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A warmer night here at -27c, maybe the vortex will move along soon. One thing is for sure- it does bring very good skies with it. The TSA120 was enlisted along with the 42mm LVW, 17/14mm Nikon HW and the 10mm Delos.

Orion was hiding behind some pines so this one will be observed in a bit where there is a gap between them. Nice to see Leo again so the first target was the Triplet. The 42mm found them no issue, 2 brighter and the edge on fainter. In with the 14mm- thats it some nice cores appeared in 2 of them and the edge on glowed brighter. Very nice to see them again.

Off to M51, again found in the 42mm as a very faint glow. In with the 14mm which separated them nicely. Right where I know fantastic spiral arms would show I saw hints of arms,  rectangular streaks, 3 of them spaced evenly around the glow became apparent. This scope shows M51 well, for its 120mm aperture.

M101-tough? not in this scope. The10mm Delos increased the delicate glow of this object with hints of arms flicking in and out of view. Great to visit this great object again.

Now M42 appeared in a gap between the trees so a quick trip over revealed a really bright nebula no filter. The lower loop was easily visible in the 17mm. The real detail came with the 14mm, its just enough to make a difference. In fact M43 showed its dust lane cutting it faintly- not bad for this aperture. The Running Man showed his main lane- in the glow. All in all this 120mm eclipsed the view given by the 90mm.

Inspired I shot up to the Flame nebula, and narrowing up the view with the 10 Delos a bright segmented view appeared. I'm surprised at the view actually- it seems "too good" for the size of the scope. Way better than in the 90mm...seriously. Keeping Alnitak at bay is a must IMHO.

Puzzled by a loss of contrast as I searched and found other objects I started looking around- and yup, there was a problem. The aurora had a green glow just over the pines on the next ridge.  Wanting to confirm this is what it was I checked the aurora map when I came in yes its down here.

So a pretty good night , many objects found thats for sure and the Tak120mm did not disappoint.

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Nice report and obvious you are loving the TSA120.

Weather is looking good here for next week. Allmost shorts and t shirt observing weather compared to the weather have had lately.with nighttime lows of +8 to +10. 🙂

Edited by johninderby
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Ace report, Gerry. There was a moment where I thought you were going to say you got the HH too! The TSA120 sounds like a superb scope. The refractors seem to be giving a fun alternative to your big dobs. I’d love to see the Aurora. 

Edited by Littleguy80
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7 hours ago, Littleguy80 said:

There was a moment where I thought you were going to say you got the HH too! 

Didn't try lol! To try this properly I need the smallest TFOV possible with a 40mm eyepiece. Some day I'll try making a small "field stop" at the end of a tight 40mm (that I dont have).

One of the reasons big dobs work is their ability to have a narrow TFOV with vg large apparent field eyepieces IMHO.

Alnitak destroys IC434 with very wide field, eventhough I have seen it like this. The TSA120's  inherent lack of scatter makes this much easier and some day I'll try straight through.

What grabbed my attention last night was the Flame... this was the very best refractor view I've had of it- again the lack of scatter IMHO. I did have a 12.5mm ortho on deck but the aurora came out before trying.

Another surprise was M43s lane- I dont ever recall seeing this feature in a scope this size.

The above was no filter ^^ filters cause too much light loss for some harder features.

Edited by jetstream
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Sorry, did you say -27 ? I have read that humidity in extreme cold is a problem. But -27! Do you get a medal for that? Don’t tell me, someone from Siberia will trump that with -30 something. 
I must be well soft. I think five below is hardship.

Marv

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3 hours ago, Marvin Jenkins said:

Sorry, did you say -27 ? I have read that humidity in extreme cold is a problem. But -27! Do you get a medal for that? Don’t tell me, someone from Siberia will trump that with -30 something. 
I must be well soft. I think five below is hardship.

Marv

I'll trump myself! the other night I was observing in -35c... no medal just supremely good views 😀

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15 minutes ago, jetstream said:

I'll trump myself! the other night I was observing in -35c... no medal just supremely good views 😀

Minus 35? deserves a salute if not a medal :icon_salut:

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15 minutes ago, Sunshine said:

All this cold observing talk begs a question, are cold winter skies typically better when speaking of seeing conditions? 

I've read a lot of reports from folks based in Florida on another forum who seem to have amazing seeing quite often and can usefully use very high magnifications with their scopes. So perhaps for seeing cold weather is not a pre-requisite ?

Maybe it is more significant for transparency though ?

 

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On 18/02/2021 at 02:15, Sunshine said:

All this cold observing talk begs a question, are cold winter skies typically better when speaking of seeing conditions? 

In my experience, yes and no. Or, it depends. :) Sometimes when it is really cold, the lower atmosphere sits very still, contributing to good seeing. It doesn't do much to jet streams, though. Another thing is transparency. At least in our neck of the woods, it is not at all uncommon to have the air filled with small ice crystals when it is cold. They scatter light, making the sky seem a bit foggy and sometimes rendering spectacular halos. Streetlights might shoot up to the sky as long beams. Here is an image (not mine) of the phenomenon:

Kuvahaun tulos: katuvalo halo

Yet another phenomenon that might hurt the views during cold weather is the possibility for atmospheric inversion, when the air close to the ground is actually colder than the air layer above. When that happens, all the fog, smoke from chimneys etc that usually rises to the sky, is trapped to the lower air layers. Locally that might wreck your views. Climb the hill and you might be fine! :) 

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6 hours ago, bish said:

Hopefully it will be a bit warmer than where you are!

Thanks Bish, it has warmed up to -1c right now a nice and needed break from the cold. I talked to some buddies here yesterday and they all said the same thing. Spring and early summer are fantastic here, cant wait!

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5 hours ago, Nikodemuzz said:

Yet another phenomenon that might hurt the views during cold weather is the possibility for atmospheric inversion, when the air close to the ground is actually colder than the air layer above

Excellent! thanks for mentioning this.

We actually had a "poor air " warning because of this- ozone somehow came very close to the ground on a few very cold nights. I could notice it as climbed my hill.

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23 minutes ago, jetstream said:

Excellent! thanks for mentioning this.

We actually had a "poor air " warning because of this- ozone somehow came very close to the ground on a few very cold nights. I could notice it as climbed my hill.

That's interesting! Is there a lot of industry or traffic in your area?

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1 hour ago, Nikodemuzz said:

That's interesting! Is there a lot of industry or traffic in your area?

Hardly any traffic and limited industry but I looked at the ozone map and its was a big swath across much of the west, coming from the north and over in Russia too. It was yellow on the map, I'll try to find it again. I don't know much about ozone but I do know its good high up and not so good down low.

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