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Partied out from Saturday (my belated 40th), I decided to have a binocular tour in what were truly clear skies. Ursa Minor could be seen in its entirity, the Milky way was visible from the North of Aquila all the way to Perseus (and this is with one or two neighbour's lights still on!). It would have been nice to have a big scope session but work tomorrow and fatigue have conspired against me. Hercules: Both M13 and M92 stood out nicely. So I said goodbye to them for the year. Pegasus: Globular cluster M15 was barely inferior to M13. Aquarius: M2 was less clear but still easy enough to pick up. Vulpecula: Brocci's cluster (a.k.a. the Coathanger) lokked resplendent and M27, the Dumbbell nebula was very clear and bright. Sagitta: M71 came through nicely like a cross between a globular and an open cluster. Cygnus: M39 was lovely, M29 came through nicely, NGC 7000 (Caldwell 20) - almost certain. There seemed to be a paler patch of sky rather than any haze and I think I could detect a dark knot roughly where the gulf of Mexico should be. The sky was nowhere near good enough to see anything close to the distinctive shape but I am pretty sure I have cracked it. I also could see the Cygnus rift reasonably clearly. I can't remember noticing that from home before. Casseopeia: Fast becoming a favourite constellation. I managed to identify, M52, NGC 7789 (easiest of the new finds and quite large), NGC 129, NGC 225, NGC 457, M103 and NGC 663 (all open clusters). There were many other named parts of the constellation I absorbed but did not note. Andromeda: M31, the Andromeda galaxy was as big and bright as I have seen it. Definitely managed M32 in binoculars for the first time, possibly M110 but am far less sure: I have only managed with my scope a couple of times. Triangulum: It was not that high in the sky but M33 was no problem at all. And to think I once had problems with this one, I could look directly at it in binoculars. Perseus: NGC 869 and NGC 884, the Double cluster looked beautiful given it is nowhere its zenith yet. M34 very good too. The best bincular session for a very long time indeed. Great stuff! __________________________________________________ ______ Observing Session: Sunday 16th September 2012, 21:10 hrs to 21:55 hrs BST VLM at Zenith: 5.4 - 5.5 New - Revisited - Failed
Tonight was the best night out in a long time. The last couple of days the sky has been crystal clear, and today is friday, which meant nothing was on the schedule for tomorrow. Scope, filters and eyepieces: Today, I was using my one and only Skywatcher 10" dob, with my collection of explorer scientific 82 degree eyepieces. For the first time in a long time, I also used my CLS filter. Targets/observing: Before I headed out, I decided to have a look at skysafari 5 to see what I should have a look at this clear evening. Tonights list ended up including: M13 M92 M57 M27 M13 looked fabulous as always, but I can't quite bag the propeller. I was resolving stars nicely, even a couple in the center, when using averted vision. I think M13 looks the best at 136x and sometimes at 255x, however most of the times I think the image is too dark when observing at 255x. M92 was a surprise. Locating it was surprisingly easy, as I through the finderscope could just see it as a little faint dot. Looking at it through the scope was amazing. It was not as big as M13, but at 136x it looked very nice, and sometimes, it almost looked like the stars formed a smiley:-) Surprisingly I was also able to resolve a good amount of stars in this cluster, but not as many as in M13. Now I know this wasn't on the list but I thought I had to give it a go when I saw it on skysafari. NGC6229! Also located in Hercules, and via starhopping also easy to find. This was the smallest one of them all, but the most rewarding since this was my first object from the New General Catalogue (NGC). I was also using 136x at this target, because this is the most comfortable magnification in my opinion. I was only resolving one or two stars in this target, but it was easily visable, just as a bright smudge. M57 is by far my favorite object (out of the few objects I have seen). The contrast and shape of it gives me the WOW feeling everytime I observe it. Now this target I was observing comfortably at 255x and it looked amazing! Now this was where it popped in the CLS filter which almost made it look like the red outer-part of the nebula was visable, but this faded soon after. While observing this target for about 20min I was thinking if a UHC or a OIII would give me better or the same views? M27 was kind of disappointing, but I just think I have overestimated how it would look like, but it was still a very nice view it gave me at 136x and 85x. The dumbbell shape became more visable over time, but I think the thing I like more about M57 compared to M27 is the contrast between sky and nebula. In the end it was one of my best nights I have had with my new (5 months old) scope. I have yet to try it at my grandma and grandpas' where the milky way is visable, and I am very excited to do just that. Clear skies! Victor Boesen
M92. Processed using DSS. Hardware details: Camera: Nikon D200. Telescope: SW Evostar 120 with Baader UHC-S filter. Mount: AZ-EQ6 guided using a ST80 synguider. Image details: Lights: 44 x 3min at ISO 800 taken over 2 days, Darks: 20 x 3min 20sec at ISO 800 (from dark library), Lights and darks separated by 30 sec intervals. Flats: 40 x 1/40s at ISO 800, Bias: 30 x 1/8000 at ISO 100 Date of capture 31/03/2016. Clear skies, no wind, seeing was reasonable. Guiding was stable but did trail on 2 subs, PA was good, I could get 1 min unguided subs. I increased the saturation by 20% and aligned the colour channel histograms. I enabled 3x drizzling.
