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What did you see tonight?


Ags
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I am seeing some weird weather phenomena that i cant quite explain, maybe the hivemind at SGL can help with this one?

There is this bright white round blob rising in the east at the moment that i have not seen in ages, very odd, i wonder what that is. Skies are also more or less black instead of gray or white, with the occasional tiny speckle of light pushing through the void 😲.

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6 hours ago, Saganite said:

Of course , and bring Mike with you....😂

Bring a scope, it'll be a Star Party......:headbang:

Looking forward to it already.  But are you really sure you want me to bring Mike along?  Have you ever met before?  🤣

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22 minutes ago, Mark at Beaufort said:

Paul I first got the information from the book 'Stargazing 2022' by Nigel Henbest. On page 79 he refers to the next time it will be visible in the UK in 2052. I cannot verify this information - but I am trying.

Thanks Mark, I have that book and hadn't read that bit 🤔.

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The other half came in and told me it was clear out.  Unfortunately she followed this up with her needing to spend the next few nights studying (shame because it's supposed to be proper clear Sunday/Monday).  The seeing was not great, but also quite variable it seemed.  Managed to squeeze in a healthy hour. 

Not to be put off by the presence of the moon and with M42 visible from the vegetable patch I set up and had a quick squint.  Whilst there was some good nebulosity visible it was quite disapointing as the majority was washed out.  Still, I decided to linger on and off to see if anything else could be seen Initially could only see 3 members of the trapezium, however managed the 4 once it cleared the neighbours house.  Did a little bit of experimenting and I think the UHC filter provided no really benefit to improving contrast.  I also could do with another eyepiece as the 32mm and 8mm are not ideal for framing this target.

Jupiter and Mars were okay.  Jupiter is really only an early evening target right now as it transits over the roof of my house.  I'm struggling like billio to see much in the way of contrast.   Same with Mars.  Perhaps the 130PDS is just not well suited to planets.

Decided to wrap the night off with Almach.  First time splitting this particular double.  Found it quite challenging with the seeing being so poor (even in focus the stars were buzzing), but managed to split it comfortably with my 8mm.  It was a bit like if Polaris has the colours of Albireo.  Quite nice.  I need to pick up Discovering Double Stars and get after these.

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Another short session with the little FS60Q last night for about 30 mins. Had a look at Jupiter, Mars and M45 which happened to be well positioned. Then decided to find Neptune and Uranus. I didn’t have a finder on the scope, so just had to use the 24mm Panoptic (2.7 degrees).

I normally star hop using SkySafari, and that’s what I did last night. I set the field of view, orientation and limiting magnitude to match the view through the scope and it then becomes trivially easy.

Neptune was a fairly easy hop from Jupiter and was sitting in the middle of a triangle of mag 6 and 7 ish stars. At mag 7.9 it was fainter than these, but despite looking stellar there was some undefinable quality to it which made it stand out from the others. Not much colour to it, greyish if anything, and no discernible disk even with the mag zoom at 3mm for x200.

For Uranus I started at M45 and again, it was fairly straightforward to work my way across. Uranus did show a disk, quite clear at x200. Again, not much colour but perhaps just a greenish grey. Not surprising in such a small aperture really.

Nice little session.

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Hi Stu /All,

I also had a short session last night with the FS60Q, mounted on a Porta II mount. This was between 22:00-23:30.

It was only my second or third brief session with this lovely little scope and just getting to know its capabilities.

I was using a Baader zoom, WIlliam Optics 7mm UWAN and 25mm Meade Plossl EPs, along with a 2” Baader diagonal.

Im making an effort to spend a little more time on each object rather than rushing from one object to the next and a manual alt set up suits this.

I also had no finder fitted and struggled locating objects manually, so need to think-about how I approach this going forward - maybe get a RDF to assist. I need to practice star hopping.

I started with Orion M42 - and just about split the Trapezium, which was nestled in some pleasing yet subtle nebulosity. Contemplating the brightest  Theta 1 Orionis component C at 40,000K and over 200,000 x luminosity of the Sun, this is what I love about this hobby.

I then worked my way the sword up to the belt and enjoyed a bright double star there but unsure which one I was looking at, but very pleasing sight.

I moved over to Pleiades which was very high in the sky and at low power with 25mm plossl, again very pleasing wide field view.

I spent a short time looking at Mars which was also high in the sky and a nice pleasing disc, but very bright and in need of some filters to improve contrast that I did not have to hand.

I moved over to the Moon - spending some time on the  craters on the terminator. Again, no ND filter to hand but very sharp image.

Then finished on Pollux, a lovely golden hue followed by Crater multiple start system, with A and B a very satisfying tight split.

