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Barry-W-Fenner

Astronomy Memories...

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Hi all.

When I started this hobby I began by viewing the Moon, This was back in September last year. In my excitement I had been viewing the moon around 8pm over consecutive nights and it was still bright a bright blue summer sky.  After the first few nights I noticed a "star" had been gradually appearing to the left side but I had been to engrossed with the Moon to have noticed it. At this point I though it was time to leave the comfort of the Moon and get out there, So I nudged the scope around 3" to the left 🙂🙂and lined up the "star" what could possibly be shining so brightly against a clear blue sky I thought to myself. I lined up my target in the finder then dived down the eyepiece. To my shock I was looking at what I assumed to be Jupiter, I viewed the planet for a while and confirmed it was in fact Jupiter, I then  stood back from the eye piece and had to reconcile what I had just seen. I was genuinely shocked all the times I had read about Jupiter or seen it on the TV and I have now seen it with my own eyes. (or eye 🙂Over the past week or so it had been looking straight back at me all along.

I spent more time at the eye piece viewing Jupiter only to be shocked again, It had now got dark enough for 4 points of light to also be visible. Jupiter's 4 largest Moons have now come to the party.  I was absolutely blown away and couldn't  believe what I was seeing. I dragged the wife out for a look in my excitement and she was also amazed at seeing Jupiter. We have now seen a number of planets and deep sky objects together which have all been amazing but the first viewing of big Jupiter and the genuine shock is my most precious astronomy memory and will take some beating! 

Below is an image I took that day which I keep on my phone and PC at all times. A warning to all imaging folk on here, Please dont get to jealous of my imaging skills 🙂

So my question to the community, What has been your personal favorite astronomy memory and is there any particular reason it stands out to you?  All story's welcome be it visual or imaging or even maybe the joy of showing someone something they didn't know was possible to see. I imagine there is some very interesting story's to be shared!

 

Thanks for reading all.

Baz

 

 

 

DSC_0192.JPG

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Thanks Baz for sharing the experience.

It is difficult to name a single event. There have been many events that created happy memories for one reason or another. Usually those where the experience has been shared.
But I guess an early one was when I picked up a cheap 2nd hand 4.5" reflector while waiting for my 'proper' scope to be delivered.

I pointed at the sky, towards a bright 'star' and aligned the finder to the scope.
At low magnification my alignment star didn't seem to focus properly. It was slightly oval and wouldn't focus to pin point.
Oh no! 😢 I had heard about cheap mirrors with astigmatism that you can't correct.
Then I tried with a higher magnification eyepiece.

Suddenly Saturn complete with open rings was presented to me. Floating in a dark sky.😁😁

David.

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First glimpse of Saturn was a Biggie as was seeing details on Jupiter.

But, what really took my breath away was unexpectedly witnessing a shadow transit on Jupiter.  The comprehension that I was actually seeing a shadow of a moon of Jupiter passing across the face of the planet absolutely shocked me.  

I think it was the fact that I could clearly see it happening with my own telescope from my own back garden despite the huge distances involved that blew my mind.

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1 hour ago, Carbon Brush said:

Thanks Baz for sharing the experience.

It is difficult to name a single event. There have been many events that created happy memories for one reason or another. Usually those where the experience has been shared.
But I guess an early one was when I picked up a cheap 2nd hand 4.5" reflector while waiting for my 'proper' scope to be delivered.

I pointed at the sky, towards a bright 'star' and aligned the finder to the scope.
At low magnification my alignment star didn't seem to focus properly. It was slightly oval and wouldn't focus to pin point.
Oh no! 😢 I had heard about cheap mirrors with astigmatism that you can't correct.
Then I tried with a higher magnification eyepiece.

Suddenly Saturn complete with open rings was presented to me. Floating in a dark sky.😁😁

David.

Excellent, Nice to hear that particular experience turned out well. It just goes to show the joy even a cheaper scope can bring. Saturn was also a highlight for me, There is nothing like seeing those rings for the 1st time. 🙂

 

 

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1 hour ago, AdeKing said:

First glimpse of Saturn was a Biggie as was seeing details on Jupiter.

