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kerrylewis

Another planetary morning

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Got up around 4.00 with the intention first of finding NGC 2146 and it’s supernova with the Dob but failed. The skies were slightly milky and it was not showing up.

So, up to my rooftop perch and the Ioptron/Tak combination for the planets. Jupiter was showing bright and looked really good with lots of detail in the belts. I went back to it over a couple of hours and watched the Great Red Spot come around from the limb to the centre of the disc. Seeing deteriorated a bit but the spot was clear in moments of good seeing. It looked dark red but smaller than it has been and surrounded by more of the white ‘bay’ in which it sits I thought. 

Gradually Mars and Saturn emerged from some cloud along the horizon and I had a quick tea break to allow them to rise a bit. They looked good to the naked eye with their distinct colours - orange/red for Mars and amber for Saturn. Through the scope Mars showed lots of colour fringing due to its low altitude so I tried the ADC (atmospheric dispersion corrector) again. There is no doubt that with a bit of manipulation the disc is ‘cleaned up’ but seeing was still not good and I can’t say that I made out any detail. I thought I saw the polar cap a couple of times but this can be very deceptive - you think you can see a bright spot but it’s probably tricks of the light.

Nearby Saturn was better and in good seeing moments looked wonderful. It’s thrilling when things ‘click’ and for a brief period it has that 3D look of a globe set in its rings. But these moments were extremely fleeting and demonstrate how important it is to stay at the eyepiece with the planets even if things don’t look good at first.

In switching from one planet to the other (a doddle with the Ioptron) it was clear how it really is true that Jupiter often does not benefit from too much magnification. I was upping the mag for Mars to try to tease out detail but then switching to `Jupiter just resulted in a hazy view until I reduced the mag and then everything was sharp again. Here the Nagler 3-6mm zoom was really proving its worth. I found that I could stick with just this one eyepiece which covered all the options during the session-  definitely one of my best  buys 😀

As I was in the neighbourhood I couldn’t resist a try for my old nemesis M4. Just visible and better with averted vision.

A great couple of hours with my favourite objects and with Mercury and Venus the evening before I had seen 5 planets in one night. 

I feel more confident now of getting some reasonable results as Saturn and Mars progress, with my rooftop location just lifting me enough to improve the view and the ADC probably helping too - and it’s getting warmer 😀

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Well done Kerry, a good haul, I've risen in the early hours a few times recently but only seen clouds.

Dave

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Great report, Kerry. I've not heard of the ADC before. How much improvement do you think you get from it? 

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1 hour ago, Littleguy80 said:

Great report, Kerry. I've not heard of the ADC before. How much improvement do you think you get from it? 

Hello Neil. I’ve had the ADC for some time. I was sceptical at first as I couldn’t really see much difference, if any. However, I’ve tried it a couple of times recently on low bright planets and it does seem to get rid of some of the false colour  and clean up the disc. I need to study the instructions again as at the moment I’m just randomly fiddling with the two levers. Other SGL members claim that they have seen improvements in detail on Jupiter for example but I’ve not yet seen this. Depends on its  altitude I suppose. 

I intend to give it a proper trial in the coming weeks as the planets stay low. They are £107 at FLO so not expensive in relation  to Astro gear prices and if it offers some improvement on planets it will be worth it.

Kerry 

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1 hour ago, kerrylewis said:

Hello Neil. I’ve had the ADC for some time. I was sceptical at first as I couldn’t really see much difference, if any. However, I’ve tried it a couple of times recently on low bright planets and it does seem to get rid of some of the false colour  and clean up the disc. I need to study the instructions again as at the moment I’m just randomly fiddling with the two levers. Other SGL members claim that they have seen improvements in detail on Jupiter for example but I’ve not yet seen this. Depends on its  altitude I suppose. 

I intend to give it a proper trial in the coming weeks as the planets stay low. They are £107 at FLO so not expensive in relation  to Astro gear prices and if it offers some improvement on planets it will be worth it.

