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JohnSadlerAstro

A Chill (y) Evening In Space

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Posted (edited)

Hi,

Last night was quite sub-optimal in terms of imaging weather, lots of moon and not very good transparency, so I decided to have a relaxing visual evening. My 130P-DS and NEQ6 pairing is hardly a typical visual setup, but I wouldn't swap them for anything! :D I plugged my ears into some Stellardrone and sat back to enjoy the sky. First up was the moon. At f/5, and with the 28 mm 2" eyepiece it felt rather like looking for flies on a searchlight, but once my eyes had adapted i was amazed. The small-scale "rippling" seeing was non-existent. The sharpness of the image was incredible, I was staring down on Copernicus, seeing for the first time the crater-lets on its half-illuminated floor. On the side nearest the terminator, dazzling terraces showed with almost cartoon-like clarity, and 3 or 4 central peaks with their tops picked out by the sun. Truly a breathtaking sight. I got a quick through-the-eyepiece snap with my phone, its nothing like the actual view though.

IMG_20190513_232748.thumb.jpg.0fda2c61cf27137b8e261a33d9af08ac.jpg

The low-magnification view began to get a little painful after a while, so i switched to my 6 mm wide-field eyepiece and moon filter. The pointy shadows on Copernicus' floor were shorter now, so I moved on south. Drifting down the terminator while looking for Fra Mauro, i was surprised by Straight Wall, which looked like a paper-cut in the moons surface. 

I also had a look for the Hadley Rille, both it and Hadley were visible against the mountains. --Note: Theres a chance this wasnt hadley rille at all, but some other shadows from the low illumination angle.--

Once the moon began to get a bit low over the houses, i decided it was time for some deep-sky targets. First up was the Virgo Cluster, which was far too close to the moon--I could only see M49 as a pale blob against the glowing sky. Next I moved onto M81/82, they were visible, but not particularly clear. I could distinguish them, though as M81 appeared as a broader patch of light compared to the cigar's narrow shape. Next up was M106, my first time looking at this target. I was interested by its shape, it seemed irregular in one direction, but there was very little to see due to the moon and sky conditions. Finally M51, which looked quite clear, the double shape was apparently (just), and the main galaxy was slightly extended. Unfortunately some haze moved across the view after a while and it disappeared. :( 

By this point Cygnus and Vega were beginning to rise, with the milky way. So many stars! I sat for ages just looking up at them...forgetting. Ive never felt nearer to the stars, despite the fact that this was a pretty mediocre night. 

The Dumbell Nebula was just high enough, so I took a quick look. Hourglass shape was clear, but not much else, there was high cloud around again by this time, obscuring the lower targets.

Then I got cold and went in. :D All round a very successful evening, I think. The seeing was incredible, very surprising with transparency as good as it was. 

John

Edited by JohnSadlerAstro
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Nice one John. It's often the case that you get either seeing or transparency not both. Poor transparency is associated with still skies and so you tend to get better seeing. Not a hard and fast rule but normally true.

You grabbed a good few targets despite the moon, galaxies wouldn't have been easy! I find that M82 is more rewarding the M81 given its edge on shape and bottling structure. 

One thing though, fairly sure you wouldn't have seen Hadley Rille at low power, I've found it needs x150 or so in the past, with good seeing.

Nice report though 👍😀

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Posted (edited)
On 18/05/2019 at 23:06, Stu said:

Nice one John. It's often the case that you get either seeing or transparency not both. Poor transparency is associated with still skies and so you tend to get better seeing. Not a hard and fast rule but normally true.

You grabbed a good few targets despite the moon, galaxies wouldn't have been easy! I find that M82 is more rewarding the M81 given its edge on shape and bottling structure. 

One thing though, fairly sure you wouldn't have seen Hadley Rille at low power, I've found it needs x150 or so in the past, with good seeing.

Nice report though 👍😀

Hi Stu,

Thanks! The galaxies werent easy at all, i would agree than M82 is the better of the pair, visually. 

Oops, my error! The optician says my eyes are ok but they would have to be very sharp to see Hadley Rille at 25x :D I think i put Hadley in the wrong section -- if i remember right I tried to spot it with the 28mm eyepiece, but realised it was far too low mag, so switched to the 6mm in order to spot it. (Which gives just over 108x). The crater was quite easy to spot, but the rille was only a hint of a shadow near to the mountains. There is a chance my eyes were making it up, or got confused with shadows from the mountains. ;) 

A15Site_3.jpg.d770f0fbcd72849dd860995630e60a59.jpg

I'm pretty sure it is possible to spot with me setup though, this was with the same scope and my asi120 on a night with poor seeing and a bad lighting angle.

Thanks for pointing out that mistake. :) 

John

Edited by JohnSadlerAstro
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2 hours ago, JohnSadlerAstro said:

Hi Stu,

Thanks! The galaxies werent easy at all, i would agree than M82 is the better of the pair, visually. 

Oops, my error! The optician says my eyes are ok but they would have to be very sharp to see Hadley Rille at 25x :D I think i put Hadley in the wrong section -- if i remember right I tried to spot it with the 28mm eyepiece, but realised it was far too low mag, so switched to the 6mm in order to spot it. (Which gives just over 108x). The crater was quite easy to spot, but the rille was only a hint of a shadow near to the mountains. There is a chance my eyes were making it up, or got confused with shadows from the mountains. ;) 

A15Site_3.jpg.d770f0fbcd72849dd860995630e60a59.jpg

I'm pretty sure it is possible to spot with me setup though, this was with the same scope and my asi120 on a night with poor seeing and a bad lighting angle.

Thanks for pointing out that mistake. :) 

John

Thanks John. Not trying to be picky, just dont want people thinking they can see it at low power!

I've seen it in my 4" on a good night so with good seeing I should think a 130 could do it, providing well cooled and collimated.

Nice shot btw 👍👍

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