But, what really took my breath away was unexpectedly witnessing a shadow transit on Jupiter.  The comprehension that I was actually seeing a shadow of a moon of Jupiter passing across the face of the planet absolutely shocked me.  

I think it was the fact that I could clearly see it happening with my own telescope from my own back garden despite the huge distances involved that blew my mind.

Hi AdeKing

That sounds like the feeling I had when I found Jupiter, As you have rightly said its that comprehension that you are seeing something until then you could only imagine. I am yet to see a shadow transit over Jupiter and have heard a few members mention that it is an amazing site. I will add this to my "things to see list" 🙂

I assume you can actually find out the times the moons are due to pass Jupiter and leave the shadow transit. Is one to plan for!

 

 

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1 hour ago, Barry-W-Fenner said:

I assume you can actually find out the times the moons are due to pass Jupiter and leave the shadow transit. Is one to plan for!

There are listings on a website somewhere and astronomy mags normally list them when Jupiter is on show.

SkySafari does allow you to forward time so you can work out timings, but my goto app on Android is Jovemoons Pro and on iPhone the Sky&Telescope Jupiter's Moons app. They are paid apps but only a couple of quid.

Definitely worth planning for. Occasionally there are double transits when two shadows are on the disc at the same time, and it is also sometimes possible to track the actual moon across the disc.

Recording the relative positions of the 4 main moons is a favourite summer pastime of mine.

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1 hour ago, AdeKing said:

There are listings on a website somewhere and astronomy mags normally list them when Jupiter is on show.

SkySafari does allow you to forward time so you can work out timings, but my goto app on Android is Jovemoons Pro and on iPhone the Sky&Telescope Jupiter's Moons app. They are paid apps but only a couple of quid.

Definitely worth planning for. Occasionally there are double transits when two shadows are on the disc at the same time, and it is also sometimes possible to track the actual moon across the disc.

Recording the relative positions of the 4 main moons is a favourite summer pastime of mine.

Thanks AdeKing. This info is appreciated, I will certainly check out the apps!

 

Baz

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Jupiter seems to be "the one" for most people, and so it was for me too. Although my first planetary view through a telescope was Uranus using a Meade 12" LX200 EMC at the local astro society observatory. That along with the fantastic view of a galaxy complete with full spiral arms told me I must get my own gear.

Jupiter really was the turning point though. I set up the spanky new 130PS, found Jupiter easily aided by the Stellarium app, but just wasn't expecting the experience I had. That was the real turning point and the wallet has suffered ever since!

Edited by ScouseSpaceCadet
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Jupiter and moons, Saturn and moons - very popular.  But for really memorable, the Perseus Double Cluster takes some beating.

As for less easy targets, Jupiter's GRS took me 2.25 years to see - and it became easier thereafter.

Then there was the 34 mile long shadow of Mons Piton on the Moon.  I think some of the most spectacular views out there come from Luna - so close, so detailed, and fairly easy!  It just takes time to study and analyse what is on show.

Doug.

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36 minutes ago, ScouseSpaceCadet said:

Jupiter seems to be "the one" for most people, and so it was for me too. Although my first planetary view through a telescope was Uranus using a Meade 12" LX200 EMC at the local astro society observatory. That along with the fantastic view of a galaxy complete with full spiral arms told me I must get my own gear.

Jupiter really was the turning point though. I set up the spanky new 130PS, found Jupiter easily aided by the Stellarium app, but just wasn't expecting the experience I had. That was the real turning point and the wallet has suffered ever since!

Hi SSC!

And there was me thinking Saturn was going to take all the credit! Jupiter seems to have been a very enjoyable planet for a lot of us. 😊

Fair play finding Uranus as your 1st planet, I only just managed to locate it a week or so ago. It was well worth the wait though. I really enjoy watching that little Green White disc zoom through the eye piece 😊

So far my time trying to find galaxy's has been a bit unsuccessful. I am struggling with them a bit. I managed Andromeda but was a bit underwhelmed as it was a very poor white fuzz and not much else. I bet seeing spiral arms in a galaxy looks ace!

