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Old 03-09-2007, 11:52 AM
DougAdams
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Observation Report - 1st September 2007

1st September 2007 – Deep Sky to the North
Seeing 2
Transparency 5
4" Refractor

A clear and cold night, with a slight breeze blowing. I set up with a view to looking at the moon and hunting craterlets in Plato. Moonrise was at 10:40pm so it wouldn't be viewable until around midnight. That gave me 2 hours to hunt down some stuff. I only took the 24mm Panoptic (22x) and 11mm Nagler (49x) out with me.

I set up around the back of the house which is a lot darker. It only gives me a narrow view from about 45 degrees up to the south around to the horizon to the north. Usually, the north is aglow with the lights of suburban Melbourne, but tonight I could see Vega low in the north barely flickering. I decided to go hunting deep sky to the north for a while – something I never do.

I broke out the Sky Pocket Atlas and had a look around Vega and began star hopping.

M57 Ring Nebula – this object is slightly south of Vega, near Sheliak. Although Sheliak is not naked eye from where I was, I found it easy enough with the 24mm Panoptic. A slight hop to the left and I had the Ring Nebula. I'd never seen this object, but heard it was easy with small scopes. It was easy, and only about 20º off the northern horizon. In the eyepiece, it appears to be an almost perfectly circular grey smudge of light. I went up to the 11mm Nagler, which vastly improved the view due to better contrast. The 24mm really brings a lot of sky glow, but the 11mm has a lot more contrast - the sky is darker. The nebula was very evident with direct vision and I fancy I could see the "hole" with averted vision. I have no doubt that from dark skies, or from a more northern latitude, this would be a great object. I sketched this view.

M56 – About half way between Sheliak and the double star Albireo is M56, a globular cluster in Lyra. I thought this would be a cinch to pick up, however I couldn’t find it. I gave it 15 minutes of re-checking the star atlas and re-pointing the scope. I couldn’t see it in the 24mm Panoptic – so I either was in the wrong spot or it’s very faint. I looked it up and see it’s magnitude 8.6 and 7 arc minutes in size – I should have seen it. One to try again sometime, perhaps from darker skies.

Albireo – I had never viewed this double star. I remember reading about it in the introduction to "Turn Left At Orion". Apparently it is a bright double, with markedly different colours. The star was easy to pick out in the northern sky, so I had a look. It is a lovely, easy double, easily split in both the 24mm and 11mm. The brighter of the pair is a golden amber colour, while the other is a white/blue star. I sketched the pair.

M71 - this is the controversial "is it a globular cluster or open cluster" object near Albireo, in Sagitta. I couldn't spot it at all in the 24mm Panoptic - the background light is too bright. When I was sure I had it in the FOV, even though I couldn't see it, I put in the 11mm Nagler. That's when I saw it - just a faint smudge of stars that is almost invisible. Barely worth looking at from light polluted skies.

M27 Dumbbell Nebula - working further southwards from M71, I easily found this in Vulpecula. It's a bright, hazy oblong patch of misty light immediately obvious in the eyepiece. I couldn't see the dumbbell shape, but could see that it had an elongated, almost rectangular, shape. I could not see any colour in the object. See sketch.

M62 - globular cluster near Antares. Easily found this, surprisingly bright, large cluster. This had a distinctive bright core and a fainter surrounding halo. Nice easy object to find. I sketched this object.

M19 - another globular cluster near Antares. M19 appears to be similar in both size and brightness to M62. However, M19 doesn’t have the distinctive core/halo features of M62. This globular was more a misty round patch of light. Still, a nice object, and easy to find. I sketched this object.

I had a quick look at Antares (my never ending quest to split it), M6 and M7. It was getting cold and the neighbours had turned on their outside floodlights - so kind of them - so I packed it up. The moon can wait for another night.
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Old 03-09-2007, 12:15 PM
Rob_K
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Nice report Doug! M56 appears fairly dim in my little scope - not that far from Ring Nebula, and in a fairly dense starfield. M71 appears pretty dim & diffuse, harder to see for mine than M56. M19 & 62 are nice!

Love to see your sketches - haven't sketched before, but would like to try sometime!

Cheers -
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Old 03-09-2007, 12:23 PM
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rmcpb (Rob)
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Doug,

Really enjoyed the report. I think I will try that theme on the next clear night. Reports of others observing sessions are great as they help get you out of the groove we all find ourselves in.

Thanks again
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Old 03-09-2007, 01:22 PM
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erick (Eric)
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Thanks Doug, that was an enjoyable report.

