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What did you see tonight?


Ags
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So the seeing has really suffered with the jet stream tonight, and there seemed to be some patches of high cloud affecting the views.

Nothing would seem to take any kind of magnification. Doubles under 2" were far too jumpy to split. Jupiter and Saturn were OK at low mags, but showed very little detail. Open clusters at low powers were unaffected, so I stuck to them. The double cluster was nicely framed in the 24mm UFF and contrast was not too bad. IC4756 in Serpens was also very pleasant. M39, NGC7209 and Stock 2 were also decent in the UFF, but the very loose Collinder 463 was less inspiring. The Wild Duck benefitted from a bit more magnification, being so small.

The 30mm NPL also gave very respectable views, though with less contrast at its lower mag. Even my cheap Svbony 23mm aspheric performed very well (admittedly at F12+), with good colour rendering, sharp stars and no soft edges.

It looks like we might get a couple more clear nights, with the jet stream moving off to the East and the moon rising later, so I may manage to improve on tonight.

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As reported above - both seeing and transparency not great here so had a quick peek at Saturn & Jupiter, nice-ish views in the 18mm BCO & Mak127 at 83x but that was about the maximum usable magnification tonight.
Had an enjoyable meander around Almach, the Owl cluster, some Cass doubles, Pleiades, M31 then a wobbly moon and Mars, not really stable enough to definitely tease out any features. 
Good to be out though… 

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An hour... lol Didn't realise it was 2:30! Time for bed. A great few hours studying Jupiter in detail and watching the transit. Amazing how much it moved across the disc in so short a time.

Also a great opportunity to compare eyepieces. The LVW 5mm, SLV 5mm and 12.5mm ortho + Powermate all give x143. Verdict? They are all remarkable similar. The ortho was the most comfortable to use, and for some reason I preferred the view. 
The 9mm ortho + Powermate at x198 gave the most detail, just edging out the 4mm SLV at x179. It was a tad darker but very clean looking.
The LVW, having a wider field of view, showed all the moons plus a few stars. Nice.
I could be happy with with any of them if I had to have only one :smile:

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Mainly Jupiter tonight- watched as Io melded into the disk chasing its shadow, followed its creamy dot very clear at first against the cooler white of Jupiter, lost it after looking at the moon for a bit, followed the shadow on and off as GRS slowly appeared then lost the shadow until I found it again stretched and about to leave the other limb, then found Io again this time cooler white than the disk, and watched it pimple off the limb. Seeing started not bad but got better and it was one of those where if you give the view time it pops into sharp contrast and focus- sometimes exquisitely with patience. Pentax XF8.5 seemed to hit the sweet spot in the 150p- it is very sharp and contrasty in the middle field and the GRS orangey pink popped more with it than other eps. Lovely to be out again after what seems like weeks of clouds but it is getting cold!

Mark

Edited by markse68
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Hi all,

I'm new to this forum but wanted to ask if anyone else had witnessed between 03:30 - 03:45 (I didn't note the exact time) an unusual bright looking star, get brighter and slightly bigger, nearly matching jupiter in brightness tonight and then fade out to nothing, between Phecda and Merak in the Ursa Major constellation approximately aroind the location of HD 99489.

Appologies if I sound like a crank, just want to know I'm not going mad as I'm at work and can't get to my telescope to look before dawn arrives.

 

Cheers, Mark

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3 hours ago, markse68 said:

Mainly Jupiter tonight- watched as Io melded into the disk chasing its shadow, followed its creamy dot very clear at first against the cooler white of Jupiter, lost it after looking at the moon for a bit, followed the shadow on and off as GRS slowly appeared then lost the shadow until I found it again stretched and about to leave the other limb, then found Io again this time cooler white than the disk, and watched it pimple off the limb. Seeing started not bad but got better and it was one of those where if you give the view time it pops into sharp contrast and focus- sometimes exquisitely with patience. Pentax XF8.5 seemed to hit the sweet spot in the 150p- it is very sharp and contrasty in the middle field and the GRS orangey pink popped more with it than other eps. Lovely to be out again after what seems like weeks of clouds but it is getting cold!

Mark

I also watched Io emerge, although missed the shadow transit. Seeing was below average for me, the GRS was very indistinct, wasn't even sure it was the GRS for a while. And yes, definitely starting to get chilly now!

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3 hours ago, Mark_Collins said:

Hi all,

I'm new to this forum but wanted to ask if anyone else had witnessed between 03:30 - 03:45 (I didn't note the exact time) an unusual bright looking star, get brighter and slightly bigger, nearly matching jupiter in brightness tonight and then fade out to nothing, between Phecda and Merak in the Ursa Major constellation approximately aroind the location of HD 99489.

Appologies if I sound like a crank, just want to know I'm not going mad as I'm at work and can't get to my telescope to look before dawn arrives.

 

Cheers, Mark

Welcome to the forum Mark. Whereabouts are you in the world?

