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What did you see tonight?


Ags
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Slightly disappointing night here in Southampton.

Camped outside on a couple of air beds with my daughter. No tent necessary, although there was a bit of dew.

I was up at 2:30am. The low moon looked stunning and Saturn, Jupiter and Mars possible later on. Seeing looked good however transparency was poor. Although I couldn’t see anything it was if there was some high thin cloud which washed out gas giants. I saw this morning that someone mentioned the return of  Sahara dust. Possible I guess but my bet is thin high cloud.

Got my daughter up who obviously wasn’t quite herself. So after a quick look at the moon, Saturn & Jupiter she went back to bed.

As the sun came up I was entertained by bats flitting around the trees, the dawn chorus and a couple of foxes. 

In the morning my daughter had a bad sore throat. Gave her a COVID test which fortunately turned out negative. 

Still, not all bad and it’s early days!
 

 

Edited by PeterStudz
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Got up at 2.30 this morning to look at the planets. The seeing was better than average. Jupiter had the GRS on display, as well as some detail in the equatorial belts. Mars is still tiny, but the polar cap and some dark regions were definitely visible. Around 4am the daylight started to become too bright and washed out some of the detail and I went back to sleep... In hindsight - it was worth doing this as it was an extremely comfortable session at 24deg!

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First observing session in a month due to extensive clouds and rain. Focused on Scorpius and observed:

M4 : Nicely resolved with the central bar showing nicely.

NGC 6441. This is a charming globular cluster, located close to an orange 3rd magnitude star. A beautiful sight with the two together.

Antares: Had my best ever split of this double star, using 300x the faint green primary shimmered next to blazing orange Antares. One of the sights of the night!

M7: Majestic open cluster, its main stars looking an outstanding blue colour.

M80: Tight globular, not a hint of resolution thought.

NGC 6302: Bug Nebula. Outstanding planetary nebula, looks more like a distant galaxy than a planetary! Bright and shaped like a squashed bug.

NGC 6231: one of my favourite open clusters. Rich and bright. Reminds me of a bunch of grapes!

NGC 6124. Another of my favs, large but rich scattering of stars in this open cluster.

As is the season here, clouds and rain swept up at a moment's notice, ending my session. It was great to finally get some starlight !

Joe

Edited by Epick Crom
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Clear night last night/early morning today  so nice opportunity to try some more deep sky with the Celestron Dob - as challenging as that can be with the limited darkness in June. 

Started out in the constellation of Ophiuchus, a patch of sky I haven’t explored before. With the Push To assistance on hand it was still useful to be able to anchor myself around Cebalrai to get my bearings as I moved around the sky. 

First target IC4665 - a pleasant open cluster that presented a sprinkling of blue/white stars well in the 25mm Xcel. 

I then attempted globular NGC6426, a challenging target I failed to spot even assisted by the StarSense system unfortunately- I don’t think the overall conditions - (not ideal seeing and extended twilight) were helping here!

I was able to spot the very famous Barnard’s Star though (HIP IC4665) shining brightly at a mere 6 ly away. 

I then attempted globular M14 just a nudge SW of of Cebalrai, and duly  located I really couldn’t see much if any structure in what is clearly a large apparent target in the eyepiece. Moving in with a 12mm eyepiece I could just about see some granularity but couldn’t resolve any stars, even on the outer edge and essentially presented as a fairly amorphous blob. Still intriguing to know what this fuzzy patch actually is though, even with no detail to discern. 

To finish on a high or three, I quickly swung around to M3 for a good look at a globular that resolves brilliantly with a 250mm scope (interestingly at this point around midnight, I noticed how dewed up the Starpointer pro finder had become - to see the dual circles properly against the semi dark sky I really had to ramp up the brightness).

I then decided somewhat randomly that M57 the Ring Nebula would be worth a look. It really didn’t disappoint - particularly with the 12mm eyepiece and a Baader OIII filter. The ghostly well defined planetary nebula looked superb without the filter, but the background darkening and contrast boosting effect of the OIII really made the target pop. Lovely to see this again after about a year or so. 

Getting late I finished with M13, always a brilliant target to end with before packing up. I’d set out to stay up to catch the dawn planets, but getting past 1am I was tired and knew I’d be up early for Father’s Day, so called it a day there. An excellent, relaxing observing session. 

