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domstar

Comically bad session 14/11/17

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domstar    442

I set off well wrapped up wondering if this would be my last session without a building to warm up in until late March. I had planned well and was ready on a clear and crisp evening. 

Firstly, I wanted to see if I could see M30 in Capricorn for the first time. It's pretty low and it would be my last chance before next Autumn. Unfortunately the sky was too bright down there so it was a no go. Then to the Trapezium galaxy- M33. I was pretty confident and tried first with binoculars (unsuccessfully) and then with the scope (unsuccessfully). Some clouds started moving about so I moved to Aries to Kullat Nunu in Pisces looking for M74. This time I was sure I had the exact place but no galaxy. Then down to look for Uranus (all these targets were/are new to me). Anyway, I wasn't sure if I had kicked off from the right star and Uranus, if I did see it, was definitely disguised as a star.

As some more clouds covered that area I went to Cygnus to look for M29 the Cooling Tower but it was impossible at this point to tell what was a cluster and what was the Milky Way. Then to M57 the ring nebula-the best I'd ever seen it- for about thirty seconds until it was covered by clouds. Then I had a snack and some warming tea as the clouds rolled over the whole sky. They showed no sign of clearing so I packed up and walked home and when I reached the door, I looked up and saw stars again.

Anyway, now I'm home and warm and happy. I actually had a pretty enjoyable evening. There's something magical about sitting outside with a flask of tea.

Thanks for reading.

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Tubby Bear    109

I went out on Monday morning with the intention of capturing the  Venus / Jupiter conjunction ;

just a simple prime focus image with the DSLR. As they were less than a third of a degree apart, they would sit nicely in my refractor.

I went out early at 06:45, but had forgotten the clocks had gone back a couple of weeks ago : it was no longer dark and morning twilight was rapidly advancing.

So i quickly set the mount up, and went into my shed to get my refractor.

Uh-oh...its not there. Doh, i realised i'd left it in my garage overnight after making a few adjustments. In my 20 deg heated garage....!!

 

The view of the 2 planets looked like 2 'Wifi' signals you get on your phone standing side by side !!

Thermal equilibrium....no chance.

I put the scope away and settled for a 135mm lens instead.

But i saw the conjuncion anyway, it was a beautiful, clear morning, and Venus and Jupiter looked a treat.

26606461879_a1e6e2104c_h.jpg

Edited by Tubby Bear
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Littleguy80    882

Nice report! We all have those sessions where every target seems to be doing it’s best to avoid being seen! I’m glad you got some good views of M57 and enjoyed your evening. 

When I’ve looked at M33, I’ve found it can take my eye a minute or two to adjust and pick it out. After 5 minutes it can seem strange that I couldn’t see it to start with. It definitely pays to have a comfy chair so you can time to see the fainter targets. 

Looking forward to more reports :) 

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Badweather    63
55 minutes ago, domstar said:

Anyway, now I'm home and warm and happy. I actually had a pretty enjoyable evening. There's something magical about sitting outside with a flask of tea.

Thanks for reading.

Hi Domstar,

I really enjoyed reading your report.

It does seem a comedy some nights, chasing a clear spot in the sky, casting about for a recognizable patch of sky and looking for those glimpses of things like M57. I have on occasion had some amazing views on those evenings when the holes were perfectly transparent and the seeing was above average.

I'm usually setting up in my backyard these days and that means LP but it means I can still do it too since I don't know how many more days we'll have that are nice enough to be out in it without, as you say, a building to get warm in now and then.

I spent many years as a community organizer knocking on doors from 3:30pm til 9pm through rain, sleet, and snow, and down to 10 degrees. So I have a constitution that's adapted to being outside a lot which I'm thankful for. But at 56, it's getting hard to move these hands below a certain temp so note taking suffers.

I see M33 and M74 infrequently here in Fort Collins. M110 is an occasionally visible object. But I saw M77 last night, as well as a few other surprises that I just keep hunting for (like the Helix Nebula for instance continues to elude me).