I adjourned at this point with numb fingers. Also need to think about observing chair of some sort as found it difficult to get in a relaxed comfortable position at the EP. A very enjoyable session none the less however. 
 

clear sky’s All!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by PatG
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I ventured out into the sub zero night, as I had spent the last two nights of clear skies embroiled in starting my EEVA journey. I set up my no automation 8” Stella Lyra dobsonian. I was running the primary fan with the provided 8xAA cell battery pack. I also fitted the 8” dew shield and rigged up a 12v dew heater band and controller for my eyepieces. I started off by alignment of the Starsense unit, which was problematic with the moonlight flooding the sky. It was taking much longer to acquire targets, and even when it did it was drifting away much faster than usual! I had enough of technical problems with the two nights prior, so it was switched off. I went to the Jovian giant with my 12.5mm & 9mm Morpheus for 96x and 133 respectively. The seeing was pretty poor, yet I could still make out distinct bands both north and south of the Jovian equator. I then moved over to the Pleiades with my Baader aspheric 31mm for 39x. The image was nice and pleasing to my eyes despite the anticipated “black velvet “ looking more like grey slate due to the moonlight flooding the sky. Next was a short drop down to the Hyades in Taurus. It was more of the same, with the moon spoiling the views. Mars was next up first with the 9mm Morpheus again for 133x and the 6.5mm for 184x. I was struggling to see distinct markings other than the dark and lighter areas on the planets surface. I was thinking about trying a Baader contrast booster filter on Mars, but I could no longer feel my fingers! I thought that the seeing had gotten much worse but on closer inspection I found my secondary was beginning to ice over. This brought my very cold nights observations to a close. I will now consider fitting a heater to the secondary mirror, although the standard ones for sale won’t fit the Stella Lyra dobsonians. Time for a hot shower and cocoa.

FB984734-BBEC-4381-95FE-0EF2D241263D.jpeg.5a77d3cec40d3189f0605fa16ebef196.jpeg

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I've been out doing EEVA for the last four nights! What's going on? Has nobody in the South West been buying kit lately?

The first session was with the 72mm APO which is the main scope I use for EEVA. The last three sessions have been with the Explorer 150PDS, the last two with the x2.25 Barlow fitted to convert it to F11.25 which I've now discovered makes it the better scope for the Moon and planets.

I've been observing Jupiter, Mars and the Moon and they have got better each time as I've homed in on the best combination of kit and the best camera settings.

Here is a (quickly) processed image of Jupiter from last night ...

Jupiter_All_26ms_x180_D10_12_2022_T19_32_03_lapl5_ap20.png.5bca395c648049587f0ba114e546ae16.png

and a live snapshot of the Moon from the night before (the clouds came rolling in before I got to the Moon last night.

Mars_IR_4.8ms_x_D09_12_2022_T19_52_15_I01_WithDisplayStretch.thumb.png.5050f3786fff495d8e128dc811fd6989.png

I'm learning that I need a different setup for DSOs (F5 / F6) and that means a shorter FL and a larger field of view. But just like with an eyepiece, more magnification often doesn't help, and the smaller galaxies look better when they remain quite small. M42 looked best with the 72mm APO (F6), and still pretty good with the Explorer 150PDS (F5). Last night at F11.25 I could easily see the main four stars of the Trapezium and could even make out two of the fainter ones, but overall the nebula looked a bit mushy.

 

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19 hours ago, PatG said:

also had no finder fitted and struggled locating objects manually, so need to think-about how I approach this going forward - maybe get a RDF to assist. I need to practice star hopping.

Agree the FS60Q is a great little scope which I tend to use for the brighter objects and grab & go.
I’ve had a variety of finder’s including Taks 6x30, RACI, Baader Skysurfer’s III & V and combinations of both.
Picture below with SS III & Tak which I found a bit cluttered & OTT so I’ve removed the Tak finder as I find the small SS fits the bill as it’s small, lightweight and  relatively unobtrusive. 

 

635A6929-F49C-4846-8475-E8C393E14C54.jpeg

BCE5194E-30F3-44C4-A650-4526322A640A.jpeg

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6 hours ago, bosun21 said:

