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Found 12 results

  1. Hi all, I have been gifted a pair of Arena Observation 25x100 binoculars and a Slik Pro 700DX tripod. I have trawled the internet, but have been unable to find any information on the binoculars. Could someone kindly provide me with any info on them, they seem pretty damn good. TIA
  2. Observations of the Sculptor Galaxy ( NGC 253 ) by William and John Herschel ......... Part 2. Observations of "Caroline's Galaxy" by Sir John Herschel, 1830's Sir John Herschel, the only child of Mary Baldwin and Sir William Herschel, was born in 1792 when his father was in middle age and already famous as one of world's leading astronomers. Having excelled in school, and no doubt inspired by his famous elders, John Herschel decided upon a career as a 'man of science' and set out to pursue a wide range of interests; with one particular focus being a continuation of the study of the heavens commenced by his father and aunt, Caroline Herschel. In 1820, with the assistance of his father, John Herschel supervised the construction of a new telescope at Slough in England. As described in the extract below ( from a paper presented to the Royal Society in 1826, titled "Account of some observations made with a 20-feet reflecting telescope ... " ), the telescope had a polished metal mirror with clear aperture of 18 inches, focal length of 20 feet and was modelled on the same design created by his father. It is this telescope, in the 1820’s and early 30’s, following the death of his father and the return of his aunt Caroline to Hanover, that John Herschel used to 'sweep' the night sky and extend the catalogue of nebulae and clusters of stars that was published by his father ( see W. Herschel's Catalogue of One Thousand new Nebulae and Clusters of Stars ). On the 1st of July 1833, having complied sufficient observations, John Herschel presented to the Royal Society an updated list of the positions and descriptions of the Nebulae and Clusters of Stars that he had thus far observed. As noted in the introduction to the paper published in the Philosophical Transactions, he had planned to wait before publishing until he had complied a fully comprehensive general catalogue of objects visible from the south of England. However, due to his expectation of “several more more years additional work” needed to complete the task and his assessment that he now was in a position to address, at least in part, the then current “... want of an extensive list of nebulae arranged in order of right ascension ...”, he elected to present his list, “ ... simply stating the individual results of such observations as I have hitherto made ... “. It was not until October 16, 1863, some thirty years later, that Sir John would deliver to the Royal Society his General Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars. As well as introducing many objects that had not previously been recorded, Sir John’s list of 1833 included a re-examination of, and in some cases a small correction to, the positions of many of the deep sky objects observed by his father and noted down by his aunt. One of these re-visited objects was, unsurprisingly, the large and bright nebula discovered by Caroline Herschel in 1783 and recorded in Sir Williams’s catalogue as V.1 / CH 10 ( object number one, of class five ( very large nebulae ) / Caroline Herschel #10 ). In total, John Herschel records around 2500 observations of nebulae and clusters of stars in his 1833 paper; with observation #61 being V.1, the “ Sculptor Galaxy “ . The measured position of V.1is given in RA and the angle from the north celestial pole ( all reduced to epoch 1830.0 ). The description can be interpreted by reference to the legend in the paper. Thus, “ A vL mE vB neb “ becomes “ A very large, much extended, elliptic or elongated, very bright nebula “. He also notes that in addition to this observation, #61, noted down from sweep #306, V.1 was also observed in sweep #292, “but no place was taken”. The figure to which he refers , figure 52, is included towards the back of his paper and is a sketch he made of the Sculptor Galaxy. to be continued ...
  3. Does anyone else find the Moon a lot easier to observe and photograph when it isn`t full ... and with much better detail , contrast and shadows ? One in pre dawn light from this morning with Canon 70D and f5.6L 400mm prime lens and cropped ...
