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What did you see tonight?


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Managed to spot some naked eye aurora borealis just now under bortle 3 skies. Very short duration, maybe just 2 or 3 minutes and the green glow is gone.

Other than that i am seeing the usual suspects with my Long Perng: M31, M33, double cluster, Pleiades, dumbbell, Jupiter. Just waiting for M42 to rise now while the scope is drying in my car. Will be the first time this season and with the scope so looking forward to that.

* Did manage to see Orion, a welcome sight under the dark skies. May have been the best view i have had of it. Grabbed a view of M81 and M82 as well since it cleared the trees blocking north. Also, along Orion season comes frost season. Curiously the lens is free of frost when just 2 hours ago dew was quite heavy, i guess a lot of the moisture in the air just settled on the ground as frost.

Edited by ONIKKINEN
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I'm seeing a major contrast between observing opportunities this September and October. I was able to take advantage of 10 clear nights in September, which was wonderful of course!

Due to accumulated annual leave I've taken the whole of October off work, but, predictably, there has been no clear nights so far, and little prospect for the last week of the month either (Clear Outside is a clean sweep of red)! Hope others are having a more useful month :) .

Regards, Mike.

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A quick scan outside at around 10pm suggested an impromptu binocular tour was in order - I wasn’t disappointed. Fighting the clouds and the ever present feeling of impending drizzle I was rewarded with some quite spectacular clear views with my 10x50’s. I swept the sky broadly but found the patch in and around Cassiopeia the most rewarding. Melotte 20 impressive again and of course the nearby Double Cluster in Perseus - two highlights that persuaded me to grab the Heritage 150p from inside, but alas once returned outside cloud and rain thwarted any further fun… 

I ordered a new telescope today so that will inevitably jinx any hope of seeing the double transit on Wednesday 😆,  but I wish everyone who can the best of luck viewing the eclipse tomorrow. 👍

Clear, daytime skies!

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another short "Grab 'n' Go" in Burghley Park at the southern edge of Stamford last night. An unexpected bonus session as it was clear outside even while "Clear Outside" said it wasn't and had predicted it wouldn't be all day. TBF "clear" was a bit relative - there was high thin cloud more prominent than the Milky Way that gradually thickened and joined up toward 100% coverage.

"Grab 'n' Go" for me if it isn't binoculars is a 95mm short focal length APO with field flattener, an erecting prism, and a zoom eyepiece in the range 30x/2-degrees ...70x/1-degree and no finder. In other words a bird spotting scope. It's ok at angles between the horizon and about 45 degrees. Higher than  that it's difficult to get on the eyepiece in a relaxed position.

Anyway last night i continued "my survey" in Cassiopeia with this scope but largely i was failing to see the same small relatively obscure open clusters that i failed to see last week so i think i am looking for stuff beyond this scopes light grasp. I did manage to observe Czernik 4. This is a really tiny "three stars and a glow" type open cluster. Trumpler 1 next to it is bigger and M103 in the same field of view positively huge in comparison. 🙂

Striking out on other targets here i swept across to M31 but with the goal to see ifi I could see M110 in this scope. I couldn't even after waiting and waiting  at the eyepiece for a hint. M32 was definite and easy of course.

Enjoying the masochism i thought i would have a go at M74 - hahahahahah. I could imagine it was there because the star field basically says "look here..." with an arrow but it was just imagination.

I did hop up from there successfully for M33 the pinwheel galaxy. "Just a dim smudge in the frame of four stars" but i'm happy to get this on a manual find.

After that a sweep along the ecliptic for Jupiter (some ADC and atmospheric glow but surprisingly sharp and dark NEB/SEB - nice), Neptune (easy hop west from Jupiter) and Uranus (a longer hop in in a westwards direction but starting at M45). Uranus at 70x was just hinting at being "fatter" than stellar.

Good fun and a smug feeling for sneaking one in early in the week.

Cheers

Edited by josefk
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The weather forecast for this morning's partial solar eclipse was not great, but unexpectedly the clouds cleared just after the eclipse began, so ended up with quite a good view, although there was intermittent cloud from time to time. 

