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Just had the MOST amazing observing session of my life!!!
I am staying / living in the Blue Ridge Mountains at the moment and am blessed with very dark skies.
About an hour after sunset, appx 9.50pm, I saw comet NeoWise motoring - could literally see it moving as I watched - up in to the NW twilight and then watched (10x50 bins & Cassie) it disappear over the top of the mountain.............. completely, totally, surreal. I saw comet Hale Bopp in 1997 in London and whilst that was spectacular, what I saw tonight was just absolutely surreal. Most comets 'just' appear to hang in the sky, whereas I could actually see Neowise moving. From coming into view to disappearing over the NW horizon must have taken only 20 minutes or so. There were a lot of helicopters up over the mountain watching it.
Then, at about 10pm heading north was what I believe was the ISS. I've yet to check for sure but it was nearly as bright as Venus and moving slower than a satellite.
Then I saw numerous DSOs, globualr clusters and nebulas.
Then turning to the SE I saw Jupiter and Saturn, Unlike the other evening when the image was very blurred (atmospheric turbulence?) tonight's images were clear and beautiful. Could clearly see Jupier's cloud belts and the 4 biggest moons. (108x 9mm + 1.5 Barlow)
Saturn was the best I've ever seen him. Crystral clear ring definition and I am sure I saw one of his moon at about 5 O'clock to his position - maybe Titan?
I'm not an experienced astronomer (telescope wise) but I have followed this subject all my life. I don't know much but I do know that not many people will ever get to see what I did tonight all in the course of 2 hours.
I am very blessed and thrilled beyond belief!!!! Everything tonight viewed through my trusty 5'" Newtonian, Cassie 😍
By Cosmic Geoff
Here are images of Jupiter and Saturn taken around 00.30hrs BST on 11 Jul 2020. They turned out relatively well, unlike a set I took a few days ago. I suspect 'seeing' is a major factor.
Kit: CPC800, ASI224MC, ADC, captured with Sharpcap, processed in Registax6, best 20% of 5000 frames. The monochrome Saturn image was taken in infrared.
I did not have a sightline for Mars, or for Comet Neowise.😦
By Armaan Sandhu
I have been trying to see Jupiter for a while now, but all I am seeing is a whitish blob with a tinge of yellow and blue at the ends.
I have tried several filters, but to no avail.
I am using an Astromaster 130eq, Celestron with magnifications ranging from 20mm to a 6mm plus a 2X Barlow lens.
many suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
By Victor Boesen
Perhaps the title is lying a tiny bit... After sleeping for one hour I woke up not able to fall asleep again after numerous attempts. I took the obligatory gaze outside at the bright summer sky with some faint noctilucent clouds towards the north. Jupiter and Saturn looked beautiful in the south and that was when I felt a sudden itch to get out my small grab and go setup. I quickly grabbed my tripod, mount-head and telescope to head downstairs to the parking lot where I quickly set up the scope. Cool-down was almost not a problem because of the hot 20 degree air which was very comfortable observing temperatures.
Starting with Jupiter, after I had achieved focus on Altair, the two main cloud bands very obvious together with three of its moons hovering like pin-points around the perfect round sphere. I've previously been a little disappointed with the view of Jupiter with this small Skywatcher Evostar 72ED DS-Pro but I blamed it on my own patience and this morning I proved myself right. After studying the planet for a couple of minutes I noticed the Ganymede shadow transit located just above (almost on the edge of) the northern equatorial belt and letting the planet drift through the FOV at 90X magnification with the 4.7mm explore scientific eyepiece the shadow together with the bands popped at me at times of great seeing. The moments where you're almost "falling into" a better and better planetary image is truly amazing and the small 72mm scope did a very good job also resolving the shadow transit as a "globe" rather than a dot. Only rarely could I tell the slight variations in the two main cloud bands of Jupiter but this was very difficult with only 72mm.
Saturn proved to be equally fascinating just like every other time I point the telescope towards the ringed planet. Immediately slight banding was visible on the planet and the rings were very defined with the Cassini-division visible in moments of good seeing but really standing out in brief moments of very good seeing. The small evostar 72 has no problem on Saturn whereas more patience is required with Jupiter because of its low contrast features. Saturn never disappoints.
Moving on to Mars I noticed how it had increased slightly in size since I observed it last time about a month ago. The southern polar cap was still very obvious but for some reason I recalled it being even more noticeable last time I observed Mars but I could be wrong. Right above the polar cap was a dark spot which extended to the planet's equator but not covering the entirety of the disk's width. I didn't notice any features on the northern half of the disk. The evostar does a surprisingly good job on Mars, which often causes problems for other doublet refractors with trouble correcting the red part of the visible spectrum. The evostar doesn't have much unfocused red light around the planet and the view isn't "mushy" like it would be in cases of a badly corrected refractor.
I love my grab and go setup but I also feel like I need a higher magnification eyepiece since my current weapon of choice is my 4.7mm explore scientific 82 degree eyepiece which delivers about 90X magnification. I've almost always felt I could easily push magnifications to the plus side of 100X and the Nagler zoom 3-6mm is ranked very high on my wish list:) August this year marks the first year of owning the Skywatcher Evostar 72ED DS-Pro and I haven't had a moment where I didn't love it. The size of it is perfect and the supplied flight case for the scope is airline portable together with some room for accessories. The optics are very good even for decent planetary observing like it was the case this morning, and I feel like I haven't utilized the scope's abilities entirely just because I think it could take even higher magnifications. I have also used it for astrophotography on my star adventurer which yields very good results with the OVL field flattener and my old Nikon D3300.
This post ended up being quite long but I hope it was worth the read anyways. If you're considering the Evostar-72 I once again highly recommend it if you couldn't already tell from this post;)
Clear skies, Victor
By Cosmic Geoff
Following my effort of 22 June, being unable to lift anything heavy, I set up my lighter weight telescope in a different position from the previous night to get some images of Mars. This was the first serious use of my EQ-5 with Synscan upgrade. I set up the gear and left it tracking the assumed GoTo position of Jupiter for a couple of hours. At 2am, Jupiter was not within the 25mm eyepiece field. Not so impressive.
I repeated the imaging of Jupiter and Saturn, and also took images with the ZWO infrared filter. While slewing back to Jupiter, now apparently past the meridian, the mount did a meridian flip and ended up pointing at a street lamp. I was not impressed. ☹️
Eventually Mars emerged from behind an adjacent building, and I took images in IR, visual, and visual with a x2 Barlow lens.
Equipment: 127mm Maksutov 1500mm fl, ASI224MC camera, ADC, x2 Skywatcher Barlow, best 20% of 5000 frames (visual), processed in Registax6. EQ-5 Pro Synscan mount.
Key: Monochrome images were taken in infrared. Larger Mars image with Barlow. Mars was jigging about in the poor seeing by nearly its diameter (11"). Note: the hottest moon (Io, to left of planet) seems slightly brighter in the IR images. I think the 127mm Mak punches through poor seeing better than larger apertures.