Observing

A Day’s Observing from Streethay 19/5/2018 – The Royal Wedding…

The ‘big day‘… and the weather couldn’t have been better… sunny for most of the day plus into the evening forecast (although there appeared to be a layer of high cloud).

There was great excitement in the Briden household to see what our guest would appear in… would it be a one or two piece, perhaps sandals… or a hat.. or come completely ill-prepared…

Look who came around to play, after arriving in her (motorised) carriage !

Yes, well ‘Meghan‘ is a bit shy after all… and these solar hoods/veils can be a right pain to get into!

And a pic of ‘her’ using her own scope and trying a different… veil…

Our solar panels had a cracking day also – generating over 24kWh.

To get into the spirit of things Julie appeared with flags…

What a fine specimen of a man is our ‘Harry‘… It was a first chance for him to use his updated home-made sun shield – now faced with white card to reflect some heat and so stop the main cardboard construction warping (the other face is covered with DC-fix black self adhesive felt – the same stuff that ‘Harry’ had lined his 10″ OO Dob some years ago…)

Although the seeing was not so good today, one has to make do when the opportunity arises… besides it didn’t spoil the generally good feel of the day… we even managed a celebratory glass of Pimms No.1 no less – I say, can’t get more British than that!

Following two images are taken hand held, iPhone6 to a 32mm TV Plossl, (Takahashi TSA102s, Daystar Quark Chromosphere, 2″ Baader UV/IR blocking filter inserted before the diagonal), running at 107x

…showing a fantastic set of ‘Newton’s (wedding) Rings‘ there!

This prominence can be seen on the GONG images at the 8 o’clock position…

Time: 2.16pm

Copyright: GONG/NSO/AURA/NSF.

..and later at 4.44pm

Copyright: GONG/NSO/AURA/NSF.

My sketches of the evolving prominences throughout the ‘big’ day…

After a great day, we retired for dinner, then set up again with changed attire…. ready for the…. ‘evening event‘!

What a beauty, hey! Just checking how he looks on the ole social media! Here featured in a RAG jacket, matching trousers and footwear by….

Lunar shot taken at 9.50pm, iPhone 6 hand held to the 21mm TV Ethos (TEC 140-ED APO refractor)

..and another slightly later at 10.05pm (not so zoomed in) – those damn paparazzi, hey….

Had a chance to do some drawing…. managed quick sketches of both the Western and Eastern (Bridal) Veil portions. Seeing and transparencey was not good and my intended target, Jupiter, was just not great tonight to bother with…

Managed to just pick out the Crescent Nebula in Cygnus (only via my 2″ Lumicon OIII and UHC filters), but I’ve seen it through the same scope much clearer on a previous occasion.

Most tricky observation came early on in the evening after following Andy… sorry ‘Meghan’ to M81/M82… came across ‘Coddington Nebula’ in the same vicinity – IC2574, a spiral galaxy in Ursa Major, running at Mag 10.4. Took averted vision, patience and the superb Sky Safari Pro 5 charts (able to reverse the chart as well which really helps to double check everything). Discovered by Edwin Coddington in 1898 and classified first as a ‘nebula’.

Best observation was the ISS flypast just after half 12. Was able to use the laser pointer attached to the Nova Hitch mount to track it sufficiently well for brief periods to see the Space Station as clear as day through the eyepiece as it whizzed passed the ‘adoring throngs‘!

So to wrap up this post, a few pictures of the ‘Happy Couple‘ in the garden at Briden Palace!

Sweet…

…off on ‘honeymoon’ to RAG this Friday!

Damian (and Andy!)

 

Observing Log Streethay 19/5/2018 @ 22:00 -20/5/2018 @ 03:30

Damian and I spent a memorable evening outside last night. Not the best of skies. However with the help of his Tec 140 on his Nova Hitch and my Sky Watcher Equinox Pro 120mm on my HEQ5 Pro Synscan mount, we observed a wide range of objects including Moon, the Eastern Veil Nebula and Witches Broom part of the Veil (both of those required an OIII filter or UHC to view well & were virtually invisible without such a filter), Ring Nebula, multiple other planetary nebula, globular clusters galore, Jupiter (the tracking Synscan HEQ5 Pro really helped here allowing me to get Jupiter in the field of view and keep it there at 600x magnification – 6mm Ethos + 2 x Tele Vue Big Barlow + 2 x Tele Vue 1.25 inch Barlow! – where we saw a wealth of detail on the planetary belts, open clusters and a lot beside.