But the flask of tea, now that is something I haven't brought outside with me and I think it's a habit I need to adopt. Do you have a particularly favorite tea? Being a resident of the US I am probably asking a silly question I know, having a fondness for all things UK, I do have an inkling of that... but still, I think you're right. A thermos of Tea is essential on a cold night.

34 minutes ago, Littleguy80 said:

Nice report! We all have those sessions where every target seems to be doing it’s best to avoid being seen! I’m glad you got some good views of M57 and enjoyed your evening. 

When I’ve looked at M33, I’ve found it can take my eye a minute or two to adjust and pick it out. After 5 minutes it can seem strange that I couldn’t see it to start with. It definitely pays to have a comfy chair so you can time to see the fainter targets. 

Looking forward to more reports :) 

This is good to think about. Taking the time, having the patience at the eyepiece.|

My problem is that I'm not entirely confident of my 8SE actually getting it in the FOV. Although I've gotten very good at aligning it, and can verify it using any number of objects easily seen such as M27 or M57 or M31, but I still have a nagging suspicion I might not even be looking at the right patch of sky. I know this is largely just not true and that my alignment being so tight is reason to actually believe I am looking at the right patch of sky.

Which makes me try for about 1 minute. Which might not be enough.

I do use an eyepatch, the foam kind so it really blocks the light well and I dark adapt my eye viewing eye during cool down. After I've got the scope aligned I'll go back inside and have some supper usually while I'm waiting and look up a few new targets then as well.

So, I think my eye is certainly sensitive enough to pick it out. It's just really difficult to see in any amount of light pollution I believe.

Tonight is supposed to be perfectly transparent. I have a chance of seeing M33 if that prediction is true.

 

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David Levi    215

Good for you @domstar. I'm not a fan of cloud dodging so I probably wouldn't even have gone out. M33 the Triangulum Galaxy is large but diffuse and I've only seen it well under dark skies i.e. no light pollution or moon.

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Stub Mandrel    5,612
1 hour ago, Tubby Bear said:

26606461879_a1e6e2104c_h.jpg

Great photo, I recognised that as Derby straight away, just near the A52/A6 junction (now how did I guess that?)

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Stub Mandrel    5,612
48 minutes ago, Badweather said:

Do you have a particularly favorite tea?

May I step in?

Anything other than Lipton's Yellow Label, which is a practical joke inflicted on the rest of the world by the UK. :happy7:

Actually if you want a good solid cuppa, you can do worse than bog standard PG Tips, Yorkshire Tea  or Ty-Phoo - in a mug, stewed for several minutes and plenty of milk. Forget all the fancy teas, those are for china teacups to go with jam and cream scones.:coffee22:

And avoid Earl Grey, it tastes like bergasol sun lotion :sad2:

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Littleguy80    882
1 hour ago, Badweather said:

My problem is that I'm not entirely confident of my 8SE actually getting it in the FOV. Although I've gotten very good at aligning it, and can verify it using any number of objects easily seen such as M27 or M57 or M31, but I still have a nagging suspicion I might not even be looking at the right patch of sky. I know this is largely just not true and that my alignment being so tight is reason to actually believe I am looking at the right patch of sky.

I can very much relate to this. All kinds of doubts can creep in. Is the sky dark enough? Is my equipment capable? Am I looking in the right place? I now use SkySafari on my iPhone as a means of validating I’m in the right place. I have settings on my phone to only show red light and reduce the brightness to the very minimum I can get away with so as not to affect my dark adaptation. I don’t find this to be any worse than a red light torch and sky atlas. 

It also helps to have a few regular targets that you look at most times you go out. These will give you an indication of conditions on the night and hence whether you’re likely to see the fainter objects. 

I also use an eyepatch and wouldn’t be without it. On top of that I have an observing hood which really help cuts out any unwanted light at the eyepiece. There’s a good thread on it here

Keep at it and I’m sure I’ll soon be reading your report on seeing M33 :) 

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Badweather    63
3 hours ago, Stub Mandrel said:

May I step in?