I ventured out into the sub zero night, as I had spent the last two nights of clear skies embroiled in starting my EEVA journey. I set up my no automation 8” Stella Lyra dobsonian. I was running the primary fan with the provided 8xAA cell battery pack. I also fitted the 8” dew shield and rigged up a 12v dew heater band and controller for my eyepieces. I started off by alignment of the Starsense unit, which was problematic with the moonlight flooding the sky. It was taking much longer to acquire targets, and even when it did it was drifting away much faster than usual! I had enough of technical problems with the two nights prior, so it was switched off. I went to the Jovian giant with my 12.5mm & 9mm Morpheus for 96x and 133 respectively. The seeing was pretty poor, yet I could still make out distinct bands both north and south of the Jovian equator. I then moved over to the Pleiades with my Baader aspheric 31mm for 39x. The image was nice and pleasing to my eyes despite the anticipated “black velvet “ looking more like grey slate due to the moonlight flooding the sky. Next was a short drop down to the Hyades in Taurus. It was more of the same, with the moon spoiling the views. Mars was next up first with the 9mm Morpheus again for 133x and the 6.5mm for 184x. I was struggling to see distinct markings other than the dark and lighter areas on the planets surface. I was thinking about trying a Baader contrast booster filter on Mars, but I could no longer feel my fingers! I thought that the seeing had gotten much worse but on closer inspection I found my secondary was beginning to ice over. This brought my very cold nights observations to a close. I will now consider fitting a heater to the secondary mirror, although the standard ones for sale won’t fit the Stella Lyra dobsonians. Time for a hot shower and cocoa.

FB984734-BBEC-4381-95FE-0EF2D241263D.jpeg.5a77d3cec40d3189f0605fa16ebef196.jpeg

On those really bright nights i install a 20 inch (or thereabouts) light shield. I have to tell you it does seem to help.   Somewhere i read you want your light shield be be twice the length of the diameter of the scope. 

Edited by Mike Q
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Hello.  Just had an odd but rather fruitful session on Jupiter. 

Had a walk out into the garden about 4.30pm. Nice and clear and noticeably calm/still. Jupiter nice and high. Lets grab the scope !!!   All set up - My Tak FS128 with Baader Maxbright BV's.  I checked for current events for Jupiter. GRS on meridian in about an hour. 

Well, was I treated to a breath taking hour and a half.  Using mainly a pair of pretty standard of SvBony 15 mm plossls, I was happy to watch the GRS come from just on show by the limb to the meridian. Could not believe the colour I was getting. Solid red/salmon was hitting me right between the eyes. Have had colour before in previous scopes but nothing like this.  Have to give it to the conditions. Seems as rock steady as I have known for a very long time. Stunned !! 

Tried a pair of 11mm ES Ep's but kept returning to the  plossls and just kept drinking in the vista. If the sky keeps clear later I'm going to have to give Mars a hit and see how it stands up. Has a big act to follow. 

John  

Edited by Telescope40
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I’ve spent the last few days completely dismantling and re-building my Orion-Helmerichs 12”, ridding myself of the old Skywatcher 300p main cell and installing a brand new Orion Optics cell (about which a new thread will appear shortly, avec pics).

Late afternoon and evening until just now was First Light for the new set-up. Focus was achieved - phew! My new holes were in the right place.

Having just come in to the warm to prepare supper etc, my fingers now really hurt, it’s about -4 outside. But it was a really good short session, I did more or less what @Stu did the other day, took in all the available planets, plus Almach for some extra colour.

Mars was too low really, but there was detail on view. Jupiter came and went with localized seeing, now mushy and now sharp. Saturn stole the show, Cassini Division easily seen plus Titan Rhea and Dione and possibly momentary glimpses of Enceladus but I’m not sure. Uranus was obviously a blue disc and Neptune a hint of greenish and just about discernible as a disc.

Fingers bloody freezing, dinner now and perhaps another session tonight on the Moon.

Very pleased with rejuvenated scope 

Cheers Magnus

 

 

A64EAAA7-E48C-49BB-87B6-513700D7B047.jpeg

A76D4006-DFC7-4758-BA09-9CFDA588097C.jpeg

Edited by Captain Scarlet
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50 minutes ago, Stu said:

Looks great @Captain Scarlet. I know you’ve said it before, but it is indeed Trigger’s Broom 🤣🤣

Indeed it is 😁. All that’s left Skywatcher-wise are the spider and the rings. They must be quaking in their boots, but they’re both fine so safe for now.

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10 hours ago, Mike Q said:

On those really bright nights i install a 20 inch (or thereabouts) light shield. I have to tell you it does seem to help.   Somewhere i read you want your light shield be be twice the length of the diameter of the scope. 

I do always fit the AE dew shield on my dobsonian. While it’s not quite double the aperture it still definitely helps 

 

20678408-DF46-416C-9670-C43B74AA4F2F.thumb.jpeg.5f7eae584b369cbd94f2b517784af987.jpeg9BF7EDBD-2398-40D3-94D8-B468CFE3235A.thumb.jpeg.fca9df19e054a780de8845529911489b.jpeg

 

Edited by bosun21
Duplicate photo removal
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34 minutes ago, bosun21 said:

I do always fit the AE dew shield on my dobsonian. While it’s not quite double the aperture it still definitely helps 

 

20678408-DF46-416C-9670-C43B74AA4F2F.thumb.jpeg.5f7eae584b369cbd94f2b517784af987.jpeg9BF7EDBD-2398-40D3-94D8-B468CFE3235A.thumb.jpeg.fca9df19e054a780de8845529911489b.jpeg

DBDFF82F-0B63-42DC-A269-B0F11377CDB1.jpeg

I would guess mine is close to 20 inches and i was beyond amazed how much it helped against the full moon.  Also because of it i was able to back down the power on the OTA heater, so bonus. 