I suspect what you saw was likely a flare from a piece of space junk perhaps? Was it static or moving? How long did it take to brighten then dim again? The only other possibility is a head on meteor I guess.

It’s often hard to pin these things down to something specific, though one thing it won’t be is any kind of deep space event eg Super Nova, they happen over a much longer time period and we would know about it from reports from all over the world most likely!

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3 hours ago, Mark_Collins said:

Hi all,

I'm new to this forum but wanted to ask if anyone else had witnessed between 03:30 - 03:45 (I didn't note the exact time) an unusual bright looking star, get brighter and slightly bigger, nearly matching jupiter in brightness tonight and then fade out to nothing, between Phecda and Merak in the Ursa Major constellation approximately aroind the location of HD 99489.

Appologies if I sound like a crank, just want to know I'm not going mad as I'm at work and can't get to my telescope to look before dawn arrives.

 

Cheers, Mark

At approx 3:30 there was a satellite passing close in that area, so most likely catching the sun on it, or a flare perhaps from it perhaps.

 F5A3F925-6ED1-4B51-921B-D9A3A6D25A8B.thumb.png.991f94efc474ef05081e39a9c16ec9cb.png

Edited by Knighty2112
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Unfortunately, I didn't get out last night after having been up all the previous night with a sick child so I was just too tired :(  At 10:30 the sky was covered in a mass of contrails.  I woke up once at 4am and stepped outside - the sky looked very transparent and Orion now visible, even with the Moon high up shining brightly, M42 was easily visible naked eye.  Orion should be perfectly positioned next month to make an attempt on the HH around 4am with a bit of luck...

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First night out this week , after having flu or worse , a bit chilly as there was a keen  northerly breeze but it was worth it . Set up the nexstar 8se but on the Evolution mount . Starsense auto align did it's thing ( what a fantastic bit of kit ) and I saw M27:for the first time. Then onto M57;. Both Saturn and Jupiter were "above " the fence but I wasn't all that impressed . Maybe because they were not that high at the time I was observing , however , Neptune ,being just a small blue disc always fascinates me . Onto M31 for the staple views , and then onto M13 . Wow ! It was my view of the night , masses of tightly knit stars which demands to be photographed next time . Decided to pack up at around 11:30 due to  a combination of being cold and the early trip planned for an appointment of fear at the garage for the annual fleecing of the wallet , ie MOT ;/ 

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Got up at 2.30 for another look at Jupiter. Wow - what a change to earlier. Seeing was around 7-8/10 I would say. I was able to observe the last hour of Io’s transit and the GRS. Clear details around the GRS and the equatorial bands. Io visible as flashlight in front if grey-ish Jupiter! I used up to 335x with binoviewers in the C8.

Then a quick look at Mars and it was showing the polar cap clearly, as well as dark surface features. Still tiny though…

back to bed at 4am

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My First Govian moon transit!

16/17 Sept 

Excellent here in N Yorkshire last night with clear skies and very steady seeing. The StarSense Explorer 10” Dob was out cooling nice and early, with the intention to focus on Jupiter plus a few DSO’s. 

Jupiter revealed lots of surface detail, I found the power could be ramped up pretty high (compared to some nights recently) without any image degradation (I was using the zoom eyepiece mainly to try a range of views). 

The highlight was undoubtedly the Io shadow transit - my first such observation! 😀 Fascinating to watch the moon approach the outer limb of Jupiter and then follow the shadow moving relatively swiftly across the Jovian disc from around 1am to just after 01.30. A very memorable night of astronomy for me.  

Last night was also first light with my new ZWOASI224, probably a little ambitious in trying to capture some Jupiter footage as I had a few technical glitches along the way, but will report on that elsewhere… 

Also viewed Neptune - opposition for this planet and nice to appreciate its blue/green disc standing out clearly at high power (200x plus). 

Then took in globular clusters M15 (Pegasus /Equuleus border) and M2 (Aquarius). M15 (Class IV) noticeably less concentrated than M2 (Class II) but both showing lots of granularity and was able to partially resolve  stars at least part of the way towards the core on both. Nice to revisit M2 after a brief look at this target through the six inch Newt earlier in the week. 

The observation side of last night was much more fun than fiddling with cameras, laptops and everything else but we’ll see what the processing brings out later!

Edited by Astro_Dad
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Respect to all who manage such late nights or early mornings.

I observed between 8.30 and 11.30 but as others have said, it was challenging with the jet stream, 
but with many careful targets had a great time.

Jupiter was not in the best location for me at that time, but in the good moments was amazing for the conditions.

More nights with a more stable atmosphere ahead I hope.

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2 hours ago, Stu said:

Welcome to the forum Mark. Whereabouts are you in the world?

I suspect what you saw was likely a flare from a piece of space junk perhaps? Was it static or moving? How long did it take to brighten then dim again? The only other possibility is a head on meteor I guess.

It’s often hard to pin these things down to something specific, though one thing it won’t be is any kind of deep space event eg Super Nova, they happen over a much longer time period and we would know about it from reports from all over the world most likely!