Edited by Astro_Dad
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I tried splitting the Double Double with my Zenithstar 66, again. It was a nice wide white double at 29x, while both pairs started showing elongation at 79x. I tried barlowing to 158x, but the barlow is decentered and is going in the bin. However my 4.9 mm accepts a tuning ring giving a 1.6 boost to magnification, so I added that for 127x. Finally got a clear split of the wider pair, but not the closer one. I noticed the stars were yellowing at this magnification, so clearly chromatic aberration was starting to be a factor at that mag. I haven't noticed CA with this scope before...

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FOUR FURTHER DOUBLES IN BOOTES, + Some Clusters

10.15 Monday – still, mild, clear – 8SE Cat + Focal Reducer + 1.25” Diagonal – Arcturus just visible, aligned on that.

Σ1910 – 7th mag pair, 3.9 arcsec – only appeared at 10.40 - found via SAO120847 (which was orange) – after x36, I used the zoom and got the split at x160 – very clear, matched, sec at 7 o’clock.

Σ1879 - 7th & 8th mags, 1.72 arcsec (2022 figure) – think I got the split at x191, but it was clear at x213, mismatched, sec at 2 o’clock, coming and going with seeing. At x256 it was very clear, and pleasingly, the stars were still sharp.

Σ1838 – another 7th mag pair, 9.4 arcsec – lovely at x36, matched, close but clearly split, sec at 10 o’clock.

Σ1843 - 7th & 9th mags, a wide 20 arcsec – in a sparse field, some other stars – very easy at x36, with the fainter sec at 4 o’clock, and directly above the primary was a star which matched the sec and was at about three times the separation from the primary. (Not part of the system, but it made for a very pleasing sight.)

M3 Glob (Cvn) – small fuzzy patch at x36, bigger fuzzy patch x107 and x145. At x191, peripheral stars were resolved. Better still at x213, 256.

IC4665 Summer Beehive Cluster (Oph) – a fine sight, with many fairly bright stars, generally matched, and not dense. It filled the 1.43deg FOV. A clear “HI” pattern is often observed, but this time I was struck by a wide “M” shape of stars. Depends on viewing position I suppose.

I finished after 1hr 40min. First decent session in quite a while!

Doug.

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20th June into 21st early morning. 
Celestron 10” Dob. 25mm X-cel and 15mm BST Starguider. (Also 32mm GSO Plossl). 
Clear warm evening , clearly limited by extended twilight, seeing was good by my estimation. Observed a fairly eclectic mix…


First observation of M11 (Wild Duck Cluster) in Scutum-  indeed very globular like as the books and guides note, but actually a very striking open star cluster. Obvious cube-like central region. Stunning view. 
 

M39 loose open star cluster - covers a large area in the eyepiece. I attempted to view this through my 32 mm Plossl to gain a wider field perspective, looked good, very attractive scattering of blue/white looking stars - exit pupil creeping up for me here (6.8) so may be having effect of stopping down the aperture slightly? (though not sure how much less than 7mm my pupil dilation is, not that it matters particularly). 
 

M5 - another stunning globular I haven’t observed for about a year or so. Lots of structural detail and stars resolved, though not as bright or clear as M3
 

Coathanger asterism  (part of Collinder 399) within the Summer Triangle. 

M3M13, Albireo and a very nice view of Arcturus - I was able to follow its drift Westwards low in the sky just above some hills in the distance. Attempted but failed to find M4

Finished at around 01.30, definitely enjoying the warmer night time observing again, despite the obvious challenges in June! 

 

Edited by Astro_Dad
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19 minutes ago, Astro_Dad said:

20th June into 21st early morning. 
Celestron 10” Dob. 25mm X-cel and 15mm BST Starguider. (Also 32mm GSO Plossl). 
Clear warm evening , clearly limited by extended twilight, seeing was good by my estimation. Observed a fairly eclectic mix…


First observation of M11 (Wild Duck Cluster) in Scutum-  indeed very globular like as the books and guides note, but actually a very striking open star cluster. Obvious cube-like central region. Stunning view. 
 

M39 loose open star cluster - covers a large area in the eyepiece. I attempted to view this through my 32 mm Plossl to gain a wider field perspective, looked good, very attractive scattering of blue/white looking stars - exit pupil creeping up for me here (6.8) so may be having effect of stopping down the aperture slightly but not sure how much less than 7 my pupil dilation is, not that it matters particularly. 
 

M5 - another stunning globular I haven’t observed for about a year or so. Lots of structural detail and stars resolved, though not as bright or clear as M3
 

Coathanger asterism  (part of Collinder 399) within the Summer Triangle. 

M3M13, Albireo and a very nice view of Arcturus - I was able to follow its drift Westwards low in the sky just above some hills in the distance. Attempted but failed to find M4

Finished at around 01.30, definitely enjoying Warner night time observing again, despite the obvious challenges in June! 

