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Walking on the Moon

Trapezium with the 70mm ED.

alan potts

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Sky had been clear all day with the mountains to the south clear which is always a good sign that there is not to much muck and rubbish in the atmosphere to get in the way of a good observation session. I rolled the roof back good and early to find that the wind last week had managed to move it backwards maybe 4cms which knowing its weight of around 200KGs  was a bit of a shock, I will have to fit something to lock it in place as i didn't really feel the wind was that bad. As I prepared at the same time listerning to a collection of owls making half hearted hoot noises, almost like they were in practice for a school concert, I thought I would swing to Jupiter and have a look as it was by no means dark.

Not in the best position and only about 23 degrees above the horizon the disc was prone to the odd wobble but belts were clear and fairly detailed with clearly a good amount of activity in the two equatorial belts, both looking somewhat thicker than I recall from last sight. The Great Red Spot was also on display just off centre on its way to the other side, it seemed redder than normal which was something I saw written the other day mentioned by another member and this I agree with. There were also two moons about to go either in front or behind the planet disc, so a fair amount going on. Using the 70mm which is piggyback mounted on the main scope I was really rather pleased with just how much I could see using the 3-6mm Nagler zoom set at around the X120 mark, even the GRS was there, just, though no real red colour that I could detect like was evident in the 12 inch scope.

A few weeks ago I contacted Nick (Cotterless) as he is in my books SGL Mr Doubles, this was over Betelgeuse, the front of Cambridge Double Stars shows this as a double but beyond that I can find no other information on this star either in the atlas or in my other atlases. Nick confirmed from his many books books that it was indeed a double, though a wide one. I observed the star which is always a lovely colour and may already have blown itself to pieces, I was using the 41mm Panoptic giving X74 and .9 of a degree of field. I viewed 7 or 8 stars all fairly faint, maybe 11-12magnitude, though with the Moon not far away this could be way out. Now I am not sure which one was the double but I am going to stick my neck out and say one of them was, I would go from the closest at about 3 o'clock. As much as I do enjoy double stars it is the close pairs that makes the pulse race a little, so I slewed around to take a look at Castor, the rabbits eyes caught in the car head lights as I like to see it.

Of late Piero has been trying very hard to see the E and F stars of the Trapezium with his very nice 60mm TeleVue refractor, a scope I would really like myself as I am sick of overpriced poor quality same size finders, one day maybe. I went and got the 3.5mm Delos and 4mm Radian which would deliver X120 and X105 respectively in this 70mm ED top scope, this is sailing close to the theoretical maximum of around X140 which I could hit but not pass with the Nagler zoom which also had a fair amount of scope time. Using the zoom first I set it at 4mm which gives a shade over X100. I could see a good amount of nebulous cloud which was surprising with the Moon high up above, but I was also taken aback by just how faint the four stars appeared at this higher power compared to the same view in the main instrument at a similar power, by comparison they looked like Rigel does in the smaller scope, no doubt the Moon was no help here as it was a slice or two over first quarter.

The image in the 70mm was stable and very clean with no air turbulence which was not the case with the 12 inch, this could still be a little bit of tube air currents as the sun had been on the observatory roof all day, but E and F were there to be seen in the larger scope. I spent about 45 minutes on the the target and thought I could see E star a few times, with the Moon above this could have washed out enough sky to make it very close to what the scope could actually see, both E anf F at 10th magnitude and the limit of the scope no better than 11.5 I would think. I am not going to claim I saw 'E' as I am not sure but I did not see the F star apart from with the LX. I really feel this is doable but when the Moon is well away and we get a true dark background to the observation. The closest I would say to the Man from Demonti saying yes was with the TV 3.5mm Delos  at a power of X120. I will revisit this next week when we have a darker sky but for now it's a better luck next time target, a bit like the Horses Head.


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Amazing writing Alan! :)

In contrast with you I had the impression to see F some times, but never saw E. I guess it's more likely I haven't seen either of them! I think yesterday evening the sky had sufficiently good conditions but darkness.

I think one of the pros for the tv60 is its agility at spotting things. Not sure, but the suggestion of it as a telescope super finder by sellers seems more a selling point rather than a real use, to me. Very expensive also! Just an opinion of course. 

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