Jump to content

Banner2.jpg.35fd74882a15b2b8a1b4142f7dcc8bed.jpg

What did you see tonight?


Ags
 Share

Recommended Posts

I do like to share what I see, but often feel my little sessions are not worthy of an Observing Report. I thought it would be nice if there was a running thread for people to share brief notes about what they have seen, so I am attempting to start one. Please share what you have (or have not) seen!

Tonight I had a short session to get to the bottom of my Speers WALER 4.9mm eyepiece. I don't trust it... Why isn't it sharp? Pointing my Zenithstar 66 at Almach revealed the problem - instead of points of light, the stars were smeared into little spectrums. Changing to Capella confirmed it - I guess one of the retaining rings is loose (which happens all the time to Speers WALERs) and a lens is misaligned. Hopefully I can fix it.

I changed to a Vixen SLV for some actual looking at the sky. I forget how charming and nostalgic a 50 degree eyepiece can be. Instead of feeling like I am looking at the universe through an 82 degree picture window, it feels like I am looking through a Victorian telescope! Dodging the clouds, I took in a few doubles - Achird, Polaris and Almach again, the stars looking like points in the little SLV. The double cluster was also delightful, there was something charming in the way it overflowed the narrow view. Just ahead of an advancing phalanx of clouds, I got a quick peek at M31, which again looked wonderful in the narrow AFOV!

EDIT: A nice thing about Speers WALERs is they disassemble like a cheap Plossl. Unscrewing the top reveals a positve lens that floats on a spacing ring. I recentered this and the views with the eyepiece are much sharper, and stars do not look like little spectrums. It's not perfect but a lot better. But I expect the lens will decenter again however careful I am.

Edited by Ags
  • Like 16
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The more reports the better! It's the first thing I check for at morning coffee break, and I don't mind how short or "not worthy" they might seem. The frequency of clear nights is so low, any experience, however vicarious, is very welcome!

Good idea about a long-running thread for comments. I'll definitely use it.

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm happy to add a short report to this thread :smiley:

This evening I have been using my 100mm refractor, initially on Saturn and then on Jupiter to watch most of the Io shadow transit and the moons emergence from the limb of the disk after it's own transit. The seeing was a bit mediocre but there were some good moments.

I've then had a look at some of my favourite double stars of this season. The seeing prevented the views being the highest quality but still it was enjoyable.

I had a look at Uranus which showed a nice grey-green disk at 300x but the 100mm aperture was not capable of showing any of it's moons tonight.

Despite rather milky transparency Messier 81 and 82 showed quite nicely with good contrast.

I then spent around 45 minutes trying to see comet 29/P Schwassmann–Wachmann in Auriga. It is listed at magnitude 10.6 currently but despite using a range of magnifications from 40x to 150x I could not see anything convincing despite checking it's position with 3 reliable sources. Maybe the transparency was just not good enough or the comet is very small indeed or perhaps fainter than the reported magnitude. Still, you can't win them all !

As a consolation I had a nice browse around the open clusters in and around Auriga.

The scope is still out so I may have some more to come.

Interesting to think that my last observing session (3 nights ago) was with a 450mm aperture scope compared to the 100mm this evening :smiley:

To @Ags, I think all reports are worth posting and reading but a thread like this might encourage more folks to add their observing experiences so it is nice to have an alternative way to do this. Good idea :thumbright:

 

 

Edited by John
  • Like 9
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just a note to say that we have been here before with similar threads in the past, so please keep the comments observing related. I would encourage people to still post separate reports in the observing section as things get lost and overlooked very quickly in these long threads.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't own a scope, so I use my cameras and try widefield shots. And the occasional comet with a zoom lens.

Earlier this evening I tried to see the moon and Venus, too much cloud though. 

About an hour ago I looked outside briefly to check the visibility. As soon as I walked outside, a moderately bright meteor was seen in the east traveling west. This could of been a Taurid, I had thought of heading out of town and setting up a couple of DSLRs tonight, Incase any fireballs were around. The sky is quite hazy now with cirrus, plus I have a nasty cold... 😴  

Just came indoors after sitting in the garden for 40 mins, observed one Taurid meteor that was not anything too bright. 

Left my camera taking 15 sec exposures in the loft, the sky is less milky than earlier.