 

Nice write up , Andrew . The starsense dob is certainly doing a great job for you . 

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I was up at 230 to observe and image the planets and see the summer solstice sun rise. All planets were boiling in the dew but i could see some nice banding in Jupiter. Cassinini division was just about visible in Saturn. Mars only revelled its phase without much details. I was out until the sun came up. In my head this signifies that the days will be getting sorter from tomorrow and winter not far away 😢🌨️ but on the bright side I can soon start observing some nebulas.

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Much of this depends on what you expect to see and if you’ve seen it before, how new something is. Also an understanding of what you are seeing.

Using Mars as an example. I’d seen it as a boy with a small and cheap reflector that my parents bought me. Then it was never more than a tiny point of light. But I could tell it was a planet and not a star. That was in the late 1970’s and I’d never seen it more than that.

When I saw it in the 15th June I wasn’t even sure it would clear the trees before sunrise. If it did I thought I’d see no more than a very small blob with a phase, probably no detail at all. But it did clear the trees in time. And although small I could see a very obvious polar ice cap, plus a dark area. And if you think what you are seeing - an ice cap on another world from your back garden - it becomes a little more exciting. It will also be interesting to see how the planet changes over the coming months. 

Edited by PeterStudz
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Nice cloudless sky near me. Set up about 23:00 and got telrad/ finderscope/tube lined up with Vega. Had a nice view of Albireo (JUST visible with naked eye) then  down to Altair. To get to the dumbbell M27 I needed to find gamma sagittarius. Not visible with naked eye but found it with a a bit of tetrad hopping. A bit more tetrad hopping to 14 Vulpecula and just spotted a smudge in the eyepiece. Popped on a nebula filter and there it was - M27.

Waited/faffed a bit (nice view of Capella) then at 00:30 saw that Gamma Sag was now visible to the naked eye. So back to M27 which was now much more obvious. 

Given a clear night tonight, I might try to photograph M27 and Albireo (with camera, camera lens and star tracker).

I am fairly new to astronomy so was quite pleased to have seen M27.

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PeterStudz

How is your daughter ?

I wholeheartedly wish her a speedy recovery.

 

Monday I made observations with my astro-buddy Armand.

The location was Ceala Woods, close to our city. Close as it is , the sky there is much better than at home. With the naked eyes,  the Milky Way with the Great Rift was well visible, like Mel 111 cluster.

I  used my SW Classic 250 P Dobsonian while Armand brought his Omegon 8'' F/5 home-made Dobsonian and his tripod mounted Omegon 20x80mm binocular.

The summary of our observations : 14 globular clsuters+16 open clusters+38 galaxies+3 planetary nebulae+3 nebulae+5 double stars. 

The most interesting sight was the ugliest of all: the nearly invisible irregular galaxy IC 3583 of magnitude 13.3 which form the interacting ARP 76 pair with Messier 90.

The most beautiful sight was that of M101, an incredible, huge, bright vortex. There we spotted the 12.86mv star  AG+54939 just North of central bulge. Most of the time M101 is invisible from home.

A short description of our observations is uploaded on the site of our local astronomy club.

I am the guy with the hat.

Mircea

https://www.astroclubgalaxis.ro/2022/06/star-party-in-padurea-ceala-20-iunie.html
 

 

 

Regards, Mircea

Obs. 20.06.22.jpg

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Quick session, work night but can't let good skies go totally to waste. Beta Lyrae, Ring Nebula, down to Albireo, which is showing really strong colors tonight. Inched my way back to Lyra, matching the patterns to star charts and finally located M56 after years of trying - just a slight puff against the milky background. Over to M13 for a quick view.

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2 hours ago, Ags said:

Quick session, work night but can't let good skies go totally to waste. Beta Lyrae, Ring Nebula, down to Albireo, which is showing really strong colors tonight. Inched my way back to Lyra, matching the patterns to star charts and finally located M56 after years of trying - just a slight puff against the milky background. Over to M13 for a quick view.

Congratulations on finding M56! I like framing it at low power as it sits in a rich field.

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11 hours ago, Mircea said:

PeterStudz

How is your daughter ?

I wholeheartedly wish her a speedy recovery.

 

Thanks for asking. She had Monday & Tuesday off school but is fine now and back at school.

Nice report too. I’ve really got to make the effort and go somewhere darker. I don’t actually need to go that far. Although will leave it until the nights get a little longer.

