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What did you see tonight?


Ags
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We're back at the place near Dartmoor that we visited in June, again with the Mak127. This time, we have astro darkness, but also the moon.

Even so, it was impressively dark this evening until the cloud took over and everything dewed up.

I managed half a dozen new doubles and a couple of planetaries. Globs in the South weren't at their best with the moon up. But Saturn was very crisp and Cassini division showing well. The highlight was Jupiter in a Morpheus 9mm, in which I saw the GRS for the first time.

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Tonight following the Io transit and improved seeing conditions compared to the previous night, by which both the NEB and SEB are equal in clarity. The shadow transit easy to see at mid power with an 85mm refractor. Increasing the mag, banding within the South Polar Region is defined. A little too late for the GRS tonight, however Jupiter is putting on a good show. 

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20 minutes ago, IB20 said:

Just the most astonishing start to a transit of Io, probably one of the most amazing thing I have ever observed. I can’t stop thinking about it.

Amazing! great to hear you are charged up about it, it must have been awesome!

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59 minutes ago, Sunshine said:

Amazing! great to hear you are charged up about it, it must have been awesome!

A period of sharply defined seeing, distinctly revealing banding in the South Temperate region, festoon activity in both North and South Equatorial Belts and the hazy North Polar Region discernible. Next time, I ought have the 8" dob out for comparative interaction. 

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I managed a short but decent session last night. Torn between choosing a spot in the garden with a good southerly view or one with a view of Jupiter but trees to my South, I choose the latter.

Jupiter was "boiling", low down in the sky when I started. By the end of the evening, with less atmosphere to look through, it was far clearer. A 80A blue filter helped me pick out a lot more detail than I would have seen otherwise. The Great Red Spot was very clear and I was able to note its rotation between my views of it.

I was hoping to take a proper look at M33. I'm fairly sure I was looking at it, although with the lack of real darkness, it was tough to make anything out. Andromeda was easy to spot, as was M110. I couldn't clearly spot M32, which is unusual. Perhaps the sky really was too bright.

I took a look at the Blue Snowball NGC7662, a lovely compact globular M15, plus the showpiece globular clusters M13 and M94.

What really stole the show for me was the Veil nebula. I've seen the Western segment before, finding it easily by means of 52 Cygni. Last night, using an OIII filter, I panned across to the Eastern bit, and there it was, absolutely stunning.

A fab night.

 

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A nice relaxed couple of hours last night in the park. Jupiter and Saturn of course. Juipiter boiling and loads of ADC early (19:30 ish) but steady and relatively detailed (respective the limits of my kit) at 21:30. NEB/SEB/GRS and some hazy features below the SEB.

Two new Herschels for me; NGC 752 (H VII-32) in Andromeda - mopping up an uncertain ID last week and NGC 381 (H VIII-64) in Cassiopeia. Both open clusters and the latter very very faint with the scope i was using and needed really careful field star ID to be sure. 

Otherwise a few of the usual suspects around Cassiopeia and a two random wide aesthetic doubles;  SAO 11842 / SAO 11844 near M103 and HD 11749 (56 Andromedae)/ HD 11727 at the edge of NGC 752. This latter split at 200" is not the tighter (19") big mag difference split for 56 Andromedae that is listed in the Cambridge Double Star Atlas so i will have to go back for that one.

This is how relaxed the session was - Holiday "grab 'n' go" kit including a difficult to aim angled spotting scope doing double duty here in the dark.

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Got a good view of the shadow transit of Io on Jupiter last night, I found that the disc of Io (as opposed to the shadow) showed up quite well while near the limb of Jupiter, but hard to make out when near the centre of the disc. Viewing conditions were a bit mediocre, so image came out a lot better than I was expecting.

I then had a look at Mars, and took my first image of this apparition, I was no longer able to discern the south polar cap, which I was able to make out visually during August/September. 

Images were taken through my Esprit 150 using a ZWO ASI 462 Planetary Camera and 2.5x Powermate, processed in AutoStakkert and Registax.  Both 2-minute exposures of approx 20,000 frames giving about 160 fps, stacked best 25%. 

Jupiter 1_A.jpg

 

Mars 1_25.jpg

Edited by johnturley
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22 minutes ago, johnturley said:

Got a good view of the shadow transit of Io on Jupiter last night, I found that the disc of Io (as opposed to the shadow) showed up quite well while near the limb of Jupiter, but hard to make out when near the centre of the disc. Viewing conditions were a bit mediocre, so image came out a lot better than I was expecting.

I then had a look at Mars, and took my first image of this apparition, I was no longer able to discern the south polar cap, which I was able to make out visually during August/September. 

Images were taken through my Esprit 150 using a ZWO ASI 462 Planetary Camera and 2.5x Powermate, processed in AutoStakkert and Registax. 

