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What did you see tonight?


Ags
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The Moon is way too bright tonight for me, and dominating the section of sky I have access to, so I had a quick look at the Moon and packed up. At least the Moon let me confirm I can reach infinity focus with the the SLV 6 and NPL 20 in the Q Turret, but not with the NPL 30. I then realized that being shortsighted, I could simply put my glasses on - focus reached in all three eyepieces! Moon looked good. I was particularly struck by one large crater on the terminator in the south with high walls and a large central peak - the peak was casting a shadow not only along the ground, but up the crater wall facing the Sun.

Edited by Ags
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I have my 200mm F/6 newtonian out currently. I've put a new Rigel Quikfinder on it and so far aligning that with the 9x50 RACI plus having supper is all that has been achieved.

I have had quick looks at Polaris, Gamma Andromedae and Iota Cassiopeia so far to check the finder alignment, which seems OK.

Might get some more observing in later if some clear sky is available.

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I’ve had a great 3 hours under a clear and reasonably steady sky. The moon was out so I used the 100ED and doubles were the target. 6 Trianguli and Pi Andromedae were the highlights but Jupiter looked really nice, especially with the Baader contrast booster where more bands on the planet revealed themselves. Unfortunately the planet sinks behind some trees for me as the shadow transit of Io begins.

 I did bag quite a few doubles for the first time but I have to pack up for work tomorrow 😢 hopefully I’ll get a full report in tomorrow 

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3 hours ago, Ags said:

I was particularly struck by one large crater on the terminator in the south with high walls and a large central peak - the peak was casting a shadow not only along the ground, but up the crater wall facing the Sun.

Sounds like it was Petavius, was this it?

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First proper night in a month, damn weather! Went out early with the binos but a great wedge of cloud wandered over and I came in for Dr Who. Clear again after that and promising so the 150PL came out first.

Since a lot has come back into view, I visited some old/returning favourites. Started on Jupiter since it would soon be gone over the neighbour's rooftop. Seeing was fairly steady but a haze kept detail low, not an exciting view but hey, better than nothing.

Had a while on the Owl/ET cluster, Pleiades (which don't quite fit the max FOV) & Hyades (ditto). Almach was looking good and I just managed to see Andromeda's core, despite the bright moon and haze. I had a look at Albireo before it went over my rooftop, interesting how similar to Almach it appears, visually, although it splits at much lower mag. Split Castor despite it being relatively low, not very cleanly though at x75.

The moon being higher by now and very bright, I popped the variable polariser in and spent some time on it. It looked very steady and, as per @Ags above, Petavius was fascinating.

Next came Orion, nice to see it accessible at a sane hour! The nebula is something I never tire of. I did notice the haze meant I only got three stars in the trapezium with the fourth appearing/disappearing. Popped in a UHC and the nebulosity came out better, despite the hazy conditions.

Last was to swap out to the Heritage 150 and compare on the Orion nebula, just for fun. The view I got seemed exactly the same (different EPs, of course) but I've never tried the Heritage on the Altair Sabre before, so I did learn that it plays very nicely.

Came in at a quarter to midnight, very cold (quite a frost on the shed) but very happy after a month being clouded out!

Edited by wulfrun
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80mm ED for me last night. Plan to drag the dob out tonight if I can be bothered and the clouds aren’t too heavy although I’ve pretty much deciding I’m buying a 5inch doublet to replace it for home use. 
 

lots of time on the moon then did Rigel, Polaris and a few easy doubles. Then had a go with 30mm UFF on Pleiades then had a pop at orions nebula which was just about naked eye visible despite a nearly full moon nearby and looked fairly good even in a 3” scope with no filter on. Great seeing for me last night though and not a cloud in the sky. Didn’t even mind the full moon as I was using a small frac. Wanted to try for Uranus but it’s in no mans land a bit so I was having a hard time hoping to it and gave up a little after midnight as I couldn’t bare the cold any longer. 
 

Oh and I did the winter triangle stars too just because. First time I’ve looked at Orion since last winter. My garden faces south and this was first session out in the front in ages. Obviously Sirius is too low and Procyon isn’t getting separated with an 80mm and Betelgeuse is fairly uninteresting but thought I’d have a look anyway as it’s been a while. Nice to see Venus too although that’s setting before I’m home this week and it’s extremely low.

Edited by Sargares
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Venus, Saturn and Jupiter, so far, with 11x70 binoculars.

Hoping to help some others see some stuff later this evening at a society outreach observing event :icon_biggrin:

Edited by John
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Tonight I saw a confounding peculiarity. My Zenithstar was bringing stars to focus not as a dot but as a sharp blue line forming a cross with a sharp red line. What is the meaning of this annoyance? It wasn't the eyepiece (an excellent SLV 6) as the same sight was revealed in my ES 6.7 too. My working theory is that the telescope was too cold and the the lens cell got pinched. I put it out to cool down at sunset, on the basis that I've always owned Maks and SCTs and three hours of cooling is what you do. It's a relatively mild 3°C tonight so not that cold surely. The scope is indoors warming up for a test session later. Never seen this effect before... 

Hopefully it is just my Mak-based cooldown routine. I can switch to a no-cooldown routine instead I think given the aperture is just 66 mm and the light isn't folded threefold through the tube.

