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Headed out for the Cancer & Bootes "Full Moon Doubles Match" I'd originally planned for last Friday & that time ended up abandoning due to scrappy seeing , wind & the onset of rain.
All observations with SW Mak 127 on AZ GTi, Baader Zoom 8-24mm via Tak prism.
Transparency good but a little high mistiness & locally occasional ground mist from the river. Temp around 5 degrees, air quite still.
Aligned Arcturus & Capella.
Seeing excellent - steady Airy discs and diffraction cones above 30 degrees altitude.
Spent some time looking around for & sketching the Cass Nova area, not sure I saw it as M52 not really apparent in the moonlight. Identified a possible candidate in the starfield but needs another look & maybe when better dark adapted/less moon.
Castor (Sep: 3.9")- Clean-split white-blue pair with 18mm (83x). Southerly star the larger of the two. Lovely stable view- steady Airy discs with diffraction rings. Confirmed excellent seeing.
Iota Cancri (Sep: 30.6") - very pretty, wide-spaced, side by side pair. Split with 24mm from 63x. Orange primary, white/blue secondary. Super view at 16mm *94x). Stable Airy discs.
Tegmine, Zeta Cancri (Sep: 6" & 1.1") - Split to 2 stars with 24mm (63x). Peanut shape on B/C revealed at 120x and definitely resolving as 2 faint secondaries with 8mm @ 188x. Overlapping cones/rings but quite distinct central discs. B at 7 o'clock to A. C at 5 o'clock to B, (RACI). Seeing must be really good as splitting the secondary is right on the optical limits of the rig at 1.1".
(Chuffed with both the prism purchase - this was essentially why I upgraded - and the fact that I've clearly got lots of astronomy mileage in the Baader Zoom before that department needs upgrading! )
Spent a long time on Tegmine savouring the 83 year old view. Dragged myself away & turning north east the moon was casting long gothic shadows through a low mist, spilling across the field toward me at knee height from the river. Felt like the set of the Thriller video...
Aligned back on Arcturus for Bootes orientation - so bright. Golden yellow sun. Lovely.
Espilon Bootes, Izar (Sep: 2.9" ) - Split at 8mm, 188x. Once identified could see dialled back to 120x. Brighter yellow primary, smaller bluer second - looked "behind" the other. In each other's cones but distinct. Found it initially quite challenging.
Xi Bootes (Sep 7") - Split from 24mm, 63x. Off white primary, small orange secondary at 11 o'clock. Quite lovely.
Tawny Owl hooting now to go with the moonlit mist. River mist actually has cleared somewhat. Auriga to West hanging spectacularly. Can hear the town clocks striking midnight across the fields, so still. Gorgeous night.
Kappa Bootis (Sep:13.5") - white pair, larger primary, second at 10 o'clock. Also, a pretty trapezium due South, top R corner pair may be double itself. (Confirmed yes, is Iota Bootes (Sep 38.7), with a slightly wider field this would be a double-double).
Mu Bootis - Alkalurops (Sep: 108.9 & 2.2") - Wide spaced initial pair, both white. Dim second is at 7 o'clock, maybe double? Shielded moonlight from EP & yes quite sure of it - C faint and at 2 o'clock to B, resolves at 8mm (188x). Clean separation & once achieved almost easier to see with these fainter stars. Another fab one this!
39 Bootis (Sep: 2.7") quite close white pair at 5 o'clock.
Struve 1825 (Sep: 4.4) - faint white second at 7o'clock. Clean space between. Lies about 1 fov N of Arcturus (just over a degree).
Tired by now I blew out any slight night vision I had by looking at the crinkliest bit of moon I could find, up to max power (428x, 8MM Barlowed x2.25) - turned out to be Mare Crisium region. Views were astonishingly crisp up to c 340x. Apparently there was a TLP square thing I could have seen, certainly enjoyed the shadows from the mountains there and, childishly, the fact that there is one crater named after an Enterprise Captain & another called "Lick" (I know, Jean Picard was a seventeenth century French astronomer...)
A few final equipment notes:
Telrads dew up really fast. Astrozap shields really do work. Redlight filter for iPhone applied in Accessibility settings & toggled from main control key makes a big difference, no more app alerts popping up with blinding effect!
Hometime for a celebratory cup of tea (well it was a school night after all).
Recently I observed profiles of hydrogen Balmer lines in Sirius spectrum with spectral type A. I used LowSpec spectrograph with 1800 l/mm diffraction grating and APO APM 107/700 on HEQ5 mount.
H-delta & H-epsilon:
I had some problems with stacking, so I used the best single frames in analysis.
