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Big frac shoot out !


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We were soon dewed then iced up. Patbloke's 120 Equinox was again a joy to use . I caved in and kept the 120 aperture mask on the C6r. The first thing we noticed was the increase in contrast to clusters , such as the double cluster. In no order.

Gemini . Gave a beautiful split to Wasat and a very challenging Propus. We enjoyed M35 and companion before hitting the Esquimaux nebula. Getting this up at about x200 gave the hood and the central white dwarf , this just blinked in and out of view. 

Aries. Lovely view of Mesartim (gamma) the "ram's eyes" , first split by Joseph Hooker in 1664. Which led us onto

NGC 1664 in Auriga. Down to the flickering theta (Bogardus) and not the stable easy split that we had last time. The Messier clusters followed. We still had 8 hours to go !

Andromeda . A superb view of our closest binary , Groombridge 34. We picked up the faint +8.1 primary and little dot of the +11.4 companion. This has a very fast 2.9" per annum proper motion. Both kappa and Σ162 gave triples.

Cygnus. Look at Rukh ! That's a sight !

Pegasus.Σ3021 gave a lovely triple with a split to the faint companion.

Lyra. The wide Aladfar and surrounds to eta Lyrae giving SHJ289, HLM19 and SEI584.

Monoceros. NGC 2301, no night would be complete with "Hagrid's Dragon " across the field of view. 

Orion. Catching the binary at the end of the "3" in the "37" cluster ,NGC2301. Trapezium stars would not settle, so we had a look at 

Hind's Crimson star, deep crimson delight in Lepus. The challenging Keid (triple) in Eridanus. We followed that with the cheerful greenly colour disc of Uranus.

Comet 38P/ Stephan -Oterma, gave a difficult ghostly speck in Gemini. We returned a couple of times.

Seeing varied a lot as did general sky brightness being very good zenith way. Pat had a coffee and mince pie . I had two cans of Stella and two big whiskies ! Didn't feel the cold . It did get a bit nippy, notebooks and books were sliding over each other's ice .

Cancer. Tegmine , my favourite, a staggeringly beautiful bright triple. Went straight over to Beta Monocerotis to compare. OTU !

No.1 son came out in his socks . Pat showed him a selection of chocolate box views. Gradually cranking up the raucous AVX to full steam ahead. Our guest had cold feet about the views. "It's all stars". M27 was fluff and M57 a ring. Stargazing is not in the genes or socks .

Later the moonglow followed by itself climbed up. I got a Lunar V. You want a great view , try the 120 Equinox with a 5mm Vixen LZW ! Certainly cracked open some very tight binaries.

 

Lessons. The sky dominates what you observe without a struggle. The 120 Equinox controlled the brightest stars with ease, it behaved reasonably well against the yard cannon. Not all eyepieces are equal. We had stunning views with a 13mm Nagler, 8.8mm 5000 Meade UWA , 5mm LVW and the Meade HD really wowed with crispiness. 

Missed out loads , a long night , but so very memorable for the company , banter and those clear skies ! Nick.

Thawing out the notebook !IMG_6443.thumb.JPG.47c1e289719c87e0b996e5890daf9958.JPG

 

Edited by cotterless45
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I thought the title to the post was going to be 'Astronomy on Ice?' An idea for a new rival show to the The Sky at Night! a professional (amatuer) astronomer and a minor celebrity view the wonders of the universe whilst skating on a sheet of fake ice? (not that I'm calling myself a minor celebrity or indeed you an Amatuer Nick!)

It was a great idea to have the two setups running side by side comparing the views (I got lucky in the ice free protected location) The views from the Cannon can be quite delightful and easy on the eye when splitting those tight doubles. Of course the Equinox is a dream to operate and view through but there's a price to pay, these things aren't cheap and from what I now see - seldom available!

I think my AVX needs a reset, it was slewing way beyond the targets towards the end of the evening and taking some time to hone back in to where it should have pointed in the first place... Other than that I was quite happy I did get some objective dewing up despite having the dew band on! Next time I might have to leave it on full power? is there any risk in using a mini hair dryer on the objective.. and can you buy one with the old car cigar connector already fitted for the power pack?

Before the Equinox I used to consider Orion a little bland as I've seen the nebula that many times... I am now amazed at the contrast shown using a variety of EP's... Dare I say IT'S something I could spend ages observing now! Beautiful!

I have to say when sharing an observing session there can't be anything much more enjoyable than challenging splits... That little fist pump moment when the second observer confirms the split as the time on a clock face... I've got faint at 11 o'clock... Boom :-))

Love it..........

 

 

IMG_20181102_035809.jpg

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https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Car-Vehicle-Mini-Hair-Dryer-Travel-Hairdryer-Blow-Blower-Foldable-216W-DC-12V-UK-/173570443830

Just wish I had a observing buddy but could not get out last night as had persistent showers looked out at 2.30am had intermittent clouds so gave up.

Cracking list there ive noted down a few although I have seen most of them only Tegmine I have not split and i do like "Hagrids Dragon". 

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1 hour ago, Patbloke said:

is there any risk in using a mini hair dryer on the objective.. and can you buy one with the old car cigar connector already fitted for the power pack?

I use a 210W 12Vdc hairdryer (£12 something from ebay last year) with my reflector. The secondary mirror and the finderscope usually need to be cleared of condensation after a few hours. I haven't had cause to use it yet on my new refractor. It only ever blows lukewarm air at best. I can't see how it would dry anyone's hair. It hasn't been a problem with my reflector and I can't imagine that it would be a problem with the refractor either. It really is quite weak but still good enough to clear the dew.

One important point to note is that you need to check that the cigarette lighter socket is rated to cope with the current drawn by the hairdryer. My one draws 210/12 = 17.5A. The socket on my battery pack is only rated for 10A so I took the cigarette lighter connection off the hairdryer and having marked the + and - wires I connect it direct to the clamps connected to the main battery terminals.

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4 minutes ago, David Levi said:

One important point to note is that you need to check that the cigarette lighter socket is rated to cope with the current drawn by the hairdryer. My one draws 210/12 = 17.5A. The socket on my battery pack is only rated for 10A 

Nice one... I'll check that out ASAP Thanks

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