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Old 26-02-2008, 01:47 AM
žAB
Its only a column of dust

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Location: New Iceland
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What a difference a day makes!

After yesterdays failure, I went outside again today. Beforehand, I noticed very little twinkling of the stars so that was a good sign.

Set the scope up at around 8pm but the fan's batteries have gone flat so I had no choice but to let it cool without a fan which isn't going to do much to rid the scope of tube currents The seeing was the best in a while, however it was still far from being "great". Yesterday, one of the cloth loops on the alt spring snapped so I attached a keyring. I actually need those springs to be fully operational when using these Vixen hand grenades and Televue pipe bombs at low elevations!

Time: 10pm - 12:30am
Scope: 10" GSO dob
Seeing: 6/10
Transparency 1/5 (moon)
Dew: NIL

Mars
Very low in the north but at 146x I could make out a polar cap and some dark features. A big dark smudge was located adjacent the polar cap. Not much else seen. In any case its a great result when the planet is just 9.4 arc seconds in size and barely 30║ above the horizon!

M42
All 6 members of the trap were clearly visible at only 73x. Got nice, crisp stars at 250x with stupendous detail in the nebula itself! Also tried 500x but the seeing wouldn't handle it. I also suspected I was having issues with tube currents from insuffient cooldown because of no fan. Defocusing Betelguese showed some air tubulance and tube currents.

Homunculus Nebula
The seeing permitted observation at 250x. Very obvious loop structure, one lobe more obvious than the other. The brighter lobe has a very irregular outline, rather than a smooth edge. Some detail also visible within the lobes.

Zeta Orionis
Earlier in the evening it was a mess at 192x, but later on after a bit of cooling of the mirror, the star images vastly improved. Easy split.

Sirius
Figured the conditions were ideal to hunt the pup. So I dropped in the 5mm LVW for 250x and stuff me I got the "cleanest" view of Sirius I ever had with the pup an obvious dot just outside the main star's glare! This is the second time I've seen the pup and seriously it was, dare I say, easy! I didn't have to strain, use averted vision or anything. Just a casual glance revealed it. I decided I'll drop the mag to see how low I could go. I could hold the pup in view all the way down to just 96x

Gamma Leonis
Low in the northeast, somewhat messy star images at 192-250x as the seeing boiled away. I shouldv'e stuck to around 100x but couldn't be stuffed changing eyepieces. A very nice pair of almost equal mag gold stars. Very asthetically pleasing

Saturn
Tonight provided me with some great Saturn viewing. Messed with a whole range of mags between 146x and 250x. While the seeing was good, it wasnt great. I found my best view of the planet was at 220x which I achieved by dropping the 17mm LVW into the 3x TV Barlow. Sure, the lower powers were more reliable but those moments of super crisp view was worth it. The cassini division was easy, in moments of good seeing I swear I could trace it almost to the point where the ring meets the planet's globe! The crepe ring was there, just a light grey feature against the darker background. The contrast of the two main brown cloud belts varied with the seeing, but occasionally I could hint at perhaps 3 belts with some minor variations in hue and texture in the largest one just above the rings. The shadow of the rings on the planet's disk was very narrow and only easily resolved in those steady moments. Out of curiosity I upped the mag to 250x and during 1 single moment of very steady seeing, I almost crapped my daks

All in all a great night was had. Best view of Sirius, best view of Saturn - only the second time in weeks where conditions allowed me to breach the 200x mark, so using that as a benchmark it was one of the better nights in regards to seeing

Last edited by žAB; 26-02-2008 at 02:18 AM.
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  #2  
Old 26-02-2008, 07:02 AM
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goober (Doug)
No obs, raising Harrison

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Location: Melbourne, Australia
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Nice... good read. I didn't get home until 11:30, and the moon was up. Looked good conditions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by žAB View Post
Sirius ... This is the second time I've seen the pup and seriously it was, dare I say, easy!
I'll have to try this again.... tonight!
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Old 26-02-2008, 08:58 AM
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erick (Eric)
Starcatcher

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Location: Shoalhaven Heads
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Good one SAB! It looked nice to me when I was ISS hunting at 9:15, but I had no opportunity to get a scope out.

So no more complaints about Melbourne weather for at least a whole day?
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Old 26-02-2008, 05:46 PM
žAB
Its only a column of dust

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Location: New Iceland
Posts: 761
Thanks Doug n Eric Melbourne weather is actually nice atm so I'm happy Some high level cirrus actually moved thru at around midnight and seeing seemed to deteriorate with it but yer best viewing in a long time.
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