Saturday night was a good night to get out there - clear nights have been a rare beast in Melbourne, lately.

However, when I reached my sports ground observing location, the sports clubs seemed to think they had the right to be there with lights on and bbqs blazing - How dare they!

So I found an embankment to set up behind. They gave up and turned lights off around 11pm. I had been thinking about looking north, but found myself sunk too deep to make much of it - M13 was below my horizon. But at one stage, Vega was just visible between trees and above the embankment, so I turned the scope that way looking for the famous Epsilon Lyrae, the "double-double" for my first time. I think the fact that my scope saw mostly embankment and a smigeon of sky didn't help - I wasn't splitting each double. OK, another night.

I turned my attention back to overhead and concentrated on seeing the various targets in Sagittarius, many for the first time. Had a great time locating globular clusters and seeing what I could make of the Lagoon and Triffid Nebulae with my new NPB filter.

Then a bright light behind me coming through the trees - What now?, I exclaimed!, are they back! Oh, the Moon. Spent the last half an hour before I had to pack up, experimenting with getting maximum magnification on the Moonscape (through pine trees - Duh!) but came up with a combination of barlow, extension tube and 6mm eyepiece that was giving huge magnification. Nothing startling with poorish seeing, low elevation and a row of pine trees in the way but I spent some time looking at craters Theophilus and Madler.

Positively balmy at five or so degrees. Little moisture to contend with. And not a cloud in the sky - marvellous!

Eric

Last edited by erick; 03-09-2007 at 01:50 PM.
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Old 03-09-2007, 03:50 PM
DougAdams
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob_K View Post
Love to see your sketches - haven't sketched before, but would like to try sometime!
I've only started doing it the past few months. I'm terrible, but working at it. It takes quite a bit of fiddling to get it right - it was almost impossible until I picked up a headtorch!
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Old 04-09-2007, 08:59 AM
§AB
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erick View Post

Then a bright light behind me coming through the trees - What now?, I exclaimed!, are they back! Oh, the Moon. Spent the last half an hour before I had to pack up, experimenting with getting maximum magnification on the Moonscape (through pine trees - Duh!) but came up with a combination of barlow, extension tube and 6mm eyepiece that was giving huge magnification. Nothing startling with poorish seeing, low elevation and a row of pine trees in the way but I spent some time looking at craters Theophilus and Madler.
lol how much did you crank it up to? With my setup the maximum possible is 330x.
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Old 04-09-2007, 09:39 AM
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erick (Eric)
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lol how much did you crank it up to? With my setup the maximum possible is 330x.
In theory, I'm starting from 400x (202mm primary, f6, el-cheapo 2x barlow, Vixen LV 6mm eyepiece). At that point I should be well into the theoretical limit of around 40-60 (depending who you read) per inch of primary mirror diameter. My mirror is also a mass produced GSO so I cannot expect it to be particularly "good", unless I've been lucky.

A couple of months ago, chasing craterlets in Plato, I noted (by accident, I recall) that if I lifted the eyepiece out of the barlow and re-adjusted the focus, I saw a more magnified image. I got to holding the eyepiece by hand many cm away from the barlow, seeing this image! So Saturday night, I put a 35mm extn into the barlow and the 6mm eyepiece into that and refocused. Then I lifted the 35mm extn as far out of the barlow as I could, lifted the 6mm eyepiece as far out of the extn as I could (both so I could still catch them with the compression rings, and refocused again. I didn't try to estimate how much further the magnification had increased. Sure the image wasn't great (remember - poorish seeing, low elevation of the Moon and I'm looking through trees! ), but it wasn't a mess either. I was looking at Theophilus.

I'm sure this is nothing new for most on this forum (I have read of cameras on the end of "hoover tubes"), but it was all new to me! I plan to investigate a bit more systematically - maybe try a longer extension (the 50mm one).

Yes, I know this is all a bit silly (probably a lot silly, some of you are muttering), but I want to be ready for a night of good seeing when I can go up in magnification in this way and see what I make of it. At the end of the day, it's probably resolution that I want, and if I have that, magnification is probably not a great issue. Still, it's fun experimenting to see what I can do with what I have.