  4. Hi all, I thought I'd share my observation from this night. At approximately 22:00 local time I was already setup and ready to image Mars and Saturn. As I'm using a mirror diagonal for framing/searching purposes I looked through it and focused using my 40mm LV eyepiece. What I saw in the eyepiece took my breath away. The disc was massive and detailed. I stack Baader Contrast Booster and Neodymium filters for planetary viewing since it does make a considerable difference in revealing detail and increasing contrast. Mars showed a big disc with two CLEARLY visible patches on both the "north" and "south" (equivalent to earth location polar cap regions). There was a clearly visible dark greenish borders around the white patches. The bottom part was white and crisp with a irregular dark greenish patching bordering it from the pinky orange center of the planet. The equator region showed some dark markings around where, I think, Olympus Mons is located. Now I'm not saying that I spotted Olympus Mons in my 8" SCT but I'm thinking, and hoping, maybe... there was definitely something there along with other more subtle spots and shades. This was hands down the best view of Mars I've ever seen. After Mars I had a look at Saturn, it was big and clear although it was not the clearest I've ever seen. Last year I had a clear view of Saturn's cloud bands and a crisp Cassini division surrounded by 5 of its moons (that was the best view of Saturn I ever experienced). This time the Cassini division was there but not as defined as before and any cloud bands were a struggle to see, and the Cassini division was coming and going. There were 4 moons around it glistening in the dark. I know some of you might be wondering why I have seen such big discs using only a 40mm eyepiece. The magnification was at least 250X-300X judging by the size of Saturn in my past experience near opposition using nothing but eyepieces and a diagonal. The reason why the magnification was so high with the 40mm was because it was a bit of a distance away from the visual back and I was also using a Celestron 2X barlow, due to me being setup to do planetary imaging. The lineup was a 2X barlow, 1.25"-2" adapter, a Vixen flip mirror, on the mirror the 40mm eyepiece, and behind the flip mirror were a filter wheel and a IS 618 CCD as shown in the pic. Does anyone know how to work out the actual focal length in a setup situation like this? The pictures didn't come out as crisp as I though they would after the seeing I was experiencing, I'm thinking that the line up caused a bit too much magnification. When I tried the 2.5X power mate the magnification was less, about 60% of the size with the Celestron 2X barlow, I think the TV 2.5X powermate should be labelled 1.5X. I didn't capture any images through the PM due to Mars moving out of the optimal imaging position, coming down with Bronchitis and starting to freeze through my layers of jumpers so I ended my session. The views I had I will definitely remember for a long time and I'm looking forward to the next Mars opposition since it'll be another 38% closer and again will move through the zenith visible from my location... now thinking about a 16" dob for those views!!! Thanks for reading, Mariusz
  5. Observations of the Sculptor Galaxy ( NGC 253 ) by William and John Herschel The very large and bright 'nebula' discovered by Caroline Herschel in 1783, that we now know as the Sculptor Galaxy, was observed a number of times by her 'dear brother' Sir William Herschel and by her 'beloved nephew' Sir John Herschel, Baronet. Some of these observations were recorded and published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society and, with respect to those by Sir John in South Africa, in the book of Astronomical Observations at the Cape of Good Hope. ......... Part 1. Observation of the 'class V nebula', H V.1, by Sir William Herschel, 1783 In 1782, with the fresh patronage of King George III, William Herschel, together with his sister Caroline, undertook the not inconsiderable task of transferring his astronomical equipment from Bath to Datchet ( near Windsor ) in England. Shortly afterwards, in 1983, Sir William began a "sweep of the heavens" with the very large Newtonian telescope of his design and construction. With this mighty telescope's twenty foot focal length and clear aperture of a little over eighteen and half inches, William was able to see fainter objects and smaller detail than any other astronomer of that time. ( source: The Scientific Papers of Sir William Herschel, Vol.1 ) ...... On the 30th of October, 1783, in the course of one of his "sweeps" with the twenty-foot telescope, Sir William Herschel observed Caroline's 'nebula' and noted down ( or perhaps more likely, dictated to Caroline ) a description of what he saw and a reference to its position relative to a 4th magnitude star in the Piscis Austrainus constellation, #18 Pis. Aust. ( with reference to Flamsteed's Catalogue ( or HD 214748 , HIP 111954 as we might call it )). Over the course of the next three years, Sir William would go on to view the Sculptor Galaxy a total of seven more times; as recorded in his paper "Catalogue of One Thousand New Nebulae and Clusters of Stars", presented to the Royal Society on the 27th of April 1786. ( Source ) Sir William's somewhat cryptic notes can be translated by reference to the key provide in his paper and doing so reveals the following: Class: V. ( very large nebula ) Number: 1 Observed ( by WH ): 30 Oct 1784 Reference star: 18 Piscis Austrainus ( Flamsteed's Catalogue; the best reference for the time - we might use epsilon Pis. Aust. or HD 214748 / HIP 111954 ) Sidereal direction rel. to star ( following or leading ): following star Sidereal time rel. to star: 128 min 17 sec Declination direction rel. to star: north of star Declination amount rel. to star: 1deg 39min Observed: 8 times ( up until April 1786, the date of the paper ) Description: - cB: "confidently bright" - mE: "much extended" - sp: "south preceding" - nf: "north following" - mbM: "much brighter middle" - size: 50' x 7 or 8' " CH" denotes that it was discovered by his sister Caroline Herschel The note he refers to expands on details of Caroline's discovery ... ...............................................