Time for bed now.

Good luck to anyone observing tonight. 

Edit 

Didn't get any meteors on camera, I've just ordered a 11-18mm f2.8 lens, could be good for astro.....

Edited by scotty1
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 minutes ago, Ags said:

@John you must have a good viewing spot - your targets are all over the sky. I have a patch to the east, the zenith and another patch to the south east. Targets seem to fly by!

I have good views in some directions but quite a lot of obstructions (trees and houses, including our own) in others. I usually need to be patient to wait for targets to rise to a decent height above the horizon to get good views and also to rise above the obstructions to the E and S. It's not perfect here by any means but very convenient to be able to observe just a few paces from the dining room.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was out observing earlier and just before 22:00, while I was looking down to change eyepieces, the ground briefly lit up. I looked up to see the smoke trail of a meteor, horizontal in the upper part of Cetus. It spanned several degrees and lasted about four seconds. I didn't actually see the meteor, but it must have been bright to cause me to look up. Presumably a Taurid, which are known to produce a few exceptional ones.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was out last night, first with the 60mm f/15 Vixen 60l. Saw Venus (jellybean shaped) and a few double stars epsilon Lyrae, Albireo, Rasalgethi and Achird, the latter one I particularly liked. Then after dinner I changed to the C8 to look at Saturn and Jupiter. Seeing wasn’t great and a bank of high clouds was moving through. Galilean moons nicely lined up, but Jupiter’s disk was so wobbly, I could hardly see the GRS. Then Uranus, the typical pale green disk. Packed up at 9pm.

The sky was generally murky with cloud bands moving through, made worse by the local FC’s floodlights nearby…

Edited by Froeng
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nipped out about midnight with the 80mm after watching a really bad Bond film. 

Started at Orion and tried to split Rigel but had no luck, lots of twinkling and turbulence. Then to M42 which took me by surprise with how much dimmer it is compared to the dob.

Had a look at the Castor for the first time, a wonderful high mag double, both stars showing perfect airy discs. Tried to find comet 67P which is in Gemini at a supposed mag 9.9 but not enough aperture I suspect.

Back to Orion, now with 10 minutes of scope cooling and my improved dark adaption and M42 looked much more defined and impressive, 4 stars in the trapezium looking superb. Finishing off with Rigel and the 5mm BST, which I’m finding is turning into a brilliant double star tool, showing Rigel B due south. Confirmed after dropping the mag with  the Orion 7.5mm which showed it that little bit clearer - a great result and one of my favourite doubles. Getting the practise in for splitting Sirius!

 

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The sky was milky with high cloud and I had a try at some bright doubles in Cetus: Gamma Ceti and Nu Ceti, with Skymax 127. Normally it's a good performer but this time I failed miserably on both. I blame the seeing.

At least I saw the famous variable Mira (Omicron Ceti) and it's optical double nearby (2 arcminutes to north  east) . The literature says that Mira itself is a very close, very unequal double with separation only .5'' currently. Well beyond my sky and telescopes. Still it was nice to be out.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Currently staying in Derbyshire for a few weeks and have brought my ZS73. Tonight was the first night I've had chance to observe, although there were quite a few patches of cloud every so often, so not perfect conditions. Although the skies are darker than at home (Bortle 5 in instead of Bortle 8 ) there was some lightness to the sky which I think was due to wispy clouds being lit up by local LP.

I usually like to start with a good showpiece to 'calibrate' as it were, and so M45 was the first object. After a while, I moved to another favourite showpiece - the double cluster.

Next up were NGC654, NGC659 and NGC663 which were not the most comfortable viewing due to their position nearer the zenith, but enjoyable nonetheless.

Finally M36, M37 and M38. The first two are new targets for me, and normally M38 can be a bit challenging from my Bortle 8 location so expected to show a bit more from here. Certainly a bit more visible, but I will try to return to them again when there is no intermittent cloud.

 

Edited by badhex
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

16 hours ago, John said:

I'm happy to add a short report to this thread :smiley:

This evening I have been using my 100mm refractor, initially on Saturn and then on Jupiter to watch most of the Io shadow transit and the moons emergence from the limb of the disk after it's own transit. The seeing was a bit mediocre but there were some good moments.

