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Decent Weekend Forecast but full moon - Suggested Mak 127 Targets for Moonwashed Nights?


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The forecast is looking good-ish for Friday and Saturday in my area (S.England) including a gap in the jetstream, the moon however will be around full.

Have started to appreciate doubles and particularly enjoyed Castor, Algieba & B-Monocerotis (amazing!) so am thinking in that direction. 

Have identified the following targets (and will probably take a peek at brighter clusters too, see how they are holding up in moonlight),  but would welcome additional favourite suggestions for moon filled nights....  (127 Mak). 

image.png.fb68797157b5565f9cf5bc4b8d0cb864.png 

Edited by SuburbanMak
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If you haven't already seen it, can I suggest "Winter albireo" h 3945 in Canis Major?

Edited to say sigma orionis is pretty amazing too (if you like beta monocerotis).

Edited by Orange Smartie
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14 minutes ago, Orange Smartie said:

If you haven't already seen it, can I suggest "Winter albireo" h 3945 in Canis Major?

Edited to say sigma orionis is pretty amazing too (if you like beta monocerotis).

I have been reading about H3945 and will definitely give it a go - reckon it should be about 18 degrees up in the South which is a wee bit tricky from my lockdown observing site but both will be good early evening targets, thank you! 

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Brighter dso's? Interesting to discover what you can still see under full moonlight,they will be somewhat washed out, but you'll learn something.

A few years ago with same or less aperture than yourself i tracked m33 through the moons cycles, it was still visible with a 10day old moon, whether i suceeded @ full moon i don't now recall, but i'm quite prepared to try for dso's a little past half moon even now.

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21 minutes ago, SiriusB said:

Brighter dso's? Interesting to discover what you can still see under full moonlight,they will be somewhat washed out, but you'll learn something.

A few years ago with same or less aperture than yourself i tracked m33 through the moons cycles, it was still visible with a 10day old moon, whether i suceeded @ full moon i don't now recall, but i'm quite prepared to try for dso's a little past half moon even now.

I’ve spent a bit of time fruitlessly galaxy hunting, M33 included, however @Nik271 recommended sticking at it with some of the brighter centred types - M81 - so was planning to spend some time hunting that one.  Spent a few sessions marvelling at M31 in bins during the autumn but your point makes me realise I haven’t tried in the new scope, I won’t see all of it in the field but will be worth checking out. 

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6 hours ago, SuburbanMak said:

The forecast is looking good-ish for Friday and Saturday in my area (S.England) including a gap in the jetstream, the moon however will be around full.

Have started to appreciate doubles and particularly enjoyed Castor, Algieba & B-Monocerotis (amazing!) so am thinking in that direction. 

Have identified the following targets (and will probably take a peek at brighter clusters too, see how they are holding up in moonlight),  but would welcome additional favourite suggestions for moon filled nights....  (127 Mak). 

image.png.fb68797157b5565f9cf5bc4b8d0cb864.png 

I can suggest Iota Cassiopeiae, it's a triple star with separation 2.8'' and 7'' so within the Mak capabilities.

It should still be high in the sky in early evening and far away from the Moon to make star hopping easier.

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6 minutes ago, SuburbanMak said:

I’ve spent a bit of time fruitlessly galaxy hunting, M33 included, however @Nik271 recommended sticking at it with some of the brighter centred types - M81 - so was planning to spend some time hunting that one.  Spent a few sessions marvelling at M31 in bins during the autumn but your point makes me realise I haven’t tried in the new scope, I won’t see all of it in the field but will be worth checking out. 

M81 will be far easier than M33, actually I've never tried M33 with a telescope because it's so big and spread out.

By the way you can also try to hunt down Vesta, it's quite bright now, nearly mag 6 and tomorrow (25 Feb) should make an almost equilateral triangle with two stars of similar magnitute: 81 Leonis and 85 Leonis. I've been observing Vesta over the past 2 weeks and it moves noticeably from day to day crossing Leo.

Nearby  Iota Leonis is also a double star, separation is a little over 2'' so just within the reach of the 127 Mak.

Inkedstellarium-000_LI.thumb.jpg.a5c0f28e801042d870fa0466621eb6c9.jpg

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Jumping on the bandwagon here, I'm glad you brought this subject up @SuburbanMak I have a Skymax 127 az gti and it's great to know some doubles and multi stars are visable during the near full moon. I've been imaging the Moon throughout the last couple of weeks and snagged a glimpse of Iota Cancri after a little observing session the other night and was blown away by it. Thank you to all the suggestions here I've more to observe and possibly a few images in the offing, Clear skies 

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Planetary nebulae such as the Eskimo Nebula and The Cats Eye Nebula seem to "survive" under moonlight quite well :smiley:

 

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18 hours ago, Nik271 said:

M81 will be far easier than M33, actually I've never tried M33 with a telescope because it's so big and spread out.