  6. Hi all, i just spotted by chance the 2nd "fireball" / bright meteor in my life at 20:52 CET , dark orange with bright grey trail, no sound, east-northeast to east southeast, elevation 10-20 degrees ... Yay ! Unfortunately , no picture, just human observation while taking the dog out . PS.: might have been a "november orionid", they peaked yesterday.
  7. Hi I'm new here. Briefly looking through this site, it would seem this site is geared towards discussion regarding instruments. So in advance, I apologize if this is not the appropriate forum/website for my question. And. If at all possible, might anyone link me to a website that might be better suited for me. I looked on youtube, and a few other websites and nothing concrete came up as to where the appropriate place to post might be or what it was I was observing regarding moon activity on this early morning of 11/28/2017. So here I am and once again I apologize if this is the wrong forum for my question. I'll be brief. My knowledge of astronomy is very limited. Though I've always had a passion for astronomy. My question. What exactly was I observing in regard to the moon's orbit/position/speed in which it changed? Now, allow me to set the stage. It was roughly 12:30AM here in North East Texas on this day of 11/28/2017. On my way to the store I stopped to take a look at the night sky as I always do. The moon was roughly at a 50 degree angle above the southern tree line. Forgive my ignorance but this is the best way I can describe what I was observing. In less than one hour the moon had radically relocated to just above the western treeline. Once I got home the moon was obviously no longer visible from this viewing point. I am very curious as to why the moons position changed so quickly. I've never seen this before. Is this a common occurrence within the moon's cycles and or time of year? I look forward to hearing your responses. To hopefully shed light on what is seemingly a strange phenomenon to me. Thank you in advance!
  8. Has been 30 years since I have braved cold and wind to observe, and...well, I forgot some of the early lessons. Might be helpful for other beginners to share the experience. To start with, thanks to the FLO and meteoblue I was super positive that I will have a night of no clouds and actually good seeing, with gentle jet streams and good transparency. I have conveniently decided to ignore the indication that the wind is going to pick up as the night progresses. Fine. Called a friend who I wanted to introduce to astronomy (he is a photo geek) and off we headed to a hill near Belgrade. Bortle 5, 500m elevation, not the best, but at least outside of the worst of the LP bubble. 4C outside...and the wind giving us the warning shot. Now, I usually like to arrive during twilight to set up, this time it was dark already (7:30 PM), but it was easier with someone to hold the red lamp and help with stuff. Except that the wind was already there. By the time I have set up the rig my fingers were numb. I want Nexstar Evolution and less clutter...but that is for another topic and I guess I am whining too much. Given that it was cold and windy, I should have used my brain and set it up without a dew shield. We were not going to spend hours there and freeze to death, and the wind delays dew formation. But I have not used my brain, and instead mindlessly put it on autopilot...and set everything up. The second wrong decision I made was to extend tripod legs more than I usually do. I have no idea why I did that, I am very conscious of the setup limitations and was always prepared to sit low in order to have a more stable rig. Somehow, this time I just...did otherwise. Now I used my brain when I decided to bring the binos too. Since there were two of us, both had something to play with at all times. Brownie points for me, will always do that in the future. M42 was impressive, I have to say that this time UHC only marginally improved what looked already really good in ES24 at 68 deg. The rig was still reasonably stable. My friend was amazed and spent quite some time studying it. Mindlessly spent 5 minutes trying to find Rosetta (why, oh why) typing its number in the IC, instead of the NGC catalogue. Meh. Anyway, it was not there, not even with UHC, either it is a no-go target or I did something wrong. M41, M35, M37... all nice, but the rig was shaking more and more. Dew shield acted like a sail and amplified vibrations on the Az Goto tripod. Finally, Jupiter. Excellent transparency and some really good seeing...when the rig was not vibrating. Four dark bands...and I thought I saw the GRS...it was simply gorgeous...except that the wind got progressively worse...11 m/s and we called it quits.