Kerry 

Thanks Kerry. Sounds interesting. With the planets so low for the next few years it’s well worth looking at anything that can improve the views!

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Lovely report Kerry, and a great read, thank you - especially with all the rain and muck we hare having here in Lincolnshire at the moment!

I'm really looking forward to checking out Jupiter, Saturn and Mars before too long: I only bought my FS128 in April last year just after moving over here, and apart from a few fleeting looks at Jupiter, in not great seeing, I've yet to really see any of them properly with the Tak.

Your observations have really whetted my appetite 👍☺

Dave

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Posted (edited)

Hay fever is killing me these days, I was waking up repeatedly for inhalers and I just noticed at 5 am that the sky has cleared and that the Moon and Jupiter are shining just above the roof across me.

Took about 10 mins to set up Tak on a somewhat shaky photo tripod and AYO head.

At 13mm and 57x the GRS jumped out, it was just transiting and it appears much darker than it did last year, for what I can recollect.

4.7mm, 157x, Jupiter at 21deg alt was surprisingly sharp and detailed. NEB is much much darker than SEB, I there was additional detail in the NEB. At moment of steady seeing (and it was pretty good to start with, otherwise observing at 20 degrees would have been impossible), I thought I have detected NTB as well, while NNTB and NPR were one big dark mass on top. At least two festoons appeared to have been hanging from the NEB.

South was much more subtle, GRS appeared as defined as I have ever seen it, I could have swore that I detected hollow, I did not expect it in such small aperture.

Hope for some steady skies over the weekend, will try to catch it when it transits.

Wanted to try ZWO ADC (as it performed really well in C8), but could not be bothered with taking the extension out as I have to barlow it to get my focal length over 10. Anyway, despite the low altitude I feel that the effect will be much more pronounced in the bigger aperture, I detected very little color this morning. Still, something to tinker with and you guys up there have some very low planets this year, so any improvement is a big one.

Kerry, the adjustment is fairly simple, just keep the white bar horizontal and adjust those two levers symmetrically, small increment first, and small is enough I feel.

How much did you use on Jupiter in DL?

Edited by BGazing
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Hello BGazing. Yes I reread the instructions and got the ADC working correctly. I tried the Tak in 'straight through' mode - ie without a diagonal, so that I could line up the DAC with teh horizon. But this does result in some awkward viewing positions - especially on my restricted roof area, so I'll perhaps go back to the diagonal. I found that about one third of of the max travel of the levers was best but I really need to test it more thoroughly with small movements, as you suggest 

Kerry 

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Does it matter where the ADC is fitted? Does it have to be put immediately before the eyepiece?

Has anyone used one with Binoviewers?

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1 minute ago, Stu said:

Does it matter where the ADC is fitted? Does it have to be put immediately before the eyepiece?

Has anyone used one with Binoviewers?

Hello Stu. According to the FLO website, yes it should be immediately before the eyepiece ie on the eyepiece side of a  diagonal if one is used. Not tried with binoviewers - yet!  

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1 hour ago, Stu said:

Does it matter where the ADC is fitted? Does it have to be put immediately before the eyepiece?

Has anyone used one with Binoviewers?

First barlow, then ADC, then EP.

Barlow has to come before ADC, that's a must, and I guess it also has to push the scope above f/10.

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6 minutes ago, BGazing said:

First barlow, then ADC, then EP.

Barlow has to come before ADC, that's a must, and I guess it also has to push the scope above f/10.

Thank you. So is it essential to be above f10 or just desireable?

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I understand that it is essential, in order to get the light cone nice and not steep.

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Posted (edited)

The comments here have persuaded me to have a go with this:

 

E83EFA70-8724-47F9-B2A7-39D0D44C0B02.jpeg

Pierro Astro ADC Mark 3

Edited by GavStar
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15 minutes ago, GavStar said:

The comments here have persuaded me to have a go with this:

 

E83EFA70-8724-47F9-B2A7-39D0D44C0B02.jpeg

Pierro Astro ADC Mark 3

Do report on how you like it...

