Nick Cox

Observing miscellany, 1/7/18.

Swadlincote 1-2/7/18 Orion Optics 200 f6 11mm Nagler 23mm Panoptic.

It’s getting darker out there ! A foray until 1 ,caught some beautiful sights especially in Cygnus. I usually observe with refractors, recently getting down to .9 arc seconds separation using the 150. Secondary vanes produce spikes making binary stars difficult. The more modest size Newtonian from Orion Optics do come with a single vane , producing marble like stars of great clarity.

However , Newts do not give the contrast of refractors and are less indifferent to seeing (atmospheric disturbance) and transparency. Some results from Cygnus , part of a project to note the best views, which will be posted when complete.

The open clusters ,M39, M29 and NGC 2910 came up , but are best with a bit more darkness. I was surprised when Paul ( our long distant visitor ) sent over his observing notes.

A year ago he was trying for nebula and galaxies from the middle of St.Helens. He was getting pretty frustrated until I advised him to get a TAL 100 and Sissy Haas, “Double stars for small telescopes “. As you can tell he loves colour and triple stars.

Both Cepheus and Cygnus are well placed. Jupiter and Saturn giving some lovely views. Mars is more difficult , reports if dust storms possibly mashing surface features for the observer. The “Garnet star” , mu Cephei is essential viewing , spot it by eye at the base of Cepheus.

Here’s my effort at Polaris positional error, not bad,

Better than the wire tangle from two dew heaters and a battery booster !

I found these , worth a look ! At arm’s length , the moon is covered by a fingernail. Yet it looks so huge and glaring when full. Binoculars will give you the “seas” and areas where Apollo missions landed. Under clear skies ! Nick.

Observing the best carbon stars.

Of great interest , some are visible by eye and binoculars. They can present stunning wide field views matched with blue white field stars. This

is of interest . The Purkinje effect giving our eyes an advantage in observing . These individual beauties are quite fascinating .I’ve not included mu Cephei , the “Garnet Star” as this is obvious by eye at the base of Cepheus and one of the gems of the night sky. Smaller apertures usually pick out more colour. It can be very subjective, defocussing the view can help with a blast of colour,


Actual summer darkness.

9/6/18 Swadlincote C6r refractor, 6.5mm Explore Scientific, 5.5mm Meade UWA , 6mm Circle T, 23mm Panoptic, 11mm 


Set up and the clouds rolled in, went out an hour later and very clear. Caught the GRS transit , the northern belt and the GRS looked incredible at x200. Both very dark, good to catch not only the nice clear pit , but a long thin streamer coming from the GRS. Possibly best views this year of Jupiter.

Looking up and at the zenith , the sky was full of stars. Shapes began to fill in the Summer Triangle and Ophiuchus. Some very surprising views of M57 and the great fluffy M57. Very contrasts with UHC and Oiii filters. Even managed the Eastern Veil , NGC 6695 to NGC 6692 sweep.

For summery open clusters, the “Summer Beehive” and “Graff’s cluster” are little mentioned , but provide stunning entertainment.

Antares ( worth a look for colour and teasing out the close companion) and the claws of Scorpio were low in the south . Have a look at the very bright binary view of the white and blue beta ( Graffias ) and there’s a really beautiful ” double double”, ν Scorpii at 16h12.0m. -19 28′. There’s also another double double here at Xi Scorpii facing Σ 1999 at 16h04m. -11 22′.

Rho Ophiuchi gives an unusual multiple star, lovely at low magnification.

Very unusual to get that amount of darkness and lovely views in June , very clear skies ! Nick.