I “upgraded” to Sky Safari Pro 6 planetarium software on my iPad a few months ago when there was half price deal and it turns out that it is very difficult in this new version to e-mail our observations to myself so that I can upload them to this blog unless they are set up on the software correctly first under an observing list which I did not do last night – plus the software keeps crashing on me whilst I try to get them off the machine – my old iPad is the problem here. So, I will downgrade my version of Sky Safari software on my iPad back to version 4 or 5 which worked well on this iPad and where observations were easy to get off the machine. Thankfully, although I could not buy those older versions now, it turns out they are still available in the iTunes store under “My Purchases” as I previously purchased them…..so they are both downloading now!

Andy

Observing Forecast

Observing Forecasts for our area

 

Rosliston Forestry Centre:

http://clearoutside.com/forecast/52.75/-1.64

Lichfield:

http://clearoutside.com/forecast/52.69/-1.81

https://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/2644531

https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/public/weather/forecast/gcqewq76c#?date=2018-05-18

http://7timer.org/index.php?product=astro&lon=-1.807&lat=52.7&lang=en&ac=0&unit=metric&tzshift=0&site=

Burton-on-Trent:

http://clearoutside.com/forecast/52.81/-1.64

Tamworth:

http://clearoutside.com/forecast/52.63/-1.69

Summer blast.

Some ace targets as we look into our galaxy, include the Cygnus clusters. Lucky to get a decent view of the Great Red Spot on Jupiter. It seems to have developed a long fine streamer. There is also a noticeable barge to the northern belt.

Plenty of planetary nebulae around. In Cygnus and Delphinus  , two specials. NGC 6826 , the “blinking planetary ” which blinks vividly in and out .All bright planetaries do this trick , but this is the best one ! NCC 6905, the ” blue flash”  catch it right and it is a vivid blue. Not a time for galaxies , but I keep a note for later on as the Summer Triangle is with us into late autumn.Nick.

 

Great Hercules !

At last , Jupiter settled to give some x150 magnification views, lovely crisp bands and shading. An aperture mask is as good as anything to take off any brightness. Taken to using a large notebook instead of sheets of paper .

Hercules and Serpens are well placed. M5 is a spectacular globular cluster, however the night belonged to “Graff’s Cluster”, IC 4756. A beautiful scattering of stars , filling the eyepiece.

As it didn’t get much darker to midnight , I returned to some of the finest binaries in Hercules. OΣ 341 gives a lovely view of this multiple group , almost like an open cluster. Sarin is probably my favourite here. Expect to use some averted vision to get some of the faintest companions in summer skies. A bit more magnification will darken the field of view, under

clear skies ! Nick.

Hercules , summer views.

Something different from M13 and M92. The two planetary nebulae are very bright and obvious at low power . They both blink into invisibility and return , great to show everyone. Look for the bright , but fuzzy nebulae, focus on the stars, these won’t focus. Higher magnification shows more of the halo and core, but I like the contrast at low power.

NGC 6210 “Turtle nebula” some great excitement as this was one of the first Hubble images , taken to be a turtle eating a shell ! Discovered by Wilhelm Struve looking for binaries. To the south east there is the binary Σ 2016, separated by 7.4″.

“Webb’s Wreath ” is a magnificent ring like asterism. (SAO 85678)

NGC 6229 is a globular cluster some 99,000 light years on the galactic halo.

Very pleased to get these in bright summer and

clear skies ! Nick.

 

Observing Report – 13/5/18

Between a cheap power pack, the infamous Skywatcher bendy bolts and the fact it’s so late before it gets dark, I’m very much visual only at the moment. Last nights efforts:

Part 1- 10-11pm before properly dark:

          Venus

          Jupiter- very wobbly with poor seeing and still too low in the sky. Only 2/3 bands really visible and the moons distinctly fuzzy.