Photo was taken through my Esprit 150 with a Canon 6D digital SLR, and using a Seymour Solar Filter.

John  

Solar Eclipse Oct 22.jpg

Edited by johnturley
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Last night around 10pm until it clouded over around midnight, I had the best viewing conditions for weeks😎.

Of course Jupiter took most of the share of observation time. Using my 16" Dob I manage to use powers up to 171X. Fine detail of all the belts snapped in and out of view (mainly in on this happy occasion) with a small white spot in evidence. The northern region of the disc had  a  dirty off white hue.

The main interest was the Galileans all four had a discernible discs  and raising the power to 360X (using a 10mm plossl and a X2 barlow the disc of Callisto was very marked and stood out. The resolution   of Callisto seemed enhanced by the close proximity to the bright Jovian disc. Of course this power somewhat washed out Jupiters cloud belts.

I've managed to just resolve Ganymedes disc in the past using a 12" Newt but this is the first time Jupiter has been high enough  to be a viable target since getting the 16" in 2018.

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9 hours ago, johnturley said:

The weather forecast for this morning's partial solar eclipse was not great, but unexpectedly the clouds cleared just after the eclipse began, so ended up with quite a good view, although there was intermittent cloud from time to time. 

Photo was taken through my Esprit 150 with a Canon 6D digital SLR, and using a Seymour Solar Filter.

John  

Solar Eclipse Oct 22.jpg

Nice snap of the partial solar eclipse John👍

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Our visit to Kielder Observatory came around last night, perfectly timed with new moon, though the booked clear skies failed to materialise. great presentation and wander around which I enjoyed with my brother In law and niece. Maybe I'll head back up again one day. We're staying for 5 nights in a great bortle 3 location, sadly it looks to be a wash out for the duration of the stay.

 

 

Edited by Stardaze
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16 minutes ago, Stardaze said:

Our visit to Kielder Observatory came around last night, perfectly timed with new moon, though the booked clear skies failed to materialise. great presentation and wander around which I enjoyed with my brother In law and niece. Maybe I'll head back up again one day. We're staying for 5 nights in a great bortle 3 location, sadly it looks to be a wash out for the duration of the stay.

 

 

Hi Stardaze. Haven't seen you about for a while!

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1 hour ago, Pixies said:

Hi Stardaze. Haven't seen you about for a while!

I'm still around 😊 Just very busy with work and family duties so have been doing a little here and there but not reporting. It's not been a great start 'weatherwise' to the season. Hope you're doing ok? Did you clean that mirror?

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The Met Office weather forecast has been terribly inaccurate all day. Two unforecast short but heavy downpours had me rushing out for my washing!

Tonight was no different, with at least a couple of hours cloud free forecast. Looking forward to double Jupiter moon shadow transits I went with the Skymax 127.

Unfortunately the air was very turbulent and wet with patches of cloud racing by so high powers were out. Backing off to 62.5x with the Altair UFF 24mm did provide a tiny but crisp view of Jupiter and both shadows. Ganymede being very obvious with Europa requiring a little patience.

Then the blanket of cloud rolled in at a rate of knots. Disappointing really!

Edited by ScouseSpaceCadet
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I went off the beaten track last night to visit the obscure constellation Indus. I observed two new to me objects:

Theta Indi: A fine unequal double with white and yellow components seperated by 7"

NGC 7049: Spiral galaxy. Detected it as a faint smudge of light, but always a thrill to see something new for the first time.

Happy stargazing all!

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Tonight was the first time I've been out for a session since March. Just not been "in the zone" for ages, work and personal reasons. But tonight made me remember why I keep coming back - and why I should do it more often; I've finished my brief session with a massive grin and I feel lighter and happier than I have done for months.

I went out as much to try to remember how to put everything together and how to work the mount, rather than with any plan in mind. I made a schoolboy error with "daylight saving" and wondered why my alignment was so terrible.... . Having been informed by my better half that the clocks dont go back til the 30th, I shamefacedly went and reset.