On a more cheerful note, I was wearing my distance vision glasses, and the Moon looked spectacularly sharp (no telescope).

Edited by Ags
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Working away from home in the Cotswolds this week so just have the modded DSLR on a staradventurer with the Samyang 135 mm. Taking a punt on the Cocoon Nebula as it is well away from the Moon and shielded by a building. Forgot to pack the power extension lead so cold killed the batteries. Buying an extension pack for tonight!

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Great red spot on Jupiter at about 7pm. High clouds but excellent seeing tonight. Had a look at Neptune just now. There is 12 magnitude star close to it which I confused with Triton until I consulted its position in Stellarium. 

And I split Delta3 Tauri. It's easy to find in the Hyades and is quite a tough double. Separation is 1.8'' but with more than 3 magnitudes of difference in brightness needs excellent seeing.

 

 

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10 hours ago, Ags said:

My working theory is that the telescope was too cold and the the lens cell got pinched. I put it out to cool down at sunset

The ZS66 was sufficiently warmed up after an hour so I took it out for a star test. Aside from a loss of sharpness from tube currents, the blue-red cross was still there. Out of focus, the rising tube currents looked like a lava lamp! So cool down is definitely needed, even for small fracs.

After 15 minutes of re-cooling, the blue-red cross was confirmed, and clearly not related to scope temperature. After a brainwave, I removed the Baader Q Turret and used the eyepiece directly in the diagonal.  Red-blue cross gone, point-like stars restored. That's a shame, I quite like the concept of the Q Turret, and the better turrets are a bit spendy...

Edited by Ags
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Only Jupiter last night. A lot of moisture in the air so not optimal observing conditions. As described in another thread the primary objective was to test the recently acquired Baader Classic Ortho 6mm vs the Skywatcher Planetary 6mm. The BCO won outright for clarity. The eye relief is very tight but not observing with glasses, that's fine.

Bacon ribs, buttery mash and cabbage was calling, so the mount was repositioned for a post tea session, however on my return the clouds were rolling in. 🙄

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Jupiter through thin cloud this evening with my 100mm refractor at 180x. Quite nice feature contrast, GRS on the other side though. Callisto and Ganymede are close to each other in the sky and the difference in the apparent diameter of their disks is quite obvious visually.

Probably all the observing I'll get looking at the rest of the sky but every little helps :icon_biggrin:

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I got my grab&go set-up out yesterday evening mainly to have a quick look at Venus bright and low over the Western horizon. Its phase is starting to look great, even though my view in that direction is obscured by a couple of small Sycamores. Thankfully without leaves now though. My G&G set-up is a Kowa 88mm spotting scope, yesterday with an Ethos 4.7mm eyepiece giving me about 109x.

Venus done, I swapped in the native Kowa 17mm wide eyepiece for 30x and quickly before going out for dinner took in the Pleiades, most of Andromeda: I still couldn't get everything in even with 2.4 degrees FoV. M32 and M110 were also nicely on view. I looked for the Veil (no filter and Moon starting to rise) in vain, and finished off with Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee (aka NGC6633 and Graff’s Cluster) SW of Tarazed and Altair.

I have the Skymax180 out cooling, to go on my slightly-more-than-grab&go Ayo2 but it's suddenly become very windy outside so it might have to come back in again.

Magnus

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A rare clear night tonight - but still with a bright moon. I thought I'd try some double stars, but with the Jetstream forecast to be thundering overhead tonight, I wasn't too hopeful.

Stars at high magnification were just round blobs, so nothing too tight:

Struve401 - Taurus' "double-double".  6 Trianguli - another mini Albireo (split at x75). Pi Andromedae - easy split.

Rigel - managed to see Rigel B. Even with Rigel A looking like a disco ball, B was shining clear at x100, but vanishing into the glare at x75.

The Trapezium in Orion. Only A, B, C and D visible. Just blobs, not the usual sharp pinpricks.

Sigma Orionis - All 4 stars visible. The dimmest, 'C', only with averted vision.

Alnitak - nope!

 

The moon was well up by now, so decided to cut my losses and have a look, but even this was 'boiling', so decided to call it a night.

Still - nice to have a clear night for a change.

 

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Last evening there was a very brief clear spell around 7pm and I managed to observe Jupiter and Saturn with quite good seeing at x180. The Cassini division was easily visible on Saturn as well as banding on the planet and several moons: Titan, Rhea, Dione and Tethys. On Jupiter both NEB and SEB were prominent and several white zones. Two of the moons were very close together as @John said, very noticeable difference in sizes between them.

I had hopes for more observing after dinnner but clouds had covered the sky by 8pm. 

Edited by Nik271
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This evening, another 20 minutes or so observing Jupiter while supper cooked. After supper, it has clouded over. This is turning into a pattern lately :rolleyes2:

It is just as well that the 100mm refractor hardly needs any cool down time.

 

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For the first time ever, I've just managed to clock the ISS going over (well, OK, an hour ago!). Spotted it by chance, had time to grab the binos and follow it. Blimey it's bright! Faded to yellow then red then suddenly gone as it went past about 40 degrees up in the easterly direction. Might even get the next pass!

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