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Last night session

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Morning folks,

Last night was another lovely clear night, so myslef and Gary (Gary1968) and Paul (G1zmo) decided to head back to Harperrig reservior. It seemed a lot brighter up there last night than last week not sure why? Also Gary could not find M57 but could last time, don’t know why either?

Anyway for me it was a mixed night….

On one hand the observing was really great, I found quite a few things I had not seen before and with the dark skies I find it makes star hopping that much easier than in the back garden.


M57 Found very easily! I have never looked for this before as various reports seem to suggest to me that it was a very small target. I could not find the central star or see any colour (Unlike Kenny’s scope last week).

Perseus Double Cluster Another very easy target (actually all were tonight) never seen before. What a wonderful sight especially in the 2” ep, came back to this a couple of times

Pleiades Looked amazing in the 2” EP Hundreds of stars, started at this for a few minutes one of my favourite objects

M31 In the 2” EP again! This was the EP of choice for me tonight! Anyway could see the shape of M31, it covered the whole length of the EP. Could also see the 2 small galaxies around it. This is the first time I have seen them as well. It was a naked eye object last night and you could really see the structure through the EP

Owl Cluster Could not believe how much this looked like an owl, complete with eyes and wings!!! Quite a sight

Mizar Split this double very easily, but to me it was nothing special

Double Double Nobody could split these, I tried upping the mag all the way to a 5mm EP and still could not do it.

Mars You could see the colour in it as it steadily rose but no detail, tried barlowing the 15mm but although the disk was a decent size I could still see nothing, this will have to wait……

I think that was about all I found in my ‘scope. Did see a few other things with Paul/Gary’s scopes. Anyway on to the letdown last night.

I had been hopping to get a decent polar align and try and do some basic imaging with the modded webcam. I got a good polar align in about 5 mins or so and though that was the hard part over! It was a while later that I tried to align the ZS66 with the Newt and I thought I had done it. Popped in the webcam and NOWT! Played about, thought I had it sussed again with an EP in the ZS, so popped back in the Webcam….NOWT!! Eventually focused on the TV transmitters and found them with the cam. At this point though my power pack died!!! This imaging malarkey is not easy! Will try again next time………..

Overall though another great night, observing is so much better when you have good company and others that can point out things. I found a few objects I had not seen before and I got Paul/Gary to check what they though of my collimation when I defocused on a star. Pleased to say they both thought it was fine. For some reason (Maybe the scope was not properly cooled?) it took a couple of hours before I could get a really sharp focus on bright stars, I have noticed this before and this was the reason for getting them to check the collimination. Anyway this did sort itself out and I could see diffraction spikes round some bright stars (Also the first time I have seen this). I am thinking of dumping the electric focuser and it does not seem to give fine enough control, what I need is somebody in Edinburgh who can fit a Crawford to my newt!

Still quite jealous of Paul and his dob, he made finding objects with the Telrad very easy and it just looks so much more relaxing that having the EQ mount. If it were not for me wanting to pursue imaging then I would be selling my kit for a nice Dob!

But about 1am it started to get very cold (reading around 2.5c on my car temp gauge) so the fingers were starting to go numb! And we decided to call it a night. The dew did not bother me last night but at the end the RDF had dewed over a little.

So to summarise…..

Great company

Great views

Still no Bl..y images!

Oh and no green fireballs tonight either!

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Great report Craig. It really was clear - and cold last night. It got down to about 2.5 degrees about midnight just north of Drymen, where I was. Martin (Dogfish) and I were also there on Wednesday and I believe he met you and others at Harperrig reservoir last week. It certainly has been reasonable for observing over the last 10 days.

I agree that a good Dob does seem to make life very easy - my first sight of M31 + M32 & M110 allin the one 2" EP, through a 10" Dob on Wednesday night really blew my mind.


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Sounds like a great night Craig brilliant report- I admire your patience and perseverance with the imaging, i would end up smashing the whole rig up just like the angry man in chewing the fat!!!

I was very tempted to get a 2 inch lens during the week, £40 on fleabay, copies of moonfish from china I believe- but house move forced a rethink. Would love to have a go with yours next time we meet up, you hear the word spacewalk mentioned and would love to see the difference.

Got a great report on your session with Martin, Tom. I have the 8 inch skywatcher dob and would love to see what difference an extra 2 inch makes, Gizmo aka Paul should be acquiring a 12 inch rev dob so aperture fever has hit Scotland!

Have a great day tommorrow with your solar observation, sorry cannot make it as I am off on a bike ride, but may meet up with you at Glasgow soc lecture.



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Great report Craig.

Don't worry mate the imaging thing will come together at some point.

Good to hear that Gary and Paul were with you.

That 12" dob will knock yer socks off..... 8)

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Yeah, I cannot wait to see the views through the 12" Dob

Just as well Steve (FLO) is at Kelling - it means I can't buy a 12" Dob off him


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good report.

Glad you had great session.

I am surprised you couldn't split the double double. What mag were you using. The lowest I have used to split it is x150 although it can take at least x200 on some nights.



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