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With the extra time I have at the moment, and the weather being so good, I’ve been catching up on a few jobs I’ve been meaning to do. One of these is the re-spotting and recollimation of the mirror on my newt. I found I didn’t have any ring binder re-enforcers but made something similar by hole punching a self-adhesive label and carefully cutting out.
With the collimation done and the sun setting I was keen to see whether my time had been well spent. I think it was November when I last had a proper evening of astro, my efforts earlier this week got hazed out, so I was looking forward to this!
First up was Venus in the early twilight. Using my binoviewers and a couple of filters in combination (a ND0.9 and the baader neodinium) I got some encouragement with some good sharp views. I could almost swear I could see a little detail but I’m sure that was just wishful thinking. I also tried a UHC and O111 filters as I had some, but they didn’t show anything better. In fact, the O111 had the peculiar effect that after a few minutes observing a bright green target, when I came to look up at Venus by eye, it appeared a bright and angry orange colour, like Arcturus on steroids.
After Venus I chose M45 and then the open clusters in Auriga and this was where my earlier work really showed its value. So many pin sharp little stars, far more than I recall when I last viewed these targets. I always feel surprised at how good these targets are though with M37 and 38 the best of them, being a bit more compact.
I also had my new TS80mm frac out to see what I could catch and to compare views of the same targets. All were pleasing, albeit smaller in scale. I was also glad to be able to spot M65 and 66 in Leo. Obviously not as good as in the bigger newt which will show the triplet of galaxies in the same field. Still, I’m happy to know I can pick those up in my local skies with this little scope. It bodes well for darker sky trips in future.
I followed up with some globs and ended with M13 in Hercules. Always a favourite, but by now a thin film of ice was settling on the scopes and my chair so it was time to call it a night.
I’ve been really cheerful today as a result of getting some scope time in, which just shows the value of a good hobby in times like these.
Thanks for reading.
Taking full advantage of a series of clear nights, I couldn't resist some wide-field shots of the sky. Seeing was reasonably good, if not perfect, a few nights after full moon. The temperature was a little cool but pleasant. Here are the fruits of my labor:
Orion, 1 second exposure, f/5.6, ISO 1600:
Auriga, 2 second exposure, f/5.6, ISO 1600:
Canis Major, 2 second exposure, f/5.6, ISO 1600:
Leo, 5 second exposure, f/5.6, ISO 1600:
The Great Bear, 5 second exposure, f/5.6, ISO 800:
TODO apparent objects
Capture: 24 lights x 60s x 2500iso, 8 darks, Olympus E-PM1 with Pentacon 135mm/2.8 (short variant) @4 on Omegon EQ-300 tracking RA, neodymium filter
Processing: Regim 3.3, Fotoxx 12.01, Gimp 2.8
Place: Deep country 26km from Limoges, France