  9. Sir John Herschel at the Cape of Good Hope Having spent the years 1825 to 1833 cataloguing the double stars, nebulae and clusters of stars visible from Slough, in the south of England, John Herschel, together with his family and telescopes, set sail from Portsmouth on the 13th of November 1833 bound for Cape Town. As detailed below, in an extract from his book, the family enjoyed a pleasant and uneventful voyage and arrived some 5 months later at Table Bay with all family and instruments in good condition. Reading on however, one might very well think that it might not have ended so well had they but left shortly after ... “... (iii.) Accordingly, having- placed the instrument in question, as well as an equatorially mounted achromatic telescope of five inches aperture, and seven feet focal length, by Tulley, which had served me for the measurement of double stars in England; together with such other astronomical apparatus as I possessed, in a fitting condition for the work, and taken every precaution, by secure packing, to insure their safe arrival in an effective state, at their destination, they were conveyed (principally by water carriage) to London, and there shipped on board the Mount Stewart Elpliinstone, an East India Company's ship, Richardson,Esq. Commander, in which, having taken passage for myself and family for the Cape of Good Hope, we joined company at Portsmouth, and sailing thence on the13th November, 1833, arrived, by the blessing of Providence, safely in Table Bay, on the 15th January, 1834, and landed the next morning, after a pleasant voyage, diversified by few nautical incidents, and without seeing land in the interim. It was most fortunate that, availing himself of a very brief opportunity afforded by a favorable change of wind, our captain put to sea when he did, as we subsequently heard that, immediately after our leaving Portsmouth, and getting out to sea, an awful hurricane had occurred from the S. W. (of which we experienced nothing), followed by a series of south-west gales, which prevented any vessel sailing for six weeks. In effect, the first arrival from England, after our own, was that of the Claudine, on the 4th of April, with letters dated January 1st.(iv.) ...” “Result of Astronomical Observations, Made During the Years 1834, 5, 6, 7, 8, At the Cape of Good Hope ... “ by Sir John Herschel, 1847 John Herschel rented a property and set up the twenty foot reflector near Table Mountain, at a site, that was then, just outside of Cape Town. The Twenty Feet Reflector at Feldhausen, Cape of Good Hope, South Africa, 1834 This telescope was made by Herschel in England and transported, along with his other instruments, by ship to Cape Town and then inland to Feldhausen. The telescope is a Newtonian reflector, built to William Herschel’s design, with a focal length of 20 feet and clear aperture of 18 1/4 inches ( f13 ). The location of the telescope was established by careful survey to be: lat 33d 55’ 56.55”, long 22h 46’ 9.11” W ( or 18.462 deg E ). The site of the great telescope was memorialised by the people of Cape Town by the erection of a granite column that is still there today. ............. Observations of the Sculptor Galaxy Amongst his many thousands of observations made from Cape Town, of nebulae, clusters of stars, double stars, the sun, etc., Sir John Herschel records that he observed V.1 ( CH10 - Caroline’s Nebula - the Sculptor Galaxy ) during two different “sweeps” and gave it the number 2345 in his South African catalogue. Sweeps: 646 - 20th November 1835; 733 - 12th September 1836 At the latitude of Feldhausen, and on these dates, the Sculptor galaxy would have been at an altitude around 80 degrees above the northern horizon when near the meridian ( which was where the telescope was pointed during Herschel’s “sweeps” ). The sight afforded from this location, with the Sculptor Galaxy almost at the zenith, must have been significantly brighter and clearer than the Herschels had thus far been granted from its location way down near the horizon south of Slough. .......... Other Obsevations by John Herschel from Cape Town Also observed by John Herschel in 1835 were the people and animals that inhabit the moon ... The Great Moon Hoax of 1825 - “Lunar Animals and other Objects, Discovered by Sir John Herschel in his Observatory at the Cape of Good Hope ... “
  10. I am just starting out, and trying to map the sky before I invest in a telescope. Question: are there any Messier objects that I can view with a pair f binoculars?