I've then had a look at some of my favourite double stars of this season. The seeing prevented the views being the highest quality but still it was enjoyable.

I had a look at Uranus which showed a nice grey-green disk at 300x but the 100mm aperture was not capable of showing any of it's moons tonight.

Despite rather milky transparency Messier 81 and 82 showed quite nicely with good contrast.

I then spent around 45 minutes trying to see comet 29/P Schwassmann–Wachmann in Auriga. It is listed at magnitude 10.6 currently but despite using a range of magnifications from 40x to 150x I could not see anything convincing despite checking it's position with 3 reliable sources. Maybe the transparency was just not good enough or the comet is very small indeed or perhaps fainter than the reported magnitude. Still, you can't win them all !

As a consolation I had a nice browse around the open clusters in and around Auriga.

The scope is still out so I may have some more to come.

Interesting to think that my last observing session (3 nights ago) was with a 450mm aperture scope compared to the 100mm this evening :smiley:

To @Ags, I think all reports are worth posting and reading but a thread like this might encourage more folks to add their observing experiences so it is nice to have an alternative way to do this. Good idea :thumbright:

 

 

+1 excellent idea! 

 

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had a look around Aries tonight, a constellation I have never explored. I could make out Hamal and Sheratan, so I looked at some nearby doubles with the help of my book, Discovering Double Stars. I may be biased but I find it very helpful!

Lambda Ari is an ok double 2 degrees west of Hamal. It's a bit wide for my liking. I didn't see the yellow of the primary, but the secondary is quite blue.

1 Ari is just short of 2 degrees north west of Sheratan. At less than 3" of separation, it was just split at 78x. 

Gamma Ari was last and best. A pair of perfectly equal brilliant white stars with just the right separation. A double I will come back to.

Swapped eyepieces in the ZS66 to my ES 20mm 68° for some widefield views.

Did an obligatory sweep for M33. Nothing. 

Up to M31 - lovely view in context with many stars.

Over to the Pleiades. For the first time ever, it actually looks beautiful in the eyepiece. Most star cluster sparkle and twinkle, but the Pleiades have just previously looked like a bunch of bright dots. I had hoped combining this eyepiece and telescope would produce a beautiful view, and it did!

Edited by Ags
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

59 minutes ago, Ags said:

Did an obligatory sweep for M33. Nothing.

Although obviously I have my fingers crossed for you eventually finding and observing M33, I have to say I respect your longanimity and increasing indifference to *not* finding it 😂

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Ags said:

Over to the Pleiades. For the first time ever, it actually looks beautiful in the eyepiece. Most star cluster sparkle and twinkle, but the Pleiades have just previously looked like a bunch of bright dots. I had hoped combining this eyepiece and telescope would produce a beautiful view, and it did!

Oh and, M45 in my ZS73 with the 17.5mm Morpheus will no doubt be a very similar experience to your ZS66 / ES 20mm - it's one of my favourite sights and truly wonderful - glad you enjoyed it! 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, badhex said:

Although obviously I have my fingers crossed for you eventually finding and observing M33, I have to say I respect your longanimity and increasing indifference to *not* finding it 😂

Longanimity ! What a great word, thank you, I'm tucking it away for future use 🙂 I've never come across it before , but the context and obvious derivation meant the meaning  was clear. Turns out the probable reason it was unknown to me was because it appears to be a word more common in Catholic cultures, one source I read said :

" Longanimity originated in the early to mid-1400s, derived from the Late Latin longanimis, which means patient. The Latin longus, means long, and animus, means soul.             With roots in Catholicism, it serves as one of the twelve fruits of the Holy Spirit "

Heather

 

 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, badhex said:

I respect your longanimity

I am just practicing for the night when there's a power cut and the night will turn from murky orange to sparkling black... one day it will happen. 😀

It happened once when I lived in Wales, and I had an astrophoto-quality binocular view of M31.

Edited by Ags
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This was last night...

A nice view of the moon 🌙 and Jupiter setting from the loft. Also Orion and the winter circle rising. The seeing was not great but the stratus clouds held off for a couple of hours. 

First light for my Pentax DA* 11-18mm 2.8 which arrived yesterday. 

 

Edited by scotty1
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.