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30th April, looking promising...


Stu
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Without wishing to tempt fate, the forecast and Sat24 look promising for tonight. If it looks good this pm I shall break out the big mak and have a crack at Saturn :-)

Stu

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Well the mak is out cooling. Some cloud around but hopefully should get some clear spells. A number of mods I've made to kit have worked well, making things easier to setup and more likely not to get disconnected during observing.

Stu

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Wow. Had forgotten just how insane the mak is. 4m focal length means that Mizar and Alcor fill half the fov of a 31t5, with a huge split in Mizar. NGC457 fills the fov completely!

The Sphinx mount has never been particularly accurate, but I've switched away from cigarette lighter sockets to something more secure and the accuracy is bang on with only very basic PA. Objects coming dead centre in what is only a 0.6 degree fov.

Waiting for Saturn to get a bit higher then will head out. Hopefully 18mm BGO at x222 should be good if the seeing can take it.

Stu

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Unfortunately, at the moment the seeing is pretty rubbish down low. I have yo observe over houses so its not that great. At the moment, Saturn is in the gap between the houses but still not great. Can see a number of moons around it but not that much detail on the planet. Shame.

Will go glob hunting for a while

Stu

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Back in now, not a bad night in the end. I stuck to using the 24mm Panoptic all evening, giving x167 which seemed right on lots of targets.

Saturn settled down and once over the next gap in the houses gave me some half decent views. Nice surface banding, and Cassini division nice and clear when the seeing was good. Four moons visible, which I believe were Titan, Dione, Tethys and Rhea.

Star of the night had to be M13. I love looking at it in this scope, a big ball of tiny stars! Plenty of detail available. Other globs viewed were M92, M3, M53 and M5.

M57 was low down, but still looked nice, large and with a clear ring shape, but the centre brighter than the sky background. The double double split at x167 but didn't look like it would at much less. I prefer the view in my refractors of this.

M51 and companion was surprisingly bright given the LP round here.

I'm wondering whether a longer focal length ortho or Plossl may be worthwhile for planetary use. Possibly the 25mm Hutech when that is released. The 18mm BGO was too high tonight so could have done with a lower power planetary ep.

All good, great to have the mak out again after a long time. Each time I use it I remember what a great scope it is! Having the Goto working so well tonight made finding targets very simple, it has often been tricky in the past due to the very small fov.

Stu

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Here in NY, I was able to see Saturn & Jupiter. Saturn is always alluring with its rings, but Jupiter and what looked like 4 moons was really awesome. My telescope (Astromaster 114EQ) gave me clear, but somewhat small view of both. All in all it's been a good night. The

sightings were between 9 - 10PM. Cheers.

Ron

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Nice one Ron. Jupiter is well past it's best here, too low to get a decent view really but Saturn is looking good, isn't it. Glad you got some nice views.

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