By the way you can also try to hunt down Vesta, it's quite bright now, nearly mag 6 and tomorrow (25 Feb) should make an almost equilateral triangle with two stars of similar magnitute: 81 Leonis and 85 Leonis. I've been observing Vesta over the past 2 weeks and it moves noticeably from day to day crossing Leo.

Nearby  Iota Leonis is also a double star, separation is a little over 2'' so just within the reach of the 127 Mak.

Inkedstellarium-000_LI.thumb.jpg.a5c0f28e801042d870fa0466621eb6c9.jpg

I will certainly have a look for this, Leo is quite well placed for me by mid evening - also a couple of clear nights on the trot offer the opportunity to track the movement, have never seen an asteroid before! 

Thanks for the time and effort @Nik271 , much appreciated.  

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27 minutes ago, John said:

Planetary nebulae such as the Eskimo Nebula and The Cats Eye Nebula seem to "survive" under moonlight quite well :smiley:

 

Thank you! These are on the list of things I am yet to find at all, even on a moonless night,  so will put them on my aspirational list for this weekend :) 

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1 hour ago, LeeHore7 said:

Jumping on the bandwagon here, I'm glad you brought this subject up @SuburbanMak I have a Skymax 127 az gti and it's great to know some doubles and multi stars are visible during the near full moon. I've been imaging the Moon throughout the last couple of weeks and snagged a glimpse of Iota Cancri after a little observing session the other night and was blown away by it. Thank you to all the suggestions here I've more to observe and possibly a few images in the offing, Clear skies 

I am ending up with a much richer list than I started with and a good spread of difficulty - should be fun.   Saw your amazing photo of Uranus and have added that to the list too.

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21 hours ago, SuburbanMak said:

I am ending up with a much richer list than I started with and a good spread of difficulty - should be fun.   Saw your amazing photo of Uranus and have added that to the list too.

Yes I know what you mean, I started of with a couple of doubles but now seeing triples and quads now, my list expanded very quickly. Thank you for your comments on the Uranus image I was chuffed to image it, clear skies hopefully. 

Edited by LeeHore7
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So I set out with a varied target list, based around coloured doubles, a couple of solar system ideas & lots of recommendations from fine SGL-ers. Still have a few to chase down but three good sessions since Thursday, random notes below....

25.2 - 8-9.30pm 

ST80, BH Zoom, Steady seeing. 97% moon transparency: occasional high milkiness. 

N. Aligned Sirius Aldebaran

Goto Mars, accurate - nice gibbous disc but tiny.

Goto Uranus - probably, faint, greenish, maybe - not a point, not a disc. 

M45 - bit disappointed then realised I still had the Barlow on from Mars/Uranus - gorgeous view without, fantasised I might be seeing nebulosity... 

M42 - got stuck here for a while, wasn’t in the plan but crisp trapezium & loved the wide field. 

Mintaka - double-ish, very wide. 

Sigma Orionis - fantastic system. Double + a cluster. 

CM145/H3945 - Winter Albireo a bit moon/LP washed but clear orange- blue colour contrast. Felt good to find using RDF & star map. 

Sirius - no split. 

Beta Monoceros clean split triple at 50x - ST80 looks like a very good 96 quid ;)

Almach - lovely view at 12mm  (33x). Orange primary, white close secondary. 

M40 - I think, check the chart. Bit non-descript. 

Eta Cassiopeia  - split-ish, one for more mag/app. 

Went back to the night’s highlights: M42 - Sigma Orionis - CM145.  

Very satisfying hour and a half & home in time to be sociable. ST80 is going to get a lot of use! Crisp wide fields, scanning slowly up the sword of Orion from M42 to Sigma Orionis stunning. 

 

26.2 - 20:00 - 21:30Back out with the Mak 127 -Baader Zoom 24-8mm, & occasional 2.25 Barlow. 

Moon 100% Seeing steady at the zenith, less so below 30 degrees.  Transparency - patchy, the curse of the river valley (bring on the end of lockdown!) 

N. Aligned on Sirius & Aldebaran.

Rigel - Split! Bright spikes from main - small but distinct white, dim secondary at 7 o’clock (in R/L).  10mm (150x) clear space. 

Sharper but tiny gap at 15mm. Visible at 24mm. 

Sirius - a struggle, maybe something at “4.30” - check. 

Lots of flare, flickering and diffraction patterns. Thought I saw something Rigel-y for a second two or three times - separation & magnitude difference looked about right but so much interference going on can’t confirm. 

H3945 - lovely view, best colours at 18mm. Deep Orange, light blue. 

Mintaka - bright white pair not close.  Secondary less bright. 

Sigma orionis - bit of faffing then located from finder. 3 (4?) separated in main group then narrow triangle off to L. Best view at 10mm (150x)

Meissa - nice cluster, wasn’t sure which bit the actual double. Pretty view at 20mm (75x) though. 

