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Me Vs the Universe - A visual explorers log


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First clearish night for a week or so, and nights are coming in earlier so I decided to setup a simpler setup to test some imaging before putting it away.

Little cloud around so I thought, why not look through my C6 at full 1500mm focal length to see what I could do with it as I hadn't done visual in a while. But how to target anything at such a focal length?

Bring on the trusty Rigel Quikfinder, luckily I had some velcro strap at hand to wrap around the Rigel and the whole of the C6 twice over, the scope also handily has the physical stop of the corrector plate cell at the "open" end of the tube so I could align it square by butting it up against it along the OD of the tube before securing it.

The moon was also out so was an ideal target to adjust the settings on the Rigel. C6 was on the Technosky Cubo alt az mount so was easy to manoeuvre. Then I used the only eyepiece I had at hand at the time my Celestron zoom 8-24mm to look at the moon, wonders never cease viewing it at such focal length, seeing was pretty good so I looked at this for a few minutes taking it in:



Then I moved the scope slightly down to have a look at Mars but it was tiny:


The eyes are always drawn to Jupiter at night as it's so bright so I tried that next. Had to sit on the floor to align because my setup was so low but the Rigel performed admirably, watching Jupiter and all four moons pass in the 24mm field of view within 15-20 seconds was a sight to see, the best mag without a Barlow at 8mm just about squeezed this view in with the furthest moon out of view but appearing within seconds from the right (or technically left in real space):


Tried for Saturn but it had disappeared behind some rooflines. Tried for a few clusters and messier clusters M2 and the Double Cluster and Spiral Cluster in Perseus but was difficult to ascertain whether I was looking past them due to the focal length. Finally I took in Pleiades and was a wonder to see more than the usual 7-9 stars within and having to move the scope around to see them all, a bit different to seeing it as one with my 360mm refractor.

Photos by the way were taken with me holding my phone up to the eyepiece and moving it around until I got a lock on the subject, then trying like a rock to stay still less the view blacked out.

Quite an enjoyable short session, unfortunately I'm limited by Bortle 7 conditions to see anything significant DSO wise but it won't stop me trying.


Edited by Elp
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  • Elp changed the title to Me Vs the Universe - A visual explorers log


My first visual session for a while. Decided whilst the Z61 was running to get the C6 out and have a look at Mars as it is currently at close opposition. 

It looked much brighter than last time, took a while to get it into the field of view whilst on the Cubo but the Quikfinder helped. Was hoping to see some detail, alas it was too bright and probably should have used a moon filter. Tried to image it but had issues so one for another night.

Switched to Jupiter as it came back into view, excellent as always and best in the 8.8mm UWA eyepiece showing all four main moons in a line, one of which was in transit in the upper corner (inverted?) against the planet edge. No GRS again, I'll get to see it one day by chance, I dont want to plan for it.

Moved the scope to the west as it's the darkest part of the sky. What should I look at? Thought I'd try Hercules Globular as last time I needed goto to find it. With a bit of focus concentration with my eyes I found two reference stars Her 40 and 44 in Hercules, conveniently the cluster lies on the diagonal line between the two stars. To my surprise a smudge drifted across view and I had to move across a few times to confirm it was there. Was definitely there, tried a few eyepieces but looked best in the 30mm Vixen NPL, at this point I realised this was the best eyepiece for the night as I could use it with glasses. The cluster though remained a faint smudge with no detail, but at least I found it via star hopping.

Next looked at M45 the Pleiades as it's easy enough to find. I'll never stop getting bored looking at this as there's so many stars close together in view, crystal clear. Need to see it again in the Z61 sometime as I can fit it all in.

I realised Orion was now in view, could I see some nebulosity from the brightest nebula target in the sky? The difficulty was finding it, even though it's quite close to Alnitak, at 1500mm focal length its actually quite far away. The easiest solution was to find Rigel by eye and then move slowly East moving up and down to find the distinct triple double sets of stars. After a few minutes I eventually found it, stared at it a while but alas no nebulosity. It was however good to see three sets of close double like stars in the same field of view.

A simple session but eventually cloud ended play, and the Z61 had completed a good four hours so overall a productive night.

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