Author Archives: Nick Cox

Current planetary nebulae.

Swadlincote 29/10/18 C6r reduced to 120mm.13mm Nagler.

Very well worth finding , mostly brightly coloured blue to blue green.

These are very obvious in the field of view , being non stellar. You can take the brightest up to x200. Indeed the “Esquimaux Nebula” in Gemini will show its hood and central white dwarf star. I had M27 filling the field at x200. Its surprising to see the different sizes and brightness of these most beautiful nebulae .

I recall a night when Andy arrived and we hit many on this list and my details of more obscure planetaries. They blink either with direct or averted vision. Some respond very well to UHC filters.

Personally I like the names and what has happened to give us a view of these temporary features, Nick.

Pegasus stars !

Swadlincote 28/10/18 C6r reduced to 120mm aperture.

Lovely clear forecast , set out the chair , looked at at a huge rainbow and heavy rain. Set up the mount at 5.30, hurrah for dark evenings.

Some chill , but superb seeing before the Moon climbed up. I reduced the aperture to 120mm to get more contrast , certainly worked. Pegasus gave some  stunning binaries.

I had a look at Bu1.  The triple in NGC 281 (“Packman nebula” in Cassiopeia). Very pleased not only to get some tight splits , but some faint companions, clear skies ! Nick.

“Book of the Moon”.

written with so much enthusiasm as only Dr. Maggie can inpart. Bang up to date , 2018. Includes the finding of hydroxyl ( mineral water !) .

It’s very clearly detailed with everything you’ve always thought of asking . Ideal for a Christmas present and deserves a place on every stargazers book shelf. I’m probably the last person to be mad about the Moon ( devil’s light bulb ) , but this book shows it a new light ,

old Nick.

Film , ” First Man “.

Stunning film on general release.

Includes a remarkable lunar landing , the approach will have you gripped. It deals with the conflict of inner space  and family against the urgent space race.

Next year will be 50 years since Apollo 11. How the mission was achieved with the technology available is just a miracle.

If you see one film this year , make it thus one !

Nick.

Dark sky report.

Glenluce Bay . Dumfries and Galloway. 11/10/18 15×70 binoculars.

Away from light pollution , the skies here have been stunning .Some greenish glow of northern lights from the north west. These are some of our darkest skies and our fourth trip here.

The clear bright Milky Way ends at Deneb, then switches to the side of Cygnus at Gienah through to Aquila. From Deneb to Albireo it’s bright then ends. The rifts , coalsack and tears of this area are stunning by eye.

Facing Triangulum, M33 is bright and spiralled. Bodes(M81 and M82 )both in the view showing their shapes and brightness. Even M51 shows that it’s more than a single glow.

One span of Cassiopeia, to the left , you’ll find length of “Kemble’s cascade”. It looked like a long straight rod with hockey stick ending . Really stunning sight.

Had a look at some clusters. M39,M34, double cluster, clusters of Cassiopeia including NGC 7789, “Carolines rose” . A scan along Cassiopeia and Cygnus gives plenty clusters. Tried x8 binoculars on the double cluster . Got both with a chain going up to the huge Stock 2. Just a stunning sight.
From Sagitta found M27 , bright and very obvious in the Vulpecula starfield.

Looked for the usually obvious Cepheus , could only find it looking for the bulge from the MW. Mu Cephei , Garnet star very bright at the base. Constellations in the Milky Way just de shape into the background . Even pointing binoculars at a bright known star and it soon melts into the granular star background.
Below Aquila , plenty clusters down to Sagittarius, a packed sky to our galactic centre.

Lovely to easily see the constellations such as Delphinus , Lynx and Pisces by eye. Before packing up got M13 and then up to get a very bright M92.

Wind got up, yellow storm warning on the way.
Really lovely sky , might bring a scope next time,
Clear skies !
Nick.

Backlash explained.

https://themcdonalds.net/richard/wp/backlash-in-telescope-mounts/

I found this most useful to explain one of the mysteries of mount alignment. Belt drive and the latest firmware are designed to eliminate this.

All that is required is careful use to a regime. If you can gently adjust your drive to give free running meshing without play , so much the better. The heavy grunge grease found in mounts is there for a reason ! Nick.