Hi Stu,

Many thanks for the welcome. I live in Selby, UK. I was travelling North on the A1 towards the Harrogate junction when I saw the 'event' happen. I wasn't expecting it to be a supernova or anything deep space as you rightly advise, it was just pretty exciting to witness it.

The light observed appeared stationary around the location of HD 99489 however, I was not stationary so can't 100% confirm that. The light started looking like a normal star, in the sky to the naked eye, then started to brighten and intensify to the point it looked as bright and as large as Jupiter was to the naked eye last night. Then it faded very quickly to a small dull dot for a longer time than it was bright and then disappeared, I couldn't see it again after that. This all happened over a span of about 5-6 seconds. Seemed like I was frozen in the moment at the time tho. It was unexpected as I was just looking at my favourite constellation and there was this anomaly happening that I could see. It reinforced why I love looking up.

 

Maybe it was just the flash on the google maps satellites camera....🤔

Cheers, Mark

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Like many last night, I spent the early hours watching the start of the shadow transit of Io. It was great to see the shadow and the actual moon so close together. I recon the distance between the 2 was about 2x the diameter of Io. My favourite view was with the shadow and the moon equally distanced either side of the limb edge.

Followed Io as it crossed the Jovian disk and could see it easily at first but slowly it became harder to observe and then only visible at moments of clearer seeing. I didn't hang around for better seeing as the wind picked up and the temperature dropped around 2am and I packed up.

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2 hours ago, Knighty2112 said:

At approx 3:30 there was a satellite passing close in that area, so most likely catching the sun on it, or a flare perhaps from it perhaps.

 F5A3F925-6ED1-4B51-921B-D9A3A6D25A8B.thumb.png.991f94efc474ef05081e39a9c16ec9cb.png

Hi Knighty,

That would make perfect sense, many thanks for taking the time to look that up. It was very interesting to see as I've never witnessed anything like it before. I mean that is almost exacly where the observation seemed to be and at the right time. Although I was moving at the time driving so couldn't remain fixed on it. I wish I could have gotten it on camera. It really fascinates up there.

Many thanks, Mark

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53 minutes ago, Mark_Collins said:

Hi Stu,

Many thanks for the welcome. I live in Selby, UK. I was travelling North on the A1 towards the Harrogate junction when I saw the 'event' happen. I wasn't expecting it to be a supernova or anything deep space as you rightly advise, it was just pretty exciting to witness it.

The light observed appeared stationary around the location of HD 99489 however, I was not stationary so can't 100% confirm that. The light started looking like a normal star, in the sky to the naked eye, then started to brighten and intensify to the point it looked as bright and as large as Jupiter was to the naked eye last night. Then it faded very quickly to a small dull dot for a longer time than it was bright and then disappeared, I couldn't see it again after that. This all happened over a span of about 5-6 seconds. Seemed like I was frozen in the moment at the time tho. It was unexpected as I was just looking at my favourite constellation and there was this anomaly happening that I could see. It reinforced why I love looking up.

 

Maybe it was just the flash on the google maps satellites camera....🤔

Cheers, Mark

It does sound like a satellite flare, they are short lived and can be very bright. There used to be regular and predictable flares from the Iridium constellation of satellites which could be up to mag -8 I seem to remember, but they have all de-orbited now and been replaced by others which don’t catch the Sun in the same way, they have much smaller antennae. Still, you will see random flares every now and then, always good to catch. The ISS is also very bright when it passes away overhead.

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17/09

Quite a lot of cloud about last night so not a long session but managed a brief look at Jupiter. 

Aiming to catch the GRS transit visually at 11.18pm. 

Heritage 150p Virtuoso in tracking mode on Jupiter for a good half hour with and without 80A filter, various powers. Lots of detail intermittently but the planet “boiling” at times so more limited than previous night. Still an enjoyable short session. 

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Many targets last night. One of which jupiter with a nicely placed GRS. Must admit that my eyepiece train got a little ridiculous…. ED249EB3-C533-44AE-A508-55472149EBF9.thumb.jpeg.6d8c4b13910b8e70b6bef26a38453ab5.jpeg

 

Also saw a very interesting break in the clouds, with a ribcage running through it. F25F476E-77A1-4A3C-8F1C-E022FECC0FAC.thumb.jpeg.af8504019c33b7ab3d6682667ea827a5.jpeg

Edited by sorrimen
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First view of Mars at 5:30am this morning.
Was a little underwhelmed, I have to say! but the seeing was pretty bad so much wobble. Although, I was just about able to make out the dark shape in the middle of Mars. 
Jupiter was okay, I kept swithing between the two. My eyes adjusted and seemed to improve a little more of the blured detail on Mars. 
Still quite pleased as it was my first view of the red planet. Looking forwards to December when it's closest!
I wonder if it's worth saving for a 5mm EP? currently using an 8mm BST. What do people think?

Thanks,

T

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