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Old 24-10-2020, 08:21 AM
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Zubenel (Wes)
Awe and Wonder

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Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: SE QLD
Posts: 515
Observing report 17th Oct with Phobos & Deimos

Last Friday night appeared to be the last chances I had to tick a bucket list item. Dave S and I made our way to our current favourite dark sky location perched at 500 M ASL inland from the Sunny Coast. A touch of cirrus cloud skirted the Southern horizon early but didn't escalate. As usual our host had mowed to bowling green standard apart from one area of flatter compact that was almost bare of turf just the right size for "Zamar". David spruiked that all his A.P. gear was accounted for just as was realising that the power lead from the base to battery didn't appear to be in "the BOX" !
A few questions latter and a premade plug end appeared from the shed with a soldering iron already heating up to connect a cigarette plug to the other end.
Multimeter in hand I made absolutely sure I got the polarity correct. To test I isolated thee Argonavis ,Servocat computer &Sky Fi ,powered up and check polarity between the terminals to the upper tube assembly. All good. I was up and running before astronomical twilight had finished.
To check the seeing I slewed to the Epsilon 1 Lyra Double Double to nicely split them both with the 9mm Nagler at giving 282 x magnification and then Albireo. This gave me hope for later on when Mars had risen high towards the Meridian.
Meanwhile David had started imaging NGC 253, the Silver Dollar galaxy however our somewhat exposed position meant he lost about half the subs to the wind! Once completed he slewed to M57 the Ring PN and had a similar experience. As he finished it I decided to slip off the shroud to reduce the wind induced vibration on Zamar.
I slewed to some very small and dim planetary nebula in Aquilla which have eluded me ever since my early star hopping days using my 10"ATM Dobsonian . Both NGC6772 mag12.6 & IC4846 Mag 11.89 appeared Stella and were confirmed only by flicking the filter slider with a O3 filter. Onto the bright blue and mesmerizing Saturn Nebula comparatively , viewing the inner and outer nebula halos.
Saturn was next, along with Hyperion, Dione Iapetus, Rhea hanging off to one side without confirming Tethys,Mimas or Enceladus.
M15 Globular Cluster in Pegasus, Helix Planetary Nebula NGC7293 , Andromeda M31 using " the 31mm Nagler Pineapple" The H2 region of NGC206 in M31 was quite easy indicating in my experience that the transparency was pretty good also.. Denver had come out a little earlier with his 12" Dob so we played with it for a while on Jupiter and Saturn, Andromeda Galaxy M31 and 47 Tuc. I got a big wow out of him when he sided up to Zamar with the 20mm Type 5 Nagler centred on it. A very splendid view indeed: eyepop:
By this stage Dave had earlier given up with the C11 due to the wind and attempted to do a mid-evening scope change to the 80mm Triplet but something went awry setting up in the dark is not for the faint hearted and twice as hard as in the day light IMHO but he persevered unfortunately to no success. Without having dew heaters on prior to pulling the scope out of its box the refractor immediately dewed up. Unfortunately putting the dew heater didn’t get rid of it …..Have a hair dryer at the ready.
By this time Mars was high in the Northern sky so Denver and I started to identify surface features such as the Southern polar cap , Terra Meridiani, Schiaparelli Crater and very thin cloud over the Northern Polar Limb using the 6mm Televue Radian.
Back on the 8th October I did an imaging run on a Galaxy in Pieces that had a supernova discovered on the 5th October by Koichi Itagaki at magnitude of 16.5 .This was the first supernova which I had imaged .( Link included) Now this posed a problem as to date I had have not imaged anything I had not viewed with a least one eyeball .This anomaly I needed to correct. I had estimated the Magnitude of SN 2020UXZ in NGC 512 at 14.6 so knowing the field from processing the image it was very simple and quick to identify using the 9mm Type 6 Nagler at 282 x magnification. Unlike my image I could not see any spiral structure of this faintish face on spiral sitting at 85 million light years distant. The Supernova was suspected to be a Type 1A.It had a luminosity similar to the 3 field stars close by .It was Denver’s first Supernova .After this Denver packed it in so..... bucket list time.
The Moons of Mars have been on my radar since I received Zamar . Last opposition I tried an occulting bar in a cheap 10mm EP without success. As expected again there was no sign of any dim "stars" with Mars in the FOV. I pumped the Magnification up to 423 x with the Televue 6 mm Radian. The tracking was moving around a bit, so it took a while to position Mars at the 6 o’clock position just outside the FOV. Oh , did I just see something .... Consulting Sky Safari on the IPDA and yes yes. I did it ...Phobos !!! Very dim but there is was in the semi-glare of Mars not more than a Mars diameter away but that was only half the challenge. Where was Deimos. I believed it was another Mars diameter out and slightly to the left in the FOV. 10-20-30-40 minutes of eye strain later and tears boot and ....Yes but hang on the I had been looking in the wrong place. It was actually Deimos that was the furthest out. In that 40 minutes Deimos had swung round the limb of Mars and into view .It would not of been more than a few arcseconds from it. 2 tiny faint and wonderful moons with Mars just out of the FOV. No averted imagination here. They held direct site easily once I became familiar with their position relative to the limb of Mars. I called David over who gained them in just few minutes.

After bathing in that success for a little while Taurus and Orion had risen so off to M1 the Crab Nebula . David had given up on the little scope by then so a called him back over as I slewed to the Mighty M42 Orion Nebula. Fluro green and dark maroon hues dominated the field of the 31 mm Nagler pineapple . At this low magnification the Trapezium had 5 of the its 6 members visible This is when the clouds from the north started to close in . A quick look at NGC 1365 Great Spiral Bar galaxy and who couldn’t resist the horror show of the Tarantula Neb in the LMC to finish off the night as the clouds pulled a curtain over the sky. We packed up together . Me, satisfied that investigation, awe and wonder had be sort and won but Dave not so much. Although It turned out he came away with 2 nice images of the Ring Nebula and NGC 253 .

Funnily enough the images that I have attached , which I took on the 8th October give the same position of Deimos and Phobos.
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Click for full-size image (DeimosPhobosannoted_wes_smith.jpg)
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Old 24-10-2020, 08:05 PM
Dazzled by the Cosmos.

Dennis is offline
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Brisbane
Posts: 11,172
A very interesting and entertaining report Wes, and woohoo, well done on Mars with Phobos and Deimos.


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Old 24-10-2020, 08:55 PM
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Tinderboxsky (Steve)
I can see clearly now ...

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Location: Kingston TAS
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Fabulous result for Phobos and Diemos, Wes. I enjoyed reading your report. Thanks for sharing your experiences.
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Old 24-10-2020, 10:29 PM
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The Observologist

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Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Billimari, NSW Central West
Posts: 1,638
Hi Wes & All,

Well done mate -- have seen Deimos in the past (about 20 years ago) but never Phobos. Kudos!


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