  11. Observation 18 July 2017 Date: 18th July 2017 @ 18:50 – 22:20AEST Location: Backyard Equipment: 14” Skywatcher GOTO Dobsonian, Televue 11mm Nagler T6, Celestron 5mm, LV 7mm, Televue 2X Powermate, Televue 2.5X Powermate, Televue 3X Barlow, Baader Neodymium, Baader Contrast Booster. Jupiter: At 19:08 there was a dark mark on the Northern equatorial belt, initially I thought that it was a darker area within the cloud belt but later using the “Gas Giants” app I found out that it was the shadow of Io. On the right side of the planet Io was rising, slowly moving away from Jupiter while observing for the next 30 minutes or so, not often does one experience a moon rise on a different planet. Europa was on the opposite side moving closer to the planet. Ganymede and Callisto are further away from Jupiter on the right, same side where Io was rising and opposite side of Europa. There was a substantial amount of detail visible within Jupiter’s atmosphere. There was cloud band shading and visible different coloring, lines and irregularities in the atmosphere. The most details visible was in and above the NEB, different colouring, from brown to yellow to even a blueish tint just above the NEB. The northern cap was slightly shaded but the southern cap was distinctly darker than the norther cap and easy to see with tiny spots on it, very subtle but definitely made the cap look slightly textured. Southern cloud belt was visibly irregular across the planet. The GRS was not facing toward us until later at 21:27 but at this time Jupiter was low in the west, 20-30 degrees, not far from mountains so it was not as crisp as at 19:00 but still quite a bit of details are visible and a lot better than last observing session. The best magnification to use tonight is 300X initially than 150X to 235X when lower in the horizon to look at the GRS. Saturn: At 22:02 Saturn was as high as it’ll be tonight and it looked crisp and detailed. The Cloud band on the globe was clearly visible, the Cassini division was visible nearly all the way around in the rings, the innermost ring to Saturn looked a bit darker then the others and there was a tiny visible shadow on the rings behind Saturn with 5 moons, Titan Enceledus, Tethys, Dione and Rhea orbiting it. Magnified 300X and 330X the views were sharp and clean, whereas at 375X and 470X was a near crisp view as Saturn was overhead near zenith. 660X was softer with hints of Cassini division within the rings but its impressive with how big it is in the FOV. To get Saturn to look so sharp, I was fine adjusting the collimation using the primary mirror while defocussing Saturn and adjusting until Saturn defocussed symmetrically in both focus travel directions. Neptune: Neptune was the last object for tonight observation but it was just a blueish fuzzy dot, it was low in the eastern horizon, and I guess the lightning activity out to sea coupled with the picking up wind didn’t help. I Magnified it 300X, might have been bit much for it in the current position, but no matter what, I doubt that less power would show any more detail. Mirrors might not be as perfectly collimated as I thought since when defocussing on Jupiter’s moons to fine tune collimation, were defocussing into a ring with the central obstruction in the middle but not defocussing “round” but more to what appeared to be oval, defocussed symmetrically but oval. I think that the 14" SW still hasn't shown me the best it can do and I will need to play and practice with the collimation some more. Newtonian collimation is definitely a fair bit more involved than SCT collimation. Thanks for reading, Clear skies.
