it would have been easy for me to pack up as I was starting due to the cloud but I hung in there waiting for that clear session... I’m back in love with this great but sometimes frustrating hobby :-) Bring on the long nights of winter!
  8. After not getting any observing for what seems an age due to cloud, there were a few breaks tonight and I managed to dash outside with just the spotter scope for my SW 200p hand held. I did some quick star hopping from Vega to the keystone and found M13 fairly easily. It was in just the right place relative to HIP81848 and HIP81673 on Stellarium. Even through the spotter it was quite bright and obvious - even though my eyes weren't dark adapted. Can't wait to viewing it with the main telescope once I get the chance.
  9. From the album: Tim99 Pictures

    Sometimes the clouds at the viewing site are spectacular!
  10. Walky

    Waxing Gibbous I

    From the album: The Moon

    Canon 550D, 250mm, f/13, 1/250, ISO 800, CELESTRON C90
  11. From the album: The Moon

    Canon 550D, 250mm, f/13, 1/250, ISO 800, , MAK celestron C90
  12. A moody supermoon emerges through the clouds. 19:21UT 3 December 2017 100% illumination C80ED f7.5 Canon 600D processed in Lightroom
  13. Cheers! Perhaps as most of you in northern Europe, we had a dismal warm and cloudy winter here in Sweden. It has been so bad that it has prompted me to have a look at the data and consider if there is something to do with climate change. I got cloudiness data from the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute. They have data from 1961 to 2016, but unfortunately only for daytime. With caveats for this, and for some quality issues before 1980, I found that cloudiness is indeed increasing, and that the number of clear days is decreasing even more. Obviously I do not find this amusing. It is nevertheless consistent with the expected impact of a warmer climate on an oceanic climate like ours. Has anyone done a similar analysis for other places? I would be happy to see your results. Cheers and clear skies! You find the complete story is in my astroblog, Epistulae Atronomicae.
  14. From the album: Stargazer33's Album

    Mars. C8 XTL, CGEM, Revelation Superfocus 2" R&P focuser, Revelation 2.5x Barlow, QHY5L II Processed in PIPP & RS6

    © Bryan Harrison 2014

  15. A big thank you to everyone who commented on my Onion ringing problem because its now solved , great! I think the decisive fact was the Gamma needed to be at 100 or greater. At approximately 02:30 I managed to get this set of Jupiter images using the modified Mewlon M250S (CR Baffle added) and the DMK21 with the correct settings!!! They are only mono, taken using and IR-Pass filter; one day I will invest in a manual filter wheel and the necessary RGB filters but for now I'm very happy with the results. Still need some advise; As anyone used Metaguide? I'm trying to use this for collimation of the scope? I have read the manual and I think collimation is bang-on but want to push to get that last bit of perfection!!! Problem was that the "red dot" was moving around too much. Very close to the centre of the star and not too far away but perhaps I could have got a better result with a better technique??? Anyway, I hope that you like the images Most probably seeing conditions were the limiting factor
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