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18 minutes ago, BGazing said:

Do report on how you like it...

Well I’ve found suitable adapters to make it slot into the Barlow so hopefully I will get a chance to try it tomorrow. 

6ED72E55-2027-4B46-A3D9-9AE6837CC1D8.jpeg

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Back up to my eyrie this morning for the planetary trio. Seeing not great - I think we have the jetstream back according to the tv weather. 

Some detail in Jupiter, struggled for a sharp view of Saturn and, although Mars is getting larger, still no detail.

I tried the ADC which gave some improvements but I was still limited by the seeing. I find the ADC awkward to position properly using a diagonal and with an indistinct horizon. I think the answer my be to align it with the horizon in daylight first. Next time......

 

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I had a try on Mars with my 180 Mak this am as it was (unusually) clear. The seeing restricted the mag to x125 or so, not high enough to see much detail, but even so, a dark feature was seen across the disk below the equator (Terra Cimmeria?), and the S Polar cap clearly visible. Saturn was better because of the height above the horizon, but it was just above a neighbour's house which disrupted the seeing. Cassini was just about visible at x190.

Roll on better seeing!

Chris

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I was also out this morning Chris and agree with your observations. 

I got up a little earlier around 3.00 to catch the transit of Io and its  shadow which were due to be close together as Jupiter is near opposition. The shadow was a bit difficult at first because of the seeing and it was against the background of the northern belt. It then occasionally ‘clicked’ into view with improved seeing. The moon itself was not visible as expected but I did hope to catch it at the planet’s limb. However Jupiter collided with a tree at that point. Oh how I longed for the times when the planet was high in the sky and moons and shadows sharply defined!

So, over to Saturn. Cassini just on the verge of visibility and some good moments when this lovely planet looked sharp and 3D but they were rare.

On Mars, which is getting noticeably bigger and brighter, I also got the south polar cap but strangely this is not confirmed by Sky Safari - perhaps it’s larger than expected? Howevr. Like you I did get the hint of a southern dark feature. 

A good morning but things can only get better! 😀

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, kerrylewis said:

I was also out this morning Chris and agree with your observations. 

I got up a little earlier around 3.00 to catch the transit of Io and its  shadow which were due to be close together as Jupiter is near opposition. The shadow was a bit difficult at first because of the seeing and it was against the background of the northern belt. It then occasionally ‘clicked’ into view with improved seeing. The moon itself was not visible as expected but I did hope to catch it at the planet’s limb. However Jupiter collided with a tree at that point. Oh how I longed for the times when the planet was high in the sky and moons and shadows sharply defined!

So, over to Saturn. Cassini just on the verge of visibility and some good moments when this lovely planet looked sharp and 3D but they were rare.

On Mars, which is getting noticeably bigger and brighter, I also got the south polar cap but strangely this is not confirmed by Sky Safari - perhaps it’s larger than expected? Howevr. Like you I did get the hint of a southern dark feature. 

A good morning but things can only get better! 😀

Yes, things can only get better!

South Polar Cap is not shown on SkySafari, but it is evident in Avani's image taken a few days ago. SS is only a simulation, after all.

I showed Saturn to a passing dog-walker (3:45 am?) who was seriously impressed; it did have that rare quasi-3D effect, with silvery rings and pale peach coloured globe.

Chris

Edited by chiltonstar
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6 minutes ago, chiltonstar said:

Yes, things can only get better!

South Polar Cap is not shown on SkySafari, but it is evident in Avani's image taken a few days ago. SS is only a simulation, after all.

I showed Saturn to a passing dog-walker (3:45 am?) who was seriously impressed; it did have that rare quasi-3D effect, with silvery rings and pale peach coloured globe.

Chris

You’re right about SKy Safari Chris. I hadn’t seen Avani’s image and it nicely confirms what was visible. I’m looking forward to the opposition but it’s clear that we’re going to have to grab every opportunity so as not to miss any good seeing.

Yes,  Saturn is always a gobsmacker whatever the conditions. 😀

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