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Old 26-07-2008, 06:35 AM
NQLD_Newby's Avatar
Clear Skys and Open Road

NQLD_Newby is offline
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Townsville
Posts: 207
Centaurus A is amazing.

Hi Folks, this is an overview of last nights obs session.

Date: 25/07/08
Instrument: 114mm f/5 reflector
Conditions: Clear alight breeze, with moments of high thin mist
Seeing: 7/10
Transparency: 8/10
E/P's: 17mm LVW, 11mm TV, 5mm LVW, 2 x Barlow
Start Time: Approx 7.30 - 8.00pm

First stop was Jupiter, after my recent success I was keen to have another look. Only three moons visible at the moment, on investigation found that Ganymede was behind the planet. Two bands clearly visible tonight, but no hint of darkening towards the poles or a third band. the 5mm LVW gave the best view tonight. Clearly this planet is becoming one of my regular visiting places.

Sat back and eyeballed the sky to decide where to point the scope next. The sky was so beautiful tonight, had that real 3D look and feel to it, I was taken back and just sat there in wonder, for atleast 10 minutes.

Anyway due to my recent success with M104 I thought i would visit one of my old favourites from last season, Centaurus A. Using Epsilon Centauri & Omega Centauri as a guide I judged where it should be and pointed the scope in that general direction. Popped in the 17mm for 30x and had a peek. Wow this ep is sensational, there it was, very easily seen actually. It was quite bright and much larger than I remembered. Appeared as a generally bright area with the dark lane travelling bottom right to top left. Dropped the Barlow in under the 17 for 60x. Wow, I have never seen this object like this before. the dark lane became more distinct, and the upper lobe appeared slightly brighter and larger than the bottom one. I could easily see a star inside the top lobe towards the right hand side, (I presume this star would have been in the foreground), After looking at this for quite some time I swapped the 17 + barlow out fro the 5mm LVW which gave 100x. Wow this is even better, the dark lane was even more noticable with sharp edge between the dark and the lobes. Obviously with my arpeture the lane appeared as an absence of light rather than actually seeing any dust lane. With this ep and using averted vision I could see another star, perhaps it was a small cluster of stars inside the top lobe at the oposite end to the bright star. This object has just become my all time favourite. Absolutely amazing, makes me wish even harder for that scope upgrade.

My 11 year old daughter had joined me at this point. I asked her to have a look and didn't say anything about what I was looking at. She was amazed and imediately started asking questions. When asked to describe what she saw, she said "a big bright circley thing with a black stripe accross the middle. I then proceded to explain what we were in fact looking at. She was even more amazed and asked more questions. I can foresee that one day i will come home and she will have the scope set up and telling me about what she's loking at. It was a great night and this was the icing on the cake.

Centaurus A obs report and sketch attached. thanks for reading.
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