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Last night


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Yesterday evening I set my 8" newt up about 8 to let it cool down. It had been quite awhile since I had clear skies on a night off from work. Just before 10 my first target for the night was high enough to get a good view. I set on my first reference star , Markab, and moved the scope to Neptune. Seeing was really good and allowed the use of high magnification. Neptune was a gorgeous little blue disc. I even got a few rare moments to be able to use my 2.5mm EP. View was sharp, but dim at the same time. One conundrum is in the scope to the left of Neptune was a star of about the same magnitude and just below it was a stellaring speck. Later when I checked Stellarium there was nothing in those positions unless the view was rotated 90°. The stellaring speck then would be Triton. I thought maybe it was just the way I was looking in the EP, but the Stellarium star field I used to confirm Neptune's position was correctly oriented. I know it was Neptune due to starfield match and being a blue disc with magnification while star was pin point.

After this I had to wait for a bit for my next planned target, Uranus.  So I spent a bit just scanning with the binos. Didn't look at anything specific, just scanning around enjoying the stars. Once Uranus was higher in the sky, I set on my next reference star. Then I swung the scope to Uranus. Seeing wasn't as good as earlier, but still pretty good. I viewed it at 333x. It was a nice turquoise colored ball floating in blackness. I observed it for about a half hour. Talk about easy sketching this session so far! Small circles and dots! Hahahaha. 

My next target was the Pleiades. They were showing very bright and as gorgeous as ever. None of the reflection nebula was seen unlike the last time I observed them. 

From the Pleiades I swung to Juno, but no dice. Upon looking at the horizon I noticed thick clouds rolling in from the southeast (unusual here. Likely from the hurricane on the coast in the southeast). They weren't covering Juno yet, but but reflected enough of the distant LP to ruin the view. This prevented me from seeing the rest of my planned objects, Juno, 21P, M36, M37, and, M38. Oh well, I thought, I'll just enjoy something in the west till the clouds from the SE come over. But upon looking West I saw clouds coming in from there too. Upon looking around it appeared like I was in the eye of a storm. With clouds coming in, I just packed up for the night. I might not of viewed everything I would of liked, but I can't complain. It was a great night!


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Just had a look through my observing notes and came accross this:


Meade Lightbridge 16" f4.5 FL1829mm
24.07.09 - Back garden
No moon
Seeing mag 4.2

Next was my sole purpose for observing tonight and I waited until 00.30 to see Neptune. I had a quick look at Jupiter and it's four moons but used Jupiter as a starting point for my star hopping adventure via Mu Capricorn to Neptune. 
In fact it turned out pretty easy and Neptune was easily found. At only 2.5' in size and shining at Mag 7.8 it looks like a star in my 21mm Hyperion. But I increased the magnification to x228 by inserting my 8mm hyperion and the star like object turned into a disc with a slight hint of blue/green. Tried the 6mm ortho and at x304 it was just to much and the view was a bit hazy. The best view came at x146 with my 12.5 ortho the disk at this mag was unresolved but with this eyepiece I could just make out a couple of little pinpricks of light. One was very close to the disc, I estimate 3' away but I cannot be sure if this was actually a individual pinprick are a part of the disc, it was very hard to tell. The other pinprick was in the three o'clock position and at least 20' away from Neptune. It was fading in and out with seeing but I observed it for at least 15 minutes. At the time I had no idea how far Triton, one of Neptunes moons was away from it's parent. The next day I downloaded the Trition Tracker from SkyandTelescope website and it does show Triton at about the same place as I saw a pinprick of light so I'm at least a little more happy with my observation and a little more confident I saw Triton. It gives Triton's magnitude as 13.5 which is possible in my scope.

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1 hour ago, Doc said:

In fact it turned out pretty easy and Neptune was easily found. At only 2.5' in size and shining at Mag 7.8 it looks like a star in my 21mm Hyperion. But I increased the magnification to x228 by inserting my 8mm hyperion and the star like object turned into a disc with a slight hint of blue/green

Nice session, Neptune is still missing on my list. But is now on my to do list.

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2 hours ago, Stu said:

Nice job Rob. Would be great to revisit Neptune again and verify Triton. What sort of power were you using? I’ve never seen it, must give it a decent go.

Thanks Stu. At this point I'm not convinced it was Triton. It was the right distance from Neptune, which was close to the disc according to Stellarium. It's the whole 90° thing. Now Stellarium has been acting funny lately. I may need to erase it and reinstall. I observed it mostly at 250x to 333x. With the 2.5 mm it maxed my scope at 400x. With averted vision it was sharp, but dim. Couldn't use for long. 

Definitely give it a shot yall. Not much to see ,but worth the effort.

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