Anything other than Lipton's Yellow Label, which is a practical joke inflicted on the rest of the world by the UK. :happy7:

Actually if you want a good solid cuppa, you can do worse than bog standard PG Tips, Yorkshire Tea  or Ty-Phoo - in a mug, stewed for several minutes and plenty of milk. Forget all the fancy teas, those are for china teacups to go with jam and cream scones.:coffee22:

And avoid Earl Grey, it tastes like bergasol sun lotion :sad2:

Greetings Stub,

Please do! I hope Domstar doesn't mind his thread being hijacked for a moment...

I have a friend that regularly bakes up a batch of blueberry scones! They are so good.

I'm usually a green tea drinker. But I like dark teas with my Chai which is a great choice to take out stargazing certainly. I'm afraid I have to agree, the Earl Grey isn't for the people that don't like bitter. But lots of milk of course can solve that problem, and I've used Earl Grey in Chai and it's not so bad there.

 

2 hours ago, Littleguy80 said:

I can very much relate to this. All kinds of doubts can creep in. Is the sky dark enough? Is my equipment capable? Am I looking in the right place? I now use SkySafari on my iPhone as a means of validating I’m in the right place. I have settings on my phone to only show red light and reduce the brightness to the very minimum I can get away with so as not to affect my dark adaptation. I don’t find this to be any worse than a red light torch and sky atlas. 

It also helps to have a few regular targets that you look at most times you go out. These will give you an indication of conditions on the night and hence whether you’re likely to see the fainter objects. 

I also use an eyepatch and wouldn’t be without it. On top of that I have an observing hood which really help cuts out any unwanted light at the eyepiece. There’s a good thread on it here

Keep at it and I’m sure I’ll soon be reading your report on seeing M33 :) 

hi Littleguy,

It is funny how much that little nagging doubt can effect your whole approach.

I'm using SkySafari the free version so far. I'm about to spring for the Pro version since it's on sale for 50% off.

I use Lux Lite for my android. I'm convinced that it doesn't have to be red, just really dim. I have successfully used it while keeping my dark adapted eye from losing it's dark adaptation. But it's quite a juggling act.

Recently I received my wifi portal and started trying to use it instead of the HC and I'm kind of hating it. I like to be able to reach around, feel the HC and without taking my eye away from the eye piece, feel the direction buttons and slew the scope. I even will adjust the slew rate without looking. Plus the android seems to drop the connection frequently and that's messing with the ease of use quite a bit and making me lean back towards the ancient HC which has needed an upgrade for the last 20 years. But, unless... well I suppose I could make little markers I can feel with electrical tape in the case of my android and then I could feel where up, down, and right and left were... perhaps that will help. But the dropping the connection all the time, that has to be ironed out.

My regular targets are M31, the Double Cluster, M32, and M110. M110 is rarely visible from my LP'd backyard but on exceptional nights you can see it using averted vision and motion.

my black t-shirt put on the wrong way, is not perfect but it does work! I keep my viewing eye in the dark all night as soon as I'm aligned, the patch goes on. I was chatting with another amateur astronomer about this problem of your breath steaming up your eyepieces and she said she uses a snorkel to divert her breath from that area. So to keep my breath out from under the hood, I'm considering adding a snorkel to that.

Try to imagine... an eyepatch wearing, hood wearing, snorkel using... is that a sith lord astro pirate? Nope, just an amateur astronomer trying desperately to receive his dose of ancient photons from perhaps billions of years ago.

Edited by Badweather
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Paz    657

It is disappointing  when plans don't play out ina session, bit it's good that you still make the most of the opportunities and appreciate what you can.

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domstar    442
14 hours ago, Badweather said:

Do you have a particularly favorite tea?

Errm I think I'd better come clean and admit I drink camomile at night. I do like tea and coffee but now I have to keep away from caffeine after 6 o'clock. My mind is always buzzing after a session anyway. It's not the tastiest drink, but it's hot and wet and without it, chilling out is just doing nothing.

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domstar    442
13 hours ago, David Levi said:

I'm not a fan of cloud dodging so I probably wouldn't even have gone out.

Actually, I was promised a mostly clear night. I'm hoping the forecast will be wrong in a different way tonight.

