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Disappointing observing session.


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Just called it a night after 3 hours or so.

The moon was just washing everything out and there seemed to quite a bit of water vapour around (the outside of the scope tube was beginning to ice up before I brought it back in) making the local light pollution worse than normal. I could only make out 3 stars in Ursa Minor (not good at all) so after looking at a few open clusters I decided to concentrate on Mars and Saturn. I don't have a high power eyepiece so I couldn't do a star test but collimation was as good as I could get it with the cheshire and the laser. Despite this I just couldn't make out the Cassini Division at all with the 10mm Skywatcher plossl or with the Skywatcher 2x barlow attached. I thought I got a hint of it but it could have been my imagination. Mars was just a slightly gibbous pink disc showing no detail at all. I rechecked collimation half a dozen times but couldn't get it any better.

I can't help thinking collimation might be slightly off though because I'm finding it difficult to get sharp star images (even in the Pentax) but it looks bang on with the cheshire and laser and the optics have had plenty of time to stabilise to ambient temperature. Could it be the focusser is not quite perpendicular to the tube? - I wouldn't have thought this would be a problem if collimation checks out though.

Is the seeing that bad tonight or should I be worried about the optics? There was no dew on the secondary while it was outside either.

I finished off with a look at the Moon which was extremely bright and detailed in the Pentax 30mm XW which spoiled what little night vision I had but as I was calling it a night that didn't matter (I definately need a moon filter) - I was pleasantly surprised with the detail on the Moon I could see with the Skywatcher 10mm and barlow too but as for Saturn and Mars - very disappointing :D

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