So with no plan in mind I simple pointed the scope wherever took my fancy (and whereever tree cover allows from my garden). I enjoyed some quality time on Jupiter (hard to miss :) ) - the highlight being seeing the shadow of at least one of the moons slowly passing across the disc of the planet. I also spent some time in and around Cassiopeia (the classic double cluster diamonds on velvet experience) and Andromeda (who doesn't like an easy galaxy?), then finished on Mars - I'd have liked to stay out longer but another early start beckons... :(. 

The seeing wasn't all that great - clear enough, but pretty wobble atmosphere. Still, there was some lovely detail on Jupiter to be seen at c. 150x. Mars was a beautiful small pinky orange disc, with hints of darker regions when the seeing momentarily steadied; I think I need to learn how to "see" again though, to tease more detail out. Hope it is clear tomorrow :)

Here is my APM LZOS 130 ready for action tonight, trained in Mars.

IMG_0458.JPG

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Jupiter for me in the 105 Mak. At 45x I thought a moon was missing, but up to 100x and I realised it was two of them close together. My guesses as to their identity were completely wrong. Best view was 150x, going to 200 didn't seem to bring any more detail and focusing was too touchy, now I know why ETX owners add bigger focusing knobs. I watched through the end of the shadow transit (the second one to finish, I completely missed the first). I was surprised at the apparent separation, about 1 Jupiter diameter, between moon and shadow - it feels like opposition was so recent but already the Sun-Jupiter-Earth angle is that much. Besides the obvious moon shadow I distinguished a sort of bulge in the NEB, darker shading towards the north pole, and two thin belts in the south as well as the SEB.

I'm not actually sure which moon was casting the shadow? The larger of the two tonight. Does Ganymede cast the bigger shadow (because it's bigger) or Europa (because it's closer)?

Then a fruitless hunt for Neptune. I was surrounded by too much light from neighbouring houses to stand a chance.

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7 hours ago, allworlds said:

Jupiter for me in the 105 Mak. At 45x I thought a moon was missing, but up to 100x and I realised it was two of them close together. My guesses as to their identity were completely wrong. Best view was 150x, going to 200 didn't seem to bring any more detail and focusing was too touchy, now I know why ETX owners add bigger focusing knobs. I watched through the end of the shadow transit (the second one to finish, I completely missed the first). I was surprised at the apparent separation, about 1 Jupiter diameter, between moon and shadow - it feels like opposition was so recent but already the Sun-Jupiter-Earth angle is that much. Besides the obvious moon shadow I distinguished a sort of bulge in the NEB, darker shading towards the north pole, and two thin belts in the south as well as the SEB.

I'm not actually sure which moon was casting the shadow? The larger of the two tonight. Does Ganymede cast the bigger shadow (because it's bigger) or Europa (because it's closer)?

Then a fruitless hunt for Neptune. I was surrounded by too much light from neighbouring houses to stand a chance.

Ganymede’s was the second larger shadow. Glad you got some nice views.

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Out with the 8" sct to do a bit of planetary watching ... very clear in Witchford last night ,surprisingly . I had a few tracking issues mainly due to a poor alignment but i switched to a 2 star auto align and everything was rock solid keeping Jupiter in the frame for the entire session . I love evenings like this , just a simple set up and go and a relaxing view. 

8se.jpg

Edited by Stu1smartcookie
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I did managed to observe a few stuff last night. As it was the second night with my dob, I am still learning to get used to it.

Saturn, first time of seeing the ring and one of its moon.

Jupiter, double transit of Genymede and Europa, a first sight on the red dot.

double double, but only one of them can be splited into a double through my 133x.

North american nebula, Pelican nebula, Veil nebula, and a few other DSOs. I tried to practice star hopping.

I may spot a meteor when I was looking North American nebula. It was a red dot moving really fast. But I am really not sure because I might be moving something..

 

 

 

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Another bonus Grab 'n' Go last night completely contrary to expectations vs "Clear Outside" but I'm not complaining!