          Epsilon Lyrae – the Double double. Still low in the sky but reasonably easy to split all four stars.

          M13 & M92– Spent quite a long time on this trying different magnifications. The sweet spot seemed to be about 300x, able to resolve stars down to the core, but without too much fuzziness.

          Ceres – Just a point of light, but a nice hopping challenge from Leo. I’ve put a hands free phone holder onto the end of my scope which means I’ve got Sky Safari right next to the finder and eyepiece. The scope is heavy enough that it doesn’t unbalance it too much and it really helps being able to jump back and forth between map and the actual view.

 

Part 2 – 11-11:30 pm dark enough for faint fuzzies…

          Leo Triplet 1 – M65 and M66 were bright enough to see the cores and shape quite clearly. NGC 3628 much more of a challenge and only with averted vision and knowing exactly where to look.

          Leo Triplet 2 – M96, M95, M105 – all 3 were faint but visible, but not the 2 companions to M105

          Sombrero – the failure of the night- seemed to be just behind a tree!

          The Needle Galaxy- wanted to check this out following Rogers picture last week. Tried very hard to see the dark lane, but couldn’t conclusively do so, although the shape and central bulge were both clearly visible.

          Melotte 111 – this was an accidental find in the finder when looking for the needle- very pretty!

Part 3 – 11:30pm-midnight… the bit where I tried to gather the will power to pack up despite the beautiful improving skies and kept telling myself one last object before bed…

          M57 Ring nebula – wonderfully clear, could see shading. Couldn’t quite see the central star, despite a long observation

          NGC6826 – Blinking Planetary Nebula

          Albireo

          Back to M13- even better against the darker sky.

          Jupiter- now much higher and steadier; 6/7 bands clearly visible, moons now nice and crisp.

Finally to bed. Felt like a long one at work today! Trying to convince myself that it’s not another clear night tonight…

The Veil.

There are few deep sky objects which get the excitement going , this huge (six times the size of the full moon) supernovae remnant is one of the finest. The whole remnant is the “loop” is 100 light years across . Discovered by William Herschel , this must have been some find .

The forces unleashed in supernovas created by nuclear fusion , heavy elements. Gold is an admirable and readily available element thus formed , so is much of ourselves ! These supernova clouds can be recycled to form stars and planets. These gaseous , particulate and glowing clouds are thrilling to trace and observe. Even M1, the ” Crab” nebula looks quite spectacular in darker skies.

There is just the slimmest indication of the arc from light polluted skies. I’ve had the pleasure of showing it to three observers from home , who were quite pleased and amazed to see this for the first time. It’s an easy find off Cygnus. Dark skies will open this out into full wispiness. Even here , differences in darkness will give more to the view. It is possible to spot this by eye from the darkest of sites , along with the North American Nebula and the Great Cygnus Rift.

It’s easy to follow the arc right round from the bright Eastern Veil to the fainter Western Veil. NGC 6995  and NGC 6992 give the brightest areas. A UHC filter will enhance views, greatly darkening the background. Cygni 52 illuminates the Western Veil, look closely , this is a binary star. Even small scopes will show the bright loop.

Its a delight to sit at the scope and sketch some detail. It’ll be there to observe right through until autumn.

The Veil is always top of the list for dark site adventures, under clear skies ! Nick.

Lyra , summer targets.

Endless twilight and little Astronomical darkness, nil desperandum !

The Summer Triangle, led by the very bright Vega is soon up to observe. This is packed with full star fields with multiple stars and easy binaries. The seeing and transparency recently have been stunning. Both faint companions and close splits have been teased out using 4″ aperture. Drop down to Cygnus and we have lots of planetary nebulae and open clusters to enjoy all summer long.

To my surprise my £30 Helios 102mm f10 punched out results comparable to my Vixen 102. These early long refractors are worth seeking out, quality control is all there ! Here are just a few of the classic views in this area, under clear skies ! Nick.