I know what you mean about the wallet taking a kicking, I haven't stopped spending either. I was going to wait until pay day before I bought a new filter and my 18mm BST but my finger seemed to slip on the "buy it now" button 😁😁

Nice to hear about your enjoyable viewing at the eye piece 👍

 

Baz

 

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10 minutes ago, cloudsweeper said:

Jupiter and moons, Saturn and moons - very popular.  But for really memorable, the Perseus Double Cluster takes some beating.

As for less easy targets, Jupiter's GRS took me 2.25 years to see - and it became easier thereafter.

Then there was the 34 mile long shadow of Mons Piton on the Moon.  I think some of the most spectacular views out there come from Luna - so close, so detailed, and fairly easy!  It just takes time to study and analyse what is on show.

Doug.

Hi Doug

I quite agree about the double cluster. That has given some amazing viewing. Im not really sure how I prefer to view them, high mag on a localised area of stars or low mag and just take in almost the full double cluster. It's great however you view them. Stunning objects to view and fortunately fairly easy.

Admire the persistence locating the GRS it is a great detail when you catch it. I think I have seen it twice. I hope to see it a bit clearer when Jupiter returns this year higher!

I agree about lunar viewing, the moon is stunning and very rewarding. The detail is unreal, I was viewing the last full moon and even with a filter on it was extremely bright.  Again another easy target that's full of rewards!

I world like to purchase soon decent solar film and have a very careful look at the sun next!

Thanks for sharing 👍

Baz

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28 minutes ago, Barry-W-Fenner said:

Hi SSC!

And there was me thinking Saturn was going to take all the credit! Jupiter seems to have been a very enjoyable planet for a lot of us. 😊

Fair play finding Uranus as your 1st planet, I only just managed to locate it a week or so ago.

Baz

Baz, to be fair, Uranus was found for me and with a 12" goto SCT to boot. It looked great though, massive in the eyepiece. 🧐

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6 minutes ago, ScouseSpaceCadet said:

Baz, to be fair, Uranus was found for me and with a 12" goto SCT to boot. It looked great though, massive in the eyepiece. 🧐

No shame in that, let the tech do the work 😊 I am interested to know how big Uranus looked in a 12" scope. It's pretty small in the 8" dob maybe 3-4mm

Baz

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The size of an object in the eyepiece depends on the magnification used rather than the scope aperture. Uranus looks the same size at 300x in my 12 inch as it does at 300x in your 8 inch Baz. Perhaps a little brighter in my scope. Uranus is always small in the eyepiece because its angular size never exceeds 4.1 arc seconds. Jupiter varies between 29 arc seconds and 50 arc seconds in apparent diameter - thats a huge difference.

 

 

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4 hours ago, John said:

The size of an object in the eyepiece depends on the magnification used rather than the scope aperture. Uranus looks the same size at 300x in my 12 inch as it does at 300x in your 8 inch Baz. Perhaps a little brighter in my scope. Uranus is always small in the eyepiece because its angular size never exceeds 4.1 arc seconds. Jupiter varies between 29 arc seconds and 50 arc seconds in apparent diameter - thats a huge difference.

 

 

 So from a size perspective it's about magnification, and for more brightness that's larger aperture  for light gathering.

Thanks again for more useful information John.

While your hear, got any astro memories you would like to share 😊

 

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It's very difficult to choose one memory out of four decades of observing, but I suppose this one is close to the top of the spectacular list.

 I've always had a yearning for a good refractor and although I've owned and used many different telescopes over the years, my refractor fetish has never left me. When I started out in astronomy I bought a book called Astronomy Through The Telescope, and in that book was a picture of an elderly gentleman stood alongside his 4" refractor. From the moment I saw that photo a 4" refractor is all I ever really wanted. The trouble was that I was a poor apprentice and refractors were, relatively speaking, very expensive back in 1980 and not that easy to come across. 