It was all about the pleasure of finding last night - walking a 2-degree finder tightrope so when i fell off the trail it was like snakes and ladders - i had to go back "X" places.

Vega >> M57 >> M56 >> Albireo >> M27 >> M71 was a nice meander to start with - i can't see anything meaningful in M57 and M27 with my small G'n'G scope but its always a pleasure to "pop in".

Saturn (looking lovely and quite brown last night and with Titan to the East) >> M72 >> M73 >> NGC 7009 >> M2 >> M15 was a slightly harder meander in the opposite direction. I tried to get M72 and M73 in the same FOV but both disappeared against the greyish sky at the low 30x magnification required. TBH neither object had much contrast against the sky even at 70x and M72 was pretty marginal - took two attempts and a little waiting. There was a little bit of haze in this direction and at this altitude - when it cleared contrast obviously went up a little bit. NGC 7009 really bright and elongated at 70x while M2 and M15 were not resolved but still lovely fluffy bright balls. M15 evolving to a ball at 70x from "just a nebulous star" at 30x.

Saturn >> M30 was an easy hop down but i couldn't see much when i got there - very low down and very low contrast.

When i turned to face the other way (North/North-East) i realised i had been missing a really clear and sharp light show in that direction. Doh! In any event two new Herschels there in Perseus - the open clusters H VIII-85 and H VII-61 to round off the night.

Fingers crossed for another bonus session before the week is out.

Joe

Edited by josefk
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On 27/10/2022 at 00:15, Marki said:

I've finished my brief session with a massive grin and I feel lighter and happier than I have done for months.

Yes I find observing has a similar effect on me. I was out very briefly last night, conditions were not great but it was very relaxing - the peace and quiet, my own space, no demands or complications, just me and Jupiter. 🙂 In fact when it finally clouded over I just sat there in the darkness with a cuppa enjoying the peace and quiet. 😂

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On 27/10/2022 at 00:56, allworlds said:

I'm not actually sure which moon was casting the shadow? The larger of the two tonight. Does Ganymede cast the bigger shadow (because it's bigger) or Europa (because it's closer)?

Not sure if this has been answered but the larger shadow was cast by Ganymede and the smaller by Europa. In my little 76mm, the larger shadow was very obvious, but Europa’s was actually quite tricky, coming and going with the seeing.

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Stellalyra 8” Dobsonian First light 28/29th Oct. 

Not too much to report in fact - cloudier than forecast and limited observing opportunities overall late Friday/ Early Saturday but great to take the new ‘scope outside for a first, albeit quick session. I’ll post a full review of the instrument in due course but in summary very impressive views of Jupiter (Perhaps the clearest I’ve seen), very sharp Mars and a short tour around Cassiopeia.  Nice to be using the Rigel Quickfinder again - essential complement to the RACI. More details to follow. 
 

444DB748-E853-4A1C-9AA2-03F940737C18.thumb.jpeg.8b9e79dc4fc7d2083ec1dc07c28fa455.jpeg

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Double session last night.

So after 30 minutes of sweating blood and a close encounter with nervous breakdown due my new AZ GTi misbehaving,  finally I was glued to Jupiter.

While I was enjoying (finally) the tracking ability of the mount, my local Astro group's chat went ballistic about Aurora Borealis. Unfortunately I didn't manage to spot it, due the street lamps are perfectly lined up in the direction.

So anyway, views of Jupiter were fairly clear and I spent 1,5 hours observing it, playing around eyepieces and Barlow combination, trying to take some pics with my phone (massive failure).

I packed up around 11 and went to sleep. Alarm went off 3 o'clock and I was out again in 30 minutes time peeping Mars. The conditions were less favourable than few hours earlier and made the following conclusions:

- I need some filters

- I love my new MAK 127

- I need to throw the supplied red dot finder in the bin

- Scottish humidity is really not good for viewing

I wasn't determined enough to drag out the Dob, so grabbed my bino at the end, had an extra 20 minutes on it and spotted two meteors as well. 5 o'clock I was back to the bed again.

Ok-ish night, I really need to get out to some proper dark skies. 

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