Hi my name is Jay, new to all and any forums, lol. Not sure where to start so here I go. I have a few questions about Sirius the double star while observing through my Nexstar 4se telescope using a 2x Barlow and my neximage burst color. While I was able to capture quite stunning results of the star Sirius, this morning before sunrise, I was curious though as to if I might have incorrectly focused my scope on the star or if this image is a clear image of the star? I will attach a brief 7-8 second video I took this morning. It was the first time I had gotten to focus my scope on the star as it kept drifting before but I solved the drifting issue as a result of improper anti-backlash. But now back to the video, was wondering if any of you could help determine if I properly focused on the star because from what I see the star appears to be in the shape of an out-of-control atom in the video and at the center it is black, is this the observing of a quasar? Thanks for all the help in advance if anyone stops by thanks for the time and efforts here's the video.
Report for the evening of 16/08/2018
With a clear night forecast I decided to try and get in a long session. The plan was to start with the crescent moon, work through the planets, throw in a few faint fuzzies and if the weather and I held out, finish with M31 sometime in the early morning.
So, having set out both scopes earlier to settle I began with the moon. I really like these early phases of the moon as you can make a start before it’s even dark, and as it gets darker the more you begin to see on the surface. On view last night were some great features. The crater pair of Hercules and Atlas, the Mare Nectaris and the overwhelmed crater Frascatorius. I’d got my sketching stuff out hoping to have a go and was trying to decide which to have a go at when a stubborn low band of cloud rolled in and covered that part of the sky, so no sketch tonight.
? Well, over to the other scope, the 8inch newt, and lets just do a star test to check collimation. As it was still only getting dark I picked a brightish star at random with a low power eyepiece, defocussed and then swapped in a more powerful one. After a short time fiddling I was pretty happy with this but no matter what I did one side of the out of focus star image looked distorted. Was the mirror pinched or something wrong with the eyepiece? In the end I settled for what I’d got and focussed down to a lovely sharp pair of points! Doh, I’d picked the double star Rasalghethi! A lesson learned there. Still I really enjoyed the view of the main orange star and its bluish smaller companion so think an evening of doubles is on the cards sometime!
Early views of Saturn were plagued by the same cloud bank that had covered the moon, but eventually it cleared and Saturn and a few of its moons were well worth a look. Also, worth some time were the lovely Messiers in the same patch of sky. M8 the Lagoon, then a whole patch of M’s including lovely open and globular clusters each worth time, but I had to push on.
Mars was just clearing the trees so I sat down to see what I could see in terms of detail with the binoviewers. I tend not to look at what it is supposed to look like beforehand as I think the mind has a way of seeing what it wants. So, with Baader Neodymium and UHC filters to swap in I decided to sketch what I could. The UHC helped to darken those dark features but it also seemed to exaggerate the atmospheric distortion. After about an hour I went to compare my sketch with the view shown on https://astronomynow.com/mars/ Pleasingly my view was broadly the same, though lacked the detail.
I didn’t see any straggling Perseids last night but did catch a couple of bright meteors, probably Northern Aquarids.
By now around 2am, the sky was as dark as it was going to get, about 20.7 sqm, which isn’t the best its been here, but still good enough to see plenty of milky way stretching overhead.
A quick view of M13 always makes me smile…so many stars but I moved on via another globular in Sagitta, M71. Much smaller than M13 but still sizable enough to start picking out stars with 8 inches, albeit with averted vision.
On to M27 to spend a little time seeing what I could tease out. Clear without any filter the UHC definitely added to the definition, and the dumbbell shape was obvious against the broad white slightly elliptical smudge. Again, averted vision helped to give the hint of some structure to these edges.
So, onto the Veil. It’s easy enough to find where it should be by hopping along from Sadr to just past the next bright star Gienah but honestly, I’ve struggled in the past and been underwhelmed. Well tonight with no moon and good transparent skies it was great. The eastern part C33 was just there, faint but obvious enough against the background stars. Pop in the UHC an it goes up a level. Swap that for the O111 filter and it was even clearer. Big too. Curving gently away out of the field of view, I followed it until it petered out then moved back and forth from end to end trying to find more detail. I moved over to the Western part C34 and again, there it was, particularly around the star 52cyg but other parts were visible as well, though not as clear as the Eastern section. I was really tempted to try a sketch but tiring so will leave that until another day.
Last I tried for Andromeda to round out my nights plan, but by now it was around 3am and high thin clouds were moving in and the sky noticeably brightening, so it was time to pack up. I’d had a really good session, despite a few early clouds and a Homer Simpson Doh moment with collimation. Should tide me over until the next clear spell.
Thanks for struggling through this and hope you all had a great starry night too.