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Badweather    63
3 hours ago, domstar said:

Errm I think I'd better come clean and admit I drink camomile at night. I do like tea and coffee but now I have to keep away from caffeine after 6 o'clock. My mind is always buzzing after a session anyway. It's not the tastiest drink, but it's hot and wet and without it, chilling out is just doing nothing.

Ha, I love camomile tea. I normally must stay away from caffeine after noon or no sleep for me without a sleeping pill! 

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Astro Imp    2,735

I enjoyed reading your report @domstar we have to make the most of what the weather throws at us. I'm sitting here in Lincolnshire with a load of targets waiting to observe watching the rain drizzle down all day. Oh well such is life :sad:

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Stu    14,821
15 hours ago, Badweather said:

Recently I received my wifi portal and started trying to use it instead of the HC and I'm kind of hating it

Funny you should say this, I have a Skywatcher AZGTI and, having found that it will not easily work with SkySafari, I bought a SynScan handset for it. I do find it much easier being able to feel my way around the keypad without having to look.

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Stu    14,821
18 hours ago, Badweather said:

My problem is that I'm not entirely confident of my 8SE actually getting it in the FOV. Although I've gotten very good at aligning it, and can verify it using any number of objects easily seen such as M27 or M57 or M31, but I still have a nagging suspicion I might not even be looking at the right patch of sky. I know this is largely just not true and that my alignment being so tight is reason to actually believe I am looking at the right patch of sky.

I just checked back on my 'Devon Jollies' report where I was using an 8" SCT (Celestron Edge, but effectively the same scope as you), under reasonably dark skies (magnitude 20.45) and found this comment.

'Given the darkness of the skies, and the good transparency I tried for the Pinwheel Galaxy M33. This showed well as a large, soft glow in the Tak, brightening towards the centre. I noticed a little knot of light to one side which I'd not seen before. This was clearer in the Edge and I identified it as NGC604, a bright nebula.'

So, under a reasonable sky it was visible in both the 4 " and 8" scopes. Ultimately it's all about your sky quality.

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Badweather    63
2 hours ago, Stu said:

I just checked back on my 'Devon Jollies' report where I was using an 8" SCT (Celestron Edge, but effectively the same scope as you), under reasonably dark skies (magnitude 20.45) and found this comment.

'Given the darkness of the skies, and the good transparency I tried for the Pinwheel Galaxy M33. This showed well as a large, soft glow in the Tak, brightening towards the centre. I noticed a little knot of light to one side which I'd not seen before. This was clearer in the Edge and I identified it as NGC604, a bright nebula.'

So, under a reasonable sky it was visible in both the 4 " and 8" scopes. Ultimately it's all about your sky quality.

Hi Stu,

I agree.

It's why I keep things like M33 on the list. Along with the Helix nebula and various other objects which occasionally surprise me here in my backyard. I love taking notes because it really solidifies it in my mind as a memory and allows me to make my nightly comparisons quite effective at giving me a notion of how transparent it is.

M110 succumbs to LP and only above average transparency will allow me to see it here in FOCO (as we often refer to it) even at nearly a mile of elevation. Also, M33 is in the northeastern section of sky and since I'm on the far southside of the city, I have significantly more LP in that direction. I consider my skies bortle 6 looking towards the zenith and west by southwest, and northwest. While north and southeast are either looking towards Fort Collins, or Loveland, CO airport (southeast) is more like Bortle 7.

So I believe that I'll have to have perfect transparency in order to see M33 here in my backyard. I saw the Crab Nebula last night and mostly because I, originally thought it was a binocular only evening, but going out and actually repeating the previous night's binocular finds, M13 and M92 totally unassisted by my 8SE's computer, and decided that a November evening this nice cannot be passed up. So out came the 8SE, since it's such a breeze to set up. I concentrated on the western objects I love. M8 and on up to M11, M13, M92, then once I was done with all that, I started working my way over to Orion after a nice warming break. My first target was M1.

This is the highest declination I've viewed M1 at and it was certainly a factor in the definition I could see rather than the usual averted vision, motion only vague blur. Above average transparency to perfect transparency last night might have revealed M33 as well but I may have missed that perfect transparency window. M1 only reveals itself clearly like this on exceptional nights. It is quite a bit easier to see than M33 I believe.

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