IMG_20220805_214946629.jpg

Edited by Mike Q
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7 minutes ago, Mike Q said:

I would guess mine is close to 20 inches and i was beyond amazed how much it helped against the full moon.  Also because of it i was able to back down the power on the OTA heater, so bonus. 

IMG_20220805_214946629.jpg

Love the landing lights! No more tripping or stubbed toes.

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Tonight I saw the worst M31 mosaic ever!

I set up early evening with aview of getting involved late vening. Things went well and I set off a mosaic plan in APT I generated for M31 ages ago. 

On seeing the camera orientation on the 1st sub I though I might be 90 deg out but I let it run. I had places to be.

I knew it wasnt going to end well so never bothered with any callibration frames and it was only 5 x 60 sec per frame. Rising gibbous Moon, so every frame would have different gradient . I processed it all in ASTAP just as an exercise... just rotate each frame 90 deg in your mind and fill in the missing bits. After all y'all know what it looks like anyway... giggle 😁

Unfortunately the clouds rolled in before I could get down to something more serious :(  Scope now packed away again :( 

1021892992_M312022-12-11mosaic6x300LEQMODHEQ56ZWOASI071MCPro_stacked.thumb.jpg.f77ba13336f84a7da4cfb8b4484bf4f0.jpg

 

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Sacked off my imaging session as there was some weird coma like issue with the optics on the Tair 3.  Life is too short and I got what I wanted (test the side by side mount out with the new bracket for the mini pc).  Visual it is.  The scope was covered in frost so I assume it was at temperature.

Kicked off by throwing the scope at the moon.  The seeing was exceptional (at x80 at least) and I've never looked at the moon when it's past full or at least not seriously near full.  Incredible scenes near the terminator.  Beautiful contrast.  Mars again next and sure enough there was some faint differences in contrast visible.

Tried the hit the double cluster next but I'm apparently garbage at navigating at zenith so didn't find it, although I'm about 90% certain I found Kemble's cascade by accident.  Or there is another long chain of stars that ends at a cluster, so if I did I got ngc1502 as well. I couldn't see any stars of Camelopardalis and I'm not familiar with it at all so could have been anything.

Decided to go for messier 34 and managed to get there using some star hopping and sky safari.  Grabbed a partial sketch, but I'm confident I got a solid I'd on it.

Finished of with Jupiter which has reappeared at somewhere below 20°.  Probably meat best view of Jupiter I've had.  The seeing was incredible very stable.  Jupiter almost looked like it was rippling slightly in the same way a bubble does when you blow on it.  Had a look around and pretty much every single star was a pinpoint of light.  Not a flicker to be seen.

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8 hours ago, Paul M said:

Tonight I saw the worst M31 mosaic ever!

I set up early evening with aview of getting involved late vening. Things went well and I set off a mosaic plan in APT I generated for M31 ages ago. 

On seeing the camera orientation on the 1st sub I though I might be 90 deg out but I let it run. I had places to be.

I knew it wasnt going to end well so never bothered with any callibration frames and it was only 5 x 60 sec per frame. Rising gibbous Moon, so every frame would have different gradient . I processed it all in ASTAP just as an exercise... just rotate each frame 90 deg in your mind and fill in the missing bits. After all y'all know what it looks like anyway... giggle 😁

Unfortunately the clouds rolled in before I could get down to something more serious :(  Scope now packed away again :( 

1021892992_M312022-12-11mosaic6x300LEQMODHEQ56ZWOASI071MCPro_stacked.thumb.jpg.f77ba13336f84a7da4cfb8b4484bf4f0.jpg

 

I rather like it. Very “cubist”. 

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A quick 15 minutes this morning after breakfast with the FS60CB and TOE2.5 on the moon. Hadley easy, small craterlet inside Plato appearing occasionally (pretty central). But the star of the show for me was an incredibly dark shadow just above Barrow A (I think!). Some other beautifully defined craters in the area too.

The FS60CB provided lovely sharp contrasty views though I did notice some blue fringing on the lunar limb which I have never noticed before.

Finished with a quick view of Pollux. Thought it was a double! Got mixed up with Castor! But a lovely sight. Beautiful yellow and absolutely pin prick sharp.

Malcolm

IMG_20221212_080330646.thumb.jpg.7ca6289fd0d7d2accbafeeda7c7ab4f5.jpg

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