© D Elijah
After the amazing first ever DSO observing session I had the other night I was itching to get out again. Based on the recomendations given in my last post I put together a list of objects to view prior to going out this time. First up was M11, Wild Duck cluster, not sure what to make of this. Just looked like a group of spread out stars in my 12mm EP. I didn't spend long on M11 so went for the much anticipated M27, Dumbbell Nebula...wow! I could clearly see the dumbbell shape and really liked the way it stuck out against the surrounding stars. Not quite as bright as M57 but a bit bigger. I then went back to M13 and again I was really blown away by this object. I switched over to my 8mm BST and was pleasantly surprised by the view. The stars stayed crisp and I could see more structure. This EP is a really amazing performer for the price. I would like to try it against something else so am looking at a 7mm Pentax or 9mm Nagler. I have heard the 9mm Nagler is very good and think it will suit the globs. I decided to take a look at some other globular clusters: M56, M71 & M92. All of these globs were amazing but not quite spectacular as M13. I realised there are many more globs to observe but decided to try something different. After being informed that a glob is not a galaxy (still learning!) I thought I would try and bag my first galaxy. M31, which I believe is the brightest, was behind the house so I tried M51. I am sure it was in the FOV as the GoTo was spot on for the globs however I could not see (detect) a thing. I guess I will have to get in a better position for M31 next time out. After trying Alberio and Mizar the other night I wanted to go after a more challenging double. After reading some posts on SGL I had decided it had to be the Double Double Epsilon Lyrae. I am completely reliant on my GoTo at the moment so other than knowing it was somewhere near Vega I started looking through the SynScan named star catalogue. Much to my dissappointment it wasn't there. I was just about to give up when I spoted a Double Stars menu on the SynScan and sure enough Epsilon Lyrae was in there. Sticking with the 12mm I went to the double double and saw two widely split stars. I then loaded my 3.5mm Nagler EP and much to my amazement the two stars both split again. The 4 stars all fitted perfectly in the FOV and the stars looked amazing. I am really impressed with this object...it is a really interesting one to view. I now need to find a more challenging double star. I went back and finished on M27, M57and M13 again. I definately need to look at tightening my focussers as it kept slipping which slightly detracted from the observing. If I can't get it right I am just going to take the plunge and upgrade it to something decent.
In order to maximize my imaging time during clear skies, I've recently started to capture bright star clusters when the moon is too bright for any other deep space object. My latest LRGB attempt is below, the globular cluster M92. Apart from the inevitable light pollution gradients, removed during post processing, the effects of the moon light pollution appear to be minimal. The image was taken with my Esprit 150 and represents about 3.6 hours integration time. Alan LIGHTS: L:11,R:10. G:11, B:11 x 300s, DARKS:30, FLATS:40, BIAS:100 all at -20C.
In order to maximize my imaging time during clear skies, I've recently started to capture bright star clusters when the moon is too bright for any other deep space object. My latest LRGB attempt is below, the globular cluster M92. Apart from the inevitable light pollution gradients, removed during post processing, the effects of the moon light pollution appear to be minimal. The image was taken with my Esprit 150 and represents about 3.6 hours integration time. To maximise star colour I gave the Lum data three different DDP stretches within CCDstack (high, medium and very low) and then blended the scaled images within PS. This approach tries to get the Lum data below 200 (when measured in 8 bits) to ensure that star colour can be obtained. On the acquisition front: I have an automated set up that is controlled by ACP Expert. So, if I believe that an object can be imaged during any phase of the moon, then I set this objects priority as very low. This means that image capture will only be attempted if it is not possible to capture any LRGB or narrowband data on any other objects. Using this approach my imaging time is automatically maximized since ACP monitors the moon's phase and periodically works out if LRGB or narrowband data can be collected based on the angular distance of the object from the moon and type of data to be collected.
While waiting for Jupiter to rise above my roof line I tried some Deepsky targets to try get to grips a little more with the new ASI120MC colour camera. M57, 30x21sec @ 650x480 Bin2x2, Unguided on 200P-DS+HEQ5, Stacked in RS6, touched up in CS6 M92 30x7sec @ 650x480 Bin2x2, Unguided on 200P-DS+HEQ5, Stacked in RS6, touched up in CS6 Not the best, but i'm still getting to grips with this camera and it's really aimed at guiding/lunar/planetary.