Cor Caroli - lovely off-white spaced pair in otherwise moonwashed area. Primary notably brighter. 

Iota Cancri - classy, gold & white blue. 16mm (94x) best, really lovely. Lingered. 

Almach, best view 17mm (88x) - beautiful. Real contrast but enough brightness in secondary to show. Diffraction spikes on Orange primary looked very “star-system”. Clear separation but close pair. 

Home for a warm! 

 

27/2 (later that night...) 00:30 - 02:30 . ST80, Baader Zoom 8-24mm, moon if anything more dominant than earlier. 

Trudged back out to the park late with a n ST80 quick set-up. Skyscape radically changed from recent evening sessions - lots of constellations in the “wrong” place. 

ETA Cassiopeia.  Yellow Orange spikes, clean white 2nd. Lovely. 

Fruitless searching in Cass for Sigma & Struve 173 . Got a bit lost. 

Retreated to Mirphac. Hopped to Double Cluster - lovely in wide view. Fantastic frame at 14mm (28x) , cheered me up. 

Castor - split but only at 50x.  Tried for Algieba but lost in the moonlight, looked at Regulus against backwash of moon. 

 

Thought about jacking it in, cold, moon obliterating Leo, Cancer & then some, got a bit aimless - figured may as well complete a 360 by star hopping. 

Back to Arcturus then Vega. 

Checked Safari & confirmed Hercules keystone.  Orientation very unfamiliar compared to summer! 

Brainwave: Hit Goto on M13 - perfect! A fuzzy at last despite the moon & a first for me, wanted to see M13 for ages.  Occupied more space in keystone than I’d expected. Got the Barlow out and looked at all mags - thought the odd hint of a star/twinkle mid lower left with averted vision. Best view though at about 40x  - nice glow and framed by keystone stars.  This is going to be fantastic in the Mak. Looked for a long time! Spent a bit of time orienting naked eye between Vega & Arcturus so I can locate easily again. 

Had a punt at M57 the ring nebula but no chance, all moon washed + now 2.30 am, getting cold & tired. 

Finished night, appropriately , on Alberio - stunning pair, gold & green/blue both quite bright.  Wrapped up warm and looked for a long while. 

Walked home cold & happy through friendly, silent moonlit streets to a big Laphroaig. Amazing couple of evenings. 

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Thank you for the fantastic report, you certainly made good use of the clear skies over these nights. You've claimed some fantastic doubles there and M13 to boot. Makes it all worthwhile, I imaged a few doubles on Friday night, hoping to process them later, going out with the scope and camera this evening before the moon rises to see what I can image. Then Monday night if it stays clear as moon doesn't rise until 8.30pm ish. Clear skies. 

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Been out these last few nights aimlessly, frustrated at the fact the weekend of clear nights also coincides with a damn full moon! But thankfully this post will make tonight a lot more productive! 

So thank you for this! Hopefully summer brings more clear weekends like this! Unlike the winter past since I bought my dob in Nov, at about 2-3 clear nights a month! (Not including the ones I missed being on a nightshift).

👌

Edited by Grant93
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Nice report @SuburbanMak ! Congratulations on your first view of M13! This is spectacular on moonless nights and when high overhead in summer. With a 127mm Mak you will resolve many starts inside this cluster, it is a  gem. (I confess part of the reason I got a 180mm Mak in addition to the 127mm is for globulars like M13, they look stunning in Maks, the larger aperture the better). 

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6 hours ago, LeeHore7 said:

Thank you for the fantastic report, you certainly made good use of the clear skies over these nights. You've claimed some fantastic doubles there and M13 to boot. Makes it all worthwhile, I imaged a few doubles on Friday night, hoping to process them later, going out with the scope and camera this evening before the moon rises to see what I can image. Then Monday night if it stays clear as moon doesn't rise until 8.30pm ish. Clear skies. 

Thank you & good luck with the imaging - I was thinking double stars might be a good way into it but only have Alt Az at the moment. Can I ask what mount you are using? 

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5 hours ago, Nik271 said:

Nice report @SuburbanMak ! Congratulations on your first view of M13! This is spectacular on moonless nights and when high overhead in summer. With a 127mm Mak you will resolve many starts inside this cluster, it is a  gem. (I confess part of the reason I got a 180mm Mak in addition to the 127mm is for globulars like M13, they look stunning in Maks, the larger aperture the better). 

Thank you - looking forward to viewing M13 across the spring & summer.

For me globulars are fascinating objects - of the galaxy but outside it &, although relatively local ,I do find it fires the imagination to think that the light I am viewing started it’s journey 22,000 years ago, man would have been recognisable as the same species as today but sparsely distributed hunter gatherers, before the agricultural revolution and anything like recorded history.  Bet the skies were dark back then! 
 

Maybe I’ve just been staring down the eyepiece too long...

 

 

 

 

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