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Spent last week in the Brandenburg forest and spent my time hunting out mostly clusters and the odd PN. Still haven't had chance to do a full write up but in the meantime, a list of targets observed over the course of the week - not a bad haul! 

M5
M10
M13
M14
M15
M27
M29
M39
M52
M56
M57
M71
M92
M103

NGC 659
NGC 663
NGC 869 / 884 Double cluster
NGC 6910
NGC 6934
NGC 7160
NGC 7142

IC 4665
Caldwell 19
Alpha vulpecula
Coathanger

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Agnes

Congratulation for observing M56 cluster !

 

Peter

Very good news ! I shiver when remember how bad it was in my case.

 

badhex

That is a very fine list, congratulation !

Which of your telescope was used ?

Which one of the list is your favorite object of the week ?

 

All

Don't forget about  comet C/2017  K2 crossing Ophiucus  in the corner of Beta Oph and visible even in binoculars.

Reformulate : don't forget like I did ...

 

Clear sky, Mircea

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Gas Giants - My first viewing of Saturn and Jupiter this year. Alarm set for 3am. 

03.10. 

Saturn against the pre dawn sky. Easily visible with naked eye, sharp and clear telescopically, (Heritage 150p, 8mm eyepiece, 93.75x ).

Very sharply defined viewing through the Heritage, and I think I could make out a small area of atmospheric detail on the disc (a slightly deeper yellow/brown marking). 

Interesting to see the change in the aspect of the rings in comparison to last year - now noticeably more edge on. 

Titan visible to the SE of the planet.  

At 03.50 Jupiter coming into view clear of trees. Two belts clearly visible plus 4 moons. 

Mars behind trees so no luck there, ended session at 4am!

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Also out for the parade of planets this morning.

A chance drink of water and a glance out of the window to see mainly clear skies about 03:15 ish triggered me to action and a short walk up to my local park with the binoculars.

The skies were clear except an arms length fistful of cloud low on the eastern horizon. Observed Jupiter and three moons (i think IO was a bit too snug into the planet to spot at just 15x in my bins). Mars was barely naked eye visible to the NE of Jupiter while Saturn was naked eye visible but only after finding it in the binoculars then know exactly where to look. A few minutes later and a slight walk further up into my local park to a higher vantage point and Venus was visible. I thought i would miss out on Mercury due to the cloud bank and growing brightness but finally i also had Mercury in the bino's. Mercury wasn't naked eye visible in the growing light even knowing where to look. A strange and lovely experience to spot all five in a sky with nothing else in it except the moon and Carrion Crows. 🙂

IMG_2878.thumb.jpeg.ae96b6af769253422707f89bde5b3f5e.jpeg

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5 hours ago, josefk said:

Also out for the parade of planets this morning.

A chance drink of water and a glance out of the window to see mainly clear skies about 03:15 ish triggered me to action and a short walk up to my local park with the binoculars.

The skies were clear except an arms length fistful of cloud low on the eastern horizon. Observed Jupiter and three moons (i think IO was a bit too snug into the planet to spot at just 15x in my bins). Mars was barely naked eye visible to the NE of Jupiter while Saturn was naked eye visible but only after finding it in the binoculars then know exactly where to look. A few minutes later and a slight walk further up into my local park to a higher vantage point and Venus was visible. I thought i would miss out on Mercury due to the cloud bank and growing brightness but finally i also had Mercury in the bino's. Mercury wasn't naked eye visible in the growing light even knowing where to look. A strange and lovely experience to spot all five in a sky with nothing else in it except the moon and Carrion Crows. 🙂

IMG_2878.thumb.jpeg.ae96b6af769253422707f89bde5b3f5e.jpeg

Well done @josefk this is what I’d set out to achieve but didn’t quite have the vantage point. Must have been quite a sight in the stillness of that time of day - great report! 

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Comet C / 2017 K2 PanSTARRS was my main target last night.

The transparency was bad, I tried to show that in my electronic drawing based on an screenshot from Aladin Lite / DSS2.

I used my SW Classic 250P Dobsonian telescope at 150x, around midnight local time.

The comet was seen as a shapeless, hazy patch, of not more than two minutes diameter, with a very feeble central condensation.

When the comet was not visible due to the clouds, I entertained myself by splitting show-piece doubles like Alpha Her, Lambda Oph, Delta Her and Izar.

Clear sky, Mircea

C 2017 K2.png

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Observed NGC 6309 aka the Box Nebula for the first time last night. Located in Ophiuchus, this planetary appeared like a double star at low power, with one "component" hazy. Higher magnification revealed the nebula as a light blue elongated glow with a star close to it. A beautiful pairing!

Joe

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