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Stu

Theophilus looking wonderful last night and a busy night in the skies!

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Yet more lunar observing this evening, yet again with the Telementor. So quick to set up yet still rewarding to use. I had it set up from late afternoon and picked up the Moon long before the sun had set. I’m enjoying the Unitron Mount, quite stable and the slow motion controls are very smooth and well positioned. The tripod can be spread wide and low for convenient viewing for low down objects, probably more stable like that too. I have added a front counterweight which improves the front to back stability when pointing up towards the zenith. I am able to screw the Leica Zoom directly to the prism via T2 thread to shorten the light path enough to reach focus which is very handy and secure.

Even in daylight I could see that Theophilus was positioned right on the terminator but with Cyrillus and Catharina not illuminated yet. I could just make out a speck of a central peak at this stage although mainly enjoyed viewing at low power using the Leica zoom at low setting which gave x47, tip end being x94. Later on I also popped in the Nag zoom which gives x140 to x280, and amazingly was still useable on the Moon. There was a pleasing lack of CA in the view on the Moon. Venus shows quite a lot of blue haze around it but for some reason the CA is really not that obvious on the Moon.

I viewed intermittently through the early evening, having my best session between 8.40 and 9.15pm. As I stepped outside, it was partially cloudy, but I spotted the ISS making a fairly bright overhead pass, dimming as it went behind light clouds but always visible. Then another satellite caught my eye lower down, quite bright but dimmer than ISS. After then seeing two more following on, it was clear this was a Starlink pass. It seemed to go on forever, and I lost count of the number that went over, starting off in Orion then passing near Leo I think, can’t recall clearly. It was interesting to see the foreshortening of the spacing when further towards the horizon which then opened up as they were more overhead and then closed down again. The main train was just that, following the same path, evenly spaced, but the last few were a little more varied, three of them in a triangle and one or two on a different trajectory altogether.

I confess I was both amazed and appalled by this spectacle. This is the first pass I have seen with the naked eye, and whilst I’m glad I have seen it, I can’t imagine how it will be when the whole fleet is up there, no longer being able to enjoy the stars without constant distraction.

Back to the Moon, which was looking amazing near the brightly shining Adebaran. Now fully dark I could see much more contrast, and spent ages looking at Theophilus. I could now see two bright central peaks, slightly elongated and not quite parallel to each other. Two dimmer peaks were nearby and one further one closer to the crater edge. A triangle of faint light where the crater floor was illuminated was pointing towards the centre from top rightish (refractor view), and the crater wall detail was amazing.

Moving along the terminator, two bright features showed clearly (and had showed even in daylight), one of which was the Altai range I believe, not sure about the other. Hercules and Atlas were distinct, mid way between the terminator and the limb, whilst Posidonius showed a dark shadowed outline close to the terminator.

Last one I will mention is Messier and Messier A. Often I spy these when they are brightly illuminated, but last night they appeared as dark shadows with the brighter ray trace leading away from it, a view I do prefer but it always pleases me that you can see these two whatever the illumination is if you look for them.

So, some wonderful lunar views again and a busy night traffic wise in the skies. Thought provoking for what is to come, and not something I am looking forward to. It amazes me that this is allowed to happen without proper debate or opportunity for professional and amateur astronomers to have their say, but such is the world we live in.

Some handheld iPhone snaps to show the views. One earlier, one later then a couple of close ups, the last attempting to show Theophilus and the central features but obviously nothing like the visual views.

I finished off with a view of Polaris, enjoying the primary with diffraction ring and the tiny pin point secondary, a really beautiful sight.

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Nice report Stu. I was also out with the ED80 again. Stunning sky last night. Also have you noticed how the LP has reduced?. I certainly have living on the outskirts of Southampton. Clearly less cars on the road, and less places open (reduced lighting) have changed the skies!. I honestly felt I doubled the amount of naked eye stars I could see

Regards Rob

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14 minutes ago, Rob said:

Nice report Stu. I was also out with the ED80 again. Stunning sky last night. Also have you noticed how the LP has reduced?. I certainly have living on the outskirts of Southampton. Clearly less cars on the road, and less places open (reduced lighting) have changed the skies!. I honestly felt I doubled the amount of naked eye stars I could see

Regards Rob

That’s good news Rob. I’ve not noticed that round here but now you mention it, the floodlights at Esther Rugby club are not on so that helps! We’ve not had a really good transparent night since so I’ll keep an eye out when that happens and see if my NELM has improved. Must get the Vixen out on the Moon too!

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So that's what it's called. Snapped a phone photo last night of the same lunar region.  Looked incredable in the 6mm EP with the interplay of shadow and the really prominent central peaks.  Photo taken using handheld smartphone with 12mm EP on 8" F6 newt.   

Ciaran. 

 

20200329_203025.jpg

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45 minutes ago, Ciaran Meier said:

So that's what it's called. Snapped a phone photo last night of the same lunar region.  Looked incredable in the 6mm EP with the interplay of shadow and the really prominent central peaks.  Photo taken using handheld smartphone with 12mm EP on 8" F6 newt.   

Ciaran. 

 

20200329_203025.jpg

Nice shot Ciaran. Yep those three are Theophilus, Cyrillus and Catharina. There is a great iPhone app called a Moon Phase Phot Maps which shows the features along the terminator at various different phases which is very handy. They are also on this website which is where the originals come from I think.

http://www.derekscope.co.uk/moon-phases-maps-for-telescope-view/

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Posted (edited)

Brilliant stuff chaps! It's really quite amazing what a phone camera can do. 

Below is my hand held snap from last night using a 100mm refractor and 3.4mm eyepiece. The seeing was on the wobbly side, but even so the eyepiece view was generally quite a bit sharper than the image below. 

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Edited by mikeDnight
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