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Meade Lightbridge Observing report as of 18.8.2010


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Meade Lightbridge 16" F4.5 FL1829mm

No Moon


Seeing was Mag 4.3

Started observing 22.30

My first target was Ngc 281 in Cassiopeia better known as the Pacman Nebula. Once I had CduC orientated correctly with the sky I was able to star hop to the correct location. The Pacman is 35' in diameter and shines at mag 7 and through the 16 Uwan at x114 I could easily see the cluster involved, could even plot some of the stars shown in CduC but the actual nebulosity that makes up the Pacman shape eluded me. I then inserted the O111 filter and this didn't improve matters. I tried the 28 Uwan in combination with the O111 and this was also unsuccessful. I came to the conclusion a darker sky is essential for this object.

Next was an object I have yet to see that is Stephan's Quintet in Pegasus, I have have tried numerous times, but tonight I easily found Ngc 7331 and then star hopped to the position using CduC. At first nothing was there, but after 10 minutes of observing under my blackout blanket, I could detect a grey extremely dim smudge appear especially with averted vision and tapping the OTA. Using the 16 Uwan I could just see a darker split in this smudge which in my mind was a seperation of the galaxies. The 7 Uwan was a dimmer view but showed the split more clearly and also what I think was very dim cores, but I could be wrong. I tried sketching what I saw but it was very hard in the 7 Uwan at x261 as Stephan's Quintet shot across the FOV really quick. So I checked on CduC and I think I saw Ngc7320, Ngc7318 A/B as one smudge and finally Ngc7319. Once again will try these at Kelling and hopefully the darker skies will improve. To see a sketch of this object click here: http://stargazerslounge.com/imaging-sketches-unconventional/111384-stephans-quintet-pegasus.html#post1503338

Next droped down to Aquarius and the famous Saturn Nebula Ngc7009, this object is 1.7' x 0.5' in size and shines at mag 8. It is so easy to find as it's so bright, I first spotted it in my 28 Uwan as a bloated star, but the 16 Uwan showed the oval Saturn shape so easy, with a little averted vision I could see the extensions on it's east and west sides. Once I placed the 7 Uwan in the focuser I was knocked out, the ansae on both sides were visible with direct vision and I noted a pale blue tinge to the object. I sketched what I saw with the 7 Uwan at x261. For sketch click here: http://stargazerslounge.com/imaging-sketches-unconventional/111371-saturn-nebula-ngc7009.html

I then had a quick look at Neptune at 2.5" in diameter and mag 7.8 it's not much to look at but I could detect the pale blue colour and it was so unlike a star it was easy to see.

Next was Uranus once again not much to see but easy to find this pale green giant that is 3.6" in size and shines at mag 5.7.

Finally finished on the giant of all planets Jupiter. All four moons were out tonight and easily seen in all eyepieces. The best views of Jupiters bands were with my trusty ortho's that is the 12.5 and 9 mm ones. The central band really stood out tonight and the so did the northern polar bands.

Finished observing about 01.30.

Edited by Doc
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The LB doesn't excell on planets, I find the collimation needs to be bang on for good results. Saying that I've still seen transits on saturn and Jupiter, Ice caps on Mars, and some moons of Uranus so it can't be that bad.

Where it excells is DSO's and Lunar.

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Ive never seen the quintet visually but snapped it a few times. The Saturn nebula is very bright as you say, I remember 1st seeing it through an ST120 and was really surprised.

Great report Mick. I managed about 1/2 hour around 21:00 then the cloud came in, even at 24:00 it was still cloudy, its amasing how, me being just 15 - 16 miles west from you was under cloud


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Good news Mick, you won't need to strain for the Quintet at Kelling. :) See if you can separate the cores of 7318's A/B components. The seeing here wasn't good at all the other night and TBH i'm not really sure if it can be done, but it'll be a fun challenge. Thanks for another great report. :)

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That sounds a great challenge Carol. The quintet was indeed a very hard target, I had to stay under my blackout blanket for what seemed ages until they started to appear and then they were very vague with a very dim gap, words cannot really describe how dim they really were.

I'm hoping the dark skies of Kelling will really enhance them.

I'll report back when I have good news :)

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Mick, it sounds like you had to struggle as much as i did while using the 8"SCT. :)

Get under some dark skies and you'll be able to see 7320 and the combined 7318A/B with near-direct vision. Here's hoping you'll have clear and steady skies at Kelling. :D

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