M48 at full moon – – – 28/02/2018

Having posted an image of M46 and M47 recently, the other Messier object nearby that I hadn’t yet imaged was M48. I hadn’t managed to locate this object from the window-sill, probably due to its extended size. So, tonight, I installed the focal reducer on the ST80 and went on an M48 hunt. It is full moon (another “Blue Moon”), so it was hardly ideal for DSO hunting!

Still, this time I found it. So here it is after a bit of processing with GIMP.

 

Observing – 25/2/18

After a busy weekend and several sessions where I’ve either been trying to take photos or improve my skills at finding objects I thought I’d have a bit of a night off, let the mount do the work, and just enjoy observing a few objects that I’ve been inspired to look at by other reports on this site. The setup for the evening was HEQ5 mount using the Wifi dongle, with the OTA from my 200p Dob (now working well on this mount due to extended counterweight bar- thanks Pete) and mostly with 40, 25 and 7mm EPs.

After a cold day the seeing was pretty good but the moon was bright so I decided to focus mainly on clusters. The objects were:

  • I started off during the alignment trying to see if I could spot Sirius’ companion, but no joy.
  • M35- looked good in the 40mm
  • M46- looked good in the 25mm, spent some time looking for the planetary NGC2437 but couldn’t find it, possibly due to the bright moon which wasn’t too far away in the sky.
  • M47- very pretty in the 25mm.
  • M48 – another new one for me- loved it in the 25mm

I then spotted that Uranus was still just visible from my location so I put the 7mm on and spent a while observing it. I’m still not quite sure if I imagined the green hue or whether it was really visible. Having moved onto solar system objects I thought I’d have a look at Ceres but couldn’t find a way to get to it through the Synscan app on my phone. I was getting a bit cold so I headed in to see if I could work it out and also warm up a little. The way I eventually managed it was by connecting Sky Safari to the Synscan app, however in the hour I was inside, the mount seemed to have moved a little out of alignment and it proved quite fiddly to get to the object- some thoughts on this below. I then returned to clusters:

  • NGC2264 – The Christmas Tree Cluster
  • NGC1502 – Kemble’s Cascade – needed the 40mm for this one, but very pretty and brilliant to see it with my own eyes after failing to star hop to it a couple of weeks ago.
  • M52
  • Eta Cassiopeiae
  • Garnet Star- this was just visible from my location, a stunning red and a great way to finish off the session.

Some thoughts on the WiFi dongle:

This is my fifth/sixth session using it, and whilst I’m still very pleased with it (especially the ease of setup) there are a couple of reservations from the last couple of sessions, primarily based around touchscreen devices in the cold. First point is that the battery level drops much faster in the cold, even when putting the phone in your pocket between adjustments- you really need to make sure there’s a good level of charge before you start. Secondly, the touchscreens seem to become much less responsive in the cold, often needing several “presses” to make them work and on one occasion still seeming to think I had my finger pressed on a button long after I’d let go, resulting in the scope slewing way across the sky away from what I wanted to look at. This is all quite frustrating and can be a bit fiddly. I didn’t experience any of these issues in the first few sessions, where the temperature was 3-6 degrees, but in the last couple where it was zero or below it was really quite frustrating. On the upside, having SkySafari connected to it was brilliant and quite straightforward to do.

Shock!! Face discovered on Sun! – – – 26/02/2018

Remember the “Face on Mars”? (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cydonia_(region_of_Mars))

Well, here is one on the Sun!

Didn’t have chance to do anything but the briefest of imaging this morning, so we have ended up with a bit of a mosaic, but at least there is a surface feature!

Maybe I should report it to the “Sun” newspaper! Seems appropriate!

24-25th February 2018 observing report.

Vixen 102, Heq5pro, SkySafari 5pro. Swadlincote.

Cold and very cold, but clear with the bright Moon up. Ending my seventh session this month.

Good time of year to get under Leo to long Hydra. Having enjoyed the spectacular NGC 3242′, “ghost of Jupiter” , decided to have a look of some favourite binaries here. Some lovely colours and treasures to find. ( The “ghost” is very bright , from dark sites it has shown handlebars on each side , with a ghostly green blue colour)

Σ1270 at x100, gave a lovely pair. (SAO 136242)

epslion Hydrae, really lovely yellow and deep blue (SAO 117112)

Σ1290 ,a good 2.8″ split at x200 (SAO 117208)

Σ1347 , nicely wide at 21″

Here’s the double double low power field, with splits to 1.9″, SAO 117661 and 117704

Some spectacular colours to tau 1 Hydrae, yellow with a ” small plum” , yes ,got that .

Just on the borders of Leo, I spotted Subra on the app,( omicron Leonis ) SAO 98709, wide , but stunning colouration. One that I no references to, or noticed before. Plenty targets in this area,under Clear skies !

Nick.

Damian’s views in his Lomo Biolam microscope

Damian used his renovated Lomo Biolam microscope to view the small organisms we found in our recent trip to Branston water park and cheek cells we collected from his mouth and stained with H&E staining on 2/2/2018.

Andy and Damian

Cheek cells x20 objective

Cheek cells x40 objective

X90 objective. All these images taken afocally from one side of the binoviewer on the Lomo, using hand-held Samsung S7 phone through x10 ocular and objective mentioned. There is also 1.5x multiplication effect from the binoviewer.

Therefore the magnification on image below with x90 objective = 10 x 90 x 1.5 = 1350 x. Contrast and brightness tweaked in the image editor on the Samsung S7 phone – no other processing:

The following photos are all with x10 objective, otherwise as above. They are of organisms from Branston water park:

The following picture shows Damian taking pictures through the ocular using the a ocal imaging technique of holding his camera up to the ocular.

Daytime Moon over Lichfield

‎Damian and his wife Julie and I walked the route of the Erasmus Darwin walk today. The sun was shining and it was clear and we saw this beautiful day-time moon shown in photos below.

We also came across these paintings – query interpretations of famous Apollo moon landing photos in the local art galary.

The Erasmus Darwin walk is over 10 miles in length. It was one small step for Andy and one giant step for Dame – Andy’s step-counter watch recorded that he walked 27610 steps whereas Dame’s phone recorded 22200 steps – I have tiny legs!

Andy