Eric
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Old 04-09-2007, 09:52 AM
§AB
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I wanna see how my 4.5" will handle 330x on the moon. I'm guessing "not well" but hey it's worth a try
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Old 04-09-2007, 11:19 AM
DougAdams
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Originally Posted by erick View Post
... so I turned the scope that way looking for the famous Epsilon Lyrae, the "double-double" for my first time. I think the fact that my scope saw mostly embankment and a smigeon of sky didn't help - I wasn't splitting each double. OK, another night.
Golly, you're right. I never bothered with this as I thought it was a northern speciality and never bothered trying to find it, but it's right on top of Vega. I'll give it a go next time - probably tonight.
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Old 04-09-2007, 11:27 AM
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erick (Eric)
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Let me know how you go, please. I expected to fairly easily split each pair, but didn't. I think I just wasn't capturing the full aperture, but was a bit surprised. But they quickly moved on nearer to a tree and I couldn't be bothered relocating the scope.
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Old 04-09-2007, 03:36 PM
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Great report Doug. I love this area of the sky. I never used to because like you I have a little sky glo, but once I discovered that it wasn't enough glo to worry, it has become one of my regular areas to view. Not far away from M27 and a bit higher is the Saturn neb. If you can see M57 you should be able to see it. Its slightly smaller than M57 and a little harder to find, but worth the look.

Quote:
But at one stage, Vega was just visible between trees and above the embankment, so I turned the scope that way looking for the famous Epsilon Lyrae, the "double-double" for my first time.
Thanks Eric, I had heard if this but never got around to finding out where it was. Since I always look in this area, next time I go out I am definately trying to split these.
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Old 04-09-2007, 04:44 PM
DougAdams
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Great report Doug. I love this area of the sky. I never used to because like you I have a little sky glo, but once I discovered that it wasn't enough glo to worry, it has become one of my regular areas to view. Not far away from M27 and a bit higher is the Saturn neb. If you can see M57 you should be able to see it. Its slightly smaller than M57 and a little harder to find, but worth the look.
Hi Rex - I bagged the Saturn Nebula on the 14th of August when I was hunting Uranus ... here's what I have in the logbook...

Saturn Nebula NGC 7009 – while in the region of Aquarius, I decided to try to find the Saturn Nebula. This is apparently a bright planetary nebula in O’Meara’s Caldwell book. Again, armed with a finder chart, I put ν Aqu in the centre of the 24mm FOV. I immediately saw the nebula, rather non-stellar, halfway to the edge of the FOV. It gave me the impression of blinking whenever I tried to look at it with direct vision. When I used averted vision, it brightened remarkably. I bumped up the magnification to 77x (see sketch) which gave it a bit more colour. It also had a hint of elongation along the NW/SE axis – I need to confirm whether I did see that or not.

Tonight looks very promising in Melbourne - I'll have another look at it.
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Old 04-09-2007, 05:06 PM
§AB
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^^ it looks promising but what is it with this ridiculous wind? The weather maps show a stable area of high pressure with widely spaced isobars across Vic so what is this??
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Old 05-09-2007, 11:55 AM
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Congrats doug. It's great to read about the encounters of others on here as it gives you new ideas of things to look at and try and find.

I love the fact that you have a log book. I kind of started doing one, but haven't quite got the dinamics of it all down pat yet. Holding a book and pencil in one hand and keeping the object you are viewing in the filed of view is sometimes very challenging. Trial and error will prevail and sooner or later it will all come together.

P.S. I noticed your Gluten free comment in your signature. I too am a ceoliac. Lucky for both of us that Stars are in fact gluten free .

Edit: Maybe there is an echo in here????
Quote:
originally posted by RCMP
Really enjoyed the report. I think I will try that theme on the next clear night. Reports of others observing sessions are great as they help get you out of the groove we all find ourselves in.

Thanks again
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Old 05-09-2007, 12:49 PM
DougAdams
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Originally Posted by NQLD_Newby View Post
Congrats doug. It's great to read about the encounters of others on here as it gives you new ideas of things to look at and try and find.

I love the fact that you have a log book. I kind of started doing one, but haven't quite got the dinamics of it all down pat yet. Holding a book and pencil in one hand and keeping the object you are viewing in the filed of view is sometimes very challenging. Trial and error will prevail and sooner or later it will all come together.

P.S. I noticed your Gluten free comment in your signature. I too am a ceoliac. Lucky for both of us that Stars are in fact gluten free .

Edit: Maybe there is an echo in here????
We coeliacs are a growing army - I'm seven years in

I'm still trying to get the ergonomics all sorted out so it's easy, because if it's not easy, I can't be bothered (sad, but it's a fact). I start with a list of objects I want to find on a sheet of paper. My "logbook" is really a notebook and bullet pen, so I can jot notes at the eyepiece. If I feel like sketching, I'll take a clipboard outside too. That, along with the Pocket Sky Atlas and a headlamp, seems to work for me. I write it up when I get inside.
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