I'm going to jump to 2003 now. I had of course owned some nice refractors, a fabulous Vixen 102mm F13 was one of my favourites, eventually ending with a 6" F8 achromat which was as large a scope as I ever really wanted. On January 3rd 2003 I experienced a real life changing moment when three refractors were lined up outside the main observatory of my local astronomy club. For someone who loves refractors, to see these three scopes on the hill side with a blue darkening blue sky behind them and stars just beginning to show, was a heart pounding moment. Other scope designs never quite give me the same level of excitement as a refractor does.   The refractors in the line-up were a 6" F8 Helios achromat, (I owned one of these myself and was very familiar with its wonderful rich field/deep sky and comet seeking capabilities, as well as its decent lunar and planetary performance ). The second scope was a 4" Russian TAL F10 achromat, which I was also very familiar with, and they are now much sought after by refractor lovers giving testimony to their optical excellence. And the third refractor was something totally new to me as this was a scope out of the financial reach for most people I knew - a spectacular looking Vixen 4" F9 Fluorite, mounted on a motor driven Vixen GP with pier stand and a set of Vixen LV eyepieces. Momentarily heart stopping to put it mildly! This telescope had been donated to the club that week.

 Saturn was the target and while the planet was still relatively low in the east, all three scopes were just about equal in performance. It's common knowledge that "aperture is king", as its repeated at infinitum, so I was confident that as the sky darkened and Saturn got higher in the sky, the 6" Helios would win out due to its greater resolution. Nothing could have been further from the truth!   Everyone, myself included, were in awe at the absolute power of the Vixen fluorite, as it presented Saturn with its rings wide, more akin to a Voyager image. The other two refractors paled by comparison, as in fact did the larger aperture Newtonians and SCT's. Nothing on the field that night displayed Saturn with the same level of sharpness and definition as the Vixen fluorite. My friends and I spent the best part of six hours following Saturn as it crossed the sky. We had to almost physically remove one of my friends as he was so reluctant to step away from the eyepiece of the Vixen. He must have hogged that eyepiece for the best part of one and a half hours without moving, as he was so impressed.

  Driving home that night, all i could think about was "where on earth am I going to find the £2,250.00 needed to buy a Vixen FL102 and GP mount?" 

 Three months later I'd saved enough for the scope, mount and eyepieces,  but sadly back then Orion Optics were the sole Vixen importer to the UK, and they were useless. My friend and I placed our orders and even paid an extra £80 each for faster delivery. But after two months there was no sign of our scopes. So, we both cancelled our orders and turned to Takahashi. My scope arrived the following day.:grin:

 

Edited by mikeDnight
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Thanks for sharing your experience.. I remember my first view of the moon and planets through a scope so I know the feeling.

 

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22 hours ago, Barry-W-Fenner said:

Hi all.

When I started this hobby I began by viewing the Moon, This was back in September last year. In my excitement I had been viewing the moon around 8pm over consecutive nights and it was still bright a bright blue summer sky.  After the first few nights I noticed a "star" had been gradually appearing to the left side but I had been to engrossed with the Moon to have noticed it. At this point I though it was time to leave the comfort of the Moon and get out there, So I nudged the scope around 3" to the left 🙂🙂and lined up the "star" what could possibly be shining so brightly against a clear blue sky I thought to myself. I lined up my target in the finder then dived down the eyepiece. To my shock I was looking at what I assumed to be Jupiter, I viewed the planet for a while and confirmed it was in fact Jupiter, I then  stood back from the eye piece and had to reconcile what I had just seen. I was genuinely shocked all the times I had read about Jupiter or seen it on the TV and I have now seen it with my own eyes. (or eye 🙂Over the past week or so it had been looking straight back at me all along.

I spent more time at the eye piece viewing Jupiter only to be shocked again, It had now got dark enough for 4 points of light to also be visible. Jupiter's 4 largest Moons have now come to the party.  I was absolutely blown away and couldn't  believe what I was seeing. I dragged the wife out for a look in my excitement and she was also amazed at seeing Jupiter. We have now seen a number of planets and deep sky objects together which have all been amazing but the first viewing of big Jupiter and the genuine shock is my most precious astronomy memory and will take some beating! 