  12. Dawn Session 12-30-17 JST Clear Skies at Last! AFTER NEARLY 2 weeks of cloudy to mostly cloudy skies, the weather forecasts and weather apps indicated clearing for several hours before / after sunrise. So, today being a Saturday, I could afford to climb out of bed at 4:30am and do some comparative viewing with my Celestron Skymaster 15x70 and recently- purchased Vixen Ascot ZR10x50 WP. I live in a suburban area halfway between Osaka and Wakayama, Japan and my balcony affords a view of the skies from the southeast to the southwest. I started out gazing up at Jupiter and Mars which were in close proximity. Just above Jupiter was a clear, bright dot seen in both pairs of binos. This turned out to be a combination of Ganymede and Europa. In my sleepy state I had forgotten to bring out my tripod and didn’t feel like going back inside to get it. At the 7 o’clock position just below Jupiter was Callisto. This was more clearly evident in the 15x70’s when I managed to hold them still for a few seconds at a time. Io was too close into the glare of Jupiter to make out in either pair of binoculars. Between Jupiter and Mars, Zubenelgenubi. The separation between Alpha 1 and Alpha 2 Librae was clearly evident in both 10x50 and 15x70. Just to the upper left of Zubenelgenubi was an arrow-head-like semi-circle consisting of 6 stars, only 5 of which were evident in the Vixens, though there was a hint of the 6th with averted vision. The 6th, which the Celestrons plainly showed is 8th magnitude HD131009 — 1,700 ly away (that sort of thing always blows me away). So, there are times when the extra 5x of the 15x70’s IS noticeable. Welcome to the Breakfast Show The main event of this session was catching a glimpse of almost simultaneously-rising Antares and Mercury. It was 4 degrees C when I began viewing but as dawn approached the temperature dropped another degree. It may or not be my imagination but the skies to the east and south seemed to sharpen. Just after 5:30am, my favorite star, Antares, peeked up over the hills to the southeast, sparkling red and blue. Soon after, slightly eastward came Mercury, at first, similarly sparkling with alternating colors before turning into a clear, whitish orb. What was particularly satisfying about this Mercury-rise, besides the fact that it’s been about 9 or 10 months since I last saw it, was the fact that the sky was still dark and I recently read that, “because Mercury is always close to the sun, it is usually only seen in the lighter skies of dawn or dusk and only rarely is it seen in darkness.” Cool - - a rarity! Around Antares, even as the sky continued to lighten, some of the main Scorpio stars were holding their own. Tau Scorpii to the south, sigma Scorpii to the northeast and i Scorpii to the northwest. Of course, higher up, Acrab, Dschubba and Pi Scorpii. To the left / east of Mercury, Sabik was easily seen in both pairs of binoculars. Then, I noticed that further eastward from Sabik, 4th magnitude Nu Serpentis had pushed beyond the roof of the house next door and was noticeable in both binoculars despite the creamy color of the sky. Antares and Mercury were still naked eye sights but beginning to fade. I continued to scan this section of the sky for a time until I noted that Nu Serpentis had disappeared while using the Vixen 10x50s. Shifting back to the Celestron 15x70s it was still there. It was nearly 6:30AM and quite light now. The crows that come to town from the nearby mountains every morning were cawing their approach. I directed the 10x50s at them and tracked a flock of five heading my way — and then, white planet Mercury appeared behind the 5 black birds in the otherwise silent surroundings. Pretty mystical ambiance but I had to get inside as my toes were aching from the cold. As you are aware, shoes are not worn indoors in Jap an but sandal-like slippers are used on balconies for such tasks as hanging laundry. So I was only wearing sandals for 2 hours in the cold. My arms and back were aching from holding the binoculars for the same time period (tripod you fool!) but it was worth it, IMHO.
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