Jupiter 1_A.jpg

Mars 3_25.jpg

Hi John,

Lovely images which compound what I observed.
Io showing to the right of the shadow too. It was a really fantastic shadow transit and sharp as a tack. I could see Io until I packed up about 11:40pm due to it being in front of the SEB but yes it got much harder to see once it had move from the limb.

Had a sneak peak at Mars too, could make out some slight albedo markings despite the crazy atmospheric dispersion.

Edited by IB20
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13 hours ago, IB20 said:

Just the most astonishing start to a transit of Io, probably one of the most amazing thing I have ever observed. I can’t stop thinking about it.

I was lucky with my unplanned timing last night, dodged some cloud and the haze to see this start, although I could not tell if Io was in front or behind. ;)

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2 hours ago, Westmoorland said:

Amazing bubbling swirls around Jupiters belts. Also the bright white disc of one of it's moons as it appeared to touch the edge of Jupiter's disc, before becoming a shadow.

The disc of Io does not become a shadow, the disc and the shadow are quite distinct, although they are close together when Jupiter is near opposition. The disc appears bright white when close to the edge of the Jovian disc, but appears to fade, and can be difficult to make out as it moves away from the edge, whereas the shadow is quite easy to make out throughout. 

John 

Edited by johnturley
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1 hour ago, johnturley said:

The disc of Io does not become a shadow, the disc and the shadow are quite distinct, although they are close together when Jupiter is near opposition. The disc appears bright white when close to the edge of the Jovian disc, but appears to fade, and can be difficult to make out as it moves away from the edge, whereas the shadow is quite easy to make out throughout. 

John 

I wasn't sure if it was shadow or silhouette, but guessed shadow presuming someone would correct me if I stated otherwise. Thanks for letting me know. I was also going to guess Europa was transiting; that planet appearing to be whitest on google images. Now I suspect someone might correct me that it wasn't 'technically' transiting. 

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Currently in darker skies, and for the first time ever I properly, unmistakably made out both the Eastern and western parts of the Veil! I was using my TS102 F7 ED along with an Astronomik Oiii filter and Lacerta 40mm ED. 

I've managed to just pick out the Eastern side some years ago but this was incredible. Really quite breathtaking! 

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Under dark skies (on a work night😬) with the 90mm and some binoculars, M31 is the best i have seen it so far with any scope. Extends much farther than usual so must be pretty good transparency right now. Very nice framing with the 90mm f/5.5 and an APM UFF 24mm. Only had time for M31, M33, Pleiades and some poking in Cygnus until dew killed the views, its a very humid night here.

Surprised that the astrophotpgraphy rig is ticking free of dew when everything else is like its been dumped in a pool.

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Somewhat cloudy here but on occasions like this with “fair“ conditions nothing beats a quick scan for a few targets with the binos. Out with the 10x50’s - quick peak at Jupiter with the four moons showing clearly - always surprises how big Jupiters disc appears through bins, and how sharp the moons show. 

The waxing gibbous Moon in the South looked splendid with the lighting effects created by the interaction of the light with the swirling clouds adding to an artistic overall impression. 

Then sweeping roughly towards the North to home in on some of Steve Tonkin’s choice binocular targets for October. 

Orientating using Capella and the Cassiopeia “W” I was able to locate Mirfak, helping me to find the impressive cluster Melotte 20. A stunning scattering of bright stars even under less than ideal conditions. Algol next, noting its brightness level to my eyes and attempting to commit  to  memory - may try to see how this changes over a few days as a relatively “easy” variable of the eclipsing binary type. 
Finally (as starting to rain) a short hop in the direction of Almach over to M34 - initially a fuzzy smudge but after some concentration (and particularly with averted vision) revealed a number of resolved stars. An impressive cluster through the binos - keen to have another look at this and the previous targets  through a ‘scope soon. Unexpected mid week session given the general cloud. rain and strong wind today, and looking clearer tomorrow.  Fingers crossed. 
 

 

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Last night was as weird as it was unexpected as the skies over cambridgeshire cleared , but the wind was still quite strong . i decided to "give it a go" . The moon looked fantastic and i was able to test the SVBony 9-27 on our near neighbour . All very crisp and clear although the moon is a little low at present . Jupiter was ok although a little "in and out" due to the conditions . Saturn was a little better as it was higher earlier in the evening . 

As for DSO's , the usual suspects in the EP , M82 and M81 are easy targets that are quite bright , M31 M57 ,M27 . Orion for me is too late but i am able to catch it at 5.30 am , so possibly a nice weekend target , skies permitting . :) 

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Last night was unexpectedly good. I put the scope our early (8pm) and just ignored the clouds that started rolling in, then low and behold, they lifted, and it was clear right through to midnight!

I did an EEVA session with the 72mm/432mm APO and the new Uranus-C camera. The first session with this camera was frustrating (I usually find this to be the case with new kit), so I was hoping for more success his time.

