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Andrew*

So much New! SO much to learn! 14/9/07

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Well it was a new experience last night.

Skies clear as a bell for the 2.5 hours I was out last night. Atmosphere seemed very stable and transparency was excellent. From my semi-polluted skies the milkyway was obvious - not common!

I lugged the CG5 and the 4" apo to my observing spot and started with M31. Not much to say here. It was there, but my eyes didn't discern that much detail as I hadn't got properly dark adapted. Outdoor lights everywhere I looked didn't help!

M13 just HAD to be ticked off the list once and for all! I still hadn't even seen my first glob, and this was the reason I came out in the first place. For some reason it took me forever to learn the shape of Hercules. This is me trying to communicate with the planisphere and the sky:

map: go Sadr to Vega and find those 3 stars and a smaller one in a square shape.

sky: sadr, vega, 5 stars in a pentagon?

map: no, 3 stars in a triangle and then 2 stars.

sky: so, those 5 and then 2 more?

[repeat above about 5 times!]

map: well, yes, but find the 3 stars in a square

sky: hmm... sort of...

map: okay, see the lowest one, and the next one up on the far end from Sadr and Vega?

sky: what, like that?

map: yeah, M13's between them

sky: oh, right, now I get it. now to the EP.

That blob's M13? Okay, 8-24mm goes in. Centred in the 8mm, it was still pretty small. Averted vision gave some shape. Popped in the 6mm (150x) and lost it. A quick pan around revealed still a small fuzzy patch, which clearly showed an arm with averted vision, and some stars kept popping out. It was quite impressive, but I did expect a little more resolution of stars. Maybe I would have achieved a better sight in the 8" newt.

I then spent flippin ages trying to star hop to M27. No luck. The mount was too low and I was stooping to see in the finder. The effort to keep my body still when half bending down made me pant and cloud up the finder!! Still can't figure out how I missed this ;)

I went inside, spoiled my night vision, and brought out my observing chair and new 2" Revelation 26mm EP. This was already midnight, and on the dot, the lights went off :wink:. Suddenly it got cold. I got over it and took in the ring of M57. This is often said to be very small. Well, it was VERY small and it was lucky I decided to centre that "faint, but big star" in teh finder. I shoved in the 6mm at 150x and could make out the ring, but not much else.

Wanted the double double but yet again forgot where it was (didn't know at this point it was also called epsilon lyrae). Instead I settled for Albireo and made out the orange primary and the fainter bluey secondary at 150x - very pleasing double.

I looked round to North where the light pollution is awful. Pleiades were high, but for the LP it wasn't worth trying. Plus it was getting cold and late. But Mars was there, bright and very red. Now was the time for my first telescopic view of mars. Went right up to 225x with an SR 4mm and made out a teeny weeny orange disc with no detail visible.

The night ended with Mars. I would have loved to continue to try for M57, M81/2, M45, (later) M42, M31 again, Uranus etc. but it was cold and late and I'd wasted enough time star-hopping.

Although tonight wasn't the most satisfying session I've had, I learnt a lot. It's always good to learn a few more constellations (Lyra, Aquila, Hercules) to build up your night sky knowledge. I was also getting to know lots of new stuff: hyperion zoom, Revelation 26mm EP, Moonfish diagonal and 2" 2x barlow. I must say they all performed wonderfully in the f/9 scope. The barlow seemed prone to increase kidney-beaning. This must be due to quite a small lens, not filling the 2" barrel. Otherwise the optics seemed excellent.

Getting to know the scope is a much longer process. I will have to learn what to view with 4 clear contrasty inches, and what to view with 8 less contrasty inches.

Sorry for rambling for ages. It's good to document a long learning process.

Andrew

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Great report Andrew.

When you learn so much in an observing session it means a heck of a lot more to you.

Well it does to me anyways....

Nice one mate..

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Hi Andrew,

That is a great report, second Jamie's comments, you learn so much when you do it all by your lonesome and star-hopping is a great way to get to know the stars and constellations.

Really good to hear your thoughts and reports on objects with your scope, sounds like a nice few hours.

Your 2inch lens sounds like a beauty very ;)

Cheers

Gary

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thanks guys.

A satisfactory session helps you sleep afterwards.

But a learning session helps you get a satisfactory session next time you're out!

Gary - 2" lens? What are you referring to?

Andrew

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Nice one Andrew,

Learning nights are as valuable as "getting loads of targets covered" nights, probably more so.

A wee bit of pre-session preparation would be my advice and choosing targets, printing appropriate charts (and laminating them against the Scottish damp if they are good) is a good plan.

Even print out sketches from http://www.skyrover.net/ds/library.php to give you an idea of what a target should look like when you find it.

I'd highly recommend a telrad finder and the freely available charts for finding DSOs. I was racing Garys GOTO last night with my Dob/Telrad combination (and winning hehe)

Keep it up!

Paul

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I've got a 2" revelation 26mm eypiece, a 2" moonfish diagonal, a 2" meade 32mm, and a 2" barlow and I like them all ;)

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We cant have you missing the double double. If you can find Vega (which I'm sure you can!), it's right next door.

See this link

Cheers

Vega

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You'll know you've got the double double when you see that the two doubles are at 90 degrees to each other. It's a favorite of mine. Ask any Canadian what a double-double is.

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