Ok. Finally. After 3+ weeks, a clear night and night off finally aligned. So you'd think conditions would be ideal for observing, right? Wrong! Yes, believe it or not, we had gale force wind. Ahh Melbourne climate, I luv thee so much
But I was pissed off, coz 3 weeks is a long time. So out I went, set up the 10" Dob and bought out my new set of Vixen LVWs. Didn't take much notice of the howling Melbourne wind that seemed to come out of nowhere for no reason.
Time: 8.30-10.00pm; 4.15-5.30am
Telescope: GSO 10" Dob
Transparency: Melbourne clouds in da way
Tried the 22mm LVW on this first, giving 56x. Nicely detailed. Next I dropped
in the 13mm and the moon still fit in the FOV, at 96x. You could see severe wavering at the edges of the moon, indicating normal Melbourne seeing. Indeed, when I dropped in the 8mm LVW for 156x, focusing became almost impossible. Using the 13mm eyepiece, the moon was too bright for comfort, but also gave the best view. At this point, I look up to see a large object fluttering towards me, figured it was a large bug but turned out ot be a leaf, dislodged from its habitat by the melbourne gale. Incidentally, despite the thousands of square meteres of landing areas, the leaf decided to twirl right into the optical tube! Luckily it lodged itself between the mirror cell and the tube wall, not on the mirror itself
Even though this star appeared as a fuzzy blob (not a point - think 'Koosh' balls
) at all mags, the companion was easily visible at 96x. And no my collimation is not at fault
M42 Orion Nebula
The 13mm vixen at 96x gave a pleasing view of the nebula, with mottling evident in the central bright area. Even with the moonlight, I could trace the cloud stretching in an arc away from the center along its western edge. I could see the E component of the trapezium quite plainly despite unruly conditions at 96x, but needed 156x (8mm LVW) to capture fleeting glances of the F component using averted vision.
Went inside at 10pm coz the wind and seeing were pissin me off. That leaf was wedged at the very end of the tube so I pryed the leaf out of the mirror cell using a fork through that small gap between the tube and the cell. Only *available* clear night for a month and seeing has be 'good' by melbourne standards. Yeah that'll be right...
Awoke at 3.30am after 4 hours of sleep. Looked outside - clear. Woke up and set up around 4am. Even though the usual was approaching from the northwest, it looked rather scattered.
Dropped in the 22mm Vixen and aimed at Saturn. Immediately I could see the shadow of the rings on the globe. The planet was wavering so the seeing had not improved. Also tried the 17, 13 and 8mm lenses and concluded that conditions could support the 156x the 8mm provided - with patience from SAB. At 156x, a belt of brownish cloud was obvious, and a tiny moon was visible extremely close to the ring, which was quite thrilling. Included is a rough illustration of the moon configuration. Also caught very isolated glimpses of the cassini division at the very tip of the rings. The saturn observation was greatly hindered by u know what but still got reasonable views. I can see my jaw dropping when the seeing is genuinly good!
So what do I conclude about the Vixen LVWs? Well, seeing was too crap to conclude anything. However, the 13mm is fast becoming a favourite
But I did notice that using my plossls now is like looking thru a straw and the Vixens seem to provide a bigger image at similar magnification, or is that an illusion of the wider FOV?