Below is an image I took that day which I keep on my phone and PC at all times. A warning to all imaging folk on here, Please dont get to jealous of my imaging skills 🙂

So my question to the community, What has been your personal favorite astronomy memory and is there any particular reason it stands out to you?  All story's welcome be it visual or imaging or even maybe the joy of showing someone something they didn't know was possible to see. I imagine there is some very interesting story's to be shared!

 

Thanks for reading all.

Baz

 

 

 

DSC_0192.JPG

And the best bit is, it is only going to get better, I promise.

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It is really fun to read about how people get a sense of wonder and excitement when engaging in our common hobby. Does make me appreciate how special the experience can be and encourages going back to an object to reflect on what we are actually seeing.

Oddly enough, and perhaps fortunately considering the limitations of visual astronomy, the less striking objects are often those that have stuck with me the most. I recall vividly the profound feeling of space and time when seeing a few photons from a distant quasar. Objectively speaking not much to look at, only a flicker of light when using indirect vision, but the realization that light emitted billions of years ago from the accretion disk of a black hole was destined to be absorbed by my retina in a different part of the universe almost made me fall off my observing chair. The feeling of getting a glimpse of a vast reality beyond the limited point of view that we usually have. It can be like a spiritual experience, and that feeling doesn't come around all that often.

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6 hours ago, Barry-W-Fenner said:

 So from a size perspective it's about magnification, and for more brightness that's larger aperture  for light gathering.

Thanks again for more useful information John.

While your hear, got any astro memories you would like to share 😊

 

Like Mike, I've been observing for 40 years or so I have lots.

One of the very best didn't involve any equipment at all. Standing on the beach with my family at Marazion, Cornwall during the total eclipse of the Sun on 11th August in 1999. While the sky was mostly cloudy the sky darkened dramatically and the atmosphere on the beach was amazing. All the lights came on around the bay and you could see the out from underneath the edge of the shadow out to sea. Magical stuff - my kids still go on about it and they are all grown up now :icon_biggrin:

We are somewhere in this photo:

 

eclipse2.jpg

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From the same day as John's memory:

post-18313-133877694641_thumb.jpg

We got a 4 minute gap in the clouds outside Sarreguemine in the Alsace region, and I shot this image with my C8. A few years ago, I captured the 2017 eclipse with rather more success:

 

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I have roughly 35/38 years of observing. I too have so many great memories... and feel very lucky to do so. A few do stand out mind

  • Hale bopp Comet hanging in the night sky for a week (all clear nights too)
  • Eclipses inc the 1999 from the South of England which for me was something like 98%
  • Total Lunar Eclipses
  • Smoking fireball with slight sound
  • Venus & Mercury transist's
  • Mars opposition 2005/6 wonderful detail seen with super clear steady skies
  • Observing the impacts of shumaker levy 9 on Jupiter

It goes on & on!

Rob

 

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I bought my first telescope (60mm refractor) in 1965 so have had many memories over the years.

My highlights -

  • Watching the Moon's shadow racing towards me in Plymouth during the 1999 Total Eclipse
  • Viewing the Venus Transit in 2004 and being involved in the video that won (Paris Academy of Science) the best production of the event organised by the ESA
  • Viewing the Annular Solar Eclipse in Spain using my new PST
  • Using the same scope to view the Total Solar Eclipse in Turkey in 2006
  • Completing the Messier List after struggling with low Globs in Sagittarius
  • Visiting the United States and observing an Annuar Eclipse and Venus Transit within the space of 2 weeks - 2012
  • Finally being a guest in the United States to observe on a mountain top and seeing Omega Centauri for the first time in 2018

I expect I missed a few but these come to mind.

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Afternoon all,

Its been a busy old morning this morning and i haven't had time to read through the thread yet. However I am really pleased with the reaction it is recieveing so far. A big thank you to you all for sharing your great experiences in astronomy. It is very inspiring stuff. I look forward to  reading through and responding asap! 

 

Regards

Baz

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7 hours ago, Marvin Jenkins said:

And the best bit is, it is only going to get better, I promise.

I will hold you to that Marvin 🙂

I am hoping this year Jupiter will be higher and with a bit more experience at the eye piece i might be able to spot more detail 🙂

 

Baz

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