Much of the session was spent looking at M33, testing out different gain / exposure / binning combinations, looking at individual frames and live stacking. Then I did the same with M34 and the Double Cluster as a brighter alternative to M33. I now have a good feel about what camera settings to use, I think.

After doing the testing I fitted my cheap and cheerful Astro Essentials x0.5 reducer to the camera and observed some nice widefield targets, M31, M45, Mel20, Kemble's Cascade, then added a UHC filter and observed the East and West Veil Nebulae. I actually prefer these with the UHC rather than the OIII filter as I can see all of the colours, and with the wider field of view, this time I could make out part of the central section of the West Veil.

The reducer does turn many of the outer stars into kidney beans but the view of M31 (and M110 and M32) was the best I've ever seen it ...

M31_5.thumb.png.7ace4c7fc5b1eae2a2ac39ba97142480.png

This is what I was seeing last night, no post processing, just live stacking.

One advantage of EEVA is that my wife could also see, and I could explain the benefits of a better focal reducer / field flattener. She even suggested that I might like one for Christmas!

 

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Tonight here there was a bit of high cloud but the seeing was excellent - rock steady, so I got the SL 8" out to cool. After a few minutes, I went out to find more cloud but the moon, Jupiter and Saturn still in relatively clear patches. I started on Jupiter - the best target for me to align my finder. Looked superb tonight so I started experimenting with different mags and comparing the view with and without the Baader Contrast Booster filter.

Interesting. It cheerfully took all the EPs I tried, up to and including the Pentax 5mm (240x). It was definitely better with the BCB too, with several belts in view but no GRS, unfortunately. I thought I'd push it a bit more, so put my Morpheus 9mm in an ES 2x focal extender (=Barlow!) for 267 mag. That was fine too but doing the same with the 5mil was too much! 😱 (480x!). All up, the best seeing I've had on Jupiter. I turned to the moon, as Saturn had been swallowed up by cloud. Had a lot of fun trying different mags on that too.

Happy bunny: my last two astro purchases performed brilliantly - the Contrast Booster and my Berlebach Observer's Chair....very comfortable.

Edit: just been out again to catch Saturn briefly. Wonderful sharp image in the 5mil Pentax XW but definitely getting smaller two months after opposition. Clouds rolled back over, this time for good 😥

Edited by cajen2
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12 hours ago, PeterC65 said:

The reducer does turn many of the outer stars into kidney beans but the view of M31 (and M110 and M32) was the best I've ever seen it ..

Hi Peter , really nice image ... i didnt even look or notice the outer stars before i read the line above . The image looks really natural and not over processed , nice one . 

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Out again with the Mak 127 at the "dark" site (but the moon didn't get the memo).

Tried Jupiter and Saturn first, but both discs mushy. Jupiter's moons in an interesting configuration though - Io, Callisto and Europa close together.

The seeing was actually quite good away from the horizon, but the ground - level wind was too strong most of the time.

After that, we stuck to doubles and the odd planetary. In the occasional still spots this was quite successful, down to 1.4".

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Just had a short lunar session through pretty mucky seeing. Still achieved some nice views at 57x-80x. Two features in particular stood out close to the terminator; a prominent dome casting a large shadow in the upper northwestern quadrant and a silvery V shaped scar near Aristarchus. A little check on the Moon map showed them as Mons Rümker and Vallis Schrotëri.

Fascinating features that I haven’t seen before, or certainly not jumping out as much as they did today.

 

4D20FD54-0020-46C4-A1BF-02A2632ACD48.jpeg

Edited by IB20
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Moon first, pushed the Heritage 76 to 100x on it. The wind was sure up sometimes, the little Heritage rarely shakes but today it did in the gusts. Tried my hand at photos holding the smartphone to the eyepiece but the result was pretty lousy. There's an area around the terminator that caught my eye when viewing, looks like a valley (anything that's not a crater will catch my eye on the Moon!), it shows up much better on your image above but I don't know if it has any name?

Had a go at Jupiter but nothing special there. 100x is too much on it, lower power does better. I think I saw it better the other day.

Missed out on Saturn, trees were in the way.

Saw possibly my least impressive view of M31 ever, really not the conditions for it but I thought I'd look at something deep sky anyway. Found the Coathanger by accident and rounded off with a quick look at Albeiro.

22-10-07 22-40-22 0225.jpg

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8 hours ago, IB20 said:

A little check on the Moon map showed them as Mons Rümker and Vallis Schrotëri.

The latter being one of my favourites. It looks like it was well positioned last night, shame your seeing wasn’t up to taking higher power. Aristarchus can look amazing too, with varying shading down the crater walls.

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I was trying out a new O-III filter last night on small PN in Cygnus. A longer report here:

Amongst the overall "haul" it was very satisfying to find three very small (and one of these very faint) PN using a mixture of techniques and tools. NGC 6881 / PK 074+02.1 very tiny and dim indeed. Great fun.

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